Troubleshooting a Hard Start on a Table Saw

      A woodworker searches for a way to solve a "hard start" problem on an otherwise great table saw. June 18, 2009

I have a small one-man shop. My TS is a General 350, that has served me very well. However, since the day I purchased it - floor model from a dealer dropping the General line - it starts up with a hard thump, that I would describe as the same as hitting the saw table with a rubber mallet with a fair amount of force. I have tried varying the belt tension and I am using the after-market link belts. I still have the problem. When I started using exclusively zero-clearance throat plates, I noticed that these 'hard starts' flex the blade somewhat so that the teeth make a slight gouge on each side of the throat plate kerf. As I change blade height for various materials, this gouging process proliferates over the length of the kerf, thus somewhat reducing the effectiveness of the zero clearance function. Obviously, I could run the blade down to start, then run it up through the throat plate to avoid this problem. But, that is really inefficient.

I see that there are after-market soft start devices available in the $300 price range for a 220 system using up to 15A, which would support my system. I was wondering if anyone has experience with these soft start devices or some advice on how to correct my start up problem directly.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor A
You might reduce the size of your starting capacitor. It sounds like it may be oversized. I'm not sure on that, so check with your local electric motor rebuilder, and you can get the start capacitor from them, usually around 15 to 20 dollars.

From contributor B:
I know Grizzly doesn't sit well with the commercial shops, but they do sell soft start magnetic starters for a whole lot less than $300, more like $85. I've replaced one on my PM66 and it works well.

From contributor C:
I'm watching with interest because I have the same thing with my General 650, not all the time though. When I asked the dealer he said that this is a well known phenomenon. It sure is a heck of a bang though, and a bit of a blemish for an otherwise outstanding piece of equipment.

From contributor D:
My Delta developed a start and stop thump that I attributed to the belts. I replaced them with link belts and the problem went away. I don't know if that will help your situation but it's worth a shot.

From the original questioner:
To contributor A: I had not thought of that, and I am no expert. But, from what I do know, that might work. I'll track it down.

To contributor B: That sounds like a much better deal. I have a Grizzly 8" jointer that I just love - very solid and well made. I'll check it out.

To contributor C: I could not agree more about the annoying blemish on an otherwise great machine!

To contributor D: In fact, I did change out the factory belts for a set of link belts. That seemed to help - a bit. But, it still is a problem for me.

Thanks to all of you for the input. At least now I have some options to check out.

From contributor C:
Do let us know the final outcome. Like I said, I'm watching with interest and would love to get rid of it too.

From contributor E:
I've never seen a Grizzly soft start - just cheap mag starters (which I have used for various machines over the years). Just be conservative when you order them, as I did have one melt on a hard starting blower that was right at the max amp rating.

Maybe you can find a used or surplus VFD. With them, you can program the time that it takes to bring the motor to full speed, and you also get an electronic brake that you can program as well.

From the original questioner:
To contributor B: I did check with Grizzly customer support, as I could not find a soft start magnetic starter in their catalog. Apparently they no longer sell them.

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