By Jeff Andrews
We all hold our breath when we drop a clipper, because we hope it still runs when we pick it off the floor. Our clipper is one of the most important tools, so we have to take care of it. We do our monthly maintenance, clean the hair from it daily, and above all, make sure it doesn’t hit the floor. All clippers have the same problems when they are dropped, but let’s look at the Andis AGC Ultra Edge, because it’s presumably the most common clipper used among most groomers.
When the clipper hits the floor, it jars the insides terribly. The switch has a capacitor on it, which can break loose from the circuit board. It has two small wires that are only soldered to the board, and when the clipper hits the floor, they can break. If both of these wires are broken, the capacitor will be loose, and it will sound like something is rattling inside.
If just one of these wires is broken, you will lose your high speed. The switch is screwed into the rear motor mounts of the clipper. The motor mounts are just two plastic posts located on the bottom clipper body that holds the rear of your motor. If either of these mounts break off when the clipper is dropped, it can cause your clipper to get hot when running. The motor vibrates, because nothing is holding it at the back, thus causing the heat. Lower clipper bodies are about $10.00. Have you experienced any of these problems?
THE MOTOR FIELD
This is a big thing that can short out your armature, blow your switch, and possibly cause smoke to come from the clipper. Figure about $90 to fix this if the damage is this extensive. The motor field is a round steel tube lined with two curved magnets. Your armature spins inside this tube. When your clipper is turned on, your brushes cause a negative polarity to the magnets. This causes the armature to spin, which moves your blade drive back and forth, making the blade cut.
If you drop your clipper and it hits hard enough, you can crack these magnets. They can fragment, causing shorts, which can blow the armature and switch. If one of the fragments is small enough, it can lodge against the armature inside and pin it so it doesn’t move. Usually when this happens, you can hear the clipper “hum” when you turn it on, but it won’t run. If you experience this, don’t try to use it anymore and send it in for repair. A new motor field can cost about $25; armatures are about $40 and switches are about $15, plus the labor charge. It can get expensive to fix any clipper with this kind of damage.
Since your clipper is so important to you, working or not, you need to take care of it. I learned by experience a long time ago that setting a clipper under a dog on the table can really ruin your day. I use a small table next to my grooming table, and I set both shears and clippers on it when I’m not using them. It may be a lifestyle change for you to start doing that if you’re having your equipment kicked off the table on a regular basis. Animals are spontaneous, and they won’t be looking for your tools underneath them.
Read those labels, and have fun grooming!