Unreliability of upright vacuum cleaners

Since moving into my new house five years ago I have bought not one, but TWO upright vacuum cleaners.
The first was a Panasonic MCE468. It lasted about two years, then simply stopped working. I reckoned the price to repair it was probably more than a new machine, so in July 2007 I bought a factory-refurbished Hoover PurePower 1900W. The local shop that sold it to me said that these machines (they are always replenishing their stock of factory "seconds") are refurbished by Hoover, then sold at roughly half price. So I paid 34 for mine and it looked brand-new. No trace of dust in the bag cavity, for example. It came with a six-month warranty.
Huzzah, I thought. A virtually new Hoover for 34 can't be bad. And it was fine. It sucked up the dust brilliantly. Until a couple of weeks ago.
It began to cut out. I thought the same thing had happened as happened to the Panasonic. Dead for ever more. But no. After ten minutes or so I switched it on and lo and behold it worked again!
Over the past few days, however, it is cutting out so frequently that it has become unusable. Also, it now makes such an awful screaming noise I have to wear ear defenders like roadmenders with a pneumatic drill.
So I have two choices: Get it repaired or buy a THIRD upright!
If I choose the latter, I've just checked the Argos catalogue and the choice is overwhelming. So what would you recommend?
I can't afford to spend a fortune, so a Dyson is out of the question. The catalogue starts with an Argos own brand at 38.99 and ranges through a Panasonic (spit) at 59.99, an Electrolux also at 59.99, a VAX bagless at 63.59 to a VAX bagless at 73.39. But there are dozens of others.
Alternatively, I could replace the motor myself if spares are available. Are they?
I took the Panasonic to pieces and checked every connection to the motor, right up to the brushes. Juice is there, but the motor simply won't run. I was told by somebody that these things have a thermal overload device that causes them to cut out, but where would it be on the Panasonic? What does such a thermal overload/cutout device look like?
Thanks!
MM
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saying:

Why so hung up on "upright"?
There is only one vac worth buying. And his name is Henry. Look in the back of a random builder's van at what vac he has kicking about in there. I'll put money on it being red with a smiley face. Same with various commercial establishments - hotels, restaurants etc.
They're cheap, and they're bomb-proof.
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If it must be upright then there are Sebo vacuum cleaners. Hoovers are rubbish and have been for years. Dysons are also crap as are Electrolux. It seems as if the OP is magnetically drawn to low quality unreliable rubbish.
FWIW, I prefer an upright to a "cylinder" since the uprights make a much better job of cleaning carpets. However the Henry is available in various disguises and with a turbo-brush is almost as good as an upright. The Henry-Turbo HVR is better than any of the uprights that I have tried with a powered brush head for carpets.
Our first Henry, the basic model cost 70, the powered turbo version cast 140 and was IMO well worth it.
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On Thu, 02 Apr 2009 12:43:10 +0000, Adrian wrote:

I still want one of those 'space age' spherical ones that were around in the 70's and which floated on a cushion of air - I've not seen one of those in years... (I think they were Hoovers, BICBW)
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Hoover Constellation -- I've still got one, and it still works just as well as it did when it was new. It was my parents', bought in the late 1950's I think. I had hours of fun pushing it frictionless across their hall floor, long before I ever started physics lessons and we were introduced to frictionless pucks on an air cushion.
Excellent though they were at the time, a modern Dyson beats the pants off one nowadays for cleaning power, although not longevity I suspect. The Constellation rarely gets used.
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Andrew Gabriel
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snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

The trouble with the Dysons is that the dirt necessarily has to enter the vortex bit from the top. This means the suction takes a convoluted path up the back of the machine and there are lots of twists and turns to get clogged up.
They've improved things with the more recent ones but our DC03 was forever getting clogged. I had to keep a Vax around for cleaning up after DIY jobs.
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The 1959 model 862 is exactly the model I have, and in the same colour... http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.linnell/sso/vacuums%20canister.html

Across all our family, we're now exclusively Dyson. My brother got a second generation one originally. I used it a few times when I was doing bits of building work there, and it was much better than a Henry which I had used. So I bought a DC04 (3rd generation Dyson), when I needed a new household vacuum. Gradually, other family members saw and used these when they visited, and as vacuums came to be replaced, Dysons were bought. My DC04 turned out to be so much more effective at cleaning up building mess than the Henry (or Constallation), that after a short time, it got stolen exclusively for the purpose. Obviously it's more fragile, so you have to be more careful with it, but it is the only vacuum I've found which can come anywhere near coping with the volume of plaster/brick dust a wall chaser chucks out in real-time, and it does it without any trouble at all. I tried a number of other vacuums before the Dyson, including a large industrial hired one specially for the purpose, and they were all completely useless. It's a shame no one makes a more industrial quality equivalent to the Dysons (yes, I know they can't without a licence, until the patents expire for making small cyclones which actually work).

Yes, there are marked improvements between the model generations. Having dedicated the DC04 to building work, I later bought a DC07 for household work, and I think all the little niggles I'd had with the DC04 are fixed, and the DC07 is noticably more powerful and has a larger hose (probably as a consequence). I haven't tried the newer ones, but he apparently reached the limit of what is allowed for suction power in some countries on health and safety grounds, so I it may be that the newer ones aren't more powerful in that respect.
One of our family households has had trouble with their Dyson blocking, but that's because they never empty it. Whenever I see it, the muck is jammed right to the top of the canister, way above the full mark, so of course it gets sucked into the smaller cyclones which are intended for the second stage fine particle filtration, not large gobets of dust. It's actually not those which block, but the separated dust outlet path from them down the middle of the collection canister. First time I unscrewed it to empty it, but then I saw it's actually got bits of plastic in there which are intended to loosen any such stuck dust when you operate the trigger to open the canister bottom, and operating that a number of extra times clears it. I've never had that happen in mine, but I do empty it when the dust is up to the full mark.
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Andrew Gabriel
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Yup, I've found them great for that sort of thing, though the filters do clog up fairy quickly. Which is fina as long as you know to check them before it gets too bad and it cuts out.

We've had two Dysons and liked them, an early cylinder one ( DC02?) and an upright - DC07. The DC02 was fine (it was stolen) though the having to buy filters always seemed to cancel out the benefits a of no bags a bit. It did seem to be a bit tougher than newer ones, having had it go down the stairs a couple of time times.
The DC07 was much better performance wise, used it happily for years, and washable filters. Though I do find it heavy and it's acquired a few bits of broken off plastic here and there, I do think it could be a bit tougher in that respect. Currently it is out of action though as the bin emptying function has jammed up somehow that I can't fathom and I just can't get it open. Also it's performance had certainly gone down a lot recently. I can't see any blockages or leakages, I'm guessing maybe some thing clogging up inside the cyclone?
I am considering the Dyson service option, since there are a few things like hoses that have spilt and been repaired that could do with replacing.
Anyway, we also have a recently bought Miele (S5 series, cat and dog model or somesuch, so the Dyson is awaiting a round tuit.
Was looking for an cylinder (something lighter, more manoeuvrable, better for our longer stairs (Victorian house - higher ceilings) rather than upright, and didn't like the look of any of the Dyson ones anyway - seem a bit too fussy for their own good. If I was looking for an upright may well have got another Dyson.
Miele always seem to get good reports so went for one. Have to say I'm very pleased with it. Performance is excellent, build quality also, much quieter than the Dyson, much lighter as well. Using the turbo brushes it does a good job of picking up cat hairs etc.
--
Chris French


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Andrew Gabriel wrote: <SNIP> I haven't tried the newer

First I've ever heard of that - having spent 30 odd years in the cleaning machine game?
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Dave - The Medway Handyman
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The Medway Handyman wrote:

Probably more likely to reach the limit of what you can suck out of a domestic power socket - especially in the US.
Later Dysons have a pressure bypass valve on the top of the cyclone anyway - if you cut off the airflow completely it opens.
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John.

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John Rumm wrote:

Indeed. Electrical system designed by M Mouse esq.

Prolly to ensure cooling air for the motor.
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Dave - The Medway Handyman
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On Sun, 05 Apr 2009 21:18:03 GMT, The Medway Handyman wrote:

More likely it's to prevent involuntary circumcision.
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Peter.
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When you look at vacuums in the US, they're all rated in Amps, which seems weird.
The other problem there is that the cable has to be a good deal more chunky, and if it's too chunky, handling it and winding it up becomes a problem.

That's been there for a long time (even my DC04 has it), but maybe not back to the original ones.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On Sun, 05 Apr 2009 21:26:31 +0000, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Yep, they all seem to be bragging about having a 12A motor these days.

I've not noticed it to be significantly different to the UK, TBH - they are perhaps a little thicker than typical UK ones, but seem to be more pliable than UK flexes/cords/cables (pick your preferred term) so in reality wind just as easily. They do get noticably warm after long periods of use.
I am *really* glad to be rid of sodding great UK power plugs, though ;-)
cheers
Jules
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But the USA plugs are more liable to fall out if they have a heavy flex.
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On 05 Apr 2009 21:26:31 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

The Americans do the same thing for hand dryers found in many loos across here - typically 230V 10A.
I suppose it makes it easier, on the face of it, for their electricians to decide the 'gage of wire' to be used from the 'panel' :-)
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On 2 Apr, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

I gave ours away in working order about 25 years ago, I wish I'd kept it.

The feature I liked best was that you could also use it as a blower. I can't think of any modern one like that.
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Andrew Gabriel pretended :

But the Constellation could blow as well as suck :-)
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Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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Yes, and I've got two hoses* for mine, so it can suck and blow at the same time!
Actually, that used to be really useful when I cleaned out my parents old Ideal Standard boiler. Soot is really nasty stuff to suck up, because it's sticky, and the particle size is way too small to be trapped (often only a few hundred atoms). I found the best way was to use a bag full of carpet dust (the carpet fibres trap much of the soot by sticking). The bag paper will only trap the large clumps, with much of the soot passing straight through as it's orders of magnitude smaller than the paper bag pores. (Soot particles are small enough to go into the surface of many solid materials, which is why it stains so readily.) This is where a 2nd 'blow' tube comes in handy. You connect it up to the bottom, and dangle the end out of a window. Then you haven't got the really fine soot particles being blown into the air in the house. If you use the vacuum for long enough, the fine sticky soot will eventially clog the bag pores, and this can cause the bag to burst. The only time this happened, I had the blow hose out of the window, and the thud sound as the bag burst was accompanied by a thick black cloud billowing from the hose end. That would have been a disaster indoors. Glad to say we haven't had any appliances which collect soot like that for a decade now.
* The hose split at the end and someone bought a new one, and then I repaired the old one.
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Jules wrote:

Hoover Constellation probably...
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Cheers,

John.

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