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Thread: shop vac motor dead?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    near San Diego
    Posts
    533

    shop vac motor dead?

    My shop vac just died today. One push of the switch and everything was fine. Turned it off and a couple of minutes later--nothing. I do not know much about electric motors, but I can see with a volt meter that I have 120V going into the switch so the cord is OK. If I disconnect the switch, it seems fine, toggling between over load (greater than 30M ohms) and 0.6 ohms. I if put the ohm meter on the motor's leads it is also over load. But when connected, I see almost no voltage across the motor. Giving it a spin under power does no good. The is absolutely no hum, no smell. Given the cost of a shop vac at the big box stores, I doubt it is worth getting repaired if the motor is gone. Any ideas?
    James

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Franklin, Tennessee
    Posts
    186
    My shop vac died a similar death. Did a little research on the net & found the location of a thermal overload (or some sort of fusible link) inside the motor housing. Took everything apart & sure enough it was blown. I put a jumper around it & threw the switch. The garage lights went dim, and I definitely let some smoke out of one of the components. So I guess the fusible link was serving a purpose...

    The cost & hassle to fix it was much more than a brand new replacement, so I got a new one & put the old one out with the trash. 10 minutes after I put it out, someone grabbed it. Hope they had better luck than I in fixing it.

    Hope you also have better luck than I did...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Lake Charles, LA
    Posts
    94
    Had the same thing happen to me. Mine was a Shop-Vac brand and had a 5 year warranty. I call Shop-Vac and they sent me a new motor assembly at no charge. While I waited for the motor, I found the fusable link and by-passed it. Still using it like that with my spare motor on the shelf for when this one does give up.

    Mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Victor, Idaho
    Posts
    720
    One last ditch idea is to take it as far apart as you can and try blowing dust out of switches and motors.

    Consider an more premium brand than shop vac if you need another. (My Fein vacs seem to last forever, though I have hi miles on a Rigid which has worked very well )

    good luck,

    -Steve

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Mid Missouri (Brazito/Henley)
    Posts
    2,761
    Remember that Shop Vacs have universal motors with brushes. Yours may need replacing. Barring other motor problems, new brushes may keep your vac going a while longer.
    Necessisity is the Mother of Invention, But If it Ain't Broke don't Fix It !!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    near San Diego
    Posts
    533
    continued taking it apart and found that fuse. If I jumper it, the motor does run. Contacted shop vac service to see what they say, but fear my realistic choices are a more permanent jumper (maybe a 12A slow blow pigtail fuse) or a new vac. Doubt they will sell me the "power unit assembly" for an older model at a reasonable price.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    near San Diego
    Posts
    533
    Shop Vac customer service got back to me pretty fast, but they only said that my model was old and obsolete and no repair parts were available. They then suggested I check their website to view the current models to pick the one most suited to my needs. So I instead, soldered a 15A slow blow fuse across the dead fuse/thermal protector and put it back together. It run at least tonight with no apparent problems. No smoke, no smell, no dimming lights. I will see how long it runs, hopefully long enough to use up my supply of filters and bags. :-)

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