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.
This machine is our very own, which decided to stop drying clothes. Everything seemed to work; the drum was going around, the timer was working and nothing sounded out of sorts, but it started taking longer and longer to dry clothes. In short, it wasn’t well.
This particular model is well documented online as it’s the same one with a world-wide model recall. Fortunately, Hotpoint/ Indesit/ Creda/ Ariston have an excellent recall process and information service. In fact if you’re concerned about yours, please visit http://www.hotpointservice.co.uk/safety-notices/ to see if your machine is listed. This machine had been modified and was cleared safe for use.
Anyway, it was time to dig out the tools. There’s not much to a tumble dryer really, the most expensive and important part being the motor, which in this case was fine. Having tested the heating elements for suitable resistance, it was time to check the wiring, which also tested fine.
Since the machine would heat up and then cool, it suggested a temperature control system fault. This machine has three temperature sensors; one in the exhaust and two on the back of the heater, the latter two to act as heat control and safety cut out.
If you’re still reading, it turned out that the exhaust thermostat sensor was at fault. Once it has allowed a brief heat cycle, it would shut down for ages. It had excess temperature switch ‘hysteresis’. The spare part was about £12, so versus the cost of a replacement machine at about £170, it was well worth spending time on the machine.
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…
I occasionally volunteer at Repair Café and similar events in Sussex and surrounding area
I love repairing things and hate throwing things away that can be saved. There’s far too much waste in the world. Many things that can sometimes appear unrepairable, are indeed repairable, with a little tinkering.
I want to encourage people who doubt their own ability to repair their things, to give repair a go. Afterall, if ‘that thing’ isn’t working, grab a screwdriver, take it apart and investigate. What have you got to lose?
I’ve been tinkering with bikes, cars, coffee machines, toys and vacuum cleaners and pretty much anything that can be dismantled since I could hold a screwdriver. I’ve worked for BT as a senior engineer and I’ve studied design, business and electronics.
Enjoy the repair diary of a tinkerer. I hope it gives you a nudge to repair your broken thing.