The Earthwise Wood Chipper

I had a huge pile of sticks and brush that I needed to do something with, so I decided to purchase an electric wood chipper.  Even though this had mixed reviews, I decided on the Earthwise GS70015 Chipper/Shredder.  There were a few reviews about it not turning back on for a few people, but I figured they might be pushing it too hard, overheating the motor, etc.

Earthwise GS70015 Chipper/Shredder

After chipping two bins I opened up the top to clear a branch, closed it back up, and it wouldn’t turn back on. I checked the breaker, let it sit for a few minutes, and tried again but no luck. I then opened and tried securing the top, again with no luck. I noticed there was an interlock switch that makes sure the top has been secured to allow it to turn on, and given I had just opened it up before it stopped working this was highly suspect.
I decided it was worth a shot to take this interlock switch assembly apart to see if it was the issue, and turns out this is exactly the source. The switch itself has a cover over it to prevent liquid, dust, etc. to enter from the top, but under this assembly where the actual switch is there is NO protection of the actual switch.
When I opened this assembly I found that after only 2 bins of chipped material this area was already covered with dust. The switch is a simple sliding plunger that goes into the switch body. Whenever that switch is opened and closed, it allows dust to enter the switch body. If enough (and apparently not very much) material gets inside the switch body, then the contacts will be covered and it won’t be able to make electrical contact.

Interlock switch assembly.
Interlock switch with dust on plunger.

After verifying the issue with a DMM, I bypassed this interlock switch (reducing safety but increasing functionality) and was back in business. It worked for more than 2 more hours after this with no more on/off issues.

Switch bypassed by connecting both wires to the same terminal.

This really seems like a design oversight, unless their switch vendor/design changed recently and the change hadn’t been validated. While less safe, aside from this fatal design flaw, it operated very well and I cleared a large pile of branches rather quickly.

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