Bring back the twin tub
I took the plunge on Monday.
I ordered a new washing machine.
The old one was showing its age and was only doing cold washes. I replaced the heating element but that had no effect, so it had to be something else which would be expensive to fix. I could ignore some of the machine’s foibles but this was the final straw. It was time to go.
I did a bit of research online, not being in a position to visit shops and examine machines. Anyway, when faced with a multitude of devices I just get confused and end up making a rash decision. So I decided to make my rash decision online instead. It’s easier on the nerves.
I picked a machine and phoned the shop to clarify a couple of points that weren’t mentioned on the web page. I got satisfactory answers and bought it there and then. He said it would be delivered on Thursday.
Thursday duly arrived as expected and so did the machine which was less expected. Encountering efficiency is a rare event in this country and cause for comment and celebration. Even better the two lads who arrived whisked away my old machine and then spent a tortuous half hour installing the new one. It was a massively tricky job as the waste pipe and the supply pipes are all but inaccessible. The one thing they couldn’t find was the power socket. That’s because it’s invisible, but I happen to know where it’s hidden and plugged the machine in by touch [not easy]. They finished somehow and the machine is now tucked away as if it was always there.
Now I have to learn how to work it.
It has a dial with fifteen options on it. Just to confuse things, each option usually comes up with a series of sub options where I can adjust temperature, or spin speed, how dry I want stuff and little finesses like what time I would like the machine to start. It was time to RTFM. However the manual is 44 pages most of which are taken up with warnings. It seems from the manual that there’s a lot of things I can do wrong, and very few instructions on how to work the fucking thing
One of the options is to control the machine from my phone. I downloaded the software and after about ten attempts got it to hook up to the washing machine. That’s all it does though – it just tells me the washing machine is there. But I know that as I’m looking at it. So much for the Smart Home.
I tried a sample wash. I’m not sure which programme I chose but the fucking thing ran for hours. It’s one redeeming feature is that it’s very quiet even when spinning at 1200 rpm. The old machine used to ring alarm bells in the Irish National Seismic Network I gave up in the end and reset it to just empty itself. It did without flooding the place, which is surely a win?
I’m trying to pluck up the nerve to put on a proper wash.
In the immortal words of Oates – I may be some time.
My observation on washing-machines, like most other equipment these days, is that you’ll only ever use a couple of the ‘features’, the rest is marketing hype, so just learn the basics and it’ll get your clothes clean.
One of my cars has so many functions and features that, amongst other things, it will probably pick your nose for you, the biggest challenge has been switching most of them off so it behaves more like a car and less like a teenage tech-geek’s pet orgasm. Most such things come under the heading of ‘We have a solution that’s looking for a problem, so we’ll fit them all anyway, it’ll make for a nice long feature-list in the brochure’.
You only want clean clothes, I only want a pleasant and safe drive, is that too much to ask?
My car has a bewildering amount of information it can display on the dash. How many kilometres since the last fill of petrol, average fuel consumption, kilometrew to the next fill and the like. The only thing it won’t display is my speed! I use just about everything else bar the speed limiter. If I wanna break the speed limit then it can fuck off.
A manual used to tell you how to do maintenance operations like setting valve clearances. Today it tells you not to drink the contents of the battery.
The last chainsaw I bought included a warning not to sharpen the cutters when the saw was running.
“Today it tells you not to drink the contents of the battery”
You’d have a hard time finding a (lead acid) car battery with removable tops these days! “Sealed For Life” is the norm now, although it’s sometimes possible to get access by peeling back the plastic label on the top. I managed to “Revive” an AGM car battery I liberated from a garage skip. Although these don’t have any free electrolyte, it did have hidden removable cell tops, and I added 20ml of distilled water to each, followed by several charge/discharge sessions. It hasn’t regained all its original capacity, but is adequate as a backup supply for 12v lights etc.
AGM batteries tend to dry out over time, with those you are usually better off using acid rather than distilled water. When I wrote the comment, being a lifelong biker I did have bike workshop manuals in mind, and there are still a lot of wet batteries around for bikes. My own bike has an AGM battery and those come with a separate acid pack, so the battery has to be properly commissioned before fitting and that includes draining the acid pack into the battery, leaving to stand for 45 min to ‘soak’ before an initial charge to full capacity, then another 2 hr stand to let the residual charge settle.
I have revived a few AGM bike batteries that have discharged too low to charge, by using an automatic battery tender with a 6v setting, switching to 12v when the charge comes up to about 7.5v.
I ordered a washing machine from Argos on 23 November. They said they’d deliver on 7 Dec. On that day I got a call from the DHL guys who were supposed to deliver install and take the old one away. They claimed they couldn’t access my flat as their vehicle was too big. I pointed out that the bin lorry had no problems so what did they have – a car transporter? Idle bastards just couldn’t be bothered. Still waiting…
I have the same problem with the gate. A couple of times I have been told the gate is too narrow until I point out that I have had skips dumped in the garden. Usually though deliveries just park in the lane. This infuriates some of the neighbours as their access is then blocked. They just have to wait while my groceries/oil/washing machines are delivered!
“It was time to RTFM”
You’re lucky it actually HAD a printed manual – even if most of it was warnings about what not to do! And I totally agree about lots of unnecessary features – I only use one of 10 programmes, and just alter the temperature, depending on what I’m washing. And, compared to the previous machine, simply giving some items an extra spin is a nightmare. If the weight is outside limits it won’t do anything, and even when it does grudgingly cooperate, it takes 15 minutes of which only 5 are spent spinning…
“We have a solution that’s looking for a problem, so we’ll fit them all anyway, it’ll make for a nice long feature-list in the brochure”
That applies to practically everything now, and one aspect that REALLY pisses me off is the apparent need to reduce the number of buttons or keys used to access the obligatory menu. God help you if you make a single misteak – there’s never a dedicated “Escape” or “Return” button. Often the only thing you can do is walk away and wait for the programme to return back to the default settings, then start over again. What is so bloody hard about providing left-right-up-down-enter & exit buttons?
And another thing – torches with multiple brightness settings and cordless vacuum cleaners with multiple speeds. These invariably use a single button, meaning repeated presses to cycle through the options before you can turn the damn thing off!
I agree completely. I would love to know if there is anyone at all who uses some of the programmes or whether the complexity is simply a way to justify charging extra.
I wash everything on a one hour low temperature programme and it all comes out clean and fresh, why on earth there are programmes lasting 3-4 hours, I cannot fathom
I will need more than one setting as a wool jumper is somewhat different to a sheet. I finally found how to hook my phone into the machine and the phone menu is a hell of a lot easier to operate – it gives a list of items I might want to wash [wool, sports clothing, bedding, towels and things like that. Then it offers different choices depending on my first selection. It works very well and my first test run was a roaring success – a huge pile of bedding that had been overflowing from the clothes basket. It came out beautifully clean and perfectly dry.
The manual I swear is made out of recycled toilet paper. The most infuriating thing is that it has neither a Contents nor an Index, so I virtually have to read the entire thing every time I want some info.
I have one of those torches. Fucking irritating.
The programme that takes hours is probably the ‘eco’ option, it’s only there so the manufacturer can claim the A*** rating on the label. Do not use it, it takes even longer than boil the baby(‘s clothes) option. Find the position on the dial that gives a 60 or 40C wash without an isance spin speed; that’s the only one you are likely to need. The 1200rpm spin is also marketing, the machine will get stuff just as dry(well, damp) at 800 and the bearings will probably survive a few years longer.
I’m just going for the Fast Wash option unless it’s something special [like wool]. I’ll get the hang of it just by playing around.