Many of the problems you might encounter with your RYOBI nailer might be frustrating. Still, you can often take steps to mitigate them or go through some common troubleshoots for a resolution. Luckily, these problems, preventative measures, and solutions transcend RYOBI’s two power types and can be applied equally to pneumatic and cordless nail guns.
Related To: How to Fix RYOBI Paint Sprayer Problems | RYOBI Leaf Blower Solutions | How to Fix RYOBI Pressure Washer Problems | How to Fix RYOBI Pole Saw Problems
Troubleshooting tends to be the same for both RYOBI’s brad and finish nailers. Even newer models like the P361 can be treated similarly to the P320 and P325:
1. Nailer doesn’t work
2. Incorrect nail depth
3. Frequently jams
4. Stops working and led blinks
5. Unit has continuously blinking led
1. RYOBI Nailer Doesn’t Work
We all fall into common pitfalls when using any of RYOBI’s nailers. The most common that cause a misfiring or jammed tool is using incorrectly sized and angled collated nails in the nailer’s magazine.
Even though we should always check the most straightforward solutions first, there are times when your nailer does need more complex solutions when it doesn’t start or function as it should.
Solution 1: Reload the Nails
RYOBI’s nailers are built with a dry-fire lockout system that doesn’t allow the nailer to function if it has five or fewer nails in the magazine. Your nailer isn’t malfunctioning if it keeps stopping firing nails when the nail count is low.
Reload the nails to get the workpiece contact to depress fully and allow you to continue using your nailer.
Solution 2: Reset the Driver Blade
In addition to jammed nails and debris buildup, the driver blade can become stuck in its bottom position when you drive nails too deeply into the worked material.
You’ll know that this is the cause of your nailer suddenly stopping working during use. To rectify, depress the workpiece contact on scrap wood and press the trigger.
Solution 3: Clear Jammed Nails
You’ll need to clear any jammed nails that you suspect are causing your nailer to misfire. You might worsen the problem if you don’t remove the nail timeously.
RYOBI’s different nail gun models have their methods of safely and correctly clearing jammed nails. Don’t fret; they are all as simple as the next.
To clear jammed nails on models with a quick-release mechanism,
- Locate the nailer’s quick-release system that usually sits near the front of the nailer and above the nail magazine to access any jammed nails easily.
- Once located, open the nail magazine by pressing the magazine release button and sliding the magazine down.
- Open the quick-release or jam-release latch and take a standard screwdriver (flathead) to push the nailer’s firing mechanism back to its engaged position to give you access to the jammed nail underneath.
- Use any pair of appropriately-sized pliers to work the trapped nail out.
To do the same on nailers without a quick-release system,
- Start by removing any loaded and remaining collated nails from the nail gun, which should allow you access to the stuck nail.
- Pull back the sliding spring that seems to hold the loaded nails in the magazine and keep it at the bottom with your less dominant hand.
- Work a flathead screwdriver into the loading track and carefully push the nail out where it would be fired.
Solution 4: Use the Correct Collated Nails
RYOBI’s power nailers use collated nails which you see as a pack of nails neatly glued or taped side-by-side at a specific angle. Each model tells you in its user manual or on the gun itself the size, type, and angle of the collated nails should be to avoid any issues while using the tool.
Please take out the loaded nails and check that they are the specified length and thickness for the gun you’re using.
Solution 5: Don’t Use Worn Nails
Besides the possibility of the nails breaking or losing parts that can jam and damage your nailer, rusted, old, or worn-out nails can significantly contribute to a misfiring nailer. Regularly check that you’re using nails in good condition.
Solution 6: Correctly Load the Nails
While each model of RYOBI’s many nailers require a slightly different way of loading your nails, they all need you to load them their specified way. You should review the nail-loading method you use to avoid any further issues with working your nailer.
To properly load nails on models like the P330 angled nailer, you’ll need to insert the nails from the back by:
- Drawing the nail-loading spring down and setting it at the bottom of the magazine.
- Insert the nails into the magazine.
- Finally, allow the spring to load the nails by releasing it from the base of the magazine.
While models like the P320 Airstrike brad nailer have a slide-loading system where you:
- Press the magazine release button on the side and bottom of the nail magazine and pull it down.
- Horizontally slot the nails into place with the tip facing the direction the gun will shoot towards.
- Close the magazine back up by pushing its base until it secures in place with a click.
For the pneumatic models that take staples and nails, the loading sequence for the nails follows the latter procedure, with the staples inserted at the top like a taco with the loading area as the filling.
This also applies to three-in-one models where you load thicker gauge nails on the side loading area and slide them up to the top.
Solution 7: Run Basic Maintenance
The glue that holds the collated nails together can build up in the nailer’s magazine over time. This could lead to many problems, which could be damaging to your nailer.
Most importantly, the collection of glue, foreign materials, dirt, and debris can restrict the movement of the magazine spring and cause the nailer not to fire.
To keep a nailer without a quick-release system clean:
- Use a compatible lubricant spray and spray the magazine conservatively.
- Take a dry and clean rag and wipe the sprayed area clean.
For nailers with a quick-release system:
- Open the quick-release by gently lifting the clasp that’s securing it.
- Remove the two screws and lift aside the quick-release platform.
- Spray a dry and clean rag with a compatible lubricant spray.
- Wipe the quick-release mechanism and its surrounding area clean.
Lastly, for pneumatic nailers, you’ll also need to use a drop of machine oil that was supplied with your tool or some other compatible machine oil into the inlet of your nailer. The machine oil will work on all the internal parts to ensure a smooth operation.
Do this lubrication procedure before every use of your pneumatic nailer.
Remove the battery in your cordless nailer and disconnect the pneumatic nailer’s air supply before undertaking any maintenance task.
Solution 8: Lubricate Push Pin and Housing
You’ll know that you must refer to this lengthy mechanical fix solution if your RYOBI nailer doesn’t fire any nails. For this solution, the nailer could be cycling through and making a thumping sound as if it’s making contact with the nail when you press the trigger but not fire.
Usually, once the unit finishes going through the process of firing a nail without being able to produce one, it should activate its LED lights after three or more attempts to notify that there has been an issue.
Another clue will be if the nailer has been left unused for some time. This includes the nailer being left on store shelves.
Before the fixing stage, remove the unit’s battery and the nails from the magazine. Ensure that no nails are lined to be fired, and release the clasp securing down the nailers quick-release.
First, remove the nail magazine,
- Remove the screws holding down the quick-release part, and set the freed component aside.
- Begin to take off the nail magazine by unscrewing the nut and bolt at the bottom of the machine. Doing this should give you access to the unit’s firing pin.
- Pull out the remaining small hex screw that’s now the only thing keeping the magazine in place. The screw should be near the depth adjustment knob.
It helps if you use a pair of pliers to restrain the nut while unscrewing the bolt. As a pro tip from us folks that have been foolish, wind the bolt into its nut to keep them together; There’s nothing worse than losing that nut and leaving it alone days later when you’re tidying up.
Keep the small screw together with the nut and bolt pair; it could help to place each set of screws in marked compartments or plastic holdings.
Second, disassemble the workpiece contact and No-mar pad. The workpiece contact lies underneath the no-mar pad. The yellow plastic tip making contact with the wood being worked is usually the no-mar pad which prevents damaging the tool when working softer wood.
Your nailer will only drive a nail when the workpiece contact is depressed and the trigger is pressed. These two pieces often connect to the magazine and safety switch as an L-shaped bracket. This is clearer in Home Battery Bank’s RYOBI P320 Airstrike fix video, as this disconnecting and reconnecting step proves the most challenging.
After completing the previous steps, a central metal rod should extend down the now-exposed hole to join to a piston at the far end. This rod is the firing pin or striker, and that piston towards the rear probably depleted its lubrication.
Ensure that you note the orientation of the striker, as its design allows it to rotate in place when it’s adequately oiled. The top is the flat side, while the bottom should have groves to ride the magazine’s track.
The striker should be seized up as another hint that lubrication is the likely problem that’s causing the nailer to not fire.
To lubricate the rear housing and piston:
- Check with your tool’s guide which lubricant is best for your instrument and does not negatively impact the machine’s seals.
- Freely squirt or spray lubricant into the striker hole to lubricate the piston.
- Place the nailer with its rear on a work surface and grab a pair of pliers.
- Firmly grasp the striker and use some muscle to move it up and down to work the lubrication into and around the piston.
- Be careful not to bend or damage the striker, as pulling the piston with the striker rod should feel like moving a syringe with your finger blocking the tip and then wanting to snap back into place on its own. Avoid letting it snap back into place but return it slowly.
- Before reassembling the device, test it by reconnecting the battery, clearing the striker’s path, pushing in the depth of the drive adjustment knob, and pressing the trigger.
- When fixed, the striker pin should push forward and back into the resting position. There should be a small amount of lubricant mist that sprays out.
Solution 9: Return the Unit or Readjust
This solution is for when you’ve exhausted all the previous methods, but still, your nailer occasionally works by only firing a nail or two after several rounds. This means that the push pin is probably operating normally.
This persistent problem might be happening because the nail that the magazine loads into the firing track gets caught towards its head side and can’t load onto the magazine’s track properly.
This might be due to the slot that the brad goes through being incorrectly molded for the size gauge nails prescribed for the nailer. If your tool is relatively new, you can return it, as this problem qualifies as a factory fault.
But you can follow these steps if you wish to skip the hassle and take indemnity onto yourself and fix it like a cowboy.
- Lift the quick-release/ jam release and check if the nail’s head can make it through the slot and onto the track.
- Use a small filing or rotary tool to file the sides of the metal track to the point that the head of the nails can freely move through. Verify that you’re filing the correct gap before filing.
- Check that the nails can slide through the slot and onto the track by pushing them up and down from the magazine side.
- Clean the area of the debris from the filing process and put everything back together.
- Test the device and see if it fires continuously without any more issues.
2. RYOBI Nailer Fires Shallow Nails
You’ll have to check a few things if your nailer fires nails that don’t entirely go into the worked material or go into the material askew. In all your work, it’s essential to continually utilize the correct technique when operating your nailer to guarantee the expected performance.
Solution 1: Ensure Correct Air Pressure
You’ll need to check that the working pressure of your pneumatic nailer is sufficient to operate the tool optimally. Go to the nailer’s compressor and adjust the pressure to the correct psi amount, which usually means increasing it since it’s probably lower pressure causing the firing problem.
Lower pressure can also result in the nailer jamming or misfiring. So, check and adjust the nailer’s outlet pressure; lift and rotate clockwise the adjustment knob on the compressor to increase it to the operating range specified in the tool’s guide booklet.
Once adjusted, press the adjustment knob back down to lock it.
Solution 2: Check Battery Charge
You should always check the amount of juice available in your battery before using your RYOBI nailer. A depleted battery can often cause the underperformance of many cordless nailers.
RYOBI’s cordless nail guns should have at least two bars on the battery’s fuel gauge. Release the battery at the bottom of the nail gun and inspect the battery’s fuel gauge, which should be the three LED bars that resemble a phone’s network signal, sitting on the face facing the operating direction.
Solution 3: Adjust the Power Setting
The newest cordless nail gun models from RYOBI have an air pressure dial that functions as a power setting on the back end of the nailer that allows you to tailor the nail depth to match each job you do by increasing the power to drive each nail.
Increase or decrease the air pressure setting by moving the selector towards the positive (+) sign or negative (-), respectively.
Solution 4: Adjust the Depth Setting
RYOBI’s newer nailer models have a depth adjustment to help control the depth that the nails can be driven. The placement of these adjustment mechanisms may vary a bit, but they are generally positioned around the area.
Some cordless models wear that adjustment knob next to the quick-release mechanism you lift to unjam nails. Pneumatics models should have it above and ahead of the nailer’s trigger.
Twist the adjustment knob to increase or decrease the driving force. The higher you adjust the knob, the more power the nail will use to strike. You’ll need to increase the striking pressure when using longer nails or nail material that’s denser.
Solution 5: Adjust Power and Depth Settings
In some situations, you might be required to run fine adjustments by adjusting the power and depth settings to help ensure the best power and performance. Follow the previous two solutions to make these fine adjustments and closely monitor the results for a deep and flush finish.
You can use offcuts of the wood material you’ll be working on to make these adjustments without having to gamble with your setup.
Solution 6: Use the Correct Nail Length
Each job is different, and you might be using nails that are too long for the hardness of the wood. Test if the nail drives deep in another type of wood with less hardness.
Change the length of your nails if the slightly softer wood allows the nailer to function correctly.
Solution 7: Correct Your Technique
To use the correct technique when operating your nailer, you should hold it vertically upright and square with the worked surface. Push the gun down to release the safety trigger and firmly push your less dominant hand on the butt of the tool.
With your dominant hand securely around the handle, squeeze the trigger to fire the nail gun. Lift the gun slightly and move it to its next destination once you hear the nail being driven in and the gun actuating.
3. RYOBI Nailer Fires Nails Too Deep
This problem is the exact opposite nature we dealt with in the second section of this guide. Luckily, the solutions are even more straightforward and involve adjusting the air pressure or depth of drive.
Solution 1: Decrease the Air Pressure
Decrease the air pressure by rotating the air pressure dial on the unit’s rear in the appropriate direction. Remember always to remove the battery whenever making any adjustments.
Solution 2: Adjust the Depth of Drive
Disconnect the battery and decrease the driving depth by turning the depth of drive adjustment knob counterclockwise. Reconnect the battery after the adjustment.
4. RYOBI Nailer Frequently Jams in Use
It’s not only disruptive to workflow to have the nailer jam regularly, but it can cause a varying quality of work.
Using incorrect or damaged nails and having a dirty or loosely-fitted magazine often leads down this path.
Check that you’re using nails of the prescribed size and replace any damaged or rusty nails. Finally, clean the magazine and tighten any loose screws.
5. RYOBI Nailer Stops and Light Flashes
You’d want to choose this “problem” if you had a choice on what’s to disrupt your projects. Because if your nailer suddenly stops operating and begins rapidly flashing its LED, it’s often because of depleted battery power or excessive heat from use.
It would be best if you always recharged your nailer’s battery before each use. Also, recharge the battery if you’ve been working for some time, and give the tool time to cool if it feels hot.
6. RYOBI Nailer Has Blinking White Light
Commonly referred to as the “blinking LED of death,” most people quickly relent to replacing the entire nailer unit whenever their RYOBI nailer starts this shenanigan. Duly so, as troubleshooting this problem is probably only possible for DIYers with electrical experience.
The best action is to replace the unit or take it to a service center to be looked at, repaired, or replaced.
This is because troubleshooting the blinking LED problem can get involved because the issues and their fixes require opening up the nailer to investigate internal parts.
You be extremely cautious whenever you venture into the realm of tinkering with the internals of your RYOBI nailer. Modifying your tool isn’t the best idea and should be an undertaking at your risk.
As with any modified tool, experienced tinkerers advise that you label the equipment with the word “MODIFIED.”
Solution 1: Replace Thermal Fuse
Commonly, the continuously blinking LED on your RYOBI nailer is caused by overheated resistors on the tool’s circuit board which affect the tool’s thermal fuse. You’ll want to test the reading of the thermal fuse and resistors and ensure they have the appropriate readings with a multimeter.
Solution 2: Test the Unit’s Control Board
Troubleshooting the control board will undoubtedly be the most challenging option if the issue turns out not to be opened resistors or thermal fuse. Follow the Thrifty Tool Shed’s YouTube guide for examining, testing, or replacing your unit’s main circuit board.
You’ll want to reset the Battery Management System (BMS) on the circuit board as they can pick up strange issues as they are always powered up and never cycled. The BMSs should have a reset or reset when you allow power to the board again.
Solution 3: Replace Control Board
You’ll need to replace the control board if you end up reading problems with a few components on the board; as the following YouTube guide shows, it’s helpful first to confirm what’s at fault and how to reduce the risk of a similar problem from occurring.
Solution 4: Test With a Relay
Check that the board has no burn marks, document, photograph all the components’ positioning, and carefully detach or cut the wires attaching to the board when preparing to replace it. Guarantee that you use the exact and correct board and parts.
Connect the unit’s switch to a larger relay that you connect in place of the control board. Solder the relay to the relay terminals that went onto the board. Again, see the following video for this workaround.