Ah, the aroma of fresh-ground coffee first thing in the morning! This Fix-It Guide on coffee grinder repair tells how a coffee grinder works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a coffee grinder problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble a coffee grinder and refers you to instructions for motor testing and repair. You may also need to see electrical cord repair and switch repair.
How Does a Coffee Grinder Work?
A coffee grinder is a small electric appliance that chops coffee beans with a spinning blade. A small universal motor spins a shaft in the center of the coffee grinder. The shaft rotates a blade that cuts coffee beans into small pieces. The size of the pieces, called grounds, depends on the amount of time the grinder runs as well as the sharpness of the blade.
What Can Go Wrong with a Coffee Grinder?
Coffee grinders are relatively simple. The most common problem is that they get clogged up with grounds which slows down the motor. In addition, the electrical cord can short out, the thermal limiter can burn out, or the motor shaft can stop rotating. In addition, the switch can malfunction and the blade can bend or become dull.
Keep your coffee grinder clean. Wipe the blade and bowl with a small rag after each use. Be careful because the blade is sharp. Whatever you do, don’t immerse the grinder in water because you’ll ruin the motor.
How Can I Identify a Coffee Grinder Problem?
Besides producing the sound of Armageddon, your coffee grinder can do more to tell you that it’s having problems–its symptoms can suggest possible solutions.
- If the grinder does not run when turned on, make sure power is on to the outlet, then check the electrical cord.
- If the grinder runs intermittently or doesn’t stop, the switch may be clogged or damaged. Unplug the grinder and brush any grounds from the switch with a fine brush. Depress the switch several times with a toothpick. If the problem persists, disassemble the grinder to clean it and inspect the switch for breaks that you can fix.
- If the grinder does not run, the motor shaft may be frozen. Disassemble the grinder, clean the shaft and lubricate each bearing point with one or two drops of lightweight machine oil. Rotate the shaft to evenly distribute the oil.
- If the grinder still does not operate, the thermal limiter may be burned out. If you can’t readily find a replacement thermal limiter, it may be more cost effective to replace the grinder.
- If the grinder vibrates, the blade may be bent. Inspect the blade and replace if it is damaged or dull. Another cause of vibration could be a worn motor bearing. Unplug the grinder and remove the access plate. The bearing is bad if the motor shaft moves when pushed back and forth; replace the grinder.
Never run a coffee grinder when the bowl is empty because the blade may spin too fast and damage the motor. Also, don’t operate a grinder for more than 30 seconds at a time or the motor may overheat.
What Do I Need for Coffee Grinder Repair?
Finding replacement parts for coffee grinders can be challenging, especially for off-brands, because you first have to figure out who actually made the unit. Check with the manufacturer or an aftermarket parts supplier. The tools you’ll need for disassembly and cleaning include these:
- Small pliers
- Brush or canned air
What Are the Steps to Coffee Grinder Repair?
Fixing a coffee grinder requires disassembling and checking components as well as cleaning it.
Disassemble a coffee grinder:
- Unplug the grinder. Remove screws underneath the unit to free the baseplate. Remove the blade by gripping it with a thick towel while turning the other end of motor shaft counterclockwise with a screwdriver or small pliers.
- If necessary, remove the motor for testing. The motor will be held in place by a linking arm, screws, or a clip.
For better coffee and to keep the motor from overheating, use a pulsating action to grind the beans. To pulse, release the control switch every few seconds and press again immediately.