Experience informs us that transformers and relays of vacuum cleaners rarely go out, and often one can face other problems but the failing of the vacuum cleaner’s engine, as these wear out slowly in time. In order to repair the engine, it won’t take a lot of expertise or high tech equipment. You just need some pliers and a Torx T20 screwdriver to press open all the various parts. But most importantly, you’ll need your hands and common sense. If you know how a vacuum cleaner works, than it is easy to imagine how to fix it. This brief guide covers up the basics of servicing vacuum cleaner motors, not matter the brand or type.
When disassembling your vacuum cleaner, start by getting rid of filters, removing the handles, take out the switch assembly being careful not to disturb the electrical connector, which is usually underneath. Remove the vacuum case protecting the interior, to get to the vacuum cleaners core engine. It is much easier if you just unscrew the neighboring motherboard, allowing it to move freely, so you can get to where you need to work, instead of removing it completely as then you would have to rewire everything back, which is tricky if you have no experience. In most cases, it not necessary to remove any of the rubber bumpers surrounding the machine or the cord wires.
You should be gentle when removing the parts of the vacuum cleaner as the little bits and pieces are fragile. Remember where all these items were previously positioned, especially the screws. You can arrange them in a particular order, so you better remember where each should go. Now that you have released the vacuum pump cabinet, remove the motor from the vacuum. Instead of a motor shell, some models have a motor chamber which contains all the motor assembly.
In any case, the end result after this first phase should look like this:
2. Fixing the motor
Looking at the end of the motor, there is a metal shield you should lightly tap off to expose the blower fan, then remove the nut that is holding the blower fan in its position. This allows you to drag out the flat spacer washer as well as the aluminum blower (some models don’t have the same structure, so be flexible).
Next, you can gently lift out the carbon motor brushes, which are usually held in place with spade connectors so you can smoothly pull them out directly. These motor brushes should appear to be long and solid and if so, should typically last a very long time. At this time, you should see two types of “housing,” where the female spade socket should be located on the face of the ‘stator housing,’ and the male spade connector on the base of the alternative ‘brass housing’.
With the brushes now removed, you ought to clean them with an electrical cleaner (or replace them completely) to get the best out of your vacuum cleaner in the future. Here’s how they look like:
If you decide to replace them, always replace both at the same time. After you took care of the brushes, you can remove the vacuum engines stator. This can be done by pressing down on the metal spring clip that fastens it in place and the stator should easily slide out.
The stator should have the electronic controller attached to it and will come up with it. This would be a good time to clean up any dirt and dust residue on the inside of the stator along with the housing, so the vacuum cleaner can operate to its optimum level.
You will then have to cautiously pull out the rotor, which should have bearings on either end and a lower bearing that is pressed into the housing. This needs to be carefully pulled out also. Being careful not to lose the flat small spring washer, the rotor should surface in one piece.
You may have noticed that the commutator which can be found on the end of the rotor, where those rings of copper strip the brushes by rubbing against them. This piece may be super dirty and scored, which is a major problem with the faulty vacuum cleaner engines. Here’s how the commutator looks like:
To fix this issue you should gently mount the rotor in a mini lathe, if you have one handy as they are pretty useful and lightly grip it in the three jaw chuck. At this point, you can make sure it is running true by turning it on. Remember that the vacuum engine is extremely loud when not covered in plastic, so don’t be alarmed. Using wet and dry fine sandpaper, fold it into a lengthy strip, enough to carefully sand down the end of the rotors commutator.
The commutator does not have to be perfectly smooth and will still operate fine if there are a few small scores present around it, so use feather-like strokes to sand down the commutator and beware not to sand a lot away. The deep scoring is the point where the ends of the brushes contact the commutator, so the heads of the brush should be in contact with the smooth copper most of the time.
Cleaning the aluminum blower, which will most probably be quite clogged with dust, is key in the overall function of your vacuum cleaner. A swift push around with some fins with a long cable tie does the trick usually, along with an electric cleaner.
Now for the electronic repairing, be extremely cautious, as there won’t be much that is properly attached and quite a few loose main connections exposed that will cut you, if you encounter them. The vacuums’ engine electronic structure is ineradicably simple, consisting of a thermal cutout device and a triac with a 20 to 30 amp. Make certain all of the triac’s wires are well connected to the body. If you have experience with this, you could get right away into inspecting/measuring if all electrical components are working using an ammeter.
Make sure that all parts of the plastic clips that hold the connectors together are complete and not cracked, and wrap the connector in electrical tape to hold it securely together.
When you have completed all the repairing and cleaning, you should reassemble the engine. It is recommended that you allow the vacuum cleaner engine to fully dry by placing it somewhere warm, to make sure all the water has evaporated and the maintenance you have done has dried secure, before trying to operate it again.
Take the time to restore all the screws and check all the wire connections are correct. Imagine spending a few hours fixing a vacuums’ engine only to discover it doesn’t work due to poor re-installation of wires. As you see, repairing the engine of a vacuum cleaner can be a pretty simple process. You do not need to be an engineer to repair your vacuum cleaner’s engine, you just have to have the right skills and determination to get in there. I wish you good luck, and I would love your comments on this guide.