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Reliable – Not Perfect

Saturday, November 1, 2008

In the last article, I discussed the Tennant Model 550 relative to the large size of this scrubber. In this article I am going to do an entire about face and talk about the Nilfisk-Advance, Model 2042. Why? This is what my readers want to discuss. This machine is a good contrast.

So, if you are not familiar with the Nilfisk Advance 2042, let me fill you in on its importance in the cleaning industry. This machine was introduced around May 1994, as the Model 3800, its

As corporate America was downsizing and warehouse aisles got narrower, the Model 2042 was as perfect fit for these environments. It is basically a small rider scrubber with an optional pre-sweep. This model is all electric meaning no LP/gas is available. These units are 36 volts. They have a 38” scrub path that is perfect for many companies. Scrub path is defined as the width of the floor surface that a scrubber is capable of cleaning with one pass-over. In the beginning of manufacturing the Advance 3800/2042, the only choice one had with using two 19” diameter rotary (disc) brushes.

Today, one has a choice of two cylindrical as well as the disc brushes. Of course you still have many choices of bristle material which is ultimately decided by the floor surface condition and how aggressive the operator wants to be on the floor.

Having described this machine, up to this point, it is by far not a perfect machine and problems do arise. In the later years, it has been more electrical in nature and becoming more sophisticated. It is not unusual to have four to five requests for advice a month on just this machine. It is a very popular piece of equipment.

I was happy when an old friend
contacted me one day about the 2042 Scrubber. I hadn’t heard from him in a while and that is one thing I enjoy very much, talking to my old friends. Being in this industry for over 30 years I have quite a few of friends.

He said he was having an issue with an Advance 2042 and wanted to pick my brain. I said, “Sure, what’s your
problem?” He explained that the
automatic vacuum is shutting off without reason. The solution tank is not full; however, it is still shutting down. He went on to say that he called the Advance Tech Department and stated that it was the controller. It was bad and needed replaced.

He said, “I am in a jam, can you help?” Being Friday he said they had to scrub over the weekend and could not wait until the next week. Priorities being what they are, I dropped everything I was doing and went to task reading about the electrical systems. After about ? hour I thought this is what I would do!

I called him and asked if the Advance Tech did a check of the Main Controller Error codes and if he did I needed the Error Code number. He, after several minutes on hold, came back with the answer. On the service bill it said ERR25. I checked this particular code number and discovered that ERR25 was Vacuum Motor Service Overload. The troubleshooting action is a vacuum motor replacement or short circuit in the wiring, possible vacuum motor brushes.

Okay, here’s what was done. Since the day was Friday and they needed to scrub all weekend I am thinking that it was the vac motor that is bad and needs replaced, not the controller. I shipped them a vacuum motor and the vacuum motor brushes UPS Next Day Air, Saturday Delivery. Since the Advance Technician could not get back there until the following week I asked if the building maintenance could do the work. I faxed the full instructions on how to replace either the vacuum motor or replace the motor brushes. It is not too difficult. Also you may look for bare or bad wires in the general area.

In the mean time this is what I found to stop interruptions in the scrubbing. This is not in the parts manual. Do exactly instructed. This is what it says.

Special Program Options (Electrical System) Factory Default: ON

If problems are encountered with the vacuum automatic shut off feature, such as the vacuum shutting off even if the recovery tank is not full this feature can be disabled. To enable or disable this feature perform the following steps:

  1. Turn the master on/off key switch to the off position.
  2. Press and hold the vacuum switch.
  3. While holding the vacuum switch turn the master on/off key switch to the on position.
  4. Continue to hold the vacuum switchuntil the hourmeter status display shows “Off” or “On” on the vacuum indicator is green.
  5. Release the vacuum switch.
  6. Pressing and releasing the vacuum switch will now select between “On” or “Off.” On means that the vacuum automatic shutoff feature is enabled, off means that the feature is disabled.
  7. To save the new setting, turn the master on/off key switch to the off position.
  8. The new setting will be saved and will remain in effect until it is changed again.

Oh, on Monday, I received a special email accompanied by a phone call.“Thank you very much, you kept me scrubbing and we got the job done. Sincerely, Mark”

If you need help in solving your sweeper/scrubber problems you can call me at 800/3469-2319 or e-mail me at

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