Despite the 1970’s kitsch-ness of the electric percolator, they are very good at making coffee and the delightful coffee smell you get when brewing-up is sublime. Here’s an advert from the time.
FixItWorkshop, Worthing, May’19, Sona advert.
FixItWorkshop, Worthing, May’19, Sona coffee percolator.
Top tips for keeping your coffee percolator in good order:
Descale using a kettle descaling solution as needed
Keep the coffee strainer clear of debris
Make sure the lid always fits between the strainer and the percolator body
A colleague found this percolator while clearing out an abandoned office cupboard. I suspect that this one might have been bought as a wedding present way back and had ended up in the office when someone had decided play the role of barista at work.
It was missing its power lead and was headed for the recycle bin, when I intervened.
The power lead needed was an obsolete design used on British appliances of the era and was similar in design to the more modern and current, IEC C13 or ‘kettle lead’. However, modern kettle leads did not fit this percolator.
More drastic action was needed. Luckily, I had an old appliance I no longer needed, so I scavenged a board mounted IEC C13 socket from it and replaced the one originally fitted.
After some soldering and a bit of jiggery-pokery, this Sona Percolator now brews coffee using an up-to-date power lead.
A repair and top tips for keeping your Dyson DC34 running for longer.
Every home should have one of these hand held dust busters. Simple as that.
Why? Because they are easy to use, easy to clean and last ages on a charge.
Top tips for keeping your Dyson DC34 running for longer
Keep the filter cleaned (wash regularly)
Remove any build-up of hair from the roller beaters
Keep all electrical connections clean (use WD40 or similar)
This one was admitted to the workshop with one fault, but the diagnosis revealed two problems.
When in use, the roller beaters would stop frequently and not restart. The cure for this problem was to remove all the hair from the roller spindles and the internal motor belt drive, which was held together with a couple of screws. Once all the hair was removed, the rollers worked much better, but not perfect. A quick blast of air and a quick spray with contact cleaner into the motor and the rollers were once again, working as they should.
On a full charge, one of these Dysons should run for about 20 minutes, but this one didn’t. The battery wasn’t holding the charge, so after a quick look online, a new one was purchased for just under £20. Great value.
It felt really good to save another product on its way to the bin.
Cost of replacement: £200. Cost of repair: £20, plus one cuppa, ginger cake and ice cream.
I carry out a few Kenwood Chef repairs a year and usually, they can be brought back to full health with simple tools and repair components. I’ve not had a faulty Chef brought in to the workshop which hasn’t left ready for service. Yet.
One common theme with all older machines is that the motor speed control circuitry can fail which either manifests itself with symptoms including, but not restricted to; electrical burning smells and smoke, the motor not running smoothly or not running at all. While the failure of a Kenwood Chef may look spectacular when it happens, the repair is fairly straightforward, if you have some basic skills, tools and some patience.
This particular A901 came in with four faults; poor feet condition, cracked cowling, the speed control knob was loose and once I opened up the motor unit to look further, burned-out capacitors.
To some, this list of faults might seem a bit daunting, but it’s standard fare on a Chef of this age and to be expected after thirty plus years service. Due to the excellent design of the product, the faults are all repairable with commonly available parts.
After about an hours’ work, the feet were replaced, the motor circuitry repaired and the replacement cowling refitted. The speed control knob had come away from the motor body and only required the pin that held it in place ‘pressing’ back in to the housing, resulting in one happy mixer.
One of my aims on this website is to share my experience and best practice so for the first time, I made a video of the complete motor repair in real-time. So, if you have a Chef to repair and twenty minutes, grab yourself some popcorn, a notepad and pen and enjoy.
Cost of replacement: £150.00 and up. Cost of repair: £30 plus my time and tea.
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. If you can’t, I might be able to help.