Thread Number: 17313
Chinese Fantoms, including commercial
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Post# 186214   6/19/2012 at 01:13 (2,845 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

This post is regarding a couple of models of the Chinese-made Fantoms, not the original Canadian-made machines. The Chinese Fantoms are made by Euro-Pro LLC. You cannot find out much about the company online except that in addition to Fantom, they make Euro-Pro, Shark and a couple of other brands. What you can see online are tons of complaints about marketing shenanigans and product quality issues.

I've worked on Euro-Pro to my frustration; I've examined many more as well as Shark and since my initial experience, have passed on them all. Both have issues with design and build quality in my own opinion.

So it was with some reluctance that I agreed to take a Chinese Fantom from a customer who bought a reconditioned Hoover from me. I told them that it wasn't my regular line of country and I couldn't give them anything for it but they said it made them feel better to give it to me rather than throw it in the garbage bin.

What they left with me was more interesting than most Chinese Fantoms. It is a Model FM 788 HG, and on the front it says, "Commercially Rated." It has a heavy, grounded cord and a 15 inch wide brushroll. The date of manufacture says 29/06. The original owners were getting rid of it because it had no power function.

Well, it sat around here for a while before I looked at it. When I got around to it, I opened up the area where the power switch and the cord are housed. Right away, I could see a burned fuse in the circuit. I didn't have any 12 amp 125 v fuses, so I left it as-is until I could get one. In the meantime, I came across a Model FM 741B Chinese Fantom, which is a similar, non-commercial model. The price on it was so low as to be almost free. Besides color differences, the floor nozzle is different (13 inch brushroll) and there are a few cosmetic differences. Also, the FM 788 HG has a rheostat on the power control panel to vary the induction motor speed, which the FM 741 B lacks. However, the plastic housing for the power switch also has a cord hook combined into the plastic housing and this was broken on the FM 788 HG. So, I used the plastic housing and the fuse assembly from the 741 B to make the repairs to the 788 HG.

I don't usually see in-line fuses like this near the power switch. If present, they might be near the motor or there might be a thermal breaker switch down there instead of a fuse.

Parts for Chinese Fantom, Euro-Pro and Shark are a kind of closely-held deal. Anything more complex than a belt or filter is hard to get. Finding contact info for the company is limited to an email address. One thing I was able to find for the 788 HG was a PDF doc of the owner's manual and there was a Plattsburgh, NY address contained in that. The ID decal on the machines makes no mention of who makes them.

So with the donor machine, I was able to get the so-called "Commercially Rated" Chinese Fantom back in action. I must admit that this 788 HG is of higher quality than the Euro-Pro and Shark that I've examined.

The burned fuse I believe was caused by high resistance in the power cord or one of the connections in that line. I replaced all the bad wire but who knows how long it's good for. On Chinese machines, I don't think the quality of wire is always the best. I've repaired similar product where there were obvious signs of excessive heat from high resistance and even broken strands at the strain relief fitting.





Post# 186215 , Reply# 1   6/19/2012 at 01:14 (2,845 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

More Fantom FM 788 HG:



Post# 186216 , Reply# 2   6/19/2012 at 01:15 (2,845 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

Switch area:



Post# 186217 , Reply# 3   6/19/2012 at 01:18 (2,845 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

Back of 788 HG. The empty attachment holder is for a dusting wand. Most of us are familiar with the Eureka Altima duster that fits in a container on the right side and may be vacuumed in situ with a flip of a lever. On this Chinese Fantom FM 788 HG, the duster fits onto the hose and actually gets vacuumed out while it's being used.



Post# 186218 , Reply# 4   6/19/2012 at 01:19 (2,845 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

Parts donor machine Model FM 741 B.

Post# 186240 , Reply# 5   6/19/2012 at 10:43 (2,845 days old) by FantomLightning (Ohio)        
The commercial model...

Was sold by HSN in 3 colors the green that you have along with blue and copper. Weren't these the machines that Euro-pro worked with Sanyo on? Either way here's a link to one of the old HSN presentations.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO FantomLightning's LINK


Post# 186241 , Reply# 6   6/19/2012 at 11:14 (2,845 days old) by director12 ()        

Sanyo and Fantom? I got to say, Fantomvacuumfan had Euro-Pro Fantoms, but they all died. The Twister had the electrical problems they were known for, and the stick vac he had was donated to Goodwill citing bad filtration. He bought them back when he was in high school.

Post# 186344 , Reply# 7   6/19/2012 at 17:40 (2,845 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

Did Sharp use Fantom's design to make the Light N Powerful?

Post# 186380 , Reply# 8   6/19/2012 at 19:21 (2,845 days old) by FantomLightning (Ohio)        
Well...

I have no sold info on that... But it does look like a cross between a Fury and Wildcat but it all depends when the LNP came out.

Post# 186382 , Reply# 9   6/19/2012 at 20:41 (2,845 days old) by director12 ()        

Seems like a strange machine.

Post# 186414 , Reply# 10   6/20/2012 at 02:02 (2,844 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

FantomLightning, thanks for the link to the HSN informercial. I took that big, metal brushroll all apart for cleaning. It's reasonably well-made. Today, I washed out the hose several times and it's drying now. I also washed out the lower hose -- dog smell. It's coming together nicely and should be finished soon. It's made well enough that I don't put it on the same low level with Euro-Pro or Shark. But if you're used to working on vacs made in North America, Chinese vacs are always good for surprises.

Here's an example. Today, thought I was finished with a Hoover (new) Elite, Model U5509-900. It was all done and running but seemed to have excessive noise and vibration from the brushroll. Turns out the brushroll was warped, apparently from friction from the belt. It was warped right on the bearing surface for the belt. :(


Post# 186422 , Reply# 11   6/20/2012 at 06:00 (2,844 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

I had to laugh when I saw the fantom 788 commercial with that chrome stuck on the front, when I worked in vacuum design we often got sample machines from many chinese factory's , they would always send the domestic version and then a commercial version. 

Often the only difference between the two was a thicker cord on the commercial machine along with chrome sticker covering the front of the machine. Some how by pasting chrome all over the machine they thought it made the machine invincible.

Gareth 


Post# 186439 , Reply# 12   6/20/2012 at 10:28 (2,844 days old) by director12 ()        

The Chinese Fantoms also were the Twister series, Thunderbolt, Falcon, Cyclonic handvac, and much more.

Post# 186656 , Reply# 13   6/21/2012 at 14:19 (2,843 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

Yes, the 788 has the Twister filter in it. Same part as the 740, diff color.

The heavy cord and the shiny metal decoration don't make it a "commercial" machine. However, the floor nozzle in general is more robust than the domestic model, plus the truly heavy duty brushroll is an upgrade. The 788 also has a metal shield on the plastic bottom plate but it's just a fascia. It will slow down the battering of the cross bars.

I've never been in the commercial cleaning business but I don't think of any bagless machine as being desireable nor worthy of commercial application. To my way of thinking, there would be too much wasted labor in properly dealing with a bagless system.

The HSN infomercial that was attached, above, says a lot about this. How many commercial cleaners are going to be buying equipment this way? At a price point of $200, you cannot expect true commercial quality.


Post# 186685 , Reply# 14   6/21/2012 at 17:24 (2,843 days old) by director12 ()        

$200 is not right for a commercially-rated vacuum. A commercial vacuum is better when it is made from the ground up, not from a household vacuum.

Post# 186689 , Reply# 15   6/21/2012 at 18:29 (2,843 days old) by FantomLightning (Ohio)        
Actually William...

Some of the best commercial vacuums are just made from older domestic machines ex. The Sanitaire line are just Eureka F&G uprights, and Hoover commercials made from Elites, Decade 80/800, and Convertible domestic machines... Not to mention you can get a Eureka Commercial/Sanitaire for $140 and less... Which they are commercially rated...

Post# 186691 , Reply# 16   6/21/2012 at 18:39 (2,843 days old) by director12 ()        

Thank you Zach. Bissell does have commercial products, one of them is based on the Powerpartner, which started production in 1996 when the Singer line of Hoover Elite-style uprights were acquired.

I also like to point out that Riccar and Oreck have commercial products as well. You wouldn't go with them because of this: you blame your grandmother for owning an Oreck, which is something you wouldn't own in the first place, and thanks to your dislike for Riccar canisters, you wouldn't like their uprights (rip-offs of Oreck 8-pounders, or Panasonic uprights).


Post# 186696 , Reply# 17   6/21/2012 at 20:02 (2,843 days old) by FantomLightning (Ohio)        
Wow...

You really need to stop assuming things about me William... First of all I don't really see how I can blame my grandmother for anything, she owns a Oreck big deal... And as for Riccar, well wrong again I'd gladly own any of their uprights they make some amazing machines I just wouldn't want one of their uprights.

Post# 186703 , Reply# 18   6/21/2012 at 20:33 (2,843 days old) by director12 ()        

My mistake. I was just interested to see if Riccars are better than Oreck. And commercial Fantoms are somewhat interesting, and not in a good way due to Euro-Pro's reputation of having horrible products.

Just wanted to make a point.


Post# 186712 , Reply# 19   6/21/2012 at 23:24 (2,842 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

Fantomlightning, I'd be interested to know more about any connection Sanyo had with the manufacture of the Chinese Fantoms. I've not liked the Euro-Pro/Shark stuff that I've worked on or seen, but a Sanyo connection might be an explanation for the seeming higher level of quality on the Fantoms.

The Sanitaire SC899, that's the one with the 16 inch brushroll, sells online for about $260 or thereabouts. Plus shipping. However, I just about fell over when I was in a vac shop not long ago and they had a new one at around $400. My interest in the 899 is from having one I refurbed and had no trouble selling. It was used but in pretty good condition; I didn't have to do much to it. I can't remember what I sold it for, but around $50 and it went fast. A carpet installer bought it; he liked the shake-out bag which in his business filled up very fast with new carpet residue after installation.

Every once in a while I get a commercial machine. The last one was another Sanitaire, not the wide brush. It was a lesser model, didn't say the word commercial on it but by definition I'd say anything Sanitaire is in that ball park. It was the dark blue/chrome one.

Funny story. It was a pretty nice machine with a small hole in the plastic bag adapter, which I replaced with a used part. I had it all cleaned up and ready to go and someone came over to look at it. I went through the demo routine, then when I went to show them how to change a bag, the plastic zipper on the bag broke. No sale; I was disgusted. So it sat around for a couple of months and I finally checked on getting a replacement bag, which if too expensive would cause me to chuck the machine. Well, the bag assembly was pretty cheap, so I put one on my next Hesco order. When it came, it was truly an assembly, including bag adapter, fill tube, bag garter, and even a new F&G bag installed. It was a generic for any similar Eureka or Sanitaire, in white and looked good with the blue. All I had to do was turn two screws and hook the bag spring.

So the machine was ready to go all over again, and I jacked the price enough to cover the cost of the new bag. It sold quickly too. A man and his young adult son came over; they were buying it to keep in an apartment building they owned for the tenants to use so wanted something heavy duty. The younger guy tipped it over, looked at the model number, and said, "Yep, this is the one." I guess he knew a little about such things.

I've got another commercial downstairs that I refurbed but haven't done anything with. Look this one up: Clear Max, marked on the ID tag "Commercial Vacuum Cleaner" and it's a model CMS 1T. I've checked them out online and Clear Max makes a line of commercial machines, all Chinese presumably. They take a proprietary bag, which so far as I can tell need to be bought in quantity. I've found that Kenmore U bags have a collar that fits the Clear Max bag dock okay but I'm reluctant to try to sell it without being able to tell the buyer where they can get a ready supply of bags, plus I don't want to buy 25 bags to get one proper one just to sell it. So it sits there. I've used it around my home; it's okay but not special. Main thing I had to do to it was repair the cord. More bad copper; broken strands at the strain relief caused it to pop and separate. I shortened the cord a few inches back to good material but this shouldn't happen.


Post# 186739 , Reply# 20   6/22/2012 at 09:22 (2,842 days old) by director12 ()        

Commercial products from China don't mean anything. If it's made in Germany, America, or Japan, it's better.

Post# 186742 , Reply# 21   6/22/2012 at 09:31 (2,842 days old) by FantomLightning (Ohio)        
Sanyo/Fantom

From what I've seen and heard I'm pretty sure the Twister line of Fantom and Euro-pro products was based on the Sanyo Dirt Hunter upright line. The looks, features, and design appears to have been revised slightly but the machine in the link would be the one all the rest of these Euro-Pros would be based on. As for the Sanitaire while yes the higher end versions go for an insane price they can be easily be found as the Eureka Commercial for much cheaper.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO FantomLightning's LINK


Post# 186743 , Reply# 22   6/22/2012 at 09:35 (2,842 days old) by director12 ()        

Say Zach, what would your reaction be if you had the Dirthunter, after the fun you had with the Transformax?

Post# 186795 , Reply# 23   6/22/2012 at 23:38 (2,841 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

FantomLightning, thanks for the link to the Sanyo Dirt Hunter. I think you've got something there. Lots of similarities, plus the filter looks dead-on. I've got the idea that Euro-Pro, LLC as just a marketing company doesn't make anything themselves; they contract everything out to various companies. Very possible the Fantom, at least the 788 and 740 and similar designs, were made by Sanyo for Euro-Pro, LLC.

Post# 186796 , Reply# 24   6/23/2012 at 00:06 (2,841 days old) by director12 ()        

I'm not dealing with Euro-Pro products, let alone Sanyo. Fantom water-filtration devices are questionable.

Post# 186798 , Reply# 25   6/23/2012 at 00:10 (2,841 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        
Gary

kirbylux77's profile picture
I can verify for you FOR SURE the Fantom Twister FM740 WAS made by Sanyo, & this entire series of vacs are nothing more than rebadged Sanyo Dirt Hunter uprights. I remember about 2007 seeing on a website the Sanyo Dirt Hunter version of the Fantom Twister FM740....but the price for the Sanyo version was ASTRONOMICAL in comparison to the Fantom....$200 in Walmart for the Fantom Twister, $800 for the Sanyo Dirt Hunter.

I personally feel these Fantom Twister vacs have gotten a bad rap. Yes, I do agree that the other Euro-Pro Fantoms & Euro-Pro vacs used to have their issues with quality, but these Sanyo-made Fantoms are much better. Many people don't realize that these Fantom Twister's use the EXACT SAME motor the Sanyo Performax bagged uprights have inside them. And the Sanyo Performax was meant for DIRECT competition against Panasonic Performance Plus Platinum uprights, as the earlier versions had a metal brushroll & metal bottom plate. The motors on the Fantom Twister's & Sanyo Performaxes were HUGE & really do go a long time before dying. Yes, I have heard of the issue with the fuse, & there is also another issue with the Fantom Twister FM740....there is a small micro-plug & receptacle that connect power to the top & bottom halves of the vacuum. Over time, the plug & receptacle can disconnect & make the vacuum stop when pulling backwards, & make it run when going forward. Only way to correct it is to bypass the plug & receptacle, & hardwire all the wires together. Point I'm trying to make is, these are excellent value vacuums for what they sold for new.

Rob


Post# 186799 , Reply# 26   6/23/2012 at 00:26 (2,841 days old) by FantomLightning (Ohio)        

Thanks for confirming that Rob! I could've sworn I had seen people talking about it before but I wasn't sure.

Post# 186818 , Reply# 27   6/23/2012 at 06:54 (2,841 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        
I've got the idea that Euro-Pro, LLC as just a marketing

sebo_fan's profile picture

You're absolutely correct, gmerkt. A lot of the Euro-whatevers are also sold in the UK under Morphy Richards (who strangely enough now seem to be churning out Shark based uprights under their Clarity branding) and also TTI Vax churned out a Dirt Devil model that was sold under Euro-Pro.

 

Also I have been in the cleaning business and it doesn't matter how a vacuum cleaner becomes commercial from a domestic model or commercial to domestic; it depends on how it is made and how much engineering is put into it to sustain long term use as well as long running time through daily use. This is why Karcher's own Sebo based uprights have some Sebo components built into them but then Karcher have this knack of using really cheap plastic to fill in the exterior parts that are left to question their durability when they break off in early use.

 

Bagless vacuums just don't work well in most cleaning industrial areas - health and safety/rules regarding the dumping of dust conflict with hygiene rules and thus, the bagged principle is the better way to go, amidst other rules of clinical preference to clean air in general.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Post# 186831 , Reply# 28   6/23/2012 at 08:51 (2,841 days old) by director12 ()        

I agree, bagged vacuums are the way to go. If Sanyo vacuums are not in production anymore, then I bet the Sanyo Fantoms are not.




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