Tag Archives: power tool repair

Check this out before you throw away that power tool

No parts are available.

Don’t you hate to hear those words when you are trying to repair your power tool? Many times, this means the end to your tool that you have trusted on for many years, but for certain types of repairs, it doesn’t have to be.

power tool parts

The type of repairs that you can possibly fix

The parts that you see above are parts that most of the time can be fixed.

  • Armatures- the top left part is an armature, the rotating part of a power tool. As long as the spindle is in good shape and not stripped (the end gear), then this can be rewound by a motor rewind shop. There Eurton Electric in California does these type of repairs. They can rewind your armature for you. Make sure that this tool is worth this repair though.
  • Power Cords- many times, there is a special connector that fits into the tool, a pre-molded boot that may be NLA, but usually you can find a suitable cord with a similar pre-molded boot that will fit. We have those here.
  • Switches- These are also available from Eurton Electric.   If you can’t find the exact switch, many of these can be modified to fit your tool as long as you check the amperage of the switch to be sure it is strong enough.
  • Brushes- These are the easiest to find. Many local real hardware stores will have these. Don’t bother going to Home Depot as I don’t remember seeing them there. If they do not fit exactly, you can always sand them down to fit.

Other fixes that do not require parts

Today I had a customer bring in an old Craftsman Multi-Tool. It was about 15 years old so I wanted to make sure that there were parts available. I went on-line to Sears website and there were no parts available, there wasn’t even a part breakdown. If this guy needed parts then all he had would be a door stop, not a multi-tool.

craftsman multi tool image

He said, “I was using it, and it just quit.” Well when a tool does that, usually it means that the circuit is not complete in the tool. I told him I would open it up to see what was wrong. First, it was full of dust. I blew it out with compressed air. Still didn’t work. Next I tested the power cord to see if there was an open circuit. Power cord was ok. Now it is time to break into the tool. I removed the cover over the switch, power cord and motor assembly. That is when I noticed that one brush was not making contact with the commutator of the armature. The spring had snapped. This was an easy fix. I simply took one of the coils of the spring and bent it so that it was putting tension on the brush assembly. I plugged it in. Still nothing! Next I pulled the field out. This is where I noticed that the field wire from the brush had lost it’s terminal. The terminal probably flew out and broke the brush spring. I was able to simply solder the wire onto the field connector and voila, his tool sprung back to life.

6 things that are easy to repair in your power tool

  • Brushes- go find something close at your local power tool repair company or a good old hardware store.
  • Broken wires- replace the broken wire or solder the wire permanently to the part that it fits on.
  • O-rings- If the original o-ring is not available, any o-ring supply house will have a suitable replacement o-ring.
  • Bearings- Any decent bearing house will have your bearing you need.
  • Pumps- If we are talking belt driven pumps for a stand alone pump, then you can simply replace the pump with one of comparable cfm.
  • Motors- Stand alone motors for air compressors, pressure washers, table saws and the like can be swapped out with a motor of the same or greater HP, voltage and rpm’s.

If we are talking about very specific parts like gears and shafts, unless you are a machinist and absolutely love this tool, it’s time to say goodbye to this old friend.

Power tools and parts, the good, the bad, the ugly

old drill

Power tools, they are great things that help us do things quicker, with less strain on our bodies. They have helped build America.

The Good

Due to companies sending their manufacturing overseas, the price of power tools has fallen across the board. What used to cost $400, can now be obtained for $200. This makes building that project or replacing that power tool much cheaper. What may have prevented one from starting a project due to the cost of the equipment, now has been greatly reduced. Due to competition and the reduced cost of manufacturing a tool, many companies offer 5 year or even lifetime warranties on the tool. Wow, now you can buy a tool and it will be good for life. If the tool can’t be repaired, the manufacturer simply sends you a new one. That is the good.

The Bad

If you purchased a tool that has only a one year warranty, there is a good chance that the repair parts for your tool are not available. Possibly, there is a law requiring manufacturers to provide repair parts for their products for so many years, but we are seeing power tools where the repair parts aren’t even available one year after purchase. Those parts that the manufacturers do provide aren’t cheap either. Even though the parts cost them pennies on the dollar, the retail price for these parts is higher than they need to be in many cases, thus allowing the manufacturer to stock less of these repair parts. Many of the manufacturers that we deal with, have either raised the price of their parts to an unreasonable price or they put multiple parts in very expensive kits. Those tools or parts that do not sell are quickly eliminated. We have heard that one of our manufacturers simply throws the unsold repair parts in a dumpster.

We have become a throw away society. When was the last time that you took your TV to a TV repair shop? How about that computer or cell phone? Did you attempt to get it fixed or did you simply remove the data and buy a new one? My guess is that you bought a new one.emmets fix it

I sell repair parts for a living. We are having to change our business model due to manufacturers hiking up their parts prices or simply not making them available.

Many people under the age of 40 simply do not know how to repair things, nor have the interest in doing so. I know that when I repair something, I have a feeling of accomplishment. I know that I probably saved money as well as kept whatever I repaired out of the landfill. A generation ago, products were designed to have their high wear parts easily accessible as well as repairable. Have you tried changing the light bulb in your car lately? A simple task like this isn’t even, well simple. The last car that I had, I had to remove the tire, the fender well cover, the light bulb cover, then I had to squeeze my hand into what was a very small and sharp space. It ended up being a 2 hour project. Cars are built in sections, then dropped down over the frame, then the body parts are added, holding hostage any repair part areas. No wonder I was quoted $2,200 to simply replace timing cover gaskets on my 17 year old BMW. The cost of the parts was less than $50, but the labor was very high, more than the price to replace the entire engine!

The Ugly

What we are not going to see in the future are repair shops for ANY products. We are in a microwave society. Everything is instantaneous. If you are in a digital job, you know that you can create and send content very quickly. We have the tools to create, design and launch a website in less than a day, one that will reach the entire world without even licking a stamp. A stamp? What is that?

What is sad, is that people that have great troubleshooting skills like I have, will no longer be needed. We have AI (artificial intelligence) that will be able to take all the knowledge of millions of people in it’s database, that is able to troubleshoot based upon everyone’s voluntary input into it’s database brain that will eventually replace you, me and others thought process. Just because we can doesn’t mean that we should. Just because we can send all of our production overseas to reduce costs doesn’t mean we should. We are eliminating jobs for our country, making products cheaper so that we don’t have to repair them. Instead of a tool lasting a couple of generations, we are lucky that it will last a couple of years. With lifetime warranties on power tools, this has to tell you about the actual cost to the manufacturer if they are able to continue to replace your power tool each time it breaks.

The next time you purchase a tool or appliance and you are pleasantly relieved at the low price of it, think of these things:

  • Where was this made? Are their wages comparable to what I earn?
  • Is that manufacturing plant down the street still humming along or is it a vacant building with broken windows?
  • How much do I think the product costs the manufacturer, to be able to offer a lifetime warranty?
  • How long do I expect to own this? Will I get to pass it down to my children?

We have traded low cost of a product for quality and the ability to have the item serve us well over the years. It bears contemplating if nothing else.