A flying barbecue problem

A rusty barbecue lives to cook another day.

My dad kindly donated an elderly Homebase Sorrento gas barbecue a few years ago and each summer since, it’s cooked a good few bangers and steaks in the garden.  Nice.  However, during the winter this year, the barbecue nearly met an unfortunate end.  The barbecue is always kept lightly sprayed with WD-40 when not in use and always covered with a generic tarpaulin, to keep the rain out.  However, one particularly windy day during the winter of 2018, the cover that was meant to protect the outdoor cooker turned in to a handy sail and briefly lifted it a few feet in to the air and then down again with a crash.  Oh dear.

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FixItWorkshop, May’18, Worthing, Homebase Sorrento/ Campingaz Eldorado.

At first glance, all appeared to be well but on further inspection it seemed that the gas burner within the main ‘charcoal’ area had taken quite a hit.  Years of use and damp storage had taken their toll and the rusty burner within had finally shattered and was no longer in good serviceable condition.  In fact, using the barbecue in this state could literally be explosive, since the gas would be flowing out all over the place, potentially un-burned.

Not holding out much hope for spares, I took to Google to see what parts were available for the nearly 20-year-old appliance.  It turns out that there are many spare parts available for gas barbecues, from spare handles to gas valves to replacement grilles, including burners of just about every variant.  With a bit more research, it appears that my Homebase Sorrento is in fact a re-badged Campingaz Eldorado.  As Campingaz is a well-known brand, the burner was readily available at a very reasonable £23.00, including delivery from Hamilton Gas Products www.gasproducts.co.uk.

Hamilton supplied the parts quickly and the part fitted as easily as the existing one, as it was a like for like spare part, more or less.  I had to cut-off the existing screw, as it was beyond help and replace it with something similar, once fitted and the height adjusted with a washer and nut or two, the burner was once again ready to cook.

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However, before I could sit back with a cool beer and admire my work, I decided to tackle the piezo push-button ignition, which had stopped working a while ago.  The wiring had broken away from the main spark anode and to be honest, even I nearly binned it.  I hate to be beaten by silly problems like this, so I soldered the wire to the base of the spark anode and then re-attached the bracket back to the barbecue.  After a little tinker time, the spark was close enough to light the gas, pretty much every time.  I was well pleased!

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FixItWorkshop, May’18, Worthing, Homebase Sorrento/ Campingaz Eldorado.  Re-attached wiring.

So, if your gas barbecue needs parts, don’t assume it’s not worth repairing.  There is a wealth of direct replacement and generic spares that will get yours working again, cost effectively.

Cost of a replacement barbecue:  £100 upwards (although the range could be as dramatic as £30- £5000).  Cost of repair:  £23.00 for the burner and £1.00 for the nuts, bolts and washers (which I had already).

Sterling Power Products Pure Sine Wave Inverter repaired

Inverter, repaired in the workshop

For those wondering what an ‘inverter’ is, let me give a quick explanation:  It allows one to use a mains operated device on the move, using a power supply from a motor-home, car or boat, as an example.  An inverter ‘inverts’ a smaller voltage to a larger one, usually for most applications.  Most inverters sold turn either 12 or 24VDC to 240VAC or 110VAC.

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FixItWorkshop, April’17, Worthing, Sterling Power Products Pure Sine Wave Inverter Pro Power SB 600W

The owner of this one had accidentally connected the input wires the wrong way around, effectively reversing the polarity.  Not good.  Upon hearing a little ‘pop’ the owner quickly disconnected the power!

Having never worked on an inverter before, I turned to the manufacturer for advice.  Sterling Power (UK) were not able to supply any product information on the phone nor via email and were generally not very helpful at all.  They did offer a very reasonable 25% discount on a replacement, but were not able to offer much else to save the one I had in the workshop.  Never mind.

Back to the problem.  Checking the basics, the ‘accident’ had appeared to knocked-out three 25A soldered PCB fuses.  Temporarily by-passing the fuses revealed a working unit, so replacing the defective fuses was a good idea at a very reasonable £1.50.

The fuses are mini-blade 25A automotive fuses.  Once removed and the new ones soldered in place, the unit worked once more.

Cost of parts, £1.50, cost of replacement unit, circa £160.00.

I’ve also covered this repair overview in a video:  https://youtu.be/nmnSRwQdSvY