Table saw motor issues

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Al posted 01-29-2009 01:11 AM 3133 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hell-o to all. Brand spankin new to the site. Looks great. I just tuned up my craftsman table saw but for years I have been having problems with the motor. It tends to hesitate when I start it and I have to lift it up with one hand while I hit the start lever. If I adjust it too loose I get almost no power to cut but it does start on it’s own. If I pull it tighter is when I need to “help” it and I get plenty of power to cut. It’s driving me a bit crazy cuz I can’t figure out how to adjust it to start normally without assistance. Thanks and look forward to my new “Lumberjocks” site. AGC

-- Al Meriden, Connecticut

7 comments so far

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3758 days

#1 posted 01-29-2009 01:18 AM

It may be time to take the motor to a motor shop and have it checked out, it could be as simple as a capacitor.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3759 days

#2 posted 01-29-2009 01:43 AM

It could be a lot of different things, but Woodchuck and bentlyj have given you a pretty good starting point. I’m sure it’s not a pleasant experience to go through that every time you want to make a cut. Welcome to the Lumberjocks AGC. I think you’ll enjoy the site
- JJ

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4395 days

#3 posted 01-29-2009 02:19 AM

I would think its motor related and not some other part of the saw. So I’d first try your power because that doesn’t take you to a motor shop. I would think that its a starting capacitor and you can replace it your self if you want. Just be careful that you don’t touch the contacts of a capacitor with your hand or you’ll get the shock of your life. Touch a screwdriver across the contacts and discharge it before you play around with it. Also check the contacts in the back of the motor where the wires are that connect to the capacitor.

The motor in our bandsaw at the Toy Workshop stops, i’s a dirty contact. I clean it off with sandpaper and the motor works fine for another year.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3427 days

#4 posted 01-29-2009 02:35 AM

As an expert in absolutely nothing, I must tell you I have no idea of what your next step should be. BUT, I can say welcome to the site. It’s great! I’m a newby too and I have already had two problems solved, learned a lot and had lots of fun in the forum area…g

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3456 days

#5 posted 01-29-2009 07:39 AM

Are the set screws on the pulleys tight? Are the shaft keys in place? Is the belt in good shape? If the belt is old, cracked or been slipping it may be glazed. You might consider replacing it with one of the link type belts.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3548 days

#6 posted 01-29-2009 08:15 AM

I had the exact same problem with my craftsman tablesaw. I used it like that until the motor quit on me one day. So I took the motor apart, cleaned it out of sawdust, cleaned all the contacts, put it back together and amazingly, it worked again. It was just like new. I realized later that I had this problem after I stopped woodoworking for about a year so my guess is that one of the contacts was corroded.
I would try this before spending any money on anything you might not need. I found a surprising amount of sawdust when I opened up the motor.
The saw is about 20 years old and still runs like new.

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3607 days

#7 posted 01-29-2009 01:57 PM

Yeah, I’d bet on the starting cap or the contacts for the centrifugal switch that removes the starting cap after the motor comes up to speed. Sears has sold open motors on their saws for years and sawdust will work its way into the switch contacts easily.

Wiring? Maybe. You can’t run a table saw on an 18 AWG extension cord. A couple of personal anecdotes about wiring:

When I first moved into the house I’ve lived in about 30 years now, I couldn’t get my table saw to run correctly in the detached garage I use for a shop. It would take forever to start up and stall at the least load. One day, after attempting to saw 2X4’s lengthwise and stalling the saw repeatedly, I went into the basement and found the junction box that delivered power to the garage was smoking! Someone had simply twisted the wires together and covered them with electrical tape. The smoke was coming from charred electrical tape. A couple of wire nuts fixed that. Now, realize this was all with a 3/4 HP motor.

Years later, I upgraded to a later Craftsman saw with a 1 HP motor. It took a while to come up to speed (~3 seconds) and dimmed the lights in the shop every time I started it. I was seriously considering running new, heavier gauge wires to the garage. When I rebuilt the saw, I replaced the tiny little rocker switch that Sears included with the saw with an industrial switch from Grizzly. Lo and behold, the saw now spins up in less than 1/2 second and the lights barely flicker.

Moral: check for resistance in every segment of the lines delivering power to your saw. Any resistance in the lines will limit the starting current for your saw.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics