Making Sense of Motors
How to cut through the horsepower hype and compare power tools
Synopsis: When you see terms like “maximum” or “peak” horsepower, watch out, Martin Seifert says. Those terms aren’t complete lies, but they’re not useful. Woodworking machines aren’t meant to be pushed to near meltdown. Look at the fine print and do a little math when shopping for motorized tools. Seifert explains what affects power output – horsepower, power factor, and efficiency, as well as length of wire, outlets and extension cords, and the condition of that equipment. You can trust the amperage ratings, but knowing how these claims are made helps prolong a machine’s life. Seifert, who works in the automation and power plant generation industries, shows how to decipher the nameplate information on an industrial motor and how to do a checkup for power tools. He also explains what to look for in a universal motor.
Motorized tools often come with fabulous claims of high horsepower…