Thread Number: 11577
How Does a Rexair Work?
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Post# 124717   2/12/2011 at 17:16 (4,762 days old) by mercuryman ()        

Hi people,

I'm very curious as to how the Rexair Rainbow works. I know it involves water, but I'm just curious as to what the innards of the machine look like and how it manages to filter the air through the water. Can anyone take pics (if you have one of these machines)?

Thanks =)

Post# 125082 , Reply# 1   2/15/2011 at 18:57 (4,759 days old) by richardc1983 (Leeds, UK)        

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I have also been interested in how these work and filter the air through the water.

Post# 125087 , Reply# 2   2/15/2011 at 19:25 (4,759 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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I'll post some pictures tomorrow....

Rexair(Rainbow) uses water instead of a bag. On the older models, the dirt is sucked into the machine and trapped into the water. All of the fine dust is then expelled by the machine. Rainbow claims that wet dirt can't fly, but most of the DUST doesn't even get wet. You can remove the blower port cover on any D-4, D-3, or D model and see this.

To correct the problem of having absolutely no filtration, they added a HEPA filter with the E Series. In addition to completely defeating the purpose of having "water filtration," this does take care of a lot of the fine dust that escapes the water. The first generation E series motors were small, fairly crappy and weren't anything special. The newest generation motors are digital and not too bad.

Bottom line: Rainbow is fairly overpriced for what you get- the PN2 is on the lower end of quality, but overall if you can find the machine for under $800 you are getting a nice and solid machine which will last awhile if you can deal with all of the time invested in emptying the water and cleaning out the machine. The new motor will outlast the machine, most likely.

What would you like pictures of? I can send pictures of motors- complete units, etc. We recently had two Rainbows in for repair last week, and they have reproduced and now there about 6 waiting on repair.

Post# 125088 , Reply# 3   2/15/2011 at 19:30 (4,759 days old) by vacfan6384 (Larksville,PA)        
well they are great machines

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I have an older SE model and love it the only down fall is don't ever vacuum your carpet right after you have shampooed it cause the Rainbow will pic up the loose soap flakes and make bubbles in the water causeing the machine to burn out. Otherwise they are made very well a bit pricey but my aunt has one that is 30 years old and it still runs like new. You would not believe the dirt this vac can pull out of your carpet the evidence is in your water tank.

Post# 125090 , Reply# 4   2/15/2011 at 19:31 (4,759 days old) by mercuryman ()        
Hey Chris...

Thanks for the info.

I guess I'd like to see what the motor and the water tank looks like. The Rainbow always has been a curiosity to me. I can imagine it would be sort of inconvenient to have to dump the machine out when finished cleaning, but I have always wondered if the water filtration was effective, and how the machines operate.

If you could post pics, I'd appreciate it! =)

Post# 125103 , Reply# 5   2/15/2011 at 20:24 (4,759 days old) by nick (Hastings, New Zealand)        

a separator spins at a high speed above the water, making it swirl and bubble. the air from the hose is directed down into the water. the separator covers the suction opening to the motor, and it has to be cleaned as hair, etc can cling to it, this is a basic explanation, and yes rainbows are very reliable vacs

Post# 125112 , Reply# 6   2/15/2011 at 20:54 (4,759 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
Here Are

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A couple of pictures of one of my favorites - the D2 chrome dome. Found this one a few months ago, brand new.

Post# 125113 , Reply# 7   2/15/2011 at 20:56 (4,759 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
And the

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Machine. While they didn't live up to their claims of filtration, not a bad machine. The water basin was on the bottom and paired with a Eureka power nozzle, still a good machine. I have an E series with the Hepa filter. Would use them, except emptying the water basin is a pain!

Post# 125140 , Reply# 8   2/15/2011 at 23:57 (4,759 days old) by BrianKirbyClass (Eudora Kansas)        

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A neighbor of mine has had a Rainbow D2 since around 1977-78 and is still using it today. Was just talking to her about it here the other day.
She says the big deal at the time was that it resembled R2D2,,the little robot from Star Wars!
She also said that the key to using it is to NOT clean too long with any one filling of water. She always stops after about 15-20 min of vacuuming,empties and refills the water pan. Also not storing the rainbow on the pan is important, and of course cleaning out, rinsing out, and towel drying the pan is a good idea. You also want to remove the seperator every few months and scrub it clean with a tooth brush. Infact, Rexair used to supply a special brush with the attachment kit, just for that purpose. My neighbor said she has always run her seperator thru the dishwasher every once in awhile,,and never had a problem.
I agree that this is maybe why the machine is still going strong after all these years.
I will have to say,,her house is VERY dust free,and always smells fresh and clean.
She said that she has had to have a new PN motor once, and has gone thru a couple of brush rolls and hoses,and did have to buy a new water pan once, and one of the clamps that clamps the motor onto the water pan broke off and was repaired,,but other than that, her D2 Rainbow is still going strong. One thing she said she noticed tho is that the cord and plug are now getting hot after running the Rainbow,,probablly time for a new cord.

Post# 125151 , Reply# 9   2/16/2011 at 03:48 (4,759 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Here is a link to the Rainbow website-they give excellent diagrams and explanations on how the Rainbow system works.And if you want to buy one-how to find and contact a dist.


Post# 125159 , Reply# 10   2/16/2011 at 07:03 (4,759 days old) by kenkart ()        
I agree with scvacuumguy

While there advertising about never losing suction is true...the older ones never had any power to begin with, the straight suction rug tool is great though and makes up for the lack of power, however..not many average housewives are going to take care of one like one of us will, and even then, you tear down a perfectly well taken care of example..and the motor still is dirty, tear down a 35 or 40 year old Filter Queen and you can wipe what dust is there off with a kleenex,They do make the house smell good but if you have never seen one, the demo is impressive, just realize, it is just show like most demos.

Post# 125203 , Reply# 11   2/16/2011 at 19:35 (4,758 days old) by CODYF ()        

We have 2 D4 SE Rainbow's and LOVE them! One was bought brand new when I was about 13 and it still runs strong, never a problem! The other I bought from a garage sale for 15.00! It needed a little TLC but has been running stong since! I have always thought that the rainbow did a great job of catching dust, I am sad to hear that they dont :( We moved into our new house about 2 months ago and we have all hardwood floors so we always have the rainbow out and i have to say (even tho i hate to) it has gotten really old emptying the water basin, I am wanting to put in a central vac!

Post# 125218 , Reply# 12   2/16/2011 at 20:56 (4,758 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        
Love my D3

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I found a D3 at the local thrift store about a year ago. All it needed was a belt on the PN. It ran wonderfully the day I got it. I did replace the brush roll,too. Then I found a newer style hose, with the squeeze trigger, dirt cheep on eBay. That made it even better(more fun to play with, that is) then I got a D4 tool caddy and attachments. I loved using it last summer. But I live in a little rabbit hutch of an apartment, cluttered with vacs(Mostly Kirbys) and using a canister vacuum is a bit of a hassel. I just upgraded my Lux 1205 and have been using it. I think I will try to put my Rainbow D3 and Fairfax into service more often. I have been using the Kirbys as my 'daily drivers' and really should spread the 'love' around more.

Post# 125273 , Reply# 13   2/17/2011 at 08:42 (4,758 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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Here is a picture of a Rainbow D4SE before the motor has been removed. You can see what happens to all of that "wet" dirt that doesn't fly- it turns into mud. Granted, this customer takes extra horrible care of her machine...

Post# 125274 , Reply# 14   2/17/2011 at 08:43 (4,758 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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Here is another shot of a Rainbow D4SE motor that the customer regularly stores on the water basin. One of the big No-No's of owning a Rainbow is NEVER storing it on the water basin. This is what happens to the flange plate underneath the rubber seal on the bottom of the actual machine.

Post# 125275 , Reply# 15   2/17/2011 at 08:46 (4,758 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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The last picture is a full shot of the same D4SE motor. This one has not been serviced yet- but you can see the dust surrounding the fan housings. Also, take note of the size of this motor. The new Rainbow motors are much smaller. One of the reasons the older Rainbows last so long is they have a beefy motor underneath the hood. My favorite Rainbow by far is the D4. These motors are easily rebuildable.

Post# 125307 , Reply# 16   2/17/2011 at 20:34 (4,757 days old) by mercuryman ()        

The only thing I've seen that's worse than that is the inside of a shop vac! It looks like that lady doesn't use that machine properly at all.

I guess the water filtration was the precursor to the modern-day HEPA filtration system?

Thanks for posting pics!

Post# 125315 , Reply# 17   2/17/2011 at 22:03 (4,757 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        
my rainbow opinion

I think rainbows are great vacuums- just waaaaayyyy overpriced. I think mybe $250 or $300 would be a good price. There was a rainbow stand at the annual homeshow today. That powernozzle looks waaaayyyy too flimsy to me.


Post# 125316 , Reply# 18   2/17/2011 at 22:06 (4,757 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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I'll post pictures of the issue with the power nozzle. Their engineering is completely off when it comes to basic dynamics of pressure points The brushroll isn't half bad, though.

Brian- you would be completely shocked to know that 90% of Rainbows come in looking like that. Rainbows are like a high maintenance lover...after the honeymoon wears off, they just become a pain in the butt to upkeep.

Post# 125345 , Reply# 19   2/18/2011 at 09:43 (4,757 days old) by ryanm (New York )        

I had a Rainbow for 20 years and it never looked like the pictures shown, because I never stored on base, and always cleaned the separator. It was very powerful, did a great job, and the house always smelled fresh and clean. I traded in for a new ESERIES model, which also has lots of power, pulls dirt like crazy. I find that the power nozzle actually lifts the knapp on the rug better than most other machines I have used, and based on all the stuff it pulls up, I would say it works fine for me. If you use the machine every day, it can be a pain to fill and empty the pan, but other than that my experience has been great. The attachments are much nicer than any other machine I have seen as well. Any machine used by a person and not kept up will look terrible, I have seen some Kirby's and Electrolux that look like they went through a war as well, it all depends on the individual using them. Any high end vacuum is going to cost, but to me the Rainbow purchase was well worth it.

Post# 125369 , Reply# 20   2/18/2011 at 20:19 (4,756 days old) by williamr1248 (USA)        
How does the Rexair work?

Those were some pretty sad pictures of Rexairs. What some customers can do to a nice machine. More money and business for you.
Here is a picture of my Rexair. I have had it over 18 years and it works great. I do not store the motor on the water pan and I do empty it after about 1/2 hours use. I don't mind spending 30 seconds dumping the water. I do not dry the pan out and I do clean the separator about once a month or so.
Mine does not have the strongest suction but it does not seem to lose airflow. It is amazing at how much sand it will pull out of the carpets.
It is always a shock to me that people would pay good money for expensive machines and then trash them within a few years.Thanks for posting the pictures

Post# 125939 , Reply# 21   2/25/2011 at 17:40 (4,749 days old) by swiveltop (Galveston, TX)        

I've never seen a rainbow that looked like that,you should have sent then back to the trailer with a wallmarks vacuum LOL

Post# 126059 , Reply# 22   2/26/2011 at 20:28 (4,748 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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Your Rainbow looks awesome! Keep up the good work.

Post# 126078 , Reply# 23   2/27/2011 at 01:53 (4,748 days old) by vacuumalex ()        

If you go to the Rainbow Vacuum website, they have a pretty cool diagram of how the vacuum works as well as a good history of the models over the years. Hope this helps!

Post# 126161 , Reply# 24   2/28/2011 at 00:35 (4,747 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
We saw a wild demo at the Rainbow Roundup!

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A great sell. I have a friend who has one. She puts scents in it to make the house smell good. I had a friend who sold them, (miserable salesman). I'll NOT bash!. Just give me a nice HOOVER anyday.Look at the SUPER pics of the convention. We even had a Rainbow cake!

Post# 126162 , Reply# 25   2/28/2011 at 00:37 (4,747 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Also, the rep from Rainbow joined the club!

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I'll be amazed if we see him at the next convention.

Post# 126166 , Reply# 26   2/28/2011 at 01:07 (4,747 days old) by mercuryman ()        
Thanks Everybody

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread. I was very curious about the Rainbow machines and how they worked, and how well they worked.

I've often wondered myself how much less dust I would have in my apartment if I used a vacuum with better filtration. Of course, here, on the vacuum forum, I don't even need to mention that the vintage Electroluxes I use don't have either a pre-motor filter OR an exhaust filter.

Also, when I dust my furniture, I always use a damp cloth...NEVER a dry rag or a Swiffer, as I feel that all dry materials do is brush the dust into the air. So it makes sense that a Rainbow machine would really trap the dust.

Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to add a Rainbow to my collection? :-)


Post# 126444 , Reply# 27   3/2/2011 at 15:18 (4,745 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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I have to wonder........Those pics you posted........I'll bet the reason the inside looks like that is the fact that people using them don't change the water when vacuuming.......They let it turn to MUD.

If someone buys a Rainbow and uses it from day one and changed the water before it gets to the point of even getting close to becoming thick, I'll bet the inside doesn't look like that...But most people won't do this. They fill it once, vacuum the entire house and when they are done they have a basin full of mud and a rainbow full of dirt.

I remember growing up and my Grandma had a Rainbow in the 80s.....When we would vacuum her house, we didn't change the water often at all......I remember taking the basin outside and dumping it in a ditch...........Rainbow doesn't mention the fact that the water needs to be changed often.

I guess they don't want to harm potential sales by saying this.....To me now, it's just common sense......

I would also think that would smell, having that dirt inside the machine trapped like that, right?

Mine still has that clean Rainbow smell.

I hate the power head on the Rainbow though.........And will AGREE they are way overpriced.

But I think if used correctly, one will not have the issues

Post# 126483 , Reply# 28   3/2/2011 at 19:36 (4,744 days old) by kloveland (Tulsa)        
Rainbow Manual

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A rainbow manual was posted awhile back.


Post# 126488 , Reply# 29   3/2/2011 at 21:01 (4,744 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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Those Rainbows that I pictured had very musty smells coming out of them. We usually throw a basin of some neutral scent under them after the service job to fumigate them.

Sadly, normal people just don't treat their Rainbows like collectors do....

Post# 126504 , Reply# 30   3/3/2011 at 02:03 (4,744 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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It would be interesting to see what a heavily USED Rainbow looks like on the inside that has been used properly. I wonder what mine looks like inside. I have also wondered what "hard water" does (if anything) to the machine. We have very hard city water here.

Post# 126546 , Reply# 31   3/3/2011 at 13:03 (4,744 days old) by kenkart ()        
I have a 58 model D

I got ,believe it or not, off the side of the road,it looks and runs about as good as new,even the hose looks good, and is one of the last brown plastic ones, like the pink GEs used, this was changed sometime in 58 to the nylon type like FQueens and Sunbeam Dual Deluxes used. Some little old lady was particular!! the attachments and wands look new also, it was at a house in Winston Salem that looked to me to be empty.

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