After 1 1/2 years the element broke - the comany was sold and the nw company only uses the "Toastess " name - this model belonged to previous owners the newer model is identical but has a slightly different code.
Ques 1: Is there a way to solder or repair a broken element.
Ques 2: if so can this be done at home? How?
Ques 3 : If not is it worth taking it to a repair shop?
When I was a kid we had this sort of problem with a toaster - and an old electric space heater. We just TIED the ends of the element together (where it broke) and it worked fine. No tricky soldering or anything. And they lasted for Years!
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The dualit all electrical parts like elements and timer switch are all manufacture in china and they are not as they used to be. I have a customer with a toaster of 25 years old and we have replace only one heating element up to now. For recent models we replace electrical parts in about 2 to 3 years, some times every year as you describe.
Solution: buy a new toaster oven. I determined that the manufacturer stopped selling replacement heating elements in 2006, three years after the model year (2003). After market parts makers don't sell the elements for safety and liability reasons. So I got a new one.
Did you try Wal-Mart... or a good hardware store? They were selling this kind of toaster just a few years ago because it was some kind of anniversary. I have a new one and one that's over 30 years old (and that's pretty good for a small appliance!)
I think this is a common problem with these kind of toaster ovens. Mine isn't a Toastmaster - mine is Cook's Essentials (from QVC), and my upper elements have also warped and split, although mine are curved downwards.
You definitely have a problem with the hold down circuit. You will need a DMM. If you don't have one they are fairly inexpensive now and with a little reading of the instructions you should be able to master their use. Look for a fusible resistor. It should be a small shiny canister, pointed on one end flat on the other, with metal leads on each end and inline on the wire to the hold down mechanism. Once you find this, with the DMM on resistance setting (continuity), check across the device. If the DMM says infinity, in other words it shows a 1 and the display never changes, this is your problem. Replace it with a new one. They protect the device from runaway heating and are set to open at predetermined temps. Replace it witht the same rated device. Available at most electronic stores. The rating should be in centigrade (such as 160, 180, ect). This should solve your problem. You cannot solder the thermal fuse in as solder will melt when the toaster gets hot. It must be crimped to the wire. Sounds like your almost there. Good luck.
I doubt if you can fix this without taking the unit apart. Usually it is not that difficult to remove the cover. Unplug the unit. Turn the toaster upside down and remove the screws holding the outside case on. The case usually slides off or by springing the bottom of the sides out you should be able to remove it. Once the cover is off it should be easy and obvious to fix the problem you described. When you have the unit secured reverse the order to assemble the unit and you should be back in business. Good luck.