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Still More Good Parts!

Parts worth salvaging from a breadmaker and a fan heater

by Julian Edgar

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At a glance...

  • Motor and geared drive
  • Electronics parts including thermistors and LEDs
  • Grilles
  • Cooling fans
  • Timers and switches
  • ...and all for nothing!
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This article was first published in 2010.

Our articles on the parts you can salvage from old discarded consumer items are very popular – so here’s another. This time we’re looking at two small household items – a bread-maker and a small electric fan heater. While the parts that can be salvaged aren’t as numerous as you’ll find in bigger items (like photocopiers), bread-makers and fan heaters are often easier to find and always much easier to transport home!


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The guinea pig was a Breville design and here it is complete with external dirt and – as I later found – still with old bits of bread inside! The controls set the heat of the cooker (provided by a wrap-around element), the speed of the mixer, and the time for which the machine will run.

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A few self-tapping screws later and the drive motor could be seen. It’s a brushed (ie universal) design rated at 50W and mains voltage.

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And here’s why the motor assembly is such a good one! The motor is mounted on a baseplate and drives via a toothed belt a large reduction drive. The motor can then be used to turn with great torque a relatively slowly moving shaft, or the large cog can be rotated to drive the motor very fast! The latter is good for a hand-cranked generator; the former for any application where a slow rotation is needed. Don’t forget that because it’s a universal motor, it will work on AC or DC, and will rotate more slowly as the drive voltage is reduced.

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And let’s not forget the small components. By the simple expedient of putting aside the screws as they were removed, a bunch of self-tappers was collected. There are also two 24V relays, a digital display, eight LEDs, five miniature pushbuttons, some long bolts, three rubber washers and an NTC thermistor. (Don’t forget it takes only seconds to remove electronic components if you use a heat-gun on the solder side of the PCB and a pair of pliers to pull the component out after the solder has melted.)

Fan Heater

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The fan heater was a Skope 2400. This design provided adjustable fan speed and heating, and had a timer built in. Opening-up the cabinet also revealed some unexpectedly good bits!

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As well as a lot of dust, looking inside revealed a nice squirrel-cage fan and attached motor, the timer (that was a labelled, standalone design), a heater element, over-turning switch, terminal block, high current resistor and – but we’re getting head of ourselves.

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These aluminium grilles were easily unscrewed from the front panel. They’re made of extruded aluminium and would be great (perhaps with the ends cut off) in a myriad of electronic equipment – or even a car bonnet.

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The mains power fan itself is an absolute beauty – about 30cm long (including motor) and about 70mm in diameter. If you’re used just to axial (PC-type) fans, these long squirrel-cage designs are a revelation in that they move a lot of air – and often very quietly. I’ve used a slightly smaller one in a home amplifier and this fan (suitably mounted with the wiring insulated) would be ideal in large electronic gear. And you’ve even go a couple of grilles to suit!

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The heater element is also very impressive. Together with the fan, you (of course!) have a very effective heater. But divorced from the fan, you have a large resistor with 42 and 84 ohm tapped resistances. With a bit of judicious disassembly, you can shorten (or parallel) the windings to give you any lower resistance you want – and all on ceramic formers. The resulting resistor is ideal for testing amplifiers, or as a quick means of dropping the speed of a low voltage motor.

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Finally, there are the smaller bits and pieces. From top-left and then clockwise: the over-turning switch (also ideal as a means of switching something with acceleration or braking), a room temp thermostat, 470 ohm 20 watt ceramic resistor, standalone timer, red mains power neon with bezel, knob (although it looks nothing special, I collect these because they suit a D-shape shaft, which is unusual but useful), and a high temperature thermostat.


As always, disassemble quickly, sort and keep the bits you want, then get rid of the rest. It’s surprising what fun it is – especially if you have an inquisitive child to help you – and the resulting parts can be put to a bunch of uses. Hmm, what about triggering an intercooler spray on hard acceleration - now where’s that overturning switch....?

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