My Dust Collector MELTED!

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Forum topic by JMB posted 09-23-2010 09:05 AM 5121 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 3661 days

09-23-2010 09:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question safety fire delta dust collector collection dust collector dust collection smoke melt melting help 115 110 220 230 v volt phase repair fix broken broke melted milling motor switch wire harness safe injury

Hey, Guys.

I just bought a used Delta 50 – 850 roll around dust collector. LAST NIGHT. I got it to the shop this morning, immediately connected it up to my planer and went to work. After operating for less than two hours, smoke was pouring from the power switch. I immediately shut down the unit, but the damage was done – The plastic switch housing, which had been in direct contact with the metal motor housing, had melted clear off. the only thing holding it in place were the fabric coated lead wires from the motor to the wire harness. On close inspection, the motor housing was so hot I almost burned myself when I touched it. What the heck?!

I bought it used from a guy who used to own his own furniture shop. it was gathering dust (the regular kind of dust). in his garage for a few years from what I gather. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, especialy a fellow woodworker. I don’t think he “knowingly” sold me a lemon. So something else has to be going on here…


The unit was theoretically set up for 115V 20 A power.

It had no plug when I bought it. We wired up a brand new 115 V replacement plug from Menards. Black to blank, white to white, green to green. Pretty sure it was wired correctly.

I was using the collector to suck up dust from my 20” Grizzly planer. 5 inch dust port on the planer fed into a 5” to 4” reduced, reducer to 4 inch flex hose, hose to stock 4 inch port on dust collector. Dust collector had the standard wye with two 4” ports. Secondary port was plugged.

The motor gave no signs of struggling or bogging. It was running really well and sucking up every bit of dust from my 20” planer. There was no buildup in any of the hoses or connections.

So what happened here?

Did I run it for too long? If so, Delta has some explaining to do. I can’t believe a dust collector would overheat after an hour or so of work. I used to run roll-arounds at my previous job for hours without problem.

Is it possible the wire harness was swapped over to 220V 3 phase? I don’t know much about electricity. But I would imagine that, if that was the case, the machine would either bog down for lack of power, or not work period. But, perhaps it would run, but draw so much amperage that the motor would over work itself and overheat? I dunno.

I can rebuild the wire harness from steel sheet. But that would be treating the symptom, not the problem. Why did this overheat? How can I prevent it from happening again?



-- If I can't fix it, it wern't broke in the first place!

17 replies so far

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 3898 days

#1 posted 09-23-2010 05:07 PM

You could try blowing out the inside of the motor housing. There tends to be a lot of sawdust accumulated after running it for years.

-- Ed

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3086 days

#2 posted 09-23-2010 05:33 PM

This is an intriguing mystery. All of your analysis seems well thought out and reasonable. I trust your ears regarding the motor bogging down, which suggests that the filter bag was not plugged up.

My only input is chancy at best: I had a similar Delta unit, made in China, and the motor never did start right. Ran good, didn’t start all the time. IF yours was likewise sourced, it’s POSSIBLE there were other failures in other motors of a given run.

Another part of the mystery: did the motor overheat and melt the box, or did the heat originate at the box?

I don’t know the long term effect of running a 220 wired motor at 110, but I am quite sure your ears would have noticed the difference.

In our area there are a couple of shops which deal in electric motors and rebuilding them. Some questions posed to the guys that do that sort of thing might be very productive.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3797 days

#3 posted 09-23-2010 06:13 PM

Me thinks that maybe you just had a bad connection in the switch housing. It is normal for motors to be very hot to the touch after continuous use under load.

-- Joe

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4509 days

#4 posted 09-23-2010 06:17 PM

Were you running on an extension cord? If so, if it was undersized or too long this can cause problems….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3102 days

#5 posted 09-23-2010 06:25 PM

Was it a 115/230 volt motor?

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

395 posts in 3318 days

#6 posted 09-23-2010 06:36 PM

Another thing to keep in mind is that all blast gates closed is the lightest load for the motor, since very little air is moving. Running it unrestricted (all blast gates open and no filter) will put the greatest load on the motor.

Some of the smaller cyclones appear to have sized the motors dangerously close to their max limit. The undersized filters are needed to limit the amount of air moved. The motors will probably burn out if you put on larger filters and larger pipes.

-- Steve

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3539 days

#7 posted 09-23-2010 06:38 PM

This is a good reminder for guys like me who have their DC units outside of the shop to check on them often for maintenance. Thanks for posting this.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Richard Dunlap's profile

Richard Dunlap

65 posts in 3101 days

#8 posted 09-23-2010 06:51 PM

Thr first thing I would suspect would be accumulated dust inside the motor if it is not totally sealed. Second would be a loose electrical connection. Loose connections , like a loose screw terminal at the switch, will cause the motor to run hot and create heat in the wiring. Also a too long or small extension cord will do the same.


View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3506 days

#9 posted 09-23-2010 06:56 PM

I wonder if a bearing or the brushes are damaged? Pics might tell more…if it was electrical the motor should have shorted out…and the fuse(s) should have blown? That is why I would suspect perhaps the problem is mechanical? If it was wired for a different voltage it would have sounded sluggish…or would not have started…as the switches would be different?

I use a one and one half horsepower DC on my planer (20” grizzly G0454) and so far have not had a problem with it for over 2 years. I have used a shop vac when I ran out of bags for the DC…and it worked ok….left alot of chips though…and I was glad to return to the DC.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3102 days

#10 posted 09-23-2010 06:58 PM

Get an electrician. DISCONNECT POWER! (unplug cable and turn off breaker) before doing this. If it’s a 115/230 volt motor it can be set up to run off of 115V or 230V. It will say 115/230 V on the motor plate usually. If it does, then he can open up the junction box on the motor and see if the wiring diagram is on the inside of the junction box – the wiring diagram may also be on the motor plate itself. If he can find the wiring diagram then he can open up the junction box and see if it is actually wired for 115V or 230V by comparing the wiring diagram with how it is actually wired up. Some motors have a nice terminal bloc with jumpers others simply have motor leads with numbers on each wire. You said that you plugged it into a 115V outlet. But I would do this just to see if it was wired up for 230V just to see. I’m not an electrician. TopmaxSurvivor is. He’s a Lumberjock. He can probably help you.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 3263 days

#11 posted 09-23-2010 07:10 PM

Sounds like a switch contact shorted Or something went to ground !! If the box was in contact with the motor sounds like a insulator or gasket wasn’t placed back properly and when it went to ground A.k.a. Hot motor!!!!!
Get a exploded view of the switch and then dismantle the burned pieces till you find out what happened. then you will be able to get parts for your dust collector and make the right repairs :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3396 days

#12 posted 09-23-2010 07:47 PM

Loose wiring in the switch housing would be my first guess.

> “I don’t know much about electricity.”

Don’t go guessing on this. :) You CAN get a wiring diagram. Get that and double check it before you power back up.

Abbot, good point about DC’s in another room or closet. Maybe add a smoke detector in that ‘other’ room too.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3179 days

#13 posted 09-23-2010 07:48 PM

What I will do:
1. Take the piece to have it rebuild. Discuss with the guys what might happen. We might help you, but each of us probably had such problem once Those rebuilding shops deal all days with such problems, and have trillions of situations and experience.

2. I tend to agree with Joe from Bella Vista and Max. Also if the wires are old, or the copper rusted, or any inappropriate cord extension (Mainly AWG section used, Amp rating of housings, etc) , could be the cause of the problem. Since all of the above will produce that the motor instead of getting 110v, will get 80, 90v o whatever. This will produce the motor to work with excess heat. All of the harness wiring is insulated with some kind of paint. With excess heat paint will melt. And there you are. You can burn a switch, a fuse or the motor itself.

PS It took me a while writing this at lunchtime. Sorry for that. It seems I am saying the same as Helluvawreck and Richard

take care you all

-- Back home. Fernando

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4535 days

#14 posted 09-25-2010 01:24 PM

It could be possible size of the wires in the in cord are too small, that could cause overheating. The previous owner may have changed the cord on it. If you had it plugged into an extension cord with lightweight wires could also cause this.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3295 days

#15 posted 09-25-2010 03:02 PM

You should be able to find technical info on that DC at I also like the suggestion of taking the motor to an electric motor repair shop and get it checked out.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

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