Friday, August 27, 2010

Saving The Life of A Machine

The two of us who are members of the Surau near our home was almost done with the vacuuming of the carpet in the small surau after the Friday Subuh prayers when the vacuum machine suddenly went quiet. We tried to restart the machine but it was to no avail. When I touched the body of the machine, it felt pretty hot. After letting it cool down we tried again after checking all the cables to see all the power supply was intact.We even changed the point from where the machine was plugged into. Since after such attempts were made the machine refused to come to life.
I took the machine home and told my wife that the machine ain't working anymore. It could be a burnt coil. Since we had been using the machine for several years already we thought the machine has had its day and called it quit. We decide to buy a new one the next day as we were going to Kota Bharu on Saturday. We will buy a similar model, a Panasonic by National. Since we are buying a new one, I decided to have a go with the machine and open it up to see what is wrong with it. Knowing that the worst that can happen is replacing the machine, I didn't have to worry if it will be good again or not.
There were not many visible screws to unscrew and the few that I saw were already out and yet the machine refused to be disemboweled. After further scrutiny I found a few more screws under a removable body part. Yet the machine can't be opened up. Using flat screw drivers I forced open a section of the body and suddenly I heard a small crack, indicating that a small part had given way to the force and broke up. Removing the piece I saw another single screw that needed to be opened before the whole machine can be opened. What a way to learn things by experimenting and relying on hunches.

The motor was removed and cleaned of dust.

At last I could open up the machine and was able to check the motor inside. Upon closer scrutiny, there was no visibility burning signs on the coil. That is a good sign, meaning a simple machine like a vacuum machine is not overly damaged if the coil is still intact. To confirm the coil is OK I called on my neighbour Chong who is an electrician and he confirmed my hunch that the motor is OK.
He suggested that I just clean up the dusts in the machine and fit them together again to try and start it up. Rebuilding became a bit of a problem as I had not really observed the steps I took when opening up. Since there were not many parts inside, I finally did manage to fit in all the screws and kept the wires inside intact.
It was music to my ears when upon switching it on, the motor whined. My wife grinned from ear to ear as we are saved several hundred ringgit if we were to buy a new machine. At least that expense will be delayed until much later when the machine will give up its last breath.
In our home I have managed to salvage many other electrical appliances like the electric irons, fans and vacuum cleaners because I dare to try and repair them first before throwing them away for good. Sometimes they were just mere dusts, broken wires or dry bearings that prevented them from function. Reconnecting broke wires, reapplying grease on bearings and removing dusts often bring them back to life. Not all were so easy though but some did. Those that did were really satisfying.
My sister in law's vacuum cleaner was not sucking much dust. She was contemplating buying a new one. When she told me of her problem, I opened up the dust compartment and sure enough the dust bag was choked up with years of all the things it was made to suck in. Her Electrolux vacuum cleaner is still serving her fine despite the many decades of being in service.
The moral of the story, don't rush into buying a new machine unless it is beyond repair. Such machines do need regular servicing to keep them in working condition. If it needs be, it must be brought to the service centers to have them professionally cleaned up. You will defintely be the winner


Uncle said...

Salam Pak Zawi.
Saya benda2 macam ni memang keras tangan saya. Semuanya tak menjadi...mungkin pasal tak minat kot....kalau dah bukak memang sah takkan pasang balik....last2 wakana lah yang kena buat balik!! For that, I respect you PZ!

Pak Zawi said...

Minat penting tu sebab kita macamana pun kena observe macam mana buka supaya boleh pasang balik. Common sense juga penting sebab setiap benda dalam tu ada tempat dia jadi kena pastikan ianya duduk ditempat yang betul. paling penting wiring dia. Dalam kes vacuum cleaner ni tak banyak sangat wiring dia.
Saya pun kalau tak boleh pasang balik main buang je la juga.

Pak Idrus said...

Zawi thanks for the informative narrative of how to give new life to the old machine.

Since I am not into repairing such machine I considered it to be 'sakit tua'. So as not to allow it to go to waste I would give it away to others with an explanation, that it is old and still could be repaired. If there are no takers I would just leave it at the trash site with a 'Halal' note if it is a cooking utensil that still could be used but old. In most cases folks takes it before I go and have a second look at the trash site.

It does made me happy and I believe the taker happy too.

Have a nice day.

Pak Zawi said...

Pak Idrus,
It is OK whichever way we do it. in your case you made two parties happy, yourself and the receiver. I think yours is a better way. In my case I am always trying to save a penny here and a penny there so as to save some money for later use.

kbguy (福生) said...

You are Mr. Jack of all trade.. Admire you because you really know how to use your free time. I slept for 2 days during this public holidays..

Temuk said...

Salam Pak Zawi
I love to repair my own electrical gadgets too. It can fun. It can menyakit hati. That's when you know you've become a tikus trying to baiki labu!

I did buy a new vacuum cleaner last year when the one usually used suddenly tak hidup. All possible problems rectified, but the machine simply didn't cooperate with me. Recently a friend told me that we should not use our vacuum cleaner continously. A short break after every 10 minutes is adviseable. The old machine which I thought was completely terbakar was recently found to be perfectly ok after I've unknowingly given it a year rest in the store room.

Pak Zawi said...

Being a retiree and not involved in any business I have the luxury of time to tinker with such equipments. Can be useful to have the tools to do these work.

Pak Zawi said...

By doing it our own we are learning something. That is how I look at it.
You are right, runnung it continously can result in overheating and the machine have the built in mechanism to shut itself off and when it cools down, it is OK again. Maybe the same thing happened to my vacuum clear the way it happened to yours. I opened it up just to ensure that the coil is still OK and once that is confirmed then i can troubleshoot for other faults.

Sad the Miserable Blogger said...

Salam ramadan pak zawi.
I have adjusted my blog so that it will be a bit decent and readable by all. Hope that you don't mind to reinstate it into your blog list.
God willling when I came back to Kelantan to celebrate raya I can pay you a visit. By the way, I'm looking forward to a game of table tennis with you.

Pak Zawi said...

Salam kembali,
Done as requested.
I am afraid the idea of buying the pingpong table is not realized yet as there is objection from my wife that the table will not be utilized for very long. I am still hoping that when my children comes back for Raya, they will be able to convince their mother to agree. Every decision in this must be done by consensus. My son azuan is a good pingpong player.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Wow, Abang Zawi, YOU ROCK! You know how to repair electrical appliances? I need to take lessons! Imagine how many electrical appliances we can save from being dumped in landfills and how much metal, plastics and other resources we could save if all of us could do basic repair work! Repairing and reusing is good for the environment and easier on the pocket! Well done!

Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
That was what exactly what I have been doing, extending the lives of many things in the house so that a replacement is done in the absolute necessity. I have with me wooden settees that are as old as my 36 yrs old eldest daughter. Many electrical things will get at least another lives. When my children wanted to trash their mini compos when they refuse to work, I will ask for them and get them repaired. Too many to tell la. lets contribute to make this world a livable place.

LadyZ said...

Salam Pak Zawi,you remind me of McGyver.... seorang yang serba boleh. If you have to get a new vacuum cleaner I would suggest you invest in a vacuum with water filtration system, where water is used to trap dust and dirt. Good for those people who have sinus. There are quite a number in the market like the Karcher water-filter vacuum, the rainbow, the filter-queen.

Just to let you know that this was posted in your other blog

pakmat said...

love the moral of the to tell the missus..pakmat may be old but still not beyond repair..:)..most things I tried to repair in the house ended up BER..

Pak Zawi said...

I am a Jack of all trades but master of none.
Actually I have that water trap vacuum cleaner from Ogawa. Got it when I bought the Ogawa massage chair. the vacuum cleaner was given to my son Shah Alam who misused it but not putting any water being too lazy to clean it up after use. How I wish i could politely ask him back for that one and give him one without the water trap.

Pak Zawi said...

in your case dont attempt to repair anything as things may end up Ber....


salam pak zawi,

pak zawi memang penyelamat mesin yang dalam kesusahan. A job well done

Pak Zawi said...

Jalan Rebung,
The machine is now working fine. Saved some RM.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

Just me dropping in to wish u & the family, kinsfolk a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Hope u guys have a very pleasant get together with all your friends & relatives.


Pak Zawi said...

Thanks a heap.

norzuki said...

selamat hariraya bro...

Pak Zawi said...

Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf lambat jawab bab streamyx down for a week.