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Vacuum Cleaners/Electrolux central vac won't turn off!!!


Hi, Roger. We've an Electrolux ECV 1590A central vacuum cleaner model E117A (sounds like 2 model  numbers, but that's what's on the canister) with what I think is called a power hose (the one with the switch on the handle). Last night it wouldn't turn off, and I assumed the switch went bad, until the hose itself was pulled from the wall outlet---at which point the vac should have turned off, but it didn't.  I had to crawl under the house & unplug it to kill it.

Better to be broken on than off, I suppose, but this is really inconvenient for us---we run a non-profit animal rescue organization from our home, so this vac is a necessity, not a luxury.  

This unit has a little circuit board that apparently is susceptible to lightning strikes, and I've replaced it twice over the years (we live in Miami, the lightning strike capitol) but in both instances the vac was dead, and not an unstoppable zombie. (I can't find any records at the moment to give you a part for that board, sorry.)  However, we actually haven't had any storms for a day or two when this occurred.

Do you have any clues what's going on??!?  Many thanks in advance for your help.



Actually, the first number is the model number, the second is the serial number.

Three possibilities come to mind right off.

1.  The power cord (from the vacuum to the power source) could have a short in it.  Check for cuts, breaks, chew marks, or melting in the cord.  Any of these could cause a couple of bare wires to touch.  All it would take is the bare ground wire touching the hot wire through a cut in the insulation.

2,  The power switch would actually be my first guess.  It could be bad/shorted.

3.  Near the power switch is what looks like a small outlet.  This is used to short the system to ensure the motor works.  You obviously don't need to use this to determine the problem, however if there is an object in it causing a short, the motor will operate unless the machine is unplugged.

2 and 3 require removing the motor compartment from the dirt container.  A thorough cleaning of the inside, including the motor, may take care of the problem.

Another possibility is shorting between where the hose plugs into the outlet.  If there is contact between the two contacts, the vacuum will not shut off.

Also, check any the low voltage wiring near the vacuum and along the pipes. If there are any broken, etc. wires contacting any metal that would ground it, this could be the problem.

It could still be the circuit board, but I doubt it.  However, if dirt does get through the filter and into the motor compartment there is a possibility the board could short out, causing the vacuum to not shut off.

Regular cleaning and maintenance is required on an ECV.  
...1.  The dirt container needs emptied regularly.
...2.  The filter needs to be well rinsed with warm water and allowed to air dry thoroughly.  This may take 2-3 days.  I recommend having a spare filter on hand if the vacuum needs used daily.
...3.  If there is a lot of fine dust in your area, the motor compartment will need cleaned every 3-6 months.

The easiest way to clean the interior of the motor compartment is to vacuum with another vacuum, using a dust brush.  Or to use the blower to blow the dirt out of the motor and other parts.  Shop vacs are an inexpensive machine to purchase and use for this.  A small one will work great and can often be found at thrift stores or garage sales.

Hopefully, your vacuum can be easily lifted from it's bracket and taken outside to clean.  This is the reason I recommend placing the central vacuum in the garage rather than under a house.  

I hope this helps.  If none of the above seem to be the problem you may need to take it to the shop.  If you need more information, please feel free to contact me.


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Roger Potts


Aerus, Electrolux, vacuums and shampooers. Some other vacuum cleaners.


Service manager for Electrolux in 1990. Repaired many brands and models of vacuums, but mostly Electrolux. All Electrolux models. Currently on-call service tech for Aerus.

Associate, General studies. Several writing classes.

Awards and Honors
Numerous awards from Army Reserve and Army.

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