Pohl Schmitt Electric Can Opener Teardown/Repair

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
8,234
Hello there,


Not too long ago i purchased a Pohl Schmitt electric can opener by accident (see the first and second pics attached). It was supposed to go to Los Angeles where i was at the time but instead it went to my home in NJ. That happened because Amazon kept changing my "ship to" address back to LA even though i changed it to my hometown. I have to keep an eye on that because it keeps changing back so i have to keep resetting it to the right address.

So anyway, when i got back home i started using the can opener since i already had it now. To my surprise, after only opening maybe 4 cans, it started making a very very very loud grinding noise when turned on. It sounded as loud as grinding gears on an automobile with a manual shifter when a person doesnt quite know how to shift gears or just doesnt do it right for some reason and the gears sound like they are grinding. This noise however keeps up until you are done opening the can.

I contacted Amazon and they said they could give me a 50 percent refund if i kept the item and 100 percent if i sent it back. I opted for the 50 percent because the 100 percent option was going to take too long to process and that wasnt good for me, and besides i was anxious to find out what was making that noise and see if it was repairable.

Upon examination i found that the back was screwed on with screws that were deeply counter sunk (about 3 to 4 inches) and the heads were those tri tip screw types that have a slot in the shape of a "Y" and i did not have any screwdrivers to fit it and didnt feel like ordering any for this one job and it was too deep to rig with a small screwdriver with a narrow blade and i did not feel like manufacturing my own bit to do the job.
This led me to decide to just cut the back off.

Ok, so i took a better look at the back and found that the four screws were screwed in deep inside four cylindrical channels and the channels were part of the back plastic piece. Cutting the top of the channels away from the back plastic made the back loose, but still would not come off. There was something else holding it on, so i decided to just cut the entire back off. The third picture attached shows the cuts near the bottom left hand corner in the back. I found that there was an inside panel that connected the back to the front and it had already cracked so the back finally came off.

Ok so i got the back off, now i examined the gears (see the 4th pic attached for an inside view). The gears looked like some sort of plastic like maybe nylon. They did not look damaged. I turned the center gear by hand and i could hear something like the noise i heard before when running the unit although not as loud so i figured maybe one of the gears was stripped. I unbolted the motor and found that the main problem seemed to be that many of the rotating and gear-mating surfaces were NOT greased. This was very surprising. The top shaft of the motor had no grease at all on it, dry as a bone.
Of course this led me to remove the armature (had a small gear on it) and the center gear and grease up all the mating surfaces as well as ALL the rotational shaft surfaces, motor and center gear, and the large gear teeth. I could not remove the large gear because it was riveted to the front toothed wheel that rotates the can to be opened, so i just greased the teeth. I had to use dielectric grease because i did not want to use any petroleum based grease because of the plastic gears.

Reinstalling the center gear and motor and bolting it back down, i of course turned the unit on to test it. Well, it must have worked because the unit was more quiet than it ever was. So i figured mission accomplished. I placed the back piece back on and used some tape to temporarily hold it on as later i will use some epoxy.

This turned out kind of interesting although i just wish the back was easier to get off, and i realized that because of the inside panel if i took the screws out with a proper screwdriver it would not have been enough anyway because there appeared to be no way to detach that plastic panel without cracking it.

I thought this might be interesting to see for other members too so that's why i posted it. Any comments welcome of course.

Now also interesting when i was in LA i bought a Black and Decker electric can opener. While i was there i opened many many cans of dog food as well as other cans of many sizes and it worked every time and did not make such loud noises. That one was a little cheaper too.
Since then i have read other reviews that say the same thing: that the unit started to make very loud noises. I attribute this to poor quality control and poor manufacturing control If they greased it properly this would probably never have happened. BTW in the 4th pic you can see the grease on the top of the gears but funny that was the only place they had the grease, almost none on any of the gear teeth and none at all on the top motor shaft.

As a final note, it was interesting that they used a slanted toothed gear for the small motor and intermediate (hidden from view) gears instead of a regular gear with straight, perpendicular teeth. You could see these teeth were slanted when the gear was viewed from the side.
There may be a reason for that, i'll have to do some searching. I can only guess right now that they either wanted some slight downward (or upward) force as well as a turning force to keep the gear (or motor) pressed in place or else they just wanted to increase the wear surface of each tooth. As i said though i'll do some searching to see what i can find out about this kind of gear set. Note there was no angle between the motor gear and mating center gear so it seems it could have been a regular gear set.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Kjeldgaard

Joined Apr 7, 2016
451
I stick to my 40+ year old Raadvad Can Opener, completely without moving mechanics:

RaadvadDaaseaabnerHoejre.jpg
And it is also available in a left-handed version.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
8,234
I stick to my 40+ year old Raadvad Can Opener, completely without moving mechanics:

View attachment 228937
And it is also available in a left-handed version.
Hi,

Oh yeah i have something like that somewhere.
I also have a hand turn type opener i had it for some 27 years. Worked every time.
This electric one was purchased by mistake so i ended up with it and decided to try it out. Maybe i should write to the company.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
8,234
To Quote their web site "Here at Pohl & Schmitt, we pride ourselves on quality manufactured products"
Whatever happened to Quality Swiss engineering? :eek:
Max.
Hi,

Yeah you know i was wondering that myself. I thought it would be better than usual but apparently this has this problem as a typical occurrence. The Hamilton Beach units are supposed to be really good with good reviews i see on the web.
 
Top