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For the most part my hedge trimmer was doing a really great job. I did have a little trouble with the thicker stems, so I would swing the trimmer at the stems while cutting, which helped.

However, a day later after cutting for a while and just very minimal swinging, the trimmer was like dying out. Put a new fully charged battery in it, and started cutting again. Not even 2 minutes later the trimmer was dying again and there was white smoke coming out of the hedge trimmer itself.

What could that be? Is it safe to use this trimmer again?

enter image description here

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Releasing the magic smoke is almost never good, unless you're rubbing a lamp. –  Tester101 Aug 5 at 13:37
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Overloaded and overheated. It's dead, Jim... See if it's under warranty. –  Fiasco Labs Aug 5 at 14:30
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Usually white smoke means the Hedge Trimmer has elected a new Pope. –  Chris Cudmore Aug 8 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Your hedge trimmer sounds like it has died or is in the process of dying.

A quick google search confirms that this can occur with Black & Decker hedge trimmers, although it does not appear to be wide spread. Because you didn't provide the model it isn't possible to give you a more specific reason why it has failed. My opinion is that when you were having difficulty cutting larger stems, the motor was overworked and this is what led to the failure.

Random reviews about white smoke coming from a electric Black & Decker hedge trimmer

unfortunately, mine is broken. I just purchase it from walmart and while using it a smoke started coming out. I took it back to walmart for replacement but they told me to contact black and decker for a replacement.

It seemed to be working great initially and trimmed small forsythia bushes great. However within a short period it started to clatter. I never cut anything larger than about 1/8" and only recharged the batter once. After 10 minutes of use after the second battery charge dense white smoke poured out of the motor compartment, and that was that.

The smoke you are seeing is from the electric motor.

Is it safe to use this trimmer again?

Yes it is safe to continue using the hedge trimmer, however the electric motor will continue to fail until it doesn't work anymore if it is even working now at all.

As noted by Wayfaring Stranger, the electric motor may survive a little over heating, but from what I've read specifically about this issue with B&D electric hedge trimmers is that it's finished or will be very soon.

If it ceases to function, unfortunately you will have to return the product or purchase a new one.

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Motor windings will put out white smoke as they overheat and burn off their insulation. Sometimes a motor will survive a little overheating, but if you keep asking the motor to do more than it can handle, you'll eventually burn off enough insulation to cause a direct short, and a dead motor. –  Wayfaring Stranger Aug 5 at 12:38

The fact that you saw smoke, means that something blew. While white smoke is not normally associated with the motors, you could have burned out the Brushes on the motor, (if its a Brushed DC motor). those are replaceable and, I would say the unit needs to be fairly old for the brushes to go (ie less than 3 months with heavy usage) enter image description here

Alternatively, you have a better change of the problem being electronic in nature, Seeing that you have a battery pack one option is that a battery cell has blown - do you have a replacement battery pack to test it with?

The other option, is that you had a component within the circuitry fail, in this case i would look for blown capacitors. They tend to get hot, then will burst with a bit of white smoke and a really distinctive "Blown Electronics" smell. It will probably be square in your case, but this is what they look like.

enter image description here

If you find this, you can solder the old one off and replace fairly cheaply.

Remember - dont open the unit if its still under warranty! And I dont know the motor, so i am not 100% sure if that motor has all of the components described! ..

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There will be a burning smell regardless. Smoke = burning. Until the OP opens it up and/or provides the model it will be impossible to definitively know exactly what's wrong. –  HandyMan Aug 9 at 12:06
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@iStimple the hedge trimmer was overworked. Without opening it up, all answers will be pure speculation. A model number (probably stamped or on a label underneath the unit) would help determine if it is a common problem and if so help narrow down the root cause. Good luck -HM –  HandyMan Aug 9 at 13:54

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