How To: Fix Your Broken Coffee Maker

How To: Fix Your Broken Coffee Maker

We all love our coffee in the morning, or at least us normal people do. So what happens when you wake up, start the coffee maker and come back ten minutes later only to find no coffee brewing? If you’re like me you get very angry, but before you throw the coffee maker across the room lets figure out if we can fix it.

First Things First

Go to your nearest Tim Horton’s or favorite coffee shop and get that caffeine you crave. If you can’t get out to buy a coffee, ask your neighbours. If you don’t like your neighbours, call a friend. Once the caffeine kicks in and the rage subsides, lets tackle the coffee maker problem. See Disclaimer

Here is a list of the most common reasons why the coffee maker is not working:

  • Fuse blown
  • Switch damaged
  • Thermostat malfunction

There are a couple other reasons, like no power from the outlet or coffee maker is not plugged in, but I’ll assume those have been ruled out already.

Testing, Testing

Before testing the components, first unplug the coffee maker and empty any water or grounds. Flip over the unit and remove the base. Some coffee makers have special head screws and may require a special screw driver to remove them. My coffee maker had a few of those screws. Luckily I was able to remove them with a normal Phillips screw driver, but I replaced them with normal screws during reassembly.

bottom of coffee maker

testing fuse

Get out your multi-meter and set it to Ω (OHMS) or alternatively, the symbol that looks like an arrow travelling along a line. Start with checking the fuses as they are generally the first to go. Touch the multi-meter probes to each other and take note of the reading (in my case it displayed “000”). A good fuse will show the same reading, or close to it. Touch one probe to each end of the fuse, and check the reading. If it displays the same value as when the probes are touched together then the fuse is good. If not, then the fuse is bad and will need to be replaced.

Whether the fuse is good or bad, check both of them just to be safe. Also test the switch and thermostat while you have the coffee maker apart. Testing the thermostat is the same process as testing the fuse. Touch the probes on each end of the thermostat terminals and compare the reading. The switch will also be tested in the same way, however you will need to activate the switch. If the reading is the same whether the switch is turned on or off, then the switch is no good. A good switch when turned on will display the same reading as the two probes touched together, but when turned off it’ll read differently.

Replacements

After some searching online I ended up finding replacement parts at Digi-Key.

Fuse: 30¢ – $3

When replacing the fuse, make sure that you get the same rating as the one you’re replacing. You will likely have to snip the wires connected to the fuse. I would suggest using connectors to wire up the new fuse, but soldering also works. I say that because the heat from soldering may damage the fuse. Once the new fuse is in place, re-test it using the multi-meter. If everything looks good, cover the fuse with the protective sleeve and reassemble the coffee maker.

Switch: $1 – $5

The switch is very easy to replace. The hardest part will probably be finding the same style of switch that fits your coffee maker. Unplug the wires from the switch terminals and pop out the switch from the housing. It should just be held in place by clips. Put the new switch in place and plug the wires back in. Re-test using the multi-meter, then reassemble coffee maker if testing good.

thermostat

Thermostat: $3 – $10unscrew bracketunscrewing thermostat

There are all kinds of thermostats out there, so make sure to find one with the same ratings as the one you’re replacing. In my case it was 16A, 125V, and rated for 120° as seen in the photo. Unplug the wires from the thermostat terminals. Unscrew the bracket holding the heater coil in place to get to the thermostat mounting screws. Remove the old thermostat and replace with the new one. Reassemble in reverse order and test with multi-meter.

Brew Time

It’s time to plug-in the coffee maker and see how well you did. I opted to brew water with vinegar to clean out the lines, but it’s not necessary. Keep an eye on it while its brewing just to be safe. Enjoy your freshly brewed coffee, and congratulations on fixing your coffee maker!

Cheers!

Jeremy Steckly

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