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BS: Rainbow Vacuums

SINSULL 20 Jun 06 - 11:17 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 06 - 11:20 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 06 - 11:20 AM
Peace 20 Jun 06 - 11:22 AM
SINSULL 20 Jun 06 - 11:32 AM
John MacKenzie 20 Jun 06 - 12:13 PM
Peace 20 Jun 06 - 12:20 PM
John MacKenzie 20 Jun 06 - 12:23 PM
skipy 20 Jun 06 - 12:32 PM
Peace 20 Jun 06 - 12:43 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Jun 06 - 02:16 PM
SINSULL 20 Jun 06 - 03:10 PM
Peace 20 Jun 06 - 03:39 PM
Peace 20 Jun 06 - 04:03 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Jun 06 - 04:48 PM
Bill D 20 Jun 06 - 05:27 PM
Peace 20 Jun 06 - 05:43 PM
Bill D 20 Jun 06 - 06:57 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Jun 06 - 07:46 PM
NH Dave 20 Jun 06 - 11:15 PM
wysiwyg 20 Jun 06 - 11:16 PM
Bert 21 Jun 06 - 12:27 AM
GUEST 21 Jun 06 - 01:12 PM
Bill D 21 Jun 06 - 02:10 PM
SINSULL 21 Jun 06 - 04:41 PM
Alice 21 Jun 06 - 10:43 PM
SINSULL 22 Jun 06 - 08:38 AM
skarpi 22 Jun 06 - 06:09 PM
NH Dave 23 Jun 06 - 05:57 PM
Alice 24 Jun 06 - 04:49 PM
SINSULL 24 Jun 06 - 07:06 PM
John MacKenzie 25 Jun 06 - 06:02 AM
SINSULL 25 Jun 06 - 11:52 AM
John MacKenzie 25 Jun 06 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Gary 25 Jun 06 - 07:43 PM

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Subject: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: SINSULL
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:17 AM

I just picked up a Rainbow SE at a yard sale. From eBay, I gather they are expensive. I paid $20 for this one.
Now, before I electrocute myself - something about water and electricity makes me nervous - does anyone have one and have some tips?
I don't have a manual and am not sure how much water to add, how to empty it (and where), etc.
Thanks,
SINS


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:20 AM

What on earth is a rainbow vacuum???


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:20 AM

Drop................rainbow vacuums..................into Google, it's all there, just done it.
Skipy


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:22 AM

Info here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: SINSULL
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:32 AM

Been there; done that. No instructions on how to use, empty or clean it.
Rainbow vacuums use water to filter out dust, hair, dirt. I hesitate to fill the base with water and plug it in without some basic guidance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 12:13 PM

Look out dust bunnies, your days are numbered. If Auntie Sins doesn't electrocute herself first that is!.
Giok ☺


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 12:20 PM

Machines (cleaning) to which one adds water have the water isolated from the electronic circuitry. (However, it's never wise to vacuum in bare feet on a wet rug, etc.) Most machines have fuse links that burn out if something shorts. You are in greater danger plugging the machine into the wall than you will be using the machine. However, if you have a cat, try this:

Turn off all the electricity in the house (a breaker box will be the place to do that)

Plug in the machine

Put the cat and some food it likes real near the machine

Turn the house electricity back on

Using a broom or really long stick, throw the switch on the vacuum cleaner

Observe the cat

If it looks like the one in the National Lampoon movie, there is likely something wrong with the machine


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 12:23 PM

Whiach cat? She has so many to chose from!
G.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: skipy
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 12:32 PM

Witch cat? a familliar?


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 12:43 PM

Here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:16 PM

The Rainbow is apparently similar to one that acquired a degree of popularity in the late 1940s under the (US) brand name "RexAir." My family used one for nearly 20 years, and it was an excellent machine.

The one at the first link appears to have some "modern features" that the old Rex didn't, such as the "powered head" for carpets. Whether it's the same design internally isn't easily discernible from the pictures.

The RexAir was marketed as a "modern technology" and actually used a five stage axial turbine as an air pump. It "moved the air" significantly better than competing vacs of the era, and was impressively quieter. Since it used water as the filter medium, small amounts of liquid could be cleaned up with it, although the water container had limited capacity and large suckups could overfill it.

As to the hazard of using water inside an electrical device, remember that most electrical devices are full of metal parts that are better conductors than water. It's a safe design, and in usable condition - or it's not. The presence of internal water doesn't change anything. Vacuuming a damp carpet with another kind of vacuum - one not designed to contain water - is probably more likely to present a hazard than using one containing a working water filtration system.

If you're concerned about the current condition of the vac you've acquired, you might be able to find a shop that could run a "HiPot test" of the kind used for safety certifications. This involves applying a "high" voltage (50 V or greater) to each side of the electrical circuit and measuring the resistance to external parts. Equipment for this test is not commonly on hand at the average wire-stringer shop though. A shop that advertises motor rewinding might have the equipment.

An ordinary VOM should be able to show any obvious defect. From each "hot" prong of the plug to "external metal" you should show a minimum of 10 MegOhm resistance. (Some codes require even more than 10Meg.) If the plug has a ground prong, and if it is connected to an internal ground in the vac, resistance should be "very low" between that prong and metal parts of the vac housing. More recent designs typically isolate the electrical ground from exposed parts, using what's called "double-insulated" design (in the US) and if it's wired in this style all of the plug prongs should show high (>10M) isolation.

Simply plugging into a working GFI outlet probably is a sufficient test for a vac of this kind that "looks good." If the GFI doesn't trip, you can be reasonably assured that there's no leakage current. Note that even if the device is in good shape, an "inductive load" like a large motor can cause a phase shift sufficient to trip a GFI. If the GFI doesn't trip, the vac should be safe. If it does trip, the vac may still be safe, but you'll want to use other methods to be sure.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: SINSULL
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 03:10 PM

Jeez Louise!
I want to know how much water to put in the bottom and how to dispose of it later. It can't be good to put eight cups of cat hair down the drain.
John - RexAir makes the Rainbow line. We are on the right track. All I need is pages one and two of the manual.
Thanks for all your help and the pretty pictures.
And "No" I will not experimenmt on my cats.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 03:39 PM

Oh


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 04:03 PM

customerservice@thevacuumcenter.com

They will help you.

However, if you change your mind about the cats, let me know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 04:48 PM

SINSULL

Our old RexAir had a painted line on the inside of the lower tank to mark the level of the water you should put in at the start. On old ones, sometimes the mark wore off, but a close inspection might show a trace of it. I vaguely recall (I think) seeing a "new model" sometime around 1955 or so with a stainless steel tank that had an embossed "crease" for the water level. Any marking that looks intentional on the inside of the tank probably is meant to indicate the starting water level.

If you can't find a mark, about half full, or a little less, would be a good starting point. If dirt gets through add water. If it spits droplets out the exhaust it may be a bit too full, although it's normal for the exhaust to be "moist."

The unit that sits on top of the tank probably has a "cap" with slits in it(details may be different?) on the end of the motor shaft that acts as a centrifugal fan to sling air outward so the water is sucked up at the center and flung out, giving a "toroidal" circulation in the tank. That's what keeps the mist up to trap the dirt. The water should not quite touch the "slinger" when the vac is turned off; but has to be close enough to get some pickup. Anything around 3/8 to 3/4+ inch between the bottom of the slinger and the top of the water (with the vac off) should probably work ok.

Note that it's normal for the exhaust air to be "damp," and the old Rexair instructions suggested adding a dab of mentholatum to the water to "humidify" sick rooms with a pleasant smell (early aromatherapy?). Frequent and/or extended running in small areas can significantly raise the humidity.

The RexAir recommendation was just to dump the dirt in the toilet. We never experienced any problems doing that, since the crud gets pretty well macerated by circulation in the tank; but we didn't have indoor cats and I didn't wear my hair as long back then (our current sources of killer furballs).

I have more problems with my current drains due to the predatory Wisteria in the back yard, so I might pick an inconspicuous spot to dump, let the water run off/seep out, and rake up when the pile is big enough; or use a bucket with a hole/screen in the bottom to collect the solids that are picked up for disposal(?). If you're on a septic system you might also be a bit more concerned about putting an additional dirt burden in, although "way back then" I knew a couple of people who were on "private systems" and just dumped theirs in the drain.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 05:27 PM

perhaps a guide?? it seems there are 2 qt. and 4 qt models.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 05:43 PM

I ain't touchin' this one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 06:57 PM

would it be unseemly to guffaw?


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 07:46 PM

From the RexAir website, I see that the device has been "modernized. The list price is now a bit over $2500 (US). My recollection is that the old family unit was about $65, or about 2x the then current price of a good Hoover and about 80% of what one would pay for a Kirby.

I also note that about half the links from the Rexair home page are to pages apparently in Russian (cyrillic script could be another language; but it looks Russo to me. Maybe it's greek?). A couple of other pages appear to have been back-translated (poorly) from Japanese: at least they carry "textbook grammatical structures" typical of translations for Japanese products.

There appears to be no possibility of finding a "user guide" via the company, as they apparently insist that all contact must be via home demonstrations. They also emphasize that only items purchased direct from authorized agents are warranted.

Strange that I haven't seen them on the late night "paid commercial announcements" on my TV recently.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: NH Dave
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:15 PM

I have used these cleaners for quite a while, after admiring them from afar. $ 1600 is a costly price for a cleaner that you can't really justify, but this is what you get for something sold by a pyramid of sales people, each of whom must get his cut. I lucked out in a similar way that you did, and was able to get one being auctioned by the finance company holding the paper on contracts that had gone into default.

The clear plastic bottom has a small post in the middle, that indicates the fill line. Fill to the top of the post, unless you are going to vacuum up a spill off the floor. If this post is broken, fill to about an inch and a half.

Rainbow feels that you should take great pains to pour the dirty water out over the side of the bottom water container, as opposed to out the same hole to which the vacuum hose is connected. They feel that pouring the dirty water our the input "spout" will introduce dirt and grit into the area where the hose seats. Over time this grit will cause excessive wear, and the cleaner will lose vacuum or pick up power. Note that at the top of the cleaner "wand" there is a sliding cover that occludes several holes drilled in the top of this wand, allowing you to deliberately reduce the vacuum for delicate tasks.

There are two different sizes of bottom units for these cleaners, and they can be obtained from most local vacuum cleaner dealers, to save money. Early models, 10 - 15 years ago - Rainbows could pick up additional water until it shorted out the motor. All of the fireworks would be in the cleaner body though. Later models simply shut the motor off if the water level in the bottom gets too high.

As far as safety goes, the water is contained in the base of the cleaner, which is connected to the wall by an insulated electric ccord, and to the pick-up head by an isulated hose, to the aluminum cleaning pipe or "wand". Any fireworks from over filling one of the older models will be contained in the body of the cleaner, and not out to the cleaner "wand" to the user. The newer models have been designed to simply shut the motor off.

I'll see if the local vacuum shop has a Rainbow User's Manual, and send it up to you.

Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:16 PM

I wondered why the skies had suddenly gotten so bland and empty.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Bert
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 12:27 AM

Fill the tank about 3/4 full.

When the bottom is full of sludge or whenever you feel inclined take the tank off and dump the water in the yard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 01:12 PM

DO NOT DRINK THE SLUDGE.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 02:10 PM

hmmmm...I wonder if stale beer would do for filtration...or even Budweiser.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: SINSULL
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 04:41 PM

Thank you, Dave. Meantime, a very sensible lady in Maine contacted me with all the required info. Now I have no excuse not to clean.
SIGH
Hey Dave! Will we see you at the next Song Circle on July 1?
SINS


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Alice
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 10:43 PM

Good luck. Had a rainbow vac once and I hated it. Got really tired of dealing with the water. I love my Kirby.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: SINSULL
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 08:38 AM

It broke my heart when Mom's Eureka circa 1950 finally gave up the ghost. Almost 50 years of service with never a trip to the mechanic. They don't make them like that anymore.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: skarpi
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 06:09 PM

I got mine three years ago a new version , great thing .

all the best Skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: NH Dave
Date: 23 Jun 06 - 05:57 PM

I've looked at the Kirby, and used both the Rainbow, and the Electrolux,over the years. Since all three brands are sold through a sales network, the prices commanded are 3-4 times what they or a similar cleaner are worth

One thing I can say for the Electrolux is that the company really supports their product. After we arrived in the UK, ours started shooting bits of the commutator segments out through the vent holes of the cleaner body. A letter to the company got us a new armature, impeller, and several sets of commutator brushes. It may have been overkill, but it certainly insured that we didn't have to post the entire cleaner back to the States and wait for its return.

Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: Alice
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 04:49 PM

I like my Kirby because it is so well built, heavy metal not plastic, it will last forever. I've had it almost 20 years with lots of hard service cleaning dog hair from wall to wall carpeting, and still is like new. I do have a Bissell "green machine" that can suck up water, but it's plastic and hasn't stood the test of time. The hoses clogged and just doesn't function like it should.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 07:06 PM

I launched it today. Very impressive. Not only did it pick up lots of cat/dog heair, it didn't allow it to fly back into the room thru the exhaust. This may be the perfect vacuum for me if I can deal with emptying it.
Thanks all for the input.
SINS


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 06:02 AM

Oh no, not the dust bunnies; tell me you didn't evict those lovely little critturs?
We keep ours under the bed where they're safest.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: SINSULL
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 11:52 AM

No, Giok. I sucked 'em in and drowned 'em. Heh heh


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 03:12 PM

What happened to Mary Sunshine?
G.


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Subject: RE: BS: Rainbow Vacuums
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 07:43 PM

Maybe one of y'all can help me with this. I've had a Rainbow SE for near ten years, now I get a high-pitched squealing noise most of the time it's running. Anybody know what might cause this, and what I can do to stop the noise? (And no, the cat moved to the neighbor's house already, so there's no cat caught in the mechanism.)


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