Band Saw motor dead?

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Forum topic by Luke posted 07-20-2011 04:59 PM 2763 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2687 days

07-20-2011 04:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

Hey all,
I was resawing some White Oak yesterday on my OLD TAIWAN (think Harbor Freight) band saw. I noticed it smelled like “An OLD VW BUG” in that there was a slight burning smell. I figured it was the Oak as it smells when its cut.

I came back today and tried to turn the band saw on to finish resawing and the motor just buzzes or hums but no spinning. I checked to see if the blade was stuck, its fine, the belt is not caught on anything it’s fine, but the motor just wont turn.

Did I kill it? Anyone have any suggestions?

21 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2971 days

#1 posted 07-20-2011 06:57 PM

Can you turn the motor by hand. The bearings may have seized.

If the motor spins freely, you might have a bad capacitor or switch.

Or, the motor may be fried.

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2687 days

#2 posted 07-20-2011 06:59 PM

I can turn the belt and pulleys by hand.


View Arch_E's profile


48 posts in 2522 days

#3 posted 07-20-2011 07:13 PM

now’s the time to open a new thread on “how to replace a bad motor”

Be sure to get the specs off of the old motor. The motor gurus will tell what all that means. For instance, you’ve got to have the same shaft size, same mounting plate, etc. Good news is that you can probably go up to 3/4 or 1 hp. Be careful of what you buy. In this case, buying American is more expensive but definitely better (and I’m proudly biased!!). I’m not a motor guy but have, with help, replaced one so far.

You can, too!

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2687 days

#4 posted 07-20-2011 08:34 PM

Thats what I was afraid of. I am techincally minded, and I know that I could do this, but I am at this point weighing the benefits to a newer (more reliable) band saw.

I have been scourging the internet trying to get some info, and It looks before I throw the thing away to try and replace the capacitor. For a few bucks its worth a try vs buying a new saw.

View Arch_E's profile


48 posts in 2522 days

#5 posted 07-20-2011 08:46 PM

First, if everything but the motor works you can’t go wrong replacing the motor.

Second, if it’s a 12” bandsaw, what the heck you doing resawing!!!!!!!? That’s why we buy the bigger, better, badder mo-chenes, preferably over 19” so that you buy a quality carbide 1” or more blade, exactly for ripping and resawing.

Third, it’s a good time to invest in a quality rip handsaw (4 1/2 to 6 tpi). Just saying….

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

#6 posted 07-20-2011 08:55 PM

Does anyone in your area rebuild motors? In our area, there is an electric company that rebuilds motors (they are also a ‘factory authorized’ repair shop for several manufacturers). They sell both rebuilt and new motors.

Our local shop puts a 90 day warranty on the rebuilt motors they sell. Maybe there is something similar in your area?


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Victor47's profile


1 post in 2505 days

#7 posted 07-20-2011 09:33 PM

to check if the capacitor is bad, start by removing the blade for safety. turn on the saw and spin the shaft by hand. you will want to move your hand away quickly. If the motor is good, it will begin running as soon as you turn the shaft. If this is the case, then you would only need to replace the capacitor. It wil have the size data stamped on it.

-- Victor, Illinois

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2687 days

#8 posted 07-20-2011 09:34 PM

I don’t recall saying it was a 12” bandsaw. Its the standard 14” bandsaw with a brand new blade 3 TPI. I’d love to buy a bigger capacity saw with more oomph, but I cant. I like wood working as a hobby not as a living so I can’t justify the moolah for that type of stuff, like a big old 2” blade like Norm Abrams had…

While I’m intrigued by hand tools… I’ll let machinery do the work for me :) Time is valuable.

I will keep my eyes out for a local place.

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2687 days

#9 posted 07-20-2011 09:35 PM

Thanks for the info, I was wondering how I could check it!

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2971 days

#10 posted 07-20-2011 10:05 PM

Most of the time, but not always, if a motor gets hot enough to actually burn the insulation in the windings it will not still hum. It will short out the circuit and trip the breaker. So, it is likely you have a bad capacitor or switch, like I said originally. To check the capacitor, do like Victor said. But, the problem can still be a bad switch, and a new capacitor will not help. There is a centrifugal switch in the motor that switches the capacitor in and out of he circuit when the motor gets up to speed. Sawdust can get in the contacts of these switches and keep them from working. Sometimes all you have to do is clean everything out real good and the problem goes away. You might even get lucky with a few shots of compressed air.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18717 posts in 2568 days

#11 posted 07-20-2011 10:24 PM

it may be worth having a motor shop look at it. It could just need brushes replaced or something else simple.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3384 days

#12 posted 07-21-2011 12:57 AM

I would suggest trying what Victor said, as it looks like you are going to already. I have an old Delta drill press that I bought recently with exactly that same motor problem. It hums, but no movement. With a quick turn by hand to get it started, it works just fine. I might just leave it that way, because I have the option of turning it in reverse and it will continue that way although it wasn’t designed with a reverse. For you though, I just can’t think of any advantage to having a reverse on a bandsaw so you’ll probably want to just have it fixed.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4932 posts in 3961 days

#13 posted 07-21-2011 08:51 AM

“It could just need brushes replaced…..”
Never saw a bandsaw with a universal motor. They are induction motors.


View Arch_E's profile


48 posts in 2522 days

#14 posted 07-21-2011 02:06 PM


View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2687 days

#15 posted 08-10-2011 01:39 AM

Finally got around to checking it, it does run if I turn the shaft which looks to be a capacitor. Plan on ordering a new one and seeing if I can be back to work on some projects.

Thanks for the info guys!

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