HF Dust Collector Losing suction/volume....HELP!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by HuntleyBill posted 05-07-2010 01:20 AM 9222 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HuntleyBill's profile


127 posts in 4140 days

05-07-2010 01:20 AM

I have had my HF dust collection for about a year. It has been working great up until the last day or two. The suction just doesn’t seem to be what it used to be. Up until recently, when you turned it on, the filter would fill up with air in a snap and be tight as a balloon. At any one of the ports, the volume of air was such that it could actually pick up big chunks of wood ( I tried not to do that on purpose ).

I took the dust bag/filter off and shook it out ( it was pretty dirty ). I put it back on and the bag/filter instead of filling tight with air just sags and droops. I disconnected the DC from the plumbing in the shop to rule out plumbing. I don’t hear anything unusual in the sound of the unit. I stuck my hand in to check the fins…yes, AFTER it was off…and it doesn’t seem to be loose, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of air coming out of the big grey hose that hooks into the separator from the blower motor.

Has anyone else had any issues with this and how can I fix it? I don’t want to use some of my bigger tools until I get this dust collection working again.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thank you

-- If you think you can, or think you can't...your right!

17 replies so far

View CL810's profile


4118 posts in 4038 days

#1 posted 05-07-2010 02:01 AM

Check for dust build up on the blades co.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Chase's profile


448 posts in 4076 days

#2 posted 05-07-2010 02:11 AM

I have one of these units, but haven’t had this particular problem as of yet. My guess would be to take absolutely everything off the blower. it sounds like you have mostly done this already. pull off the inlet and outlet hoses. Turn the unit on, and watch the blades. There might be something damaged in a way that isn’t obvious by looking at them. Do they spin pretty freely if you try to spin the blower by hand?

-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View knothead's profile


163 posts in 4998 days

#3 posted 05-07-2010 02:16 AM

If you are able. remove the filter and push it outside and run it if the suction is normal again maybe a new filter bag or canister is in order. Humidity and fine dust could have fouled the filter to the point that it will never perform well again no matter how you try to clean it. Or a collapsed flexible duct. Just a thought. People generally seem to like the HF dust collector so there should be a solution out there for you.


-- So Much Wood - So Little Time! --

View wdwrkr's profile


26 posts in 4050 days

#4 posted 05-07-2010 02:18 AM

It sounds like the motor speed/direction may be the problem. If you’ve made any wiring changes:
Check the line voltage – if it’s wired for 240 and running at 120, your air velocity will be reduced.
If it’s three phase, and two legs have been switched, the motor will run backwards.
If the motor isn’t running at full speed, you could have a problem with the bearings, or possibly the start or run capacitors.

View HuntleyBill's profile


127 posts in 4140 days

#5 posted 05-07-2010 02:46 AM

OK…I figured it out. Seems this mental genious inadvertantly sucked up a couple of pieces of sand paper and it blocked the inlet where the “Y” pipe fits on the blower.

Go ahead…say it! Let me have it! I deserve it!

-- If you think you can, or think you can't...your right!

View Chase's profile


448 posts in 4076 days

#6 posted 05-07-2010 02:49 AM

Not at all, this kind of stuff happens all the time. Just break the problem down into bite size little pieces till you find the little one that is giving you an issue. Congrats on the fix, now get out there and work some wood!

-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View ajosephg's profile


1897 posts in 4610 days

#7 posted 05-07-2010 03:16 AM

Hate when that happens :)

-- Joe

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4281 days

#8 posted 05-07-2010 03:29 AM

You figured it out before I posted it. I am assuming you don’t have a pre-separator in line with this thing… I lost suction on mine even WITH a pre separator in place as the looooong stringy shavings from planing 10” wide cedar jammed the cross piece up but quick because they managed to fill the drop slot in my separator… I think I don’t have enough space under my elbow though…

The first thing to check if you lose suction on one of these is the lines going into it, starting at that Y and cross piece since it is the most commonly jammed item. I cut mine out, which may or may not have been a mistake…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4762 days

#9 posted 06-04-2010 12:05 AM

Did the same thing as dbhost, went to clean up around the bench after flattening some boards with my LV plane and the shavings wrapped themselves around a wee set of bars downstream from the y connector. Presumeably those little bars are there to protect the fan blades…mind you the sound of the DC did change.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View rance's profile


4278 posts in 4210 days

#10 posted 06-04-2010 12:29 AM

Shouldn’t this be a tool review? Someone found another HF tool that didn’t suck. :D Actually I have several HF tools, and plan on buying more.

Maybe design/install a suckometer to monitor the CFM. A visible indicator might be nice for times like these. Thanks for keeping us informed.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4627 days

#11 posted 06-04-2010 01:30 AM

usally it’s duct work or a clog at the intake


View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4011 days

#12 posted 06-04-2010 02:52 AM

BoardSMITH, I bet you got shredded tweet! :D

View rance's profile


4278 posts in 4210 days

#13 posted 06-04-2010 03:28 AM


Shreaded tweet? I don’t care who you are. That was funnny.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Deaner's profile


45 posts in 3136 days

#14 posted 01-08-2014 07:32 PM

Where can I get one of them suckometers? I’d like to have one.

I just bought a new JET 1100 1-1/2 HP Vortex collector with cannister ($600 at Woodcrafters). With no ductwork or tools hooked up to it, you’d think it would suck more than it does at the intake. It came prewired 115, and I converted it to 220….and that was so sraightforward even I couldn’t mess it up to get the weak suck I’m getting. Maybe this suck level is normal, but I think it should be more than it is? I’m pretty certain my line in is a full 240 as all my tools run on that circuit, but I’ll check tonight when I get home.

Anyway- a suckometer might be useful if I can find one- what are they called?

-- Once harm is done, even a fool understands it.

View garbonsai's profile


154 posts in 3005 days

#15 posted 01-08-2014 07:44 PM

I’ve run into the exact same problem with the exact same dust collector, although it turned out to be plastic shavings causing the clog (I ran a piece of UHMW through the planer). I’m thinking about modifying the Y connector so there’s a quick-release spring-loaded pin holding on instead of the short screw.

-- Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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