One of the benefits of having a Pro-level dust extractor is auto tool activation. It allows the extractor to start automatically when it senses power running to the tool you plug into it. But there are some limitations that come along with it on a couple of fronts. Tackling this issue with technology, the Makita AWS, or Auto-Start Wireless System took shape.
Makita AWS Auto-Start Wireless System
Cordless Auto Tool Activation
If you’re using a cordless tool, you’re not connecting to your dust extractor as a power source. You have no power cord that can draw current through a tool-actuated outlet. In short—the extractor has no idea if and when it should turn on.
AWS technology is brilliantly simple. Makita puts a Bluetooth chip in both the tool and dust extractor. Once you pair them, the tool sends a start signal to the extractor when you pull the trigger. Let go of the trigger, and you get the typical 5-second run delay to clear the vacuum hose before the extractor shuts off again. You can pair as many as 10 AWS tools to one AWS-equipped dust extractor or vacuum.
At the STAFDA 2017 convention in Austin, Texas, we got our first look at Makita AWS during its unveiling. Since then, we’ve used the system extensively with dust extractors, vacuums, miter saws, rotary hammers, and more.
The tools remain paired and ready for reactivation after you stop using them. That saves you from having to go through a lengthy repairing process each time you want to get to work.
The new Makita AWS Universal Adapter has the ability to connect corded vacs with tool activation to your AWS tools, even if it isn’t a Makita vacuum. It connects using the same chip as AWS tools and vacuums. The kit even includes the chip to add to your tool.
To use it, just plug the Makita AWS wireless adapter into the tool activation outlet on any manufacturer’s vacuum. Priced at around $209.99, it makes nearly any corded dust extractor compatible with Makita AWS tools.
18V and 36V LXT Tools with Makita AWS
Makita has a lot of tools using the AWS system, however, a few really stand out to us. As more and more products come to market, Makita AWS reveals more of its usefulness. In particular, concrete/masonry tools and woodworking tools seem to make up a majority of these products.
- XSL04ZU 18V X2 LXT 10″ Miter Saw
- XPS02ZU 18V X2 LXT Plunge Cut Saw
- XRH07PTU 18V X2 LXT 1-9/16″ AVT Rotary Hammer
- XRH10PTW 36V 18V X2 LXT Brushless 1-1/8″ AVT Rotary Hammer Kit
- XRH11Z 36V (18V X2) LXT Brushless 1-1/8″ AVT Rotary Hammer
- XRH12TW 18V LXT Brushless 11/16″ AVT Rotary Hammer Kit w/ Dust Extractor
- XAG17ZU 18V LXT 5″ Slide Switch Grinder
- XCV08Z 18V X2 2.1 Gallon HEPA Dry Dust Extractor
- VC4210L 11 Gallon Wet/Dry HEPA Filter Dust Extractor
- XCV10ZX 36V (18V X2) LXT BL 1/2 Gal. Backpack Dust Extractor
- XCV16ZX 36V (18V X2) LXT Brushless 2.1 Gal. HEPA Filter Dust Extractor
Makita AWS brings features particularly useful with pairing traditionally corded tools with vacuums and dust extractors.
But Wait, There’s More!
Notice anything about the tools on the Makita AWS list?
The corded versions of those tools run between 9 and 15 amps. You’re not going to use a dust extractor’s power supply to run those tools. There’s just not enough power available on the circuit to run both.
Even if you can run a 9-amp grinder through the extractor, you’ll have to turn down the vacuum power too much to remain OSHA-compliant in concrete grinding applications. So in addition to solving the issue of running auto tool activation for cordless tools, Makita AWS also solves the problem of how to do it with tools that draw much greater power!
Makita 40V XGT Tools with AWS
Not content to stop with their LXT line of 18V and 18V X2 (36V) tools, AWS technology also finds itself in select Makita 40V XGT tools. Rather than give you an exhaustive list here, know that the company has several popular tools, including the GRH06PM 80V XGT Brushless 2-inch AVT rotary hammer.
The Bottom Line
Solving the problem of how to have auto tool activation with a cordless tool is only the beginning of the Makita Auto-Start Wireless System brilliance. It also allows us to run tools that draw more power and still use the auto-start feature. While there are only 4 tools in the system currently, this is just the beginning of Makita’s smart tool initiative.