Replacing Power Tool Switches - How to Know the Time Has Come
It is no mystery that a lot can go wrong inside a power tool, what is a bit mysterious though, is how to determine exactly which part of your power tool is currently suffering. As we all know, power tools are some seriously cool machines, so cool in fact, they will literally try to help you solve this diagnostic conundrum.
Knowing which subtle clues to look for can help you diagnose a power tool problem in a snap. For instance, when your switch goes bad, your power tool will behave in a specific way.
The first symptoms to arise will come in the form of malfunctioning or failing start-ups. You will attempt to activate the tool and as if life has simply left it for greener pastures, the tool will be absolutely dead, or, at least, it will require several pumps and perhaps a joggle or two to revive itself.
Overtime, it is regular wear and tear on the switch's interior connections that causes these, well, improper, incomplete connections and consequently your incomplete start-ups as well. This wear and tear will also effect (in no particular order) the performance of your tool when it does activate.
As some of the tool's energy is lost in the switch's poor transmission, your tool will likely feel a bit more suggish. Such malfunctions may also be caused by a switch battling heat damage, therefore, simply relying on the newness of your power tool or the infrequency of its use may not always be the most accurate reference frame.
If these symptoms are left untreated or undetected, the switch will simply short-out completely and start-up (and obviously use as well) will be impossible until the switch is replaced. Although a switch replacement is a reasonably achievable repair process, or at least a relatively inexpensive one, it is always best to settle all disputes with a good-old-fashioned visual inspection.
Normally, it can be very clearly seen if your switch has suffered any heat damage - the interior wiring will be discolored, or the wires and connectors may appear burned or melted. If there is no visible heat damage or other untoward appearances, it is likely the switch itself, with all its own wires and gizmos, has simply met (or is very close to meeting) its maker.
Replace the switch, or have it replaced by a technician, and you and your power tool should be back on the high-road in no time. If problems with poor performance or slow start-ups persist, I recommend checking-up on the tool's brushes. If the brushes check-out, you may have a more complex issue. At this point, it is smart to have the tool more completely inspected by an authorized service center.
In summary, if your tool has trouble starting, or if you notice a decrease in its regular power or performance, its likely your switch needs to be replaced. Remember though, to always take good care of your power tools and these replacements will be far fewer and further between.
Specializing in tool parts & web communications, Mallory joined M&M Tool 4 years ago adding to their over 150 years combined experience. For over 70 years M&M Tool has provided the best service to the tool industry with replacement parts like DeWalt Parts and Makita Parts, sales, & service to woodworking products, machinery & power tools.