I though about whether to make a new post or to finish this up as a comment. Once I got into the repair, I realized this was probably not “new post” worthy, but there are some points worth mentioning, so here it is…
If you’ve been reading, you know I recently bought a VPM-9 Power Wedger from Peter Pugger. I’ve been quite happy with it, and my initial experience is noted in another post. You may recall there was a little shipping damage to the elbow thingy through which the power cable meets the VPM-9. That thingy is called a “cable gland”. I had a good support call experience with Danny from Peter Pugger, and a few days later, the cable gland replacement showed up in the mail. Today, I set about replacing the broken part.
First, opening the control box was fairly easy. I needed a long phillips head screwdriver with a large bit. Each corner has a recessed screw. I was very pleasantly surprised to find the screws were enclosed so once the screw disengaged from the back half, the screw remained in place. I was afraid I would have to remove the switch and dial knobs, but that wasn’t necessary. The whole front half is a nicely organized assembly with sufficient cabling to allow it to be moved out of the way. With the back panel exposed, I started tracing out the three leads from the power cable.
Each had it’s own connector – a push-connector, a fork lug (u-shaped with an open end), and a spade lug (round with a hole). I carefully removed the push connector and unscrewed the fork-lug connector and found on the third that the wire I wanted was at the back of a stack of connectors on a screw, separated by nuts and lock washers. The first came off easily with my 11/32″ socket. The second came off easily, but the screw was getting too long for the socket. removing the third nut required getting a deep socket. A nearby auto store had one. The third nut removed, the cable was easily removed from the case.
It was clear that the cable gland, that’s what the elbow thingy is actually called, had broken off where it was threaded. Removing the cable and the lead ends was a little bit of a challenge, but not a problem. I then took a deep breath, thought through the parts and what had to go where, and began putting the new cable gland on the cable. The 90° bend presented a challenge in getting the wires with lugs through. I had to remove the push connector, but the other two were finally worked though. This step just takes a little patience.
Once the cable gland was in place, I threaded the cable leads back into the controller, and tightened the capture nut on the cable gland to fasten it to the case. Then it was a fairly simple matter of putting the leads back where they belonged. That went very smoothly and before I knew it, the whole controller case was back together.
I plugged in the power cable, and gave the start button a push. It ran perfectly. repair accomplished. And the power cord is now firmly and securely making it’s way from the outside world into the control box, sealed and supported as the engineers intended.
Overall, this was a fairly simple repair. I should mention that in the real world, I’ve been a computer geek for 25 years, and have opened and repaired a lot of electronics and things with lots of wires and plugs. This repair could be intimidating if you’re not comfortable tearing things down and putting them back together. If you’re going to do this repair, be sure you have some time. I think it took me about an hour. You’ll need a big phillips head screwdriver (ph4), a regular phillip head (ph2), and a pair of needle nose pliers would be good, too. You’ll need a 11/32″ deep socket wrench. I also used a small bit of steel wire (same kind I use on the wedging table) to pull the spade lug lead through the cable gland. And I used an Exacto knife to cut a few cable ties that held the leads in bundles. A snipper would probably be a better choice. That’s about all you need.
Another thing I should note, given my experience opening electronics, the VPM-9’s controller is very well designed, as far as the way it’s put together inside and out. The quality of the components I saw and worked with appear to be very good. The components are accessible, and seem to be very well arranged. I feel very comfortable about any future prospects for repair, and I also have a feeling there won’t be many repairs needed at all. The switches were substantial and most used screw connectors. The connection blocks are nice and big and solid. I’m really happy with what I saw inside, and reassured that I made a good selection.
So, now it’s time to get back to work!