Dehydrator repair?

melva02(z7 VA)November 12, 2007

Well. I just set up my dehydrator for the first time and filled it with applesauce and sweet potatoes. I turned it on and it seemed to work fine. It cycled off once and came back on, which the hotline people say is normal. Then it turned off a second time and never came on again all night. They say they will replace the top if I send it in, but the postage will cost about half as much as buying a new one and my food will be ruined because I won't be home long enough to use it raw in the next few days.

I've been thinking about voiding the warranty by trying to fix it myself. I have access to electrical parts and a soldering iron but I don't see anything obvious by looking in the holes of the fan. Of course there's no patent number listed anywhere on the box or the product. Anyone have any experience with this? It's a Nesco FD-35 with the top fan.

If this is going to happen again with the new one I think I'd rather get the purchase price back. I hate wasting food. Seal failures are one thing, those are usually my own fault. This is making me want to send them the whole dehydrator will all the trays full of food so they can see what trouble they caused.

Should I send it in and trust that the new one won't send more food into the garbage? Or are Nesco dehydrators pieces of junk?

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If you want to experiment I have 3 dead Nesco tops you can play with. I think you were lucky that it didn't overheat on you & I personally will never buy another one. If you do get it fixed I recommend that you buy an indoor/outdoor thermometer and leave the probe in the dehydrator at all times for monitoring.

Just by coincidence I'm at this very moment soaking 12 trays in OxyClean to split up between 2 of my chile-head frinds that are having good luck with their units.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 10:34AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

It could just be a heater wire that has opened. Unfortunately, these are usually nichrome wire and cannot be repaired, but need replacement instead. If your in a bind, suggest you purchase another brand and then send back the defective part to the maker. Be sure to ask them about who picks up the shipping costs in BOTH directions. I had an electronic rat trap that suddently failed and sent it back to Victor, who also refunded my return shipping costs.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 10:38AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

If this is a relatively new purchase, I'd just return it. Can you take the food that was in the dehydrator and finish it off in the oven?

Or do you have freezer space? You could cook the sweet potatoes, mash and freeze. I don't see any reason why applesauce couldn't be frozen or if there's enough to bother with, of course it could be canned.

Anyway, I hope things do work out. I understand your frustration at the prospect of wasted effort and food.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 5:43PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Thanks all. I thought about what you guys would say, and I decided to suck it up and save the food. There were two trays of applesauce which are now frozen in a jar to become fruit leather when the top comes back. The two trays of sweet potato were boiled and mashed up with the banana to be treats for my dog...a major treat over several days.

I will send it back tomorrow with a note asking for a phone call from someone in customer service. Over the phone I'll ask what was wrong with it so I can decide whether to trust a new one or ask for my money back, and I'll ask about the return postage. I have very low hopes based on another review saying Nesco wouldn't pay postage, but getting a new top is the cheapest option right now.

John, what do you mean by overheating? Did it burn the food or cause a fire danger? I'm guessing this one overheated and an internal wire melted like a fuse would. When the whole wire is the fuse, you've got a pretty bad design.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll update this thread in a few weeks when I hear back from them.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 9:54PM
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If you bought your unit at a Wal*Mart they will give you your money back in a heartbeat if less than a year old.

Nesco replaced one of the units at no charge even though I didn't have a sales receipt. They could tell by the serial # that it was manufactured within the warranty period. They shipped me a new unit and included a prepaid label for UPS so could return the bad one.

The very first unit I had got so hot it warped the trays. (from that time on I closely monitor temperature at all times) Another one still runs at only 170°. The last one just up and quit and I believe it blew a thermal fuse although when I opened it up I didn't recognize anything that looked like a fuse.

Yesterday I completely rid myself of all Nesco reminders. Mailed 12 trays with assorted inserts to friends and threw the bodies in the trash. Good riddance!

In all fairness I must say that I really like how well the units dehydrated when working like they should. I had made some nifty screen inserts for dehydrating cheese, herbs etc, but it's hard to sleep at night when you don't trust something.

This is what happens at too high temps:


    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 7:46AM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Follow-up on this. I called Nesco again and they said they would not pay for the return shipping, but they did ship the new one for free. This time the lady informed me that I could remove the heater unit from the lid which allowed it to fit in a much smaller box. She also said that they sell replacement heater units for my model for $15 (shipping included, and some models have $10 replacements).

I pulled my applesauce out of the freezer to try another batch of fruit leather, and once I see where the temperature stabilizes I'll set the probe thermometer alarm for 20° above that. Thanks again for the advice on this John, Ken, and Carol.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 11:04PM
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We have 4 dehydrators by a couple of different brands. I swear they are all made by the same company because the trays are all interchangeable. We use them to dry apples from 5 trees so when it is apple time, these machines run 24/7 for a couple of weeks as we peel, core and dehydrate apples. They are about 4 years old and so far no problems at all. A couple of ours have the Nesco name and there are two other names. I wouldn't have a qualm about buying another one just like any of these. In fact, I think I remember getting one of these at the Salvation Army store and it works as good as any of the others.

I am sorry to hear of your problems and of course, I will be keeping my fingers crossed for our machines this next year.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 11:01PM
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Not sure if anyone will read after a huge gap of 3 yrs...
My dehydrator also went dead.. I finally opened up & found that fuse gone dead. The fuse is just thermal fuse clipped at the end of heater coil. I had limit of 142F. I replaced it. The unit worked for 2 times (5 hrs each).. Then again fuse got blown away. I replaced it with 2 fuses, but they went off instantly (1 min or so).
I then gave myself a try to reverse engineer the unit. I found that there is a bimetallic thermostat which is rated at 150F. There is also a small opening which is used to flow the air on this thermostat. I am not sure which is wrong now 1. Thermostat went off or 2. The air flow is not quite enough through opening over the thermostat.. I need to see it again.. I am fed up of opening it again..But may be worth to fix by myself rather than shipping.
Anybody has any idea about this?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 2:03AM
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The door on my dehydrator fell and cracked a little, before it spreads please tell me what I can do to fix it.
Thank you

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:49PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What brand of dehydrator? What is the door made of - metal, glass, plastic, etc.

No way to know for sure how to fix it without seeing it. I'd suggest contacting the manufacturer.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:23PM
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