Wow, talk about misleading ratings

  • Advertise with us
Review by philba posted 01-02-2015 07:48 PM 6318 views 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Wow, talk about misleading ratings Wow, talk about misleading ratings No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have yet to use this product but was struck by their labeling when I opened it up. The first picture shows the outside of the box clearly stating 15A current capacity. The second picture shows the inside where the device itself says 12A and the sticker says 9A. No where on the outside does it say 9 (or even 12) amps. While I get that ratings can change, having 3 different ratings is disturbing. I think it’s really bad when the outside says one thing but the inside says another. The additional sticker further down-rating the device pretty much left me speechless. I can only assume the reason is due to a rash of returns and damaged devices that failed when used within the limits of their specs. Probably they did in process “value engineering” and cheapened it a bit too much. What bothers me is the sticker is on the inside, not the outside.

Now, this was on sale for a “good” price ($44) at Woodcraft so they are probably flushing the crappy inventory. I think I’m going to use it because the vac that I intend to use it with isn’t that powerful. However, I probably won’t buy another product from iVAC due to their lack of ability to honestly label their products. Woodcraft gets a little bit of hit in that they participated in what is basically a fraud though they may not have actually opened one up.

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2584 days

23 comments so far

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 4283 days

#1 posted 01-02-2015 09:28 PM

The 12A rating potentially makes sense because a 15A circuit is only rated for 12A continuous load. I guess the 9A limit must come from the fact that they apparently use 12A breakers and/or wiring in the switch itself. But either way it seems like they’re unnecessarily crippling their product and annoying customers in the process.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2584 days

#2 posted 01-02-2015 09:42 PM

Yeah, having an electrical engineering background, I get that there are different ways of rating devices but when they just use a number and no qualifiers, it borders on irresponsible. Most people don’t understand the fine points and will select a product by comparing numbers. But, at the very least, the outside of the box should reflect the inside. Since packaging is easier to change than plastic molds, I’m surprised that those two were out of sync. The iVAC managers tried to save a few cents and pretty much killed their reputation in my mind.

And the down rating to 9 Amps is probably due to either a defect in the components they used or they switched to a different component that couldn’t handle the spec’d current. (it’s a 25% derating, not 20) Either way, it tells me they don’t have their act together at all.

View dgage's profile


60 posts in 4183 days

#3 posted 01-02-2015 11:32 PM

Thanks for letting me know about this. I have the DGC i-Socket Autoswitch but I’m annoyed that I can’t use the vac without a tool being on. I was thinking of picking this up but I don’t think I will now since I have a Jet DC-1100 and I think it would pull too much current on the 110 circuit.

View Scott's profile


153 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 01-02-2015 11:43 PM

Did you mean to give it 5 stars? I don’t need one, but thanks for the heads up.

View scarpenter002's profile


619 posts in 5117 days

#5 posted 01-03-2015 12:59 AM

I have this exact switch box. It has worked for the most part with my shop vac and various hand tools. I typically use it with my tracksaw, sander, or router.

I do have an issue with the tool receptacle. The contacts on the inside are not tight, causing the tool to loose power from time to time. With a product at this price point, I would expect better. I would give the product 4 stars.

-- Scott in Texas

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2584 days

#6 posted 01-03-2015 01:01 AM

Yeah, the 5* was my bad. I intended to not rate it because I haven’t used it but guess it defaults to 5 if you don’t do anything,

View Tim_H's profile


24 posts in 3276 days

#7 posted 01-05-2015 06:45 AM

I have had this switch for 2 years and have never had a problem with it running the shop vac and either table saw/router/miter saw/belt sander. I would give it 4 stars.

-- "If at first you don't succeed....get a bigger hammer"

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3081 days

#8 posted 01-05-2015 01:21 PM

I appreciate this topic. It’s angering when we learn we might have been misled, intentionally or otherwise, but since you shared your discovery, I had the opportunity to gain some insight into what these numbers really represent.

I’m familiar with it on generators (output claims on box) so continuous load makes perfect sense. Breaker rating makes sense too. A motor might have a 15A capacity, but if the breaker or switch wiring only allows for 12A, the motor is effectively a 12A motor. Even this seems like good design, being that capacity exceeding use seems prudent, but it would be nice if they used these numbers to convey information rather than to make a product seem more powerful or overbuilt than it really is.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View djang000's profile


67 posts in 3345 days

#9 posted 01-05-2015 02:16 PM

I bought this 1 year ago. I used it with my shopvac and sanders and stuff like that. I soon as I started using it with my table saw (ridgid r4512), the unit stopped working…

I created a dedicated outlet for my shop vac now with a 3-way switch so I can turn it on and off from my main working areas in the shop. Cheaper and I now it will work ‘till I don’t anymore :)


View Grumpymike's profile


2497 posts in 3528 days

#10 posted 01-05-2015 07:09 PM

Back in the day, oh so long ago, I was an electronics tech. As we repaired the Products to the component level, we learned that the imported components had a very different tolerance rating than the U.S. made components. In example, a .01 mfd. capacitor @ 600 v. made in the US would run all day at 600v.but the imported ones would take 600v. ONCE.
So why do we have all of those inflated numbers?? As Buckethead said ” it would be nice if they used these numbers to convey information rather than to make a product seem more powerful or overbuilt than it really is

This switch will run the shop-vac very well, BUT I plugged in my 2 hp. dust collector and my 2 hp. table saw and ZZZaap! it was toast. I agree that I over loaded it, but the store took it back and I bought a different controller.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2584 days

#11 posted 01-05-2015 07:50 PM

GoG, I’m not sure the reliability decline is due to foreign components but rather a trend towards general cheapening of all products. I’m pretty sure you can get good components from foreign manufacturers. Like I said earlier, I suspect they revised the product design to reduce cost (aka value engineering) with cheaper components and wound up with a faulty product. Instead of fixing the problem they just put a sticker on it. They lost me as future customer.

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


309 posts in 3401 days

#12 posted 01-07-2015 08:27 PM

Yeah, the 5* was my bad. I intended to not rate it because I haven t used it but guess it defaults to 5 if you don t do anything,

- philba

Ironic, given that this reviews title was about misleading ratings! :)

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2830 days

#13 posted 01-07-2015 08:36 PM

I’m wondering if you contacted Woodcraft on this concern and, if yes, their reply?

View gko's profile


83 posts in 4457 days

#14 posted 01-08-2015 03:17 AM

I was a little worried about the current rating for my setup. Table saw rated at 15 amps and dust collector at 11 amps. But I put an amp meter and got the following readings.
Table saw 6 amps at idle.
Table saw 11 amps cutting 2 by piece of wood. Varies with feed rate but peaked at 11.
Dust collector 7 amps connected to table saw.

Have been using the switch for about a year and haven’t had any problems. I’ve cut 4 by wood and haven’t had problems. Knowing the saw limitations I cut 4 by a little slower making sure the saw doesn’t sound like it’s bogging down. Previously had a smaller DC and the single AC line switch but cutting 2 by with both running on a single AC line and the saw bogged down quite a bit. Installed 2 AC lines, 3 total, bought this switch and everything is so much better.

But in the end it is quite misleading to put different ratings on the packaging. I did see the difference between the package 15 amp and the 12 amp on the unit so I was forewarned but mine didn’t come with that slip of paper warning of the 9 amp rating.

-- Wood Menehune, Honolulu

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2584 days

#15 posted 01-08-2015 05:16 PM

@GKO, current ratings on motors is an area that should be simple but isn’t. The main problem is that motors pull a lot more current at startup than they do when running. As you’ve seen, the amount of current also depends on the load. I bet your table saw will hit close to 15A at startup for maybe 1/10th of a second – you’ll never catch that on your amp meter. Similar startup inrush on your DC. I’m guessing that iVAC has been getting a lot of returns from people who plugged into larger DC and fried the unit. I’ve certainly seen a number of reports of that on WW forums. Simply the wrong way to deal with the problem, IMHO.

Note that they really want you to use their contactor for any thing over 9A. The contactor is a high current relay so it won’t have the same problems. It’s actually a good solution but I’m not purchasing any more iVAC products.

@Bob, no I haven’t contacted them. If I decide to return it, I will certainly talk to them about the issue. But it’s not going to be anything more than a sales guy who will just give me a refund. Maybe if they get enough returns something will happen. I’ve tried to talk directly to companies about quality issues in the past and gotten nowhere. It’s just a waste of time. For example, I tried this with Olson bandsaw blades and got nothing but silence. They react better to postings like this since it can actually affect their sales. (as opposed to one guy complaining directly to them.) And, if they ignore these postings, their business gets damaged.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics