Busy busy weekend in the shop. Several different projects going on at the same time. Just the right time for some wires to burn.
My saw is a hand me down from my buddy. One of the first projects with the saw was to wire an outlet to the saw switch. I keep the vacuum connected to that outlet and also use it for other tools like the router which is in the extension table. It’s convenient for anything that gets connected to the vacuum.
I wired it poorly, just stuffing the bare leads under the terminal push connectors and using 18 awg wire. That’s way too small. Anyway I was using the planer and the breaker blew. Reset the breaker and the outlet doesn’t work. I opened the switch and the wire to the outlet was completely melted. Just what I need on a busy day.
I decided to fix it right this time. Off to harbor freight where I picked up some terminal connectors and a 12 awg extension cord. I cut off the receptacle side plug and then enough length to wire the outlet from the switch. I properly joined the wire at the terminal connectors. The main length of the extension cord is the new power cord for the saw. The old power cord didn’t have a ground prong anyway so all is now good.
I used to have an extension cord plugged into the power cord so it would reach the wall outlet. When I went to salvage it because the new cord is plenty long, I found that I could not separate the 2 cords. The plugs were fused together. The extension cord was 18 awg.
Basically everything was undersized and I’m lucky I didn’t have a fire. I guess this should be a lesson – wire size is important. Never use an extension cord that is smaller wire diameter than the power cord of your tool. Harbor freight carries a bunch of 10, 12 and 14 awg extension cables cheap.
Also if you’re crazy like me and wire up an outlet to your table saw, buy a switch rated for 20A or more. I found one on Amazon and it’s on its way. I should have it tomorrow. Big STOP paddle and all. That will complete the rewire but the original switch got me through the weekend no problem. I don’t know the amperage rating but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were very high. I image delta used the same 2 pole switches for all their saw motors.
I should have taken pictures but I was rushing to finish because the kids wanted to go to the beach. Next time I almost cause a fire I’ll be sure to take pictures. :-) By the way I got everything on my weekend list accomplished which is extremely rare.