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07 February, 2014

Ryobi BT3100 table saw cutting out / bogging down BADLY during a cut. I found the cure!

At least for mine I should specify...

I have had intermittent problems with my Ryobi BT3100 dropping blade RPM, and nearly stalling for a while now. I spent some time troubleshooting the issue and here is what I found...

As many of you know, the OEM switch that One World Technologies supplied on the Ryobi BT3100 is prone to failure. This failure tends to be in the manner of failing closed, meaning the circuit stays on and the saw won't shut off until you unplug it. Mine was effectively losing power / shutting off, but perhaps my switch failed the other way?

The troubleshooting process went thusly.

#1. Bypass the switch by plugging the male stub directly into an extension cord, saw comes on and won't stop until unplugged. A VERY nerve racking experience by the way...
#2. Make my test cut. A piece of 3/4" Aracuo plywood about 18" long. Once the blade was fully surrounded by the workpiece, the saw bogged, I had to stop the feed rate until it picked back up...
#3. Turn off the side, remove the side panel and inspect all the wiring and connections between switch, side outlet thing, and saw motor. All looked good.
#4. I know I have newer brushes in there, and did not see dust in the brush bores when I installed them, so that wasn't an issue at that time, however I DID notice several of the vent slots were caked across with dust. I really didn't expect to get much out of it, but I figured it couldn't hurt, so I blew the motor casing out while installed on the saw, using my compressed air blow gun. The amount of dust that came flying out of the motor casing was downright scary. By the time the dust cloud from that operation dissipated I had recharged the compressor tank (29 gallons) twice. I am going to vac out the saw tonight and blow the case out again to get any stragglers...
#5. Re-test, this time with a different piece of ply scrap (I like my fingers.) This one about 14x12. Made 6 passes cutting 3/4" off per pass (yeah I had the guard off). No bogging. I then picked up a hunk of sort of square ish 1.5" pin oak (stormfall log, I was going to use it for a turning, but REALLY needed to test my saw with hardwood). The block was about 8" x 4" x1.5", and not nearly as impressive as it might sound, Again, no bogging, just the normal slowdown that happens when the motor goes from unloaded to loaded.

At this point I am completely satisfied the issue was the dust caking. I am a bit shocked at the amount of dust in my saw though. With VERY few exceptions, my saw has been operated at least by me, with the dust collection connected and running, seemingly capturing the dust well. I did however obtain this saw used. The prior owner, although the saw had been through a shop incident (fire) it did appear undamaged except for the fence, and that fence damage was seemingly limited to the handle. And I am pretty sure the original owner used dust collection on the saw since he is the one that fitted it with a belly pan and port.

I am wondering though, I necked the port on the belly pan down from the 4" the original owner had rigged, to a 2.5", so that I can split the 4" feed from the DC into the 2.5" belly pan and the 2.5" blade shroud. I am wondering if that was a mistake... Any thoughts? Should I have merely tee'd off the 2.5" to the shroud and kept the 4" all the way tot he belly pan? I might try that once I get dust collection ducting put back together. My Shark Guard upper port / blade guard is a 2.5" port and so I should be good to go for airflow down below. I am just concerned teeing off that 2.5" for the blade shroud will cause a drop in airflow to the belly pan, then again, that drop has to still provide more airflow than the 2.5" port can support..

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