Repairing/removing the cable/switch on a Dyson DC04 (or similar)

I spent an hour yesterday fixing my Dyson DC04 vacuum cleaner – oh what an exotic life I lead!
Past experience has taught me that these Dyson’s are put together in a fiendishly complicated way, so I did some research, worked out what I needed to do, then photographed every step – hopefully this will be useful for someone out there!
Basically what happened was that the cleaner frequently cut out and waggling the mains lead would bring it back into life temporarily. Eventually it got to the point where no amount of waggling would make it work so I deduced that there was a break in the cable near the switch. This seems to be a common fault and the generally accepted view is that you should replace the whole cable – however, if you are a tight-arse like me, then you’ll just want to chop off the bit that’s broken and re-terminate it at the switch.
Now trying to get the switch out using whatever blunt instruments you have to hand will not work (I have tried!). There is a specific procedure you have to follow, and it involves getting hold of a special tool, which is essentially a bent screwdriver, to help you remove the switch. You could try bending an old screwdriver of your own, but it will probably snap rather than bend, and they only cost £2 anyway (I got mine off ebay). The tool looks like this:

To get access to the switch assembly so that the mains wire can be disconnected, you have to remove the switch button. If you look closely along the flat edge of the switch button you will see a little notch in the surrounding plastic:

Insert the bent screwdriver into this notch and push down quite hard so that it goes down as far as it can.

At the same time, pull on the button so that it is "up" (in the off position) and push the screwdriver handle up. This should depress the catch that is holding the button in the housing and if you keep pulling the button up it should eventually come away. You will need to apply quite a bit of pressure to the screwdriver handle in order to depress the catch on the button.

After removing the button you will see the switch, spring and Torx screwhead that is retaining the switch assembly. Now you can see why the blasted thing will not come apart! 🙂

Using a T15 Torx screwdriver, remove the retaining screw.

After removing the screw, grab the cable grommet and slide it updwards. The switch assembly should then slide out of it’s housing.

The connectors should, I assume, be insulated with insulating housings, but only one of mine is, so someone’s been here before on my Dyson! (It was second hand when I bought it so maybe that’s not so surprising).

Slide the grommet out of the groove and pull it back to reveal the cable. In my case, you can quite clearly see the problem. I am really surprised this did not cause an electrical fire or blow a fuse.

Unplug the connectors for the mains lead and feed the cable round the bend so you can remove it completely from the switch. You can remove the other two connectors if you want to make this easier but I did it without disturbing the other connectors. A pair of snipe nose pliers might come in handy here.

Cut off the bad part of cable with some snips.

The outer insulation needs to be stripped, but to get the correct length, lay the cable off-cut alongside the mains lead and match up the ends. Strip the insulation away from the corresponding place on the mains lead. I use a sharp modeller’s knife to do this but you have to be very careful not to nick or cut into the insulation of the inner cables. So be very gentle and gradually cut away the insulation. The trick is to "press" onto the outer insulation rather than use a "sawing" or "cutting" motion. This is why you need a very sharp blade so that pressure alone is enough to cut into the outer insulation. If you nick the inner insulation so that you can see the copper core, cut off the cable and start again. Remember you are playing with 240V here so it’s not worth the risk of starting a fire.

Once you have stripped away the outser insulation, cut off some 1-inch lengths of heatshrink tubing and place over the cables – this is so that we can insulate the spade connectors (you can get heatshrink tubing from Maplins and Halfords – try and get an assortment so you get the right size – it needs to be big enough to slide over the connecters but small enough to shrink down).

Now strip away the insulation on the ends of both the brown and blue wires.

Fit a red spade connector (I got mine from Halfords)…

…and crimp!

Now feed the cables back through the bend in the switch assembly – this is very important as it provides strain relief when you are yanking the cable about. You may want to push the heatshrink so that it is already half way over the spade connectors – my heatshrink was a bit tight so it was easier for me to do this first rather than trying to do it later.

Now reconnect the live (brown) wire first. Snipe nose pliers will help here as the connectors are quite hard to push on.

Use the snipe nose pliers to push the heat shrink over the spade connector to fully insulate it. Because mine was quite tight, it was quite difficult, and it chewed up the tubing a little, but it doesn’t matter what it looks like cosmetically! 

As it’s shrinkable, you can use a soldering iron or heat gun to shrink the tubing if you want, but as mine was quite a tight fit anyway, I didn’t bother.

Connect up the neutral (blue) wire and slide the tubing over the connector again.

If the other connectors are uninsulated, you could detach them and insulate those too.

Slide the cable grommet back up the cable and locate back in it’s slot.

Now it’s simply a matter of sliding the switch assembly back into the housing…

…doing up the retaining screw…

…and fitting the button.

Et Voila!

Without the £2 bent screwdriver, this would not have been possible! 🙂

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23 Responses to Repairing/removing the cable/switch on a Dyson DC04 (or similar)

  1. Rob says:

    Thanks for that , I managed with a jewellers screwdriver to get the cap out , cut back the flex but it was an internal break up the plug end as it turned out (2 feet of cut off flex later) . If you break any of the bits btw , they are on ebay (switch , switch holder and cap)

  2. Vic says:

    Very clear and helpfull I carried out the repair in no time at all after I found your instructions.

  3. Unknown says:

    Very good guide – however, I think the person that repaired your cleaner the first time made a small mistake.If you look at the photo underneath the text that says "connect up the neutral (blue) wire and slide the tubing over the connector again." – you show the outer (purple) sheath of the cable cut right back – I believe it should actually be wrapped through the right-angled bend where you currently have the two inner wires, in order to provide strain relief.If you don\’t do this, all the strain relief is taken by the two internal wires – this is potentially dangerous as they are not very strong and the insulation could easily be torn, or worse they could break and be pulled free of the machine.

  4. arthur says:

    arthur ive been trying to figure out how to remove the switch for ages, i find your guide excellent well done and many many thanks art

  5. R says:

    Hi, we\’ve had our cleaner for about 9 years now and the flex finally went. Many thanks for your instructions. In the end I used a STRONG METAL COAT HANGER to get into the switch. I adjusted the end of the hanger by using a pair of plyers to make a bend about 1.5 cm from the curled end of the hanger. This did the job. I was unimpressed by the Torx retaining screw so will likely change this. These guys really, really wanted to make this difficult to fix without going back to a dealer. Thanks again, you saved me a real bundle!

  6. Terry Horne says:

    Thanks for the article. I made a tool and fixed it pronto.

  7. kevin says:

    I found your article very helpful, But found a 2mm ellen key (must be 20mm long on the short length measured from inside) did the job very satisfactory instead of worring about bending a screwdriver.

    • PFV says:

      +1 for the 2mm allen key – the switch popped out with minimal pressure, there really is no need to buy a ‘special tool’.

  8. hallilouya says:

    Currently replacing a lead on a DC14. Your guide and photos are excellent help particularly on spade
    connectors which in priciple are the same for both machines. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

  9. Person with DC04 working again says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up! To get the switch off, I used bent long nosed pliers such as shown here:
    My problem was the cable insulation had torn apart, causing a break inside the wire.

  10. Norman says:

    An excellent explanation which will save a lot of aggro, my DC04 packed up this morning. A switch fault I presume. Here we go, fingers crossed!!!!!

  11. jonno58 says:

    Thanks for that. Saved me a lot of hassle. The only additional bit that foxed me for a while was how to get the switch cover up when the force of using the bent screwdriver was jamming it against the sides of the tube. Finally managed to twist / lever it up using an outsize screwdriver braced against the top of the tube.

  12. Sarah Knight says:

    Love it! Could you help me with my DC17? I can’t get a wire out of a plastic connector!
    I know….sounds ridiculous….but that is all I need in order to finish replacing the power cord.
    HELP! LOL You seem to be the right person to ask. I think your pics and explanations were great.

  13. Su says:

    Thanks for the clear instructions, they were a great help.

  14. pauljennings says:

    my dc04 switch only has two spades and theres four wires what do i do

  15. Good article but I would state the really obvious for those with low IQs.


  16. Raibman says:

    Thanks for your blog on the web.
    I just finished repairing the cable on my dyson , at a cost of £1.69.
    Took some time and effort, but well worth it.
    Dyson customer services did offer to send an engineer to repair and service the machine for £79.
    There is a YouTube video explaining it as well.
    I used two Halfords HEF 128, female spade connectors.

  17. Team Twister says:

    Many thanks for this gem of info. While the button was out, I drilled a small hole through the back of the button socket into the tube stowage hollow. Next time I can just push the catch in without all the fuss…

    But thanks again for taking the trouble to post this.

  18. George says:

    Couldn’t have repaired my DC 04 without these instructions they were spot on, made my own tool by bending an old strong screwdriver.Thanks a lot.

  19. Stewart irvine says:

    Great instructions made the job a piece of cake, many thanks

  20. vsn says:

    I’ve been doing this for years and my power cord is now about a meter shorter than it originally was! What is your experience?

    Have you found any good ways to _prevent_ this from happening? I tried wrapping duck tape around the bit of cable that goes in the grommet. I think this made it last a bit longer, but eventually the same happened.

    My DC04 is now 15 years old and Dyson say they will no longer produce spares for it.

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