Converting bandsaw to 240 volt help?

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Forum topic by eflanders posted 01-01-2016 04:26 PM 819 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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84 posts in 1274 days

01-01-2016 04:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: electrical wiring steel city motor voltage question

About a year ago I bought a new Steel City 14” bandsaw. I have been using the saw without issue on 120 volt power as wired from the factory ever since. The saw & manual claim the 1 h.p. motor to be suitable for 240 volt use and today I wired it according to the supplied instructions. When I start the saw now, the circuit breaker mounted on the on/off switch kicks out in under 30 seconds! Somethings obviously wrong but I just cannot figure out what it is? I have checked to make sure the wiring is all correct per the supplied instructions at the motor. I have also checked the voltage to the receptacle and it is all correct. Other 240 volt machines run on this same receptacle just fine too. What I did notice is that the motors wiring seemed awfully light as compared to my other machines running on 240. Any thoughts or similar experiences? Do you have some suggestions for me besides calling customer service (as they are closed until 1-5-16)?

17 replies so far

View klassenl's profile


169 posts in 2083 days

#1 posted 01-01-2016 05:46 PM

Post some pictures of the motor and wiring diagram

-- 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."

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1938 days

#2 posted 01-01-2016 05:51 PM

Can’t tell anything without seeing a diagram or the wiring. I’d take it back to 120VAC and wait for customer service. Manuals have been known to be in error, especially when the writer is an Asian who learned English and got a job in Shanghai or somewhere in South Korea writing tool manuals.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View MadMark's profile


970 posts in 877 days

#3 posted 01-01-2016 06:32 PM

Did you change the series/parallel jumper on the motor frame?


-- Madmark -

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 600 days

#4 posted 01-01-2016 06:35 PM

I don’t have a Steel City, but on my old Craftsman you also had to make a change to the switch.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View WhyMe's profile


575 posts in 985 days

#5 posted 01-01-2016 06:53 PM

I don’t understand the need to switch it to 240V. It doesn’t get you anything, but in this case only headaches.

View Sarit's profile


514 posts in 2564 days

#6 posted 01-01-2016 07:08 PM

I agree with WhyMe.

Theoretically, 240V will half the current to the motor thereby reducing the heat generated on the wiring, however the motor you got was made and tested to work perfectly fine on 120V. No need to “guild the lily” here.

If for some reason you’re doing this because your 120V circuit is tripping the circuit breaking then you’d be better off working on fixing your electrical problem not trying to work around it by going to a different circuit.

More info can be found here

View JBrow's profile


754 posts in 344 days

#7 posted 01-01-2016 09:38 PM


Assuming the motor is indeed wired correctly, I suspect the problem lies with the circuit breaker on the switch and/or the switch itself. A word of caution, I am not familiar with a circuit breaker mounted with or at the switch on a machine (overload protection on the motor itself, yes; but not at the switch). With that caution out of the way, I wonder whether the breaker at the switch can handle 240 volts. If it can, but was wired from the factory for 120 volts, I would think the breaker would also have to be rewired. A 120 volt breaker, I would think, protects only the Line leg of the circuit (the black conductor) from overload. The Grounded Conductor (white wire – NOT the GREEN wire) in the 120 volt circuit would NOT be wired for protection from the factory. The Grounded Conductor (white wire) would provide a clear path to ground ultimately at the neutral bar in the load center. Likewise at the switch, the Grounded Conductor on a 120 volt circuit is un-switched. When changing to 240 volts, both the black (Line) and white (Grounded Conductor in the former 120 volt circuit) now carries current. This “white” wire now has to be switched and wired for circuit protection at the breaker located at the switch.

What does this mean? Maybe the white wire in the switch and/or breaker at the switch is not wired for 240 volt, even the motor is. Making the change at the switch and breaker at the switch may solve the problem.

Also, my Craftsman Radial Arm saw came wired for 120 volts. I changed it over to 240 volts. There was a miniature switch near the saw’s main switch that I had to set to 240 volts when I made the change. Unlike in your case, I did not have to touch any motor wiring. Perhaps there is a switch on your saw somewhere that has to be changed to complete the rewiring.

Lastly, I am puzzled that your breaker at the switch took up to 30 seconds to trip. I would have thought an almost immediate trip.

View eflanders's profile


84 posts in 1274 days

#8 posted 01-02-2016 01:27 AM

I think I am going to follow Paul’s advice and switch it back to 120. I really don’t have lengthy cutting sessions at the band saw typically so I doubt I would have gained any long-term savings switching to 240 after all. Plus after seeing the light gauge wire used for the motor wiring by the factory, I am a bit septical about the motor ratings. Fortunately the saw does work as I need.

View MadMark's profile


970 posts in 877 days

#9 posted 01-02-2016 03:31 AM

110vac puts more current thru the wire, not less. So if you have small wires 220vac will reduce the current in half.


-- Madmark -

View REO's profile


883 posts in 1498 days

#10 posted 01-02-2016 04:31 PM

Tied into the motor the overload will protect in bot cases of wiring from 110 and 220 because the windings are ALL made for 110. Wired in parallel for 110 and in series for 220. connection of the windings will have to be changed. with a simple switch nothing on the switch itself needs changing cutting the power to one leg will stop the flow of power and thus the machine. many dual voltage machines have a universal switch that cuts both legs (hot and neutral on 110 or 110 110 hot legs when wired for 220). with a magnetic starter several changes could be required. One being both hots and a neutral will be required the neutral needs to be used to carry the 110 used for the 110 coil on the mag. My guess is the capacitor or start winding switch if applicable are wired incorrectly. The wire for 220 will typically be lighter than for 110 since two legs are carrying the current(the same total amps just divided into two supplys. Just an inquiry: are you using the same outlet? or a different one wired for 220?

View eflanders's profile


84 posts in 1274 days

#11 posted 01-03-2016 12:55 AM

I am using a dedicated 240 volt outlet/receptacle.

View REO's profile


883 posts in 1498 days

#12 posted 01-03-2016 02:58 AM

post the make and model of the motor.

View eflanders's profile


84 posts in 1274 days

#13 posted 01-04-2016 10:50 PM

So I tried bypassing the switch and the circuit breaker to test if the issue lies with either one. I also wired it back to 120 and it still wouldn’t run right so I now suspect that the start capacitor is the issue. It smells burnt. I have ordered a replacement. Hopefully this corrects things. If it does, what a strange coincidence or was it due to something else?

View MrUnix's profile


4049 posts in 1623 days

#14 posted 01-04-2016 10:53 PM

now suspect that the start capacitor is the issue

Test it with a multimeter – any cheap one will do as long as it has a resistance setting – even those free HF things you get with a coupon. It could also be the centrifugal switch not kicking out – which would cause you to trip the breaker, as well as causing the capacitor to fry.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View eflanders's profile


84 posts in 1274 days

#15 posted 01-05-2016 12:21 AM

I have a decent Fluke meter. Lol I never learned to use it for testing capacitors! So if I put the meter leads on the capacitor and test for continuity it should not show open? There may be a capacitor test on this meter, so I will dig out the manual and start reading up!

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