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How to Troubleshoot a GBC Shredmaster

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Although GBC has been in the business of shredding paper since 1954, shredder technology hasn't evolved by leaps and bounds -- so while there are nearly 30 Shredmaster models in the company's 2014 lineup, you can tackle common hang-ups with largely the same troubleshooting techniques. The manufacturer's user manual expands on the details, but start with the simple solutions to cut through problems before shredding your pride and calling for service.

The Simple Stuff

GBC Shredmasters share common safety features that, when experienced out of context, can lead to trouble. For example, if your shredder starts spitting pages back at you, you've likely exceeded its capacity -- this causes the reverse-feed function to kick in. Feed the documents slower and in smaller quantities to ease this problem. If your Shredmaster's motor doesn't start at all, its bin may need to be emptied; the machine won't start when it's overloaded. On some models, a lighted “Bin Full” icon indicates this problem. Empty the bin and shred away. Safety features prevent the shredder from shredding if its cabinet door is not fully closed, so make sure it's shut before you panic.

Paper Problems

In some cases, your Shredmaster may not be up to the job; office-oriented shredders, such as the GDX and GDS series, have feed openings of only 9.25 to 15 inches. Attempting to shred larger items jams these types of machines. For personal and office use, shredding standard documents -- papers that measure 8.5 by 11 inches or smaller -- is a safe bet, no matter what model Shredmaster you have. Shredmasters commonly feature a three-way rocker switch. In case of a jam, set the switch to the “R” or “Reverse” position to manually engage reverse mode and clear the feed. For stubborn jams, tear off what you can and alternate between the “Forward” and “Reverse” switch positions a few times.

Other Issues

Sometimes, your Shredmaster just needs a little rest. If all the power lights are on, but the motor won't run, wait for it to cool for a few minutes before continuing to shred. Some Shredmasters include a safety-lock feature, which stops the device from operating. To disable this feature, turn the knob on the side of the shredder counterclockwise, so the grip is in a vertical position. Turn the knob clockwise, so the grip is horizontal, to engage the safety lock once again.

Reaching Out

If your Shredmaser's motor won't start or the device doesn't cut properly, your machine may have a blown fuse, dull blades, a bad capacitor or a faulty actuator. Problems such as these require professional attention. When basic troubleshooting doesn't do the trick, contact GBC's parent company, Clary Business Machines, at 800-992-5279 or visit and submit a query using the online form. GBC's manufacturer warranty covers Shredmaster products for up to five years, and some office models include on-site service.


Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.

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