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Wise Buys: Dust Collector Remote Controls

Shop Fox
Why buy? You've probably more than once made a quick cut at your tablesaw or jointed an edge without turning on your dust collector, just to avoid walking across the shop to turn on the collector. That's where a radio-frequency remote controller comes in

Shop Fox, D3038

110-volt model (shown)
220-volt model (D3346)

Editor test-drive:
In my crowded basement shop I have to bob and weave across the room just to get to the dust collector. Then I have to bend and reach over the blower to flip the switch, which is mounted about 16" off the floor. It's terribly inconvenient. Now I use a Shop Fox remote to turn it on from anywhere in the shop. It even works from two rooms away despite dividing walls. I especially like that it comes with two remotes, but did not like the dangly clips because every time I reached for the remote I had to spin the unit to find the switch. Instead, I removed the clips and applied hook-and-loop patches to one unit as well as my tablesaw's rip fence, so it's always within reach. I attached a metal disc to the other so it grabs onto a magnetic belt clip.
-- Tested by Jan Svec, Projects Editor

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Penn State Long Ranger III, LR110-3

110- volt model (shown)
220-volt model (LR220-3)

Editor test-drive:
My dust collector is really loud, so I don't like to leave it running. That soon became a lazy, messy habit as I found myself not using it often enough unless machining a lot of stock. Now with the Long Ranger remote I use my collector every time I fire up a machine. Turns out, the remote doesn't have to be pointed directly at the wall unit as with my TV remote. It worked consistently from inside the house, through walls, out in the pole barn, and--because I wanted to see just how "long range" it really is--from my driveway 330' away. You can buy a second remote ($20) that's reprogrammable for the same controller.

--Tested by Kevin Boyle, Senior Design Editor

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Long Ranger

Fernbrook Smart Switch, DK2202XT

110-volt model (DK1101XT)
220-volt model (shown)

Editor test-drive:
With the Fernbrook system a single remote controls both the dust collector and air-filtration unit. For $50 the basic unit controls the dust collector; to add air-filtration control (or even an exhaust fan) you need to buy an accessory 110-volt outlet for single-speed machines (like mine) or a toggle switch -- that replaces your outlet -- for variable-speed air cleaners ($30-$40 each). With the latter, you can then control the air cleaner's speed with the remote as well.
I hooked up my 220-volt collector to the Smart Switch and had it running in just a few minutes. For the air cleaner I had to replace a wall outlet with the RM1102 Relay Module -- essentially just changing outlets. Now I run both machines whenever necessary, for as long as required, with just a touch on the remote. And, it even works from up to 200' away.
-- Tested by Pat Lowry, Technical Consultant

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Long Ranger Multigate System, LRMSET220

110-volt model #LRMSET110

220-volt model (shown)

Editor test-drive:
I've had a remote control on my 3-hp dust collector for years, but -- just like with the TV in my living room -- the remote often comes up missing. With Penn State's MultiGate System there's no need for a remote because the metal blast gates turn the collector on and off when I open and close them, something to be done anyway. It took about two hours to install the control unit and five gates and connect them with 22-gauge wire. It's really simple, even if you don't do much electrical work. I like that the gates have an open slot, so they push stray chips out the back upon closing rather than causing the gate to jam. The base system comes with the relay box, one gate, and 100' of wire. Extra gates cost only $11 each, and an extra 100' of wire costs $10.
-- Tested by Randy Zimmerman, Technical Consultant

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Shop Fox
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