Why Won’t My Table Saw Start?

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After some period of use, your table saw may start developing some problems and you might find yourself asking this question. Some of these problems include the table saw stopping while cutting, your cuts coming out rough, the blade failing to tilt or rise, frequent kickbacks, and the blade slowing down when making cuts.

Your table saw may also fail to start despite your numerous attempts to turn it on. You can diagnose and fix some of the problems that cause the table saw not to start, or call a technician to help you.

Why Won’t My Table Saw Start?

Issues such as a broken-down power supply, a broken power switch, a faulty power cord, a failed motor, or a bad motor overload can cause your table saw not to start.

These issues can occur because, like any other equipment that is used frequently, your expensive table saw is subject to malfunctions, wear and tear, and electrical issues.

Several issues can make your table saw fail to start when you try to power it on. One of the notable problems is damage due to overheating. Overheating can occur due to the accumulation of sawdust on the saw.

Table saw equipment

Heat can cause damage to components such as the power switch of the table saw, meaning that the equipment will not be able to start when you press the switch. Heat can also damage other parts of your table saw including the motor.

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Issues such as a faulty power cord can cause even a medium-range table saw not to start. If the power cord of the saw has tears, kinks, or cuts, it can obstruct the flow of electricity to the power switch and to the equipment. As a result, the equipment won’t start when you attempt to power it on.

Troubleshooting Your Table Saw

If your table saw doesn’t start, you need to identify the cause of the problem. As part of your troubleshooting exercise, you need to take the following steps:

Check the Cord

If your table saw won’t start, it could be having a problem that is as simple as a faulty power cord that needs to be replaced, or a loose plug. You can test the power cord for continuity using a continuity tester. You also need to press the red reset button on the motor to check whether there is a thermal overload.

Close up of a table saw part

Check the Circuit Breaker

If pressing the reset switch doesn’t solve the problem, then the circuit breaker of an entry-level table saw could have tripped. Tripping of the breaker or switch often indicates that the saw is working too hard, which could be due to a blunt blade or wood being pushed too quickly onto the table saw blade.

Check the Switches, Capacitors and Windings

If your table saw’s motor simply hums or makes a weak start when you turn the saw on, this is an indication that the starting capacitor may have failed. Within the motor, there are also other parts that can fail and cause the table saw not to start.

These components include the motor windings and the centrifugal starting switch. The two components can be damaged due to overheating. Damage to the motor windings or the centrifugal starting switch may require the motor to be replaced.

What to Do if Your Table Saw Won’t Start

If your table saw doesn’t start, you can try to fix the issue if you have identified a problem through troubleshooting as described above.

Man trying to check why his table saw wont start
  • Power issues: If you perform a continuity test and realize that the power cord of your table saw is faulty, you will have to replace the cord. If the plug has a loose connection, you need to fix it.
  • Thermal overload: A table saw motor overload automatically turns off electrical power to the motor in order to protect the motor if it overheats or overloads. Once the motor has cooled down, you can restore power to the motor circuit by pressing the reset switch. If the motor overload false trips or doesn’t reset, you should replace it.
  • Issues to do with switches, capacitors and windings: If you notice that the motor of your table saw hums or starts feebly, you may have to replace the saw’s starting capacitor. However, if the problem has to do with the motor windings or the centrifugal starting switch, the motor may have to be replaced.

How Do I Identify a Table Saw Overloading or Overheating Issue?

If you press the motor overload reset switch and the table saw turns on, there is an overheating or overloading problem. You will have to clean your saw and reduce the saw’s load. If the saw still doesn’t start after pressing the overload reset, you will have to replace the motor overload.

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If your table saw won’t start, it could be having problems such as a faulty power cord or a loose plug connection, a bad switch, a bad motor overload, or a failed motor. You can diagnose these issues and fix them by yourself or let a technician help you.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.