Having trouble with your Festool power tool? Well, we're here to help you. Before posting to the forum, give us a chance to diagnose and resolve your issue. In the U.S. and Canada, call us toll-free at 888-337-8600 on Monday-Friday between 8a-5p EST or contact us via email at service@festoolusa.com. For other countries, please visit http://www.festool.com for contact information for your local Festool service department.

Author Topic: CT-15 2amp/240w attached load limit? Confusing answer from Festool USA  (Read 1009 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline pdofoto

  • Posts: 5
UPDATE: I did hear from the service department at Festool USA, and was assured that all Festools can be operated by all Festool DC's. The point of the 2amp warning in the US, is apparently based on the pigheaded-ness of Americans, the rest of the world is trusted with the real [realer?] specs.
It was explained that the extremely underrated figure was really discourage someone from plugging in something like a 20amp belt sander. When I probed a little further he elaborated that it was also to discourage the use of 3 party brands. It was suggested that the auto start circuit on the vacs are optimized to work with the circuitry with Festool brand tools. I was skeptical about this, but sure enough my little bosch sander runs several seconds before my CT fires up. It works immediately with my ETS EC and happily also with my Makita track saw. But, be warned, your experience can vary with 3rd party tools.

I can only infer that users in the US blow up more product due to misuse than the rest of the world. Am I surprised? I guess yes and no. It is typical to prove one's machismo here by immediately ignoring and/or quickly destroying the owners manual. But I feel like the typical Festool owner is a lot more detail oriented.


I just purchased the CT-15 and an ETS EC, and I own the Domino.  When setting up the vac I noticed a warning sticker on the tool plug socket stating a "2amp" limit for any attached tool.  I checked the owner's manual, it states the same and specifies the limit as "240 watts".  All current Festool products draw 250watts or more, my sander is 400w, the Domino is 420w.
I tried to confirm this info on Festoolusa.com, but to no avail. They don't have the manual for the CT-15 posted or the current generation Mini/Midi, all three share the same platform. I went to the Festool international site where they do have the current information, and the British Guide for the CT-15 states that the tool plug socket load max is 770watts at 110v. [interestingly the British has 230v and 110v specs, both work out to 7amps of course]. And those numbers match the new Mini/Midi specs.
I called Festool USA and spoke with an applications specialist who said to disregard my manual and that any Festool DC can run any Festool product with dust collection. I asked if the 2amp/240w rating was a typo, he said no, they just used a low value to discourage someone plugging in a very heavy draw 3rd party tool. I asked if the international value of 7amps was correct, he would not confirm this, but just repeated the any tool/any vac mantra. As well as stating that the total load is limited by my circuit breaker, which is not true if it can really only handle 2amps, or if the conductor from the main power to the socket was a lower gauge. He then said I'd need to talk to engineering for more specific info. I was transferred to the voicemail, no reply yet.
I'm fairly sure that the CT-15 will handle my current tools, and it makes the most sense that the European numbers are correct.
What concerns me the most is that FestoolUsa won't give me the actual specs. They admit that they are way understated, but what are they?
By publishing the limit at 2amps that seems to set up the ability for Festool to refuse a warranty repair. 

ps... another interesting discovery: I was looking at the 2018 release Mini/Midi manual, the most recent on Festoolusa, and they give the electrical specs in all the languages except for English.


« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 12:22 AM by pdofoto »

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 190
Something strange here. The Festool UK site quotes 2200W for the CT15 E. My CTL Midi is 1650W.
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline pdofoto

  • Posts: 5
Something strange here. The Festool UK site quotes 2200W for the CT15 E. My CTL Midi is 1650W.

Interesting, that's the what the 2200 router requires.  :)

I was just looking at the CT-15E/Mini/Midi manual on the international Festool site, It says EU 2200w, GB 1610w for the load connected to outlet. Am I reading GB correctly as Great Britain? And assuming both areas are 230v the number should be the same.

Offline CeeJay

  • Posts: 293
Something strange here. The Festool UK site quotes 2200W for the CT15 E. My CTL Midi is 1650W.
And I run an 1800W saw off my CT Midi and it is quite happy.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 190
Something strange here. The Festool UK site quotes 2200W for the CT15 E. My CTL Midi is 1650W.

Interesting, that's the what the 2200 router requires.  :)

I was just looking at the CT-15E/Mini/Midi manual on the international Festool site, It says EU 2200w, GB 1610w for the load connected to outlet. Am I reading GB correctly as Great Britain? And assuming both areas are 230v the number should be the same.
So the EU is the same as the UK, now at a 'nominal' 230V. (the UK used to be 240V and the continent 220V but we got "harmonised"!) However as I type this my supply is at 240.5 VAC!

One of the biggest differences between the UK and most others is our mandatory use of a fused plug. Max fuse is 13A, equating to nominal draw of about 3kw. It looks like the CTL itself needs up to a 1.2kw to run, leaving an absolute max of 1.8kw for the outlet socket. Hence my machine being 'limited' to 1650W.

We have the 110V versions in the UK, as these are mandated for site work via a transformer. These connect via a 16A plug so a max power allowed at the inlet of 1760W, they have downrated the machine itself to a kw, leaving the 770W specified available at the outlet socket. In the US it is 120V at 15A max, almost the same result.

I suspect there isn't an actual limiter in the CTL. The limit is the allowable draw on the CTL input cable ('cord' for the US!). Your plugs aren't fused and as others have posted they have managed to run high power machines of the outlet. This could be dangerous especially in a dusty environment as the CTL supply plug could get very hot. I find US plugs loose anyway and so this could be a real risk? I believe the US plug is rated at 15A max, but the springs in most sockets seem to suffer and get weak.

How many of our US colleagues have 240V in their workshops?
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 420
The house feed in the US is 240V nominal.  So the 120V nominal house circuits feed one of the two live lines and return through a neutral grounded at the main panel.  Appliances with large draws like electric clothes dryers and electric ranges are supplied with both live lines.  In my shop I have a 60A subpanel fed nominal 240V and all of my stationary tools (tablesaw, jointer, bandsaw. etc) get fed nominal 240V and the motors are wired accordingly and all lighter tools run off nominal 120V.  Breaker panels here have the two live lines presented on alternating lugs down the panel so a 120V nominal breaker feeds from a single lug and a 240V nominal breaker is twice as wide and feeds through two lugs.  It's been working fine this way since the end of the 19th century and when the installed base becomes sufficiently large the inertia and cost of a changeover becomes immovable.

Offline pdofoto

  • Posts: 5
How many of our US colleagues have 240V in their workshops?

I would guess that maybe half US home/garage have a least one 240v circuit, usually put there for clothes dryer.  But any production shop would have mostly 240v for tools, but 3 phase power is pretty rare until you get into industrial spaces.
For example, most smaller tools like table top bandsaws and thicknessers are 120v. A 1.5hp table saw or floor standing tool will often have a motor that can be wired for either 120 or 240. Any motor above 3hp or is typically 240v.
I'm not sure how the typical EU or UK main panel is set up, but in a US residence it is single phase, 240v. Two 120v legs and neutral. There are two vertical rows of circuit breakers. A 120v breaker bridges a single 120v leg with the neutral. For a 240v circuit a double breaker is used that bridges the two 120v legs. Most circuits are 120v, excepting electric water heaters, electric stoves or large installed air conditioning. In certain parts of the US where natural gas in common, a home might not have any 220 circuits.
I've seen many dubious youtube videos about making temporary cables for connecting tools like welders, not very safe, esp. when it's so easy to add a 220 circuit to a panel....
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:21 AM by pdofoto »

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 190
Do you have to be careful to balance the overall load between the two 120V legs?
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 420
Do you have to be careful to balance the overall load between the two 120V legs?

No I don't think there is any care taken to wire the breakers and spread the load evenly.  Since lighting circuits have migrated from incandescent to LED there has been a very large drop in the load on those particular circuits.  I think the random wiring in individual home panels probably ends up evening out the load on the two legs when you look at a neighborhood or subdivision as a whole.

Offline pdofoto

  • Posts: 5
Do you have to be careful to balance the overall load between the two 120V legs?

No I don't think there is any care taken to wire the breakers and spread the load evenly.  Since lighting circuits have migrated from incandescent to LED there has been a very large drop in the load on those particular circuits.  I think the random wiring in individual home panels probably ends up evening out the load on the two legs when you look at a neighborhood or subdivision as a whole.

I was going to say balancing is really important, but I hadn't thought about the larger picture of the neighborhood. In most parts of the US a homeowner is allowed to do their own electric work, although it does still need inspection if a permit is pulled. But plenty of non-permitted work is done, and I have seen some dubious work. I still try to keep things even when adding new circuits. For instance I helped with a kitchen remodel recently, and code requires 2 separate 20a circuits for counter outlets, and I made sure they were on separate legs.

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 190
I wrongly assumed most houses had their own transformer, but reading up I see it can be up to 50. So the balancing wont be such an issue.

i'm wondering how RCD protection works in the US (or does it?) New circuits in the UK have a RCD breaker (residual current operated breaker) which trips if the current flowing in the live doesn't match that in the neutral by typically more than 25mA.
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 1409
I wrongly assumed most houses had their own transformer, but reading up I see it can be up to 50. So the balancing wont be such an issue.

i'm wondering how RCD protection works in the US (or does it?) New circuits in the UK have a RCD breaker (residual current operated breaker) which trips if the current flowing in the live doesn't match that in the neutral by typically more than 25mA.

When wiring a house, you trying to roughly balance the loads circuit wise. Since most large loads (ranges, ovens, heat, dryers, water heaters, etc) are 240, this happens by default, the rest you try to evenly split so that the house in generally is balanced, it won't really matter that much.   Transformer wise if you are in town, you will have many houses on 1 transformer, in a rural area each house will have a transformer.

I think your RCD is what we call GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter). Protects you from say a toaster falling into your bathtub while you are in it.  For that we have 2 methods.  Receptacles with a GFCI built in that provides GFCI for that circuit, or GFCI breakers that go in the panel.  Generally GFCI is limited to specific circuits,  such as outdoor outlets, bathroom and kitchen outlets.  Places with water involved. These are also in general 110V.  But they do have 240GFCI for hot tubs.

We now also have AFCI which is arc fault across the hots. For the most part, all 110V circuits now require this, and it is done with a breaker. This is protecting you if someone puts a nail in a wire within a wall or similar. If you need both, they have dual function breakers.

We don't do whole house GFCI.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 1409


One of the biggest differences between the UK and most others is our mandatory use of a fused plug. Max fuse is 13A, equating to nominal draw of about 3kw. It looks like the CTL itself needs up to a 1.2kw to run, leaving an absolute max of 1.8kw for the outlet socket. Hence my machine being 'limited' to 1650W.


I suspect there isn't an actual limiter in the CTL. The limit is the allowable draw on the CTL input cable ('cord' for the US!). Your plugs aren't fused and as others have posted they have managed to run high power machines of the outlet. This could be dangerous especially in a dusty environment as the CTL supply plug could get very hot. I find US plugs loose anyway and so this could be a real risk? I believe the US plug is rated at 15A max, but the springs in most sockets seem to suffer and get weak.

How many of our US colleagues have 240V in their workshops?

Shops/Garages basically come in 2 flavors, those with a 1-2 110V circuits run out to it, or those with panels, thus 240V and plenty of power.  Anything attached to house will have 240V since the house does.

We don't have fused cables because we don't have Ring Bus electrical here.  I think this is unique to the UK. 

You can pull more than 16amps thru the US plugs, we use the same plug architecture for 20A circuits.  A 15A plug connects into a 20, but a 20A plug doesn't go in a 15A as it has a hook to the blade, but the blades are the same dimensions other than the turn/hook in 1 blade of the 20A.  Over heating not a concern. Like the UK, we have flat blade type connections, not round pins, so much better electrical contact verses a round pin.

Appliances regularly pull more than 15amps.

US electrical is built on an over abundance of caution.  Thus why we have 110V (safer ...maybe), heavy wires, beefy connectors, polarized connectors, grounds, high amperage electrical services etc.  Mandated plugs everywhere (you are never more than 6ft from one). GFCI, AFCI, tamper proof plugs.