The hard ducting is all in place and now it is time to attach the Long Ranger multi-gate switching system. It is a fairly simple idea. You attach a low voltage micro-switch to each blast gate, and wire all of them, in parallel, back to the control box. You plug the dust collector into the box and the box into the 220V outlet. The kit came from Penn State Industries, just like the duct work. It came with the controller, 100′ of 22 gauge wire, connectors, wire nuts and a blast gate. I purchased another 8 switched gates to go along with it. I estimated that the 100′ roll of wire would be more than enough for my small system.
I attached the wire to each switch with the included wire nuts, then ran the wire along the duct to the next drop or intersection. I held the wire in place with a bit of aluminum tape. I was going to wrap the wire around the pipe as I went, but I thought that would use up a lot of wire.
I proceeded to connect up each duct in parallel, then tied all three runs together before running them out to the garage.
I crimped two connectors to the ends and attached a mounting block to the wall.
I screwed the connectors on and plugged it all in. Guess how much wire I had left over from that 100′ roll. About 14″, I was sweating it at the end, thinking I wouldn’t quite have enough to reach the switch.
I went back into the shop to test it out. I pulled open a blast gate and heard a click, then nothing. That was when I realized that the momentary switch wouldn’t work this way. I left the gate open and turned the collector on with my remote and it came on. Then I closed the blast gate and it shut down. So the switches work and the controller worked, but the switch, on the collector needed to be on before it would fire up. I talked to a few electrical guys at work and they suggested various ways to hard wire the switch on the dust collector to stay on, but they all sounded a bit invasive and I assumed that re-wiring the thing would void the warranty. After pondering the problem all day at work, I came up with a possible solution. The push button switch just needed to be engaged, so I inserted a 3/4″ dowel onto the switch, pressed it in, and spring clamped it in place. Presto, the blast gate switches now work perfectly. A triumph of redneck engineering. I welcome more professional advice, this was just the safest solution that I could think of.
With the system online, I finished connecting up all the flex lines from the tools to the blast gates.
I found Penn State Industries’ flexible hoses to be far too rigid for any of my more mobile tools or for any sharp bends. I resorted to using my old flex lines that I got in a Delta kit, several years ago. Some of the drops, like the one near the lathe and the miter saw, are just hanging for easy clean-up. When I come up with a better way to collect around those devices, I will attach them. Now, I just have to clean up the huge mess that I created when installing everything. I can barely walk through the garage anymore. Might be time for a dump run…