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Dust collector died, need help diagnosing problem

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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 06-17-2017 10:00 AM 3295 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SweetTea

242 posts in 495 days


06-17-2017 10:00 AM

So one of my Harbor Freight dust collectors went out on me the other day. It won’t turn on at all. The impeller is fine and I have tried other outlets. I think it is either the switch or the start capacitor. I am a complete newbie when it comes to electrical stuff. Can someone please explain to me how I can test the switch with a simple, cheap, HF multi meter? Also, how can I hard wire the unit to bypass the switch? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

P.S. are there any ways of testing the start compactor?


21 replies so far

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SweetTea

242 posts in 495 days


#1 posted 06-17-2017 10:02 AM

Here is a picture of the switch.

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JR545

16 posts in 1022 days


#2 posted 06-17-2017 11:51 AM

Use the multimeter to check continuity between the lugs. I believe the symbol for continuity on the tester looks like this |<. Remove the motor wires from the switch and place the tester leads on either lug and turn the switch on and off. If the switch completes the circuit you should get a tone from the tester in the “On” position and it is not the switch. I don’t have a clue how to test the capacitor.

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ArtMann

685 posts in 651 days


#3 posted 06-17-2017 01:25 PM

Once you have done what JR545 says, then check the continuity through the motor. In other words, check whether you have continuity between the white and black wires. That will tell you whether the winding is burned up. If the test fails, check the resistance in the motor windings. It could be a few ohms. This is normal. Continuity tests are often inconclusive. After that, locate the start capacitor and disconnect it from its wiring. Measure the continuity or ohms between the two leads. If you have continuity or resistance in the range of less than megohms, the capacitor is shorted and needs replacing. If your meter does capacitance, you can then check for the value. It should be in the hundreds of microfarads.

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SweetTea

242 posts in 495 days


#4 posted 06-17-2017 01:34 PM



Use the multimeter to check continuity between the lugs. I believe the symbol for continuity on the tester looks like this |<. Remove the motor wires from the switch and place the tester leads on either lug and turn the switch on and off. If the switch completes the circuit you should get a tone from the tester in the “On” position and it is not the switch. I don t have a clue how to test the capacitor.

- JR545

There are four wires. How do I know which are the motor wires?

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4802 posts in 3796 days


#5 posted 06-17-2017 02:32 PM

If there is no humming coming from the motor there’s a good chance that it is the switch. Same thing happened to mine. Took the switch apart and cleaned the contacts. Still working, but I bought a spare just in case.
Whatever ya do, UNPLUG THE UNIT.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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jonah

1448 posts in 3134 days


#6 posted 06-17-2017 02:59 PM


Use the multimeter to check continuity between the lugs. I believe the symbol for continuity on the tester looks like this |<. Remove the motor wires from the switch and place the tester leads on either lug and turn the switch on and off. If the switch completes the circuit you should get a tone from the tester in the “On” position and it is not the switch. I don t have a clue how to test the capacitor.

- JR545

There are four wires. How do I know which are the motor wires?

- SweetTea


Two will go to the power cable (to the wall outlet) and two to the motor itself. You want the second pair.

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SweetTea

242 posts in 495 days


#7 posted 06-17-2017 03:04 PM


Use the multimeter to check continuity between the lugs. I believe the symbol for continuity on the tester looks like this |<. Remove the motor wires from the switch and place the tester leads on either lug and turn the switch on and off. If the switch completes the circuit you should get a tone from the tester in the “On” position and it is not the switch. I don t have a clue how to test the capacitor.

- JR545

There are four wires. How do I know which are the motor wires?

- SweetTea

Two will go to the power cable (to the wall outlet) and two to the motor itself. You want the second pair.

- jonah

So I unhook the motor wires from the switch, take my multi meter set to continuity, and hold the tester leads to the two motor wires and see if I get a beep or a signal? Do I place the red lead on the red wire and the black lead on the black wire?

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Loren

9613 posts in 3483 days


#8 posted 06-17-2017 04:22 PM

Looks like there is a green ground and
black and white wires coming out of
the motor. Bypassing the switch is simply
a matter of splicing those three wires into
a power cord. In 110v wiring only one
of the wires, the black or the white one,
is hot. It doesn’t matter which one
is which. The motor will take current
through either black or white wire.

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SweetTea

242 posts in 495 days


#9 posted 06-18-2017 01:37 PM



Looks like there is a green ground and
black and white wires coming out of
the motor. Bypassing the switch is simply
a matter of splicing those three wires into
a power cord. In 110v wiring only one
of the wires, the black or the white one,
is hot. It doesn t matter which one
is which. The motor will take current
through either black or white wire.

- Loren

So could take an extension cord and cut the end off of it and use that to bypass the switch? Or would I be better off disconnecting one of my recepticals and using the wires from it? If so, just to make sure, it doesn’t matter whether I use the black wire or the white wire from the wire coming out of the breaker box?

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splintergroup

1696 posts in 1058 days


#10 posted 06-18-2017 02:46 PM


So could take an extension cord and cut the end off of it and use that to bypass the switch? Or would I be better off disconnecting one of my recepticals and using the wires from it? If so, just to make sure, it doesn t matter whether I use the black wire or the white wire from the wire coming out of the breaker box?

- SweetTea

I’d just cut up an extension cord.

DCs are simple beasts. In order of common failure modes, #1 power switch, #2 capacitor, #3 motor (first is the centrifugal switch, second is the windings).

First thing I’d do is (unit unplugged!) is give the inside of the box a good blowout with compressed air targeting the switch. Hit the switch good from the outside as well. It helps if you rapidly flip the switch while you are doing this. Reason being is dust thens to get everywhere and can keep a switch ( especially a lower quality unit) from making contact.
Everything else except for a fired motor usually will result in a humming, power-applied sound if the switch is good.

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hairy

2583 posts in 3367 days


#11 posted 06-18-2017 03:28 PM

Unplug it from the wall. Connect the DC power cord wires to the wires inside the switchbox. Connect white wires together, black wires together and green wires together. Black = power, White = Neutral and Green = Ground. Don’t mix them up. Plug it in, if it comes on, it’s not the capacitor.

-- My reality check bounced...

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bigJohninvegas

382 posts in 1297 days


#12 posted 06-18-2017 11:32 PM

Seems the harbor freight stuff has bad switches. Both my DC, and band saw had switches fail. I got one of those safety switches from Rockler for the band saw. But since I’m not worried about cutting off fingers with the DC, I just went to home depot and got this switch pictured below. I had an extra 3/4 pipe I had for clamps and used it to relocate the switch. The way my shop is set up, it was always a pain to reach over to get to the power switch.

-- John

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SweetTea

242 posts in 495 days


#13 posted 06-19-2017 04:22 PM

Ok so I verified that it was the switch that went out. Right now I have it hardwired to an extension cord that I sniped the end off of. Any suggestions on where I can find a replacement switch? Harbor Freight does not offer parts for their products.

View jonah's profile

jonah

1448 posts in 3134 days


#14 posted 06-19-2017 05:03 PM

You can wire it to a normal light switch if you have to, but be sure whatever you get is rated for at least 20 amps.

Better would be a magnetic switch.

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firefighterontheside

16913 posts in 1692 days


#15 posted 06-19-2017 05:16 PM

Grizzly

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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