Table Saw won’t Start [Causes & Fixes]

A table saw is one of the most versatile and useful tools in your workshop or DIY home setup. It is also rated as the most dependable and go-to tool. However, your table saw may start showing some troubles while starting up, leaving you wondering if it is the time to get a new one.

But before you decide to get a new table saw, it is wise to check your current tool and see what is wrong with it. User feedback and woodworking experts reveal that starting problems can be fixed most of the time just by replacing a few things.

Table Saw won’t Start [Causes & Fixes]

Today, we will discuss how you can troubleshoot a table saw that won’t start. We have developed this guide around common causes that may lead to your table saw not starting up.

Table Saw won’t Start [Causes & Fixes]

We will start our discussion with the basic fixes first.

Reset the Overload: Each table saw is equipped with an overload. The purpose of overload is to turn off your saw if it overheats or if there is voltage fluctuation. Reset the overload switch and see if the saw comes back to life. The overload is generally located near your saw’s on/off switch. Refer to your saw’s user manual if you don’t know where it is.

Reset the Overload

Electric Outlets: Sometimes, the electrical outlets your saw is connected to may have gone bad. They may not be working or have fluctuation, causing your table saw motor to not startup. You can check this by plugging in some other appliances. You can also try plugging your table saw into another outlet if resetting the overload doesn’t work. One way to revive a dead wall outlet is to reset the house breaker for that outlet.

Check your Saw’s Power Cord: Don’t forget to check your saw’s power cord and connections after checking the electrical outlet. Ensure that the plug is not giving a burning smell or that there are no visible damages to the power cord. If your saw has a removable power cord, check that it is plugged properly into the saw and the receptacles on both sides are in mint condition. Any discoloration means fishy business. The only solution here is to replace the damaged power cord.

Extension Cord Problems: Many people who use extension cords to power their tools frequently report tool not starting problems. This is true for table saws as well. If you are using an extension cord, make sure it can handle your table saw’s power rating.

Most table saws have a rating of 120 volts. Moreover, the wire must be of high quality and able to withstand fluctuation and heat. You must not use a power cord longer than 25 feet to power a high-demand tool as a table saw. Replace the extension cord if you think it is damaged.

Check the Circuit Breaker: If the above fixes don’t solve the table saw not starting problem, you need to check the circuit breaker of your saw. The circuit breaker may trip randomly if your saw’s blade is not sharp or you are feeding wood to the blade quicker than it can handle. If the blade is sharp and you are feeding the wood at a normal rate, you need to check and replace the circuit breaker.

Bad Overload: The problem may be with the overload if resetting the overload and employing the above fixes doesn’t work. You will need to check the overload with a multi-meter. To do this, remove your saw’s plug and check for continuity using the multi-meter. Replace the overload if the multi-meter doesn’t show continuity.

Failed On/Off Switch: If your table saw isn’t starting after checking everything mentioned above, the reason can be a failed on/off switch. The best way to check if the on/off switch is working or not is to use a multi-meter to check for continuity with your saw plugged off. You’ll need to replace the switch if there is no reading on the multi-meter.

Failed On Off Switch

General Cleanup: Your table saw has to bear a lot of sawdust every time you use it. The sawdust can gather around the on/off switch, and it may need cleaning to run it smoothly. Unplug your saw and remove the switch from the stand. Don’t forget to remove the ground screws as well. Clean the switch and put it back. Test your saw if it is now running smoothly.

You must clean all other parts on your table saw like motor vents, blade shafts, blade lever and other areas where you see sawdust.

Table Saw Armature: Check to ensure that power goes through the switch and check for power at the motor. If the motor is receiving power, the armature has probably gone bad. Check out the video below to see how to replace the armature on your table saw.

Table Saw Armature

Capacitor, Switches, and Windings: If your table starts but doesn’t get to its normal working speed or the blade moves slowly, the problem is likely with the start capacitor. The capacitor is mounted inside a casing on the motor housing, and the only solution to a bad capacitor is to replace it.

If replacing the capacitor doesn’t work, check the centrifugal starting switch and motor windings. Before you order these parts, make sure you check the price of a new motor. If you have a mid-weight table saw, a new motor will cost way less than these replacement parts, and there is no guarantee of how long these parts will work.

Final Words

Most of the time, it is the sawdust and overheating causing starting problems on a table saw. You can test the above fixes as an immediate solution and clean your saw periodically as a long-term solution for this problem. Another excellent way to avoid overheating is to never under-power your saw; don’t make your saw do things it is not designed to do.

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