Dyson DC31 

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120 years ago the electric motor was invented and although it has had minor changes it remains more or less the same as it was then. James Dyson has invented a totally new and considerably lighter offering, just one of the new things in this latest handheld unit.

dyson dc31 vacuum

This will never replace the full sized unit and indeed it is not intended to do so. I remember when I was first shown an early ‘ball’ unit the lady demonstrating it said the ‘ball’ means even a man can use it, I am still not sure how much her tongue was in her cheek. However the ‘ball’ unit does get into spaces and round tight turns that other cleaners cannot get. This unit is designed for those places even the ‘ball’ cannot reach and with the new motor it is both lighter and more powerful than other units around. As the air and dust/grit are separate there is no degradation of suction power even when the unit is nearing full.

The battery is designed to give more power when it is near to exhaustion so that suction remains the same. In fact in normal use you have ten minutes of cleaning power but for those extra stubborn bits you can use the turbo mode by pressing a button on the back and in this mode the working time is reduced to six minutes from ten.

Recharge time is three and a half hours but despite Mr Dyson telling me it could be used plugged into the charger to finish a job while charging you cannot use it.

The only thing you need to do apart from charging it and emptying the dirt container when it gets to ‘max’ is to wash the filter in cold water once a month. There is nothing extra to buy as it does not use bags or belts or other consumables.

It is 30cm long and then the longer 22cm tool clips into that. With this tool clipped in it weights 1300grams. It is 20cm tall and a maximum of 11cm wide.

There are two models both confusingly called DC31, the basic model (blue) and the Animal version (purple) and this has a rotating head on the end of the unit to get those stubborn pet hairs from those inaccessible places. I was reviewing the basic blue model.

The explanation of the difference between a standard electric motor and the new Dyson one bears repeating. Conventional motors need carbon brushes that maintain permanent electrical contact with the spinning commutator, in order to complete the electrical circuit required to switch polarity and create torque. This mechanical switching is an inherent disadvantage of brushed motors, because of the reliance of contact between moving parts. The problem with conventional brushed motors is that they emit carbon particles. They’re dirty and have a limited lifespan. Whereas the Dyson digital motors don’t use carbon brushes because they don’t rely on a closed electrical circuit through a commutator. There is no contact to the rotor – just a strong electromagnetic field generated in the stator. The polarity of this field is switched digitally (by a microprocessor) situated within the onboard power electronic circuit. Digital switching is clean because it’s mechanically simple.

The new Dyson motor (he has lots of patents on it) can spin faster up to 104,000 RPM; it is around the third the size of its predecessor and a lot lighter.

So does it work, yes. Getting into those dark corners with the longer tool is easy. The brushed tool enables things like mattresses to get that important clean. You feel quite a draft being omitted from the side of the unit but unlike the older style unit where a good part of the omissions would be carbon here it is nothing but air. The dust is trapped in the unit and any that gets through the tub certainly does not get beyond the filter.

Perhaps the worst thing is the rather confusing instruction sheet with all its diagrams that do not explain.

Doing my Internet searches found the Dyson DC31 Blue at a best price of £129 from the link below.

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OverallDyson DC31 rated 76 out of 100

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