Appliance Repair Blog
Thoughts and commentary about appliance repair topics including common failures and repairs, plus links to frequently used parts, industry news, along with information to help you better understand your appliances. Resources available for the technical professional and the do-it-yourselfer. Over 650 Posts


Kitchenaid Compactor won’t Start

Model #KUCC151LPA1icon, this compactor had been suffering from some intermittent starting problems during the past few weeks, and the customer thought they had the problem solved after adjusting the metal arm attached to the drawer foot peddle. The compactor seemed to start more consistently, but it still required the start button to be pressed multiple times before any movement would occur. Then finally, the compactor wouldn’t start at all, no matter what was done, leaving this compactor to be nothing more than a fancy trash can.

Most domestic compactors come in two different varieties. Screw type and scissor type. Both have the same task of applying downward pressure into the drawer bin through the use of a motor. And each will use various switches to help keep the user safe by preventing the unit from operating when the drawer is opened. So no matter the type of compactor in use, their mechanical systems may vary is design, but their electrical components have much in common.

I only mention this because it is often times one of these interlock switches that will keep the units from working. Like most any appliance that has decided to take a powder, checking for voltage at the various components would be the correct way to approach this problem. And once it is determined which component the voltage stops at, then that is the likely point of failure.

As the customer had already noticed, this model of compactor uses a metal tab affixed to the drawer release lever to activate a cycle. By lifting up on the pedal, the tab will actuate the push button start switch. This is a very common failure, as I wrote about in my post Kitchenaid Trash Compactor not Starting and a simple bending of the tab will keep things operational. But when pushing the button by hand doesn’t snap the compactor motor to life, then something a little more in depth must be causing the problem.

Like I said above, when it doesn’t work, look for where the voltage stops. Using my multimeter, I simply followed the wiring from the wall outlet through each of the safety and control switches in this compactor. Testing each to ensure they were opening and closing the circuit as expected. In doing so, I found them all to be satisfactory with the exception of one. The start switch mounted to the front of the chassis, the one that starts the cycle, would not pass voltage in either position. A resistance check found an open circuit when actuated, and released.

With the front panel removed so I could properly test the switch, I installed a new start switchicon in place of the failed one. With wires reconnected and power to the unit again, I pressed the switch button and witnessed the compactor ram start is downward journey. I also made some adjustments to the actuator tab on the drawer peddle to keep this compactor starting properly.

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