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  • Crafted Planer Switch Problem

    Was changing my planer blades today. Turned it on and ran a piece through when I was done and it was great. Got together a load of walnut I had to mill today, and when I hit the switch nothing happened. Just like that.

    I unplugged the machine and opened up the switch to have a look.

    Lot of dust and gunk in there. Blew it all out, and first thing I noticed was that when I clicked the switch "on" I had continuity between the two whites, but not between the black and red. Pulled the actual switch out and opened it up, again lots of dirt and gunk, noticed that on one side of the contacts where the red and black had been hooked up, the one side looked burnt and fused together. I'll try to post a pic. I need to get this working soon, the reason I was in milling walnut on a Saturday is because this job is behind schedule. Any advice? I'm over an hour from the nearest busy bee.

    Thanks!

    Click image for larger version

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  • #2

    Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

    That's a craftex planer, of course. I'll edit the title later.

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

      Ok, I used a fine blade and gently sliced apart the fused contact. I cleaned the contacts up with a small file, cleaned everything in sight, and coated the tips of the contacts with a small amount of Vaseline, which I've been told helps ensure a good connection between the contacts. There's not that much left of the damaged contact, I cleaned it up as best I could but it's sure not ideal. I reassembled the switch with some difficulty - there are two little spring loaded ball bearings on the side that make it "click" on and off and getting those little suckers back in place was a pain. After reassembly, I checked with the meter on the back and I had continuity on both sets when on, and not when off, so that seemed like it was worth a try. I re-installed the switch and turned it on, and after taking a few seconds (to charge up the capacitor I assume?) It did turn on. I've cycled it on and off a few times now and it seems to be working, but I don't have much confidence in that frayed, worn out contact so I think I need to be replacing this switch soon, yes? Any advice on that? Also, any idea why this happened?

      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

        For short term "emergency" work, replace the switch with any light switch. No, they aren't rated for that job, but they'll last long enough (or more) for you to get your job done and order in a replacement switch.

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

          Originally posted by John Bartley View Post
          For short term "emergency" work, replace the switch with any light switch. No, they aren't rated for that job, but they'll last long enough (or more) for you to get your job done and order in a replacement switch.
          Thanks John. This is really not my area of expertise at all, but I'm a little confused how a light switch would work? the machine is a 240v, so don't both the black and the white need to be switched? I.e. don't I need a switch with 4 contacts in total, two on each side?

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

            Originally posted by callee View Post

            Thanks John. This is really not my area of expertise at all, but I'm a little confused how a light switch would work? the machine is a 240v, so don't both the black and the white need to be switched? I.e. don't I need a switch with 4 contacts in total, two on each side?
            If it's wired according to the manual (single phase), each side of the switch opens or closes one side of the 240v line. All that "should" be needed to turn the motor on or off is to interrupt or connect one of the two lines. So wire one side together and switch the other side.

            NOTE (to those perfectionists and safety enthusiasts who are freaking out right now): This is for emergency use only, and depends on how the motor is wired and switched.
            Beaverfever1988 likes this.

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            • #7

              Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

              Sounds like you have the planer working again,if it was me,I would go ahead and use it,but,I would not walk away with the power on.
              in other words,keep your ears,eyes and nose On alert,use it,then disconnect the power when done,
              order a new switch,your on borrowed time

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                On my 240v planer (Hitachi f1000a), the switch was burnt out. I ended up hard wiring it and used a power bar as the switch until I got a replacement.

                As Al said, unplug when done for safety. I personally never leave any machine plugged in. I just don't trust electrical that much haha. Good luck!

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                  I would bypass the switch and turn it on /off with the breaker - for using it this weekend and then get a new switch ASAP.

                  I actually keep a fused disconnect wired up and ready to go for such things.
                  I also use it for testing old motors that I find.
                  It doesn’t really help you now but I’m the future it’s pretty handy to have around.

                  Nathan

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                    As Nathan said, bypass the switch and use the breaker.

                    Also don’t put Vaseline on contacts, it will result in a high resistance connection.....Buy a new manual starter (it’s not called a switch) as soon as you can.....Regards, Rod.
                    Randy in Calgary likes this.
                    Work is the curse of the riding class.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                      Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm still curious: anyone have any idea why this would have happened? What would cause those contacts to suddenly fuse together like that?

                      Also, Rod, could you explain a bit more about the Vaseline? I've often heard that advice, and it's not that I don't believe you, but I'd like to understand a bit better. What exactly is a high resistance connection, and why is that bad?

                      thanks!

                      Comment

                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                        Originally posted by callee View Post
                        Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm still curious: anyone have any idea why this would have happened? What would cause those contacts to suddenly fuse together like that?

                        Also, Rod, could you explain a bit more about the Vaseline? I've often heard that advice, and it's not that I don't believe you, but I'd like to understand a bit better. What exactly is a high resistance connection, and why is that bad?

                        thanks!
                        I doubt it was "sudden". If the switch contacts are not robust enough, they can be gradually degraded by the arcs that occur when starting/stopping a motor. Eventually the effective contact area is reduced to a point where the contacts are getting hot, and can then fuse together.

                        Vaseline is an insulator and can interfere with the conduction of current through the contacts. Resistance in an electrical path results in heating at the resistance points. There are conductive pastes that you can buy that are sometimes used to reduce contact resistance, but there are rare and specialized applications.
                        Cheers
                        Randy

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                          Thanks Randy, so if I hear you right, you're saying Vaseline is *not* conductive? Year's ago it was explained to me as exactly the opposite: that Vaseline was conductive and therefore if you were having trouble getting a connection between two irregular contacts (I.e. a worn plug) a bit of Vaseline would "goop" on there and help bridge the gaps from the irregular surfaces. I think I probably have used that "trick" the most with children's toys - they have some battery powered toy, forget about it for a year, and then one day pick it up and find it won't work any more because the batteries corroded and of course then it's the end of the world because even though they haven't touched that toy in a year it is the most important one to them and means everything! In such cases, I've usually used a little wire brush to clean all the corrosion crud off the battery springs as best I can, but usually then the thing still won't power up and so a bit of Vaseline smeared on the spring usually does the trick.

                          I hope I don't sound like I disbelieve rod and you - not at all, this is just a real surprising bit of side news - to find out a trick you've used for years is actually bad! In any case, in a situation like the kids toys, what would you recommend instead?

                          Thanks

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                            Originally posted by callee View Post
                            Thanks Randy, so if I hear you right, you're saying Vaseline is *not* conductive? Year's ago it was explained to me as exactly the opposite: that Vaseline was conductive and therefore if you were having trouble getting a connection between two irregular contacts (I.e. a worn plug) a bit of Vaseline would "goop" on there and help bridge the gaps from the irregular surfaces. I think I probably have used that "trick" the most with children's toys - they have some battery powered toy, forget about it for a year, and then one day pick it up and find it won't work any more because the batteries corroded and of course then it's the end of the world because even though they haven't touched that toy in a year it is the most important one to them and means everything! In such cases, I've usually used a little wire brush to clean all the corrosion crud off the battery springs as best I can, but usually then the thing still won't power up and so a bit of Vaseline smeared on the spring usually does the trick.

                            I hope I don't sound like I disbelieve rod and you - not at all, this is just a real surprising bit of side news - to find out a trick you've used for years is actually bad! In any case, in a situation like the kids toys, what would you recommend instead?

                            Thanks
                            Seeing is believing, if the theory does not resonate.

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC2HVoHWNLA

                            Vaseline and dielectric grease can prevent moisture ingress into electrical connections and thus prevent corrosion. But a dielectric grease is better, and applied over connections that are already a tight metal on metal contact.
                            Cheers
                            Randy

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Crafted Planer Switch Problem

                              Originally posted by Randy in Calgary View Post

                              Seeing is believing, if the theory does not resonate.

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC2HVoHWNLA

                              Vaseline and dielectric grease can prevent moisture ingress into electrical connections and thus prevent corrosion. But a dielectric grease is better, and applied over connections that are already a tight metal on metal contact.
                              I have always used some sort of lubricant on electrical connections and switches, but my thought was that any lubricant won't hurt the action of a switch and if I can keep air from getting into the switch action it should reduce arcing and extend contact life .... I have no evidence to support that, but after several decades doing this it doesn't seem to have hurt anything, so .... so far, so good?

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