Dehydrator DIY fix-it?
December 10, 2017 2:47 PM   Subscribe

My Cabela's 80L commercial food dehydrator dies at 88 degrees. Looking for answers to the following: What could the fault be? Can I fix it myself?

The problem: I set time and temperature, and the dehydrator begins to heat, but loses power at 88 degrees. It starts again, but cuts out soon after.

Have tried: Hitting the dehydrator's circuit breaker button. Plugging unit directly into the wall. Switching where it's plugged in.

It's an older model and, alas, is NOT the recalled model. It's not under warranty, either, so that means finding a small-appliance repair shop (ha!) or trying to diagnose and fix this thing myself.

Your thoughts? I am not at all skilled with electronics and need explain-it-to-me-like-I'm-5 solutions. But if a repair shop is the way to go, so be it. Here's the manual.
posted by MonkeyToes to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Losing power at 88 degrees might point to a thermometer problem. It it's easy to replace I would start with that. If there is any sort of thermal safety switch to prevent over heating it would also be on my suspect list.
posted by COD at 3:54 PM on December 10, 2017

Is there a high school near you with a shop/vo-tech program?

The teacher could probably figure it out. I know there isn’t an appliance repair place convenient from your question, but I think I remember you mentioning farm animals in previous posts/comments. The feed store is also a good place to ask this kind of question, and someone there might be able to take a look at the guts of your dehydrator, if it’s a small community type place where you know people by name.
posted by bilabial at 4:25 PM on December 10, 2017

Looking at the manual, there's a temperature sensor. If it's easy, I'd try replacing that.
posted by hydra77 at 4:55 PM on December 10, 2017

Or, maybe your circuit where you are powering up is over utilized. I couldn't run my computer in my daughter's basement because of the power draw from the heater fan, and other items down there. It ran fine upstairs in a dining room.
posted by Oyéah at 5:03 PM on December 10, 2017

I'm with COD, there's something causing the safety thermal cutouts to trip. Otherwise you wouldn't have any heat at all.

I'd first look at the inside to make sure there's proper airflow from the heating elements to the cavity. Make sure any circulating fans are working properly and nothing is blocking the air. If all that looks right, then look for a thermal component that's wired in-line to the main power to the heating element. That might be easily replaceable or it might not. If you can get pictures, that might be a help.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:59 PM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: FWIW, I moved the dehydrator, both placing it on a different circuit and giving it better ventilation. Then I hit the breaker reset button a bunch of times. It's been running at 120 degrees with a full load of sweet potatoes for hours, so...

Ah, feed store! Good suggestion, and I'll certainly ask there next time I have a small appliance issue. Thanks, all!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:43 PM on December 16, 2017

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