Can a table saw breaker go bad?

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Forum topic by NTXSteve posted 11-21-2018 07:09 PM 857 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1651 days

11-21-2018 07:09 PM

I’m working on a project with my Jet table saw and for some reason it keeps tripping its own inline breaker with even the slightest load. It’s running on its own dedicated 20A 110 circuit, has a new rip blade and is ripping the pine 2×4 (yes, pine…) like butter. It starts up just fine, no strange noises, etc. No binding anywhere. If I go super slowly, it runs okay. But as soon as I give it a little more work, it just quits. And by “more work” I mean I’m still pushing with one finger, just not painfully slow. Motor is running cool. The cabinet is empty of dust.

So the saw trips and I have to let it sit for a while. When it first trips, the green light goes out and when I push the reset button, the green light acts like it doesn’t want to come back on. I have to push the button several times before it stays lit. Once it’s lit, I can run the saw for another 5-10 minutes and it trips again.

I can’t seem to find this specific problem anywhere online – most problems seem to involve the cap or brushes and I don’t feel like my saw is acting like that’s it (although I’m certainly no expert).

Anyone ever have this type of problem? I’m open to any thoughts and opinions!


10 replies so far

View RobHannon's profile


337 posts in 1306 days

#1 posted 11-21-2018 08:07 PM

Certainly can go bad. You should be able to visual check the brushes, but I think those are unlikely. If it is not internal to the motor, the part is probably pretty easy to replace. See if it shows up on a parts diagram somewhere.

View MrUnix's profile


8095 posts in 2974 days

#2 posted 11-21-2018 08:18 PM

Yes, they can go bad over time.. and they can get worse the more trips they suffer (particularly the bi-metalic thermal types). However, it could also be something else, such as a loose connection, bad run capacitor on an induction motor, worn brushes on a universal motor, improper wiring (ie: long extension cords, or wired for 240v and running on 120v). What model saw are we talking about and how long has this been happening?


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

View fuigb's profile


583 posts in 3733 days

#3 posted 11-21-2018 08:30 PM

The problem occurs when you run the saw on a different circuit? Panel breakers can fail too, which is why you should isolate the problem to the saw by eliminating other possibilities.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View NTXSteve's profile


6 posts in 1651 days

#4 posted 11-21-2018 08:57 PM

Thanks for the responses. It’s a Jet JWSS-10C and has served me well for nearly 15 years. I’ve isolated it to the saw by testing on multiple circuits, all dedicated, with the same results. It’s plugged in properly and I’ve checked all the wiring that I can find and see no loose connections. Just ran to Grainger and got a new breaker for it. I’m going to install it and see if that helps – I’ll report back with what I find.

Any other “common” things I can check/replace? I definitely don’t want it to turn into a more expensive proposition…

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7570 posts in 1488 days

#5 posted 11-21-2018 11:39 PM

very possible that breaker itself failed or switch :<((

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View NTXSteve's profile


6 posts in 1651 days

#6 posted 11-22-2018 12:12 AM

Well, after replacing the 15A thermal breaker, it looks like that may have been the culprit. With the new breaker I was able to rip several dozen 2×4’s and only tripped it once – mostly my doing as I was trying t see how hard I could push it before it tripped.

My only concern is that I was still able to trip it while ripping pine – I’m wondering how much of a load it should be able to handle before the breaker trips?

View GrantA's profile


2573 posts in 2183 days

#7 posted 11-22-2018 12:29 AM

How’s the blade? A dull blade could bog down even with easily cut materials. Also you say “pine” but are we talking dense resinous pine or box store new growth white/yellow pine? The two will behave much differently. Blade could just need cleaned too, if you’ve been cutting pine it’s probably caked with buildup. In that case you should be getting burn marks on the wood too

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


3794 posts in 1998 days

#8 posted 11-22-2018 03:28 PM

Those import-lowest-cost pushbutton breakers fail all the time (I’ve had several go). Brad is correct in that they get weaker every time they pop.
Replace them with a quality unit, not the lowest price unit. I’ve had good luck with stuff from mcm electronics.

View NTXSteve's profile


6 posts in 1651 days

#9 posted 11-27-2018 03:37 AM

GrantA, all very good points, but it’s a brand new blade cutting wonderfully. And some of the pine is a bit more dense, but overall mostly easy-cutting. I had just started the project so no real buildup of any kind.

Splinter, you’ve hit on something there. The one I replaced it with, although working now, was probably not the highest quality – just what I found at the closest place. So it looks like some time spent on the mcm electronics site is in my future :)

Thanks everyone for the thoughts! I love to learn and this board with all your experiences is quite good at that!

View WoodenDreams's profile


1068 posts in 686 days

#10 posted 11-27-2018 09:34 AM

most likely a breaker, but I’d also look at the bushings, since you said it’s 15 years old.

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