Saturday, 9 August 2014



I have recently purchased an Hyundai HY7000LE electrical generator to use as a standby electrical supply in the event of the regular power failures that I experience during the winter months.... (that's what comes of living in the back of beyond!!!).

After some considerable web research, I selected the Hyundai 7000le as it gave me the 5.5Kw output that I needed at a price that was within my budget, it had electric start and had wheels and handles to help move it around, but just as importantly, the specified dimensions meant that I could fit it snuggly into an ideal secure storage cupboard when it was not required. But when looking at different supplier's web-sites, the dimensions varied between 500 x 600 x 452 to 690 x 525 x 550, (to list just two examples) -  so which one was correct?

Well, the answer was NONE of them really!!.............. When my generator arrived, it was significantly larger than I expected, and it became evident that NONE of the dimensions, specified on-line, included the wheels or handles. So what exactly are the exact overall dimensions of the HY7000LE including the wheels and handles?

Here you go!

The net result has been that I've had to build a NEW secure storage cupboard, so be aware - If the generator that you're planning to buy has wheels and handles, do the specified dimensions ONLY relate to the generator frame??  This may seem trivial, and probably won't bother 99% of purchasers, but it's worth bearing in mind, after all, it could be the difference between it fitting in the back of a van (or not!)

Finally, I could only find ONE on-line customer review, but having now received and used my HY7000LE, I can tell you that it's a very solidly and well built generator that is easy to start and very portable. If there's any negative, it's that the Operator's Handbook is probably one of the worst I've ever seen..... none of the diagrams relate to the adjoining text, and Hyundai have tried to cover too many 'models' in one handbook which can be very confusing.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Has your Karcher Pressure Washer suddenly lost pressure?
Ever wondered how pressure washers work?

My K3.80 model lost pressure recently and it gave me a chance to find out just how pressure washers DO work - (something I've always wondered about but have never really found a clear answer to on the Web).
Unfortunately though, I spent well over £140.00 on a replacement Karcher pressure Washer before I decided to take the old one apart, (prior to despatching it to the local tip), just because I couldn't stand the thought of being without a pressure washer on hand.

but........ if I'd known that I could have repaired my old Karcher for as little as £6.74, I could have saved myself a lot of money. Grrrrrr.

After removing the wheels, various hoses and the front/outer 'housing' of the pressure washer, I found the business part of the washer nestling in the back/outer housing. Quite simply, this was a motor housing with what turned out to be the 'Pressurising' bit, bolted to the end.

This is the 'Business' end - THE PUMP

Looks big doesn't it, but its suprisingly small.
The threaded Outlet for the hose to the 'lance' can be seen on the top, and the Inlet from the garden hose is on the side.
Just behind the top 'Outlet' you can see the smaller clear plastic inlet where the cleaning liquid pipe attaches to the pump housing.
The entire Pump Housing is attached to the motor/gear housing by four bolts, (you can see two of the bolt holes in this picture).

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

And this is the underside of the Pump Housing.
You can see that there are 3 'Chambers'.
These are just like the cylinders in a car engine, and there are 3 'pistons' in the motor/gear housing, (to which this is attached), that move up and down in these cylinders.
At the top of each cylinder there are inlet and outlet valves......... again, just like a car engine.

And this is my rather poor attempt at a diagram to show how the Pump works -
(Click on the diagram to enlarge)

 One BIG TIP here...... if you DO decide to remove the Pump Housing from the motor/gearbox, make sure that when you undo the four bolts, (that secure the Pump Housing to the motor/gearbox), keep the entire assembly UPRIGHT because the gearbox is full of 'black' light oil which will go everywhere if you tip the gearbox over.

Now for the crunch....... WHY DID MY KARCHER LOSE PRESSURE?

There are a number of reasons why pressure washers lose their pressure, like insufficient water pressure from the garden hose, a blocked filter where the garden hose connects to the pressure washer, etc. but if you've checked all these things and the motor's racing, (not cutting out like normal) but you are still only getting a trickle of water out of the lance, then it's probably something more serious in the pump........ just like mine.

So, take a look into the cylinder chambers of my own sick pump........ (This part of the pump can be simply pulled away from the rest of the Pump Housing) 

In the bottom two cylinders you can see the white 'heads' of the inlet valves, but in the top cylinder, the inlet valve has pretty well disintegrated.                                                  
This was interesting, because during the few weeks prior to the washer totally losing pressure, the spray lance occasionally became blocked with what looked like very tiny bits of congealed cleaning liquid/soap, but I now realise that these tiny bits of white 'soap' were, in fact, bits of the inlet valve that had broken off.

 Now let's look at the cylinder and valve assembly a bit closer;

Above - This is looking at the cylinder and valve assembly from the other side. The three Inlet valves have little red 'caps' that can be prised off to remove the valve & spring. The Outlet valves are in the middle and are held in place by the small assembly that I have pulled out and shown in the right of this picture.

 And here are 2 Inlet valves, the 'shattered' valve at the top clearly shows the damage. The second valve is intact. You can now see just how small these valves are when compared to the pound coin. They're only little bits of plastic, but they get a darned good hammering when the pump's running, so it's hardly suprising that they eventually give up the ghost.

With this shattered Inlet Valve in place, the pump was just forcing the water back into the garden hose rather than through the outlet valves to the lance. Sucking the water in and blowing it back where it came from was what it amounted to!!

Luckily, I managed to find a set of 'replacement' valves on the exceptionally good Espares website - - listed as Karcher Pressure Washer Moulded Part Kit  all for just £6.74 incl VAT & postage !! (Aug 2011), and they arrived 2 days later, took about 5 minutes to fit, and after another 15-20 mins of re-assembling the entire pressure washer and connecting it to power and water, Bingo! a perfectly functioning Pressure Washer again.

I'm now the proud owner of TWO Karcher Pressure Washers....... but I didn't need to be.

If you start to experience occasional 'blockages', in the lance, that appear to be very small bits of white plastic, it could be an indication that pump valve problems are looming.
And if your Karcher eventually loses all pressure, but the motor is still running, (even though you've checked supply water pressure and filters), then I would suspect the cylinder valve(s).

Don't just throw the washer away - open it up and have a look - after all, what have you got to lose?

You never know, you too might be able to repair your washer for a little over £6.00.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Could THIS simple idea be the answer to avoiding losing greenhouse glass in high winds?
Read on!!!!
                                                   (Click on picture to enlarge)

When we bought our first greenhouse, about 7 years ago, we selected a good quality one that was classified as suitable for ‘windy’ locations, and we opted for the toughened glass option, (mainly because we have grandchildren and didn’t want any risk of injury in the event of them falling against standard glass). We didn’t consider polycarbonate glass at the time as, in our experience, it was prone to going ‘milky’ in colour, and we also felt that it was probably too flexible for our windy location.

Guidance from the greenhouse supplier suggested that it was a good idea to apply a generous dollop of silicone mastic over some of the glass retaining clips, as this would provide extra stability for holding  the glass in place in wind prone areas, (as shown in the following picture).
                                                        (Click on picture to enlarge)

So far so good but, despite following all the advice AND doubling the number of glass retaining clips that would normally be used, we lost 4 full panes of glass, (1.350 x 610)-(approx 53” x 24”) during the very first autumn/winter gales. Toughened glass is all well and good, but it shatters into millions of tiny glass fragments, and it took nearly two full days to clear up the glass which appeared to have ‘exploded’ across the garden for a distance of over eight feet.
We duly replaced the glass, but in the next high winds we lost the same panes again.

Fed up with spending hours on hands and knees extracting glass fragments from the adjacent vegetable plots and flower borders, we relented, and decided to replace the shattered panes with polycarbonate sheet, which was easily obtained from Screwfix. It was even the correct width (610mm), and only needed a few inches cut off the length to allow it to fit.
In the following year back came the gales, and sure enough out popped the new polycarbonate sheets!
BUT.... at least we were able to pick up the polycarb panels, (that were still in one piece), and clip them back almost immediately. Job done.. clickety click, or should I say clippety clip!

What was becoming clear, was that the panes appeared to be blowing ‘outwards’, and it was mainly the panes on the corners of the greenhouse. So why was this? 
During further strong winds, I spent time in and out of the greenhouse observing what was happening to the replacement ‘polycarb’ sheets, and it soon became obvious that they were in fact blowing outwards, even on the side that the wind was coming from, due to TWO main factors –

1.       Air pressure was building up inside the greenhouse, and
      2.       External 'suction', being caused by the wind creating a low pressure at certain points around
                the corners of the greenhouse.

No greenhouse is 100% airtight and, in high wind conditions, if air is ‘forced’ into the greenhouse, through any gaps in the glazing or through top windows or louvre vents, pressure can build up within the greenhouse and this then tends to force the glass outwards. If there are also external points of ‘suction’, formed by wind turbulence, particularly around the corners, the combined result is ‘pop’ – lost glass.

I decided that it if I could create a ‘safety valve’ to allow air pressure to escape from the greenhouse, and also act as a way of reducing ‘external suction', it might just reduce the occurrence of lost glass/polycarb, and my solution has resulted in NO lost glass for the past 5 years, despite the most severe gales. (and the polycarb is as clear as the day we bought it)
On the panes that were blown out the most regularly, (now polycarb), I cut two 100mm holes, one near the top and one near the bottom, and installed Tumble Dryer vent flaps (£1.87 each from Screwfix), as per the pictures below;        (Click on pictures to enlarge)

     Place one vent near top and one near bottom.   
     Inside, the vent is held by four small nuts & bolts

The principle is quite simple......... if air pressure builds up inside the greenhouse, the vent flaps open automatically to allow the air pressure to escape (as seen in the first picture) and, in the case of external 'suction' the low pressure can't 'grab' the glass to pull it out because the flaps open and cancel out the suction effect. In normal conditions, the flaps remain closed.

Ok, so the polycarb isn't cheap, and if you haven't got some basic DIY skills you may have to get a friend to cut the holes and fit the flap vents, but when compared to the price of regularly replacing broken glass, to say nothing of the inconvenience, this has to be a very cost effective option.

Many newer greenhouses use 'glazing bar capping' rather than glazing clips, and this may be more effective at keeping the glass in place during windy conditions, but if it doesn't, installing the vent flaps may also help even if using the bar capping glazing method.



Saturday, 28 May 2011



(THIS A FOLLOW ON FROM MY PREVIOUS POST " AQUALTIS 9D SPIN PROBLEMS" where there are many more comments from viewers)
The story continued..........  Well, the Hotpoint Engineer turned up, on time, and with the correct replacement drum and counterweight for our Hotpoint Aqualtis 9D washing machine - can't fault that at least!

After dismantling and re-assembling the machine he packed his tools and left, leaving behind the old drum and front counterweight because, in his words, "we don't dispose of parts anymore, that's down to you". Oh well, hey ho, at least it gave me the chance to have a better look at the damage to the drum and the concrete counterweight that caused the damage, (because I'm a bit of a geek who likes to know how things work........ or not as the case may be).

Here is a closer shot of the counterweight mounting lugs, on the drum assembly, that were damaged by the counterweight as it 'disintegrated' resulting in the securing bolts vibrating loose and falling out.

                                                   (Click on picture to enlarge)
From examining the counterweight locating lugs more closely, it was quite evident that the damage had been done over a reasonable period of time and, bearing in mind that the washing machine is only just over 12 months old, my guess is that the counterweight problem has existed pretty much since the machine first started to be used.

So, what about the front counterweight that caused the problem?  Well, almost any concrete moulding has embedded metal reinforcement rods to give the concrete 'strength', and this counterweight is no exception. But as any structural engineer will tell you, metal reinforcement requires an adequate 'covering' of concrete, otherwise the reinforcement is doing nothing to strengthen concrete. So with this in mind, have a look at this picture of the front counterweight that was fitted into our machine.

                                                   (Click on picture to enlarge)
 Now tell me if YOU think that the metal reinforcement has sufficient cover and whether it is providing any strength to the counterweight moulding!!!!  I think not - it's barely 2mm below the surface of the moulding. This is clearly a manufacturing problem and, to be fair, this counterweight didn't stand a hope in hells chance of staying in one piece.

So there we have it, a counterweight doomed to early failure, and the resultant damage to the drum assembly. And all in a washing machine that is only just over 12 months old.

Be aware, if your Hotpoint Aqualtis washing machine becomes noisy, particularly when in the spin cycle, you may have a similar problem, so call an engineer before any considerable damage is caused.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


We bought a Hotpoint Aqualtis 9D 69U washing machine, after extensive customer reviews research, but only a few weeks after the 12 month warranty expired, it started to make the most scary banging noises when in the spin cycle.
It has never been the most quiet of washing machines, but the sudden shaking and banging that now ensued was sufficiently alarming for us for us to stop using it. Luckily, we thought to ourselves, we had taken out an extended warranty when we purchased the Aqualtis 9D, so we contacted Hotpoint and arranged for an engineer to attend.
It took about a week for the engineer to first attend and, after some investigation, he advised us that the front counterweight, (one of the heavy concrete weights that helps to supress vibrations), had 'crumbled' and he commented that he had never seen anything like it before. He said that he would have to order a new counterweight AND a new drum, because the drum had also been 'damaged'.

After the engineer had left, I had a look for myself. The picture above shows one of the prutruding  'lugs', (which is part of the outer drum), upon which the concrete counterweight is normally located.  There appeared to be THREE of these lugs, and the counterweight would have been located on these and held in place with three bolts.
However, it was clear that the bolts had vibrated loose, and had fallen out, allowing the concrete weight to fall off the mountings !!!

The picture above, shows the smashed counterweight lying at the bottom of the washing machine!! Concrete dust everywhere.
In the course of the weight 'dropping off' the mountings, it had completely snapped  the locating lug on the left hand side. (Not suprising bearing in mind the considerable weight of this counterbalance mechanism!!!)

This picture shows the lug that snapped off.
Because this lug is part of the outer drum moulding, the machine now requires a completely new drum assembly!!!
The picture below, shows the broken lug and smashed counterweight. You can see the hole where the securing bolt goes through the counterweight, and the snapped lug above, where the counterweight SHOULD be!!!!!**!

This information has been posted solely because, after thoroughly searching the Web, there were virtually no sites that indicated why the Aqualtis was making so much noise on spin. Yes, there were questions about noisy Aqualtis washing machines on a couple of Forums, (so other people are experiencing the same problem), but no real answers.

We have been without the washing machine for over two weeks now, (the engineer is coming at the end of this week), and Hotpoint have taken a very 'laid back' attitude towards the inconvenience of being without the facility and the considerable costs of having to use the nearest Launderette 10 miles away, even though the washing machine is only a few weeks out of warranty.  Be warned, with Hotpoint, 12 months warranty means 12 months, and if you're not happy about that, Hotpoint will tell you that you will have to make a formal complaint if you want to stand any chance of reclaiming any interim 'laundry' expenses .............  even more time and inconvenience. 
Even though we purchased a 'Premium' price washing machine, in the hope that we were paying for a greater level of quality and reliability, this looks very much like a manufacture problem.....  were the bolts done up properly at manufacture? ......  is there a design or manufacture weakness in the concrete counterweight?.........  or were we just 'unlucky'?

If your Aqualtis 9D starts to make loud banging noises in the spin cycle it's probably too late and the damage is already done, but at least you might now have some idea as to what's causing it.