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Popular Mechanics's 218291 Review

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  • Popular Mechanics's 218291 Review

    Huh.

    As a BT3100 owner, I am accustomed to most of its design quirks, and am used to explaining its differences to those accustomed to more traditional table saws.

    But the Popular Mechanics portable table saw review (Feb 2012, p.78) had a new-to-me knock on the Craftsman saw.

    They found that "when we connected the pigtail to a live extension cord, the saw started and could not be shut off using the on/off switch ...."

    Yes, and if you stand in a tub of water, and connect yourself to a live extension cord ...

    Am I expecting too much, or do I need to add this "safety tip" to my overview? I still don't expect to let people use the saw without being present myself, but one never knows, apparently, what other people might attempt.
    Don't just say no to kickback.

  • #2
    well, it is different than most consumer tools in this respect. However, i would expect that someone who was connecting a live extension cord to that short little pigtail (for those of you that don't know it's 3 inches long and supposed to be connected to the switched outlet right next to it; the switched outlet can be used for the saw or a router if desired) and had the saw come on would immediately unplug it as they are still holding it in their hands.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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    • #3
      I agree with them that it can be a safety concern, but I now consider it more of a feature. I like running either the saw or the router off the same switch.

      That said, they could have designed it better so that one could not simply plug the pigtail into an extension cord. Perhaps one blade turned sideways. They could have still allowed regular plugs ends from a router and a special plug from the saw in the same receptacle if designed that way. That would pretty much eliminate that safety issue.
      Lee

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      • #4
        While I agree that making it a non-standard plug could help the "idiot proof" factor I think the way the BT3100 works is a safety feature. Changing the plug would also prevent the switch being used for a router. The reason I say it is a safety feature is that I regularly unplug the motor when changing the blade. With my old saw where I had to walk around it and find the plug on the floor and unplug it, I rarely did it. It is so easy on the BT3100 I do it all the time.

        Seems like a silly thing for PM to make a point of. I think it's a good thing. Table saws are not for people who do not have at least a little common sense. If you are that dumb, you're going to find a way to get hurt.

        My switch went out once and I used the plug and unplug for a few weeks until installing the new switch. It's not like that makes the saw run away dangerous or something.

        My router table is set up the same way. I have a double electrical box on the side with a switched outlet and the switch. The router motor cord comes out the side of the table and plugs into the outlet. Then the switch turns the router on and off. Sometimes I plug the shop vacumn into the other switch outlet so it comes on at the same time. I like this arrangement.

        Jim

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JimD View Post
          Seems like a silly thing for PM to make a point of. I think it's a good thing. Table saws are not for people who do not have at least a little common sense. If you are that dumb, you're going to find a way to get hurt.
          Jim
          Not dis-agreeing with you at all but, the courts seem to think otherwise.

          Also, I have, and really like the Bosch saw and apparently PM thinks you need to adjust your fence while sliding the table. Now I'm no expert but, the dog that pops up when I un-lock the right table has most definitely reminded me that the lock needs set before using the saw. Plus, I never needed to extend the table to set the fence closer to the blade.
          Maybe PM mag is the problem with the world.
          Do like you always do,,,,,,Get what you always get!!

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          • #6
            Obviously Popular Mechanics staff is illiterate, they obviously cannot read an owners manual...
            Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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            • #7
              Even though we don't have kids living here, I always unplug both plugs when I'm done using the saw. I guess I have an unnatural fear that some kid could get hurt on the saw. I consider it a plus to have it made that way.

              Ed
              Do you know about kickback? Ray has a good writeup here... https://www.sawdustzone.org/articles...mare-explained

              For a kickback demonstration video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/910584...demonstration/

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't think PM presented it very well, and they looked pretty stupid doing it. They could have just as well said "when we bypassed the on/off switch and connected the pigtail to a live extension cord, we didn't realize the saw could not be shut off using the on/off switch ...."

                How was the review otherwise? I don't see very many published reviews of the saw. I don't recall too may before either.
                Erik

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pelligrini View Post
                  I don't think PM presented it very well, and they looked pretty stupid doing it. They could have just as well said "when we bypassed the on/off switch and connected the pigtail to a live extension cord, we didn't realize the saw could not be shut off using the on/off switch ...."

                  How was the review otherwise? I don't see very many published reviews of the saw. I don't recall too may before either.
                  Kind of like saying...

                  "When we applied the hammer to our foreheads instead of the nail, we noticed an unusual stinging sensation and a flow of blood..."

                  This is what passes for technical journalism these days... Embarassing...
                  Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dbhost View Post
                    Kind of like saying...

                    "When we applied the hammer to our foreheads instead of the nail, we noticed an unusual stinging sensation and a flow of blood..."

                    This is what passes for technical journalism these days... Embarassing...
                    This begs the question as to how many hammers were tested before the article was written. I would think there would be no article if good hammers were tested.
                    Could be a labeling issue. The label may have read "Strike squarely on the head" and the part that read "of the nail" was torn away.
                    Last edited by Stytooner; 01-18-2012, 06:31 PM.
                    Lee

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