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How do I repair the electric brake on my mitersaw?

Q:

My mitersaw seems to take longer to wind down than it used to after making a cut. The blade is not loose, so it seems to be an issue with the electric brake. What can I do? 
—Miguel Reyes, Tempe, Arizona

A:

An electric brake should stop a mitersaw blade within two to three seconds, Miguel. The brake works by reversing the flow of electricity in the motor when you release the trigger. Over time, the brake can lose its effectiveness as a result of a dirty commutator, a failing armature, or a bad switch. But there’s a good chance the solution is even simpler: Replace the motor brushes (less than $20). If these carbon blocks have worn too short or aren’t seated properly, they won’t make good contact with the commutator. Allow the new brushes a short while to conform to the round commutator shaft, and your saw will be back to braking like normal.

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