About a year ago, we bought an Early Learning Centre Freddy the Fish Bubble Machine for our daughter and it’s been a great addition to summer garden fun, as it unleashes thousands of bubbles per minute. It’s been truly bubble-tastic.
However, it’s decided to become a little temperamental of late when switched on. With good batteries and a full tank of bubble fuel, the machine would sometimes cough and sputter and generally be a disappointment in the bubble-making department.
The toy is shaped like a fish, like the name suggests and has a small reservoir for the bubble mix and a carousel of bubble wands operated by a motor which is ‘blown’ by a small fan inside, to inflate the bubbles to the optimal size.
The fault: The fan would sometimes, by itself, vary in speed, reducing the speed of the air though the bubble wand carousel, which would limit the quantity and quality of bubbles produced. Most disappointing.
The toy is held together by small Pozi-drive screws and the whole things comes apart in two halves. It gets a bit tricky inside as there are a few small components held in place using the internal plastic parts. After testing the batteries, I thought I’d start by testing the action of the on/off switch which seemed to click on/ off OK, but I wondered what the quality of the electrical mechanism was like. A quick test with the multi-meter revealed slightly variable resistances, indicating either damp or dirt had entered the switch, highly likely considering what the toy does.
The switch is reasonably well protected from the elements, but I suspect it had become immersed in water, not really what the switch or toy is meant to handle. It’s not Ingress Protected Rated (IP).
The switch isn’t really designed to be repaired, but after a few minutes bending the small tabs holding it together, I revealed the switch contacts. A quick clean with switch cleaner and blue towel and the switch was working as it should once more. Once reassembled, the toy performed well once again and was soon filling the garden with bubbly magic.