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Black and Decker Dustbuster Troubleshooting and How to Guide

Black and Decker Dustbuster Troubleshooting and How to Guide

Handheld vacuum cleaners are great for cleaning hard-to-reach corners in the house and picking up little specks of dirt where a regular vacuum cannot clean. Black and Decker have among the best handheld vacuums in the market today. Despite being very lightweight, it has excellent suction performance for a handheld vacuum.

Just like any machine, the Black and Decker Dustbuster may develop some issues over time. Most problems with the Dustbuster arise from battery issues, clogged filters, or a faulty vacuum motor. Luckily this vacuum is easy and straightforward to fix using our troubleshooting guide.

How to Set Up your black and Decker Dustbuster

We have an easy guide on how to assemble, use and charge the battery of your new Black and Decker Dustbuster for the first time.

First, you’ll need to read the user manual that comes with the vacuum package to familiarize yourself with the black and Decker Dustbuster parts.

The Black and Decker Dustbuster comes with the following features;

  1. On/off switch
  2. Nozzle rotate button
  3. Bowl release button
  4. Charging indicator
  5. Dustbowl
  6. Crevice tool
  7. Brush tool
  8. Charging cable or Charging base

The brush tool is for furniture and stairs. If the brush tooled is detachable, you have to push it in firmly at the front of the Dustbuster to use it.

An integrated crevice tool is for confined spaces. You can extend the tool by pulling it until it locks into position and retract the tool by pressing the front end and pushing it back into the vacuum

Some Dustbuster models come with the brush and crevice tool already fitted into the vacuum. The brush tucks at the bottom of the nozzle. To use it, you have to flip the brush tool upwards until it locks into position.

Assembling the appliance will not need any additional tools. However, different models come in various designs. You will need to refer to your user manual to fix the cleaning accessories.

  • Remove the Dustbuster and its accessories from the package and inspect all the packs for any cracks or breaks. It is crucial in case you need a replacement.
  • Insert the main handle into the vacuum cleaner’s body and tighten the screw to secure it using a screwdriver.
  • Insert the handle assembly into the suction head until you hear it click into place and the vacuum is ready for charging.

Charging your Black and Decker Dustbuster

When the package is new, it may come with a little bit of charge, but it is best to charge the battery for 24 hours before using it first. Charging it fully for the first time will help the cells to recharge faster. It also preserves the efficiency of the batteries.

  1. Ensure the switch on the appliance is off; otherwise, it will not charge. The control should be on “0” for off.
  2. Plug the jack plug of the charging cable on the charging port at the back of the vacuum.
  3. Plug the vacuum’s charger into a standard 120 Volt 60 Hz electrical wall socket. It is the regular electrical socket in most homes.
  4. When charging, the charging indicator will light, and then the light will switch off once the charging is complete. Some models have different light indicators; read your manual to know the meaning of the light indicators. Keep in mind that it is normal for the vacuum to become slightly warm when charging. It is essential always to use the charger that comes with the appliance as it will not overcharge your vacuum. The charger or charging station is designed specifically for that vacuum.
  5. After 24 hours of charging, unplug the charge, switch it on by sliding the power switch forward to “I,” then use it to clean.
  6. When cleaning, you can rotate the nozzle to access tighter spots by pressing the button on the side, turn the nozzle to the left or right until it clicks into place. Do not use the vacuum to clean up any liquid or anything flammable.

Why does my Black and Decker Dustbuster keep shutting off?

A damaged battery, a failing motor, or clogged filters and attachments are the main reason your Dustbuster keeps shutting off. Here is how to troubleshoot these issues.

The Battery Might be Faulty

If your Black and Decker Dustbuster keeps shutting off, it is usually a problem with power.

  • Before troubleshooting your vacuum, power fluctuations may prevent your battery from charging sufficiently for prolonged use. It would be best if you got a professional electrician to fix the loose connection.
  • If your battery is running low on power, confirm that your battery’s charge is full. There will be a light indicator that you can verify on your user manual. Experts advise not to use the vacuum when the battery charge is below 25%.
  • If this problem persists after charging your vacuum, your battery could be faulty. If your battery is damaged, plug it into the charger and the charging light with flash at a fast rate. Over time, the battery degrades and will need a replacement from your nearest Black and Decker dealer.

 How to Replace the Battery in a Black and Decker Dustbuster

The Black and Decker Dustbuster uses Lithium-Ion rechargeable and recycle batteries, which usually last for years. Over time, the batteries degrade, and you should remove them and replace them. You can take your vacuum’s battery for replacement at a repair shop or do it yourself using the following instructions.


  • New battery
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Safety gloves


  1. Run the battery’s charge down completely and then switch the vacuum off.
  2. If the battery is physically damaged, leaking, or corroded, wear gloves when handling it and wash your hands afterward.
  3. Remove the nozzle by pressing the blue release button on the side and pull the nozzle straight out.
  4. Remove the dust bowl by pressing its release latch and lift it from the vacuum.
  5. Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws that hold together the two halves that house the vacuum’s internal parts. Place the screws aside as you’ll need them for reassembly.
  6. Gently pull apart the vacuum’s casing to reveal the cell battery pack behind the motor.
  7. Locate the two wires that connect the battery pack to the vacuum and disconnect the red wire first by pulling and do the same for the black wire. Be careful not to twist the wires when pulling.
  8. Insert the new battery pack, reconnect the wires respectively and reassemble the vacuum’s casing. Secure the vacuum’s casing using the screws.
  9. Charge the vacuum fully and then test it.

Check the Filters

The filters in your handheld vacuum trap dust and dirt from going into the motor during suction. When the filters are clogged, your vacuum will shut down to prevent the clog from damaging the motor. To clean your filter, follow the steps below;

  • Press the dust bowl release button to detach the dust bowl; inside are the filters.
  • The uppermost is the plastic filter; to remove it, you have to twist it anti-clockwise. Inside is the cloth filter, which you have to clean regularly and replace every 6-9 months and when torn.
  • Clean the two filters with clean, warm water without detergents. Once clean, leave them aside to air dry for about 24 hours to ensure they are thoroughly clean.
  • Reassemble the filters and start your vacuum

 Check the Dust Bowl

If your handheld cordless vacuum continues to cut off the power, the dust bowl could be full. A full dust bowl will prevent the proper airflow that is needed for the vacuum to work efficiently. You have to empty the dust bowl regularly; to do this, follow the instructions below;

  • Press the release latch on the side of the vacuum and pull out the dust collector. Remove the filters and put them aside.
  • Empty the dirt from the bowl, wash it with warm soapy water, and then run it through clean water to rinse it.
  • Wipe it with a lint-free cloth and make sure it completely dry before replacing it.
  • Place the dust bowl onto the handle until it clicks into place.

 A Failing Motor

A failing motor will keep cutting off the power until it stops working completely. Some of the causes of vacuum motor damage are wire damage, debris, power failure, a blown fuse, or overheating. To troubleshoot a failing motor, you have to fix the cause before installing a new motor. The troubleshooting steps include;

  • Inspect the wire for any damages. If the wire has physical damage, unplug it and test it with an ohmmeter and replace the wire if the reading is infinite.
  • Check for a blown fuse in the plug-in and replace it.
  • Check the filter for any gaps which may have passed dust and dirt to the motor. You can clean the vacuum motor with a dry toothbrush.
  • After fixing the problem, it’s time to replace the motor.

 How to replace a vacuum motor

The motor is what keeps the vacuum running; therefore, when it starts to fail, there’s nothing much you can do other than replace it or buy a new vacuum. Vacuum motors differ in some ways but replacing them is similar across brands and models. Here is a guide on how to replace your Dustbuster motor;


  • New vacuum motor
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire nuts
  • Sockets
  • Wire strippers
  • Work gloves


  1. Make sure your vacuum is plugged and switched off.
  2. Remove the cover to the motor compartment by unscrewing some screws to gain access to the motor. Keep in mind the order of components as you’ll use it to reassemble the parts.
  3. Locate the two or three wires attached to the motor and disconnect them. You can also cut the wires with a pair of pliers.
  4. Unscrew any screws holding the motor in place and carefully remove the motor from the vacuum
  5. While you’re in there, clean the motor compartment as the debris and dirt may be why the motor failed.
  6. Also, check for any damages inside this compartment. Test to see if the fan inside is working as it prevents the motor from overheating.
  7. Place the new motor exactly where the old one was, reconnect the wires to the motor with wire nuts and then secure it in place with screws.
  8. Switch on the vacuum to see if it works and if it runs smoothly, turn it off and replace the lid.

How do I know if my vacuum motor is bad?

A motor is a very sturdy component of the vacuum and can last for years with good vacuum maintenance. However, over time the motor tends to break down due to the dirt and debris that go through a damaged filter or prolonged use of your vacuum, causing the motor to fail therefore needing a replacement. Keeping the vacuum in storage for too long can also damage the motor. Before replacing the vacuum motor, here are some of the signs that indicate the vacuum motor is defective;

  • A burning smell is coming out of the vacuum. This burning odor comes from the shellac that coats the copper winding of the motor burning out from friction. Dirt and debris that pass the filters and reach the motor compartment cause friction in the vacuum motor.
  • The vacuum will produce a click sound or a louder vibration from the motor fans and brushes when the motor is turning in.
  • Loss of suction power. The motor generates the suction by using energy from the battery, so if the vacuum motor is faulty, the suction will reduce or not be there at all.

Why does my Dustbuster not Hold a Charge?

If your Dustbuster has trouble holding charge for long or has the little capacity, there could be an issue with the battery or the charging system.

Inadequate charging

You should charge your Dustbuster batteries for at least 16 hours before using them, especially if they are new. Some vacuums will not run for long until you charge them for at least five hours. Give your battery a full-day charge with the vacuum switched off to ensure it does not shut off prematurely.

Using your Dustbuster when fully charged also maintains the efficiency of the battery and preserves its lifespan. If it still has trouble holding charging, there could be a problem with the power outlet, the charger, or the battery.

A low power outlet

If the problem persists even after connecting the charging cable, you could be dealing with a faulty outlet charging your battery too slowly. The Black and Decker Dustbuster must use a 12-volt socket. To get your appliance charging, try connecting it to another working socket.

Faulty charging station or adapter

Inspect your charging station or adapter and cable for any damages. If there are no physical damages, connect the appliance to a working power outlet and see if the indicator light on the adapter or charging station turns on. If it doesn’t, then this means your charger has the problem.

Get a certified electrician to fix the connection or get a replacement charger from a Black and Decker dealer.

Dead battery

If the vacuum doesn’t feel warm after being connected to the charger for some time or turns off minutes after switching it on, then the battery is dying. Turn on the vacuum and let it use up all its remaining charge, then replace the battery using the steps explained above in the battery section.

Dirty filter

If your Dustbuster has trouble holding charge for a long time, a clogged filter could be another cause. The clogged filter puts a strain on the vacuum’s motor forcing it to consume more power from the battery and reducing its running time.

You have to wash your filter with clean, warm water with no detergent and wait for it to dry completely before reassembling it. Remember also to clean the filter and dust bowl frequently to prevent straining the motor.

Black and Decker Dustbuster 14.4V not charging

If your Dustbuster is not charging completely, it means that power is not reaching the battery or the battery is faulty.

A loose charging connection

There are two modes of charging the Dustbuster models; one involves plugging in the cord to the vacuum’s charging port, and the other is setting the vacuum’s base on a charging station.

  • Switch off your Dustbuster.
  • Connect your vacuum firmly to its charger, either the cable or the charging station. Also, ensure the other plug-in connects correctly to the wall socket. Make sure there is no loose connection.
  • The vacuum will start feeling warm to indicate that it is taking up the charge.

Dead battery

Your vacuum battery could be dead if it is not charging at all. Try charging it for about 30 minutes and turn the appliance on; if it doesn’t turn on, you have to replace your battery.

A faulty power switch

If there is a power surge or the socket is damaged, the vacuum will not charge. Try to charge your battery on another power socket.

A faulty charging dock or adapter

If your battery and the power socket are fine, there could be an issue with your vacuum’s charging system. If the charging dock or adapter has a blown circuit, the indicator’s light will not turn on when connected to power. It has to be fixed by a professional electrician, or you can purchase a new charging system.

Dustbuster brush not spinning

A detached or broken belt, a stretched belt, damaged brush roll, jammed bearings can cause the vacuum brush not to spin. Follow these troubleshooting instructions;

  • Check the settings are on carpet mode. If the settings are on floor mode, the brush won’t spin, but the carpet mode turns the brush.
  • Remove the brush roll by pressing the brush roll access buttons, locate the belt and inspect it for damages. If it is detached, reconnect it and reassemble your vacuum. If the drive belt is damaged, you will need to replace it.
  • If the brush roll still doesn’t spin, check the bearings on the sides of the brush roll for dirt. Hair and fibers can tangle in the bearings and cause too much friction, which strains the belt. Carefully remove the hair and fibers and clean the bearings with a clean, dry toothbrush.

Check this too: How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter

How to replace the drive belt in a Dustbuster

The drive belt connects the driver motor pulley to the brush roll and turns to spin the brush roller when the motor is running. There are two types of drive belts; the cogged and ribbed drive belt. Make sure you replace your drive belt with a manufacturer-approved replacement drive belt.


  • New drive belt( cogged or ribbed drive belt)
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Work gloves


  1. Remove the assembly cover on the underside of the vacuum using a screwdriver to expose the brush roll.
  2. Remove the screws that secure the brush roll cover and lift the lid off.
  3. Lift the brush roll from the compartment and remove the drive belt.
  4. Place the new drive belt on the motor pulley and brush roller, then push the roller back to its place.
  5. Reassemble the brush roll cover and the assembly cover and tightly secure them with the screws.

Foul smell coming from my Dustbuster.

If there is a foul odor coming from your vacuum, there could be several reasons for this.  These troubleshooting tips will help you identify and fix the problem;

  • Dirty dust bowl and filters. Soak the dust down and filters in a mixture of water with baking soda for some minutes. Baking soda will dissolve the odor and disinfect the filters. Rinse them with warm water and if the smell persists, replace the filters with new ones.
  • Check the nozzle or attachments for blockage. Food debris may have gotten stuck in the nozzle and started to rot. If the nozzle or attachments are plastic, you should let soak in a mixture of water and dishwashing soap for a few minutes or overnight, rinse the parts and leave them to dry before reassembly. If the components are not plastic, mix some water and dishwashing soap in a bowl and, using a microfibre cloth, wipe down the debris blocking the nozzle.

 Black and Decker Dustbuster has a Weak Vacuum Suction.

Your vacuum losing suction is a very common problem, especially for bagless vacuum cleaners. Follow these troubleshooting steps to correct a weak vacuum suction;

  • Check if the dust bowl and filters are clogged with dirt, empty them and run them under some clean, warm water for a few minutes until they are clean. Ensure they are totally dry before reattaching them to the vacuum.
  • Inspect the condition of the suction seals in the nozzle and replace the damaged ones.
  • Check the nozzle or hose for cracks and rips. These holes reduce pressure in the airflow, therefore, weakening the suction. If the holes are present, you have to replace your hose.

How to Clean a BLACK +DECKER Vacuum

It is important to maintain your filters working efficiently and suctioning all particles leaving you with clean surfaces. Your vacuum will operate properly as long as the filters are clean and the beater bars allow for free movement of air to enable all the moving parts to run properly thus giving your vacuum enough suctioning power to clean even more efficiently.

Setting some time regularly to clean your vacuum guarantees you seamless functioning of your cleaning appliance as well as avoiding costly repairs in the long run. Vacuuming your home will also take a shorter time and ensure that all allergens of dust and dirt are eradicated from the surfaces. 

Making routine maintenance for your BLACK+DECKER vacuum is an easy task that will not take much of your time. These include cleaning the filters, brushes and emptying the dirty bowls. 

Check this too: Neato Vacuum Troubleshooting & How-to Guide

The good news is the BLACK+DECKER brand of vacuums has reusable dirt bowls and washable filters, which cuts down the cost of maintaining your vacuum significantly and leaves you with the simple task of emptying the dirt into a bin and washing the filters and bowl.

Below is a guide on how to clean your BLACK+DECKER vacuum to keep it working properly and looking brand new.

Cleaning the Dirt Bowl

The black+decker features a translucent dirt bowl that makes it easy to see when it needs to be emptied. Ordinarily, you should empty the dust bowl after every single use of the vacuum save for the advanced powerful cordless vacuums like the BLACK+DECKER POWER SERIES PRO models that have the unique feature of compacting the dirt in the bowl to reduce the frequency of emptying the bowl.

Your vacuum loses its power to suction when the dirt bowl is not clean and you should clean immediately you notice any changes in your vacuum’s suction power.

To clean the dust bowl:-

  1. Empty all the dirt in the bowl into a dust bin.
  2. Wash the bowl in warm soapy water then rinse with clean water.
  3. Wipe the bowl and leave it to dry out completely in the air before you reinstall it 
  4. to the vacuum.

Note: Never allow water and any liquid to get into the vacuum unless you are using the BLACK+DECKER dustbuster wet/dry vacuum which is an all-in-one vacuum cleaner that can clean up spills, wet mess, and dry matter. 

Cleaning the Vacuum Filters

Vacuum cleaners from BLACK+DECKER use filters that are washable and reusable. These are replaced after every 6-9 months depending on how frequently your vacuum is used. Cleaning and maintaining the reusable filters ensures that your cleaning appliance maintains maximum performance at all times.

The main indicator that your vacuum filters are due for cleaning is a noticeable loss of suction power even when it is fully charged.

To clean the vacuum filters:-

  1. Remove the filters from the vacuum
  2. Soak filters in warm water
  3. Use the brush attachment of the vacuum to scrub the filters to remove all dirt from the pleats and crevices.
  4. Rinse the filters in clean water and let them air-dry until all moisture is completely dried. 
  5. Reinstall the filters back in place.

Note: always ensure that the filters are properly installed in the vacuum for effective suction and filtration.

Replacing the Vacuum Filters

Your black+decker vacuum will need to be fitted with a new filter every 6-9 months depending on how often you use the cleaning appliance. This guarantees you peak performance as the vacuum’s suction and filtration remain powerful. 

Keep a record or reminder of when the filter is to be replaced so you can purchase beforehand.

Cleaning the Vacuum Beater Bar

The beater bar has to be maintained as clean as possible and especially if you have pets. The beater bar is basically a rotating brush that loosens dirt, hair, fur, and debris from upholstery, mats, and carpets for it to be sucked up easily by the vacuum. Dirt and debris can notoriously accumulate on the bristles hindering it from spinning freely thus making it clean inefficiently.

To clean the beater bar:-

  • Remove the beater bar from the brush unit by pushing the release button which will release the brush from the locked position. 
  • At this point, you can now remove the brush from the floor head and detach the end pieces for easy cleaning. 
  • Use a small pair of scissors to cut stubborn hair, threads, and fur caught up in between the bristles. Remove easy dirt with your fingers to ensure you get rid of all dirt.
  • Reinstall the end pieces and fit back the beater bar into the floor head.

If you are experiencing challenges while vacuuming fur you could consider purchasing a superior vacuum like the powerful black+decker power series pro which has the beater brush fitted with anti-tangle rubber bristles that prevent tangling of hair and fur. This will go a long way in helping you maintain a fur-free home and less frequent cleaning of the brush and the beater bar. 


Instead of buying a new vacuum cleaner every time it develops an issue, you can always use our guide to diagnose and fix it. Being a quality appliance, the Black and Decker have replacement parts for your Dustbuster readily available to make troubleshooting much easier for you. You may not fix every vacuum problem, but you will get to enjoy its service for a few additional years.