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  • Power tool left out in rain

    I accidentally left my mitre saw out in the rain last night. I thouroughly dried it out by placing it in my small bathroom with a space heater for a few hours. I was wondering it if is safe to use?

  • #2
    If it doesn't violate your warranty, I'd pull off the shell surrounding the motor just to ensure that the moisture is gone and not condensing in the pockets of the housing, and then I'd probably take a hair dryer on the warm setting (not hot) to dry the windings. It is much harder to get the moisture out than it was getting it in there. If you can't or don't want to go to that length, I'd set it out on the deck or patio and let the sun get at it for a few days, just to be on the safe side! Bring it in at night or at least cover it then... but keep it uncovered when the sun is out.

    The rain probably won't damage anything by itself (corrosion) as the wiring, armature, etc. are all copper, brass, and epoxy and the bearings are usually sealed. However, electricity and moisture don't mix and you can definitely short the winding if you try to run it without it being completely dry.

    By example, we had a serious flood here years ago, and some of our shop equipment was under almost 20 ft of water. The remedy of most electric motors was to actually hose the dirt and mud out of them and then let them air dry over several days. Sometimes older style bearings had to be pulled, cleaned and repacked and lubed. Under such extreme havoc, similar care needs to be taken with brushes and armatures. Once dry, you can see that it wasn't the moisture as much as it was the dirt that got washed into such components. Rain water itself is pretty clean, and usually will dry without residue. The key is to ensure that electricity isn't applied until the motor is completely dry. (This also applies to radios, computers, and other electrical equipment and systems.

    CWS

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CWSmith:
      By example, we had a serious flood here years
      CWS
      Summer of '72, wasn't it? maybe '73? I drove a truck for NYSEG at the time. Remember seeing a sofa hanging about 20 feet up in a telephone pole in Corning.
      Lorax
      "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06

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      • #4
        Lorax,

        Yep, June 1972, Hurricane Agnes! I was living in Binghamton then and Ingersoll-Rand was one of my clients (I did their instruction manuals and parts catalogs as a technical illustrator/writer); I came to work for them directly in Jan. 1973.

        I came up to help with the accessment, a day or two after the water receded. One big mess. They had fire hoses all over the plant, hosing out the mud and debris. When I saw eight years of my illustrations being pushed out in the alley with a bulldozer (amongst the twisted iron of the shelving they used to be on), I didn't feel so good. But considering all the other misery that resulted, that was pretty trivial.

        One of the funniest things I saw was a big piece of plywood nailed up against a pole in front of some houses and on it was painted the words, "White Knight, where the hell are you when we need you?" (Remember, that was a popular Ajax commercial back in the early 70's, where a white knight would ride in and touch the dirty clothes with his lance, and everything turned glistening white.)

        CWS

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        • #5
          soak it down with wd-40 and you will be fine by the next day. WD actually is not a lube it is a Water Displacer

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          • #6
            IT DUMPED LAST NIGHT.WAS UP AT 3:30 AM TO THE SOUND OF HEAVYRAIN.
            WD 40 IS A GOOD TRICK. ALSO IF YOU HAVE A BLOWER OR FAN. COOL AIR. NO HEAT.PLACE THE AIR HOSE AROUND THE LOUVERS AT THE MOTOR. ALSO REMOVETHE BRUSHES IF THEY ARE EXTERNAL. THIS WILL ALLOW FOR THE CARBONS TO DRY OUT TOO. IF NOT EXPOSED BRUSHES DON'T WORRY. THE AIR MOVEMENT WILL DRY IT OUT FINE. THE SWITCH IS PROBABLY THE AREA YOU WANT TO SPRAY WITH WD40.

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