Advice On Rotisserie Motors

Many people contact us and ask for advice on rotisserie motors when their rotisserie motor has failed.

We’re always glad to help, but it is interesting to hear about why motors fail, so that we can advise people not only on the most suitable type of motor, but also how to use them.

Motors are a key element of any rotisserie and care should be taken to understand how they work. We product a pdf document entitled “Advice On Motors” that we enclosed with every motor purchased. Here, I have used some extracts from that document together with other information that I hope will enable you to choose the right motor for your rotisserie and to be able to make it “live” for a long time.

The first thing to consider when buying or using a rotisserie motor is the fitting. There are basically two types of fitting. Twin slot and the spigot (Cypriot) types as seen here.

Cypriot BBQ Rotisserie Motors

1.5 Volt Rotisserie Motor

The thing to remember about Cypriot or Greek BBQs is that they are not designed for your typical British Roast. They normally cook chops or smaller joints, however, they can handle a chicken or leg of lamb, but you need to get the balancing absolutely spot on. These motors are 1.5 volt and have nylon gears. So, it doesn’t take much abuse to shear some gears and the motor becomes useless. You can get a 12 volt/240 volt motor with this type of fitting, which runs off the mains or a 12 volt battery. This will certainly give you much more power.

Twin Slot Rotisserie Motors

7.5kg motor rear 700  7.5 watt Rotisserie Motor

The twin slot type of rotisserie motor is pretty much universal throughout the world. They range from a 3 volt battery motor, through quite strong 12/15 watt models.
Finally, you have the heavy duty motors that are used on pig rotisseries or hog roast machines. Fitting on these vary to specifically fit a particular machine.
Most problems come from usage and not understanding your limitations.

Loading v Weight

The maximum loading might be stated for a motor’s performance, this is the manufacturers rating at peak performance. i.e. in absolutely perfect balance. Trying to cook meat that weighs the same as the maximum advertised loading, will break your motor. Loading does not mean weight!

It is like driving a car. In motoring magazines, they publish data on maximum speed and maximum revs. Most people would not dream of driving at those “maximum” levels. The sensible option is to work well within the equipment’s stated maximum.


It is also absolutely essential that any meat is balanced carefully on skewers. Any “off centring” has a dramatic effect on the motor’s capability. The table below illustrates the typical loss of performance to motors due to non-centring and out of balance loading of meat onto a skewer:

– Perfect balance = 100% of stated performance
– 20mm from centre = 50% of stated performance
– 40mm from centre = 30% of stated performance
– 80mm from centre = 15% of stated performance
– 100mm from centre = 10% of stated performance

Symptoms of Overloading

– Motor refuses to rotate skewer
– Motor stops after a short cooking time
– Increased noise
– Clicking
– Jumping
– Motor trying to run in reverse

If you experience any of these symptoms, you have overloaded the motor and you must stop it immediately and take some of the meat off or re-balance the existing meat.

Used with thought and care, rotisserie motors will give a good performance over a number of years.

As always, please call us for help and advice on any matter relating to BBQs. 01494 511368.