How to Repair Your Electric Garden Shredder

If you are a gardener, you do realize how messy things could get if debris, such as branches and leaves start to grow out of place and need to be cut or lopped off. It could make your garden look like a menace. So, you already know the importance of keeping your garden neat and clean. However, clipping and trimming leaves and branches, no matter what size they are, can result in hours of tedious work. The good news is that today you can buy an electric garden shredder to make the process a whole lot easier. On top of that, using a electric garden shredder is a quit way to get nutrient rich mulch available for your garden. However, they are sometimes prone to breaking down through excessive use. You can still repair your electric garden shredder by yourself if you know how. 

Gardening is all about choosing the right tool for the job, in this case an electric garden shredder.

What is the Best Electric Garden Shredder?

To proactively prevent repairs, it’s always a good idea to buy an electric shredder of top-notch quality. They tend to be more durable than others if they are properly maintained, as repairing an electric garden shredder may not be the easiest job in the world.

Here are some of the best shredders you can buy today.

1. Earthwise LM71313

The product is built to be innovative towards making a more planet-conscious approach. It runs on a battery and is also energy efficient. The machine comes to a collection bin so that the debris is not littered elsewhere. It has a slim design making it ultra-portable and can be maneuvered easily too. You can buy it from here

2. Sun Joe CJ603E

This is a more premium version of an electric garden shredder. It surely does not come cheap but the amount of functions it has, also the number of buttons you can play around with will make shredding your garden so much fun. The build includes an ejection slot, a collection bin, a safety switch, controls for forward and reverse, an instant start button, and so on. You can set the shredding ratio to a maximum of 21:1 and your garden will be the envy of your neighborhood. Get yours from here today. 

3. WEN 41121

For those of you who want a high quality, yet affordable garden shredder, this is the one to go for. It has a 15-amp motor that provides up to 8000 cuts per minute. It also has an internal safety mechanism to prevent it from suddenly starting up when the hopper is open. It comes with a 7-inch cutting blade with a two-year warranty. Get you today from here.

Now, back to the issue at hand. Of course, buying a quality shredder goes a long way. However, they will still breakdown if you use them the wrong way or if you accidentally damage the mechanism. 

Mechanical Issues

No mechanical contraption is without its issues. An electric garden shredder, like any car or bike, needs maintenance. Push your luck too far and you might end up with a broken garden shredder. There are of course many ways to fix them, but first, it’s important to properly diagnose what’s wrong.

You can run into a plethora of mechanical issues with your electric garden shredder that might need to be repaired. Here is a list of problems you might face and how to go about repairing them.

Chipper Does Not Work (Jam Issue)

A chipper is powered by several different parts of a motor and the problem may not be where you are looking. It could have something to do with internal parts that is are visible until you take the cover off. Only then will you be able to identify the issue. The most common issue people face with such shredders is that they tend to jam a lot. Keep an eye out for the following, if your blades do not turn and needs unjamming. 

  • Drive Belt Issue: The drive belt on your chipper could be damaged or worn if you see that the engine is running, but the chipper does not turn. To inspect the drive belt, you need to remove the belt cover and install a new one. If it slipped out, you may try to put it back on carefully after you have disconnected the shredder from the power source. It’s normal for a shredder to have a worn belt over regular use, and may need to be replaced. Refer to your user manual if you need guidance.
  • Idler Assembly: The drive belt will not turn and your blades will not function either if your idler assembly needs adjusting. It’s located under the belt cover, which is used to keep the right amount of tension on the drive belt to prevent the belt from slipping out of place. The idler acts as a pulley that is linked to the drive belt path to keep the belt steady and functioning without wobbling. If it’s loose or broken, it’s time to bring out the old screwdriver to tighten it or change it respectively. Also, a broken bearing inside an idler can prevent it from rotating and will hinder the engine’s capability to move the blades.
  • Engagement Cable: This allows the blade assembly to turn once it has reached its minimum speed to turn the shredder blades. This allows the engine to start and idle without having to continuously force the blade assembly to turn. It prevents the engine from being overworked, to extend its lifespan. If the engagement cable breaks or if it’s not adjusted properly, the blades will not turn, and most probably will jam. Engagement cables wear overtime and replacement is fairly easy if you follow the instruction manuals on how to repair it for your particular model. 
  • Drive Shaft: The driveshaft is responsible for spinning the blades the same way the crankshaft is responsible for spinning the flywheel. The drive belt is linked to the flywheel using this driveshaft to rotate the blade assembly. If this driveshaft breaks, it will prevent the blades from spinning. You have to replace or repair the drive shaft if the blade assembly does not function after you have looked into the drive belt, idler, and engagement cable.

These are the several reasons why your blades may be jammed and wouldn’t work. These are the only mechanical issues that can cause the blades to jam and you can diagnose them yourself. The parts are fairly easy to replace if you have followed the instruction manual. It could be as easy as screwing and unscrewing bolts to install or repair a component. 

How Do You Unjam a Garden Shredder?

We have covered how you can repair your electric garden shredder, but several external factors that can cause such internal mechanical problems. 

Read on to learn why your shredder jams and how you can unjam it.

  • The most obvious one is that an electrical shredder will continuously jam if it is of a very old model. Some internal parts that are connected to its chassis may rust and not be in a position to move seamlessly with other parts. Consider buying a new one.
  • Another reason why your shredder may jam is if you do not balance out the materials being fed. If you are shredding leaves and occasionally come across thicker twigs, they may put sudden unnecessary pressure on the belt or the drive shaft which may cause it to break. It’s advised to shred one type of material at a time, rather than shredding whatever you can in your path. 
  • Feeding the machine with a lot of green waste without balancing it out with dry and brown waste is the perfect recipe for a jam. Do not use a shredder to continuously shred only one material throughout the year. It is an annoying repair as you have to unplug the machine, take it apart, and clean it thoroughly before you can use it again. 
  • Bear in mind that an electric shredder is not as powerful as a commercial or an industrial shredder because they tend to be very dangerous for home use. Household electric shredder has small inlets and feeding the shredder tons of branches and leaves at a time will surely cause a jam. 

Final Thoughts

Electric shredders are nifty and work perfectly for homes. Its convenience also comes with a disadvantage. They are not very powerful compared to gas-powered shredders, but it does not mean that they will not get the job done. If you are gentle and feed it a moderate about of twigs, branches, and shrubs, then you won’t have to repair your electric garden shredder often.

We have so far talked about the internal mechanism that has to be repaired in case of a jam. But one more thing we have to remember is that blades can wear out too. Your machine will work fine after the motor is repaired but if it does not perform like when it was new, you probably need to change the blades. However, go for something that is of good quality and easy to repair. Do your homework or ask an expert before randomly buying an electric garden shredder, and you should be just fine. 

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I've been raised in a family of international gardeners spanning multiple generations, from vegetable growers in Germany to fruit tree growers in Iran. I hope you find the information you read useful to using electric gardening tools in gardening.

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