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Switch? Or motor?

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  • Switch? Or motor?

    New to the forum, and glad you all exist!

    I have had my father-in-law's old BT3000 (a 1992) for 8 years, and it's been a workhorse—jobsites, furniture, lots of small projects. After bringing it back from a deck project at my dad's it won't turn on. I've examined the switch, and it seems to be fine. I took apart the electrical box in the front corner and can't see any issues. I tried plugging the motor's plug directly into a socket, and nothing happened. Can anyone help me troubleshoot?


  • #2
    A few simple tests. Got a plug-in lamp or fan? First, try the lamp/fan in the wall outlet you normally use for the saw - make sure the the problem is inside your BT3 first! If that works plug the main BT3 cord into the wall and plug your lamp into the BT3. Test the BT3 power switch this way. If the lamp/fan won't run now, study the switch and main power cord in more detail. After unplugging from the wall of course! If the lamp/fan does work then you've narrowed it down to the motor or the stubby cord feeding the motor.

    There have been a few different BT3 motors over the years but all have brushes near the back of the motor (opposite end of the arbor shaft). It's possible those have worn down too much or bounced out of their brackets during the car ride home. Look for round plastic "screw heads" in the sides of the motor near the very back; they cover the brush assemblies. If one of those screw heads backed out during the car ride then the brush probably is AWOL too. Universal motor brushes are just graphite/carbon bricks with a spring and wire attached to them; the other end of the spring and wire ends in a metal plate that makes contact with the power cord of the motor. The BT3 brushes are not Ryobi-specific; take the brush from the other side of the motor to a good hardware or tool repair store (Ace hardware stores typically have metal drawer bins of motor brushes) and search their replacement brushes for one with the same overall spring size/diameter and cross-section of the brush itself. The new brush will be longer, and probably won't have an arc in the "business" end that contacts the armature - that's fine. It's the cross sectional area that's most important; a little extra length is good as your BT3 brushes have probably worn down a bit. New shorter brushes is not a good idea though - if you do need new brushes get some at least as long as what is in your saw now but ideally about 1/8th to 1/4 inch longer. And replace them in pairs too.

    Do you have the manuals for the saw or the PDF versions floating around?

    Edit: the BT3 saws have used several different types of switches over the years as well. Most though are two switches in one box with only one side actually used. You can move the wires directly across (horizontally) to use the other side if the switch itself proves to be the problem. If this is what you end up doing, test your fix with the lamp/fan before plugging in the motor for safety.

    Last edited by mpc; 09-10-2019, 12:42 AM.


    • #3
      mpc's advice is pretty sound.
      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 -


      • #4
        Just in case you don't have them, the manuals can be found here

        Ryobi BT3000 and BT3100 Manuals
        An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
        A moral man does it.


        • #5
          Thanks to all, and especially to mpc. I'll work through the suggestions and let you know how it turns out.


          • #6
            An update: I was able to test the switch this weekend (in the middle of a bathroom remodel, so no more). It's not the switch. I'll start getting at the brushes this week.