ShopSmith Problem

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Forum topic by Hutch posted 04-01-2009 06:14 AM 7163 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Hutch's profile


106 posts in 4097 days

04-01-2009 06:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shopsmith

I have a friend that just bought a used ShopSmith Mark V and it trips his breaker any time it has a load, such as ripping 4/4 stock. He can run 1/4” ply through it but anything else and his breaker trips. He has tried it on other circuits and has also had other tools and a table saw perform fine on the same circuit.
Any suggestions for troubleshooting this problem are greatly appreciated.

13 replies so far

View Hutch's profile


106 posts in 4097 days

#1 posted 04-01-2009 06:17 AM

We have not yet put an Ammeter on the saw when it’s under a load, but due to the fact that it keeps tripping the breaker I assume it’s pulling more than it should be.

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 3978 days

#2 posted 04-01-2009 10:22 PM

If the motor is a 1-1/8 Hp, he need to be plugged into a 20amp circuit. The headstock my need some maintenance (Oil, bearings, belts, etc). What color is the saw. Green, Gold, or Gray? Gold and Gray are 1-1/8hp and the Green are 3/4hp. Check out the forum and site. Manuals and alot of help are there.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 3649 days

#3 posted 04-01-2009 11:04 PM

I would also check to see what else is on the same circuit. I am running my Shopsmith on a 15 amp circuit with no problems. The Shopsmith needs to be maintained well to run well. The floating sheeves need to be lubricated, the headstock housing needs to be cleaned out and all sawdust removed periodically. Use an air compressor to blow any dust out of the motor. Does it turn easily by hand? Is the alignment correct? Is the saw binding? I routinely cut 8/4 stock with no problems.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3595 days

#4 posted 04-02-2009 01:04 AM

Another thing to examine is whether its on an extension cord. Mine is, but its a very heavy duty one, rated at 15 amps. I have only 15 amp breakers. But I have nothing else on the same breaker with my SS except the shop vac that runs with it. They don’t start up together though.
Have a look at the sawblade. If its dull it will bog the motor badly causing it to demand more power.

Yet another thing to check is the alignment of the rip fence. If its pinching the work it’ll bull its way through .25” stock, but not heavier stuff.

Let us know what you find, will you?


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View poopiekat's profile


4385 posts in 3934 days

#5 posted 04-02-2009 01:13 AM

I had one that I bought at an auction; didn’t use it much, and sold it on eBay.
I had to turn the speed down to lowest range in order for the motor to come up to speed, and it drew lots of current until it got up to speed. It wasn’t a problem if I started the motor in the low-speed range, then brought the speed up to your desired RPM with the control knob.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4394 days

#6 posted 04-02-2009 02:56 AM

I’ve had a number of “smiths” and they should run fine on a 15 amp circuit providing they are in good running condition. Many guys buy older ones, and since the mark 5 can be up to 55 years old, they may need a clean up and lube or new bearings before putting them back into service. Remember, the grease in the bearings is as old as the machine & may be congealed. This puts a severe load on the motor, especially on start up. It’s really the only thing you really need to do with them to keep them going pretty much forever. I just rebuilt 3 old “greenies”. They were the first mark 5’s. These dated to 1957. I replaced the motor bearings in 2 and revived the other motor and headstock bearings by gently heating with a propane torch (remember, gently) and applying a couple of drops of non detergent oil into the bearings and spinning them. It will sometimes revive the grease.
All these machines run like new & have never popped a 15 amp breaker. I do suggest that you should always turn down the speed dial before turning off so you can start up at a lower rpm. Starting it on the “saw” or “joint” setting is a little like starting out your car in high gear. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Hutch's profile


106 posts in 4097 days

#7 posted 04-02-2009 05:18 AM

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. We’ll get to work on it and I’ll let you know what we find out.

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4277 days

#8 posted 04-05-2009 10:16 PM

great post hutch…I have a 520—-the newest…and sometimes I pop a breaker…but I am running off an extension cord…and now I REALLY WANT to use that maintenance video…

The only thing I can add of help—-is to turn down the speed setting each time you turn off (BEFORE YOU TURN OFF—-never move the dial while it is off)...

If you go to the ss website they are now selling several dvds—-I have the RICK SMITH DVD…it is all about maintenance—-i went to a class with him and he was great—-very clear directions…I would recommend it…


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Loogaroo's profile


3 posts in 2326 days

#9 posted 03-31-2014 12:20 AM

I just got a grey Mark V for about $800 and I’m popping my 15a breaker with no load and no cord. By no load I mean It’s just the headstock and at low speed.

View bonesbr549's profile


1576 posts in 3267 days

#10 posted 03-31-2014 02:12 AM

I had a 510 and it would pop a 15A breaker. Keep in mind, you are pushing a 15a for anything. I’ve popped a 15A with a big router. Second, if you have it on a shared 15a then the load’s even bigger. Put in a 20a or you will have to live with it. I remember putting my 510 on CL 3 times before taking 200 bucks for it. Cool concept, and I’d love to have the horizontal boring machine, but it wasn’t much for a TS. Good luck.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View Wolly's profile


2 posts in 354 days

#11 posted 12-24-2017 01:46 PM

Is the quill bearing going bad? This would cause extra drag under load. A worn out motor is likely the case. I bought a used one off ebay and changed it out…It was pretty easy and kinda fun.

Resist the temptation to swap the 15 amp breaker for a 20 :)

View Jeffery Mullen's profile

Jeffery Mullen

355 posts in 3017 days

#12 posted 12-31-2017 04:12 AM

I solved my problem with blowing the circuit breaker with my shop Smith.
I now use my generator that has enough amps to run it smooth.
My lights in the house would flicker and then my fuse would trip,glad those days are over.

-- Jeffery Mullen

View NotaJock's profile


157 posts in 1299 days

#13 posted 12-31-2017 06:12 AM

Take the belt off. Does the motor spin freely and spin down or does it stop quickly? Same for the tool spindle. If either of those is sluggish start there.

-- Mike in SoCal

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