Help! Benchtop Planer tripping its' breaker

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Forum topic by Alastair posted 02-16-2015 07:18 PM 1130 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1783 days

02-16-2015 07:18 PM

Hi, hoping someone can help me out here. The machine tech aspect of woodworking is generally way beyond me.
I have the little lunchbox general #30-005HC MI , and the other day I was running some stock through and assumed it was all the same thickness (it wasn’t). One of the boards was a bit thick, the lil guy started working too hard, and before I could raise it up, it had blown it’s breaker and shut off. No worries I thought, happens now and again, but usually it’ll blow my shops breaker first, as I’m pretty short on power. Anyhow I backed it off, took the wood out, reset the breaker and fired it back up, but it sounded reaaally rough, and I shut it off. When I tried again, it would run for a few seconds and then blow it’s breaker. I took the whole thing apart today, despite not having a clue what to do, and haven’t been able to find anything that would explain what’s going on. It was super dirty/messy in the chain drive section and I was hoping that would be it, but I cleaned it all out and doesn’t seem to have made a difference. If I go with my gut (since I don’t have any knowledge to go on) it seems like some sort of friction issue. I’m a little perplexed though on what that one overload of work would have done. And I haven’t given up hope completely since it does fire up and run (it doesn’t sound perfect, but it doesn’t sound all that bad either) but hoping someone here with more knowledge of motors might be able to give me some clues as to what might be happening.
Thanks for your help – let me know if there’s any other information I can give to help you, help me!

8 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2674 days

#1 posted 02-16-2015 10:32 PM

Sorry, I truly don’t have an answer.
The only thing that comes to mind, though….
I know that a circuit breaker can “wear out” and start tripping prematurely.
I wonder if the breaker on the planer motor has done the same thing (if that can happen)???
Just thinkin’ out loud here.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View bonesbr549's profile


1549 posts in 3066 days

#2 posted 02-16-2015 10:37 PM

I was going to go with a bad breaker, and I’ve had one of those, but you said it started running rough! That could be something else.

Question for you, when’s the last time you took it down and gave it a real real good cleaning. You could have a lot of gunk that’s binding a bit, and heating the motor and tripping the breaker. That’s my 2 cents worth, but then that and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee. Good luck.

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

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3741 days

#3 posted 02-16-2015 10:42 PM

So is it running rough with no wood in it?

I would take the belt off the motor and fire it up.
If the motor is sounding fine, with the belt still off, see if the cutterhead spins OK.

It could be that the head being stalled out in the board when the breaker blew, screwed up the bearings? or there is something binding between the different mechanisms to feed the wood and the cutter head

Because pushing wood though was running fine, then the head stopped… so maybe there is a gear issue.

You are going to have to go through it and isolate section by section.

Good Luck

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Alastair's profile


7 posts in 1783 days

#4 posted 02-16-2015 11:50 PM

Hey thanks for the help guys.

So I’m not sure if this will be the last you’ll hear from me, but I’ve got her goin for the time being. I don’t think it was the breaker, and while I was hoping it was due to a build up of gunk in the chaindrive – I don’t think it was that either. Luckily I got a pretty nice guy on the phone with the retailer where I bought it, while trying to order brushes – and he gave me the heads up that I was probably barking up the wrong tree. He said they’d only had one of my type of planer in for repair, and it was such a filthy mess inside that the feed rollers were barely able to move. He said take it apart, get the chain off, and see how they spin. One of mine was pretty bad, and while I couldn’t figure out what he had been talking about taking apart and de/re greasing, I did take it apart and put it back, and found that it spun not too badly if I tweaked the adjustment springs. Seems to be running OK right now, and while it might just be 20/20 hindsight or wishful thinking, I think it might make sense that when I stalled it out, the thick board could have thrown the feed roller out of alignment and caused it to be working to hard from then on. Anyhow, I’ll update as needed, if I learn anything more.

Last thing, kind of funnily… for no apparent reason whatsoever, it started running without tripping, before I ever made the call about the brushes. Just so I wouldn’t really have anything concrete at all to go off, I assume.
Friggin Machines.
Thanks again,

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1423 days

#5 posted 02-17-2015 12:15 AM

Also check the head cutter alignment and sharpness.

Just thinking out loud, as well.

-- Brad, Texas,

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1229 days

#6 posted 02-17-2015 02:27 PM

bearings? are you by any chance running a heater on the same circuit? I know it would be odd to have the board throw it and the planer be fine but the heater is now throwing it. but if it is wearing the breaker and you have something else on the circuit that is really drawing amps it could be that. I speak from experience. I have a little heater in my shop that i usually unplug before I fire up the saw.

let us know.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Lazyman's profile


1964 posts in 1386 days

#7 posted 02-17-2015 03:03 PM

I am certainly not an expert but I suggest you get yourself a cheap meter to see how many amps it pulls. I have a device called Kill-A-Watt that I think I paid $15 for several years ago which is really for measuring Kilowatt hours over time but it can also show you how many amps you are using at the moment. You can run the planer without a load on it to see if it seems to be pulling more amps than it should and then with a load to make sure that it stays within its spec and the maximum load for the breaker. And don’t forget to include anything else that might be on the same circuit. You might also see if you can run the motor without the shaft turning the planer to see what difference that makes in the power it is pulling.

Also, you didn’t mention whether you were using an extension cord. If you are, make sure that it is heavy enough gauge to handle the load and length and use the shortest one you can get away with. You can find tables online that will tell you the recommended gauge cord to use for a particular load and length. I think that a longer cord will add more amps because of resistance of the copper, plus I think that a longer cord puts more strain on the motor and can shorten its life.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Lazyman's profile


1964 posts in 1386 days

#8 posted 02-17-2015 03:28 PM

I just thought of one more thing…I reread your original post and have a question. Is it tripping the breaker on the planer or the breaker on the circuit that the outlet is connected to? If it is tripping the breaker on the planer, you may need to replace the planer’s breaker. Even though it may be a re-settable breaker, once those cheap breakers trip they sometimes have to be replaced. I had this happen once when I had a kickback on my table saw that caused a piece of wood to bind between the blade and fence. Instead of it actually throwing the wood it overloaded the motor and tripped its breaker (fortunately, yeah I did something I now know was stupid). I think that these breakers are actually activated by heat build up and and once I seriously overloaded it, I had to replace it. I suppose it may be possible for the outlet’s breaker to need to be replace for the same reason? If it is colder now than it was before, the reason it is not tripping now might be that it is taking longer for the heat to trip the breaker? Just a guess.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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