How To Fix A Trash Compactor That Won't Stay On

How To Repair A Trash Compactor That's Not Compacting

Top Limit or Directional Switch
If your trash compactor won’t stay running to complete the cycle, the problem may be with the top limit/directional switch assembly. The top limit/directional switch is a multifunction switch which is located at the top of the unit and is activated by a metal tab on top of the ram. The directional switch is used to reverse the motor rotation and the travel direction of the ram. The top limit switch is often part of the directional switch and it is used to automatically stop the motor when the ram reaches the top and also to keep the motor running during the cycle. If the top limit switch contacts fail, the motor may stop unless you continue to hold the start switch on. To check for a defective top limit switch you will have to remove the unit from the cabinets and disconnect the power. Remove the mounting brackets and then the top panel. Inspect the switch actuating lever to ensure that the tab on the ram makes contact at the top of the ram’s travel. Remove the ram using caution not to damage the directional switch lever. Remove the switch and the wires from the terminals and then check for continuity with a multi-meter. The top limit switch should have terminals marked C for common and NC for normally closed. With the switch actuator not depressed, you should show continuity between these two terminals. If there is no continuity then the switch is defective. You may require the electrical schematic for your model to determine the proper terminals to check. Replace the switch if required and then verify the proper adjustment for the activating lever.
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Customers rate this repair as Really Easy
Takes 15 - 30 mins
Cycle Selector Switch
If your trash compactor won’t stay running in the normal cycle, but works fine in the dense or extra pack mode, the problem may be with the cycle selector switch assembly. On models that have this feature, the cycle selector switch, sometimes referred to as the dense or extra pack switch can fail and give this symptom. The switch is located on the control panel and may be a pushbutton or rocker type switch. You can check the switch for continuity using a multi-meter. To check for a defective switch you will have to remove the control panel. On some models you may have to remove the unit from the cabinets to remove the panel. Disconnect the power before attempting this repair. Once you have gained access to the rear of the switch, locate the terminals used for the normal cycle function. You may require the electrical schematic for your model to determine the proper terminals to check. Remove the wires from these terminals and check for continuity with the switch set to the normal cycle mode. If there is no continuity, then you will have to replace the selector switch.
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Customers rate this repair as Really Easy
Takes 15 - 30 mins
Drive Motor
If your trash compactor works fine in the normal cycle, but won't stay running in the dense or extra pack mode, the problem may be with the drive motor centrifugal switch assembly. On models that have the extra or dense pack feature, the centrifugal switch on the motor can fail and give this symptom. The switch is difficult to test because the contacts only close when the motor is running at speed. If you have this symptom and have eliminated the top limit switch and the cycle selector switch, then the drive motor may be defective. To replace the motor you will need to remove the compactor from the cabinets and disconnect the power. Remove the drawer and lay the unit on its side. Next, remove the bottom cover and loosen the motor mounting plate bolts to loosen the drive chain. Remove the chain, the drive gear and the motor gear. Open the motor cover and remove the wire harness connector or wires from the motor terminals. You can then remove the motor mounting bolts and lift the motor from the frame to replace.
We have parts for thousands of models. Find your drive motor and start your repair!
Customers rate this repair as Really Easy
Takes 15 - 30 mins
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