DeWalt Powershop DW1501 Radial Arm Saw - Power Issue

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16 Jan 2024
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I recently inherited by dad's Dewalt DW1501 Powershop Radial Arm Saw. He had it for at least as long as I've been alive. For the first 15 years of my life it scared the hell out of me, but since then it's been a key tool in developing my love for woodworking. I recently moved to a 'project' of a house, and the saw has had a new lease of life, I've had it back up and running, and I don't know what I would have done without it!

Anyway, it's got a problem, I'm sure something simple but I just don't know where to start or how to go about diagnosing & fixing.

I noticed last week that when I swivelled the arm round to make a mitre cut, I hit the power switch and nothing happened. I shuffled the arm back and forth, and jiggled a few cables around and it worked fine again. This week, the same thing happened, I did get it going again after moving the arm back and jiggling cables around again, but only once, and no matter how much cable jiggling I do now it hasn't come back alive!

This would say to me a loose cable / connection. I opened up the switch housing, and all cables look safe & secure. I can't see how I could easily get into the cable terminal at the back of the saw (i.e. from switch to saw), but this is probably my next step this weekend.

Has anyone had similar issues before, or perhaps any ideas on what a likely culprit may be? Or any helpful ideas on ways to diagnose? Had wondered if a faulty switch might be likely.

This is my first 'tool repair', so sorry for being a beginner! I do have a degree in electrical & electronic engineering so I'm not afraid of breaking out the multimeter to try and identify the issue, but had hoped it might be easier to identify than that!

Thanks in advance for any ideas!


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If it's happened since swivelling the arm, my first suspect would be a fault in the power lead to the switch.
Just replacing the whole lead from plug to switch ought to be cheap, quick and relatively easy.
I had to replace a switch in mine some years ago and from what I can remember the switch housing comes apart pretty easily without any horrors.

As ever only attempt repairing mains items when disconnected and if you're competent to do so, if not get a qualified electrician to do it.