Rainbow Vacuum Models History
This page provides a detailed and historical look into the different Rainbow vacuum models. We have consolidated information typically found scattered among a myriad of internet pages, groups, forums, blogs, and our knowledge and experience into one convenient location.
How long should a vacuum cleaner last? The Rainbow is legendary with its durability. The term "built like a tank" comes up in many discussions.
NOTE: This page was created for the models that were/are distributed in the United States.
|E2 Type 12||Black||2||2012|
|E2 Type 12||Black||1||2011|
|E2 Type 12||Silver||-||2008|
|E2 Type 12||Gold||2||2006|
|E2 Type 12||e SERIES / e2||1||2004|
Model / Series
The SRX is a totally new design compared to the E2 Type 12 system. Rexair added a 4 speed motor for cleaning the air to vacuuming thick carpet as well as an all-new motor that increased airflow by 30%. A timer was also added so it can turn itself off after 30, 60, or 90 minutes when running as an air cleaner.
Other improvements include a lower profile so the unit does not tip over as well as an improved cord wrap. The motor was designed for 24/7 operation so using as a full-time air cleaner is not a concern for additional wear.
The buttons are now a soft touch and also forward-facing to easily switch between functions. While the 2nd version Gold series started the quiet option, the SRX has improved on lowering the noise output even further.
Same as the SRX Rainbow, the SRX Power nozzle is a complete change from all before it. The brush roll is now stainless steel with replaceable brush strips. Rexair has also brought back the adjustable air vent system that was used on the R-series power nozzles. It was a proven design and has finally made a comeback. This feature helps redirect airflow for when a thicker carpet restricts air movement from the bottom. Vents are opened from the top to keep airflow moving for maximum cleaning performance.
The hose connection is a major improvement and uses a magnetic snap function to create a super easy and quick attachment. The hose handle also includes a soft-touch material that helps keep the same comfort level even during prolonged use.
There are two versions of the E2 Type 12 Black series Rainbow. The only difference between Version 1 and Version 2 is that an LED light was added to the front of the faceplate in late 2012 for troubleshooting purposes.
Though this model has a new external appearance, it is structurally very similar to the E2 Type 12 Silver.
There are only two differences between the Black and Silver Rainbows. One, new blue and white LED lights to shine into the water pan providing a nice visual effect and letting you see the dirt and debris so the water pan can get changed before the water is too thick. Two, they have removed the collapsible arms for the cord wrap for quick cord removal. Now the cord must be removed manually.
There are two versions of the PN-12 Black power nozzle. You are able to distinguish between the two by the location of the belt.
Version 1 has the belt located in the center of the brush roll and Version 2 has the belt located on the side of the brush roll. Version 2 is considered an improvement because they removed the center belt from the airflow path. Moving the belt to the side could result in issues with edge cleaning, but there are side edge brushes that spin to overcome any additional issues caused by this transition.
There is currently only one version of this AquaMate which is designed specifically to work with the Black model Rainbow. The only difference between the AM-12 IV and the previous AquaMate III are the new connections that fit the Black series hose connection.
The Black series RainbowMate has two versions. On June 1st, 2017, the second version was introduced that included an LED light much like the power nozzle as well as a pivot arm that allowed cleaning at different angles much easier.
The first version is exactly the same as the Silver series RainbowMate. The only difference is that this has the correct connections to work with the self-docking wands that come standard with the "Black" version Rainbow.
This is the first introduction to the RainJet. There have been no version changes to this model to date. (December 2018)
The "Silver" series E2 Type 12 has two versions. The differences are in the motor. The second version has some design improvements to help with motor/pump durability.
This power nozzle with the "Silver" applique on top only has one version which is considered Version 5 in the schematics.
The AquaMate Silver series has two versions. The early version has two actuators, one on each side of the pivot arm. The second version started with serial number 00143500 and only has one actuator. This helped reduce parts and create a simpler design.
Some would refer to this as the AquaMate III and the Black series AM-12 as the AquaMate IV.
The Silver series RainbowMate was the first miniature version compared to previous RainbowMates. Serial numbers were no longer stamped or used starting with this version.
This is the first introduction to the MiniJet. There have been no version changes to this model to date. (December 2018)
The "Gold" version Rainbow has had several revisions. The early production of this model has very similar stripes compared to the E-2 (e SERIES) Rainbow.
The next big change was with the introduction of the sound reduced version. The motor has had several improvements during its run to help increase durability.
The sound reduction acoustic foam that was installed made a major difference in the noise level in both HI and LOW speed.
This power nozzle is difficult to identify as well as service. During its run, it had several changes, and not all the parts work together. During service, you must look closely at the schematics to determine what version you have. The applique on top will not give much help.
Early version power nozzles still had the black applique that was in use on the power nozzle that came originally with the E-2 (e SERIES) in 1998. It wasn't till later on when Rexair finally created a matching "Gold" applique. Also, look at the handle on the electric hose closely as this has gone through three revisions.
This AquaMate is the first version to get away from having the supply water come from a hose connected to a sink faucet. The supply water is placed in a tank that sits in the dolly under the Rainbow and water pan.
The early pumps on this model were very poor and Rexair was very quick to look to a new design carpet cleaner. The pumps have been improved for service purposes but many people get the new water pick-up hose and opt for the AquaMate III.
The RM-2E Gold series is exactly the same as the previous version. Only an applique change sets the "Gold" version from the second version original RM-2E RainbowMate.
The E-2 model e SERIES Rainbow is set apart by two versions. The second version became effective on 03/27/00 and serial number 9280000. The second version has an easily removable rear cover to allow changing the HEPA filter a simple process. The first version has to have four screws removed to allow access to the HEPA filter.
This model originally had two different motor variations but was not connected to the revisions by serial number mentioned above. Both design motors were installed in both version E-2 units. The AME motor was made by a company called Ametek and was the lower quality of the two variations.
The second version, GSE, was made by GS Electric and was a superior motor. In 2001 Ametek bought out GS Electric and became the only manufacturer that supplied motors for the Rainbow E-2. Ametek decided to drop the production of the AME motor and decided to focus exclusively on the GSE motor.
Parts are available for both the AME and the GSE motors. These parts are not interchangeable. Double-check the schematics page to ensure you have the proper model motor before ordering parts. The schematics will give details on both these motors so you can be sure to get the correct parts for your model.
Over the years there have been several improvements to the GSE motor. Purchasing a new motor will provide better results in both performance and durability than the original.
The PN-2E family power nozzle is no joy to service if you don't know exactly what version you have. Many changes over the years have been made on this model power nozzle and you must look at the schematics and item descriptions on our website to make sure you are ordering the correct part.
This is the first version power nozzle to have a true height adjustment wheel for thicker carpet.
Small changes to the e SERIES AquaMate is about the only difference compared to the previous version. You can view the schematics to find the small part changes and improvements.
The RM-2E RainbowMate is exactly the same as the RM-2 except for the power cord connection that was changed to work with the improved electric hose receptacle.
The early version design included the same circuit breaker (reset button) as the RM-2. After a short period, Rexair realized that the power control trigger in the handle allowed the user to easily cut power to this attachment, so they opted to remove the circuit breaker all together.
The RainMate has had several versions since it was first introduced. Many changes were cosmetic. The first version had four slots in the back to hold Rexair fragrances but that has now been removed.
The IL version was introduced and included LED lights that shine into the water. The switch had a high/low setting for the brightness of the lights. In April 2015, Rexair introduced an improvement that allowed the LED lights to be turned off completely.
The Rainbow D4C (Special Edition) was the last of the D series and ran from 1990-1998. This Rainbow is the last model Rainbow to not use a HEPA filter. The first version used the same motor as the D4C but shortly after, the motor went through several improvements.
The armature and carbon brushes were an improvement for better performance as well as many of the small motor parts received attention. The top of the armature was a problem area as the inner race on the bearing would spin slightly during use. The factory engineers solved this issue by introducing a tolerance ring to help "lock" the inner race and was an immediate cure.
Other improvements included the flange that received a black coating to prevent rust and corrosion. The first version of this improvement failed as the company that was outsourced to do the coating did not perform one of the steps and this led to major peeling and corrosion issues. These flanges are easily identifiable by the four screw holes instead of the traditional 8 that was used before and after.
Some technicians try to only use four screws in an eight-hole flange but that can lead to water leaking into the air-path and will result in water blowing out the exhaust port.
The switch was also changed from a four-wire design to a six-port spring load design. This design was found to be a problem for service as the loaded springs could easily become damaged and require the entire switch to be replaced. Rexair decided it was best to go back to the four-wire switch and it has been used ever since.
The power nozzle receptacle was also improved by giving move depth for the plug to insert. This gave a better connection and extended the life of the receptacle ports from getting too loose and allowing the plug to easily fall out.
The separator was a huge change and is recorded as dramatically improving the performance of the filtering process. The new SE design moved the fins from a 45-degree angle to a more straight up and down configuration. The new design also has a hex pocket in the bottom to allow the motor nut to set into and hold the motor while you remove the separator nut.
The early spider was a cone shape and matched the gray color of the original separator. Later in the manufacturing process, Rexair engineers decided to go back to a similar spider that looks more like the spider from the D4 and D3C.
The old spider is slightly different and does not work with the new separator so it should be replaced as a pair to make sure of proper function. An easy way to tell the old design spider from the original D4 and D3C is the color. The old design is an off-white or cream color while the new design for use with the SE separator is black.
The top of the handle originally said Rainbow SE but that decal was discontinued many years before the D4 applique so you can't go by the handle decal to determine if you have the SE series. The D4 applique only says "Rainbow" without the "SE". You may find many "SE" Rainbows that have had the handle applique replaced and would make someone think that it was just a standard D4.
In 1994 when the "PE" power nozzle was introduced, the Rainbow got a few slight changes. The decals on the latches as well as on the dolly were removed and replaced with lines molded into the plastic. This reduced down part numbers and many felt it made for a better look.
The standard non-electric accessory hose was not made as heavy-duty as the standard hoses before. This hose was rated as a nine yarn construction and did not need to take constant use due to the new electric hose design for the accompanying power nozzle. An easy way to tell the difference is the nine yarn is a very dark brown color similar to the main housing.
The older standard hoses that were used on the R-2800 and R-1650 power nozzles were lighter in color and made from an 18 yarn construction. All-new standard hoses are an 18 yarn design as the 9 yarn has been discontinued.
The PN-2 model power nozzle was a greatly improved design change after 14 years with the R-series power nozzle. The "Performance Edition" was introduced in 1994 with an improved brush roll head design and a user-friendly electric hose.
The new hose now included a trigger in the handle to turn the motor on and off. This allows you to let off the trigger if you were vacuuming a throw rug to prevent the ends of the rug from getting caught in the brush roll. With this new design came a plastic bottom that allowed the power nozzle to be used on bare floors.
The soleplate is easy to remove for belt replacement and clog inspection without the need of a screwdriver. The pivot arm was also beefed up to prevent breaking which was more common on the R-series power nozzles.
The changes in the R-4375 model power nozzle was very little when it came to the head itself, but the new electric hose system was a big improvement.
The new hose design had the power cord installed into the cover and had a plugin the hose handle positioned at the top of the long metal wand to allow the hose to be disconnected from the powerhead. This improvement allowed you to clean with the small attachments while using the same hose.
At the end of the hose is a small "pigtail" cord that comes out of the hose and plugs into the receptacle in the Rainbow. Another improvement was the mounting plate for the circuit breaker. A solid mount plate was installed and prevented vibration from allowing it to come loose.
The first version that came with the "SE" system was almost exactly like the one that came with the D4. A small decal change in the head was about the only difference. The second version however employed the new soap switch and got away from the slide pinch design.
The threaded faucet end was also improved with a larger outside section and increased threads to help with the use of multiple gaskets if needed. The larger "nut" really helped with tightening and loosing from the faucet.
The RM-2 was the introduction of the RainbowMate and was a nice add-on to the Rainbow. This unit allowed the user to clean upholstery, carpeted steps, hard to reach areas, and also your vehicle. The RainbowMate attachment is very simple to repair if needed and parts are inexpensive.
The D4 model Rainbow was a major change compared to the D3. The dimensions were reduced as well as the number of parts in the motor. The performance is close to the same but the smaller size and fewer parts to go bad made for a major improvement.
The main power switch was moved from the side of the Rainbow to the top. This made it easier to turn on/off the motor no matter where you were positioned.
Rexair starting using more rust-resistant material and this allowed the D4 to take more abuse and still be able to repair without replacing the entire motor. This model also was the start of installing a thermal cut-off to help protect the motor from overheating. The early version installed this on the main housing but later it was moved to a semi-permanent location on the field.
Also in the early version, the cooling fan was metal and was found to be a design flaw. The fan would crash into the motor shroud damaging it and also would sometimes break fins off the cooling fan. This would allow the fins to destroy the field and armature by cutting the winding. The improved plastic motor fan has turned out to be the exact solution as this problem never happened again. The cap cover assembly went through some cosmetic changes over the years. Early versions were completely smooth just like the side of the cover assembly. The later design changed it to a hammered finish and helped hide scratches and scuff marks.
The R-2800 series power nozzle had very little difference compared to the R-1650 model that came before it. The color was darker, "chocolate brown" compared to the D3 series of "oxford brown". The two appliques on the top were slightly changed and the main decal on the top matched the D4 series main housing.
The cord straps that were used to hold the power cord to the hose were changed to a clear color instead of solid. Also, a special smaller strap was made available for the top curved wand. This strap was easily identified by the gold snap instead of silver on all the rest.
The D3 model Rainbow was the first for Rexair in the design of an all-plastic outer shell. The early version was the D3A, and it had almost the same motor as the D2A. A separator bolt and a metal separator were present.
This version also had a three-prong receptacle to accept the R-1650A power nozzle.
In June of 1982, the D3C was introduced. The motor was redesigned with a threaded armature shaft that accepted a nut to secure a plastic separator in place. It also went to the two-prong receptacle that continued its use with the D4 model line.
The inner baffle changed colors over the years (white with brown stripes, brown with white stripes). The switch cover did as well. This cover was initially orange, then white, and finally settled on black.
The bearings and motor brushes were an improvement for the D3C. Less cost while keeping the same quality of bearing and improved consistency on the carbon material for the motor brushes.
The early exhaust cover had three tabs that would keep it held secure on the cap assembly. These tabs would break easily, which started the duct tape trend of taping the exhaust cover in place. This cover was improved to a solid twist style and was never an issue again.
The drawback of this design is that the intake air was a major motor cooling factor. If you clogged the hose and kept running it long enough, you could melt the cap since it was plastic. The motor didn't have a thermal cut-off, so you could keep running it until the motor would "varnish" which gave off a really "pleasant" smell. The varnish would get all over the inside of the motor and housing so you ended up having to replace the entire motor. Never something a high-level technician ever wanted to do. Rebuilding is in the blood, so replacing a motor was not done lightly.
The start of this model had the company name "Rexair" on the front top cap and by the end of 1960, it was replaced with the word "Rainbow" and a full-color rainbow across it.
The reason is due to a change in operations within Rexair and the sales offices. The sales offices became independent distributors, and the product name was changed to "Rainbow" in order to separate it from the manufacturer's name.
The model C was again exactly the same as the two previous models except for a color change to silver with red trim.
The curved bottom wand and both a locking rug and floor tool were found to be improvements over the straight wand/friction fit tools that came standard on previous models.
This model also saw the introduction of the plastic water pan and also an optional larger water pan.
The model B "Black Diamond" is exactly the same as the Series A except for the black color, front nameplate, and water pan change.
The improved water pan was redesigned with a built-in flange to allow a full rubber gasket/diaphragm to lay on instead of a metal flange with a rubber gasket on top.
Rainbow Vacuum - / A
If you are wondering why there is a dash in the model section of the title, that is because on this Rexair it only says "Series A" on the top nameplate and not "Model" as in all future Rexair / Rainbows.