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Wednesday
Apr252012

Electrolux ErgoRapido Battery Replacement

We have an Electrolux cordless vacuum that works perfectly for our small apartment. We only have area rugs so we don't require (or want) a large corded vacuum. Unfortunately, the last few months the suction has been noticeably weaker and it was not staying charged long enough to vacuum everything at once. I suspected the batteries had lost capacity, so I opened it up. I found that the 10 battery cells used were AA sized, so I decided to replace them.




1. Remove screws (There are five of them)
2. Pry open handle. I had to pry between the handle halves to unhook the snaps.
3. Observe the batteries (take notes if needed).
There are four in the handle attached in series...
...and three pairs around the motor also wired in series.
4. Remove the four handle batteries.
Disconnect the terminals by cutting the wires near the tabs (keep track of polarity: red is positive)
Attach 4 AA battery holder by soldering the red wires together and the negative wires together.
Insert the battery holder into the handle.
5. Remove the motor to get access to the remaining batteries.

Work on a pair at a time:

Carefully pull off tabs with wires attached. It's okay if you don't get the entire tab in one piece.

Carefully remove the tab connecting the two batteries (try to at least get enough to span the space between the two)
Tape new batteries together (opposite sides together with edges evenly lined up)

Solder tab to connect the two batteries

Solder tabs to connect to the wires

For the top pair, I had to cut the plastic "bridge" to get them out/in. Again I didn't notice any structural weakness in doing this, so it should be safe.
After all the motor batteries were replaced, I taped around all of them to help keep them in place.
Connect the two halves of the vacuum and screw them together

The replacement batteries have been great! The vacuum is back to its original power (or better) and definitely lasts longer than it used to.

Hope this helps someone else too!

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Reader Comments (40)

Thanks for posting this, it's great. What brand/model did you use for the replacement batteries and 4 battery clip?

Does the rotating brush work better with the new batteries? Mine seems to get clogged up and stop no matter how often I take it apart and clean it.

I'm also going to take the charger apart and see if it's optimized for long battery life or if it's a cheap dumb charger.

June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I would love to know the details about the charger too (Jon). Has anybody looked into it? I want to replace the batteries w/ Sanyo Eneloop rechargables, but won't bother if the Electrolux charger is cheap; I kind of suspect it might be.

June 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKT

Yes, I did some research and replaced them with eneloops. I got them from Batteries America which added soldering tabs for a few dollars, so it was easier to solder without harming the batteries. It's a lot more powerful now. I haven't looked at the charger yet.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Here's the images from my replacement: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/56868697@N00/sets/72157630955072072/

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I did change the batteries in our ergorapido too. The new ones have a slightly higher capacity (2100 mAh) and are NiMH2 type. At first they worked great but now they dont seem to be charged. Any ideas?

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikael

Mikael - i think your NiMH battery has been over-charged. Ergorapido charger circuit wasn't designed to charge NiMH battery as what I see on the Ergorapido docking. It is really a super cheap and super dumb charger. We got to redesign the charging circuit or any better ideas?

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd

My model looks newer... at least it's in red color instead of the orange which you have. However, it lasts about 25 minutes per full-recharge. It's still brand new.

Now, I understand why it can only lasts about 25 minutes. The batteries look so cheap... made in China?

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJasmine

The stock batteries are NiMH, so that's what it's designed for. I don't know what NiMH2 means, though.

October 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Andrew, thanks for posting this. This project was a pain in the butt, but the outcome is great! My ergorapido seems much more powerful now. Saved myself about $40 ($80 for new ergorapido EL1014a today on Amazon minus the cost of the batteries + shipping).

November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSMac85

Dear Andrew,
Many thanks for your interesting and well documented procedure, that I studied with great interest. I have noticed similar symptoms, but before starting to dismount the device, I just uncoupled the integrated "crumble thief" and let it run on its own : to my great surprise it kept on running, whereas when it is integrated in the Ergorapido the battery light turns red after 5-10 seconds. When I run the complete Ergorapido, but using the power switch in the "crubme thief", it keeps going. Thus I suspect that the problem comes from the on/off switch in top op the shaft. Best greetings from Belgium

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Deraymaeker

Could there be a memory effect with the batteries? Is it possible to rejuvenate the original batteries by allowing the unit to run and exhaust the power, then recharge?

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdem

I'd love to know a part number for the 4-AA battery holder you used. I can't seem to locate one in that particular configuration.

January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJereme

Great job documenting this process. Thanks to your notes, I just completed installing new batteries in my vacuum. I got my batteries from battery junction. They did not have the raised nose when order with solder tabs. Thanks for the great documenting of the project!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Huffaker

I found the liked Flickr set first and that inspired me to take this project on. Though I did not go with the Eneloops, as did the author, my final product came out great. I spent only $22.48 on a set of 10 AA cells from All-battery.com. I did have some fit issues getting them all back in, as it seems these cells were a couple millimeters taller that the stock batteries. Power is great now, better than new, and they last quite a bit longer being 200 mAh.

March 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim Heissenbuttel

great work on the documentation of the project. and Jon's flickr.
i've looked on with dismay though coz i've never done anything like it.. i only had experience changing batteries on my kids' toys :)
looks like i will get a new vacuum.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkitti

Although the vacuum worked a lot better immediately after replacing the batteries, it seems to already be suffering from limited life, maybe because the charger is not as good as an eneloop charger? :/ though this is all subjective "sounds like it's losing power already", and I haven't made scientific comparisons or anything.

Also, the roller brush stops spinning almost as soon as I use it now. I take it out and clean all the hairs off it, then it spins and works again for a few seconds and then gets clogged again. maybe it's time to just get something better. though I tried 1 or 2 alternatives when I bought it, and the ergorapido was the best I tried. maybe the lithium ion version is better?

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Wow that was so detailed... Great job! Since its more involved that I thought, Im just going to buy a Dyson

April 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrent

Wow, thank you all, esp Jon and Andrew for your pics and all your info. I loved my first ergorapido and was so bummed when after a year it basically became useless. No battery life, and no suction. I took it apart and was out of my league and super annoyed at Electrolux for not making a longer lasting product. I had even put a special cabinet with an outlet inside in our new kitchen for this favorite appliance. I had to trash the useless stick vacuum and just went to a regular broom and dust buster combo. Then we moved and like a woman that keeps falling for the cool but bad guy, I just had to go an buy a new Ergorapido. Sme thing happened. In 13 months it is basically useless and I am annoyed at electrolux for not providing a better product.
Incedently, I bought a dustbuster at the same time and use it just as much since we now have two levels. I was using the ergorapido upstairs and a broom and the dustbuster downstrairs. Well the dustbuster is still going great while the ergorapido is dead. It is just way noisier and only a hand held guy and not at all a sweet ride the way the ergorapido was, while it lasted. (yes, I know I am a vacuum freak.)
I am also truly bummed that I read a review on amazon about the new stick dyson that explained the design flaws of that sexy looking vacuum. So I am definetly not going to pony up for that as I had been dreaming about. Aparantly it has no swich, you have to hold it in the on position. And it has battery life issues according to many reviewers.
I have a truly amazing corn broom made by a guy by hand. It is only good for dining room, balcony, hall, and kitchen. Can't use it in bathroom. All the icky hair would get caught in it and I would hate pulling it out.
What am I going to do with that ergorapido?

Jon, can you give an update ? What is the lithium ion version? Did you try it?
Andrew? what up?

Thank you all so much for sharing your tinkering projects. Really enjoyed reading and seeing pics.
Cheers.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjojo City

Oops, I forgot to post this:

Finally took apart the "charger" and there doesn't seem to even be one. The only thing in the base related to charging are some current-limiting resistors. The rest of the circuitry just turns on the LEDs when the vacuum is plugged in:

https://www.circuitlab.com/circuit/3umd54/ergorapido-charger/
http://flic.kr/p/e7GZMA

It's just the wall wart voltage connected across the batteries at all times, with the current-limiting resistors (R2 R6) and the thermal fuse inside the vacuum, which is supposed to disconnect the batteries when they heat up from the charging? Apparently this is the cheapest possible way to charge NiMH batteries. Sigh.

http://flic.kr/p/cMpjWL

Here's how you're *supposed* to charge NiMH batteries:
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_nickel_metal_hydride
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_nickel_based_batteries

"Low-cost chargers often use temperature sensing to end the fast-charge, but this can be inaccurate. ... Chargers relying on temperature inflict harmful overcharges when a fully charged battery is removed and reinserted. ... Every reconnection initiates a fast-charge cycle that raises the battery temperature to the triggering point again."

I have certainly used it for short periods and put it back in the charger still mostly charged. Guess that's why they're dying so soon.

My NiMH model is EL1014. The Lithium Ion version on Amazon is EL1030A, and is $130. They look the same, and I honestly didn't realize there were two different models when I bought this one at Target. I have no idea if it's any good. Maybe they shoved that one out the door without designing a proper charger, too. It sounds like Li-ion is more forgiving of low-quality chargers, though, so it will probably last longer even if they didn't do a good job designing it.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon

So... time for a "dumb" question :)

If the horrible Ergorapido charger/base is killing the new Eneloop batteries long before their time, is there some reason *not* to buy an Eneloop charger and hack it together with the wiring in the Ergorapido charger/base to create an Ergo-franken-loop that will both 1) hold the vac when not in use, and 2) not destroy the batteries? Like, the way it should have been from the factory? For me, this is more about seeing if I can make it work, rather than saving $ from not having to buy a new unit - so I'm willing to go to the trouble, but not if one of you experts says "yes, that's a dumb idea, and here's why..."

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim

I would guess that the eneloop chargers work on a per-cell basis? Whereas the vacuum has 10 cells in series for 12 V total, and you can't access individual cells without taking it apart. Not sure if there's a way to adapt one to the other. Maybe I should take apart my eneloop charger too :D

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Anyone tried converting a old/unused battery powered drill/saw/etc charger and/or battery for use with the vac?

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterash

As an rc hobbiest, I believe it possible to use a $25-$30 14.8v lithium polymer battery. They might fit in the handle, or a few 3.7v lipos in series. Eliminate the entire built in charging circuit, and install a lipo charger $$25-$30 in the base. Every time you use it. You would need to ensure the individual cells don't drop below 3v or the lipo would be toast. A digital voltmeter for $8-$10 could be installed. Most lipos have built in protection!

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNate

Thanx!
That worked great! Now 24500mAh instead of 13000 :-)

August 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVincent T

i think the is what he use for the battery holder
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-PCS-4-x-AA-Battery-Batteries-Holder-Box-6V-Case-With-Wire-Lead-bel4aa-/180978763390?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a232cc67e

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFranky

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