Author Topic: Lathe trouble shooting  (Read 512 times)

Offline B.Meuchel

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Lathe trouble shooting
« on: September 29, 2017, 11:23:08 PM »
I had a little issue with my lathe today so I thought I would share what happened. First off my lathe is an older Craftsman and the motor is separate from the headstock but most motors should work the same.

So, I was turning a call today and shut my lathe off to check a measurement and when I went to turn it back on it just hummed but would not spin. The first thing I checked was a capacitor used for the initial start up. A little disclaimer here, caps store electricity and in some cases enough to kill so if you are not sure of yourself ask for help or take it to a professional. My cap was located on the top of my lathe and two screws removed the cover. Next I disconnected the two terminals and pulled the cap out. Then I took a screwdriver with an insulated handle and shorted the terminals together, this is the part I had to be careful with but once shorted out the energy is released and it is now safe. The best way to test a cap is with a digital meter and read the capacitance but my meter is analog so I had to test using ohms, it's not the most accurate way but it can get you in the ballpark. So with the cap discharged I touched my leads to the contacts and you should see the needle jump to the right then bleed off all the way left. Basically you just charged the cap a little bit from your meter. If your needle doesn't move or goes to the right and stays there the cap is bad. Mine tested fine so I had to dig a little deeper.

My next step was to remove the back of the motor and look at the inside. What you want to look at here are loose connections, some contacts on the back cover, and something like a centrifugal clutch inside the motor. My connections were all tight and my "clutch" worked smoothly. The problem I had was my contact. The contact is used to engage the cap on startup and then when the clutch sucks in the contact opens and disengages the cap. Mine had a shaving of wood stuck between the contacts, so I removed it and cleaned the contact up with some fine sandpaper. It is now running like a champ. If your motor has brushes that you can get to they could also cause issues.

I hope this can help someone else troubleshoot any issues they might run into. It's not very fun when you have half a call turned and your lathes dies on you.

Offline VECtor Calls

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Re: Lathe trouble shooting
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 10:27:59 AM »
Thanks for the detailed information B. Hopefully some ofhers can jump in and tell of their fixes too.
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Offline RVivian

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Re: Lathe trouble shooting
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 08:15:20 PM »
Great information. :thanks:

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Offline aprilheadhunter

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Re: Lathe trouble shooting
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 02:03:05 PM »
I had a similar issue with the pump motor for my swimming pool. A blade of grass was stuck in the contacts.
Electric motor guy told me to turn the pump off before mowing.  :stickman1:
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