Pillar drill tripping. Help!


Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
UKW Supporter
2 Jul 2020
Reaction score
I bought an old bench drill yesterday.


It was all running lovely before I bought it and drove it home! Now it keeps tripping - as in the trip that is inside the start / stop button housing ….

This isn’t my strong point and I’ve never seen anything like those two fuses. They look like something from a steampunk movie. They must push that bar up with a piston or something? God knows! I can hear them firing when it trips.

Anyway when you press the start button the motor turns but you can hear those fuses tripping immediately. Then you have to press reset to have another go.



I don’t know if the above is useful. I only went for it because it looks good and my partner is from Rooley Lane Bradford where it was made.

Anyone got any advice? I wouldn’t know where to start!

Any help would be appreciated so I’ve not just bought the worlds heaviest paperweight!


  • 4F7F3E62-25AF-4F1E-818B-1F9030439507.png
    520.9 KB · Views: 0
  • IMG_1780.MOV
    9 MB
Is everything turning freely? Remove the belt so the motor can run without any load.
if it’s still The same, connecting power direct to the motor to see if it runs ok…process of elimination…
Hi John, thanks. I did remove the belt. Everything does run smooth. Is there any other way of testing the motor? Is there a chance if I directly connect it we both end up on the shed roof?
Great looking drill. Pretty uncommon from the looks of it Merecer Drill Press.

The worst outcome is likely a new starter and some wiring and you have an awesome drill !

Odd the the starter is 1/4HP and the motor 1/2HP. Could be a part of the issue.

Sorry can’t help more but some positive vibes you way as once sorted you have a tool for life.
Cheers Fitzroy. It is a nice looking Drill. I bought it to help me fix things not to end up fixing it! Hopefully it is an easy fix whatever the issue is!
I think this is the starter you have under that horrid paint job. Allen West F252C94 Starter Type SCF 3Phase 380/440Volt 1/8Hp 0.435 ~ 50 FL Amps | eBay

The eBay one has a label starting fill something 1/2” from top with oil. Is there any there anything spilled from laying the machine down in transport?

The coils are relays that hold a switch open/closed when certain conditions are met. Do the knobs on the bottom turn to effect the trip current setting?
The barrel's with flutes on need winding off and part fill with oil then screw them back so the bar move in line with motor amps 3.3
Most likely you lost the oil when moving.
If you have a multimeter check for continuity between the live/neutral feeds and the drill and motor body. That’ll let you know if you have an obvious earth fault from a loose connection during transport.

Connecting a plug directly to the motor is an option to see if the motor runs ok. Motors pull lots of amps during starting and using a switch on a plug socket to manage this surge is not the best, hence a dedicated starter switch. But with no load on the motor is a risk I would be comfortable with.

Using this method long term is not sensible though, but if everything works you could just replace the old starter with a new DOL unit.
Thanks very much Fitzroy and Phill05. Now you mention it, I noticed that oil was dripping from those fuses or whatever their name is when I removed the cover. It looked like yellow cooking oil. And they are very oily to the touch.

Those bottom nuts do turn. I tried moving them up a bit towards a higher amp to see if it stopped it tripping. So they unscrew off? How would I get oil inside? I’m going to have to take them out to turn them upside down to fill? Also, what oil do you put in? Apologies for the incompetence! This is the first proper woodworking machine I’ve bought.

I literally thought that inside those start/ stop button housings were just buttons and wires. What is all that in there?

The barrel you screw off is where you put the oil in you don't have to tip anything upside down. half fill then screw them on again set the bar to 3.3 amp and you should be good to go.
They are indeed old school. It looks like the same setup used to bring Frankenstein’s monster to life!

What oil shall I use?
Looks like one is empty and one has some oil in.



I’ll have to go buy some oil. I only have baby oil, WD40, vegetable oil.

Do you think 3 in 1 oil will be okay?