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How To Repair Small Appliances -- IIII

Apr 21, 2015

For other motor repairs, take the appliance to an appliance-repair service or motor-repair shop. If the motor needs replacing, evaluate the overall condition of the vacuum and consider replacing the entire appliance.

Servicing a Cord Reel: The cord reel on a canister vacuum cleaner is a gadget that simply makes storage of the cord easier. It doesn't clean anything. The cord reel unit is usually located at the rear of the canister.

An internal spring offers sufficient tension to retract the cord onto the reel. The cord reel winds the cord in a circle, so the internal end of the cord must also move in a circle. At the same time, it must be electrically connected to the motor.

To make this work, the cord is attached to a rotating contact called a commutator block. It is a circular conductor of electricity that passes current from the internal end of the cord to a stationary block. If the blocks become dirty or corroded, they will not pass current to the motor. To remove and clean or replace the cord reel:

Step 1: Open the top cover of the canister. Another sealing cover will protect the cord reel -- and probably the motor as well -- from the vacuum chamber.

Step 2: Depending on whether you're cleaning or replacing the cord reel, you may need to remove it from the housing. To do so, find the clips or fasteners holding it into place and undo them. If necessary, cut the two wires leading from the cord reel to the motor. In some cases, you may be able to make adjustments and repairs without cutting the motor wires.

Step 3: Clean the cord reel of dirt, then clean the commutator and stationary block with some isopropyl alcohol on a soft rag. If pitted, the blocks should be lightly sanded and wiped clean.

Step 4: Adjust the spring as needed and reinstall the unit in reverse order, replacing any cut wires.

Don't blow it -- read the tips on the next page to help you fix a malfunctioning hair dryer.