Posted by Thersites on  UTC 2016-09-17 14:02

The wonderful Gtech AirRam floor cleaner (MK1) has lots of advantages: it's light, has no cable and, er… it's light. Oh, and it doesn't have a cable. And by the way it only does floors, so shelves, books, picture frames, doorways, curtains, skirting-boards etc. have to be left to the seven maids with seven mops. But unlike them, there comes a time when it needs to be emptied – not a task for amateurs.

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This illustrated guide will help.

Before starting you need to organize some protective clothing, preferably a hazmat suit, but as a minimum a high-performance respirator filter mask and disposable overalls. If you skip the overalls you will need a complete change of clothing and an extended shower with assisted scrubdown. You would be well advised to inform your neighbours to stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed whilst you are working.

Lift the top off the dust container.

The reason that this one is so full is that, knowing what emptying it will involve, the user's motivation to even check whether it needs emptying is very low. The AirRam won't tell you when you need to slip on the protective gear, either.

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Remove the bin from the machine.

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A screwdriver is useful for poking around to loosen and prise out the compacted mess.

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The filters in the lid can be released using a screwdriver. The state shown here is after a considerable amount of 'tap clean' has taken place. At this point, fans of the theories of Kurt Gödel can ponder on the used of a (proper) vacuum cleaner to clean a vacuum cleaner.

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The AirRam is marketed as being particularly good for houses with pets: 'powerful rotating brush bar also makes it ideal for pet hair.' Well, this one has never encountered a pet, not even hamster. Moulting humans seem to be a bit of a challenge, though. It's not as though it's being used in a hairdressing salon.

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A few minutes of scissoring (right) show that the 'rotating brush bar', cannot simply be cut free.

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Bring on the tools again. Gtech gives us a clue about what we have to do next: the four screws that secure the clamps that hold the 'rotating brush bar' are of the commonly available crosshead type, whereas all the other screws on the machine are of the newer Torx type, drivers for which most housemen will not yet possess. So someone in Gtech has foreseen what the average houseman will need to go through.

We note that in the Mark 2 AirRam, Gtech has designed the brush bar to be popped out on the press of a button, another admission of the frequent need to get up close and personal with this thing. We'll spare you the rest – that's quite enough filth for one day.

The entire procedure took about an hour. Bag change on our normal vacuum cleaner: about one minute without protective clothing, with or without moulting or hamster.

  • Now we've emptied and cleaned it, will we ever use it again? No.
  • Why did we even bother to clean it? Why not just throw it away? A good question. Nobody's perfect.
  • Will we get the Mark 2? No. Why reward Gtech for the terrible Mark 1 design?

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