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Warco 250WM Lathe - Speed readout problem

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SeagoMac08/04/2019 20:35:13
1 forum posts

I had a problem where on pressing the start button the motor would not run however there was power as the speed display showed '0.0' see video below.

I tested the motor and it ran on an applied DC voltage. In the end I narrowed it down to the 'Start/Stop' switch. Terminals 13 & 14 were not making a connection when the start button was pressed. I ordered a new switch from Warco and fitted it. The motor now runs and I get a variable speed using the pot on the front. However I have now lost the speed output on the LED display!

I know that it is not the variable speed control board as I got Warco to send me a new one and swapping that out made no difference.

Anyone had similar problems?

Mick B109/04/2019 09:36:19
1857 forum posts
92 photos

Very occasionally mine reads (IIRC) 000.0.

It generally goes away when I switch off the power and on again. Once I had to wipe the pulley at the back end of the spindle where the thing wot triggers the sensor is, and maybe I wiped the sensor thing too.

Pete Hatchett17/05/2019 11:08:41
1 forum posts

Hi, I had the same problem which seemed to be caused by grease on the magnet which generates the speed "pulse". This is on the rear of the spindle pulley. Wiped it clean, now fine.

SillyOldDuffer17/05/2019 12:50:48
7027 forum posts
1549 photos

Most likely messing about testing the motor and fitting a new switch has dislodged a wire. I have a WM280 which may be similar inside.

First, as suggested by others, check and clean the sensor (silver object with red led and black wire) mounted on the change-gear end of the spindle:


Your sensor may look different, but the wire is a giveaway. Note where the wire enters the headstock in case cleaning grease / swarf, doesn't fix the problem. The sensor is actuated by a small block magnet stuck to the splndle, at least one, maybe 2. It's unlikely but make sure the magnet hasn't fallen off.

Behind the front panel you should find the tachometer power supply, on mine it's part of the mains filter, green board mounted on the floor of the headstock.


As the display is working, the problem is unlikely to be due to a power supply problem. Note however the large black cable bundled together and plugged into the rear of the tachometer/display mounted on the aluminium front panel (bottom right of photo): this is the sensor input. Make sure it's plugged in properly.

Another view of the tachometer board, on mine the red/black pair are low voltage DC power, and the green/white pair are the sensor input.


The wiring of my lathe isn't arranged as a tight loom fixed firmly inside the headstock, rather the various parts are wired point to point and tidied up by gathering with a few nylon cable ties. This simple arrangement makes the lathe vulnerable to dislodged connections due to pulling on wires elsewhere on the machine, for example when your switch was investigated. In the worst case, a board could be damaged by pulling a plug hard in the wrong direction, but considerable force would be needed.   It's all simple enough to replace if need be.

Hope that helps,


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 17/05/2019 12:54:38

Ron Gregory02/03/2021 17:31:33
2 forum posts


I believe your speed problem is the same as the one on my Mill and looking at the pics the parts seem familiar.

The resetting by switching on and off is also the same symptoms. MIne did that for at least year but has failed completely now with just a 0.0 rpm being displayed.

I am trying to work out if the pickup is a Hall Effect switch or an inductive pickup.

Can anyone confirm if when the shaft is turned that the led switches on and off? That would seem to confirm the pickup is hall effect?

The only reason I can see for the pickup to be powered is just to light the LED so it could be true for both types.

In any case mine does not switch even when removed from the machine. I have ordered a new display because in the process of fault diagnosing my display also died completely.


Bo'sun03/03/2021 12:00:40
390 forum posts

I must admit, the magnets and pick-up do seem a bit vulnerable to contamination. It doesn't look to be the smartest design. Has anybody thought about some sort of cover, maybe using the pick-up bracket, or cable clip screws to secure it. Clearly not possible to get full coverage, and make it easy to remove, but as a famous supermarket says "every little helps".

noel shelley03/03/2021 13:03:54
483 forum posts
14 photos

The magnet and sensor can be effected by swarf or iron dust, so clean both. Some sensor heads have a small LED in the end, beside the wire. This will just glow when powered up and increase in brightness when the magnet causes it to switch. Noel.

Ron Gregory05/03/2021 23:36:39
2 forum posts

Well in answer to my question. My sensor was duff. It was locked on all the time and now I have a new sensor I can see that the light comes on when inline with a magnet. When the magnet moves past the sensor the light goes off. This can be seen by moving the spindle by hand. And the proof is that my rpm is back.

I still do not know what type of pickup it is but have since learned that hall effect sensors need power for the internal electronics as well as the LED. There is a good chance that it is in fact hall effect but now that it is working again it is of less interest.

The sensor and display are the same items as fitted to the WM290 lathe. Hopefully this information may be of use to someone else looking at the same problem.

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