Ican remember a time when power was a premium in my shop, and I’d regularly notice the lights dim when certain
tools clicked on or even a circuit
breaker trip. My new shop has plenty
of circuits and capacity, but I was
still intrigued by a new product that
promises to take some of that electrical
strain off when firing up woodworking
The Raymond Innovations A10 soft
starter is a deceptively simple looking
device, an aluminum-finned cylinder
with short male and female electrical
plugs coming out of it. But the manufacturer claims it reduces electrical
inrush current by up to 83 percent. I
was intrigued to try it out.
Read the warnings
First things first, this device comes with
a number of safety warnings. If used incorrectly, it can generate excessive and
potentially dangerous heat. Read all
the cautions that come with it before
you use it. The most important thing
is that it is only for universal motors up
to 15 amps with visible brush caps and
only for intermittent use less than five
minutes in duration.
Candidates include chop saws,
miter saws, circular saws, routers, and
grinders. The company also suggests
planers, but the way I use my planer in
my shop to dimension stock, the planer
stays on for longer than five minutes,
so I didn’t try that one.
How does it work?
Miter saws seem perfect for this technology because they are turned on and
off for brief cuts and potentially waste
a lot of energy and electricity in the
start-up cycle. I plugged the Raymond
soft starter into my old Delta miter saw
and noticed an immediate difference.
Without the soft starter, the saw
winds up loud, fast and strong. With
the soft starter, there is a noticeable de-
crease in the noise level, the saw seems
to start up more smoothly, but it also
takes just a bit longer to get up to full
speed. As long as I made sure it was at
full speed before making cuts, I could
detect no performance difference in
the saw’s cutting ability.
Will this device cut my power bill or
extend the life of my machines? That
all remains to be seen, but it’s a rela-
tively inexpensive add-on (about $30)
and seems like it is worth a try. Learn
more at raymondinnovations.com. ;
by Will Sampson
firstname.lastname@example.org IN THE SHOP
Giving your machines a break
Soft-starter device takes the initial load off universal motor-driven tools.
; Want more?
To see this in action,
watch our video on your
smart phone or online
William Sampson is a lifelong
woodworker and the editor of FDMC
The Raymond Innovations soft starter works with 110-120 VAC universal motors with
visible brushes and can reduce inrush current by up to 83 percent.