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Atlas Craftsman 12" lathe difficult to start

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Wxm88

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#1
Hello, my atlas lathe has an old GE 110v motor. Lately it developed a difficult to start issue, especially the first use of the day. It hums, and you can feel it is trying... a lot of time, I can spin the wheel to help get it start. When it started it runs run. Should I be looking into the starting capacitor (if it has one), or the belt/gears are too tight cause binding? Thanks in advance.
 

Tozguy

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#2
Most definitely if the motor has a start capacitor then change it out for a new one.
 

FOMOGO

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#3
If it's capacitor start, that would be the place to look first. You can find capacitor test info on line. You could try taking the belt loose and see if it starts, and making sure there isn't anything binding or dragging on the machine. Wouldn't hurt to check the motor bearing condition while your at it. Check for any noise, or roughness in rotation, excessive end play, etc.. Disassembly, cleaning, and bearing inspection would be a good idea if capacitor proves faulty. Mike
 

MikeInOr

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#4
On my Atlas there is a lever I can use to pull the whole motor forwards to change belt ratios. You should be able to pull the motor forwards to take tension off the belts and start the motor without a load on it.

But yeah... most likely the starting capacitor. I think my Atlas also has a GE motor if I remember correctly... I haven't had a problem with the motor but the power switch can be a little finicky at times.
 

Bi11Hudson

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#5
The start capacitor is easy to change out. Do that first, watching the value marked on the old one. They can be bad right out of the box. Keep that in mind.

But be aware the start switch is more likely. For that you will find it necessary to(at least partially) disassemble the motor. And watch out for the wires so they don't come in contact with the mechanical parts as you reassemble it. The start switch is usually on the opposite end of the fan. Make a witness mark (with a center punch?) so the end bell can be replaced where is was originaly. Do not use a file or sandpaper. The contact should be well polished.

While you have it apart, check that everything is loose and clean inside. Don't use high pressure air, stay below 25 or so pounds. It shouldn't smell burnt, but that is subjective. Prior experience pays off big here. The big issue is chips and possibly sawdust. There shouldn't be any. Use a small paint brush to dislodge any the air doesn't get.

As you reassemble, the frame bolts will affect the rotor spinning. Tighten up all around and spin the shaft. Then keep tightening individually 'til it is spins freely as possible. Sometimes a rubber hammer helps when seating an end bell.

If a ball bearing motor, it's a good one. But unlikely for fractional horsepower these days. Unless the rotor moves enough to come in contact with the pole pieces, don't worry about it. Just keep it lubed. Shim washers on the shaft are important. Keep trach of which end they came from so you can replace them where they belong. Sometimes they are fiber, be careful with those, they are very brittle.

Bill Hudson​
 

Wxm88

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#6
OK. Just a follow up - finally took the motor apart, as it turned out the motor starting stator had bad contacts. Simply clean it up with sand paper fixed the humming but not starting issues.

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