MAE 277 Group 5 Gate 1

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Eureka LightSpeed 4700D



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The following document is an overview of the initial preparation and planning for the project. The process of dissecting and assembling the vacuum has been planned out specifically in order to ensure smooth and thorough disassembly and reassembly. Our team has also formulated a team management and work distribution plan that will ensure full team operating potential. In addition, the product being deconstructed and analyzed, the Eureka LightSpeed 4700D, has been inspected and handled in order to create a characteristic profile of the machine.

Our team's plan for disassembly is laid out below, followed by an assessment of team skill. Beyond this, a team management plan is outlined, and following this is an archaeology profile for the vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum Disassembly

Tools Required

· Standard Phillips-head Screwdriver

· Standard Flat-head Screwdriver

· Torx-head Screwdriver (size T.B.D.)

· Needle-nose Pliers


Deconstruction will begin with the removal of all of the vacuum accessories that are readily detached from the vacuum without tools, like the hose extenders. The next step is to revert the machine back to its packaged state. This means using the one tool required for assembly (a standard Phillips-head screw driver) to undo the six screws holding the major pieces of the vacuum together. This includes the handle, hose and cord holder, filter/dust collector attachment point, and main base. Once undone, the vacuum itself should come apart quite easily. Thus, we plan to take the assembly instructions and follow them in reverse.

The dust collector bin is mostly one part. There are only three screws that can be undone underneath the cap.
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The filter assembly can be broken down into the paper filter itself, the rubber seal between the dirt intake and collection bin, and the lid assembly. Breaking down this part will take some careful prying with the flat-head screwdriver since it is a plastic-snap fitting hinge system.

The hose connection port can be disconnected by undoing the two standard Phillips-head screws and by removing the plastic wand from the base of the vacuum.

The base of the vacuum is where we will be spending most of our disassembly time.
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The plastic cover can be undone by removing two standard Phillips-head screws. The back panel/possible motor mount can be disconnected by unscrewing the four torx-head screws. Doing this will allow for complete access to the motor, beater bar, drive belt, and power supply connector. This is the point at which we have exhausted our current level of component knowledge. Non-traditional disassembly from a consumer's skill level will need to take place in order to learn what other components are present in the system.

Further dissection will require organization of parts that are extracted from the vacuum. As required in Gate 2, each part will be documented and stored accordingly. When it comes time to reassemble the vacuum, these parts will be carefully removed from storage and placed back inside the vacuum in the reverse order that they were extracted. (The component removed last will be put back in first, etc.). Once this is completed, the product will be built back to its packaged state for easy storage and transport. So, the upright frame and dust bin will be reattached, and the remaining components will be packaged in the box.

Timeframe and Possible Challenges

Deconstruction should take at most 90 minutes. This estimate is based off of several factors including:

· High-level tinkering skills present among all group members

· Appropriate tools present for disassembly

· Not too many parts involved that require extra care and attention

· A general, straightforward design that requires minimal critical thinking to disassemble

Despite the notion that disassembly will be relatively simple, there are several challenges that we noticed and predicted just from assembling our product. Several parts are made of brittle plastic, meaning that if we try prying too hard or drop the component from too great a height, there could be breakage associated with that component. Additionally, several sections incorporate a fused plastic housing/shell meaning that a work-around will need to be designed in order to make sure the vacuum can be returned in working order at the end of the semester. Cutting into the hard plastic will most definitely void the contract. The same concept applies to any rivets that we may encounter. We will not be popping any rivets in order to expose additional parts. It is most likely that parts with rivets could be considered a single component. Also, grease on parts that require lubrication should be kept contained so as not to spread to parts needing a tight fit for operation. The major system needing a tight, high friction fit that is vital to the performance of the vacuum is the beater bar and motor connection. The two are linked by a rubber belt that, upon exposure to lubrication, may prevent the vacuum from performing at its peak potential.

Team Evaluation

Overall, our group has what is required to make this initial portion of the project a success. We have all the tools required to take the vacuum apart fully, all the documentation skills needed to completely and concisely record our actions and discoveries, and a strong desire and background with regards to tinkering and disassembly that will ensure that all components and systems are clearly labeled and analyzed.

Specific to this product, however, we have some shortcomings on a mostly individual level. There is inexperience all around with our specific vacuum, but not with vacuums in general. Also, some members of the group have an impatient nature when it comes to intricate processes (i.e. vacuum disassembly) which will have to be remedied or lessened when it comes time to work together. Additionally, certain members can become frustrated depending on different, unexpected situations where things do not go as planned. Say, for example, while trying to remove a part from the vacuum, a component breaks. We must stay calm and not escalate the situation by throwing the broken component, potentially causing more damage.

The next section outlines our team management strategy. This includes a list of role assignments and responsibilities, contact information, meeting plans, and a quick explanation of conflict resolution.

Management Proposal

Team Roles and Responsibilities

Every group member has been given a specific role that they will have for the project in its entirety. We believe our group will be successful if each person meets the responsibilities of his/her respective roles. The group members responsible for each role are:

Name Title Email Address Responsibilities
Brian Project Manager Brian will be responsible for managing the project by assigning the group members their individual work for each gate. He oversees all aspects of the projects and makes sure every person meets their responsibilities. Brian’s role will not change through the different gates of the project.
Tom Technical Lead Tom will be the group member that leads the disassembly and reassembly of the product. This means Tom’s biggest responsibility is in gate 2, where the product will be dissected. In gate 4, he will help provide the necessary expertise to reassemble the product. For the rest of the project, he will provide most of the technical information in the analysis and explanation.
Taylor Communication Liaison Taylor will be responsible for communicating to every group member any changes in the schedule. She will do this by email or text and make sure every group member is up to date on the project. Taylor will also be responsible for communicating questions or concerns to our professors through email. Throughout the project, she will be leading the research into any information required for the components, this is most relevant in gates 3 and 4.
Yu Hsuan Media Coordinator Yu Hsuan will be responsible for putting the project into the technical medium of a wiki page. He will set up the wiki page and post the written technical report on it for every gate. In gate 3, he will assemble the necessary pictures for the components.
Mark Documentation Coordinator Mark will be responsible for keeping track of the documents for the project. For every gate he will bring the meeting schedule and other documents that are necessary. Especially in gate 2, he will coordinate with Taylor to document the dissection process and record the observations we make.

Management Plan/ Tactics

Effective management is crucial to ensure the clarity and completeness of our project. The group’s work will be managed by using google drive, so every group member knows the format of the document while working on their parts. Throughout the project gates, we plan on splitting up the work evenly between the five of us. If our group needs to be contacted, we prefer that you email either Taylor at or Brian at

We plan on meeting twice during a project week, on Monday and Wednesday (assuming the project is due either Friday or the following Monday). If need be, our group will meet on an additional day during the week or on the weekend to ensure all of the work for the project is completed. The following section iterates the schedule we plan on following.

Team Meeting Agenda

Bi-weekly Group 5 Meeting Schedule:

9:00 pm – Meet at the second floor kitchen in the A-wing of Greiner Hall and prepare for the meeting. Yu Hsuan will bring the product (or product parts), because it is stored in his room. Talk together about what is required for the project component and what needs to be done for the meeting.

9:15 pm – Work together on google drive, outlining specific aspects of what will be written or worked on for the night and the week to follow.

10:15 pm - Split up tasks for the night and work independently on them.

10:45 pm – Come back together and discuss what was accomplished. Record what was finished and document what needs to be done for the next meeting.

  • If a Gate requires more planning time or group work, the schedule will be adjusted accordingly.
  • If any additional dissection work needs to be done, we will meet on weekends in the afternoon at the same location. If any assistance is needed, we will promptly contact a professor.
  • During the last meeting before a Gate is due, every group member will check each other’s work to make sure every part of the project was completed and proofread anything that was written. If anything needs to be printed, we will print two copies. One will be handed in and one will be kept for the group.

Conflict Resolution

Because each of our group members are friends with one another outside of class, we expect very few issues among group members. And, if a conflict does arise, it will most likely be small. However, any group conflicts will be handled in a mature fashion. If there is any disagreement between group members, the argument will be settled quickly and effectively by the group as a whole. Our group dynamic is strong, and we are confident that talking among the group will be more than enough to settle possible conflicts.

The next and final section highlights certain characteristics of the vacuum cleaner. A number of profiles describing the attributes of the vacuum are listed below.

Product Archaeology

Development Profile

Usage Profile

Energy Profile

The vacuum system uses/converts three forms of energy:

- Electrical

- Mechanical

- Energy generated from a pressure difference

The electrical plug is inserted into an outlet which provides AC power through the electric wire in the black plug/cord system. The outlet transfers AC electric energy to the system which is converted to DC electric energy via an inverter. The motor can now be powered, and is responsible for generating mechanical (rotational energy) and some heat energy as well (energy lost to the environment). The rotational energy is then used to drive the belt as well as the turbine. The turbine creates a differential in pressure which generates the suction needed for the system to work. This can be considered energy generated from a pressure differential.

The different types of energy within this system creates a network of energy relationships, in which one form of energy is converted to the other. The motor transforms electrical energy to mechanical energy by generating a magnetic field which in turn causes rotation of a shaft. Then, this rotational energy is used to drive a belt and a turbine. The belt links to the beater bar, which will use the rotational energy to sweep up dirt. The turbine fan will use the rotational energy to develop a pressure difference, which will induce suction. In essence, the rotational energy is converted into a pressure differential as well as the spinning bristle action.

Complexity Profile

The following components are used to operate our product for its intended purpose:

· 4 Wheels

· Motor Housing

· Filter

· Dust Bin

· Dust Bin Cover

· Hose

· Long Hose Extender

· Fine Hose Extender

· Hose Brush

· Beater Bar

· Belt Drive

· Cord

This sums to a total of twelve components.

Material Profile

From simple observation of the vacuum, it can be seen that these materials make-up the vacuum cleaner:

-Plastic: The main material that the whole system is constructed from. This is the material of choice most to house components most likely because it is lightweight, cheap and easy to mold.

-Metal: The screws used to hold the components of the vacuum together in a sturdy manner are made of metal.

-Rubber Coating: this coats the wire/plug system to prevent conduction of electricity. It is used mostly as a safety precaution.

-Paper Air Filter: Paper is used here because it traps dirt and debris while also allowing for easy and cheap replacement.

-Rubber Belt: Drives the gear/bristle system because it has enough grip (high friction coefficient) and flexibility to transfer energy from the motor without slipping.

-Fibers: This material is used to form bristles, which are sturdy but flexible enough to allow for effective agitation ad collection of debris.

However, inside the vacuum, there are several more materials that are predicted to contribute to the system:

-Copper: Copper wire conducts electricity and transports electrical energy to the motor. The wire is also critical to creating a magnetic field inside the motor.

-Magnets: Magnets help the motor spin without much friction and generate rotational energy.

-Metal: This material is used to construct the motor and turbine. This allows these structures to be sturdy and withstand abuse from high rates of rotation.

Interaction Profile

The user can interact with the product in one of two ways. The user can push the vacuum forward and backward, sucking up dirt and debris through the opening underneath the base of the vacuum. To use this feature, the customer must press down on a lever that holds the vacuum in an upright position, thus allowing the vacuum to pivot. Also, the customer can detach the hose, and suck up dirt through a smaller opening at the end of the hose. In each case, the user must first power the vacuum on, which requires a simple click of a switch (assuming the vacuum is plugged in).

The vacuum is fairly typical among other household upright vacuum cleaners. The controls are simple, and the mechanisms are common to most household vacuum cleaners. Right after out-of-the-box assembly, our group members were able to use the vacuum with no problem based simply on our intuition and experience using similar vacuum cleaners.

The Eureka Lightspeed is very simple in nature and extremely easy to use. The power switch and lever that allows the vacuum to pivot are simple and straightforward. Also, the carpet height adjuster is just a rotating knob, and the hose is easily attached and reattached. The dust bin is also easily attached and detached, and uses a simple spring loaded clip to hold the top securely in place. The filter is easily removed as well. Overall, very little to no instructions would be needed for proper use beyond initial assembly of the product.

Some maintenance is required after normal use of the vacuum cleaner. After vacuuming for extended periods of time, the dust collected in the dust bin must be removed to ensure proper suction. Also, after a number of vacuuming sessions, the air filter will begin to be clogged with dirt, and will have to be replaced. Also, on occasion, hairs or long strings may tangle around the beater bar, hindering its ability to rotate. There is also a chance that the belt will have to be replaced, if it becomes worn from overexertion.

Most of the maintenance for the vacuum is very simple. Removing the dirt from the dust bin only involves detaching the container and opening the cap by releasing a spring-loaded lever. Once the container is opened, if need be, the filter can be pulled from its support and discarded. A new filter can then be easily installed by securing it on its support.

Detangling string or hair from the beater bar and replacing the belt may be more difficult tasks. The difficulty of detangling depends on the length and strength of the hair or string, and how many times it was wrapped around the bar. The difficulty of replacing the belt will be determined later, when dissection of the product is undergone.

Product Alternatives

Below is a chart of the most common product alternatives to an inexpensive, upright vacuum cleaner. The table highlights price ranges and common advantages, disadvantages, and special uses.

Figure P.1: A comparison of product alternatives to the Eureka upright vacuum

Product Alternatives

Vacuum Type Price Range Example Image Advantages Disadvantages Special Uses
Upright (Higher price range)

$200 - $650

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Dyson DC41 Animal Complete [5]

  • Improved suction
  • Improved handling
  • More included accessories used for different vacuuming jobs [4]
  • Technically complex, so maintenance could be difficult and repairs costly
  • More versatile than cheaper uprights. The improved suction makes cleaning all surface types more efficient [4]

$50 - $60

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Shop Vac Wet/Dry Vacuum [7]

  • Some capable of sucking up water
  • Can be used outdoors
  • Large dirt container
  • Loud and bulky
  • Not many in-home applications
  • Mainly used in an industrial setting [6]
  • Certain models can be used to suck up water without ruining the vacuum

$100 - $500

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Dyson DC47 Animal Canister Vacuum [3]

  • Lighter than upright vacuums
  • Great for vacuuming large, hard surfaces
  • Better at collecting dirt than the hose on an upright vacuum, due to the motor dedicated to spinning the beater bar [2]
  • Includes a number of attachments for cleaning items like drapes
  • Awkward shape may cause a storage or transportation issue
  • Vacuuming carpets may be less efficient when compared to using an upright vacuum
  • Specializes in cleaning hard surfaces, like hardwood or tile
  • $150 - $500
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Moneual Robotic Vacuum MR6550 Hybrid [9]

  • Automatic, so no manual labor is required
  • Some models can charge and dispose of debris autonomously [8]
  • Some models can vacuum both hard and carpeted surfaces effectively [8]
  • Small and easily storable
  • Meant to be a supplement to traditional vacuuming [8]
  • Software malfunctions could render the vacuum useless
  • Some models may not be able to transition from hard to soft surfaces [8]
  • Vacuum could get stuck on obstacles
  • Great for everyday upkeep without the hassle of vacuuming manually
Handheld $20 - $60
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Dirt Devil Handheld [1]

  • Very light and portable.
  • Can be used to vacuum in small crevices or in places with limited accessibility
  • Small in size so it is easy to store
  • Provides less suction
  • Has a smaller dirt container
  • Cannot be used to vacuum floors efficiently
  • Great for vacuuming furniture
  • Can remove pet hair well (some are specially marketed to do this)
  • Good tool for vacuuming up small messes

Note: The Eureka LightSpeed 4700D ranges in price from $40-$70,depending on retailer.

Final Observations

In a general sense, the quality of the Eureka vacuum seemed to match the price point. It is sold at a relatively low price point ($40-$70), so it can be readily assumed that the product is not made from very high quality materials. This assumption has been confirmed upon initial observation. Some parts of the plastic framework are not entirely sturdy, especially the top yellow cover of the vacuum base. Furthermore, the vacuum wheels seem fairly wimpy and prone to considerable damage, such as deformation. It will be very interesting to see if the quality of the internal components of the vacuum matches that of the external components. Or, instead, it may be discovered that the internal components are of high quality, and the price point of upright vacuum cleaners is more often determined by the quality of the external components.

Closing Remarks

With the plan created in this document, our team believes that it will be able to tackle this project with much success. The disassembly process is straightforward, and the team will be managed well using the outlined strategy. Also, our team has conducted a thorough initial analysis and archaeological breakdown of the vacuum. Everything has been set in place to ensure smooth operation for the rest of he project.


  1. Dirt Devil 10.8V Gator Series Hand Vacuum. Digital image. Target. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2013. <>.
  2. "All About Canister Vacuums." Vacuum Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2013. <>.
  3. Dyson DC47 Animal Canister Vac. Digital image. Target. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2013. <>.
  4. "DC41 Animal Complete - Features." Dyson. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013. <>.
  5. Dyson DC41 Animal Complete Vacuum. Digital image. Target. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <>.
  6. "Vacuum Cleaner Types." Vacuum Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013. <>.
  7. Shop Vac 6 Gallon 3.0 peak HP QSP® Wet/Dry Vac - Black. Digital image. Target. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <>.
  8. "All About Robotic Vacuums." Vacuum Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013. <>.
  9. Moneual Robotic Vacuum MR6550 Hybrid. Digital image. Target. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <>.

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