The great thing about an electric log splitter is the energy used to split the wood is free when living with solar energy. I would never trade my electric log splitter for a gas one. I don’t want another gas motor to maintain and pay for the fuel to operate it. My electric log splitter may perform slower and at times have less power for the task at hand, but it is better than swinging the old maul and still far less cheaper than a gasoline log splitter.
But, when the electric log splitter dies and I don’t have the fire wood in yet, three possibilities come to mind: return to swinging the maul, fix it, or buy a new one. I realized that I have been aggressive with my Homelite electric log splitter over the past three years. I have violated almost every recommendation in the user’s manual. The most egregious for this breakdown was most likely using an extension cord with a gauge too small to handle the power draw. The poor log splitter was drawing power from a 12 gauge 100 ft. electric cord while requiring a constant draw of 15 -18 amps. A simile would better explain. The log splitter is like a person drinking a 32-ounce soda through a plastic stir stick instead of a straw. It was starving for power. I knew I would have to buy a larger gauge outdoor extension cord, 10-gauge minimum for the 100 ft run to the wood shed.
Unfortunately, I was too late with the new cord. The log splitter would sputter to life momentarily, flip the breaker, and cease to run. At first I thought maybe it was the breaker, after reading some Internet posts about it. I ordered a new breaker and once I replaced it; the splitter behaved slightly better, but the breaker would still flip after a few minutes of running.
I began looking around the electrical wiring and noticed the capacitor was bulging on one side. I began looking into bench testing capacitors and behold, I found my problem. The splitter’s capacitor was definitely weak and failing. Once I replaced the capacitor, the problems ceased and the log splitter was once again running like new and more powerful than it has been in a long time. The new power was obviously from the replaced capacitor, but I also realized how much better the splitter performed with the new 10-gauge outdoor extension cord I also purchased.
I created this short video to give a run down on the problem and the part I had to replace to get the log splitter operational again.
So, if you have an electric log splitter and it is having a difficult time engaging the ram and flips the breaker each time it tries to engage, the capacitor may be toast. If the capacitor shows any sign of bulging, chances are very high that the capacitor is the problem. You can also test the capacitor with a volt meter to get a general idea if it is performing correctly.
The cost to repair and trouble shoot this problem with my electric log splitter was as follows…
Breaker =$13.37 (not needed), *Capacitor = $24.03, 10-gauge outdoor extension cord = $139.00 for a grand total of $176.40. However, to purchase a new Homelite electric log splitter would have been $299.00, plus $139.00 for the extension cord. I would still purchase the 10-gauge extension cord so I would not repeat the same mistake again. However, buying new, the expensive option, would have been $438.00.
*I included the link to the capacitor that needed replacing. The company I purchased it from, eReplacement Parts, is not the cheapest out there on the Internet, but their shipping was within 4 days to N. Idaho, which was good enough for me and dependable.