Monday, October 17, 2016

Replacing The Circuit Board On A Dometic RV Fridge

An RV refrigerator is a wondrous thing. It can operate on either electricity or propane, and when it works you can run the fridge just as easily at the lake as you can hooked to the power grid. When it works. My Dometic RM 2852 fridge has given me endless grief.

Ever since I've owned the unit, it has wanted to run the inside of the fridge at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which does really bad things to things like lettuce and soda. At first I replaced the thermistor sensor and that worked great for a while, but then it started having the same problem again.

This time I was pretty sure it was the circuit board because sometimes I would cycle the power and the fridge work work fine for a while before it went back to ruining all my food again. It was pretty aggravating so I finally unplugged it, scrubbed every inch of it clean, redid the connections on the custom sensor, and ordered the Dinosaur Micro P-711 replacement circuit board for my fridge. I did quite a bit of research and pretty much everyone is saying good things about this aftermarket motherboard.


Step 1 - Unplug Power


Unplug the RV from any shore power and disconnect the batteries.

Step 2 - Pull Connectors



Take the mount screw off the existing board housing and pull the cover off. Then pull the modular connectors from old circuit board. Leave the ones on the bottom connected for now since they are easier to get mixed up, and you really don't want to mix them up.





Step 3 - Dismount Old Board


The old board just slides out once the single mounting screw is removed. Once the modular connectors are taken off, you can slide the board out of its mount and push it out of the way a little bit.

Step 4 - Mount New Board


Pushing the old board out of the way, push the new board into the mount. It should just pop right in.

Step 5 - Move Bottom Connectors


Now you can carefully pull each connector one-by-one with your hands and move them onto the new board.

Step 6 - Move Modular Connectors



At this point the old board is completely unattached and you can set it off to the side. Take the few modular connectors and connect those to the new board.




Step  7 - Connect Ground Wire


There's a little ground block off to the right side of the board, so I took the mounting nut off and attached the green ground wire to the block.

Step 8 - Power On!


At this point you can plug in your RV, reconnect the batteries and turn the fridge on. Mine takes several hours to cool down to operating temperature. So far it seems to be working fine!




Saturday, October 31, 2015

Signs And Causes Of An Overheating Computer Or Other Electronic Device

An overheating computer is probably the most common computer problem I have encountered, in several decades of building and repairing them.

Below you can see the new case fan that I installed to replace the one that prompted this article. The old fan had failed and wasn't spinning, and the computer was randomly powering off.



Signs Of Overheating


There are other signs of overheating for electronic devices, but these are the most common in my experience.

1. Your computer or device randomly powers off or reboots. This effect is worse on a warmer day.

2. Your computer or device is unstable with the applications you normally run.

3. You hear more noise than usual from the device's fans.

4. You feel more airflow from your device and/or the airflow is warmer than usual.

Causes Of Overheating


The most common causes I have seen for overheating computers (and electronic devices in general) are:

1. Failed Fan: It could be caked with dust, or the bearings could be worn out, or who knows. If it's not spinning, it's not moving air, and whatever part of your computer it's attached to isn't being cooled properly.

2. Dust in Heatsink: The fan has to be blowing air over the heatsink to be cooling whatever its attached to. Anything that does its cooling with a fan will eventually be caked in dust, and need to be blown out with a can of air. 

3. Improper Air Flow: If the computer or device is sitting in a corner where its fans can't move much air, it's the same effect as the above two problems. Ideally you want your computer in as wide open of a space as you can get it. And if it must be in a confined space, move it back from the wall.

4. Ambient Conditions: Fans and heatsinks use something called "physics" to cool your device's silicon. If their is too much moisture in the air and/or it's too hot, your device can still overheat, even when it is properly functioning. Not much you can do about that except keep indoors with your AC on ... or move.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

How To Fix Magic Chef RV Stove Not Lighting All The Way

This Magic Chef stove in the RV I just got was beyond disgusting. I may have to pull the whole unit just to clean it all the way, but for now I'll settle for the burners lighting properly. The oven won't light correctly, even after a new safety valve, but that's a different project.

The problem was that the individual burners were not lighting all the way around. Half the burner would light, dumping LP gas into the trailer and creating a dangerous and bad smelling situation. I could take a lighter and manually light the part of the burner that wan't lighting, but that's obviously not how the unit was meant to work.

And this is after I thoroughly cleaned it! Notice how grungy the back burners are--they weren't lighting correctly


The solution was to get a wire wheel set for my drill. Putting the wire wheel on all the burners served to unclog the little holes where the gas comes out. I'm no gas stove genius, but it was pretty clear that the smaller holes function to light the larger ones, making the flame work its way around the burner when just part of it is lit. The wire wheel cleaned out the gas holes and also made it look shiny and not disgusting.

Also, there are little holes in each burner that feed gas to the ignition manifold where you can turn the knob and light any one of the burners. I had to damage one of the metal tubes that connects to the burner. So, using the wire wheel to clean the ignition holes also made each burner light more easily.

They look shiny and light properly now

Only 4 hours of scrubbing the stove top and an hour with the wire wheel

These gas feeder tubes for the ignition are telescoping, meaning one smaller tube inside a larger one so it's easy to extend the tube into the burner or pull it out of the way when you're working on the burner. It's a decent design, except the tube to the front burner is seized, making it too short, so it falls off randomly. So, I also sprayed some penetrating catalyst, and I'll come back in a week or so and see if I can extend the front tube. It's funny that it rusted set to its shortest setting, meaning that this oven hasn't worked right in a long time!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mark's Troubleshooting Tips: Don't Be A Parts Changer

Mechanic's school was a long time ago for me. I didn't do it for a living for very long, but I still do all my own work for everything: house, car, appliances, etc.

A few things my instructor told me still echo in my brain. He used to say "most mechanics are just parts changers." To reliably fix things, you have to intimately understand how they work. This is easier said than done when you fix a wide variety of things like I do. 20 years ago, if you didn't have the manual or the personal expertise, you had to find someone who did, or guess. Now, through the wonderment of the google-machine, most of the time whatever you want to know is a simple search away.

Obviously there's more guesswork in figuring out something new, like a gas RV oven recently for me. But taking the time to understand how what you are working on works, almost always pays off. Reading the manual, finding out what other people are saying, watching videos, etc., gives you an advantage before you take something apart, or replace a part you didn't need to replace.



Sometimes the time it would take to troubleshoot a part is proportional to the cost of the part. For those times, I have the attitude that if I have to take the part out to check it, I might as well just replace it. But when the parts are expensive and the labor is cheap, you really want to understand intimately why what your trying to fix isn't working.

Sometimes being able to troubleshoot and understand a problem isn't completely possible because you lack some tool or technology to diagnose the problem. Understanding how it works is still helpful, and will let you make a more educated guess.

This is why I am almost always willing to buy whatever specialized tools I need, within reason. For example, the $35 engine code reader has taken the mystery out of dozens of "check engine light" events for myself, friends and family.

Sometimes you want to know for 100% fact that something is perfect. You want to change the parts because you want all the best parts. This is about the only time it's beneficial being a parts changer. No need to check it or troubleshooting something you already intend to replace!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How To Replace An RV LP Gas Regulator

In a previous post, I replaced one of the gas lines that was leaking. The other one worked, but it looked dicey. The LP gas regulator also looked dicey. It seemed to work, though it was showing red with both tanks connected instead of showing green like it should've been. So, I decided to replace the regulator just to be on the safe side. To me, "looks shady" and "propane" don't mix.

I got the other "pigtail" gas hose and the regulator on Amazon, but it took a couple extra days for Prime processing (whatever that means) so it came three days behind the pigtail hose, and I waited to have everything at once. I still had my yellow teflon tape from the last job. This tape is beautiful to work with. For the regulator, my Fleetwood Prowler came with the Marshall regulator as OEM equipment, and from reading reviews on the other brands, I came to the conclusion that it was worth paying 51 bucks to have one that wasn't going to fail for a long time.

Above, the old regulator with the one new pigtail hose I had replaced last time

Tools


I used the same two adjustable wrenches from my last post, for all the fittings, as well as a Philips screwdriver to dismount and remount the regulator to the LP tank structure. I also used a pair of scissors to cut the teflon tape. I wanted to use the cordless screwdriver but it would reach, and I don't have an extension for it.

Warning


Working around gas, it should go without saying that you do not want to be near anything that is smoking, on fire or anything that can even make a spark.

Step 1 - Turn Off The Tanks


Make sure to turn off both tanks. This is very important. You do not want to win a Darwin award.

Step 2 - Take Off The Pigtail Hoses


First disconnect both hoses where they screw onto the propane tanks. You can do this with your hands. Next, disconnect the fittings on both pigtails. As you loosen it, the hose can turn because you disconnected from the tank first.

NOTE: A little bit of gas can come out when you disconnect the tank, even with the tank off.

Step 3 - Disconnect The Main Gas Line


If it's easier, you can swap steps 3 and 4. What you want to do is disconnect the main gas line that goes to the regulator so you can take the regulator off. Use the two adjustable wrenches.

Step 4 - Dismount The Regulator


With everything disconnected from it, take the mounting screws off with a Philips screwdriver. Mine only had two screws holding the regulator on. It came off without a fuss. If you are having issues getting the wrenches into the tight space to take the hose off, you can just dismount the regulator before disconnecting that last hose, which is what I did.

Step 6 - Take Fitting Out Of Old Regulator


My new regulator came with the side fittings but not the bottom one, so I had to take it off the old regulator.

Step 6 - Mount The New Regulator


Another reason I got the same brand is because the mounting was the exact same as the old one. Two screws and it was laughably easy.






Step 7 - Connect The Gas Line "Pigtail" Hoses


Connect the fittings first, so the entire pigtail can turn while you are tightening the fittings. Take the old teflon tape off the fittings before putting them back on. I'm not very good at explaining how to do the tape, other than picture how the tape will tighten when you tighten the fitting. If you wind the tape the wrong way, it may not make a good seal. I usually do at least 2 layers pulled fairly tight.

Next, connect the tank ends of the pigtail hoses, but leave the tanks off for now.



Step 8 - Connect The Main Gas Line To RV


Now, I'm not sure if the "pointy" end of the existing fitting gets taped or not, so I taped it. I left the other side un-taped. It look like it originally had loc-tite, which isn't really a sealant.

Step 10 - Turn Both Tanks On


Turn both tanks on all the way. You will hear some of the gas moving into the previously-empty pigtails and regulator for maybe a second or so, but you should hear no hissing sound, which is a different sound. If you hear hissing and small gas, turn both tanks off.

If you have a leak, look for the leak with one tank on at a time. If you don't hear any hissing but still smell gas, then you can use soapy water over all the fittings and look for bubbles.




Step 11 - Inspect Your Work


If both tanks are on and you don't hear any hissing or smell any gas, then you probably did it right. But check everything anyway. What I do is at least grab every fitting and stuff that's supposed to be wrench-tight and making sure it's not finger-tight.

Doing a last second check on this job, I noticed that the main line coming out the bottom of the regulator was finger-loose! I could swear I tightened it good enough! And if it's time wasted because you did everything perfect, you have the piece of mind knowing that every single fitting and hose was double checked.

Step 12 - Test Your Appliances


Before I put the big plastic cover back on my propane tanks, I run inside the RV and check the stove real quick to see that the flame on the stove top looks nice and uniform and is as flamey as it should be. Only then do I go back outside and put the cover back on, and put the tools back.

Other Thoughts


I hear that labor to work on RVs is ridiculous. Everyone says that RVs are a money pit. So far that's true, but it's gratifying to do my own work, and the "pit" hasn't been that big. The new regulator and gas hoses were about $75 from Amazon, and it was only 20 minutes worth of work for such a good piece of mind knowing it's all perfect.




Saturday, October 10, 2015

How To Replace An RV Propane Gas Hose (Pigtail)

"I want to find a fixer-upper where I can do my own work and get a great deal" I said, having never owned an RV before. The first pass was fixing the high priority stuff like the fridge and microwave. Now that the stove top works, making the LP gas system perfect has been the top priority.

The right side hose (pigtail) was cracked and completely unusable, so I had to order a replacement RV pigtail from Amazon. Ten bucks and two days with Prime. I also got the yellow teflon tape to get a nice, tight connection to the regulator, which is next on the list to replace. But for now, I just replaced the pigtail.

This fitting made a "ssssshhhhhhh" sound when I turned on the tank ... NEXT


Tools


Normally I would use two open-end wrenches, but my big toolbox was at my sister's house, so I just used a small and a medium sized adjustable wrench. It's really helpful to have a simple adjustable wrench set, if you don't already.





Step 1 - Remove Tank Cover

This shouldn't require any special tools. Mine has a wingnut that holds the cover on.



Step 2 - Turn Off The Tanks


In a two tank setup like mine, you don't have to turn off the other tank, because the regulator is supposed to use the tank the lever points to, or the other tank if it has pressure, which it won't because you'll turn it off first.

To be on the safe side, it would probably be best to turn both tanks off.

Step 3 - Take Off The Old Pigtail


Disconnect the gas line from the tank, and then use both adjustable wrenches to take the hose off of the fitting that goes into the regulator.



Step 4 - Tape New Pigtail Fitting


Put a couple turns of LP gas rated Teflon tape on the new gas line fitting. Turn the tape with the threads on the fitting, so that when you tighten the fitting, you're tightening the tape and not loosening it. You may have to think about it for a minute or two.

Step 4 - Connect New Pigtail Fitting To Regulator


Using the small adjustable wrench, attach the fitting on the new pigtail. It should be nice and snug, but not tightened to the point that it damages the tape. It's normal to score the tape where the wrench grabs the fitting, but it should be nice and smooth on the threads. If it's not, take off the tape and try again.



Step 5 - Connect Tank Fitting


Connect the other end of the pigtail to your propane tank using just your hands. It should be nice and tight, but if you are a giant moose, then make sure not to over-tighten it.


Step 5 - Turn On Both Tanks


Make sure both tanks are turned on. If you smell gas and/or hear hissing, then brush some soapy water on the fitting(s) to see where it's leaking from. Be very, very careful if you detect a leak.

Step 6 - Check The LP Gas Regulator


At this point, if you have the type of regulator that shows red or green, it should now show green. Mine turned out to still show red, because the regulator is defective. I also bought another pigtail because the left one looked a little shady in the photos. I will do the new pigtail when I do the new regulator, which I just ordered today.

Step 7 - Check Your Appliances


If you don't detect a leak, and your regulator seems OK, then the next step is to check your gas appliances. My stove top now works with both tanks, but the oven needs a gas safety valve--one more thing to replace!

Other Thoughts


Keep in mind that LP gas is highly flammable (which is the point) and potentially explosive. Ask yourself: "Do I want to be a recipient of the Darwin Awards?" I don't. So, don't do anything stupid.













Sunday, September 20, 2015

How To Fix Fridge Freezing Problem On Dometic Refrigerator

The Swedish made Dometic refrigerator is made for RV use, where it can be run from electricity or propane. Overall, it's well designed, but for whatever reason it provides no temperature adjustment. It relies on its thermistor being perfect, within a very tight tolerance.

But we all know how that works out, right? The world is never ideal, and two random thermistors off the production line might run their fridges at different temperatures. And certainly the characteristics change slightly over time. That's why almost every refrigerator on earth adds a simple variable resister to provide control.

The Problem


My Dometic 2652 Two Way fridge works, but the fridge gets too cold. Like, in the 20s. I found the service manual to this fridge, and it has a troubleshooting portion that specifically mentions this issue as either a problem with the resistor or the control board. Searching the Google machine yields others saying the same thing.



Testing


If your fridge is having the same problem, there's almost no reason to do the test, because the aftermarket kit on eBay offers the adjustment you want either way. But if money is an issue, you can test the existing thermistor.

I cut mine off to test it, figuring I could just splice it back on if it worked. But you don't have to cut it off.

The original thermistor, snipped off


The official test involves putting it in a glass of icewater and measuring the resistance. So what you can do is unclip it, and put in a glass of ice water inside the fridge. And then disconnect the 120V and the 12V systems, pull the connector, and measure the resistance straight from the connector.

In a glass of icewater, the thermistor should read 10k ohms on a multimeter. When the control board reads 10k ohms, it figures the fridge is the right temperature and turns the motor off. So if yours reads lower, then you have solved your problem.

If your thermistor has the correct reading, then it has to be the control board. I read somewhere that the relay goes bad on the control board.

My thermistor measured 5 ohms in a glass of icewater! Which means it would never tell the fridge to stop cooling, and the fridge is happy to comply. Just as an aside, I think you cold probably intentionally turn the fridge into a freezer if you so desired.

Above, you can see that I circled the connector where the thermistor connects to the controller board

Aftermarket Thermistor Kit

There is an aftermarket kit from a web site and seller on eBay that's not too hard to find with a search. I've even seen youtube videos of these aftermarket kits being used. I noticed it was a dollar cheaper direct from their web site and they take PayPal which allows you to file a claim if you don't get your order.

I assume the kit is just a thermistor and variable resister in a series, but I'm no electronics genius, and I also need a fridge very badly.

So, I ordered the kit. I thought "aww jeez, it's going to take forever, isn't it?" but I received it about a week after I ordered it, so it must ship from inside the USA.




Replacing The Thermistor

Their web site provides good instructions. I'll be honest here. I left the power connected when I snipped the original thermistor off, and left it connected when I put the new one on. My thought was that there isn't much DC current going through that thermistor, and I guessed that a brief 0 ohms reading wouldn't fry the control board. But everyone else says disconnect both 120V and 12V systems first, so you should do that.

You'll want to strip the wires to maybe 3/8 inch. Make sure to twist the ends tight, so they go right into the barrel nuts. The new thermistor has a sticky backing, and it's really sticky. You're supposed to make the area clean and dry before you stick it, but my fridge had been off for a few weeks, so it was already dry.

I mounted it upside down because I didn't have my glasses on. I realized my mistake an instant later, but the backing is so sticky, I almost hurt my hand when it finally broke free. I mounted it correctly a little farther away from the fins, figuring I'd rather have it closer to where I can see it, and the adjustment can always compensate from it not being in the recommended place. Also, I notice in the videos and photos of others doing it, that nobody else is mounting it that close to the fins, either.







Testing The Fix


I always say, if you didn't test it, then it doesn't work. I bought a little thermometer that hangs in the fridge and has a little red band showing when the fridge is in the ideal temperature range. Unlike a freezer, a fridge has a very narrow band where it's useful. Too warm, and everything you cook will make your family sick, and too cold, like mine was, and your salad is frozen. Not good.

The adjustment seems to be working so far. The aftermarket kits fixes a glaring design flaw in this Dometic refrigerator. Someday I may solder the connections and put heat shrink tubing. The barrel nuts look a little "ghetto" but don't affect the functionality of the unit.



Final Thoughts


These fridges have a reputation for being quirky, so having an adjustable temperature takes away one of its quirks. But if you wanted to keep the fridge factory original, then you could always get the original thermistor from Amazon, ebay--lots of places.

Notes:



  • RV refrigerators that can operate off of propane are much different from the ones you are used to seeing in your kitchen. They take longer to get cold, so changing the temperature dial could take several hours to reflect the new setting.



Thursday, September 3, 2015

How To Fix Nozzle Problems On Rug Doctor Portable Spot Remover

It only took a quick Google search to realize that average users weren't taking apart this machine. But the nozzle was clogged, and I have 4 dogs. My machine was also about 2 months old--too late to return it to Amazon. I could see a couple reviews where people said that Rug Doctor wasn't very responsive.

Did I mention that I have 4 dogs? I really needed to clean up a few spots, and failure was not an option.



The Problem


The nozzle on my Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner was clogged. Pressing the trigger with the unit on gave me two tiny streams shooting out left and right, about half a foot from where the brush head is expecting to pick up that water.

My brother suggested running just a tank of plain hot water through it. This didn't do much. It was obvious there was something clogging the nozzle. I'm handy with a screwdriver, no problem, right? Wrong. This project only took 3 hours total, but I can strip down a Hoover Steam Vac and rebuild it top-to-bottom in about an hour, just because it's easy to work on.

This unit ... is not easy to work on. I would place this end towards the upper end of difficulty of all the appliances I've fixed. Years ago I had a Mercedes, and it was so complex that it always gave me the feeling that I wasn't qualified to operate it--this Rug Doctor gives me the same feeling. This is a precise machine.

If you are handy with a screwdriver and have OCD about putting things back together, it is entirely possible for the average person to take about the brush unit to service the few servicable parts in there, like the clean fluid switch and the spray nozzle.


The Solution


Since the nozzle doesn't easily come out, I had to disassemble the brush unit to get to it so I could poke out whatever was clogging it from the other side with a needle. I originally thought about poking the needle through without taking it apart, but it seemed like if there was debris clogging the nozzle, pushing it in wouldn't stop it from needing to come out. No, I needed to be on the other size of it.

Note that the nozzle probably should've been replaced, since clearing it with a needle bored it out, and now the nozzle sprays a little wider than the head.

Disassembly Notes


Since this was my first time taking this apart and I had no manual, I have no idea if there is an easier way to do this. From looking at this unit disassembled for a few days and studying it, I'm pretty sure that the entire unit needs to come apart to take out the nozzle or do basically anything to the internals. But I could be wrong, and I'm about as far away from being an authorized repair of these machines as someone can be.

Also, there seem to my old eyes to be two lengths of screws, with one being slightly smaller. So pay attention and make sure you put the smaller ones back where they belong.

The terminology I'm using could be all wrong, too. I've never taken a unit quite like this apart before, so I could be naming everything incorrectly. As the kids would say, I'm a Rug Doctor Noob.

Head Construction


The brush head unit has the sprayer, brushes and brush agitator motor, spray nozzle, and finally, it also picks up the dirty water. This makes it real easy on the user, who just has to pull the trigger and drag the head along.

There's basically 4 pieces holding this thing together: the brushes and three red plastic shells. The unit has kind of a main back plate where the two sides attach, forming a plastic cage that holds the agitator motor in place.



Preparing For The Job


You'll probably want a small zip-lock sandwich baggy to hold the small parts while you are working on the unit. You will also want a good quality Phillips screwdriver so you don't strip the screws, because they are cheap screws.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Step 1 - Diassembly Of Brush Head


1. Take off brushes

First you want to take off what I am calling the brush block. There are two screws on the brush block itself that hold it in, including the agitator brush. If I remember, the top screw was a little smaller, so pay attention.



At this point the brush block should slide right out as two pieces.

2. Take out all the screws

What I did was took out every single screw at that point. It might be possible to take off just the side with the nozzle on it. Under the spray trigger, it says "SOAP" and you might try taking off all the screws on the side that says "SO" on it.

But again, I just took all the screws out and let everything just kind of fall into its component pieces on the counter.



3. Catch the spring

There is a spring which gives the spray trigger a nice, tactile feel to it. You'll want to catch that spring and put it in your parts baggy.

4. Catch the trigger

The spray trigger will probably fall off when the head is opened, so make sure to capture it an put it in the parts baggy.

5. Separate the two halves

At this point you should have both halves of the unit's shell separated, with the agitator unit laying on the back plate--the third piece of the shell.







------------------------------------------------------------------

Step 2 - Take The Spray Nozzle Off


The spray nozzle should be dangling there once you have the two sides apart. It's held on by a little zip tie. I didn't want to risk cutting the spray hose, so I just slid the zip tie off, and it worked!

At this point you should be holding the grey spray nozzle in your hand.



------------------------------------------------------------------

Step 3 - Fix Or Replace Nozzle


Where, oh where did I go wrong? I only used clean, hot, tap water with store bought cleaning solution. I wasn't abusive to the unit at all. At this point I'm almost convinced that it had some debris in it from the factory.

I fixed my spray nozzle by putting a needle through it from a cheap sewing kit I had. Putting the needle through it, I could feel gritty stuff in it, and afterwards, when I tested it, my little Rug Doctor now lays down almost double the water it did on the day I first used it.

The only way to know for sure that whatever you did to the nozzle will work, is by putting it back together and seeing for yourself. Since this thing is a hassle to put back together, it might be feasible to just replace the nozzle.


Step 4 - Reassemble Unit

------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Re-attach the sprayer nozzle

I didn't replace the zip tie on mine, but if you do, know that the nozzle is keyed to the "SO" half of the unit. You won't be able to twist the sprayer hose, so make sure the nozzle is oriented right before you make it too tight to turn.

2. Attach the "SO" half of shell

At least this is how I started to reassemble everything. I first put the screw in the bottom just to help, hold it together. And then I put in the two screws for the "SO" half of the brush agitator unit. The agitator is very picky how it goes on, and it took me a while to decide on this as the first step of putting the shell back together.

3. Put the screws back in "SO" half of shell

Take note to put the screws back in the right places.

3. Attach the "AP" half of the shell

This is the hard part. First I put in the grey sprayer trigger. That's the easy part. Next, the sprayer switch has two little holes that have to slide onto the shell. But there's not much slack in the wires, so once you attach the switch, you have to do the rest while trying to keep everything from falling apart.

If everything goes well, put the spring onto the sprayer trigger, letting it lay on its side so it doesn't fall out while you fumble with the rest.

Now, if all that isn't enough, the shell is very picky about how it snaps together. The agitator makes it even worse because it is also picky.

If all goes well, the other half of the shell snaps into place with no gaps anywhere. If you have gaps in the brush unit, then you did something wrong.

4. Test the spray trigger feel

Before you put the screws back in and pat yourself on the back, test the trigger to make sure it has the right feel to it. If you messed up with the trigger spring, you will know it.

5. Put the screws back in

Put the screws back in the "AP" half of the shell. There's a couple small ones, but the lengths are so close, I'm not convinced it really matters which screws go where, but don't quote me on that. I did look at the attachment points for every screw, and as far as I could tell, the shorter ones were just a couple places they could save .00001 cents using less steel.

4. Attach the brush block

This is the easy part. Put the thin part that agitates into the holes in the agitator unit. You can move the white plastic agitator to line the holes up if you need to. The brush should just fit right in.

Now just put the rest of the brush block back on. It should just slide right into place without any fuss.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Step 5 - Test your work


As a computer engineer I've always said that if you haven't tested it, then it doesn't work. Which is why I would fill the tank with clean water--don't waste cleaning solution until you know it works--and power it on, specifically looking at the spray pattern and making sure the agitator brush moves like it should

Final Notes


  • As noted earlier, this is a fairly complicated task given the precise nature of the main brush/spray/pickup unit.
  • I'm sure taking the unit apart voids the warranty, so before you mess with your unit, I would make an attempt to return it to wherever you purchased it.