Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Deadman Footswitch - Short Product Review

Deadman Foot Switch
The cable that goes off to the right plugs into the wall.

I saw this MLCS 9080 Billy Pedal Footswitch on Amazon and thought “Hey, that would be great for my Dremel tool!”  Unfortunately, I completely forgot my wife got me a cordless Dremel for Christmas and I had already given my corded unit to my brother.  So, seeing as it was already on its way when I realized my error, I decided to try it out on my airbrush.

Holy crap!  This thing is awesome!  Being a “deadman switch” means that it only completes the circuit (allows electricity to pass through to whatever you have connected it to) when the pedal is pressed.  When you let up on the pedal, the power stops.  It really bothered me that my compressor was just churning away even when I wasn’t applying paint… this solves that probrem nicely.  It takes a bit to get the coordination down, but once you do, its really easy.

You can use it for nearly anything with a cord that needs less that 15A of current: a Dremel, a scroll saw, a drill press vacuum… any sort of corded power tool!  Plug it into the wall with the included 8’ cord and then plug what you want to control into the front.  I flip the compressor switch to “ON” and leave it there so all I have to do to get the compressor rolling when I need it is step on the pedal.  Let up on the pedal and the compressor shuts off.

Front of Pedal
This is where you plug in your equipment.

It also brings an important bit of added safety to your workbench equation, as well.  For instance, if you are using a corded Dremel in conjunction with this footswitch and accidentally drop the Dremel, all you have to do is step off the pedal and the Dremel will shut off.  Conversely, if you drop the cordless Dremel, it just keeps going until you pick it up and find the off/speed switch.  I for one do not like picking up live power tools.

This thing is super handy but there is one drawback: it tends to travel across the floor if you step on it a lot.  I think I’m going to have to mount it to a piece of wood with a textured bottom to combat this.

For around $20.00 US, it’s a fair deal for how handy it is and the added safety.

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