Here’s a blast from the past: A mechanical toy, that’s really cool. One that brings fond memories from my childhood… I’m 38 as I write this.
Strictly speaking, this is not a customer’s toy, but a family heirloom which had been festering in the shed for over 20 years. Consequently, it now wasn’t in great shape.
After dusting it down, we realised that records were playing intermittently and slowly at best and the problem seemed related to the rather cool winding mechanism within.
After dismantling the unit and giving the mechanicals a light service, the turntable platter turned freely once again. Our two year old daughter can now play with the record player as her mum did – very cute.
I quite like the idea of this vacuum cleaner in that it’s lightweight, easy to use, highly portable and easy to maintain. All things that make a great product.
The particular vacuum cleaner came in to the workshop, just outside of its warranty period and had been looked after well. However, it had developed a nasty intermittent cutting-out problem when in use. I also noticed that the charger’s flex had also cracked near the wall plug, making it dangerous while charging.
First things first and it was off with the rollers and filters to clean any obstructions that might make a device like this overheat. Nothing obvious there, but all items cleaned and washed as a precaution to allow the roller to move freely and the vacuum to breathe easily.
Closer inspection of the handle area revealed a weakness in the design which had meant that the quick-release mechanism had caused an electrical connection to degrade, causing the cutting out.
The only remedy was to address the handle’s weak point with a mechanical fix and make good the electrical contact.
I hope Bosch take note and make an improvement in this area on an otherwise nicely engineered item.
I also did a small repair to the damaged flex on the charger.
Cost of a new vacuum cleaner, circa £250. Cost of screw… less than 50p (without my time of course!)
These chargers often lead a hard life, working in dusty, hot and noisy conditions, so I guess many of these fail in time.
This Bosch unit is fairly common among Bosch DIY drill sets and this one had died catastrophically. With the power applied, this one refused to give the slightest charge to a drill battery, once plugged in.
After some basic testing, I decided to change four components which would have caused the other to fail in a ‘domino effect’. The cost of the replacement parts was just shy of £10, but definitely worth saving since second-hand units seemed to be changing hands for £40 on eBay, with their condition largely unknown. The parts (two resistors, MOSFET transistor and diode/ transistor) were readily available online.
I recorded a short video to help others who might have a similar problem with theirs…
A slight departure from my usual ramblings about white goods and other domestic appliances in this entry. Outside of The Workshop, I’m a keen petrol head who loves to tinker with cars and motorbikes and my own car was suffering from a recent bout of coolant incontinence.
Like me, most owners of these cars dread anything like this happening as it usually means big money.
The leak only happened when the car cooled after it was was run up to temperature and was evident in the area under the oil filter housing. Luckily, the leak wasn’t serious and was repairable with a 10mm spanner, washing-up bowl and 4000 grit sandpaper.
Here’s a little video which I hope will help other Boxtser owners.
GHD hair straighteners are a premium product which retail for a minimum of £100 in the UK. However, over time they suffer from common annoying faults which cause owners to condemn the set they have.
This set of straighteners presented ‘as working’ when first switched on. After warming up, hair straightening temperature was reached within the normal time. However, after 5 minutes of use, the temperature reduced and failed to re-heat in a reasonable time. Leaving the straighteners to cool completely would effectively reset the problem, only for the cycle to repeat again.
GHD faults are well documented on YouTube and the fault turned out to be a faulty thermocouple or thermofuse, which should regulate the temperature and cut power in the event of a fault. They do however wear out and this set of straighteners was no exception.
After dismantling, the thermal fuse was replaced for £2.70. The whole job took half an hour and saved the owner nearly £100 on a replacement.
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.
Sadly, I’ve seen loads of these older Dyson machines at the tip in recent years. I suspect, with a bit of fettling and cleaning, they could be brought back to rude health.
This one was one a high-mileage example and needed some tinker-time to get it back to a serviceable condition.
It was working of sorts, but failing to ‘pick-up’ as well as it used to. It turned out that the roller had two problems. The main bearings were worn, making a squealing noise and the brushes had worn low. This part used to be available from Dyson, but due to the age of the machine, they quite reasonably, stopped selling them. However, the net is awash with reasonable pattern parts for Dyson machines and while I tend to stick to original equipment wherever possible, a replacement roller from ebay for under £10 was a reasonable choice for this 15 year old vacuum cleaner. A replacement Dyson vacuum cleaner would be at least £250 for a basic model at time of writing.
Just a note on Dyson machines: Having studied the company at school and following their progress for a number of years, they seem to be a firm believer in providing accessible and affordable parts to keep their products alive. They’re an excellent example of a company that truly believes in product sustainability.