Guide to Dust Extractor Remote and Automatic Controls

Why is dust extraction important?

Effective dust extraction systems are important in any environment where dust is generated and offer a range of benefits including:

  • Health - Exposure to dust can lead to health problems. The harmful effects vary from local skin irritation to occupational asthma and lung diseases. Dust is not always an obvious hazard, because the particles which cause the most damage are often invisible to the naked eye. The health effects of exposure can take years to develop.
  • Health and safety compliance - Employers have a duty under COSHH to ensure that the exposure of employees to substances hazardous to health is prevented or, if this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled. The HSE provide general guidance on dust in the workplace here and guidance on woodworking here.
  • Improved tool performance - Tools such as planers and thicknesser are adversely affected by the build up of wood chips and dust. 
  • Reduced cleaning - Without an extraction system, fine wood dust can quickly cover everything in a workshop, requiring significant cleaning time. The process of cleaning up dust leads to further exposure to the health risks.

How do I design an effective system?

Designing a dust extraction system requires an understanding of a range of issues including the types of extractor available and how to calculate the air flow required.

Whilst not covered within this guide, further information can be found from these excellent sources (N.B. We have no affiliation to the sites and include them purely as interesting reading):

Why should I consider remote or automatic control of an extractor?

Using one of our workshop controls to turn on your dust extractor either automatically when machinery is operated, or by remote control, has a range of benefits:

  • Reduces the inconvenience and wasted time turning the extractor on/off, particularly in workshops where it is some distance from the machinery being used.
  • Reduces dust, improving the workshop environment.
  • Saves power by running the extractor only when needed.
  • Reduces noise.
  • Reduces heating bills (where extractor vents outside).

How are Tough Leads extractor controls different to others on the market?

As avid hobby woodworkers ourselves, the first prototype automatic extractor control was designed for use in our own workshop. After six months of refinement the unit was made available on our website and quickly proved popular. We emailed every customer purchasing a control to seek feedback, which was used to further develop the range. Each little feature has been designed with the user in mind, from long robust cables and clear indicators, to switches which can be operated when wearing gloves.

When seeking feedback, customers often told us about previous controllers they've tried from DIY plug in remote sockets to purpose designed units. All seemed to have the same issue; over time they burnt out. The relay used to turn the power on/off in domestic type remote switches are great for controlling resistive loads such as a lamp or TV. However, tools with a motor create an inductive load (further explanation of load types can be found here). Turning on an inductive load does not cause an issue. However, when the relay contacts open to turn it off, the stored inductive energy in the motor coil is discharged, resulting in a damaging arc across the terminals. Over time this can result in failure of the relay.

All of our extractor controls (excluding DoL units) use a contactor instead of a relay to switch the extractor, to provide years of reliable service. Contactors work using the same principle as a relay, but they are much larger with significantly bigger contacts, making them far better suited to switching higher current inductive loads. The contrast in size between a contactor and a typical relay is illustrated below:

How can I tell which type of control I need?

The type of on/off control on the extractor will determine which remote/automatic units are compatible. The table below provides guidance on identifying each type. If you are unsure, email us either a picture or details of the extractor make/model and we will do our best to advise.

 Type Description Suitable Controls

Simple on/off Switch

 

Rocker or push switch.

When left in the ON position, if the mains power is turn off, the unit will power up as soon as the power is switched back on.

Plug in Dust Extractor Remote Control Switch

Automatic Dust Extractor Control 230v 13A

Automatic Dust Extractor Control 110v 16A

No Volt Release Switch (NVR)

 

1x Red and 1x green button which are generally close together and part of one self-contained component. Fitted within the tool casing, or in a separate attached box.

May make a quiet clicking sound when turned on/off.

If the mains power is turn off, the unit will not power up when it is switched back on, until the green button is pressed. For this reason, the NVR must be bypassed for the control to work.

Plug in Dust Extractor Remote Control Switch

Automatic Dust Extractor Control 230v 13A

Automatic Dust Extractor Control 110v 16A

DoL Motor Starter

 

1x Red and 1x green button. Unlike the NVR, the buttons are spaced further apart. Each button is a distinctly separate component and more likely to be fitted within a separate enclosure. 

Within the enclosure will be a large  separate contactor and often an overload relay.

Makes a audible clunk sound when turned on/off.

Basic Remote Control for Extractors with a DoL Starter

Professional Remote Control for Extractors with a DoL Starter

  

Remote Controls

Remote controls switch the extractor on/off when a wireless button is pressed. They are ideal when extractor ducting feeds multiple machines and for battery power tools which cannot trigger an automatic sensor.

Plug in Dust Extractor Remote Control Switch

The plug in remote control is available with a 13A UK, 110v and 230v 16A IEC60309 (Commando) connectors. It provides a simple solution for controlling dust extractors which plug into the mains and have a simple power switch or NVR. They are not suitable for use with a DoL motor starter.

Pressing the on button on any of the remote controls turns the unit on, and pressing the off button on any remote turns it off. The unit is available with the option of an adjustable time delay, which powers the extractor for a set time after any off button is pressed.

Basic Remote Control for Extractors with a DoL Starter

The conundrum of how to add a remote control to a dust extractor with a DoL motor starter is one which has been debated on online forums for many years. Our remote control modules provide a simple solution. The unit must be hard wired into the DoL starter.  

Pressing the on button on any of the remote controls causes the unit to close the start circuit, mimicking the action of someone pressing the start button on the DoL starter. Pressing the off button on any remote mimics the stop button being pressed on the DoL starter. The manual start and stop buttons still continue to function on the DoL starter, and can be used interchangeably with the remote buttons.

Available as a module to be installed with the DoL starter enclosure, or as a pre-wired unit ready to install separately.

 

 

 

 

Professional Remote Control for Extractors with a DoL Starter

The professional DoL starter remote control provides the ideal solution for the control of larger extractors in commercial workshops. The unit must be hard wired into the DoL starter, which can be single or three phase of any rating (N.B. a neutral is required). The remote system can control anything from a small workshop unit, to one the size of a small house!

      Dust Extraction System for Wood Waste Extraction

Pressing the on button on any of the remote controls causes the unit to close the start circuit for a short pulse, mimicking the action of someone pressing the start button on the DoL starter. Pressing the off button on any remote creates a pulse which mimics the stop button being pressed on the DoL starter. The manual start and stop buttons still continue to function on the DoL starter, and can be used interchangeably with the remote buttons.

The professional control has the following additional features when compared to the basic unit:

  • Adjustable off delay, to ensure that extraction pipes are clear before the extractor powers down. The unit can be user configured to alter the delay, or remove it completely.
  • The unit generates 0.5 second (adjustable) pulsed switching, to ensure that manual controls will always work and the unit cannot become come stuck in an on or off position.
  • Twist to release stop button to comply with workshop safety requirements.
  • Indicator which illuminates green when a remote start button is pressed and red the stop button is pressed.

This YouTube video made by Bradshaw Joinery helpfully shows the unit being installed. Further instructions have been added to the user manual on adjusting and removing the time delay following feedback from the video.

Automatic Controls

Automatic controls have a sensor which detects when a mains powered tool is turned on (e.g. a table saw starts) and automatically turns on the dust extractor. Unlike other units which require individual sensors to be placed on power tool motors, tools simply plug into the socket of the control, which senses power being drawn. Not suitable for use with battery powered tools.

Automatic Dust Extractor Control 230v 13A

Simply plug the unit into a 230v 13A socket, and then connect the vacuum/dust extractor to the single socket and power tools to the 2 or 4 gang socket. The sockets can be mounted above a workbench, enabling multiple tools to control one extractor.

When any of the power tools is turned on, the extractor will start. When the last tool is turned off, the extractor will stop after the set off delay (adjustable, supplied set to 10 seconds).  

Rotary switch selects whether the output socket is permanently off, permanently on or automatically controlled.

Automatic Dust Extractor Control 110v 16A

110v version of our popular automatic controller, originally developed for a hire company specialising in mortar extraction tools, who required a robust unit for use on site. The extractor and power tool are supplied by separate 16A plugs, which must be connected to a 110v safety isolating transformer. 

When the connected power tools is turned on, the extractor will start. When the last tool is turned off, the extractor will stop after the set off delay (adjustable, supplied set to 10 seconds).  

All of our dust extractor controls are manufactured in our UK workshop.