Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Replacing the Arm on an Aerogarden 7 or Aerogarden Classic

In my last post and also back in 2009, I posted some information on how to purchase a replacement arm for the Aerogarden 7 or Aerogarden Classic (newer versions of the Aerogarden have an improved design where this is not required). I'm still waiting for the shipment from my last post, but in the meantime I still have the second arm I ordered two years ago, which I'll use to refurbish one of my black Aerogarden Classics. To buy a replacement arm, just go to The AeroGarden Store. You can get the arm in the color of your Aerogarden unit, whether Black, Silver, or White (unfortunately, since writing this post original they seem to have taken these parts off their catalog, but it's still worth trying to contact customer service and see if they can sell this to you for your out-of-warranty Aerogarden).

Just a recap: if you have an Aerogarden where you see white gunk forming on the copper contacts between the basin and the arm, you may need a replacement arm. This gunk is called copper oxide, and while it looks like the white residue you may see elsewhere on your Aerogarden from the nutrient tablets, it's actually a chemical reaction between the contacts and oxygen.

The first step is to remove the lamp and hood from the unit. This is as simple as raising the arm and popping it out of the arm attached to the base. A part of the arm will come with it. 

The new replacement arm comes wrapped in plastic.

...and comes with both the inner and outer parts. Separate the parts. We'll actually be using only the fat outer arm and not the thin inner arm (unless your existing inner arm has some damage, it'll save a lot of time just to keep using it). 

Next, remove the old, chubby arm from the base by pressing the plastic tab on the bottom in and popping the arm out. Unless you're sentimental about such things, you can toss it out (I harvested the screws, as they can be useful for when you replace other parts on the Aerogarden like the pump. 

Pop the new arm in until you hear a snap. 

One last optional thing you can do is to cover the contacts with vaseline. This will help prevent copper oxide forming the next time around. 

Use a moist cloth to clean the hood and the base, which probably has some white gunk (the residue from the nutrient tablets).

Voila! You have a brand new Aerogarden again. 

When I replaced the basin on the unit, the pump still wasn't running. It's then that I realized that I had a lot of copper oxide on the pump contacts as well.

There was always the option of buying a replacement pump, but I figured I'd try to see if the pump was still working and just blocked by the contacts. I used the trick of making a paste out of baking soda and warm water, slathering it on the contacts, and waiting for a while. Then, I wiped it off, and then used a metal tool to scrape off what I could until I could see the contacts shiny again.Make sure every part of the metal that will come in contact with the arm is shiny to prevent spotty operation of the pump.

Surely enough, when I tested it now, the pump motor ran strong and smooth.

Now, all I have to do is wait for my new seeds and we'll start the next generation of indoor gardens!

No comments: