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March 31, 2012

Adventures in Home Appliance Repair

So the Blog Princess spent about 2 hours this morning trying to fix a recalcitrant Keurig single-cup coffeemaker. This involved a lot of furious Googling and the viewing of several YouTube how-to videos.

But this one was her favorite, hands down:

Posted by Cassandra at March 31, 2012 11:45 AM

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I bought a cheaper model Keurig about a year ago. The coffee was okay but pretty expensive. Still, it was convenient for a quick morning cup before I left for work.

The machine failed after one month. I started to take it apart to see if I could fix it but after about 10 minutes it was obvious that I'd have to start cutting things so I just pitched it into the trash. Piece of crap machine.

Now I make a batch of cold brew on Sunday and warm up a much better cup in the microwave each morning. Nothing to fail as there are no moving parts.

Posted by: DaleB at March 31, 2012 12:13 PM

I'm surprised he didn't have an Ingersoll-Rand jack hammer in the line up....

You do have one of those don't you Cass?

Posted by: Bill Brandt at March 31, 2012 12:40 PM

Back in the dark days of my junior high years, I angrified my mother by fixing her failed mixer. Since it had failed, I took it apart to see what was inside, and when I reassembled it, I had an extra part left over that I hadn't been able to figure out where it went. When I turned on the mixer, it ran fine. And ran fine for the next several years. It turned out that the extra part I'd not put back in was a failed fuse; apparently my disassembly/reassembly had cured whatever short had blown it. We were lucky over those subsequent years.

Why was my mother upset? She'd talked my father, who was an even tighter tightwad than I am, into buying her an uprated, fancy-Dan mixer complete with spinning bowl. Now he didn't have to spring for the bucks, and Mom had to make do with her repaired, old-fashioned mixer.

Umm, Cassandra, what exactly are the error messages you're getting from your one-cupper?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at March 31, 2012 02:54 PM

That there is what used to be called a West Virginia screw driver.


Posted by: Don Brouhaha at March 31, 2012 11:54 PM

This is our second Keurig.

The Unit bought me the first one before he left for Afghanistan and I used it for a year with no problems. One day it just stopped working - wouldn't draw water. We ended up getting rid of it.

The second one also ran for a year. Same problem - you'd turn it on and it just refused to do anything. This time it just said "descaling needed", which is hard to do if you can't get the durned thing to draw water in the first place!

Anyway, I cleaned out the intake filter in the base unit and both the top and bottom needles in the K-cup part but it still wasn't pulling in a whole cup of water. But I would get an initial spurt of water when I hit Brew.

So I tried plugging the air intake thingie at the top of the water tank on the theory that maybe there was air in the line. This seemed to make it work better - I could get a whole cup of water (actually white vinegar, as I was trying to descale the machine) through, but now the computer chip inside seemed to be confused.

I was able to funnel about 6 cups of vinegar through the machine by brewing, turning it off/unplugging, then turning it back on again.

My current theory is that there are one or more counters in the computer chip that are getting confusicated. After about two hours of intermittent fiddling (I was cleaning the downstairs in between cycles) I decided to turn the (*&^%$ thing off.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2012 08:20 AM

Sledgehammer? No firearms or explosives?!


I don't know if you've looked at the Fixya site.

I've found that when I do not have a tech manual on a device, I can often find some useful info, tips, or clues on a device at Fixya.

Do the Keurig folks have a customer support line? Sometimes customer support actually offers some semblance of support. It could happen. Perhaps they can tell you if there is a incantation or pushbutton-press with paperclip held aloft during a thunderstorm by which one can reset the electro-brain.

If you've already covered that ground, apologies for having trod through the dept. of redundancy department.

Posted by: bthun at April 1, 2012 12:00 PM

...you'd turn it on and it just refused to do anything. For the second time in two devices.

Aha. There's your problem. Disassemble it again, and trace the wiring. You'll come across an internal fuse-thingie along that path. Cut out the fuse and reconnect the wires--a Western Union splice will suffice--and reassemble your coffee doofer. You should be good to go.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at April 1, 2012 12:36 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! Especially the Fixit site and Western Union splice. I am always a bit afraid of anything involving wiring. Not sure why - just am.

I did clean out the needles, but may need to take it outside and try again. I noticed there were a lot of coffee particles coming through when I descaled. I'm going to try the compressed air next before I try to take it apart again.

I use Google a fair amount now before I call the repairman, but if you're not searching on the right things sometimes all you get is garbage. So I appreciate the tips!

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2012 01:52 PM

We pour not-quite-boiling water from the kettle into a filter-cone that sits atop the thermos, after grinding the beans with a hand-grinder. I have a low tolerance for either noise or electrical plugs before my first cup of coffee. I really used to hate that BRRRRRAAAAAANNNNNNNGHHHHHHH sound of the grinder in the morning. It's second only to the vacuum cleaner in the annoying-sound department, and nothing could induce me to turn on the vacuum cleaner that early in the morning. I'd be tempted to use the West Virginia Screwdriver on the coffee maker, the bean grinder, and the vacuum cleaner, all three.

Our well-water used to cause a lot of scale problems, but now that we use a rainwater cistern, life is better. The nasty well-water goes only into the toilets.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 2, 2012 12:53 PM