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
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
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
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
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
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.