Robland X31 Update

Please see the previous June 3, 2016 post re: my ups and downs with buying and setting up an old euro combination woodworking machine. I think I have finally got the machine working properly, but it has been a struggle. I would caution anybody contemplating obtaining such a machine to proceed carefully and with eyes open.

Motor Failure Mystery Solved!

I had assumed that the previous owner knew what he was doing when he put a starting switch on the front of the machine. It turns out that the simple momentary switch he used was permanently wired to both the running and start windings. I thought that he had disabled the original switch, and positioned the new switch, simply for convenience of operation.  Probably what happened is that the original switch broke and the new switch was put on the front because it was easier than taking out the old switch and mounting a new one back in the control box. Sigh. Long before I got the machine the motors were running continuously on their startup windings, and therefore at higher amps. This type of use eventually caused the two motors to burn up.


The red button is a stop or “kill” button. There are three of these around the machine that can stop whichever of the three motors is running. The silver box has the conveniently placed, but improperly wired, starting switch. This switch eventually caused two of the motors to burn up. A completely different kind of kill switch!

The Robland X31 is intended to have a manual starter that engages the startup winding to bring the motor to full speed, and then when the starter is released the motor operates on the run winding at lower amps. In contrast, the U.S. standard is to produce motors and starters that automatically switch from startup to run mode.

I purchased a new OEM starter from Salzer Corp in Mesa, Arizona, and after waiting three weeks for the part to arrive from Germany, I was able to install it in about half an hour. All the motors are now running without a load at under 4 amps.  They had been running at between 11 and 13 amps off of the old non-OEM switch due to the resistance of the start winding. Jeff from Gray Motors, Schenectady, says that if the saw motor runs at similar amps to the rebuilt motors there is a good chance it is not damaged. Let’s hope so! At least not for a while, so I can save up to have that motor fixed.

Note (August 3, 2016): I still have an amp clamp on a hot wire to the machine, and it is interesting to see that each of the motors start up at around 32 amps then immediately drop to around 11.5 amps, and when I let the spring loaded start switch return to its original position the motors go down to 4.2 to 4.5 amps. Within about a minute of warm-up the motors then run at 3.5 to 3.9 amps. This is not under working load. The planer will plane a 1/16″ off a 5 inch wide oak board at around 5 amps. I’ll need a helper to see what the other motors do under load (not taking my eyes off while sawing or using the shaper!). I only need to turn the start switch for a second to get each motor up to speed. Working fine now! TBTG!


2 Responses to “Robland X31 Update”

  1. khbwoodworkanddesign Says:

    Hey Michael! I am in Dallas, tx trying to get one of these set up. Mine looks like a similar time period to yours. Both my table saw and shaper motors fire and seem to run perfect, however the jointer motor won’t fire up. All that happens when the start switch is turned is a heavy click from the control panel. There are two wires that are not connect s to the bus bar and my guess is that these are for the stop switch near the jointer as that switch will not shut off the TB saw when it’s running. I’ve tried landing those wires in a couple spots, however nothing has got the switch working yet and I am wondering if the in-op switch is what’s keeping the motor from starting. Anyway wondering if you had to work through anything like that when you set yours up! Thanks for advice you can offer! Cheers, Karl b

    • michaelgorchov Says:

      Just found your note. This is one of those things where you have to rate your own ability to diagnose and fix the problem. I’m not an expert, and I found the control panel wiring confusing. With the power off I learned a lot by testing continuity. I guess I would start by trying to power up the motor on its own. Isolate the wires from the start and run windings and try to start the motor from an external switch. I would take off the drive belts first so that there is no load. That motor is in such a bad place to get to that you want to see if it runs on its own first. It should run no load at under 4 amps. After you find that it runs OK then you can diagnose the selector and start switch. If the start switch is turning on the other motors you could take off the wires from the selector to one of the other motors (label them first ) and replace them with the planer motor wires and see if that turns on the planer motor. But first I would check to see if the motor runs by turning it on from another power source. M+

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