Mike Phelan

Mike was one of the chief bedposts of my original website, helping countless visitors with their teasmade problems. He and his wife, Joyce, lived in West Yorkshire near Leeds.

Mike Phelan and Joyce
Mike Phelan and Joyce

He wrote:

Hi fellow Teasmade avocados! (That was not a misprint – it is a Mikeism for “aficionados”). Mike Phelan here – been a Teasmade fan and daily user for the last 30 years or so. My background used to be radio/TV/video servicing, but I quit that in 1981 when the throwaway society made an impact on skilled craftsmanship in this field being worthless. So, I design databases and have been doing so since then. I also collect old radios and restore, (and sometimes make), clocks, and have an interesting fleet of Citroens, including the DS you see, which joined its fellows of about 2600 or so in Paris to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Current project, apart from a few 1930s radios, is to design and make a coil-winding machine – very useful for Teawakers with defunct motors as well as other things!

A confession – I do not drink tea, and never have done. The Teawaker doubles as a “coffeesmade” admirably, and the teapot stays clean as it only contains water! There – that’s me “outed” OK – enough of this waffle, on to the Teawakers.

Soon after we were married, we bought an 854, new from Comet, then found that it would be nice to have a ‘tea now’ facility, so a visit to a secondhand market in about 1985 got us an 855 for a fiver. I cleaned it thoroughly, and it gave sterling service until… [It has now gone to the great bedside table in the sky].

At some point I spotted this site, and was impressed with the build quality of the D25, so a watch on ebay started. These seemed to go for £40-£60, but eventually patience rewarded me with a working D25 for a tenner, complete with little red goblin! It needed a complete overhaul – the clock was gummed up with grease so the contacts did not close, and the mains lead was perished. I cleaned everything, made a new seal for the kettle, resprayed the platform, overhauled the clock and made new mains and kettle leads. I did not want to use plastic lead – the original was a sort of dull pink fabric, which had probably faded. A trip to B & Q got me some fabric iron cable which was white. Got hold of some Dylon fabric dye in Woollies, a sort of maroon colour, and, hey presto! The lead, dyed in hot water, looked perfect. Some heatshrink sleeving where the lead goes through in the case made it safer.

The only thing that may have been a problem was the lack of a ‘tea now’ facility, so I started scribbling, as is my wont. I decided that as we need Tea Now, there are four things to do – Off/Light/Auto/Tea now, as per later models. We have two switches on the D25, which give us four permutations. Sorted. One switch is a double one, as well. A little bit more scribbling, and I came up with a circuit with no extra components, but a Tea Now setting! That is as far as it went, as we actually found that resetting the alarm to 7:00 on Friday night and 6:00 on Sunday night was not a problem. It was fun, though.

Mike Phelan
Mike Phelan