I like my tablesaw. It’s a 1971 Rockwell Unisaw with an 1 hp repulsion induction motor. Yes, it is a cabinet saw. And no, 1 hp is not underpowered. R/I motors generate tons of torque, and my saw powers through everything. At least it did.
When I bought the saw ($250, I just had to throw out that gloat), it was wired for 120v and had a light switch to turn it off and on. When I could plug it into a dedicated circuit, the saw worked fine. But our move to Connecticut brought me to a garage without a dedicated 120v circuit. That meant the saw was sharing power with lights, outlets, and who knows what else. So, the saw would bog down.
The solution? I installed some 240v circuits and decided to rewire my saw. That turned out to be quite an adventure and learning experience. First, my saw has a magnetic starter. To get ready for 240v, it needed a new coil, a new heater, and to be rewired. Second, I needed to replace the power switch with a two-button control station. Finally, I had to run new cord between the motor and starter, and the outlet and starter.
Well, I had no idea what to do, but some help from the kind folks at Old Woodworking Machines got me on the right track. I found a wiring diagram for my starter, struggled with it for several days, and finally figured it out.
Now that I’m done, the saw runs great and doesn’t bog down. And that’s all I really wanted.
Old, but good. I got this saw for $250. It's heavy, runs great, and cuts like mad. It's not fancy, but it does everything I want.
Old motor, new cord. That bullet is my motor, and they don't make them like that anymore. It weighs nearly 100 lb. You can also see the new power cord.
All wired up. To get my saw ready for 240v, I had to rewire this magnetic starter, and change out a few of its parts.
Better than a light switch. You need a special kind of switch for a magnetic starter to work. So I got rid of the light switch and installed this two-button control station.