How to clean and repair a dyson vacuum cleaner

I bought one of those expensive Dyson vacuum cleaners a few years ago and it worked pretty good…at first. Like every other vacuum, it started to lose power and go bad over time. I took a chance and spent like 400 bucks on it thinking it would last longer and work better than those cheap ones. After about 2 years, it got to the point where it was almost worthless. I cleaned the big middle canister and scrubbed it down frequently, but that didn’t so much. I also took the bottom rollers apart and scrubbed them as well. Still, nothing. Today’s task was to take it apart completely, which we hackers love to do, and see if I could fix it…make it stronger…build the 6 million dollar vacuum!!!! OK, maybe I just wanted fix my $400 dollar vacuum but that didn’t sound dramatic enough to post.

I took it out to the driveway to work on it outside so I didn’t make a mess. I took a couple of tools (brute force tools like pliers and a flathead screwdriver to pry stuff apart) and began methodically taking this thing apart. I went through the same process that I had been through before, cleaning and scrubbing each part as I removed it. I finally had the thing in pieces and thought that it wasn’t really that dirty and there was nothing that I saw that should have stopped it from working better. There were no noticeable blockages in any of the hoses/tubes. Nothing was stuck or clogged anywhere. The tornado chamber thing (or whatever the patented term is) where all of the dirt is caught was now as clean as a whistle and I could not seem to get it apart any further to see if there was anything more on the inside to clean. So after sitting there thinking that I would never buy one of these things again I went ahead and started putting it back together to go give it one last try when I noticed a small sticker on the bottom of the main unit itself. The sticker said to clean the filter once every 6 months. I thought, yeah, well I clean it and it doesn’t help. I started to put the central tornado unit thing back onto the base when I realized…wait a minute, these things don’t have normal filters like other vacuum cleaners…do they?

I always thought that the center piece, which I cleaned many times, was the filter. I took this off and looked again at the base and noticed that the center of the frame was round where the plastic tornado thing clicks in and it looked like it might have something beneath it. I looked closer and could see another sticker that showed that the center piece, which looks continuous and like it should not come apart, actually flips up to get access to another section. Do you want to guess what was in the section?

A FILTER!

I felt like a moron. I cannot believe that I never saw this before. I pried it open, careful not to break it, and sure enough, there is a small round filter maybe 8 inches in diameter and about an inch or two thick. It was COVERED in about an inch of pure crud. Dried crud, but crud none-the-less. It was clear that this was the reason that the thing had lost suction. I pulled it out, beat the big dirt off of it outside in the driveway and then brought it inside to clean in the sink. It turns out that this filter, like everything else on the Dyson, is strong and well designed. It is rubber on the sides and designed to be washed under the sink and squeezed to drain the water. After a minute or two of washing and letting it dry for another 30 minutes, I finally put the machine back together and sure and heck this thing was as good as new.

Now I consider myself to be a fairly smart guy, and I didn’t notice this section until a final breakdown of the entire machine. I wonder how many other people out there have also run into this problem and returned units, or thrown them away and/or written bad reviews about them all because they couldn’t find the filter either? I never even knew that a filter existed! I thought that was what made Dyson different but they are just like every other vacuum. They all need filters somewhere, and even when I bought it I knew that something was strange about a vacuum that didn’t have a filter and now, 3 years later, I find that I was right. So I don’t like the way that they make it sound like there is no filter involved, but even with that being said, it is still an awesome vacuum with good design and engineering.

So why am I writing about it here in a hacker blog? Because as hackers, we like to take stuff part, so it was actually a fun process. Sometimes we end up being unable to put them back together, but this one worked out for the best. Hackers are pretty good handymen (and women) and I don’t know why so many people don’t realize that. There is this old stereotype that we all sit on computers all day and are weak feeble invalids that don’t go out in sunlight, but the truth is that we make great mechanics because we hack our cars. We make great handymen and engineers because we take stuff apart, improve it, and fix it. We make great survivalists because we like to be prepared for anything. Hackers are so misunderstood in what makes us tick. We just like to be challenged…and that applies to everything, not just technology.

So go out and take something apart! Especially after it is broken or dying. Try to fix it or even improve it and put it back together. If it was broken, you don’t lose anything anyway. You might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

So many new features, I have never been this excited for the site!

I learned something a long time ago on this site and in this community. I learned not to mention projects and content early because sometimes, it never materializes. So it is very hard for me to bite my tongue and hold in the excitement that I have for the new features that we have in store for BinRev. I know that makes this posts and any vague references like it a huge cocktease, but trust me when I say that the site will be revitalized. You can already see many of the changes with our new blogs section becoming more and more active by the day. Our gallery is now more tightly integrated with the site which makes the need for off-site image storage unnecessary. We have a new Links Database and the calendar app is easier than ever to use. We also purchased the downloads module which is on the to-do list to populate as soon as possible, so that will make a nice place to store files, source code, and any content that might be of interest to our users.

And notice that I HAVE NOT EVEN MENTIONED THE FORUMS! Everything that I just mentioned above are all NEW features to the site! The forums, besides being upgraded in basic functionality and features also have a lot of new add-ons that make it more fun and interactive with our users. It has really been rebuilt to emphasize the community aspect of our site, which we have always prided ourselves on. You do not just have accounts, you have profiles. You can customize your profile, update your status, add friends, and have a social networking environment just for hackers.

Also enhancing the forums, are great new features and modifications like the reputation system and integrated sidebar apps to make site navigation easier and bring more content together. the “Show new posts” feature that many people used has now been replaced with a “Show new Content” feature that works the same but lets you know about ALL new content including posts, blog posts, links, uploads, and so much more!

And I may be the only statistics junkie that likes these mods, but I have enhanced the forums to include statistics almost EVERYWHERE! Your profile page even has a statistics TAB that breaks down so much information about your posting habits and tendencies. The general forum statistics are awesome, the gallery statistics are much more in-depth, and if you look, you will also find blog and download statistics integrated as well.

All of that and I did not break my rule about discussing new things too early! We have so much more to come! We have rolled out SO MUCH STUFF already, and a lot of it came quickly when we rebuilt the site so that you may not have noticed it all. Look around at all of the great things on the site and all I can say is wait until you see what comes next!

New article “Print me? Why Thank You!” – advanced preview for Financiers only!

I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago and I recently posted it to the private financiers forum. I submitted it to 2600, so hopefully they will print it. I have not submitted anything to them in quite some time due to a lot of drama in my life. It feels good to be writing again. Even if they do not print it, I will eventually put it up over on DocDroppers.org to share with everyone. For now, it is one of those perks that you get for your $25.00 donation to join the Financiers group.

Building a links database, a long slow process

As I post this, most of you see the message at the top about how I am cleaning up posts from the linkz section.

The original idea for the linkz section was to handle the large number of posts from members, many of them one time posters to spam their sites, that were simple links to their sites. We also wanted to have a place for people to post links to interesting ebay auctions or craigslist finds. It did a good job and kept the rest pf the forums pretty clean from that type of content in the early years. Now that we have grown larger, the amount of content is sufficient enough to send those type of posts down the post list pretty fast, thus rendering them less annoying.

As we grew, there was actually a minor phenomenon that happened where some people were confused as to what the linkz section was for and where they should post some content. People started posting links to news articles that were hacking or phreaking related in the linkz section thinking that was the correct place for ALL links. Now this was a good thing that people were trying to follow the rules and post in appropriate areas, so obviously we never had any problems with that, but truth be told, a lot of those posts probably should have gone directly into the General Hacking section or the Old Skool Phreaking section instead. As I go through it, I also find some that I am moving into other parts of the forums like the graphics section and a lot of off-topic stuff. Since each thread has to be judged individually, I have to go through them one by one and decide what to do with them.

That forum has around 2800 posts in it before I started. Now that we have an actual links module, I do not see the need anymore for having a linkz forum. But what do we do with all of that content? There are a lot of good links that are still valid and useful and a lot of great discussion on many of them. While there is a “mass move” function that I can use to just dump EVERY post into another forum of my choice, I do not want to use that since the topics are diverse and no single forum is a good place for all of them. Basically, I have to go through them one by one and decide 2 things.

  • Whether the link is worth adding to our new links database.
  • Where to move the thread itself.

How do I decide what to save, you might wonder? Well, admittedly, it is just me using my best judgment, so please don’t be offended if I skip a link that you think should have been in our new database. For the most part, I read each thread and decide whether the link is still active and valuable to keep on file. If so, I find the proper section of our links database to put it in and save it. Since the links database is just beginning, I am having to add sections as I see a need, so new categories are popping up all the time. Some I skip intentionally, some I just miss on accident. Many of the links are simply to news stories of some kind and there is not really a need to keep them in a database. They may still have valuable discussion and content however.

This leads to step 2. I then decide what the thread is about and find another place in the forums to move it. If it is about hacking, I move it to GH. If it is about Phreaking, I move it to OSP. We have many forums that cover a lot of different topics and so far, I have found an appropriate place fore everything. If anything is questionable, I move it to off-topic. While I work through this, which may take months, you will see content disappearing from that forum and popping up elsewhere on the site. Since it is older, it will get shuffled in chronologically and you will not see them appearing at the top of any forums, don’t worry about that.

If you want to help out, what you can do is just add links to our links database. I am going through the linkz section, but if you have any links that you think deserve to stay in out database because they are good, ongoing, useful or fun sites, by all means submit them. To prevent SPAM, all links must be approved by moderators. Try to post them in the appropriate category, but a moderators may decide to move it if they think it is better served elsewhere. Don’t worry, the links database is searchable.

This is just one of many news apps that we are now offering on binrev.com so keep checking back. You can subscribe to my blog to get announcements (and other assorted drama) on all things binrev and StankDawg in nature.

The Colony: My new favorite show

So I have been watching this new pseudo-reality show on Discovery channel called “The Colony“. I say pseudo-reality, because it is really more of a simulation of what reality might be like in a post disaster environment. They also chose people who clearly would have the skills necessary to survive. These are no everyday dramatards that you find on “the real world” or other reality shows (although there is some drama on occasion). They chose people with specific skillsets that they knew would actually be able to do the interesting things that would be necessary to survive. They chose 1 doctor and a nurse as part of the casts, surrounded them with several mechanics and engineers and some handymen and carpenters. This gives them the skills and knowledge necessary to do things that are needed to survive.

Here is an example: The are dropped off in an abandoned area outside of Los Angeles, CA where there are no other people with whom to interact (other than an occasion plant by the show to test them somehow). But the area that they were guided to was a giant warehouse that just coincidentally happened to have a lot of handy items in it like some canned food to get started, some gasoline and other types of fuel, and a large array of car batteries which is a great start for generating and storing power. I think this is pretty freaking awesome! As a person interested in survival anyway, I find this show intriguing because it shows not the hardcore “eat anything that moves” survival aspect of life, but a more realistic “use what you have laying around” type of survival. This plays very well to my hacker core.

One of my favorite characters is John who is a computer engineer. So the first thing to point out is that there is no power, no Internet, no computer anywhere around in this situation. But let me tell you, this guy is a freaking GENIUS! He is a geek MacGyver! He may be a computer scientist by title, but this guy knows more science than most science teachers that I have had. Not to mention the fact that he is a very gentle and caring human being. He is a bit of an old hippie, but that may be my end form in life. When it is all said and done and I am in my twilight years (if I am not already in them) that might be the same way that people describe me. This guy is one of the best parts of the show.

Another person that I like is Mike who is portrayed as the general handyman of the group with bonus knowledge of solar energy (how convenient that there were solar panels on a nearby building) which is apparently what he does for a living. He is a great example of someone who just works hard to get things done. He knows what he can do and just does it and if he doesn’t know it, he figures it out. He proves that you don’t need a PhD to be smart and accomplish a lot of things. There is another character on the show who is supposedly a rocket scientist (Aerospace engineer to be exact) named Morgan who is worthless. She has done nothing the entire show except get an old record player working to play music. She tried to help on other project but showed her ineffectiveness compared to o0thers like Vlad and John. Mike can be a bit of a dick sometimes, but I would gladly have him on my team anytime.

I highly recommend that you check this show out. I really think that it is must see for hackers of all kinds as well as anyone with an interest in survival. I definitely learned a lot of things so far on the show that I had never heard of before. I think you will as well.