Since thieves cleaned me out in May 2014, I’ve been replacing the tools that were stolen. One tool I lost was an older Dewalt compound miter saw. The Freud blade on it cost more than I paid for the saw when I bought it used off craigslist! Anyway, when installing the hydraulic steering, propellers, rudders, and other parts of the project I’ve been working on since May 2014, I haven’t needed a miter saw, so replacing it wasn’t a big priority. But I’ve been keeping an eye out for deals and also reading up on new and improved saws that have come on the market since 2008 when I bought my old one.
I’d been reading good things about the DeWalt sliding miter saws and had decided that a 12″ version would be better than the old 10″ one that was stolen. I also knew from experience that the ability to change the bevel from left to right without flipping the board is a nice feature. Some of the newer saws also have a pretty slick lighting feature that not only illuminates the immediate work area, it also throws a shadow of the blade onto the precise location it’s going to cut. Pretty slick, but pretty spendy, too: $599 at the local big box retail home improvement center. They can be had for a bit cheaper online, but returns can get messy if there’s a problem.
But then, on a whim last week, I checked ebay and — hello — there was a listing for a Dewalt saw priced at $169 or best offer. There was no model number in the ad title, but the pictures clearly showed a newish sliding, double-bevel model. Zooming in on the pictures, it sure looked to me like the blade still had yellow paint on the carbide teeth, reflecting very little use. The saw was in the original box, but under Condition in the ad it was listed as “Tested, but not working.” Shipping was $75, but — HELLO! — the seller, who specializes in computers, was only 15 miles away and the ad included his phone number! So I called and offered $150 cash with local pickup…SCORE! He took the offer!
When I got it home and plugged it in, the LED light turned on…good sign. But, sure enough, the saw didn’t turn on when I hit the switch. After putting a meter on the switch and determining that juice was heading toward the motor, I dug in.
Not only does the right brush look good, there’s very little dust in the motor at all. This thing’s practically new!
Clearly, somebody has been in here before. The left motor brush is broken where the wire should go in, so they flipped the brush around backwards and tried to use the brush spring to hold the wire in place. The insulation has also been pulled out of the crimp connector. I wouldn’t trust this hack job as a long-term fix, but a meter showed continuity from the brush holders through the brushes and to the armature, so the main problem isn’t here. It must be deeper in the motor.
What’s interesting about that broken connection is the little spot of silver solder on the brass at the red arrow. None of the other field terminals have solder on them. All of them are crimp connections, leading me to think that perhaps this machine had been repaired at the factory or by a refurbisher after very light use. Then, the solder repair failed shortly after the computer shop bought the saw. And I’d venture a guess that the computer shop guy broke the brush when he was trying to figure out what was wrong with his saw.
Granted, it’s not an elegant repair, but then the original elegant solder job failed. I melted the solder onto a much larger area of brass, and by fully encapsulating the wire crimp it should hang on longer than the little dab of solder used in the original repair. After reassembling the saw, I ordered a new brush for $9, for a total investment of $159. WOOT! But rather than waiting for the parts to arrive, I put the hinky brush back in and gave it a whirl. Score! She works great!
A few days later…
You can see the gap in the pic above between the blade and my engineer’s square. That’s close enough for house framers, but it’d make a mess out of my precious mahogany.
I really like that LED light (AKA the “XPS cross cut positioning system”).
This DWS780 is belt driven, where my old one was direct drive. I’ve got to say, it’s a lot quieter than the old saw. The dust collection system also works very well, far better than the old one did.
Needless to say, I’m very happy with the new saw. I’ll have many chances to test out its cool features in the months ahead.