Thread Number: 44264  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
I'm such a vac addict...
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Post# 460753   2/27/2023 at 19:56 (422 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So I met some friends for dinner this evening, and on my way home, I decided to walk around at a nearby Goodwill. When I got to the back of the store, I spotted a cluster of about a half-dozen vacuum cleaners, mostly plasticrap that they couldn't pay me to take, but among them was a dusty Kirby Legend II. Lately, Goodwill has been jacking up their prices beyond reason, so I was extremely surprised to see that it was tagged at a mere $10. Despite the layer of dirt, it's actually in pretty decent shape, although it needs a light bulb, and probably a belt. The only sort of weird thing is the cord on it is a brown one for a Classic, but even though the female end is not quite the right shape, it fits in the socket and works. When I plugged it in at the store and fired it up, and the motor ran smoothly. I think I have a black coed for a Heritage in my barn. I may swap that onto it whenever I get around to cleaning it up.

There was a time, not that long ago, that I would have grabbed that sucker and headed for the checkout, giddy with excitement and looking over my shoulder for security because 1t was a such a steal. Tonight, it was different. I really struggled with whether to buy it or not, but in the end, I gave in. A Kirby for the price of a burger and fries, I rationalized. Sure, I didn't need it, but And what the heck, I could always sell it or part it out to make a profit. Sadly, the machine is probably worth more as a collection of parts than it is as a whole unit, not that I would want to do that. But still, I have been pretty adamant about not buying any more vacuums, and was successful in that for more than a year. Walking slowly up to the checkout, I felt like an alcoholic, falling off the wagon, knowing I shouldn't, but at the same not feeling like I was fully in control of my actions. A very, very odd feeling, to be sure.

Post# 460754 , Reply# 1   2/27/2023 at 20:17 (422 days old) by electrolux137 (Los Angeles)        

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"We admitted we were powerless over vacuum cleaners and our lives had become unmanageable."

This is the first step in recovery.


Post# 460757 , Reply# 2   2/27/2023 at 20:37 (422 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Don't think there is a 1st step.

Post# 460760 , Reply# 3   2/27/2023 at 21:15 (422 days old) by Thevacomaticiec (Bathurst New Brunswick Canada )        

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Good job realizing everything about it .
I feel this way for looking on ebay or Facebook market place. But some yime you just have to treat your self what the heck 10 bucks !!.

You seem in control of it all to me so enjoy that new toy.

Post# 460763 , Reply# 4   2/27/2023 at 23:54 (421 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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I think of it as rescuing vacuums that would otherwise continue to be abused and smashed up then thrown in the trash wastelessly by people that dont know what a belt is or how to empty the bins.

I still look for vacuums IRL and use eBay to supplement the vacuums I can't find IRL, and it's satisfying washing and repairing them. Ones I don't particularly care for I will sell on. I like to have my collection be a mix of industrial, residential, and the unique, weird, and unusual, plus anything I can save from their doom whatever it may be. It has sprouted up an electric mix of stuff that is for sure. I feel the most strongly for Kirby and I will always have them as "home base". I just brought an Avalir parts unit for $50 again when I already have one still not repaired because they are just such good vacuums and they cost so much money it sucks to see them treated like crap.

I never seen it as being a problem even though 40% of my basement is vacuums all over the floor waiting to be repaired. Maybe you have some inner guilt about it? Or a fear of becoming someone on some hoarder TV show staged for entertainment value? Just have to look at it differently on a different perspective and I think you will be OK.

Post# 460767 , Reply# 5   2/28/2023 at 00:28 (421 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
you did good Edgar,

a year is a respectable amount of time to go without a purchase. Don't be so hard on yourself. I wouldn't pass up a Kirby either and I'm capped off at 51.Especially a legend II, though geez. Who knows, the motor could have fewer hours on it and you could do a little switcheroo with one you have now.Donating it to your church for them to resell at a function is yet another option. I wouldn't trip on it too much,you did the right thing.

Post# 460782 , Reply# 6   2/28/2023 at 09:27 (421 days old) by dysonman1 (the county)        

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2023 is the year I throw stuff away. Tired of hanging on to machines "for some collector" when no one has any interest in it. We are only two months into 2023 and I have already sent over 50 machines to the crusher.

Post# 460789 , Reply# 7   2/28/2023 at 13:01 (421 days old) by rugsucker (Elizabethton TN)        
"2023 is the year I throw stuff away."

It WILL happen here also!I have started sorting Singer,Sears & Compact to see which may be complete as well as best and worst.They will be offered to collectors,a few will be kept and the rest GO.

Post# 460799 , Reply# 8   2/28/2023 at 15:16 (421 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Yeah, I'm just feeling generally overwhelmed by life right now. Stuff at work and in other areas. The nice part about that machine, aside from the pittance I paid for it, is that unless there is some hidden problem that I haven't yet found, I don't think I'll need to spend anything on it, over and above the initial $10. I've got headlight bulbs on hand and it doesn't need a belt. It was just off the motor shaft, but otherwise intact. I guess someone took the floor nozzle off and didn't know how to put it back together properly. Whatever, it's fixed now. After looking at the Heritage cord I have on hand, I've decided I'll be better off sticking with the brown Classic cord, as long as it stays jammed securely into the socket. No need spending another $25 or $30 on a new cord to go on a $10 vacuum, if I don't have to.

Overall, the machine looks to have been well cared for over its life, with no visible signs of wanton abuse, including no sign of it having ever been exposed to vacuum cleaner killing carpet fresh powder. The white Amodel fan is in good shape and it even has a new Generation 3 bag in it. There is an undated sticker on it from where it was taken in for service at some point, and I have to wonder if that's when it got the Classic cord. The shop may have offered that one from of a donor machine for little or no money, as an alternative to buying a new replacement cord. I could see myself choosing the same option.

So anyway, here are a few photos of it in its thrift store-fresh glory. I think it'll clean up nicely, whenever I get around to doing that. I've just got too much going on to mess with it right now. I still sort of feel like I need to go to a vacuholics anonymous meeting and pick up a white chip, though.

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Post# 460814 , Reply# 9   3/1/2023 at 02:20 (420 days old) by repairman (Woodridge, IL)        

I just rebuilt and sold one of those on eBay a few months ago. Very nice machine.

You also appear to have the current style fan (instead of the grey one that always shatters) and the black brushroll that uses ball bearings instead of sleeve ones.

Post# 460816 , Reply# 10   3/1/2023 at 04:41 (420 days old) by felix1stv (Boston Mass)        

im still looking for that "kencart kenmore

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Post# 460831 , Reply# 11   3/1/2023 at 15:08 (420 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Yeah, by all indications, this machine has been well looked after. I haven't dug in that deeply yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that it had received a new set of carbon brushes on its service visit. It may not have had a full factory rebuild, but it's definitely had most of its highlights hit. If I had to break my vacuum moratorium, this was a good one on which to break it. All it really needs is a good cleaning, polishing, and for the bag to be laundered.

Post# 460834 , Reply# 12   3/1/2023 at 15:30 (420 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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You almost got me to "go there" myself.
My vacuum collection has already outgrown my available space. So, I'm cut off. And, I've never picked up a Kirby of any kind. I don't have anything against them, I've just never felt like I had to have one.
Then, right after reading of your latest acquisition, I spotted one on the local Craigslist.
About a half an hour from me, in the town where I grew up:
Free Kirby G4. I don't know how desirable that model is, but it's free. The description says it works good, and has "all the attachments", although no attachments are pictured. It also comes with some spare bags.
For a moment, I was tempted. But, I did resist.


Post# 460835 , Reply# 13   3/1/2023 at 15:48 (420 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Glad you resisted temptation...

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Then again, everyone perhaps ought to have at least one Kirby in their stable. I think I have about a dozen. Oops! make that a baker's dozen with the latest one. Do they have a tendency to multiply, or is it just me? I've got a G3, but not a G4. I think the two are pretty much the same, except for the color scheme (graphite with purple accents, as opposed to the G3's off-white with red), and maybe a few minor refinements. I would have been tempted by a freebie as well. Glad you were able to hold strong.

Post# 460837 , Reply# 14   3/1/2023 at 16:21 (420 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Will I continue to hold strong though, or will I keep going back to the Craigslist ad and tempting myself until I finally crack?
Only time will tell.

Post# 460838 , Reply# 15   3/1/2023 at 17:19 (420 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So I gave the Legend II a wipe-down with a couple of Tub-O-Towels wipes and was surprised to be able to raise a tiny bit of a shine with some brisk rubbing. Just imagine what a little Mother's will do. And while I was at it, I checked the headlight bulb and discovered, to my surprise, that the filament was intact; in fact, it looked brand new. The brass base was still shiny. The socket, on the other hand, looked like it had some oxidation on the contacts, so I scraped them with a screwdriver before I put the bulb back in, then fired it up and found that the headlight works just fine. School's closed next week for spring break, so I may decide to take a nice afternoon and try to polish it up and launder the outer bag. That's all it really needs, just a good cleaning and it's ready to go. Amazing since it looked somewhat forlorn in the store.

Post# 460884 , Reply# 16   3/2/2023 at 21:33 (419 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Hey, Edgar.
I think I'm weakening. I called about the G4.
Weather and health permitting, I may go look at it tomorrow.
Just out of curiosity; are all G4s self propelled?

Post# 460886 , Reply# 17   3/2/2023 at 21:52 (419 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Yes, the G4 is self-propelled, as are all Kirbys from the G3 to the Avalir. The last non-self-propelled Kirby was the Legend II.

We're saving you a seat at the Vacuholics Anonymous meeting...

Post# 460896 , Reply# 18   3/3/2023 at 09:40 (418 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Thanks, Edgar.
That's already more than I ever knew about Kirbys!
And, yes..."My name is Barry. And, among other things, I'm a vacaholic".

Post# 460897 , Reply# 19   3/3/2023 at 11:16 (418 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Well, with 400+ Hoover appliances,

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I think that ship has passed, if not sunk!


But, My 2 Kirbys will hopefully go to fans of the  brand.


Post# 460898 , Reply# 20   3/3/2023 at 11:38 (418 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Awesome score on the Legend! I think these are the some of the best Kirbys to have if you do not want the self propel or narrow nozzle.
So far, with my experience, the only way Kirbys are beyond use or repairing is if they had been murdered. If you see broken outer castings, or it smells cooked (or plain gross), then those should be passed by.
I only had one Legend in my possession, which looked nice, but the moron who used it sucked up a screw, partially breaking the grey fan, which ended up catching fire, melted then broke, locking the motor up, and the idiot still kept trying to vacuum with it for minutes, and then wondered why it stopped. It stunk so bad I could not keep any of it. The motor inside was totally charred and took a hammer to get it apart. I think I did salvage the carbon brushes for a 1CR...
If I find another, I might sell my Heritage set as I like the Legend colors better.

You will like the G4. I just did a basic resto of a G4 motor unit for a member here and it runs just as nice as my restored G6.
If it does come with the attachments and hose for hard floors, you are getting a stellar deal and lots of usability! Despite their added complexity with Tech drive, they are still long lasting machines. Bearings in these are likely to still have 5-10 years in them also. For free you cannot go wrong! Hope you get it. If you do, please share some pics.
I would love to get a G5 set some day as I love the colors of it. All the rest of the G-series are colorless in my opinion. Thats the only thing I dislike about my G6 set. However that things drives great on carpet.

Post# 460900 , Reply# 21   3/3/2023 at 11:40 (418 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

BTW, "Vaccuholics Anonymous" my behind - I just about know everyone there!

Post# 460905 , Reply# 22   3/3/2023 at 14:32 (418 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
perhaps, then

gottahaveahoove's profile picture

"Vacaholics Unanimous"??

Post# 460910 , Reply# 23   3/3/2023 at 16:22 (418 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
Yes, I like the Legend II also, and now I have two of them, along with a Heritage II/Legend, which, as far as I can tell, is pretty much identical to the Legend II, other than the color scheme, and perhaps the tools they came with, not that any of mine came to me with their tools.

I, too have always been impressed by the degree to which Kirbys are over-engineered and designed to be serviced and rebuilt. They are definitely not intended to be disposable and it does irk me to see one that's been treated that way. There just aren't that many things left in this world that are literally built to last a lifetime.

Post# 460913 , Reply# 24   3/3/2023 at 16:59 (418 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Well... I did it.
I just got done lugging it all in from the car.
I don't even know what all came with it, but it looks like a lot.
I know it has the shampooer, a hose and wands with bare floor tool and miscellaneous small tools, a sprayer, a turbo tool of some sort, and the caddy for the tools.
If there's more, I haven't unboxed it yet.
There's also a nearly full box of bags, and about a half dozen belts.
The vacuum itself is pretty dirty, but I've seen worse.
There's a few gouges on the top of the nozzle, but they're not horrible. They're going to be staying there, because sanding and polishing metal is way above my pay grade.
Also, both rear wheel covers are missing, and there might be a little white paint on the side of the outer bag.
They fired it up for me before I took it, and it sounds good to me. Everything is pretty dirty from sitting around. I think it's been in the basement or garage or something for a while. They're "getting older", and the wife found it too heavy. Plus, they don't have much carpet. (I have none. Just a couple of area rugs.)
The thing I'm the most pleased that it came with is the instruction manual; since I know nothing about Kirbys.
I'll post pictures eventually. I'm just a bit overwhelmed right now.


Post# 460917 , Reply# 25   3/3/2023 at 19:25 (418 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Congrats, Barry - you are in for a fun time with your new Kirby.
One thing that is a sure turnoff with used vacuums is that they are dirty. However you can easily fix that. The plastic attachments wash up easily and look like new afterwards. I like simple green, but most any other detergents can work well in moderation.
You could do a quick hand polish that will improve its appearance if desired. Machine buffing is a pain, so dont blame you for not wanting to tackle that now.

Below is a quick resto I did on my G6 a while back, just so you know what you have and what is possible. Perhaps you can use it to do some minor disassembly just to clean it up more.

Certainly start a thread on your machine. The hose and floor wands and nozzle will work great on your hard floors.
I cannot collect anymore due to lack of space and time, but still enjoy seeing the progress of others. I do not mind offering tech advice as well.

Have fun!!

Post# 460923 , Reply# 26   3/3/2023 at 21:47 (418 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Welcome to the Kirby club...

human's profile picture
Sounds like you have pretty much the full Kirby package. Don't let a little dirt put you off. I like to give my machines a thorough wipe-down with Tub-O-Towels cleaning wipes when I first get them home. The cloth outer bag is machine washable, but removing the emptor and fill tube assembly can be tricky. I ended up just washing my G3's bag by hand without disassembling it. Manually polishing the aluminum parts with Mother's metal polish is pretty easy and can be done in an afternoon with good, albeit not perfect, results. I agree about the leaving the deep scratches. I refer to them as 'battle scars' and all of my Kirbys have them to one degree or another. The rear wheels on G-series and newer Kirbys do wear down over time because the rubberized 'tires' to give the Tech Drive traction. Replacement wheels are readily available and easy to install. They're just held in place with a horseshoe clip. The beauty of Kirbys is they're designed to be serviced and repaired, mostly with common hand tools. There are tons of YouTube videos out there to show you how, and the procedures are pretty much the same for any G3 or newer unit.


Post# 460981 , Reply# 27   3/5/2023 at 16:50 (416 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So I took the bag off of the Legend II to throw it in the washing machine, and when I did, I found a small problem with the rear wheels assembly. The axle was loose because the screws were wrong. They were brass with slotted heads and were too long. The length was easy enough to solve with a hack saw and a pair of vice grips, and now they're snugged up like they should be. The only problem is the plastic spacer sleeves are chewed up on the ends, so they'll need to be replaced. Oh, and the third part of problem is that the axle is slightly bent. I think I can put it in a vice and give it a few taps with a hammer, to straighten it back out. The rear hubcaps are also missing, presumably due to the excessive side-to-side wheel play from the damaged spacer sleeves.

As usual, Kent Oyler had everything I needed at a pretty reasonable price, made even more reasonable by combined shipping. The irony is these little, tiny parts, with shipping, ran me a dollar more than I paid for the whole machine. No, it won't break the bank, it's just that my $10 Kirby has now become a $21 Kirby. It's still cheap enough, and it proves my initial rationalization when I bought it, that the machine was worth the price, for the value of its parts alone.

Post# 461105 , Reply# 28   3/9/2023 at 13:03 (412 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
I'm waiting on the mail...

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I saw this morning that my hubcaps and shaft spacers from Kent Oyler are out for delivery today, so I took advantage of pleasant afternoon weather to get things ready for their installation.

I took everything apart and lined the axle up in my vise so I could give it a few whacks with a hammer to straighten it up. I was able to get it pretty close, but not completely true, so I decided to make the final adjustment with the axle on the vacuum.

One of the brass screws I had cut down was just a hair too short and fell out, so I looked in my screw collection and came up with a couple of stainless steel ones that were the correct diameter and thread pitch, but at an inch and a quarter long, they needed to be cut pretty much in half. This was accomplished easily enough with a pair of Vise Grips and a hacksaw. When I tightened the screws with the axle in place, I could see that one side was maybe a couple of milimeters off from being snug against the body of the vacuum, so I gave it a couple more light whacks and got it trued up. It's probably not NASA precise, but it'll work for a 33-year-old Kirby, in that it's visually true and there's no play in the axle.

So now, I'm just waiting on the mail. which should get here in about three hours, give or take, so I can do the final reassembly.

In case you're interested, the screws that I used were stainless steel Pan Phillips machine screws 6-32 x 1-1/4, cut down to roughly 1/2-3/4 inch. Yeah, I could probably have found that exact screw off the shelf at Lowe's or somewhere, but why do that when I could just make my own with screws that are already paid for? Besides, there's more of a sense of accomplishment that way.

Post# 461109 , Reply# 29   3/9/2023 at 15:59 (412 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
It's all back together better than before.

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The mail came a few minutes ago and my package from Kent was there, as expected. Everything went together without a hiccup. If anything, it was easier than anticipated. I had the axle assembly back together, on the machine, and the new hubcaps in place in less than ten minutes. The next step is to bring the machine in the house and give it a test run.

Post# 462586 , Reply# 30   4/24/2023 at 15:34 (366 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
I think I'm back on the wagon...

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So, Saturday afternoon, I was walking around a Goodwill store and spied a Kirby G7 (standard, not Diamond Edition) tucked in a corner and felt compelled to take a look at it. The $35 price tag was enough make me continue walking around the store, but addict that I am, I had to go back for a second look. On closer inspection, I found that the bag wouldn't clip into the handle and the cord and cord retainer at the bottom were both torn up. At that point, I decided it wasn't worth my while and walked away without further inspection. I didn't plug it in or turn it on, didn't check the belt or the brush roll, I just walked away.

And you know what? I feel better for having walked away than I would have if I had bought the darned thing. I have no regrets and feel no urge to go back to the store, just to check on it. The truth is, just doing the mental math, I realized that by the time I fixed the things that I saw were wrong with it, I'd have at least twice as much as the purchase price tied up in it. Compared with the last G-series Kirby I bought in late 2021, which was a Gsix 2001 Limited Edition that cost $5 less than this machine, and needed basically nothing, the value proposition just wasn't there for me. I've been down that road before and I don't need to go there again.

At the same time, I'm also not beating myself up about buying that Legend II a couple of months ago, although I've just left it in the barn for the time being. Once school gets out and I have a little more time on my hands, I may haul it up to the house and vacuum a couple of rooms with it, just to see how it performs.

I do love my Kirbys, but I know I don't have to buy every one of them that I see.

Post# 463201 , Reply# 31   5/17/2023 at 14:32 (343 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So, I've had this Legend II for almost three months, and I've never fully gotten past the idea of replacing the brown Classic cord with a proper red Legend II, or even a black Heritage II cord. I finally found one on the cheap, but when I went to install it, that vacuum had yet anther surprise in store. The 'proper' cord wouldn't fit!

It turns out somebody had swapped a Classic cord onto the vacuum, but had swapped a Classic foot switch onto it as well. But here's the kicker. Whoever did it took the extra step of swapping the red foot pedal from the original Legend II switch onto it, so it would match—even if the cord didn't. I thought for a second that it might be a foot switch from a Classic III, but the plastic isn't the right color. The Classic III's plastics are more a bright crimson than the Legend II's brick red. The pedal perfectly matches the Legend II's plastics.

Looking at eBay, that substitution makes a certain amount of sense, given that Heritage/Legend style foot switches have become increasingly difficult to find, while the older Classic/Tradition style ones are still somewhat more plentiful. The good news is I have a complete Legend II foot switch that I took off of my other Legend II and then subsequently repaired. One day, I may go ahead and swap that one onto this Legend II, but that may be a while, since I fell broke a rib a few days ago. Gotta let that heal up first.

Post# 463260 , Reply# 32   5/21/2023 at 04:02 (339 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
The difference

Human,can you tell me what the difference is between a diamond addition and a standard Kirby? Do they still do this with the later model G's?

Post# 463261 , Reply# 33   5/21/2023 at 04:07 (339 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        

I'm sorry to hear of your fall and broken ribs,yikes! Hope you heal up fast,any pain?

Post# 463266 , Reply# 34   5/21/2023 at 13:53 (339 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
The Kirby G7 (aka Ultimate G) came in two versions, standard and Diamond. The Diamond edition is immediately recognizable by the diamond pattern on the bag, whereas the standard edition's bag is gray with random flecks of yellow and burgundy. Functionally, it is more or less identical to the G6 and G5 models that came before it. But that's just cosmetics. The functional difference is the Diamond Edition has a toggle switch on the back of the motor housing that manually adjusts the motor speed from the normal (high) setting to a low (delicate) setting. Apparently, it isn't good for the motor for it to be left perpetually on the low setting, and a lot of Diamond G motors got burned up as a result. The speed switch feature was only ever available on the G7 Diamond, although there was a thread a few months back where a member here fitted a speed switch and accompanying circuit board from a G7 Diamond to an Avalir.

The cracked rib has not been fun. It's slowed me down a bit for the past week, but it's getting better. It's a closed fracture; that is, it's cracked but not completely broken. Most of the time, I have minimal pain and only need naproxen to manage it. They also gave me oxycodone, but I'm avoiding taking that unless I really need it. I'm not doing any heavy lifting right now, and paying attention when the rib tells me I'm overdoing. It should be completely healed in about six to eight weeks. Amazingly, in my almost 60 years, it's the first time I've ever broken a bone.

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