Over a cuppa, my mother in law mentioned that she was chucking out a dehumidifer this weekend and had already replaced it. This was a shock to me since it hadn’t started it’s journey to Worthing tip via my shed yet. Time to intervene.
Aparently it had overflowed water all over the floor and had cut out and not restarted. It had probably been left to its own devices in their cellar, totally neglected in the run up to its demise.
Before worrying my toolbox, I usually plug things in and press buttons to see what happens. When connecting this dehumidifier to the mains, it fired-up and seemed to run perfectly. Strange.
Looking at the device in more detail revealed three tell-tale LED lights (cooling, empty the tank and running). The tank was removable from the front and featured a small float operated level which married up to a small microswitch. The idea being that when the water rose to the top, the switch would be activated by the float and the machine would cut out safely, all being well.
The lever mechanism on the float seemed to be stiff and all that was required to restore service was a good clean with a brush and Fairy liquid and some silicone spray, once dried.
While giving the unit a general inspection, I noticed dirt in the units’ grille. Fortunately, the grille had a removable filter which had clearly never been cleaned, so in effect had been chocking the dehumidifer in normal operation. Bad news.
FixItWorkshop, Jan’18, GET Dehumidifier repair, dirty filter.
FixItWorkshop, Jan’18, GET Dehumidifier repair, clean filter.
Piecing the evidence together in my mind surrounding the causes of failure, I came up with the following theory. The float had failed, causing the unit to leak. The unit had then run hot, probably for a while and had probably tripped a thermal protection fuse. I have no evidence for the latter idea as I never opened up the unit fully, but the theory fits the sequence of events.
In any case, the dehimidifier now switches on and switches off when full and doesn’t seem to run hot. I was pleased with that. I wasn’t so pleased that my in-laws wanted the unit back.
Cost of replacement: Circa £100. Cost of repair; cleaning stuff.
If your Kenwood Chef A901 starts to smell of burning, don’t despair, it can usually be saved.
I had an enquiry via this site from a fisherman who was very upset that his trusty Kenwood Chef A901 had given up the ghost. Rather than using the Chef to make Victoria sponges, it had been used to prepare fishing bait. It just demonstrates how versatile these machines are.
Whilst it was in use, the owner witnessed a bang then the smell of burning before the machine came to a halt. The plug was quickly pulled!
Whilst discussing the fault on the phone, I suspected that the fault was probably due to the failure of the motor speed control circuitry, which is known to fail with age. I had carried out similar repairs to other machines, including my own (in this blog) so agreed to take a look.
I received the machine quickly and upon inspection, the machine had obviously been cared for and considering its age, was in good condition. The smell of burned-out components was clear, lifting it out of the box.
Dismantling the machine and removing the motor on the A901 is fairly straightforward, providing you allow time and make notes on where things go. The components that need to be replaced are very accessible and anyone with moderate soldering skills would be OK with this task.
Luckily, the Chef is very well supported by long-term aftermarket suppliers and I bought an off-the-shelf spares kit at £14.10 delivered, from KAParts (www.kaparts.co.uk) via eBay, featuring upgraded components. This kit is a little dearer, but component technology has moved on since this machine was first on the market, so fitting anything else is a false economy in my opinion.
With the old components removed and replacements fitted, the motor ran smoothly and fully reassembled, the machine is now ready to mix bait mixtures once again. Lovely.
Cost of a new machine: Circa £300 and up. Cost of repair: £44.10 (kit plus my time).
This Dyson presented with a pretty terminal case of ‘no go’. The owner had run this relatively new machine in to the ground with little maintenance so it was little wonder what happened next.
Whilst in use, the machine spectacularly went bang and tripped the main fuse board of the house. The noise and following smell was quite something I was told.
The owner had nearly rushed out and bought a new machine and was budgeting between £300 and £400 for a replacement.
I was glad I could help since I was fairly certain I knew what the problem was without seeing it. After giving the cable, switches and casing a visual inspection, it was time to delve deeper. The filters were in poor condition and the general smell of it indicated that overheating had been an issue, probably leading to premature wear on the motor.
With the motor out, the true extent of the damage became apparent. Both motor bushes had worn away to nothing and part of the brush holder had broken up inside the motor, probably while it was running, causing the noise.
I suspect that the owner had ignored the warning signs of burning smells and occasional cutting out (as the thermal overload circuitry performed its fail-safe role).
Being only a few years old, the owner had a couple of options; either replacing the faulty part with a genuine Dyson replacement (a very reasonable £40) or pattern motor kit with filter pack for under £25. The owner chose the latter on the basis of the machine’s age and the fact that both filters in the machine were also ruined.
The job took an hour, including testing before the machine was back performing its cleaning duties once more.
A note to all vacuum cleaner owners (that don’t take bags): Keep your filters cleaned every couple of months or so. Your machine will last much longer if you do.
This Kenwood Chef developed a nasty little problem. The failure smelled expensive and the Chef even puffed out some smoke when it began to fail, it would operate, but noisily and badly, so it to the workshop it had to go.
It was in decent overall condition and has loads of accessories, so definitely worth saving since a new one is over £300 new.
Since the speed control circuitry is a common failure on models of this age, it seemed sensible to start there. On this unit, access wasn’t a problem and the issue was quickly diagnosed. Both capacitors had failed (spectacularly) and one of the resistors had become weak by about 20 Ohms or so. Repair kits are readily available online for those who are willing to save these excellent machines, so after removing the faulty components, new items were fitted.
Another little annoying problem with the Chef, was the main drive belt. It was intermittently rubbing the main plastic body of the unit, making a horrible sound and melting some of the casing (only cosmetic). The motor mounting spacer had compressed on one side causing the belt to not run correctly. This was fixed with a small washer to correct the belt’s alignment.
With a little bit of grease, WD40, Brasso, contact cleaner, repair kit and washer, the whole job took a couple of hours (including fettling time) and cost me under £8. Definitely worth the effort considering the price of a replacement Chef.
Here’s a picture of the new components fitted in situ…