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Find more information and guides on the toaster device page.

One or more sides won't toast ¶ 

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Running the toaster without toast, the wires on some sections glow red hot and some of the other wires don't.

Break in the nichrome wire ¶ 

The glowing wire is called nichrome wire (for nickel-chromium), if part of the array does not heat there's a break in the wire somewhere.

Possible causes of breakage:

1) there was a weak spot or nick in the wire when the wire was manufactured,

2) there was a weak spot or nick made in the wire when the toaster was manufactured (we've seen the break at or near a bend in the wire or a rivet point)

3) someone physically broke the wire by sticking something (like a fork) into the toaster.

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An example of a nichrome wire break.

To Fix: You have to disassemble the toaster sufficiently to locate the break and then get good access to it. If you're lucky and there's enough extra wire, you might simply be able to twist the two broken ends together enough to re-establish contact (you can then at least confirm that's the problem.)

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In the photo, we were able to short across one wrap of the nichrome a re-establish connectivity.

Otherwise, you need a high-temperature crimp and a crimping tool to to crimp the two ends together. Here are two examples of crimps: High-Temperature Crimp-on Butt Splice, Noninsulated, 22-18 Awg, 900 Degree F Temperature Rating, Packs of 100 and High-Temperature Crimp-on Butt Splice, Noninsulated, 16-14 Awg, 900 Degree F Temperature Rating, Packs of 100

Note: The nichrome wire is wrapped around sheets of a brittle ceramic/mica-like material. Depending on where the break is you might find it necessary (or at least tempting) to cut this material. Be very careful, sawing might be better than cutting as it tends to flake.

Toasting lever won't stay down ¶ 

When you push down the toasting lever, it pops right back up again, or you have to push it down multiple times, or hold it down for a little while before it will stay down.

Power source ¶ 

Make sure that the toaster is plugged into a working outlet.

Power adjustment ¶ 

The toaster's browning dial might be on too low of a setting to activate the heating coil. Try dialing it up, and pushing the lever down again.

Crumb obstruction ¶ 

Constant use can lead to crumbs clogging the path of the lever. Try opening up the bottom panel, by pulling on the metal tab to release the plate (and crumbs!) over a trash can. Also try flipping the toaster upside down and, very gently, shaking the crumbs out.

Plug wire is frayed or damaged ¶ 

To Test: Wiggle the plug wire near the plug to see if that makes a noticeable difference. If you can make any lights or display on the toaster flicker by wiggling the wire that's a clear sign there's an intermittent problem in the wire. Use a spare plug wire in lieu of the original one and see if that resolves the issue.

To Fix: Replace the entire plug wire or just the plug.

Background: we've seen this a couple of times: people yank the plug wire out of the wall socket by yanking on the cord, causing the stranded wires in the cord to break over time. It usually gets weak right near the base of the molded plug. If the toaster has lights or an LED display they may still light up and make the toaster look like it's getting electricity: it's just not getting enough electricity to run the toaster.

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Check the plug wire first before going to the effort of opening the toaster to clean the contacts. While this is a less common failure mode it's easier to check and will save you a lot of troubleshooting time.

Poor Contact Connection ¶ 

There's an electrical contact near the toasting lever that is now carbonized due to too much electrical arcing and it's not letting any (or enough) electricity flow through. The contacts will look black or dulled on the inside.

To Fix: Clean off the carbon from the contacts and the toaster will work again. We use an emery board and push it back and forth between the contacts until they're clean again and can conduct electricity.

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Filing the lever contacts clean.

Additional Information: The arcing is due to slightly misaligned contacts that made it through poor quality control. The toaster works initially but over time electrical sparking between the contacts due to the misalignment creates carbon build up: that build-up is electrically insulating.

There's a lot of current going through that contact because of the way a pop-up toaster works. When you push the toasting lever down it also makes contact with a solenoid (an electromagnet) that holds the lever down. The current for that electromagnet flows through the carbonized contact along with all the electricity to run the nichrome wire heating elements: not enough current and the electromagnet doesn't energize and the lever doesn't stay down.

This problem is also common with electric hot water kettles where the button or lever or switch won't stay down.

Spring mechanism is blocked or broken ¶ 

Maintaining the spring attached to the lever will remove debris that is potentially blocking the lever from connecting to the magnet

Toaster will not stay on ¶ 

Its plugged in, I'm not that technically inept.

Outlet issues ¶ 

First make sure that the outlet works by plugging other devices into that same outlet.

Power adjustment ¶ 

The toaster's browning dial might be on too low of a setting to activate the heating coil. Try dialing it up, and pushing the lever down again.

Wire Malfunction ¶ 

Visually check the wire for any punctures or abrasions. If you find damage on your power cord you should replace it. Follow this power cord replacement guide, or one more specific to your device.

Toast won't pop up after the toasting is complete ¶ 

Bread grabbers will not keep the bread vertical or return it properly. Metal forks and electric heating coils don't mix, so don't try.

Floppy bread ¶ 

If the bread won't come back up, try using a different bread that is maybe thicker or less pliable.

Bread orientation ¶ 

If the bread is folding within the grabbers, the springs pushing the grabbers together could possibly be malfunctioning. This will require opening the toaster, you can follow this Bread grabber spring guide, or one more specific to your device.

Constant burning smell ¶ 

Avoid that "is something burning??" question every time you put a piece of bread in the toaster.

Crumb Tray ¶ 

Most toasters will come with a crumb tray to allow the removal of some of the crumbs that may be causing the burning smell. Check on the bottom of the toaster for a metal tab to release the crumb tray plate (and crumbs!) over a trash can. Also try flipping the toaster upside down and, very gently, shaking the crumbs out. If your toaster needs a more in depth cleaning, try this bread tray maintenance guide or one more suited to your specific device.

Stuck debris ¶ 

If there are bread crumbs on the coils themselves, ensure that the toaster is off and not connected to any power, then gently pry the crumbs out of the heating element.

Browning dial will not operate ¶ 

Only a true toaster connoisseur can find that golden spot to make that golden toast, but your toast isn't turning out even close to what you wanted.

Jammed ¶ 

If the browning dial will not move at all, crumbs may be stuck in the socket. Unplug the toaster and try to dislodge the debris by shaking the unit.

Dislodged/No communication ¶ 

The dial may no longer be in communication with the device itself. This will require the opening of the toaster to see if there is something (i.e. a crumb) interfering with the browning dials inner workings or if you have a more serious problem on your hands.

You may have to disassemble the toaster, you can follow a generic toaster disassembly guide or one more specific to your device.

8 Comments

On my toaster, the inner elements do not glow as brightly and therefore don't get has hot as the outer elements causing the bread to be toasted unevenly from side to side. These inner elements are designated as the 'bagel' toasting sides, but activating the 'bagel' button only causes the outer elements to go dark and does not make the inner 'bagel' elements glow any brighter. The connection to the inner elements seems solid, so I suspect a failure with the circuit board that controls the electrical flow to the elements. Any thoughts? Thanks!

TomTom - Reply

Hi TomTom: What's the make and model of the toaster?

Fixit Clinic -

Hi there, We have an AEG toaster (model AT5110). The plastic cover, which rests on top of the toaster, just melted into the toaster. However, we had not pushed the lever down, nor were we in the vicinity of the toaster prior to it occurring. Have you encountered a toaster malfunction where it switches itself on? Many thanks.

Cheri Young - Reply

I did this guide when I fixed a broken element wire in my toaster. All working again now. See this

https://youtu.be/kXn1lTYCtGs

jon - Reply

I have a toaster that blackens the toast when the browning setting is slightly above low. Is there any way to adjust the toaster so that the darker browning occurs when the lever is pushed towards the high side?

Cyndy Davenport - Reply

How do you dim digital lights on Faberware toaster....way too bright

Sherry - Reply

I have a Siemens TT60101.

I notice that in order to make properly browned toast it needs to be set to full on. As far as I can see the filaments are all glowing evenly....it just seems to be a Browning string problem.....any ideas?

Will - Reply

Hi on my toaster the handle wouldn't go down my husband accidentally broke it it's there any way to fix it if you guys do can you let me know thank you

mari21395 - Reply

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