A vacuum called Norman

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A vacuum called Norman

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I appreciate this may not be of great interest to everyone but I've kind of ended up doing it following up on my last post in the Panda 2003 to 2012 section, so apologies to anyone who finds it boring.

All our married life we've had upright vacuum cleaners and once I'd got motor racing out of my system and returned home to a more normal married existence part of our split up of duties included me doing the hoovering. We had a Hoover junior at that time which later was replaced with an Electrolux. Both worked well and were repaired as and when needed. - I enjoy repairing domestic appliances and am lucky enough to have an excellent source of supply not far from home (Edinburgh Components who, at a pinch, are even within walking distance). The Electrolux:

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Now "retired" in the garage and keeping our carpet shampooer company, has lasted about 30 years but lately plastic bits have become brittle and started dropping off. So when it's motor overheated the other day I decided to call it a day and invest in a new machine, which is a bit of a pity as I'd just treated it to a new brush roller and flexi pipe and I have 3 new unused bags.

So I started looking for a replacement and got a bit of a shock! These things aren't cheap any more are they? Then I had a brain wave, I'll ask the good folks round at Edinburgh Components which machine they would recommend and they might sell me one at a good price being as how I've bought lots of spares from them. All right said they, first question, Upright or cylinder? Well, I've only ever had an upright, but my son had a Henry cylinder for a while. Well what would you recommend I asked? I use a Hetty at home said he but I can do you an upright Hoover if you prefer. Then he mentioned that they keep the commercial versions of the Henry - Nuvac branded - on the shelf and he could do me an attractive deal on one of them. I went home and did some internetting including contacting Numatic themselves (Nicky in sales and Ron in their tech dept were very helpful) and decided to go for a James as he doesn't have the wind up cable reel on top (I'd had to repair the electrical contacts on my boy's Henry and the James model just has a flex which you wind round by hand). But, oh dear, James stocks are so low I couldn't find one. Rang up EC (Edinburgh Components) to see if they could get one, but no, they are on about a two month back order. Why don't I have the commercial version which is the Nuvac VNP180? and they can do it a bit cheaper than the domestic James branded machine.

I went home and got on the internet again and found numerous pictorial adverts showing that the VNP180 is almost identical to James but has no tool storage docks on board - the James does - So rang EC back with what I'd found out. Don't think that's right said they, but hang on and I'll unbox one. They were back in a flash with, "thought so, it's got onboard storage". I jumped in Becky and shot straight round. They were right of course and I bought one on the spot. I've subsequently concluded that they are now using the same molds for all these smaller machines so including the tool docks. You can easily tell the older machine, which some still seem to be selling, because it has the on/off switch directly above the motor whereas the newer machine has the switch at the rear of the top casing. Also the older machine had a hoop handle and the newer one has lugs (one of which can be swiveled out of the way) on the handle to help retain the cable, and, of course, the newer machine has the docks on the back. Here's a couple of illustrations of the machine I bought:

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You can see the cable retaining lugs and switch position. It comes with a commercial version of the sweeper head which has a metal base plate:

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The domestic machines now have an all plastic head (which by all accounts, from reports I've seen, works very well) The VNP kit also has a dusting head (for curtains, nooks and crannies, etc) and a normal crevice tool. The domestic versions also have a small upholstery head which the commercial versions don't - but you can buy for a few quid. It also doesn't include the adaptor to fit the crevice tool/curtain tool to the end of the flex hose directly you have to fit it to the metal tube. This is slightly less convenient and I think it should be part of the standard commercial kit. You can see it on the top of the machine in the picture two above. I have it because I decided to buy the Turbo head with it's powered brush roll and EC very kindly gave me the extension piece FOC. Here's the Turbo head and I can thoroughly recommend it:

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I've shown it with the turbine compartment hatch open so you can see the turbine and also how easy it is to clean if you ingest something too big for it to deal with, which hasn't happened to me yet.

There are a lot of posts on line from people who rave about these vacuums and now I'm one of them. Although it only has a 650 Watt motor it has incredible suction. It will suck the carpet clean off the floor if you don't learn how to use the air bypass on the handle properly. With the turbo head fitted it cleans just as well as the Electrolux used to. I wondered if the brush would be powerful enough being as how it's powered by the air flow through the head but I needn't have worried. It even works on our thick pile fire rug in the livingroom which stopped the Electrolux's brush every time.

When not in use it stacks away quite neatly with the wand located in the dock on the rear:

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but it does take up a little more room than the Electrolux due to it's hose (which you could unscrew and store separately but I'm just going to make room in a cupboard for it assembled.

So, if you need a jolly good machine at very considerably less cost than most of the competition and a very big monetary saving you really should take a look at one of these. In use it takes a few minutes to get used to the thing following behind you but the extra maneuverability of the head far outweighs this. You can twist and turn it into corners the Electrolux never even got close to and it goes right in under furniture very easily. Also it's about half the weight of the Electrolux so doing the stairs with the crevice tool is now a breeze (in fact I can get half way up with the body still on the downstairs floor and I could buy an extension hose if I wanted but it's light enough I just carry it to do the top steps.)

The last thing in it's favour I can think of saying is that it's a ridiculously simple machine - just a box containing a sophisticated filter bag and separate reusable fine filter with a suction motor on the top - and it's a big 8 litre bag too. Take a look at an exploded diagram of a modern upright by comparison. So I doubt if it will be either expensive or difficult to repair if it throws a wobbly?

Oh, and the name? Well, unlike the Henry, Hetty, James, etc, named versions, the commercial machines are just Nuvacs. Mrs J took one look at him and said - he's definitely a Norman! What, why, said I. Well it's obvious isn't it? Numatic Norman! So Norman he is!

Finally, apologies to all who may have been expecting one of my, more usual, car related posts. I can only plead temporary insanity brought on by being cooped up with Mrs J for so long, due to this ruddy virus, without any other diverting activities - too old for "other" diverting activities anyway!
 
Another brilliant read from you, Pugglt Auld Jock, but I think you must have far too much time on your hands, Sir! :)

A fascinating amount of research and following-up went on regarding that new machine I must say.

I have an ancient VAX Wet & Dry cylinder type machine which has been going strong since I co-owned a property with my brother back in 1988.
Initially we used it to wash the carpets in the house that we bought and from then on it was our everyday vacuum,
Eventually my brother and I sold up and I ended up with the VAX. It's mostly been used as for its Wet abilities since, and has one or two missing parts but has had literally no repairs done to it in all these years. It's had a hard life when I was in the RAF every man and his dog borrowed it to wash their barrack room carpets, and every time I changed squadron and went somewhere new it was bumped around on yet another journey and used at my new post.

It now lives under the stairs only coming out when I wash the car mats every few weeks, or we need to wash the house carpets occasionally. I bought a small plastic wash-head for it and when I wash the mats, if I push a straight line one way and then pull a straight line next to it I can make the carpets look stripey rather like a mown lawn, I let it dry like that and it always looks very cool in the car, but feet do eventually take out the neat stripes.

Another machine I co-own with a neighbour is a Draper wet-dry vac. They wanted one to clean their pond filter; I use it in my workshop as a general purpose vacuum cleaner. It cost us about £20 from Wickes and has been going strong for the past 7 years. I'm often expecting a loud bang and a blue flash as I'm vacuuming up fine swarf, but it never does - its been a brilliant bit of kit and has quite a suction for an el-cheapo machine!
 
I have had a Henry for about 15 years now, and I still have it now, I was actually going to post on here about it as i hoovered the car out yesterday and still find the Henry to be the best vacuum for the job, we have two other Dysons, one we were given brand new about 8 years ago when we moved to our current house, a friend of ours was merging all his stuff with his girlfriends and so they didn’t want two hoovers hence giving away a basically brand new dyson. The other dyson was one a neighbour threw out and was left by there bin, I liberated it and found the only fault was a pipe that had disconnected. Once reconnected it works perfectly. We also have a hand held dyson which is also very useful but none of them beat the Henry when it comes to cleaning cars.

As for cleaning the house, we tend to use the dysons but despite having the Henry in a cupboard, two other vacuums and a hand held I still can’t/won’t part with the Henry.
 
I think you must have far too much time on your hands, Sir! :)
Too much time on my hands Max? You are partially right there. I live a life of two halves. On the days we are looking after grandchildren it's pretty manic. Up at around 6.00 to 6.30 and in the car before 7.00 for the 45 minute drive out to my boy's house in Midlothian. Walk the older one to school and babysit the one year old for the rest of the day - Walks with the pram etc, you forget how much attention a baby needs! Then pick up the older one from school and walk her home again. Play with her until mum comes home whilst Mrs J keeps the baby entertained. Then back into the car for the journey home through the rush hour traffic - I love spending the time with the kids but rush hour traffic is very tedious, especially with all the road closures due to tram works going on in our general area.

The other half (of my life) is very quiet by comparison. Gardening, fiddling about (as Mrs J calls it) with all my various projects and taking walks (for an hour or two) down through quiet back streets and one of the parks, around Newhaven Harbour, sometimes out to the lighthouse or round to the headland, and back through another of the Parks. Very quiet by comparison. Lots of time in the evenings to make posts like these whilst Mrs J watches Eastenders or people dancing or looking at unsuitable houses they aren't going to buy or something else that doesn't greatly interest me on the TV. Occasionally something really exciting happens like this week when I dismantled a wobbly dining room chair belonging to my older boy, cleaned up all the joints and remade them with new strong glue. Solid as a rock now! Here it is in all it's resplendent glory:

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Big excitement today is going to be walking to the chemist to pick up our "pills" and ringing my friend the roofer to see if he can come and fix the drip from the conservatory roof. I'm fair bouncing up and down with anticipation!
 
Big excitement today is going to be walking to the chemist to pick up our "pills" and ringing my friend the roofer to see if he can come and fix the drip from the conservatory roof. I'm fair bouncing up and down with anticipation!

Well, No problem picking up the pills. It was lovely and sunny when I set off but started drizzling when I came out of the chemists so instead of going one of my walks I just headed home again. It's cleared up again now but the sky looks a bit threatening.

Anyway I've rung my friend the roofer and he wants nothing to do with the conservatory roof - he was very polite with his refusal. It's one with your typical triple layered plastic (probably polycarbonate?) roof panels and plastic double glazed walls on a low brick/block wall. He tells me he's caught a cold more than once with them and just won't have anything to do with them now - although he has offered to come and slaister some silicone sealant around if it's leaking badly, just as a temporary measure. He tells me the plastic of the roof panels in particular gets brittle with age (and ours has been up quite a few years now) and they, and the associated plastic brackets, can just split and disintegrate when you start messing with them. He says I need a double glazing specialist. Damn, that's probably going to cost?
 
Well, No problem picking up the pills. It was lovely and sunny when I set off but started drizzling when I came out of the chemists so instead of going one of my walks I just headed home again. It's cleared up again now but the sky looks a bit threatening.

Anyway I've rung my friend the roofer and he wants nothing to do with the conservatory roof - he was very polite with his refusal. It's one with your typical triple layered plastic (probably polycarbonate?) roof panels and plastic double glazed walls on a low brick/block wall. He tells me he's caught a cold more than once with them and just won't have anything to do with them now - although he has offered to come and slaister some silicone sealant around if it's leaking badly, just as a temporary measure. He tells me the plastic of the roof panels in particular gets brittle with age (and ours has been up quite a few years now) and they, and the associated plastic brackets, can just split and disintegrate when you start messing with them. He says I need a double glazing specialist. Damn, that's probably going to cost?

Aye Jock, shelling out money when you could have done the job yourself once. Still, ladders/ roofs are not a good double act at a certain age, my wife has banned me and ladders. :cry:
 
Oh, but wait a minute, I do know a double gazing expert, Kenny and his fellow joinery workers who installed my windows last summer using German made Kommerling windows. I'd never heard of this make (the conservatory is Eurocell which seems to be available everywhere) I've been very pleased indeed with the Kommerling product which has a much more solid feel than my younger boys recently installed ones on his new extension or the ones put in by a very large national company at my older boy's house about 18 months ago which have now had to be adjusted twice! and Kenny's men did a very neat installation on all but one problem window so I only had a minimum of finishing - filling and painting - to do when they left. They also rehung the conservatory door which had started to sag and hit the frame making it difficult to open and close all at no cost to me.

Going to ring him now.
 
Hooraaay, result. Just rang Kenny - that's Kenny the joiner/window fitter as against Kenny Harrison at the garage. Too many Kenny's? I know one who's a plumber too! - He remembered me and before I could speak told me he's going to be down on our wee estate 1st week in November as the lady round the corner, who I recommended to him, has decided to have him fit her windows and he'll be doing them then.

I asked if he could fix my leak and he is very happy to try and said he didn't think it would be too much of a problem as my conservatory is a pretty standard Eurocell kit so parts should be easy to get if needed. He said he's "stowed out" with work just now so can it wait 'till he's doing my neighbour's windows. I'm sure I can keep that baking tin under it 'till then - it only drips in really heavy rain with the wind against the back of the house. So I've to ring him last week in October to remind him and I've to ring immediately if the drip becomes unmanageable.

I'm rather hoping that, as he's picked up a whole house worth of windows from my neighbour as a result of my recommendation, he's going to be "kind" to me with his bill!
 
A supplementary wee post to the first post in this thread as you've shown more interest than I was expecting. Norman is the only vacuum I've ever used which can do the whole house without moving the plug to another socket and I've tried a few as I've repaired vacuums for other family members and a couple of our neighbours. Plugging it into the hall socket lets me do the whole downstairs including the conservatory and right up to the top of the stairs. Using the plug on the upstairs landing lets it reach every nook and cranny up there with out ever stretching the cable. I think the cable is 10 metres long but I haven't actually measured it.

Just for your interest here's a picture of the "old" 180. you can see the handle is just a hoop without the cable "spurs" and you can clearly see the on/off switch differently mounted on the motor case. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Numatic-Nuvac-VNP180-11-NA1-Grey/dp/B00438DZBG

Here also is James: https://www.myhenry.co.uk/james-jvp...xfGiC95Wrcvqgi4MCUWqCRzNFZ9A6JkRoCXe4QAvD_BwE You can clearly see there is no switch on the top of the motor case and the little lugs are there on the handle - just like my Norman. I'm sure they have standardized production by now using the same molds for all these smaller machines.

There seems to be another yellow coloured James who has a sort of top cover - which simply pulls off if you want. https://www.pubshop.co.uk/catalogue...s&utm_term=&osCsid=rnldgodt9hvs6595fe62hvbr02 I don't see the point of the top cover (unless you use it to store accessories?) and I think this is an older model.

I'm pretty sure that, except for a small number of specialist machines, all Numatics now use the 620w motor - and it's a cracker with plenty of suck! older machines, like the one my older boy has in his shed, used considerably higher wattage motors but I wouldn't say it sucked any better? Used more electricity for sure though!
 
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My only Hoover wet vac was a fantastic fan heater. Using it to collect dust when I was sanding a wall had me cooking after 10 minutes. I got scrapped after I rescued a mattress after the cat wee'd on it. - could never get rid of the smell.
 
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