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Use a contactor on light circuit to shut off the 220v tool lines? Brilliant or dumb?

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  • #31
    AC contactors need to have the pole pieces in intimate contact or they hum loudly and draw more current which can burn them out. I’d bet the pole faces are rusted which will do this. DC coil contactors don’t have this problem.

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    • #32
      My compressor has a magnetic starter and is energized via a toggle switch near the outside shop door. A regular industrial pilot light is immediately adjacent, connected to be 'lit' when the switch is 'on'. I almost never forget to turn it off.

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      • #33
        Hey Gellfex,

        The power contactor should be mounted as this picture shows. Only in very special or limited situations are contactors mounted as you describe. The OP showed it mounted in the top of the can facing down, this should be corrected by removing the overloads that you don't need to be using, and don't need, then remount the contactor as the picture posted here shows, the extra energy to pull up and possible misalignment may be one reason for the noise of the contacts. As Garyhlucas said, check the contacts for good closure and clean if needed.

        You do not want to go down the path of 1/2 of a 220v circuit controlled and the other continuously powered. If anything go and get a new contactor with a 120v coil and wire it in like the picture below and all will work and be safe.

        Click image for larger version

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        Good luck !

        TX
        Mr fixit for the family
        Chris

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Mr Fixit View Post
          Hey Gellfex,

          The power contactor should be mounted as this picture shows. Only in very special or limited situations are contactors mounted as you describe. The OP showed it mounted in the top of the can facing down, this should be corrected by removing the overloads that you don't need to be using, and don't need, then remount the contactor as the picture posted here shows, the extra energy to pull up and possible misalignment may be one reason for the noise of the contacts. As Garyhlucas said, check the contacts for good closure and clean if needed.
          Chris, I don't think you're correct on this. My 220v coil contactor is DEFINITELY meant to mount solenoid UP, my photo in the OP is upside down. The 24v one is probably meant to do the same, judging from the labeling on the front of the contactor unit. In any case, it's installed now. I think garyhlucas was 100% correct about dirt and rust, which is why my cycling the unit shook loose the debris and the only sound now is the transformer hum. It'll take a while to get used the that loud CLICK when I turn on the lights!
          Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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          • #35
            I have used a similar approach in two shops I have wired over the years. The attached circuit shows what is involved. It is powered from the light circuit.

            When the lights are on I depress the start button to turn on power to the shop tool circuits. The start button operates Relay 2 which is latched on. At the same time Relay 1 (large Contactor) is also operated. Power is now supplied to all the shop tool circuits.

            When I go home at night I turn off the lights and all power is removed. Or if I want to shut down power to the shop circuits I push the Stop button.

            The purpose of this approach has nothing to do with turning off tools. It has to do with safety. If I have a power hit (I get them), I do not want a tool just starting back up again. In the middle of a milling cut I would have the feed table taking off before the cutter comes up to speed. On my table saw I do not want the saw to stop and then start right up while I am feeding a board.

            Basically all I have done with one relay (R2), two bush button switches, and a contactor is create a magnetic starter concept. A magnetic starter cuts out with a power outage and needs to be restarted.

            Bob

            Click image for larger version

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