If you are a professional woodturner doing large-scale work, the braking resistor is a must. Simply put, the braking resistor allows the lathe to stop large pieces safely and quickly without tripping out the drive.
The drive is designed to shut down to protect itself when an overload occurs, such as trying to stop an oversized or overly heavy piece. No damage to the lathe occurs, but the piece will freewheel to a stop and the drive will have to be reset. This wastes time and effort and can be unnerving to say the least.
The braking resistor makes stopping the lathe more or less bullet-proof. It will stop any piece, in any gear in 4 seconds. It also has the potential of extending the life of the drive, although drive failures are few and far between (estimated 20 year life span).
Note: Lathe serial #’s 2700 and higher can add this feature.
Lathe serial #’s 2699 and lower can not add this feature.