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View markedwardsims's profile

Electrical problem, or tool failure?

by markedwardsims
posted 644 days ago


33 replies so far

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

560 posts in 979 days


#1 posted 644 days ago

I say your lathe’s motor is on its way out.
Sorry.

You have already done the basic test of isolating the problem.
It all points to the lathe.

Can you turn the lathe by hand and turns like it normally does?
Remove the belt and spin the lathe. Does it feel the same?
Can you run the motor without the belt?
There may be bearing issue on the lathe.

Hopefully, someone else can give you some hope.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

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BentheViking

1746 posts in 1166 days


#2 posted 644 days ago

Do you have a 20A circuit to try the lathe on?

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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markedwardsims

50 posts in 1295 days


#3 posted 643 days ago

Unfortunately I only have 15A circuits available until I wire up the garage. I thought about dropping a 20a breaker in, but it’s only got 12 gauge wire so that could be dangerous. I guess I need to expedite the garage wiring project. I’ve been looking for sources for replacement motors, and ran across some posts about the run capacitor being a possibility for this type of issue. I took the cover off and that cap smelled like burned electronics. Maybe I’ll get lucky on this one. I figure it’s worth the $5 try before looking at a new motor. I forgot to mention that this one is one of the old blue ones, donuts got some mileage.

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teejk

1207 posts in 1286 days


#4 posted 643 days ago

12ga wire is good for 20a.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1116 days


#5 posted 643 days ago

Boy, there are a lot of possible problems here.
Although No. 12 wire is good for 20 amps, before you run over and put in a 20 amp breaker, turn off the existing breaker and check the outlet to see if the wires are tight in the outlet. A lot of times, if a wire gets warm and cold it will expand and loosen the connection. This causes an amperage rise, and a voltage loss, which would explain why your lathe motor was running so hot and the breaker finally tripped. Also check the connections at the fusebox, if you think you can be safe going behind the safety panel cover.

The second thing is the length of the run. Lots of times, garages are either right where the breaker box is, or it may be on the other side of the house, which lowers the load capacity of the 12 gauge wire.

The bearing issue in the lathe is also in play, but I would think it would be noticable hot or cold, and might put out some sort of sound.

You said the DC tripped the breaker, but you indicated that they were both put into the same outlet, so how did you come to that conclusion? If you put it in separately, it then has to be the circuit, since it is doubtful that both the lathe and DC are going at the same time. And a drill press probably pulls a lot less amperage at a free spin, without any real load.

Just a few things to check out. Whenever I moved into a new house, I always dropped back the breakers, (especially on older houses), to 15 and 20 amps, until I knew everything was safe.
Remember, the one place where most fires occur is where the connections are made, outlets, switches, breaker and screw connections. That’s because they are the weak links in an otherwise solid copper run.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View Blackbear's profile

Blackbear

78 posts in 821 days


#6 posted 643 days ago

How long is the wire run from the breaker? Although 12 ga wire is fine, if you have really long runs i’d use 10 ga to reduce voltage drop. Does power get to the garage from a cable from the main hookup in the house? Your motor may have been on the way out coincidentally but it wouldn’t hurt to check the voltage at your sockets (very carefully) with a volt meter just to be safe. A motor draws constant power, so if your voltage is below nominal the current draw will increase. More current=more heat in the windings and shorter life. Just another thing to rule out in your new workspace.

I hope you get lucky and can just replace the capacitor.

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markedwardsims

50 posts in 1295 days


#7 posted 643 days ago

Teejk and Tennessee, thanks for your input. I’ll definitely take a look at the outlets and make sure the wiring is good and tight. I already checked all of the connections in the panel, and the screws were all tight.

I actually tested out the lathe and DC independently, in 2 different outlets. The lathe would run, but was slow, and the DC would try to turn for a few seconds and then the breaker would pop. The capacitor in the lathe smelled really bad of burned electronics, so I ordered a couple of those to pick up this afternoon. It turns out the cap on the DC is the same, so maybe I’ll get lucky.

I happen to have a fancy surge protector that I use with my home theater stuff with a digital voltage readout. While plugged in and no load, it read 120v exactly. When the lathe was on it dropped to 110v, and when the DC was flipped on the voltage dropped to below 80 before the breaker blew, like Tennessee described.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1116 days


#8 posted 643 days ago

Wow, I hate to belabor this, but be very careful here. Your house most likely has single phase 220VAC arriving at the breaker box, two hots and one neutral, and you should also have a ground in the box, but maybe not if the breaker box is old. The breakers in a typical box, or even fuses, usually try to load up each hot leg equally so the 220VAC is used evenly.
If you saw 80 volts AC on that readout, that means there is a reasonable chance that whatever in the house is on that single hot leg of the 220VAC would have also dropped to 80VAC. If you had something like a refridgerator on that leg, it also saw 80VAC at the same time, even though it would be on a separate breaker UNLESS, a loose wire is arking somewhere in the outlet run you are using. Then your voltage loss is due to voltage trying to fly through a poor connection, causing a voltage loss and a amperage rise. You might start a fire 20 feet away in another outlet and not realize it. Check every outlet in that run first…

There could be a lot of outlets, depending on who did the wiring, state codes, people who wrongly added outlets etc. One loose outlet anywhere along the run will simulate the readouts you got. The loose wire does not have to be at those two outlets you are using.

And now, you also have the slght possibility that both units are bad. Actually, at this point that sounds like the best option, and possibly the cheapest and safest.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View Grandpa's profile (online now)

Grandpa

3048 posts in 1277 days


#9 posted 643 days ago

Aluminum wire in use?? That drops the current equal to using 1 gauge smaller than if using copper of the same gauge.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1116 days


#10 posted 643 days ago

Outstanding point, Grandpa…

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View markedwardsims's profile

markedwardsims

50 posts in 1295 days


#11 posted 643 days ago

Yes, great point. Fortunately, there is no aluminum wiring in the house. Sounds like I need to really check all of the outlets for tight wires. And… I need to expedite getting the garaged wired up. I’ve got several open spots in the panel, so I’d like to dedicate one or two spots to the garage.

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Grandpa

3048 posts in 1277 days


#12 posted 643 days ago

It is good there is no aluminum. It was used years ago and there is still a lot of it out there. You know, after the capacitor is tried if you still have a problem I am one that would take the tool to a motor shop if you have one. We have such a shop and they can tell you what is wrong with tools in a few minutes. The cost is nominal and they could tell you about how much to diagnose before they start.

Now for the electric service. Dropping to 80 volts is not a normal thing. This system sounds overloaded. The services of as good electrician is not terribly expensive either. That is quick and if the guy is good he can probably pinpoint the problem pretty quick.

View teejk's profile

teejk

1207 posts in 1286 days


#13 posted 643 days ago

that voltage drop on the DC is troubling…In my mind voltage should only drop with distance, not load (called “line loss” in the utility world). To drop to 80V would suggest wiring.

No aluminum in the house? (you are probably wrong there since it is used a lot if the panels/fixtures are built to handle it…e.g. my shop sub panel is wired from the house with aluminum as is the wire feeding the panel from the meter).

Just a guess but do you really have 12ga wire in the garage? No electrician I know would use 12ga wire and only put it on a 15a breaker (it would be allowed under code I think…rule used to be that one wire size higher (never lower) than the breaker was ok but why??? breaker size and cost are the same).

If your house was one of those development houses built from 1975-1995, I’d guess that you had a single outlet in the garage running 14ga wire and not on a GFI circuit…that’s what they did back then…saved them probably $100 or so to make workable space but they didn’t care…they were done and gone.

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markedwardsims

50 posts in 1295 days


#14 posted 643 days ago

Interesting. I know that all the leads that I could see in the panel were copper, but I very well could be wrong. The house was built in 1998, and the outlet that I was primarily trying was a GFI that the sprinkler box is plugged into. I’ll look at the wire a bit closer and try to determine the gauge. With all this discussion, it makes me feel like I should get a real electrician to take a look. I have a family friend who is an electrician, and I was going to get him to install the breaker and first box for the “shop” wiring. It sounds like it wold be money well spent to have him take a look at all the outlets as well.

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MedicKen

1599 posts in 2064 days


#15 posted 643 days ago

Check the capacitor on the lathe motor

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

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teejk

1207 posts in 1286 days


#16 posted 643 days ago

mark…buy a few steaks for dinner and have the family friend in for dinner…

I have a rather negative view on so-called “licensed electricians” after spending so much time mopping up after them (on our new house my inspector and I were able to find the problems that were easy fixes before the sheetrock went on…wish I could say the same for the other houses I have owned that I didn’t build).

1998 construction…was probably the first code that required GFI in areas that could get wet…but I suspect it is 14ga wire (hence the 15a breaker). new code has of course gone overboard in response to problems (I think I have 2 20a GFI circuits in my new small garage).

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Grandpa

3048 posts in 1277 days


#17 posted 643 days ago

I believe the GFCI came into the code around 1988-1990 time frame. Then it was for areas with water in arms reach or some such thing. Now it is even tighter. You need to get references and check them out before hiring anyone. There are some good licensed people out there and if we dont use them they can’t live among us. We do need them. Another thing. In my area the aluminum service from the meter to the panel is allowed. Copper from there on. I see both copper and aluminum service regularly.

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markedwardsims

50 posts in 1295 days


#18 posted 643 days ago

Good call teejk! Our guy is a licensed master electrician, so we’ll be in good hands.

Good news… I just put a new start cap on the lathe and it’s running great! I also dug out my multimeter from the mountain of moving boxes. Since the DC is too loud to crank up at this hour, I tested the cap with the multimeter and it’s definitely teting bad as well.

So here’s the million dollar question: Is it just lousy timing that both start caps went out on the same day? Or is it possible that the home electrical killed them?

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waho6o9

4750 posts in 1178 days


#19 posted 643 days ago

lousy timing
I’m glad you fixed it though.

View klassenl's profile

klassenl

113 posts in 1261 days


#20 posted 643 days ago

“So here’s the million dollar question: Is it just lousy timing that both start caps went out on the same day? Or is it possible that the home electrical killed them?”

Likely lousy timing. Not likely that the “wiring” killed it. But I would still find it deeply concerning.

If I were to toss out a theory I would say that there was low voltage at some point and that likely pushed the capacitors into early failure.

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

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TopamaxSurvivor

14604 posts in 2277 days


#21 posted 642 days ago

I have a rather negative view on so-called “licensed electricians”

:-)) ;-)) I have to agree to a certain extent and I am one ;-) It is too bad the trades have deteriorated as much as they have in the last 30 years.

On to the issue at hand. 80 volt drop is not normal. Slim possibility it is poor connections on the circuit such as plug in the back outlets maintaining the circuit continuity or a bad connection in the breaker panel. This is especially true if the panel is a Zinsco or FPE.

My money is on a loose neutral or ground in the main service conductors allowing the voltage to float. When one side drops as low a 60 volts the other will go up as high as 180. Theoretically it could be wider, but I haven’t seen it in 45 years on my meters. This can be quite disastrous for low load items such as computers, TVs and other spendy items which can be in series and on the receiving end of the high voltage. No surge protector will protect you in this situation. Normally, motors do not have much of a problem, but I suspect the extended run time is what cooked them.

Unfortunately, the majority of electricians and engineers will not know anything about loose neutral and ground issues and unable to identify or diagnose this problem. It can be very hard to locate and identify. You may or may not know for sure when you correct it. The problem can be anywhere between the power company’s transformer connections and your branch circuits. With a slightly faulty or failing connection, it can be very intermittent.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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markedwardsims

50 posts in 1295 days


#22 posted 642 days ago

Okay guys, I just spoke to my electrician, and he’s coming out Friday to wire up 2 dedicated 20 amp circuits for me. He’s almost certain based on the year of construction that the wiring is 12ga. He gave me a quick lesson about current, and rattled off a bunch of calculations. Basically, the 15amp circuit can’t handle the constant load from that DC. I believe he said that on a motor like that it was amps X 1.25, which means it’s pulling 12.5amp when running constantly. The GFI apparently affects things as well. So, his comments are in line with everything that was stated above. He feels like the heat is what is killing the start capacitors (the lathe only ran 10 minutes before the new cap was on fire ). Anyway, I really appreciate everyone’s help on this matter. I should be good to go on Friday.

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joeyinsouthaustin

1213 posts in 674 days


#23 posted 642 days ago

I don’t see enough power to run both those tools. Also most outlets are likely on the same circuit. Her is another idea. An overloaded circuit heats up, heat dramatically decreases efficiency, motors heat and draw higher load, etc…. this could explain why everything started well, and then couldn’t even run the lathe. this could also have done some damage in the motor, outlet or wall. I just saw the post after your electrician visited… i am gonna post anyways cause I am happy I was close.

-- Who is John Galt?

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IsaacH

128 posts in 698 days


#24 posted 642 days ago

I agree that you should check the capacitor…but you either need to know how to do it with resistance or find a meter designed to check capacitance.

To check with resistance with an ohmmeter:

1) DISCHARGE THE CAPACITOR BY SHORTENING ITS LEADS. THAT IS – USE A WIRE AND CONNECT THE LEADS OF THE CAPACITOR TOGETHER. THIS WILL DISCHARGE IT. DO NOT DO THIS FOR A CAPICITOR USED IN A DC CIRCUIT UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

2) PUT YOUR MULTIMETER IN THE HIGH RANGES 10K-1M

3)CONNECT MULTIMETER TO CAPACITOR LEADS. AT SOON AS THE LEADS MAKE CONTACT, THE METER WILL SWING NEAR ZERO. IT WILL THEN MOVE SLOWLY TOWARD INFINITY. FINALLY THE METER WOULD COME TO BE INFINITE OHMS BECAUSE THE CAPACITOR IS BEING CHARGED BY THE BATTERY OF THE MULTIMETER.

4) IF THE CAPACITOR IS BAD, IT WILL GO TO ZERO OHMS AND REMAIN THERE. THIS IS CALLED A SHORTENED CAPACITOR

5) IN THE CASE OF AN OPEN CAPACITOR THERE WILL BE NO OHMMETER INDICATION.

-- Isaac- Decatur, GA - "Your woodworking....NOT machining parts for NASA!!!"

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teejk

1207 posts in 1286 days


#25 posted 642 days ago

topomax…the electrical trade started going downhill about the same time that the “big box” stores started going up-hill. proper knowlege makes electricity pretty easy (unlike plumbing which is pretty easy also but requires one to crawl around in nasty places with old bones).

I am glad that Mark pulled in an electrician…sometimes experience pays off! In this case that voltage drop was ??? Burn up $1,000 of tools to save $200 isn’t really smart is it (especially if the problem wasn’t fixed yet and the tool meter would keep running).

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)

TopamaxSurvivor

14604 posts in 2277 days


#26 posted 642 days ago

teejk, It is all easy until it doesn’t work ;-) Every time I do plumbing it leaks! ;-(

It will be interesting to see if the electrician finds a reason for the excessive voltage drop. A 15 amp breaker should have tripped if the load alone was high enough to draw it down 30 or 40 volts with the panel in the same small garage as the tools.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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klassenl

113 posts in 1261 days


#27 posted 642 days ago

TopamaxSurvivor wrote, “It is too bad the trades have deteriorated as much as they have in the last 30 years.

On to the issue at hand. 80 volt drop is not normal. Slim possibility it is poor connections on the circuit such as plug in the back outlets maintaining the circuit continuity or a bad connection in the breaker panel. This is especially true if the panel is a Zinsco or FPE.

Unfortunately, the majority of electricians and engineers will not know anything about loose neutral and ground issues and unable to identify or diagnose this problem. It can be very hard to locate and identify. You may or may not know for sure when you correct it. The problem can be anywhere between the power company’s transformer connections and your branch circuits. With a slightly faulty or failing connection, it can be very intermittent.”

Yikes. A bit harsh and almost offensive critique of things. I know that we’ve all had bad experiences in life but after being in the trades all my life there are very few people that I have worked with that are just plain bad.

FPE panels → never had any trouble with them. Eaton/CH/Siemens = time bomb.

In school we were hounded on the whole loose neutral issue. Every qualified electrician knows what happens when you lose a neutral. To say that the majority of electricians and engineers don’t know about this is a display of….well….a display of something.

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

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TopamaxSurvivor

14604 posts in 2277 days


#28 posted 642 days ago

Lets say the 15 amp circuit is #14 and 100 feet long in the garage with a 20 amp load for the 2 motors. That would only account 12 to 15 volts drop. If the service voltage is 110, it should still read 95 volts or more, not 80! There is a serious issue beyond the overloading of the circuit that should have tripped off line before the 2 motors were damaged, IMO.

The critic is based on a lifetime of experience repairing things that others have given up on and/or have let set idle for over a year in a few cases. One time my employer sent me to Alaska to trouble shoot a problem with a return ticket that evening. The guy that met me at the plane couldn’t believe I came to Alaska without any baggage ;-) He said they had been working on the problem for several weeks. They ask me to look at a 2nd problem since I had some time to spare. I was finishing it when my plane left. I had to wait an extra hour to get back to Seattle.

You can google FPE. Maybe you got lucky. They are not quite as bad a Zinsco, IMO.

Not quite sure what all you are including in “Eaton/CH/Siemens.” There are certainly some products I will not install in that group, As for time bombs, must circuit breakers are, IMO, with the exception of CH and Sq D. They are the only ones that have magnetic trip as well as thermal. The majority of thermal only trip breakers will hold an over load long enough to do significant damage to branch conductors and equipment. I seriously doubt if the panel serving the circuit that spawned this thread is CH or Sq D. BTW, last year I saw a commercial 20 amp breaker that held a 50 amp load long enough to melt the insulation on the #12 conductor which shorted to ground in the metallic conduit!

As far as a demonstration of what, I’m not sure. I have the experience and ability to back up what I say about electrical installations. If you care to read references, I’m sure you will get tired of reading before I run out. I know I got tired of reading them before I got through and they are about me ;-)) ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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IsaacH

128 posts in 698 days


#29 posted 641 days ago

I agree with klassenel….A majority of electricians recieve little or no formal education. I served a 5 year apprenticeship with hundreds of hours of classroom training. I took pride in my craft and LOVED when I was called in to fix what a fly-by-night electrician had screwed up. I also loved having to tell engineers why their plans either wouldn’t pass inspection or wouldn’t even work. I almost got fired when I embarrassed an engineer who spent 2 days coming up with an automation system for a small production line. His setup didnt work, but the one I drew on a piece of cardboard in about an hour worked perfectly. Maybe I shouldnt have shown the customer my drawing while the engineer was standing there?

I miss my wire twisting days….

-- Isaac- Decatur, GA - "Your woodworking....NOT machining parts for NASA!!!"

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TopamaxSurvivor

14604 posts in 2277 days


#30 posted 641 days ago

IsaacH I remember one guy that was bound and determined not to use a “blue collar” correction. He stuck my cardboard drawing in his pocket. After few hours of design work, he still didn’t have a workable drawing. When I showed him again, he pulled the previous answer out of his pocket. Low and behold, the simple drawings matched. wonder how that happened? ;-)) I got called on the carpet one time for telling an engineer to call Bonneville Power and tell them their distribution system from the dams to the end users can’t be working under his theory of transformer operation. He wanted to build a new service for long Yankee Green rather than install a 1 kva control transformer.

One of the biggest problems is the compensation being stagnant for over 30 years. It is harder to attract the quality of people who came to the trades in 60s and 70s. Then, the “unorganized” employers, at least here in WA, sued to get their own training program. All it amounted to is a cheap labor program. In the last few years, I don’t remember exactly when, trainees are now required to put in a day or 2 in the classroom every year. The organized guys put in a day a week for 5 years.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Grandpa

3048 posts in 1277 days


#31 posted 641 days ago

In Oklahoma a licensed electrician will not work on or in a FPE or a Zinsco panel. Seems they lost their UL rating some years ago because they don’t trip soon enough and the insulation melts or burns.

View teejk's profile

teejk

1207 posts in 1286 days


#32 posted 641 days ago

Grandpa…I had a FPE panel in my first house…the electrician I called in to change the primary wire from the meter socket when I tried to sell it (undersized wire) looked at it and said they called FPE panels “arc welders”...they NEVER tripped.

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Grandpa

3048 posts in 1277 days


#33 posted 641 days ago

Yes sir

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