From my personal experiences of owning an electric chainsaw as well as a gas chainsaw, I have enjoyed the benefits that the electric models offer me. However, I was not the most confident about the electric chainsaw when I first decided to buy one.
Using them over time has helped me understand them better and cleared many doubts about this tool in the past.
One of them was Do electric chainsaws overheat? Electric chainsaws tend to overheat when used extensively, or when they are not assembled properly. This could be due to a loose part that missed while assembling the saw or a lack of lubrication that creates heat due to friction between parts.
All machines that operate with moving fixed parts tend to overheat, especially during long usage. Electric chainsaws are susceptible to this as well, but it is more likely due to the improper functioning of their various parts.
This can however be fixed by having a regular maintenance schedule and taking proper care during storage and usage. In this article, we will discuss various aspects of electric chainsaw overheating, including its causes and ways to prevent it from happening.
I hope that by the end of this article, you will have enough knowledge to solve the issue if it ever arises.
Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links.
Why do Electric Chainsaws Overheat?
There are various reasons for overheating electric chainsaws, there are very few moving parts inside them unlike the gas-powered chainsaw, but this doesn’t mean electric chainsaws cannot overheat. Here are some of the possible reasons for overheating.
Long run times
All machines, especially those that have moving parts need to be given some time to cool down. This is because there is a gradual heat build-up within the internal housing of the saw due to friction, which converts the motion of the blade into heat energy.
If you run your electric chainsaw for too long, you can face a similar issue. This is not only harmful to our motor but can cause sensitive internal components like electronics and wiring to get burned, which will require major repairs as a result.
Tightness of the chain
The chain is the main moving part of an electric chainsaw. As a result, it is the major source of resistance for the motor and can lead to several issues related to the overheating of your machine.
An overly tightened chain is a common reason for overheating. Due to this, there is increased friction between the chain and the bar, which increases the heat generated. Over time, this can lead to overheating in the chain
This may come as a surprise to some, but a loose chain can also cause overheating. It increases the amount of resistance as your motor has to deliver more power than normal to keep the chain moving.
The extra work can lead to improper transfer of energy, which can lead to overheating. So, read the manual first and tighten up the chain properly.
Insufficient chain oil
Since the chain blade moves at such high speeds to cut through tough materials like wood, there is a lot of friction that produces heat.
As a result, the engine is designed to spray small amounts of oil on every pass of the chain to ensure it is well lubricated, which prevents overheating.
When there is not enough oil, the lubrication does not take place effectively, causing your chainsaw to overheat eventually.
So, keep sure there is a proper amount of oil inside it, and if it has oil but is still overheating, then you need to open that up. Sometimes the pipe connecting the container to the chain is broken and causes an oil leak.
Lack of ventilation
Since the motors are running at high speeds, electric chainsaws need a certain amount of airflow to keep the motor cool. If you are working in an area that is densely surrounded by trees and buildings, you may not have the best ventilation.
Over long periods of use, the motor will not cool down enough, which can eventually lead to overheating. So, take some rest and give the saw rest and time to cool down.
Dull teeth on the chain blade
Every electric chainsaw has a motor designed to produce a maximum output, which takes into account the sharpness of the blade teeth as well. These teeth become blunt over hours of usage, causing them to lose their sawing ability.
As a result, the motor might be stressed and overworked, which reduces the cutting efficiency. If the teeth are very dull, you could eventually cause your motor to overheat. If this is the cause, then buy a new chain or sharpen the old one which can take a lot of time.
Power cord rating
If you are using a corded electric chainsaw, then you may have connected it to a power cord to increase your range outdoors. However, chainsaws are powerful tools that draw a lot of currents, as a result of which they must be connected to 15 amp sockets.
If you connect them to lower-powered sockets, the larger current will cause your plug to overheat, which will burn out the plug and power cord as well. So, keep checking on the power limit of the extension cord, and then use it. This can also damage the electronics of your saw.
How to tell if the chainsaw is getting overheated?
There are many ways by which you can tell that your saw is overheated or not, just by taking your palm and by touching it, but the body of the chainsaws is made up of non conducting materials to prevent any kind of current leak.
So, you have to keep some points in check to determine whether your saw is overheating or not, because sometimes you cannot tell just by touching the saw. Here are some of the points that you can keep in mind while using your electric saw.
If your chainsaw is struggling to cut through wood or materials that it is equipped to handle, then there is a slight chance that your chain and bar may be getting overheated.
This drop can be sudden or gradual depending on the extent of overheating. Or if you are feeling that your saw is not working like it did when it was new, then there might be some chances that there are some overheating issues with it.
Increased cutting times
Electric chainsaws help you cut down trees and other tough objects at a rapid pace. However, if you find yourself taking more time than normal to get the job done, then you might have to put the machine down as it may have overheated.
You have to open it up and then look for overheating signs like blacked-out parts, or the motor is too warm to touch. You have to check it properly before using it because it can damage the motor or saw if you continue to use it without repairing it.
All motors are provided with an internal fan and ventilation to allow the heat to dissipate while the electric chainsaw is in operation.
If you feel hot air coming out of the vents or the fan working harder than normal, then you may have an overheated machine. Sometimes these fans might get clogged up with dust and dirt, you have to clean them as well.
Sounds are a great way to identify if your motor is overheated. The first type of sound to watch out for is that of the motor.
The motor tends to make a high-pitched whiny sound when it is being forced to work harder. It can also be produced when the motor and the chain are disengaged, allowing the motor to spin freely.
Another sign to look out for is a clanging sound that is caused by metal to metal rubbing. This means there is not enough lubrication between moving parts. The resulting increase in friction can lead to overheating of the chain and bar.
Electrical short circuits
Loose wiring and faulty connections can cause internal components to short circuit. In some cases, you can easily spot a glowing internal cable due to the higher than normal current flow.
In rare cases, the sound of sparking from within the motor housing is proof that there is a major short circuit in your electric chainsaw.
Heated wood chips
When the chain of an overheated electric chainsaw cuts through the wood, some of the heat is transferred to the wood as well. If you notice burnt wood chips that may be discolored, then you likely have a machine that has become overheated.
Discoloration and disfiguration
If your electric chainsaw has overheated, it can cause the metal components to change color and get darker. This is a tell-tale sign that your machine is running very hot and you need to stop using it right away.
The plastic around the motor bearings can also melt or change shape due to overheating. As a result, you can personally feel the heat on the handles and can also notice discoloration at the same time.
The most obvious sign of an overheated electric chainsaw is when you see smoke coming from the machine. If it is thick and dark, with an unusual smell, it means you need to stop using your machine right away to prevent causing a fire.
If your electric chainsaw has displayed any one of the above signs and then stops abruptly, then it is most likely that you have had an overheating problem.
This happens in some models where manufacturers provide overheating protection to prevent damage to sensitive internal components.
How to Prevent Electric Chainsaws from Overheating?
You can prevent the overheating issue of your chainsaw if you are not facing it right now. There might be some chances that you can face this problem in the future, so it will be great to be prepared.
Here are various ways that you can use to prevent your electric saw from overheating:
- Check the chain tension
Ensure that your chain is not too tight or loose to prevent overheating due to increased resistance. To make sure of this, tighten the chain to a level that is suitable for you and within the manufacturer’s specifications.
Ensure that the clearance you get between the bar and the chain when you pull at it is just enough for a nickel to slide through.
- Clean the chain adjustment
The chain adjustment is a part that is susceptible to getting jammed due to wooden chips or other objects getting stuck.
Ensure that before you operate the electric chainsaw, your chain adjustment is clear of all these obstacles which will increase friction and cause overheating while in use.
- Check the teeth
Check the teeth of your electric chainsaw and make sure that they are sharp. This will allow you to use the machine more efficiently and prevent the motor from having to work harder to cut through tougher materials, preventing overheating issues as a result.
- Use the correct oil
Every product will have its own recommended grade of lubricating oil to keep the machine running smoothly. If you use the wrong oil, you may end up with a chain and bar that is not smooth enough.
Not only does this affect performance, but leads to overheating due to the increased friction between the moving parts.
- Use the correct power cord
All corded electric chainsaws are provided with 15 amp plugs to allow for the higher draw of current. Ensure that you are using a similarly rated power cord to prevent your plug from burning out due to overheating.
Another mistake you can avoid is connecting your chainsaw to a train of power cords plugged into each other. While this may help increase the range of your machine, it increases the current drawn. This leads to the motor burning out due to overload.
- Proper storage and maintenance
Ensure that you store your electric chainsaw in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment such as a garage. This helps the machine run efficiently when used and allows you to prolong its life, apart from avoiding issues related to overheating.
Keep the machine away from water or wet areas. This will help you prevent internal short circuits, which can lead to overheating. Also, ensure that maintenance is carried out regularly. This will help you spot issues that could potentially cause overheating in the future.
Can an Overheated Electric Chainsaw be Fixed? Electric chainsaws have relatively fewer parts compared to gas-powered chainsaws. However, an inexperienced user may find it difficult to pinpoint the reason why the overheating is happening.
If the motor is overheated, you may have to let it cool down for a while. If not, you may need some basic repairs which can be easily done by yourself. If the bar or chain is overheated then you can change it with a new one.
If an electrical component is damaged because of overheating, then it is better to contact the manufacturer and request a replacement part or send it to them for repairs.
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