A while back when I was at Black and Decker University for a Delta Woodworking class we got to tour the R&D areas. I asked them about brushless motors on tools, they told us something was in the works. And after they cleared it with the higher ups and made us all sign non-disclosure agreements they showed us a prototype sander with a yellow body and a brushless motor. (Since the item is now available I think its okay to talk about it, if its not I’m sure I’ll be getting a letter from their lawyers.) Now here it is a little more than a year later and I see that sander again. This time with a grey body, the Porter Cable 390 Series of 5″ Random Orbit Sanders. Now I wanted to verify that this was that same brushless sander that I had previously seen so I started reading through the marketing literature and they do not reference it as a brushless motor, they reference it as a Duratech Motor. A search of the schematic revealed that there were not brushes on the parts list or shown in the breakdown. So I called up our rep and asked him point blank. And he was able to verify that yes that tool in fact does have a brushless motor! Eureka I’d discovered the truth. Now my next question is, since brushless motors are so efficient can we expect an 18v cordless sander to come from DeWalt soon?
The 390 series low profile sanders are available in 4 options:
* The Model 390 - 5″ Low Profile Random Orbit Sander w/ Dust Collection and a Hook and Loop Pad
* The Model 390K - 5″ Low Profile Random Orbit Sander w/ Dust Collection and a Hook and Loop Pad and a blow molded Kit Box
* The Model 392 - 5″ Low Profile Random Orbit Sander w/ PSA Pad and a Dust Collection Port.
* The Model 394 - 5″ Low Profile Random Orbit Sander w/ Dust Collection and a Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) Pad
But here are some of the specs and features on that tool culled from various sources: The 5″ Low Profile Random Orbit Sander from Porter Cable (390) provides the high quality performance you expect from Porter Cable. The new developments and technologies used in the 3.5 Amp EnduraTech Motor provide increased performance and durability including 42% faster removal of material and a 5-10x longer motor life. The low profile design couples with ergonomic grips gives you better control on your projects. The integral dust port accepts 1″ and 1-1/2″ vacuum hoses and allows you to collect dust as you work keeping your workpiece clean.
* 5″ Low Profile Random Orbit Sander with Hook & Loop Pad
* 3.5 Amp EnduraTech Motor for increased performance and durability
* The motor is brushless which extends tool life by as much as 10 times
* Electronic Load Control for 42% faster material removal
* EnduraTech motor technology has 71% fewer wear components for 5-10x longer motor life
* Electronic motor brake reduces spin-down time by 73% for increased productivity
* Mechanical pad brake reduces free-spin to virtually eliminate gouging
* Low profile design reduces sander height by 31% for better control and finish
* Variable-speed, 7,000 – 12,000 OPM for optimal removal rate on a variety of materials
* Optimized ergonomics with rubber grip for comfort and control
* Integral dust port accepts 1″ and 1-1/2″ vacuum hoses for optimal dust collection
* Amps: 3.5 Amps
* Orbits/Min: 7,000-12,000 opm
* Tool Height: 4 inches
* Abrasive Type: Hook & Loop or PSA
More information may be available at the Porter Cable site. I must say it is about time they updated sander technology to utilize brushless motor technology, I think that the efficiency of brushless motors are important in this THINK GREEN society that we are becoming. Coupled with the amazing run times of Lithium Ion Batteries this could be the beginning of the next generation of power tools. Update: I guess I should have just watched the video. They go into nice detail about the motor, they even show a cut away, damn that thing is sexy.