repairing Electrolux Hi-Tech 2100 vacuum cleaner power switch assembly

The power switch of my Electrolux Hi-Tech 2100 vacuum cleaner had been kind of sticky for a long time. It didn't have a smooth positive action. Somebody else was using the vacuum and was less than gentle, and the switch got stuck. I took it apart and found a broken plastic hinge on the "switch control housing" (P/N 26-940-04, cost $7 delivered from EZvacuum.com). This "housing" is a kind of plastic frame of the switch assembly. It holds the actual electric switches, the big plastic button operated by the user's toe, a little pneumatic diaphragm with a linkage, and a rocker-type linkage, together in one assembly that can be removed by taking out a couple screws.
You may have some problem other than a broken frame like I had. These instructions may be helpful for other switch problems. This doesn't describe many of the hairy details of how the switch assembly works or much about how to assemble and disassemble---you have to use your eyes and brain. But I'll mention how to do some of the things and some of the ways to mess up.
I wasn't real careful about putting the following into logical order, so read the whole thing a couple times before you start.
First you have to get the canister open. Unplug it first! The canister is in two halves in a kind of a clam shell arrangement. The two rubber bumpers (each about two feet long) that run the lengths of the sides of the machine hold the two halves of the canister together. You have to open the filter-bag door and pull the bumpers out of their grooves from the open doorway. The bumpers may have some weak kind of latching arrangement at the other end. You may have to push in on the far ends of the bumpers to release them. But the bumpers get pulled out toward you as you look into the recess where the filter bag goes.
When you separate the halves, you may notice that the major parts of the insides are kind of hanging loose. Each big part (motor, cord retractor, filter-bag housing) is kind of loose except that each one has a thin flange that fits into grooves in the two halves of the canister. You have to make sure that the flanges are in the grooves when you reassemble.
After you have the canister open you can take out the switch assembly by removing the two screws as mentioned. Go slow now and take a good look at everything, because there are several hoses and wires that can come loose when you have the canister open. If you are not careful, the thing may not even run at all when you close it back up. Take some pictures of the switch assembly so hopefully you can get everything back as it's supposed to be.
There is a hose going to a little pneumatic tympani-like diaphragm on the switch assembly. You can remove the hose, but make sure to mark it or maybe take a picture, because it is not the only hose that can come loose! There is another hose that goes to a little nipple at the bottom of the filter-bag housing. If you see two loose hoses, look for that nipple!
There is also a power-wire connector (near the cord-retractor-end of the vacuum) joining three white wires, that can come loose. After I had fixed the switch assembly and thought I had the whole thing back together, it would not run because that wire connector had come loose! So I had to open it back up and notice that that connector was loose and reconnect it.
So keep a sharp eye open for loose wires and loose hoses!
If you are replacing the switch frame/housing, the mentioned diaphragm has to be removed from the old frame and reused. The diaphragm is rubber, and there is a plastic housing (like a cap or a cover) for it that is fixed to the switch frame. The frame has a couple plastic posts that fit through holes in the diaphragm cap. The posts are kind of melted as if peened on the ends to hold the cap on the switch frame. I drilled out the posts with a 4mm drill. Actually I used whatever inch drill is quite close to 4mm. Try to drill right down the center. You can make a starting centering hole with a pocket knife. You want to avoid wollering out the holes in the diaphragm cap, so that the posts of the new frame will fit snugly. I used a couple small dabs of epoxy cement on the _ends_ of the posts---after the cap was in place---to hold the cap onto the new frame.
The actual electric switch assembly snaps into the switch frame and is held in the frame by a little bendable latch. (Did I mention that you should unplug the vacuum before you open it??? Unless you don't mind being electrocuted.) You bend but don't break the latch to remove the electric switch assembly. But watch out when you remove the electric switch assembly, because there is a little clear rectangular plastic plate, with a couple rectangular holes in it, acting as a linkage between the two electric slide switches. It is easy to overlook the plate until you notice it fall off, and you begin to wonder which way it goes back on. There is also a tiny lug or ear on the plate, acting as a stop. Take note of how the plate goes on, because it is not symmetric, and there are about three ways to put it back together wrong. Take a picture or draw a picture to make sure you get it back together right.
There is a kind of rocker linkage with a couple fingers that actuate the electric slide switches. It snaps into or out or its hinges when you apply pretty good force. There is a spring that hooks to the rocker on one end, and to the switch frame on the other end. And there is some kind of weird soft plastic cylinder about 1/8" diameter and 2 1/2" long. I think it is some kind of damper, maybe a noise damper. One end goes inside the spring's coil. That soft plastic part has a bend near the middle, and the other end fits loosely in a little U-shaped receptacle in the frame.
The hinges of the rocker should be lubed. I used plumber's grease (what plumbers use on faucets, I guess). I don't think that that grease will react at all with plastic. The rocker also has contact with a kind of steel spring that is on the inside of the user's big plastic button. The place on the rocker where that spring makes contact should be lubed well.
The switch assembly's pneumatic diaphragm can pull on its little hinged lever that is linked to the electric switches, presumably to shut off the motor when the filter bag is dirty or the intake is deadheaded or under some other fault condition. Anyway you need to make sure that that lever acts smoothly to throw the electric switches when the hose to the diaphragm is under vacuum and pulls on that lever. It comes off its hinges easily, so check it! The hinges on that lever didn't seem to have any lube on them, so I didn't add any during the repair.
Undoubtedly there are other things that can go wrong that didn't go wrong for me but might go wrong for you. So keep your eyes open and take pictures.
Now that I have it all back together, the switch works correctly and has a pretty nice light action, the best in years.
Electrolux seems to like to booby-trap the product, for the user so that the thing breaks easily, and for the amateur repairman so that only their repairmen can fix the product when it so easily breaks. But if you have some repair talent and keep your wits about you and notice the things I mention above, I would say you have a pretty good chance of success in your switch repair.
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What does Consumers Reports say about electrolux repairs?
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On Friday, June 10, 2011 10:34:25 PM UTC-4, Matt wrote:







































Thank you so much! I could not have found a better written instruction. I w as guided so well that I found myself taking those exact miss steps and you r reminders were spot on. I had the same problem with the switch. I chose t o epoxy and Dremel Tool the part in place. I think that the K.I.S.S princip le rather then Rube Goldberg would have been better by Electrolux. Their ol der simpler models are more survivable and components better tested.
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On Friday, June 10, 2011 10:34:25 PM UTC-4, Matt wrote:

great explanation. I am having a problem when I put the suction hose back into the canister, the unit shuts off like it has a full bag. I checked the hose but the proble persists. THoughts? THanks again
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