How To

Describe the Problem

What are the Stat's?

The Diagnosis

Checklists

Reports

Training Videos

Describe the Problem

Just use your own words and from what you describe, we will key off some of your words to suggest somethings to have a look at.  These suggestions are based on our 20+ years experience and over 5000 inspection reports in our database to guide you on where to look.  Here's a sample of the keywords and phrases we look for:

What are the Stat's?

With over 5000 real world inspection reports, we have a database that counts the number or repairs, replaced parts and the trends for each Tool Type.  When you do a Diagnosis, we scan the database and count up what parts were repaired and give you an idea of the common problems with that Tool Type.

The Diagnosis?

From what you described, we have a pretty good idea of what to look for and we share with you our experiences, tips and tricks for getting you back up and running.

CheckItem: Arbor
Description: When a blade wobbles or slips, doesn't cut straight or is stuck there's a few things to have a look at. Make sure the blade bolt and that the flanges either side of the are tight. With the saw unplugged, spin the blade by hand to feel if there is a wobble and if so the arbor probably needs replacing.
CheckItem: Armature
Description: The armature has bearings either side of it so check that it spins freely. Check the windings for any burnt or broken windings. The shiny metal that the windings are wrapped around can be cleaned with an eraser to remove carbon, and check that there's no broken or undercut edges.
CheckItem: Base
Description: The base, or housing, of a tool can take a fair bit of a beating going in and out of the tool box or truck. The base of a table saw, especially. Inspect the base for visual signs of damage and evaluate whether and bit of duct tape or epoxy is the cure to what ails you - or it might need a replacement.
CheckItem: Battery
Description: Lithium batteries are cells connected in series and controlled by a chip board that keeps the battery from blowing up (if you've every seen a video of such, yeah, you'll really appreciate this little chip board). So there's not much you can do there. But, you can check the connection posts and see that they are clean and making contact. A multi-meter across the posts should show within 10% of your required voltage and if not try giving it a good threshold charge over-night.
CheckItem: Bearings
Description: Bearings wear down and when they do tend to get noisy, or difficult to rotate so these signs might help. It's not really worth it to replace with cheap bearings. A repair shop can help yo out with getting the bearing pressed on or off (especially if you buy from them). Bearings are either rubber or metal sided so if you're replacing a bearing that is exposed to crud, etc think about upgrading to a metal sided bearing.
CheckItem: Belt
Description: Belts wear, fray and can break so pull the housing off and inspect the belt. If it is cogged, make sure that it doesn't slip on the gear or pulley. Check it for breaks.
CheckItem: Blade Holder
Description: The blade holder has a set screw so make sure that it is securing the blade properly, and that the collet or holder for the blade is secure and solid.
CheckItem: Brake
Description:
CheckItem: Brushes
Description: Brushes are like razor blades - they wear out and need to be replaced. They also have holders that need to be free and clear so the brush can touch the armature. If the brushes stick or are too worn you will get sparking, intermittent or low power and the tool might just up and stop. Pull the brushes and inspect them. Sometimes they have a wear line. Check that they can freely move within the brush holder.
CheckItem: Brushless
Description: Brush-less power tools are great: more power, greater battery life and so-on. They are also fairly easy to fix, cos well - you don't - you replace the whole assembly.
CheckItem: Chuck
Description: Doesn't hurt to keep a spare chuck screw (if applicable) as they can snap - remember that it's reverse thread. One or more of the jaws may have slipped as well so a visual inspection will help you there.
CheckItem: Collet
Description: The collet is a nut and thimble set and the nut can get stripped, over-tightened, etc. The thimble has slots machined out to basically give it jaws and these can break.
CheckItem: Cord
Description: Tools sometimes get pulled around by the cord, and the wires in the cord can get damaged from this, or simply old age, so if there's no power to the tool (and the socket you're plugged into works) - try wiggling the cord by spreading out about a foot of it between your hands. Also, check the wire connections from the cord to the tool.
CheckItem: Drill 1/4 To 1/2 Inch
Description:
CheckItem: Drill Boom
Description:
CheckItem: Drill Hammer
Description:
CheckItem: Drill Hole Hawg
Description:
CheckItem: Drill Impact
Description:
CheckItem: Fence
Description: Few things more aggravating than a crooked fence (well other than my ex-wife). The clamps either side should not take a lot of effort to set and if they do make sure they are clean ... but they do wear.
CheckItem: Field
Description: The field is an assembly of wire wrapped around the metal holder and these wires can get burnt or fray with age, and that can stop the armature from spinning. Also, if your tool is spinning the wrong way - there's a very good chance the Field is in backwards. There's 2 windings on a Field so use a multi-meter and check for continuity across each side. Note the value of the first side you check (say "3" - pretty common) and check that the other side is within 10%.
CheckItem: Gaskets
Description: The leak may not always be obvious so a bit of soapy water (50/50) can help there.
CheckItem: Gears
Description: Gears go by over-use or just age and the mobility of the assembly will give you a good idea of the grief. On drills, the gears can go from over-amping where the tool is working too hard from: pushing it, covering the vents, poor extension cords, worn brushes, etc. For saws, gears can go because the raise/lower assembly is dirty or crudded up.
CheckItem: Grinder Angle
Description:
CheckItem: Grinder Bench
Description:
CheckItem: Guard
Description: Guards get a lot of back-and-forth movement and some of them have weakly designed castings that crack at the stress points. Also check the spring assemblies.
CheckItem: Hammer
Description: The hammer assembly includes a rod that takes most the wear. Get a breakdown drawing and dis-assemble the unit. Clean the parts thoroughly and visually inspect for wear. Be sure to use the grease/oil recommended by the manufacturer as it is often geared to the rapid action that this assembly is subject to.
CheckItem: Handle
Description: The handle assembly naturally goes through a lot of use, but there's also some designs out there that could be better. Try to always carry using the grip recommended by the manufacturer and this isn't always the handle.
CheckItem: Nailer
Description: The 2 most common problems of a nailer are jamming and leaking. Jamming often comes from not using recommended nails but can also come from a worn or dry spring assembly. Trigger leaks are also common and a soap test might help here. If you there is a leak, it's usually best to get a kit and replace everything that way.
CheckItem: Nailer Brad
Description:
CheckItem: Nailer Coil
Description:
CheckItem: Nailer Pinner
Description:
CheckItem: Nailer Stapler
Description:
CheckItem: Planer Hand
Description:
CheckItem: Planer Portable
Description:
CheckItem: Power
Description: This is a fairly wide thing to check, but start at one end and work to the other. If your tool has a power cord, for example, is the socket working? For a battery tool, are the contacts clean and good? Sometimes smacking the battery can help there
CheckItem: Rollers
Description: The sand paper needs to move around the rollers freely and taunt, but not stretched. The rollers themselves are front and back with a rubber roller and bearing assemblies. To keep the paper at the proper tension, there is a lever assembly. Undo the lever assembly to loosen the paper and rotate the front and back rollers which should do so freely, and quietly. The lever assembly should be free of crud and should not bind the paper too tightly.
CheckItem: Router Fixed
Description:
CheckItem: Router Plunge
Description:
CheckItem: Router Table
Description:
CheckItem: Router Trimmer
Description:
CheckItem: Sander Belt
Description:
CheckItem: Sander Disk
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Cabinet
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Circ
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Flush Cut
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Jig
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Miter
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Pipecutter
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Recip
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Sawsall
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Scroll
Description:
CheckItem: Saw Table
Description:
CheckItem: Spindle
Description:
CheckItem: Switch
Description: Using a multi-meter test the continuity across the switch from input to output, if there is no continuity - replace the switch

Checklists

There's lots of things you can do to help make your tool last longer and not let you down.  Down-time is, well, just no fun so print out our checklist and follow the preventions we suggest.  Here's a sample:

We build a Checklist for You!
ID: 9
Check Item:
Arbor
Description:
When a blade wobbles or slips, doesn't cut straight or is stuck there's a few things to have a look at. Make sure the blade bolt and that the flanges either side of the are tight. With the saw unplugged, spin the blade by hand to feel if there is a wobble and if so the arbor probably needs replacing.
Prevention:
Routinely blow air across the saw to free it up from crud. When tightening the blade bolt, use the right size wrench (suppliers and bike stores can help) & remember that it's reverse thread.
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Reports

We've got a great database of real life inspection reports and we've sorted it out for you to review.  Just select the Tool Type and we'll show you all the reports we have.  The reports detail what the Customer problem was, what our Tech's found and what was done to fix the Problem.  Here's a sample:

MFR: Dewalt
Tool Cat:
Tool Type:
Problem:
THE ROLLERS ARE STUCK WITH SAND PAPER.
Work Summary:
Inspected / found sanding belt stuck / wrecked roller / replace - Installed new roller / tested - pass