January 2, 2012

Baby Brezza with blades that won't turn

(This is one of those posts which will only be of interest to the few people who find it via a web search.)

We received a Baby Brezza baby food maker for Christmas. Basically it’s a small combination steamer and food processor, since the goal of most baby food is to be cooked until soft and then chopped small.

Unfortunately the blending part didn’t work on the first run. The motor was clearly spinning, but the blades were not. This review on Amazon—which is the “most helpful negative review” only four days after posting—observes that apparently many of the units are shipping with a misaligned belt which doesn’t carry power from the motor to the blade axle. I suspected we had such a dud.

If you have such a dud unit and found this page via web search, you have two options. You can start taking the unit apart until you can realign that belt, or you can take the unit back wherever it came from and get one which works.

If you should happen to follow the first course (as we did, having pears already diced and steamed and not wanting to throw them out), here’s what to do:

  • Take off the canister and drain any hot water before starting work. This should prevent any messy or scalding surprises.
  • Turn the unit over and look for the five phillips-head screws which are recessed in the bottom. These are not the ones holding on the suction-cup feet, although they are nearby; they are larger. You will need a screwdriver with a long shaft, because the screws are set quite deep inside the unit. Note that the fifth one, in the very back, is a long way down and may be difficult to see, let alone turn.
  • Get as many of those out as possible (preferably all).
  • Turn the unit right-side up again. Slowly lift the top away from the bottom. This will be relatively easy if you get all five screws out; I didn’t.
  • As you’re separating the top from the bottom, look for the belt running from the back of the unit (where the motor is) to a big wheel directly in the center. That’s the drive wheel for the blades. If the belt isn’t snugly around the teeth of that wheel, use a screwdriver or some other such tool to adjust it so it is.
  • Once the belt is in place, put the top and bottom pieces together again, and replace the five screws.
  • Verify that the fix worked by putting the canister and blades back on, perhaps with some water in the canister, and running then “blend” setting very briefly. It should be obvious if the blades are turning now.

I know these instructions aren’t perfect, but if you’re brave enough to open the unit in the first place, they should keep you from following any false trails.

Posted by pjm at 9:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 4, 2011

Door hanging redux

We’ve decided to contract wallpaper removal and painting in the dining room and two bathrooms to a professional; having proved we could do it competently (he pretended to be impressed with the two bedrooms we did ourselves) there’s nothing left to prove there. But the closet doors remain an ongoing battle.

I have two doors hung now on one of the closets. The problem now is that the doors fit the frame a little too perfectly; if one is closed and the other is not, the closed one needs to be opened a bit to allow the open one to close. With both doors shut, there is practically no space between them; in our bedroom, there’s about a quarter-inch gap between the two doors.

The universal solution to doors which are too snug is to plane some material off the edge of the door—in this case, about an eighth of an inch, to make that cumulative quarter-inch gap. That’s proving challenging; my block plane, a replaceable-blade Stanley affair, is maddeningly difficult to use, either not biting into the door at all or trying to take slices too thick to effectively peel away. I’m not going to rule out the possibility that this is because the door is cheap wood, but it’s also likely that my plane is lousy. I’m not quite sure if I should be renting (or buying) a better plane, maybe a power tool, or if I’m just so unskilled with the one I have that I just need to learn how to do it better.

Bonus door-hanging tip: it turns out that getting the hinges lined up accurately is a lot simple when you drill the pilot holes for the hinge screws before you chisel away the space for the hinge. I don’t know why I didn’t notice that in the instructions earlier.

Posted by pjm at 5:51 PM | Comments (0)