Great while it worked, here is the problem.
Mar 3, 2006
Review by waynedude
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Well, this product makes great panini! You can use it to make just about any sandwich very special. If you use really fresh ingredients, the results are as good as at any market in Italy (that is where I got hooked on these). It not only makes Panini, but can be used to grill chicken, hamburgers, sausage, etc, and then throw in the buns before assembling for a gourmet treat.
Recommend this product?
I got mine as a Christmas gift and used it at least weekly for about 6 months till I moved, and had to pack it for a while. When I got it out of storage (January the next year) it worked for only 4 times, then just stopped. It wouldn't heat; lights wouldn't come on, nothing worked!
I called the local Krups repair site, and they told me if it was over 1 year old, throw it away and buy another. I was royally upset! Appliances that cost over $100 should not fail in 6 months of use! In the old days, a repair shop could fix anything, and they would never tell you to throw it away.
Well, I went to Amazon and read the many similar stories of short life, and sudden failure and realized I was out of luck. After the one year warranty expires, the repair places (who normally would just get a new warranty replacement from Krups and have it sent to you) won't touch it.
Having nothing to lose, I removed the single Phillips screw in the center of the underside of the unit and opened up the unit. The griddle surface separates from the stainless base once this screw is removed. In here I saw a device which looks like a resistor held in place by two small clamps inside a clear plastic tube. I plugged the unit in and tested the voltage across the terminals of this device, and it read 125V. I knew immediately that this was the problem, as it was preventing the entire unit from getting voltage. I disassembled the clamps and slid the tube off, then cut the part off of the two wires.
Looking on the web, I found out the part is a simple and very common "heat fuse", intended to break the circuit if the thermostat (located in the top half) failed and the unit started to melt down or overheat.
This device does not reset once the unit cools, but sacrifices itself. When it exceeds 240 degrees centigrade, it disconnects power to the unit permanently and must be replaced. This is the reason so many people have had failures.
Either the unit runs hotter than the designers anticipated (most likely), the current is too high (doubtful as the unit draws 1500 Watts, 750W per side and the device is rated for 15 Amps at 120 Volts. 1500W only draws 12.5 Amps, so that is well below the 15 Amp capacity of the component), or it was a faulty component. Considering that these components are used in a huge number of heating appliances, it is most likely that the designed temperature for this component is too high. Here is an excerpt from the manufacturers web site:
The temperatures experienced during normal operation, including expected temperature overshoots, will determine the life expectancy of the TCO. Nuisance trips can result if the thermal cutoff rating is too close to the temperatures experienced during normal operation (this is probably what happens!). Continuous temperatures above 200°C will cause the sealing compound to weaken and ultimately fail. In addition, as shown in figure 4, each thermal cutoff calibration has a maximum temperature overshoot rating (TM). Overshoot temperatures above this rating may cause dielectric breakdown of the thermal cutoff and allow reconduction to occur. See Therm-O-Discs MICROTEMP® Thermal Cutoff Technical Bulletin for more information.
The safest way to repair the unit is to replace the failed temperature fuse. It is made by Therm-O-Disc and is a Microtemp model G4A00240C. You can find these on the web for about $6.00 (or free if you request a sample from Therm-O-Disc on their web site). You will need a crimp tool and some bare crimps to crimp the wires to the new temperature fuse. I just used some bare (non insulated!) crimp spade lugs and cut off the spade part (Radio Shack or any auto parts store). Do not use insulated spade lugs as the insulation will melt under these temperature extremes. When you dissemble it in the first place, take a picture of the insides before you start unscrewing and cutting. Then you will know exactly how to reassemble the parts. As the positioning of the temp sensor is critical, make sure when you reassemble, you do it exactly the same way it was (direction of the clamps holding the wire and temp fuse, etc).
As my patience was thin after speaking to the Krups repair facility, I took the unsafe route and simply bypassed this component (cut it out and crimped the two wires together). All works perfectly now. As I never plan on leaving the unit unattended, I am not too worried about the temperature fuse not being there (worst case, the thermostat gives out and the heating unit melts the griddle, which will drip into the stainless steel housing, short out the power, and blow a breaker.) I do not recommend the later solution, as the UL listing will be compromised.
If you take the safe route, you should buy a few of these temperature fuse units, as the design problem is not corrected by replacing the part, and it may only last a few months before you have to do it again. When you crimp the component in, make sure you do a good job (tight crimp), if you can pull the wires out of the crimp with your hands, you didnt crimp hard enough. If this happens, the poor connection will generate its own heat and cause the temperature fuse to trip.
Remember, all of these components are subject to very high temperatures, so do not attempt to lengthen the wire or use electrical tape, or solder to make the connection. Unless you have materials rated for 240 degrees C, do not use them in the repair. You can use solder but only in addition to a good crimp.
Well, I am back to making great Panini and didnt have to buy anything! I am a happy camper! Cheers.
P.S. Yes, the unit is not easy to clean (read other reviews) and the clip which holds it closed to carry it is weak, but otherwise, it works well. I am sure other units have their own set of problems.
Good luck! I hope this helps some people!
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Amount Paid (US$): 100
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