When a pencil sharpener stops working to its full potential, it can be hard to figure out what exactly is wrong with it. While many find themselves throwing the entire unit out, it may be worth finding out what the problem is. Unfortunately, disposing of the unit may actually be the best coarse of action in many cases. Most of the time; however, you’ll likely find an easy, quick, cost-effective solution to your problem. Let’s take a look at some of the common problems inherent in faulty electric pencil sharpeners and just what it is we’re able to do about them short of throwing the entire unit in the trash.

Pencil Sharpener Shows No Signs of Life Whatsoever

When your sharpener is attached to a reliable power source, yet seems to be unable to operate in any fashion whatsoever (no noise, vibration, etc.), the issue is likely related to its power cord. If you notice your sharpener is completely dead, it’s important to unplug the sharpener immediately, as the unit may now be a safety concern until it ends up getting fixed.

After unplugging the unit, check the power cord for any fraying or breakage. Most likely, you’ll notice part of the inner portion of the wire has become exposed. You should resist the urge to simply tape the cord up with duct tape, as this will simply act as a band aide liable to come off and cause potential safety threats at any time. If the problem lies within the pencil sharpener’s power cord, you’ll have no choice but to replace it. Fixing it yourself may prove to be ineffective and even downright dangerous. It’s probably best not to take the chance. Most likely, you’ll be able to find a compatible replacement cord online.

Inserted Pencils Come Out Choppy/Graphite Keeps Breaking Off

This is likely due to dull blades. In this case, fixing the problem is both cheap and easy. You can make the choice between replacing the blades outright or simply sharpening them. While the latter is recommended, both methods shouldn’t even take twenty minutes, assuming you have the right materials.

Pencil Sharpener Seems to be Operating, Though Pencils Come Out as They Went In

If you can hear and/or feel your pencil sharpener’s motor moving upon inserting a pencil, though the pencil comes out unsharpened, the issue is likely caused by blockage within the pencil sharpener. By giving it a gentle thump with the hole facing down, any obstructions should come out. Otherwise, you may have to take the sharpener apart to pry the object out of the sharpening core with a pair of tweezers. Just be sure you cut of the unit’s power source first.

If after sifting through the sharpening core, you decide that a foreign object is not the root of the problem, the mechanical parts within the unit are likely the issue. If this is the case, you’re unfortunately better off just throwing the unit out; tracking down new gears and actually taking the time to figure out how to fix it will likely prove impossible or not worth your time at the very least.