Burned out contacts on table saw paddle switch

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Forum topic by steveinaz posted 07-06-2018 05:24 AM 948 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 1778 days

07-06-2018 05:24 AM

I have a Jet 10”, 1 1/2 hp table saw. It’s about 5 yrs old. I’ve burned out two switches in that time. It has its own 15 amp dedicated line on a 15 foot extension cord. Why is this happening?

-- Steve in AZ

5 replies so far

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7582 posts in 2802 days

#1 posted 07-06-2018 05:32 AM

It would help to know what switch you have – but in general, it’s because many of them use cheap ass parts that are not really up to the task in order to save a few bucks. That is why you see NEMA starters on cabinet saws, where the contacts are massively larger than what you find on IEC type starters or cheap push button switches.


PS: Running on too small of an extension cord could also be accelerating the problem… what gauge cord is it?

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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959 posts in 1706 days

#2 posted 07-06-2018 10:37 PM

I may take some heat for this, but I’ll tell you what I’ve done with a couple of my saws. I replaced the burnt out switch with some heavy duty toggle switches from the big box store. They are commercial quality and cost around $10, as I recall. They have outlasted the original switches 10 times over. Of course, they are not as safe as a magnetic switch, but if you are in a one man shop, that is not as big an issue. If your saw is on 220 volt, you can get the same type switch in a double pole single throw style.

I have rigged up a paddle on my table saw switch in order to quickly trip the toggle to off.

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3201 posts in 1826 days

#3 posted 07-07-2018 02:28 PM

Any inductive load (motor) will tend to cause arching between the switch contacts as they make/break.

Brad is correct, cheap switches are a place to save $$$ on a part that will last for a while (at least past the warranty date). Good contacts use tungsten in the contacts to take the high heat from arching and reduce their pitting and degradation. Even better switches will have arc suppression components across the contacts.

The difference between cheap light switches and heavy duty switches usually is in better contact materials and springs for quicker action. The “easiest” solution is to get a switch rated much higher than the motor load current, the “best” solution is a proper motor rated switch.

The big benefit of a magnetic starter switch is the saw stays off when the power is cut. I often get short ( < 1 second) power blips and I am glad that the saw stays off when this happens in the middle of a cut. No worries what may happen during the time one is distracted and reaching for the power switch during an outage.

Not to say I’m not one of the sinners 8^) My dads old 8” Craftsman table saw (1/2 hp) is switched by a toggle. I’ve probably replaced that thing five times before I upgraded the saw, even the HD switches fail eventually.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7804 posts in 3517 days

#4 posted 07-07-2018 11:45 PM

As cheap as these switches are, buy two or three at a time.

ALSO: The above suggestion in post #1 should seriously be considered:
”...PS: Running on too small of an extension cord could also be accelerating the problem… what gauge cord is it?...”
If you have not purposely wired your shop for (or upgraded for) woodworking , the existing wiring may have never been intended or installed to deal with such loads as you TS. Just a thought.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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49 posts in 1778 days

#5 posted 07-08-2018 12:55 AM

I took apart the switch; it is evident that only one side burned out, ” the on side”. I’m going to save this component and rebuild the switch when it burns out again. It seemingly is the proper switch, no different than the one Jet supplied. I bought a new one on Ebay for $28.00 delivered. My extension cord is only 15 ft and is heavy duty. The power is a dedicated 15 amp. I turn my saw off when others might keep it on, measuring or whatever. I don’t like the blade spinning unless I’m pushing something through. Overly cautious, but I still have all 10. Thanks for all your help. The best of the best on Lumberjocks.

-- Steve in AZ

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