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WARNING! Dremel 3000 fire hazard!

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Forum topic by Planeman40 posted 09-20-2014 04:00 PM 2422 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Planeman40

805 posts in 2224 days


09-20-2014 04:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dremel fire warning

I had to call the fire department a few days ago as I kept smelling burnt electricals somewhere in the shop and couldn’t locate it. They came and smelled it too and they couldn’t find the problem even with a heat detector. After they left, I sat down at my work bench and began working, keeping on the alert for the problem. After a short while I reached over to pick up my new “rebuilt” Dremel 3000 (the one with multiple speeds set by shifting the switch). Some paper was on top of it and when I picked up the paper I found the new Dremel was smoldering!!! I immediately unplugged it and let it cool down. The windings had cooked and the on/off/speed selection switch was burnt and frozen solid in what appeared to be the “off” position. The Dremel had somehow started by itself overnight and the little wire brush in the collet had wrapped itself around a Zip-Loc bag and had stalled the Dremel out.

I sent it off to Dremel repair and received a replacement Dremel 3000 immediately. I plugged in the Dremel replacement and began to investigate the operation of the switch. After a few minutes it became obvious to me what had happened. The switch has nice positive detents between the speeds and the off position, however the switch position at the lowest speed had a small position within that detent that turned the motor off even though the off position was one detent over to the right. It was obvious that I had intended to slide the switch to the off position and hit the point in the low speed selection of the switch that turned off the motor even though the switch had not been moved to the true “off” position. With the motor no longer running, I put the Dremel down thinking I had turned it off. Somehow it had turned on again by itself overnight.

I was very lucky there was no fire, but there is a permanent scorched area on the right side of my bench to remind me.

So all of you Dremel 3000 owners be aware of this and be SURE the switch is always turned off in the proper “Off” position.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!


14 replies so far

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2227 posts in 1909 days


#1 posted 09-20-2014 04:39 PM

I have the older Dremel bought in 1992,it only has one true OFF position,and no temporary off ,which when you think about it, is not necessary.
With mine ,the lowest speed setting still make the arbor turn so you would need to switch it to OFF if you want to turn it off,no other way around it.
I don’t know why they change things that don’t need to be changed.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

8085 posts in 1755 days


#2 posted 09-20-2014 04:45 PM

I like my Black and Decker RTX rotary tool. It has an On or Off only switch, with speed control done by a dial at the back. It’s seems to have more torque too (and way cheaper). I use it for metal cutting, in my computer case modding hobby.

Thanks for the heads up and the reminder. Glad nothing catastrophic happened.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

805 posts in 2224 days


#3 posted 09-20-2014 06:42 PM

Ken, I don’t think Dremel intends that slight position in the “slow” speed section of the switch to be any kind of temporary “off”. I am convinced it is a flaw in the switch itself. If Dremel doesn’t fix this problem immediately and recall any Dremels out in the population, I would expect they could be liable for any consequences. As this includes starting a fire in a home and possibly killing people. A serious thing indeed!

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

1420 posts in 2328 days


#4 posted 09-20-2014 06:47 PM

My dremel that I have owned since the late 90’s has this type of switch. I don’t think you can blame the dremel because you failed to turn it off.

Heck if I take my foot off the gas in my car it will stop moving but that doesn’t mean it is safe to leave it like that over night.

View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

327 posts in 1132 days


#5 posted 09-20-2014 07:04 PM

Just because you haven’t had a problem doesn’t mean it’s not a bad design. Planman thought he had turned it off, there shouldn’t be a position like that on the switch. A switch should be off or on, even a multi position switch. There should be a firm position between off and the first power on position. There shouldn’t be a position the switch can moved to that you think is off but it’s not.

-- Earl

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1144 days


#6 posted 09-20-2014 07:23 PM

I really have not looked at the switch on my Dremel that closely but I do know the slide always seemed to have a pretty solid off position to me. Mine is several years old so maybe it’s different on the newer ones.

Regardless why did you leave it plugged in all night in the first place? I was taught as a kid to unplug portable tools once your done with them and it’s a habit I have carried over to adulthood. I would never leave my Dremel plugged in unattended in my shop for longer than a bathroom break and I really thought that was common practice. You might be right about the liability issue for Dremel in this day and age but I do have to say some personal responsibility here goes a long ways as well.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1950 posts in 1452 days


#7 posted 09-20-2014 07:54 PM

After rereading the original post and the thread, I think there are two problems. Maybe,there is a problem with the switch…mine has the same switch and no issues. However, the quote below from the post suggests another problem…

”The Dremel had somehow started by itself overnight and the little wire brush in the collet had wrapped itself around a Zip-Loc bag and had stalled the Dremel out.”

Leaving small powered tools anywhere near something like paper or a zip lock probably is not the best idea..IMHO.

I think that all shop areas should have either smoke alarms or heat alarms in case of an accident.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

805 posts in 2224 days


#8 posted 09-20-2014 08:12 PM

Regardless why did you leave it plugged in all night in the first place?

True, how true! On the other hand, I am 74 years old and have been building stuff since I was about 10 years old. I got my first Dremel for Christmas when I was 12 so I have been building for more than a half century and have had a Dremel for as long (I’m on my 6th one I think, but I’m losing count). I leave all of my hand power tools plugged in until I finish with them and this is often over a number of nights. Probably not a good idea, but it hasn’t been a problem for 60 years! Maybe I should begin unplugging.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View ohtimberwolf's profile

ohtimberwolf

634 posts in 1815 days


#9 posted 09-20-2014 10:07 PM

Ken: “I don’t know why they change things that don’t need to be changed.”

Engineers don’t have a job if they don’t keep changing things. Job security.

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1950 posts in 1452 days


#10 posted 09-21-2014 06:29 PM

Why do things keep being changed….I know blame the engineers

It seems like tools and such keep changing. Some of it is that people keep demanding updated looking tools. Another is that supply chains keep changing. The people that used to make something for you have either increased the price way up or are out of business or do not make that part anymore. It is a constant battle in manufacturing to keep your product looking fresh, keeping the price down, maintaining a steady source for parts. The consumers keep demanding lower prices or someone else makes something similar that is lower in price but worse in quality. The other is that costs for everything including labor and benefits keep going up and companies are constantly looking to try to make the product for the same price. It is not a simple world out there.

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5839 posts in 3048 days


#11 posted 09-21-2014 07:24 PM

When I go into my woodshop I always leave everything lights etc switched on and turn all the lights off by throwing the big red switch on my powerbox/fusebox tripper switch which sits at the front of my shop so its down for on and up for off.That way when I leave each night everything is switched off and I don’t need to go round turning off all the striplights etc.It gives me very good peace of mind. Alistair p.s. sorry to hear of your problems with the dremmel such a thing IMHO could have happened to any of us.

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View jtm's profile

jtm

218 posts in 1099 days


#12 posted 09-21-2014 09:02 PM

I wired in a dedicated sub-panel for my shop.

When I’m finished, I flip all the breakers off.

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2227 posts in 1909 days


#13 posted 09-21-2014 09:17 PM

So every time you guys go in to your shop you flip the breakers to On ,and later ,OFF? I have been told that breakers are not designed to be used like on/off switches ,they can wear out prematurely although at work we did that routinely.
At my shop I do that to turn the lights on ,the rest are always left on,if there’s no harm doing that to all the breakers,then it is a good way to have peace of mind.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

805 posts in 2224 days


#14 posted 09-21-2014 10:20 PM

Some good thinking here.

In my shop I wired the lights and the machines including the workbench on separate circuits as I recalled in my old shop at another location when I blew a circuit breaker using a machine (a very rare occurrence) I was in the dark trying to fix the problem. It just occurred to me that all I have to do is move my workbench electrical plug from the “machine” circuit to the “light” circuit and the work bench and all of its plugged in tools will be turned off when I leave the shop. Thanks for the conversation!

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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