Instructables

How to fix Food Saver - Vacuum Sealer?

I have a Food Saver brand Vacuum Sealer, that all of a sudden stopped working properly. It has no On-Off switch. You simply plug it in, and then put the bag up to the vacuum area and then press down and hold the lid when its vacuuming the air out and then seals the bag closed.

When it stopped working, a vacuum bag was placed (as we normally would) and then the lid was put down and pressed. The motor is still running, but normally it makes a louder noise as its vacuuming the air out, and this time it didn't work. (No vacuum). Since it wouldn't vacuum the air, it then wouldn't also seal the bag. 

I checked the single air hole on the unit, and there isn't anything obstructing the flow of air, and the bag was put properly in the machine. I also tried using a new bag (just in case the other one was defective) but it made no difference. All the bags come off a large roll. You seal one end, fill it, and then vacuum the air and finally it seals. I've been using this machine for several years with no issues, and this isn't a new roll of bags.

Any ideas on what to do to service it and hopefully get it working again?

Sounds like a valve in the pumps gone bad - blocked, by the sounds of it. I don't know what pump tech they used inside to advise you further. I'd guess at a diaphragm pump, but open it up and take a look is probably quickest.

Steve
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
Thanks for the reply. New photos of the inside have been added.
Yep. Diaphragm pump.

Watch it in action. See that the little crank's turning like fury.

Any cracks in the pipework ?

Otherwise, its open the top of the pump time. There are probably some popper valves in there, or the diaphragm's ripped.

Steve
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
I didn't try and run it while the machine is apart. I did take apart the pump unit as far as I could (which wasn't very much). I uploaded 3 new photos. There was a rubber gasket over the holes in the pump unit. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the gasket, and there isn't anything obviously wrong with the parts I can see, including the tubes which don't appear to have any cracks or holes.

Any suggestions? (I can't get into the pump area any further. Seems to be a sealed unit.
Does the crank turn freely ?

You're going to have to see what it does with the lid off the machine.

Steve
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
I haven't tried that yet, but I will. I was trying to do some online research as well, and someone suggested lubricating the rubber gasket, but didn't say with what. Any suggestions on what I can use on it, and if you think it'll make a difference?
I wouldn't. These things are designed to be run dry.

Can you see the diaphragm moving when you turn the crank ?

Isn't the "top bit" screwed on from underneath, near the crank ?

Steve
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
Ok... I put the lid part back, and then the gasket and the top for the pump area, and then started it up. Yes the motor was moving furiously.

So then I decided to give it another try, and successfully heat sealed one end of a bag, and then stuffed something in the bag and tried it out...

And you won't believe it, but the darn thing now works, and successfully vacuumed and heat sealed the bag!

So IT WORKS! ;)
tvandyke9 months ago
If you look closely in the pic with the motor (pump) & the green circuit board, there is a block. Easy fix, go to a pet store & get "fish pump air line", & replace that section, less than $1.

Check the red barrel connected to the brown side of the circuit board. This a sensor to vary the "pressure limit" before the sealing process is triggered. If anything is sucked into it, the sensor will not work. If you like small items, You can take it apart & clean it. Unscrew the hexagon screw. A small flat bladed screw driver, fits quite well. (& count turns until unscrewed, so you can put it back; exactly the way it was). Carefully remove the spring hidden inside. Inside is a metal plate mounted on a piece of rubber; (non-removable). Use a Q-tip & alcohol to clean the metal plate, let dry. Re-install spring & screw back in the hexagon screw; exactly the way it was.
bajablue2 years ago
YAY for you and your now-functional Foodsaver! ;-D
canucksgirl (author)  bajablue2 years ago
LOL... thanks. I still don't know what was wrong, but it now works again!
rickharris2 years ago
The 2 cut away parts are the valves they fit over the inlet/outlet holes.

i agree with you and Steve something got in there and you scared it out.
canucksgirl (author)  rickharris2 years ago
I'm just glad it works now... Its probably the cheapest appliance repair ever! ;)

Thanks again for offering your help.
I wonder if one of the valves got stuck down with some juice accidently sucked into the mechanism ?
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
I'm usually pretty careful about sealing anything with liquids, but I suppose anything is possible. I figured you just scared it into submission, because after looking at it and reassembling the vacuum unit it started working again... weird, but I'll take a fix however I can get it. ;)

So a big THANK YOU to you!
rickharris2 years ago
Ok the pump looks like a diaphragm pump. The diaphragm is made from rubber and may well have cracked or developed a hole - You need to inspect it by either removing or any other way you can check its integrity.

It may have valves or just simple flaps to control air flow.

I think the foam is to provide a small restriction in the flow so the pump sucks in the right direction i.e. out of the bag because that's the easiest direction for air to flow.
canucksgirl (author)  rickharris2 years ago
Thanks for the reply. I took the pump apart as far as I could (which wasn't very far). I don't see anything obviously wrong. I uploaded 3 new photos. I also checked the tubes and there doesn't seem to be any obvious cracks or holes.

Makes sense about the foam.
Open it up and see whats going on. Whatever is used to hit the switch that activates the pump may have broken or the switch itself may be bad. You won't know till you open it up and see whats inside. When you do get it apart show us some more pictures of it.
canucksgirl (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
Thanks for the reply. New photos of the inside have been added.