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Author Topic: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.  (Read 99484 times)

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Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 554
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #330 on: March 02, 2019, 09:10 PM »
Over the years, I’ve owned and used professionally, many cross cut miter saws from various brands. There have been pros and cons with the majority of them but, generally they were all pretty good and all served me well for earning a living. I do look after my tools but, these saws were used in every sense of the word, no nursing or babying any of them, they were used in the manner they were designed for. None of them ever suffered motor issues though.

So reading some of the comments in this thread where owners have nursed, baby’d or held back in using the Kapex to it’s potential, is a bit worrying for me. Sure I understand as well as anybody else, that tools should be looked after and treated well in order to keep us earning or pursuing a hobby using them, especially expensive tools.
The expensive part makes it all the harder for me to understand, somebody having to nurse maid the saw when using it?

It’s a great shame, as only today, I saw a good deal on an ex display Kapex 120. I don’t currently need a new saw and had just spent a lot of money on a planer thicknesser. Even so, I was very tempted at the price, until I remembered some of the threads here. So, took one last look before moving on.

It’s a great shame that such an otherwise superb saw, has these motor issues, what’s a greater shame for me, is the way Festool seem keen to play it down, when obviously the problem still exists.

I do like investing in Festool but, for at least the foreseeable future, I’ll give the Kapex a wide berth.
I hope those of you that own one, and have no issues continue to do so. I also hope this issue becomes a distant memory.  ;)

Even outside of festool the price for stuff always causes weird dynamics. As you mention, when something cost a lot you take care off it, which can be considered ironic since the general idea of a "pro tool" is that they are durable and will hold up. So you get such tools being used less hard then the cheap tool.  We all do it, we have multiples of some tools because we see a particular job as too destructive or dirty for the nice tool.

The main issue with the Kapex is the unknown, if it's something the user did, something truly wrong with the tool that can happen to every Kapex made, or is it luck of the draw, one Kapex can handle anything, the next one dies easily.  Assuming the new Kapex won't have the issues, in a few years people will have new ones that don't die, and the old ones will be ones that are fine and won't die, or the way the user uses it means they won't break. The weak of the kapex herd will be dead, times will move on.  Clearly if the Kapex does have an fundamental issues, this is what Festool is relying on.

No matter what I'm not sure if I would use a Kapex the same as I would a dewalt, even without "the kapex issues",  I'd still see the Kapex as a finish carpentry saw and use it for "nice" tasks and use my Dewalt for abusive duty (rough construction). Same with other tools I have, I'm not going to use the Festools for everything, some jobs I'm going to use my old tools for.

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Offline onevw

  • Posts: 84
  • its mostly carbon
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #331 on: March 03, 2019, 06:54 AM »


My Take on this
The problem is not that hard to sort out. This is simple off the shelf engineering not a new concept.

My experience with German engineering showed me the design is always just up too the specifications never over. They always design to the specs with no tolerance for customers pushing the envelope or improper use.

Other manufactures will always over design and dumb down the specs and just assume customers will be pushing the design envelop and customer misuse.

We have found out you must stay within these design limits of all our German heavy equipment never push these unit.

This is why we now only purchase CAT equipment and some Deer stuff. Our problem is heavy Cranes we do like this German units for this. We are very careful to use the correct trained crews and stay within these design limits.

Ma-bee festool needs a user training class on the saw like what is required with Krupp and other German heavy equipment makers.

A trained certified operated or units computers will not come alive.

I guess that's extreme!

Rick




Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 749
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #332 on: March 03, 2019, 07:29 AM »
Over the years, I’ve owned and used professionally, many cross cut miter saws from various brands. There have been pros and cons with the majority of them but, generally they were all pretty good and all served me well for earning a living. I do look after my tools but, these saws were used in every sense of the word, no nursing or babying any of them, they were used in the manner they were designed for. None of them ever suffered motor issues though.

So reading some of the comments in this thread where owners have nursed, baby’d or held back in using the Kapex to it’s potential, is a bit worrying for me. Sure I understand as well as anybody else, that tools should be looked after and treated well in order to keep us earning or pursuing a hobby using them, especially expensive tools.
The expensive part makes it all the harder for me to understand, somebody having to nurse maid the saw when using it?

It’s a great shame, as only today, I saw a good deal on an ex display Kapex 120. I don’t currently need a new saw and had just spent a lot of money on a planer thicknesser. Even so, I was very tempted at the price, until I remembered some of the threads here. So, took one last look before moving on.

It’s a great shame that such an otherwise superb saw, has these motor issues, what’s a greater shame for me, is the way Festool seem keen to play it down, when obviously the problem still exists.

I do like investing in Festool but, for at least the foreseeable future, I’ll give the Kapex a wide berth.
I hope those of you that own one, and have no issues continue to do so. I also hope this issue becomes a distant memory.  ;)

Even outside of festool the price for stuff always causes weird dynamics. As you mention, when something cost a lot you take care off it, which can be considered ironic since the general idea of a "pro tool" is that they are durable and will hold up. So you get such tools being used less hard then the cheap tool.  We all do it, we have multiples of some tools because we see a particular job as too destructive or dirty for the nice tool.

The main issue with the Kapex is the unknown, if it's something the user did, something truly wrong with the tool that can happen to every Kapex made, or is it luck of the draw, one Kapex can handle anything, the next one dies easily.  Assuming the new Kapex won't have the issues, in a few years people will have new ones that don't die, and the old ones will be ones that are fine and won't die, or the way the user uses it means they won't break. The weak of the kapex herd will be dead, times will move on.  Clearly if the Kapex does have an fundamental issues, this is what Festool is relying on.

No matter what I'm not sure if I would use a Kapex the same as I would a dewalt, even without "the kapex issues",  I'd still see the Kapex as a finish carpentry saw and use it for "nice" tasks and use my Dewalt for abusive duty (rough construction). Same with other tools I have, I'm not going to use the Festools for everything, some jobs I'm going to use my old tools for.

I get what you’re saying regarding expensive tools but, I actually look after anything I buy regardless of cost. I think it stems from not having much when I was younger, and so learned the value and importance of taking good care of things. I can’t stand seeing anything mistreated, even other peoples stuff.

I’ve always bought what are considered by most as quality tools, so when buying a tool, it’s for the sole intention of that tool being used for any of the tasks it was designed for. I do, as you mentioned own multiples of many tools, simply because of the nature of my work, not because I think one would give a better finish to a job than the other.

My miter saws get chosen for a certain job by their size, not because one might produce a better cut than the other, I’d expect them all to give a first class cut providing the blade is correct and sharp.

A good few years ago, before I was a Festool fan, I arrived on a site and was greeted by a gang of Polish guys who were running the job. Their boss had just about every Festool tool ever made layed out and set up on the driveway.

As the job progressed, he was always pulling my leg about me not owning any Festool, and when he spotted a 27 year old Elu PS274 set up in the corner he was rolling around the room laughing! That’s an antique he said, quite possibly I replied but it still operates and cuts just fine.

I asked how much his Kapex set up cost, along with tables etc, £2,700 he replied.
After wincing, I asked him to cut a 45 degree cut in a door jamb architrave, no problem he said, and made the cut, and proudly offered me the timber to inspect. Very nice indeed I said, ok, now hold on a moment. Then I cut the head architrave to marry up to his, on the 27 year old Elu, then offered him the architrave. Not bad at all he said, it was actually the same quality cut as his, as he later admitted. I then offered the two cuts together, and put a square on them.

The corner was as good as you could ever expect from any saw, as he also agreed.
So, I said to him, your saw is £2,700 and that old Elu cost £225 27 years ago.
Why aren’t you still laughing?  ;)

If I bought a Kapex, it would be as usual, well looked after but, also well used and not shown any favouritism, my other saw don’t have special treatment neither would a Kapex.

There is obviously an issue with the Kapex, there’s been too many cases of them smoking. No smoke without fire, maybe that should be, no smoke without an issue?

What the issue is, doesn’t seem clear, possibly/hopefully Festool know, and are currently bringing out a new version that will definitely not have this issue risk?
The issue is real enough to put me off owning one, when the time comes that I need a new saw or saws, I’m hoping this problem will be done and dusted.

I love everything about the Kapex, apart from the doubt that this issue has instilled into me.
I love the Festool tools and equipment, so like a lot of other people, I wish they’d be a little more transparent about the Kapex problem, and give us assurance that it will be fixed.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 554
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #333 on: March 03, 2019, 11:29 AM »


My Take on this
The problem is not that hard to sort out. This is simple off the shelf engineering not a new concept.

My experience with German engineering showed me the design is always just up too the specifications never over. They always design to the specs with no tolerance for customers pushing the envelope or improper use.

Other manufactures will always over design and dumb down the specs and just assume customers will be pushing the design envelop and customer misuse.


Rick

One of my suspicions is they didn't account for the variability in voltage around the world, that some folks can get some really poor power.  If they just looked at the general US spec that says 120V, with about plus minus 7V range, they may have messed up and not accounted for the reality that people can drop their voltages to near 100V pretty easily if depending on where they live or their service size, or service provider.  Of course Festool makes plenty of tools that work fine for the same people.  This is in part when people have been told "low voltage" by Festool, I have some skeptism.

All companies will use the "improper use"/"out of spec" claims.  Most just understand they need to build tools to handle way more than what they list on the spec sheet.

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 443
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #334 on: March 04, 2019, 06:53 PM »


My Take on this
The problem is not that hard to sort out. This is simple off the shelf engineering not a new concept.

My experience with German engineering showed me the design is always just up too the specifications never over. They always design to the specs with no tolerance for customers pushing the envelope or improper use.

Other manufactures will always over design and dumb down the specs and just assume customers will be pushing the design envelop and customer misuse.


Rick

One of my suspicions is they didn't account for the variability in voltage around the world, that some folks can get some really poor power.  If they just looked at the general US spec that says 120V, with about plus minus 7V range, they may have messed up and not accounted for the reality that people can drop their voltages to near 100V pretty easily if depending on where they live or their service size, or service provider.  Of course Festool makes plenty of tools that work fine for the same people.  This is in part when people have been told "low voltage" by Festool, I have some skeptism.

All companies will use the "improper use"/"out of spec" claims.  Most just understand they need to build tools to handle way more than what they list on the spec sheet.

Festool should just do a ground-up redesign for the North American market.  It would be worth it for such a pricey item.
Festool CT Midi, Festool ETS 125, DF 700 Domino Coming Soon

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1190
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #335 on: March 04, 2019, 07:20 PM »
Snip.
Festool should just do a ground-up redesign for the North American market.
Only if they really know what the problem(s) are. Any redesign may not result in a better Kapex, unless the designers know what is wrong with the current generation of the Kapex. Of course, with no official info. shed on how big the problem is, what we have been seeing could just be a perceived problem. At least, that is what I hope it to be....

Offline Doug S

  • Posts: 437
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #336 on: March 04, 2019, 07:48 PM »
Snip.
Festool should just do a ground-up redesign for the North American market.
Only if they really know what the problem(s) are. Any redesign may not result in a better Kapex, unless the designers know what is wrong with the current generation of the Kapex. Of course, with no official info. shed on how big the problem is, what we have been seeing could just be a perceived problem. At least, that is what I hope it to be....

It's not just North America, here are a few recent listings from Ebay in the Uk that have a common theme.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FESTOOL-KAPEX-KS-120-EB-Slide-Mitre-Saw-110v-NO-RESERVE/173811329188?epid=1105118185&hash=item2877f668a4:g:mwgAAOSwBz1cc8KJ

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Festool-561399-KS88E-GB-110v-Kapex-Sliding-Compound-Mitre-Saw-260mm/283389638942?epid=1256840381&hash=item41fb56b91e:g:~TQAAOSwk25cbsYL

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/festool-kapex-120-sprare-and-repairs/223350908443?hash=item3400c0661b:g:qpsAAOSwS2lcUHgg

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Festool-KS-120-EB-240V-Kapex-Sliding-Compound-Mitre-Saw-faulty/233028585604?epid=1105118185&hash=item3641960884:g:XFUAAOSwNphcAmmX

Mine is on it's third motor and other people from the UK have posted about the same problem on FOG.


Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 926
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #337 on: March 04, 2019, 08:29 PM »
Any electrical equipment generates heat due to losses, both magnetic and resistive. These losses are due to the current flowing in the wiring. When you halve the supply voltage by rewinding the motor for 110v instead of the original design 230v you double the current flow.

This results in doubling both the magnetic and resistive heating losses. If the motor was critically designed for light weight on 230v the extra losses on 110v would result in the armature running much hotter, especially on startup.

Add to this the effect of multiple starts, as when doing light repetitive work, a supply that may be marginal and you get to release the magic smoke. The fan doesn't run long enough to move enough air to cool the motor.

This can't be fixed by a minor mod, it requires a total redesign of the motor and an admission that you got it wrong originally.

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1190
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #338 on: March 04, 2019, 09:27 PM »

This can't be fixed by a minor mod, it requires a total redesign of the motor and an admission that you got it wrong originally.

Couldn't they just use the same design or motor or class of motor that is used in other brands which don't seem to have a bad reputation with their motors?

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6366
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #339 on: March 04, 2019, 09:55 PM »
Only if they really know what the problem(s) are. Any redesign may not result in a better Kapex, unless the designers know what is wrong with the current generation of the Kapex.

Exactly Chuck. I’ve said this before but 4 years ago the local rep swore that Festool was aware of the smoking armature issue and they were working on it but they were unable to isolate the cause. Knowing the Germans (I have some German blood lines) they want to be absolutely positive that they have figured out the problem before they pounce. Unfortunately in this case, they may never be able to be absolutely positive.

Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 926
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #340 on: March 04, 2019, 10:10 PM »

This can't be fixed by a minor mod, it requires a total redesign of the motor and an admission that you got it wrong originally.

Couldn't they just use the same design or motor or class of motor that is used in other brands which don't seem to have a bad reputation with their motors?

It would need a larger, heavier motor with more iron in it and bigger cooling paths so the whole frame would need to change, gear locations would be different and then it would become a new saw.

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 443
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #341 on: March 04, 2019, 10:40 PM »

This can't be fixed by a minor mod, it requires a total redesign of the motor and an admission that you got it wrong originally.

Couldn't they just use the same design or motor or class of motor that is used in other brands which don't seem to have a bad reputation with their motors?

It would need a larger, heavier motor with more iron in it and bigger cooling paths so the whole frame would need to change, gear locations would be different and then it would become a new saw.

With the sheer number of units failing, it only makes sense for them to finally make a North American version of their miter Saw.  Maybe have it made in the US.
Festool CT Midi, Festool ETS 125, DF 700 Domino Coming Soon

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6366
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #342 on: March 04, 2019, 11:20 PM »
It would need a larger, heavier motor with more iron in it and bigger cooling paths so the whole frame would need to change, gear locations would be different and then it would become a new saw.

Which would make it heavier...maybe that’s the reason the competition is so heavy.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 554
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #343 on: March 05, 2019, 12:10 AM »
Ditch the AC motor, go full DC and or proper permanent mag/induction motor,  now the motor system is the same globally, adjust for voltages differences on the input when you rectify wall power into DC. Everything downstream on the internal DC bus (IGBT, motor, etc) is now the same globally.  Basically adopt the same design as dual power tools that run on battery or wall.  Even better put the power adapter in a battery based module, now the bare tool is the same globally.

Still, they clearly know how to design tools, and have been fine on other tools like the routers.  As has been said many times in this thread.  They may or may not know what the problem is. It happens. Hopefully the issue will be something festool figured out, but was just not possible to fix via parts swaps, or at a reasonable price.  The problem will be if they never were able to understand it and it carries over to the new one. But I'd be pretty sure Festool has tried everything on the new models in testing.  Run it from 90V to 140V,  40hz to 80hz, run it off some brutal inverter making ugly wave forms.  Make sure it runs no matter what.

As others mentioned, there are motors out there that take a beating, but when you start adding weight to a tool that it trying to be much lighter than the competition, now you have to find the balance.  If the saw gains 10lbs, folks won't be happy.

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 443
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #344 on: March 05, 2019, 02:25 AM »
Ditch the AC motor, go full DC and or proper permanent mag/induction motor,  now the motor system is the same globally, adjust for voltages differences on the input when you rectify wall power into DC. Everything downstream on the internal DC bus (IGBT, motor, etc) is now the same globally.  Basically adopt the same design as dual power tools that run on battery or wall.  Even better put the power adapter in a battery based module, now the bare tool is the same globally.

Still, they clearly know how to design tools, and have been fine on other tools like the routers.  As has been said many times in this thread.  They may or may not know what the problem is. It happens. Hopefully the issue will be something festool figured out, but was just not possible to fix via parts swaps, or at a reasonable price.  The problem will be if they never were able to understand it and it carries over to the new one. But I'd be pretty sure Festool has tried everything on the new models in testing.  Run it from 90V to 140V,  40hz to 80hz, run it off some brutal inverter making ugly wave forms.  Make sure it runs no matter what.

As others mentioned, there are motors out there that take a beating, but when you start adding weight to a tool that it trying to be much lighter than the competition, now you have to find the balance.  If the saw gains 10lbs, folks won't be happy.

As long as it stays under 40 lbs, who cares.  Some people over think things too much.  Festool needs to deliver an accurate product that’s reliable. 

If making it 10 lbs lighter means you’ll have smoke coming out the back in 3-years, add the extra 10 lbs.
Festool CT Midi, Festool ETS 125, DF 700 Domino Coming Soon

Offline DashZero

  • Posts: 100
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #345 on: March 05, 2019, 04:28 AM »
In the mid 1980s a friend of mine had a German car made special at the factory and delivered to him here in the southern USA.  The air conditioner worked poorly for the climate here.  My friend wrote a letter to the factory explaining the issue, asking if there it was a problem they could fix.  He received a letter back from an engineer at the factory.  That letter said “The air conditioner is working exactly as it was designed and produced.”  We laugh about that now, but it wasn’t funny then.  German auto manufactures eventually learned to test their air conditioners in numerous climates in the USA where they were selling vehicles more and more.

I myself want a Kapex and have been waiting to see what the issue is before buying one.



My Take on this
The problem is not that hard to sort out. This is simple off the shelf engineering not a new concept.

My experience with German engineering showed me the design is always just up too the specifications never over. They always design to the specs with no tolerance for customers pushing the envelope or improper use.

Other manufactures will always over design and dumb down the specs and just assume customers will be pushing the design envelop and customer misuse.

We have found out you must stay within these design limits of all our German heavy equipment never push these unit.

This is why we now only purchase CAT equipment and some Deer stuff. Our problem is heavy Cranes we do like this German units for this. We are very careful to use the correct trained crews and stay within these design limits.

Ma-bee festool needs a user training class on the saw like what is required with Krupp and other German heavy equipment makers.

A trained certified operated or units computers will not come alive.

I guess that's extreme!

Rick

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 297
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #346 on: March 05, 2019, 08:18 AM »
A manufacturer who knows that there is a serious operational problem with its product and who leaves that problem unaddressed for years, either through indifference or incompetence while continuing to sell that product is engaged in consumer fraud.

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 1800
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #347 on: March 05, 2019, 10:47 AM »
It would need a larger, heavier motor with more iron in it and bigger cooling paths so the whole frame would need to change, gear locations would be different and then it would become a new saw.
Which would make it heavier...maybe that’s the reason the competition is so heavy.
Heavier? Perhaps, by couple ounces. Let's not blow this out of proportions. What's the weight difference between 120V and 240V TS55 or Domino? Same short burst on/off work regime yet those 120V tools hold up just fine having identical motor housings and fans as 240V models.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 10:50 AM by Svar »

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 443
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #348 on: March 05, 2019, 02:00 PM »
It would need a larger, heavier motor with more iron in it and bigger cooling paths so the whole frame would need to change, gear locations would be different and then it would become a new saw.
Which would make it heavier...maybe that’s the reason the competition is so heavy.
Heavier? Perhaps, by couple ounces. Let's not blow this out of proportions. What's the weight difference between 120V and 240V TS55 or Domino? Same short burst on/off work regime yet those 120V tools hold up just fine having identical motor housings and fans as 240V models.

The competition has actually dropped weight in recent years.  Dewalt Miter saws used to be 52 lbs now their 37.5 lbs.  Makita and Bosch lost weight; so have the Milwaukee miter saws.  No one is as light as Festool, but most miter saw brands have shed some pounds over the years.  I’m puzzled at what some people are complaining about. 
Festool CT Midi, Festool ETS 125, DF 700 Domino Coming Soon

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6366
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #349 on: March 05, 2019, 02:21 PM »
I’m puzzled at what some people are complaining about.

Weight...of the miter saw

Balance...of the miter saw

Real estate...of the miter saw

Age...of the designated lackey.

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 749
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #350 on: March 05, 2019, 06:36 PM »
Any electrical equipment generates heat due to losses, both magnetic and resistive. These losses are due to the current flowing in the wiring. When you halve the supply voltage by rewinding the motor for 110v instead of the original design 230v you double the current flow.

This results in doubling both the magnetic and resistive heating losses. If the motor was critically designed for light weight on 230v the extra losses on 110v would result in the armature running much hotter, especially on startup.

Add to this the effect of multiple starts, as when doing light repetitive work, a supply that may be marginal and you get to release the magic smoke. The fan doesn't run long enough to move enough air to cool the motor.

This can't be fixed by a minor mod, it requires a total redesign of the motor and an admission that you got it wrong originally.

I think you’re on to something there, the 110/120 volt tools have more demand on them, and give less performance than 240 volt tools. This could well be where the problem lies?

I am mainly a 110 volt, and cordless user, and I notice straight away, If I try a 240volt equivalent of one of my 110 tools, how much more powerful they seem, and how much faster a saw blade etc spins.

I use mainly 110 volt tools as many years ago, 240 volt weren’t allowed on sites from a safety aspect. Some sites still won’t allow 240, and if they do, usually an RCD breaker is also required.
A long time ago, I sadly saw a young chap get electrocuted, who was using a 240 volt drill, in the wet with a damaged power cord. That alone convinced me 110 volt was a good choice.

I am having a re think now though, as much of the Festool kit I buy, will be used in the workshop, so I am seriously considering the 240 volt range.

For site work, I will continue with 110 and cordless but, I feel I need to make the jump to 240. I’ve heard a few times that many manufacturers may phase out 110 volt? I get the feeling Festool would be happier just making 240 stuff?

I know of around five or six UK Kapex’s taking a dive and/or smoking, and I’m almost certain they were all 110 volt versions?

My thoughts about the weight are, sure it’s nice to have performance with less weight but, and it’s big but with me, if a heavier saw guarantees no smoking issues, I’ll take that every time.
The quick stop start theories mentioned in this thread make sense too, as I know at least two of the failures I know of, were very quick stop start scenarios, possibly as also mentioned not giving the motor sufficient cooling time.

If this is the case, I’d imaging the 110/120 volt saws are the higher risk, because of the demand on the motors.
I really do hope the new version puts this issue to bed, because it seems to have become a thawn in Festool’s side.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 02:20 PM by Jiggy Joiner »

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1279
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #351 on: March 06, 2019, 02:16 AM »
an RCD breaker is also required.
That's basically the only thing needed, regardless of 110, 240 or 380V.

The only two things that keep the 110V regulation in place is 'we always did it' and the fear (or should we say expectation) that idiots will bridge an RCD that trips repeatedly (instead of locating and removing the cause) and through this kill others.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 554
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #352 on: March 06, 2019, 09:28 AM »


I use mainly 110 volt tools as many years ago, 240 volt weren’t allowed on sites from a safety aspect. Some sites still won’t allow 240, and if they do, usually an RCD breaker is also required.
A long time ago, I sadly saw a young chap get electrocuted, who was using a 240 volt drill, in the wet with a damaged power cord. That alone convinced me 110 volt was a good choice.


Had to look up RCD to see RCD=GFCI.   Brit to American conversion.

Are you implying all your outdoor and wet location outlets aren't GFCI/RCD as is?  All outlets for outside, basement (damp place), bathrooms, kitchens have been required to have groundfault protection for decades.

If you use corded 110V in wet, you are still trying to die, being 110 vs 240 in the situation you described wouldn't have changed things, the conditions still closed the circuit thru the person.

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 749
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #353 on: March 06, 2019, 03:39 PM »
an RCD breaker is also required.
That's basically the only thing needed, regardless of 110, 240 or 380V.

The only two things that keep the 110V regulation in place is 'we always did it' and the fear (or should we say expectation) that idiots will bridge an RCD that trips repeatedly (instead of locating and removing the cause) and through this kill others.

Some sites go the whole hog, hard hats, hi viz clothing, ear defenders, dust masks steel capped and still lined sole work boots, gloves and 110 only. Other sites are way more relaxed to point of being dangerous.

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 749
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #354 on: March 06, 2019, 03:48 PM »


I use mainly 110 volt tools as many years ago, 240 volt weren’t allowed on sites from a safety aspect. Some sites still won’t allow 240, and if they do, usually an RCD breaker is also required.
A long time ago, I sadly saw a young chap get electrocuted, who was using a 240 volt drill, in the wet with a damaged power cord. That alone convinced me 110 volt was a good choice.


Had to look up RCD to see RCD=GFCI.   Brit to American conversion.

Are you implying all your outdoor and wet location outlets aren't GFCI/RCD as is?  All outlets for outside, basement (damp place), bathrooms, kitchens have been required to have groundfault protection for decades.

If you use corded 110V in wet, you are still trying to die, being 110 vs 240 in the situation you described wouldn't have changed things, the conditions still closed the circuit thru the person.

Hi, as I mentioned in my other post, some sites are geared around health and safety, others are about as far removed as you could get.
110 and 240 volt extension leads, some with insulation tape repairs, going accross wet muddy sites. Extortionate noise levels, people grinding or cutting slabs, bricks and pavers without masks, and subjecting everybody else to their hazzards. I witnessed it today, and often do regularly.
I explained the danger of silica dust to a labourer last week, he looked at me like I was a Martian?

Breakers and trip systems are the least of the worries on some sites.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 554
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #355 on: March 06, 2019, 10:31 PM »

Hi, as I mentioned in my other post, some sites are geared around health and safety, others are about as far removed as you could get.
110 and 240 volt extension leads, some with insulation tape repairs, going accross wet muddy sites. Extortionate noise levels, people grinding or cutting slabs, bricks and pavers without masks, and subjecting everybody else to their hazzards. I witnessed it today, and often do regularly.
I explained the danger of silica dust to a labourer last week, he looked at me like I was a Martian?

Breakers and trip systems are the least of the worries on some sites.

Was trying to understand why they would need to "bring an RCD" as I'm use to anything you would plug into would all ready have GFCI.  From limited reading it looks like the UK approached things differently than north America.  We GFCI protect by the circuit, and we focus on separating circuits. It looks like the UK at least attempted full blown GFCI the entire panel, and now has some large GFCI circuits.  We either use a receptacle device somewhere in the circuit, or we do it at the panel with a GFCI breaker for each circuit that gets GFCI protection.  Things like a bathroom is by code it's own circuit (not shared), same for things like kitchen counter outlets.  Now we have Arc Fault protection too, so basically all 110V circuits get arc fault protection, thus some get Arc Fault and GFCI protection, again handled by a breaker for that circuit.  Any place someone is plugging a tool into outside is GFCI, they can't bypass it unless they run the cord thru a window inside to a non-GFCI outlet, which really only exist in limited areas as basement, garage, shed  outlets are suppose to be GFCI too.  I think all portable generators are GFCI

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 749
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #356 on: March 07, 2019, 04:08 AM »

Hi, as I mentioned in my other post, some sites are geared around health and safety, others are about as far removed as you could get.
110 and 240 volt extension leads, some with insulation tape repairs, going accross wet muddy sites. Extortionate noise levels, people grinding or cutting slabs, bricks and pavers without masks, and subjecting everybody else to their hazzards. I witnessed it today, and often do regularly.
I explained the danger of silica dust to a labourer last week, he looked at me like I was a Martian?

Breakers and trip systems are the least of the worries on some sites.

Was trying to understand why they would need to "bring an RCD" as I'm use to anything you would plug into would all ready have GFCI.  From limited reading it looks like the UK approached things differently than north America.  We GFCI protect by the circuit, and we focus on separating circuits. It looks like the UK at least attempted full blown GFCI the entire panel, and now has some large GFCI circuits.  We either use a receptacle device somewhere in the circuit, or we do it at the panel with a GFCI breaker for each circuit that gets GFCI protection.  Things like a bathroom is by code it's own circuit (not shared), same for things like kitchen counter outlets.  Now we have Arc Fault protection too, so basically all 110V circuits get arc fault protection, thus some get Arc Fault and GFCI protection, again handled by a breaker for that circuit.  Any place someone is plugging a tool into outside is GFCI, they can't bypass it unless they run the cord thru a window inside to a non-GFCI outlet, which really only exist in limited areas as basement, garage, shed  outlets are suppose to be GFCI too.  I think all portable generators are GFCI

Yes I see what you’re saying, electrics isn’t one of my strong points so you’ll have to bear with me.
In the UK, domestic properties are all fitted with a trip system, that cuts the power in the event of a fault, so a breaker will flip and kill the power to that circuit. This is located on the fuse board at the consumer unit. So a reset is a flick of a switch. Even if an earth wire is shorted the breaker will trip.
However there are still a lot of old wiring systems active (as far as I know) that have no breakers built in.

I believe offices etc are the same.
With building sites, often the main contractor will have basic power and facilities run, to get them up and running, it’s not unusual to see a cupboard with a few 240 volt sockets screwed to a plywood board, to provide power for trades, and often there will be large 110 volt transformers running off these sockets for the use of 110 volt tools.

Strangely in this day and age, where health and safety is pushed in our faces at every opportunity, there seem to be varied examples of what’s acceptable on a site.
I have found on the bigger sites, they seem very strict, and somewhere else, where say a local builder might be building 2 or 3 houses on a plot things are a lot more relaxed.

I was on a large site a few weeks ago in central London, and everybody was using 110 volt tools or cordless, and any 240 volt chargers were only to be used in the site office, I have 110 volt chargers so not a problem for me.
However, a guy turned up to coat all the steel work with a fire retardent coating, and his equipment was all 240 volt. The site agent at first refused to let him work but, as he was apparently a hired in specialist, after a few phone calls, he was told he could use 240 volt tools, after they’d been checked, and he must use RCD breakers. I have seen this scenario many times.

I have friends in the trade that only use 240 volt tools and tell me they never have issues on site?
I have also never had my dust extractors checked, M rated is the accepted level on main sites here but, mine have never been checked?
Lots of variables and grey areas it seems?

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 554
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #357 on: March 07, 2019, 09:35 AM »
Guess I would just assume any transformers would be a one stop shop kind of deal,  they do the 110V, have RCD, and an approval from your government body and are required to be approved.  Thus when you buy one, you are automatically good to go.   

When things get built here there is often a temporary drop from the pole that is used during construction, I would think either the utility setting that up would just set it up job compliant, or the contractor running the site would have their setup they use on every job and just have the utility connect to that till the job is done.

I know what you mean by folks ignoring safety stuff, but if it's been the rules for a long time I would expect every contractor just has their kit/system down for this when setting up the next build site.

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 749
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #358 on: March 07, 2019, 10:40 AM »
Guess I would just assume any transformers would be a one stop shop kind of deal,  they do the 110V, have RCD, and an approval from your government body and are required to be approved.  Thus when you buy one, you are automatically good to go.   

When things get built here there is often a temporary drop from the pole that is used during construction, I would think either the utility setting that up would just set it up job compliant, or the contractor running the site would have their setup they use on every job and just have the utility connect to that till the job is done.

I know what you mean by folks ignoring safety stuff, but if it's been the rules for a long time I would expect every contractor just has their kit/system down for this when setting up the next build site.

To be honest, being a 110 volt user I get pretty much left alone, it’s another reason I still use that platform, as it seems to keep the powers that be happy.
Very rarely I have had to have my tools PAT tested before being allowed to work on site, often also having an induction course. This has been very rare for me though.

I think in future though, when buying tools for the workshop, I’ll go 240 volt, my bigger machinery, is 240 volt, so I suppose it makes sense.


Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 554
Re: Another Kapex Bites the dust. Again.
« Reply #359 on: March 07, 2019, 11:16 PM »


I think in future though, when buying tools for the workshop, I’ll go 240 volt, my bigger machinery, is 240 volt, so I suppose it makes sense.

Nah, mix it up and go gas powered tools. In this electric age you can feel all retro pull starting your 2 stroke saw. Or go all out and go steam power with belt drives.  No one expects someone to stoke the boiler with coal in the morning on a jobsite. Other workers can come over, brew up some coffee on the boiler and see they can get some belt time later in the day to drive their planner.  No more electrical safety concern.