The Breaking Resistor: Electronic Wizardry or Not?
What does it do ?
The breaking resistor does not slow down the lathe any faster. What it will do is allow large pieces to be stopped in the same time as smaller pieces.
How does it work?
When you hit the stop button the drive takes energy from the piece and turns it into electricity and then into heat. If a piece has too much energy then the drive cannot convert it into heat fast enough - so it shuts down to protect itself. No damage to the lathe occurs, the piece will just freewheel to a stop and the drive will have to be reset. At this point you have two options to prevent it from tripping out again. First is to make sure that you are in the correct belt speed. Most problems with the lathe tripping out can be solved by putting the lathe into low gear. This puts the leverage back on the drive side so to speak and stops the problem. If you are already in low gear and the drive is tripping out you can put the brake time switch into the long position which changes decel from 4 seconds to 12 seconds. This will stop 99.9 percent of all pieces turned on a 2436 with the 44 inch outboard.
So why do we recommend it?
Well it tends to make the lathe stopping more or less bullet proof, it will stop any piece in any gear in 4 seconds. Hobby wood turners do not want irritation from their hobby machines and having a lathe trip out can be a real annoyance for some people. A lot of people buy options on the lathe just because they want the best. The people who most need the breaking resistor are professional woodturners for whom time is money. An extra 8 seconds spent braking larger pieces is 8 seconds of money they will never get back. There is also the benefit of taking heat away from the drive. The drive will last longer with the braking resistor installed. I cannot say how much longer as drive failures are few and far between (estimated 20 year lifespan) so this might not be a worthwhile consideration.
Does it need to be factory installed?
The braking resistor should be factory installed because it needs a different drive. To use a breaking resistor the drive needs a brake chopper circuit to be built in. This adds considerable cost to the drive, the braking resistor itself is cheap and easy to put in.
This being said, you can add it later but this requires replacing the drive - which can be very difficult for some people and is more costly as you will now have to purchase a second drive, and perhaps hire an electician to perform the wiring.
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