In Style

Many publications have their own in-house style guide.  The Guardian’s style guide is one of the more famous, and it is interesting to download the 1928 style book of what was then the Manchester Guardian, penned by the mighty editor CP Scott.

It’s invaluable to get consistency between writers, but if your work is technical or your audience is likely to be unfamiliar with many terms then it becomes all the more important. I subscribe to the excellent weekly newspaper The Economist.  It is printed in a glossy news magazine format, and has a great app for both Android tablets such as my Nexus 7 and iPad.  It gives a good mix of news, finance, economics and politics, and one of its key features is that most articles do not have byline.  This makes it all the more important to have consistency in writing.  I spotted that they have started publishing parts of their style guide on twitter:

Economist Style Guide

Writing technical documentation for an audience is very similar: A little-used acronym here, or an unknown phrase there can quickly turn off a reader and can make the reader lose the ‘bigger picture’ of what is being communicated.  It’s also surprising how many phrases don’t travel well internationally.  I’m reminded by my US colleagues to “knock on wood”, rather than “touch wood” when hoping for a success in the near future.

The full Economist Style Guide is available online, with an emphasis on brevity, clarity and jargon-free communication.  Engineers and technical writers would be wise to take note.

Replacing a De’Longhi Microwave turntable motor

I’ve a De’Longhi Microwave oven in my kitchen that I’ve had for years. It’s easy to use, fast, and most importantly to me it’s big enough to allow a big dish to fit inside, which comes in handy when reheating something like lasagne. The turntable (the bit that spins inside) has been a bit flaky for a while, and a few months back gave up the ghost completely and no longer rotates. The rest of the unit still works well but you just have to remember to keep stopping it and turning whatever is cooking to prevent cold spots.

Microwave ovens appear to be quite cheap – there are always offers in supermarkets, but generally those tend to be quite small. To buy a replacement that is on the larger side would be well over £100. So a quick google reveals that the turntable motor can be bought online from various stores for not much – has the correct part for only £8.99, so I thought it might be worth a go.

Warning IconIt’s at this point I probably should insert some sort of warning saying this is what worked for me, you should understand the risks of opening the casing of any electrical equipment, and that opening the case of a device that emits microwave radiation needs very careful thought and should only be carried out by a competent person.


I left the microwave unplugged for a while to ensure any capacitors were nicely discharged. I also removed the glass plate inside to avoid breaking it. Turning the microwave around revealed several warning messages including:

Do not remove any covers unless qualified to do so.

Hrm, was this a good idea? Turning the oven upside down revealed a single plate of metal at the bottom of the oven. To remove the bottom plate would involve removing a large number of screws around the edge of the frame, and heading towards the bits I probably shouldn’t touch. However, there was a punched metal section through which I could make out the turntable motor. There was also an odd message stamped alongside:

Caution: Remove sharp edges after cover removal

Underside of De'Longhi AC930AMQ revealing turntable motor

Underside of De’Longhi AC930AMQ revealing turntable motor

Looking carefully, I could see that part of the underside was only held on by a small number of thin metal strips that could easily be cut. The cover piece removed could then be rotated and would slot in two holes, requiring a single screw to hold the cover back on.

Checking I had a screw that fitted the hole, being careful of the depth, I carefully snipped away the metal to release the motor cover.

Success - cover removed

Success – cover removed

The warning message was correct – there were some very sharp edges on the areas that had just been snipped, so I trimmed them off. We’ve accessed the turntable motor, but without exposing ourselves to any other parts of the oven. The motor itself is very small, and is held in with a single screw. The small piece of plastic emerging from the motor goes straight through a small hole in the floor of the oven, and is straight onto the part that the glass plate sits on – no complicated gearing is involved:
DeLonghi Motor

DeLonghi Motor with Glass Plate attachment


After a few weeks of waiting for the part to come in stock, the replacement motor arrived. Swapping out the motor and prising off the spade connectors was quick now I knew how to get inside the housing, and a just a few moments later we were back in business with a rotating turntable.