Thread Number: 37654  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
Need Assistance in Diagnosing D80
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Post# 401436   11/26/2018 at 09:57 (206 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        

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My wonderfully polished D80 will not run after re-assembly. The headlight comes on and I've checked for power at the brushes (brushes removed of course) and I see 121 volts, sooo I need help making my shiny beauty run once again. I know these machines had issues with switches and wiring, but so far, I can find no obvious problem. I have no issue re-wiring it to run on low speed permanently but would prefer not to do that.

With an ohm meter, would anyone know what the various readings should be at various testing points?


Post# 401440 , Reply# 1   11/26/2018 at 12:00 (206 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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I am keeping my fingers crossed as to when this machine will actually run!


Post# 401441 , Reply# 2   11/26/2018 at 12:09 (206 days old) by bnsd60m9200 (Ponder,TX)        
i have a service manual from that era

bnsd60m9200's profile picture
ill look and see if it has a electrical range chart for load testing wires. i remember seeing charts in there but forget what they were for. ive never used multi meters to troubleshoot problems on vacuums this old before. ill post back if i find anything useful for you.

Post# 401451 , Reply# 3   11/26/2018 at 16:07 (205 days old) by Louvac (A)        
Sounds like

Sounds like the speed control switch is bad. It makes contact for the light but no contact for the motor. I am willing to bet this is the problem. Direct connect the motor to see if it runs.

Post# 401460 , Reply# 4   11/26/2018 at 18:29 (205 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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It is 1 of 3 things.
1. Bad safety switch
2. Bad power switch
3. The motor is not grounding out or power is grounding out.
I'd bet it's 1 of the first two as you have power with light. So it's probably safety switch.
Good luck your videos on d80 are awesome.


Post# 401471 , Reply# 5   11/26/2018 at 19:54 (205 days old) by vacman1961 (North Babylon, New York)        

Are you sure the carbon brushes are hitting the commutator on the armature?

Post# 401474 , Reply# 6   11/26/2018 at 20:21 (205 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

If it ran before you worked on it, then it should be an easy fix.

First check the wires at the safety switch to make sure none popped out like they do sometimes.

If you took any wires out of anywhere, make sure they are back in the right places.

Make sure motor brushes are not hanging up in the holder and springs are springy.

Make sure wires are securely fastened to the tabs to the motor brushes.

Clean commutator bars if you think polish could have gotten onto them.

If the above are fine, check the armature for any accidental damage that you might have not been aware of.

Post# 401475 , Reply# 7   11/26/2018 at 20:24 (205 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Also exercise the speed/safety switch to check for possible burnt/bad connections inside of it (but watch your fingers when doing so!)

Post# 401481 , Reply# 8   11/26/2018 at 21:28 (205 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
Two Speed Switch Wiring

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Here's my best guess with the two speed switch. The yellow was loose, so I tinned it and shoved it back in. It's a tight fit now.

  View Full Size
Post# 401482 , Reply# 9   11/26/2018 at 21:31 (205 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
Foot Switch Wiring

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The #1 blue-ish wire was so loose that it practically fell off, so I tinned it and shoved it back in. It's a tight connection now.

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Post# 401483 , Reply# 10   11/26/2018 at 21:33 (205 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
Got My Bearing Puller

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And now I can re-build the rear bearing (it has a rubber seal).

  View Full Size
Post# 401485 , Reply# 11   11/26/2018 at 21:36 (205 days old) by Rivstg1 (colorado springs)        
bill, I just

rivstg1's profile picture
I looked at my Ds80. thats the color order I saw

Post# 401486 , Reply# 12   11/26/2018 at 21:46 (205 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
Replies to suggestions

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To LesinUtah:

1. Bad safety switch <- probably
2. Bad power switch <- maybe
3. The motor is not grounding out or power is grounding out. <- possible

Thanks for your kind words, Les!


To TexasKirbyGuy:

If it ran before you worked on it, then it should be an easy fix. <- Yes it ran fine before I disassembled it for polishing.

First check the wires at the safety switch to make sure none popped out like they do sometimes. <- some popped out and now they are back in

If you took any wires out of anywhere, make sure they are back in the right places. <- yup, done

Make sure motor brushes are not hanging up in the holder and springs are springy. <- smooth operation and springy

Make sure wires are securely fastened to the tabs to the motor brushes. <- measured this with an ohm meter, seems OK.

Clean commutator bars if you think polish could have gotten onto them. <- polished and picked out build up between bars with a toothpick.

If the above are fine, check the armature for any accidental damage that you might have not been aware of. <- can't seem to find any damage so far.


I can't wait to find out what's causing the motor not to spin at all. No sparks, just nothing. But, I do get the light bulb's glorious illumination.

I'll keep working on it...

Wonder which wires to directly connect for the motor to run at low speed?


Post# 401488 , Reply# 13   11/26/2018 at 21:57 (205 days old) by hmc1981 (St. Augustine, Florida)        
My own experience...

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I had a similar issue with it running perfect until i took it apart for polishing.

For me, I wound up discovering that I reinstalled the front bearing in reverse (very stupid, yes I know, but it happened).

Also, bad safety switch is a very real culprit. Itís super easy to harm the switch during disassembly no matter how careful you are. Iíve a spare unused one laying around. Let me know if you are interested.

Post# 401491 , Reply# 14   11/26/2018 at 22:02 (205 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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On eBay I bought a unopened nos switch. I think it cost me $20.50.

Post# 401493 , Reply# 15   11/26/2018 at 22:10 (205 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Somebody around here should have the wiring diagram for the motor. I could swear someone just posted a similar diagram not a month ago. I'm not familiar with these machines, but I believe the motor is not wired totally straight forward. Like, there's an extra coil in the field for the light bulb, or some weird crap like that. If you say you have power at the brush holders, there should be SOME kind of action from the motor when it's assembled. If nothing else, try assembling it again, power it up, bypass any safeties, and spin the motor by hand, seeing if there's any response.

Actually another good question is, does the armature spin freely when totally installed?

Lastly, with everything installed, safeties bypassed, play with the speed switch (and any other switches O_o), and wiggle the wires at any at all points, see if there's any response. This is called the 'wiggle test.' You'd be surprised how often the wiggle test yields some kind of clue.

Post# 401495 , Reply# 16   11/26/2018 at 22:16 (205 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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The only electrical diagrams I have for Kirby vacuums include one for models 505-515 and 516-Sanitronic VII (all single speed) and one for the Heritage II. So it would be cool if Will (bnsd60m9200) could try to upload what he has for models Dual Sanitronic 50/80, as I have a D80 myself (and also a Classic 1CR - the third and last Kirby to use the speed switch in question).


Post# 401496 , Reply# 17   11/26/2018 at 22:25 (205 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

I think your speed switch is miswired...
Below is mine (from Tradition) before I took it apart. Also if you look carefully on the switch, you can see letters for each colors at each hole. Look for these and verify the positions.

Be very careful with wiring this switch as certain combinations will burn up the motor (don't ask me how I know...)

  View Full Size
Post# 401498 , Reply# 18   11/26/2018 at 22:38 (205 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Well, ax my previous response as the switches are different between D80 and Tradition. Can a mod delete my last post (and this one)?

Post# 401499 , Reply# 19   11/26/2018 at 22:41 (205 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The speed switch is easy to wire. G is green y is yellow etc. The letter backside of switch.

Post# 401541 , Reply# 20   11/27/2018 at 18:34 (204 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
So the question remains...

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Which two wires do I short together to get the motor to run at low speed? I don't have a coil/switch diagram handy, so I'm unsure at this point...


Post# 401548 , Reply# 21   11/27/2018 at 20:49 (204 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Here is pic of nos safety switch for a d80.
The right front side of switch is high speed.
Green is ground so doesn't mean anything.

So guessing yellow red is high white is neutral would be hooked up and black wire from coil and black and white from headlight need hooked up. So 2 white direct hook up to foot switch two black direct hook up to foot switch and ground green wires. Unhook other wires and cap off.
This should bypass safety switch run single speed.
I believe red is high speed power wire and yellow is neutral wire.

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Post# 401554 , Reply# 22   11/27/2018 at 23:36 (204 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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I could make a diagram if I had a machine to reverse engineer.

If you want to be sure of your wiring, get an ohmmeter (or multimeter), and ohm the field coil. I don't know, but I'm assuming the motor assembly has... 5 wires. Did I guess right? 1 common, 2 speeds, 2 wires for the light bulb. Well, here's what you do. Take the armature out of the field. Connect one ohmmeter test lead to one of the brush holders (or wherever the brush gets its power [some brushes have a spring that touch a contact, or a braided wire that's attached to the brush]) then connect the other test lead to each of the wires coming from the field coil. tbh, I'm not entirely sure how much resistance you're looking for, but I'd bet any reading at all would infer a connection. Just be sure to test ALL the wires, to be sure you've got the right wire. Write down your findings and repeat with the other brush holder. I'm thinking - but I'm not 100% sure - that you will find two wires that have no connectivity to either brush holder. That'll be that stupid light bulb winding, ignore those wires.

Now, you want 1 wire from each half of the field coil winding. It may be tricky to visually pick those. From the wires you ohmed, you'll want 1 wire that has connection to only the 1st brush holder and not the 2nd, and a another wire that has only connection to the 2nd brush holder and not the 1st. With the motor assembled, connect those two wires to 120vac and the motor *should* run at some speed.

Alternatively, if you want to skip the above, and/or if you're (rightfully) worried about damaging the motor by hooking up the wires wrong, you could hook it up in series with a light bulb. An actual old fashioned incandescent light bulb. Ideally a 100 watt. It's a little difficult because technically you'd want a bulb of the same wattage as the load you're putting through it, but I don't think you're gonna find a 2000 watt bulb. Anyhow, if the bulb lights up near full strength, you're probably attached to that stupid extra winding in the field coil. I'd say it might not light at all, or very little, if you're attached to the motor properly (or rather on of the two speeds). I hope I'm thinking this through properly. But at least with the light bulb, if nothing else, it will act as a fuse and protect the motor. Though I think it's unlikely to blow the bulb, the bulb lighting fully will indicate a short. Or near short. I suppose it might light the bulb with any connection (because it's not high enough wattage [electricity is hard to think about, so I'm not sure]), which then you wouldn't have learned anything, but you wouldn't have fried the motor, either. Safest bet, anyhow.

I hope I'm helping.

Post# 401613 , Reply# 23   11/28/2018 at 21:06 (203 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
Some Continuity Testing Later...

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And here's what I found so far. I've checked this with two D80 switches (of course both could be bad I suppose).

High Speed = Green and Yellow wires shorted PLUS White and Red wires shorted
Low Speed = Red and Yellow wires shorted

ALL switch connections/configurations measured 0.0 Ohms.

Coil Winding #1 = Yellow and White wires. Meter read about 1.5 Ohms
Coil Winding #2 = Green and Red wires. Meter read about 1.5 Ohms

Brushes are clean and springy in their holders with good connectivity to the commutator.

I'll do more tests as I find time. Thanks for all the suggestions so far.


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Post# 401617 , Reply# 24   11/28/2018 at 22:22 (203 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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So assuming you're right and your switches are not broken...

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Post# 401638 , Reply# 25   11/29/2018 at 12:52 (203 days old) by royalfan (Chicago)        
Cankles 🤦‍♂️

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🤦‍♂️ Not much to go wrong here.
Switch on/off
Carbon brushes
Safety switch

Test and replace Parts in that order how has this thread going on so long?

Post# 401668 , Reply# 26   11/29/2018 at 18:20 (202 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Maybe because we like the vaclabs fellow and trying to help him out.
Unhook the speed switch.
Cap high speed wires.
You will have 4 wires hooked up to foot switch. Black and White from headlight. I'm red and yellow for low speed. The power wires I think have a b below the 4 connectors. Hook up black and red to 2 terminals on that side. Yellow and white(headlight on 2 of the 4 w terminals. Carbon brush cap wires are green and black. The green has a ground terminal on switch. The black has a spot too. The 4 terminals are in the side and there is a slot/ terminal on same side as other power wires. This is where the carbon brush wire goes.
You can do tests until blue in the face switches don't go out often. Push foot switch on and it should start up. If it doesn't it could be switch highly doubt it though. Your field coil is gone.
Hopefully this solves it.

Post# 401674 , Reply# 27   11/29/2018 at 19:16 (202 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Not sure if this may give any clues, but here goes...
I restored my Mom's original D50 last year and its speed switch had been completely bypassed for decades and it ran in LOW only. Below are some pictures of how it was wired...
Red and yellow were permanently wire-nutted together. White (wire-nutted to tan) ran to top 'W' of power switch. Green went to top 'G' of the the power switch.

Of course it would run without an attachment on the front, but I am sure there is a way to at least use that part of the safety switch...

Hope this helps.
BTW, when trying the machine out after rewiring, watch the commutator and shut it off immediately if it sparks like a mad demon (which means a miswire that is pulling excess current.

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Post# 401677 , Reply# 28   11/29/2018 at 19:58 (202 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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I was going to make a motor diagram just based on guessing, but then I looked at the Heritage II wiring diagram, and it's insane. They could have just used a normal two speed motor, and a normal 120v light bulb, but NO~OOO. So instead of guessing on something that complex, I just prettied up the switch diagram.

Link below has Ben's Heritage II wiring diagram, which I honestly doubt is all that different, so it'll probably be helpful, but obviously take it with a grain of salt. Let me just mention that I find it ridiculous that the Kirby people making the service manual were thoughtful enough to show you EXACTLY how the windings in the motor are wired in relation to everything else - very helpful, but had no such inclination to show you how the switches work.


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Post# 401684 , Reply# 29   11/29/2018 at 21:57 (202 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
As Time Permits

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I'll perform more testing. BUT, I have a hard time believing that coil functionality goes "poof!" simply by carefully removing an armature. There could be micro-cracks in the various lead wires and/or where they connect into the switches though. Since both coils appear to measure the same 1.5 Ohms, I'm leaning towards the coils are OK at this time, but who knows?

Remember, I went from a fully functional two speed operation to absolutely nothing...except the light bulb.

I need to finish rebuilding the rear bearing (just got the puller a few days ago) before I can fiddle any further.


Post# 401685 , Reply# 30   11/29/2018 at 22:01 (202 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Make sure the wires for the brushes are secure in the power switch, too. My picture above shows where they go. I had to add a layer of solder on mine to make them more secure.

Post# 401814 , Reply# 31   12/2/2018 at 20:53 (199 days old) by vacuumdevil (Vacuum Hell )        

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@texaskirbyguy Good stuff I've been waiting and watching for somebody to suggest this.

My next solution would be take it to a local vacuum shop and have them diagnose it real quick for him. Sometimes just having that second set of eyes makes all the difference.

Good luck New balance Man 💙.

Post# 401832 , Reply# 32   12/3/2018 at 10:39 (199 days old) by royalfan (Chicago)        

royalfan's profile picture
I want to help, not because I like him . Because I Just feel sorry for the guy, he not very mechanically inclined unlike most of us here. @Lesinutah It's like the South Park kids helping Al Gore.

Post# 401856 , Reply# 33   12/3/2018 at 14:38 (199 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        

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that was just rude.....and unneeded. He knows more than many on here....l possibly ess than others on here....kinda like many of us. We welcome all to this site don't we? Especially ones you sd to the group with interesting testing of vacs.

Post# 401870 , Reply# 34   12/3/2018 at 19:55 (198 days old) by vacman1961 (North Babylon, New York)        

Vaclab, if you want to send me the motor unit for your Kirby I will repair it for you no charge, I am in New York and have been a Kirby Area Distributor for 30 years. Message me if you want my name and address.

Post# 401871 , Reply# 35   12/3/2018 at 19:57 (198 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Every one is entitled to their opinion. I know alot about Kirby's,royals,riccars, Hoovers. He tested a multitude of vacuums. I think your viewing impairment isn't obvious. I guess we are all impaired somehow. He has helped and answered questions about airflow tests. He has helped a professional vacuum reviewer with vacuum info. He is not mechanically inclined. But it's okay he asked for help we helped him. This is spread your knowledge and help each other. That is all.

Post# 401913 , Reply# 36   12/4/2018 at 12:44 (198 days old) by Ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        

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I think youíre wiring the power switch wrong. I see green wire in the black wire spot and vice versa... Here is a picture based on the labeling of the switch.

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Post# 401949 , Reply# 37   12/4/2018 at 18:58 (197 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The headlight follows the colors. Power wires are yo go in black slot even if it's not black. B is + connection white is neutral- ground is making sure wires and electricity follows flow. The neutral wires I use a wire nuts and a pig tail. Wire one wire. Ground the same and power too. It turns headlight and motor on once you push the switch bypassing safety switch.
That way you can see 3 wires basically makes process of elimination easier.

Post# 402096 , Reply# 38   12/6/2018 at 21:19 (195 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
For everyone that has made a positive contribution

vaclab's profile picture
I thank you and will follow up when I next get the chance. Remember, I do have a full time programming job and a family so my time to complete this machine isn't infinite.

And for the naysayers and haters (you know who you are), let me give you a little biography of some of the things I've done in my nearly 54 years on this earth.

- Had a soldering iron and screwdriver in my hand at 5 years old (did a lousy job).
- Built my first electric motor around 1977, hand winding the coils, etc.
- Compiled my first computer video game on a Unix mainframe in the fall of 1979.
- Passed several FCC exams starting in 1979 that essentially mean I can build/repair transmitters and antennas.
- Started doing my own automotive maintenance in 1984. Mostly stopped by 2014. Replaced suspensions, did AC, some electrical, wheels, tires, brakes, tune-ups, valve lash adjustments, etc. Have re-programmed my BMW's firmware (in German) to add/subtract/adjust various features. is a great resource for more info.
- Dry-walled my garage in 2006, repaired my gas hot water heater and glass top electric stove, not to mention keeping my 1990 Maytags running for 27 years.
- As side job in college, I repaired oscilloscopes and that in turn morphed into TV/VCR repair of new and vintage audio visual equipment from about 1983-1997.
- Just for fun, over 25 years ago, I started designing and building my own audio amps, mics, testing equipment and high end power supplies. Some of this can be seen in my videos.

I could go on about surface mount component repair (I need a magnifying glass for this), but you've probably stopped reading this drivel by now...

So gee whiz, I guess I'm just not mechanically inclined enough to handle a 50 year old vacuum cleaner. :)


Post# 402100 , Reply# 39   12/6/2018 at 23:27 (195 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
To be perfectly fair, this is probably the most complicated wiring on a vacuum cleaner...

Post# 402101 , Reply# 40   12/7/2018 at 00:04 (195 days old) by vacuumdevil (Vacuum Hell )        

vacuumdevil's profile picture
Don't take this the wrong way. Simplicity synergy Riccar radiance has a 32 pin wire harness. Also the Hoover dimension 1000 form the 1980s , had a lot of wires going inside.
They've gotten more and more complicated as the years have gone by.
From my perspective I wish they were all like this.

@vaclab Can't wait to see the finished machine.

Post# 402103 , Reply# 41   12/7/2018 at 07:43 (195 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
The story so far...

vaclab's profile picture
I think there might be some misconception about the wiring. Specifically, the D80 was working 100% before disassembly for polishing. BUT, I never removed any wires, wiring harness, coils or power switch. I did (carefully) remove the speed switch from the front fan case but left all wiring intact.

You can see me polish the headlight hood while everything is still attached to the motor casing in the first post.

I also removed the armature in order to replace the front bearing (done) and re-pack the rear bearing (TBD).

Charlie (NY) thanks for the offer and I will take you up on it if/when all else fails.

Reggie, here is a different pic of the power switch wiring. Again, nothing has been touched, except re-tinning the brush holder wire (#1 in above pic).


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Post# 402106 , Reply# 42   12/7/2018 at 09:22 (195 days old) by bnsd60m9200 (Ponder,TX)        
silly question

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but are you testing it with the rug nozzle on it?

Post# 402148 , Reply# 43   12/7/2018 at 20:23 (194 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The carbon brush ground wire is in the b which is power.
The carbon brush wires one is black one is green. If the green you have is a ground it needs to go next to the white in g slot. The black carbon brush would go in the b slot. It could be those wires got switched. I don't know you may be able to do it. Don't worry everyone sucks at soldering. I think they make soldering iron $itty so everyone is no good at it.


Post# 402151 , Reply# 44   12/7/2018 at 21:57 (194 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Les, what do you mean? Soldering is easy, even with a crappy iron.

...are you using flux when you solder? Cuz I have a friend, who for the longest time thought that flux was for idiots, while it took him a month to solder a 20 pin plug. Finally I coerced him to buy some flux, he finished his project in a day, came back with a smile on his face and thanked me heartily.

I've found that a lot of people are like that. Some weird stigma about using flux.

Post# 402177 , Reply# 45   12/8/2018 at 10:33 (194 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
I use flux. I know what my problem is. I didn't have a heat gun so I melted heat shrink with soldering gun. I need to clean head and usie heat shrink gun I have.
I can solder I have to have the roach clip in a football goalposts holder to keep wires in place. I always dip in flux before soldering.
I didn't realize until now we'll I realized but it just clicked that's why it's not soldering well.

Post# 402842 , Reply# 46   12/19/2018 at 09:35 (183 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        

vaclab's profile picture
or maybe I should say KIRBY!

The D80 lives AGAIN! While you will see a video fairly soon, the issue ended up being the green carbon brush wire. At the point where it connects to the brush holder, there was an intermittent connection.

AND the connection point to the power switch was also sketchy.

I've rebuilt that weird rear bearing and am finishing the final assembly soon.

Thanks for everyone's ideas,


Post# 402843 , Reply# 47   12/19/2018 at 09:46 (183 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

That's great you were able to get your Kirby running again!


Post# 402845 , Reply# 48   12/19/2018 at 12:27 (183 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Made my morning Bill,

So glad you found the problem. I know I learned a thing or two just following your journey, Bill

Post# 402861 , Reply# 49   12/19/2018 at 22:19 (182 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
I did mention those wires. Glad it's fixed and Reno videos can continue.
I know you are not mechanically inclined but screws are right tight lefty looesey. Just thought I'd help you out.


Post# 402992 , Reply# 50   12/23/2018 at 16:31 by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
Les, The Magic Kirby Pixies From Cleveland

vaclab's profile picture
showed me how to use a screwdriver correctly so somehow the D80 got back together again.

Post# 403000 , Reply# 51   12/23/2018 at 22:01 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Sweet glad you got help.
PS I love the video. There isn't many d80 videos out there and this is awesome. I can just sit and stream from phone to TV and watch vacclab on my TV.
Glad to see the d80 season is back in business. Now I can watch tv once again.

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