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Small Hinge Hampers Maytag

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naperlou
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Just a bunch of good ole boys
naperlou   7/22/2013 10:53:41 AM
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Jim, considering that you are contributing to this site, it is a little suprising that you are a technophobe.  That aside, I really like the article.  Your approach to dealing with the problem was very good.  I liked the use of the .17 rifle bore brush.  My son has a .17 HMR and he loves it.  Did you write to the manufacturer and tell him what you did?  It might help in future designs.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/22/2013 12:07:32 PM
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Naperlou, it will be interesting to see how Jim responds to your technophobe comment. It's my guess there are quite a few MEs who are skeptical about a lot of mechatronics. Certainly we have a lot of contributors who detest control panels on washers, dryers, and diswashers.

Charles Murray
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Charles Murray   7/22/2013 6:28:34 PM
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Here we go again with an appliance reliability story. The author seems to have done his homework. I'll be curious to see if the manufacturer responds to this.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   8/9/2013 9:52:51 AM
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Chuck, we're seeing a lot of these stories. I would guess that for every one of these stories, there are hundreds, even thousands of consumers who are having the same problem. You'd think we'd hear more about it.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/22/2013 8:22:07 PM
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Maybe that's my problem--I shoulda been an ME like my grandpa. Seriously, I hate electronic touchpads/control panels. Give me knobs and switches any day.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/22/2013 8:54:30 PM
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That's funny Ann. If the control panels on appliances worked right, you might have a different view.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 12:46:19 PM
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I probably wouldn't dislike them, true, Rob. But I still mistrust them. Most mechanical things I own can be fixed by a person with the knowledge & the right tools. But I can't fix a chip or its embedded software, which makes me mistrust electronics in principle, as a user.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/23/2013 2:27:43 PM
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I certainly understand. You used to be able to fix a car in your backyard. That changed with the ramp-up of electronics under the hood.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 3:25:30 PM
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You got it, Rob. Many others have complained on these boards about the car fixing issue. That was where I first became aware of the problem of not being able to fix a consumer machine because of electronics. But it's really because of the embedded nature of the electronics software, very different from the typical PC software situation, where you can at least upgrade your own software, including the OS and utilities.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/23/2013 3:33:46 PM
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Ann, you're right about the auto software being unavailable to the car owner. The electronic tools to read the car's temperature, so to speak, are beyond the reach of the vehicle owner in both expense and complexity.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 3:55:44 PM
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Rob, the tools aren't as expensive as they used to be. My husband just bought a device to display error codes for his used car, because the check engine light kept going on. It cost $100 or less, and avoided some big potential repair and/or mechanic expenses based on what it could have been as defined on the user forums.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/23/2013 3:59:28 PM
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Wow. That's a shocker, Ann. I had no idea that technology was affordable. Maybe it is possible to work on cars again.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 5:11:13 PM
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Rob, it's a small tool and nothing like what they've got at the local garage. But at least it lets you figure out what's happening and then decide what needs to be done and whether you need to pay a mechanic for actually fixing the problem.

Charles Murray
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Charles Murray   7/23/2013 5:26:10 PM
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Usually, the engine diagnostic systems I see at garages and dealerships are console-sized.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 5:32:55 PM
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That sounds like the ones I've seen at the garage. Chuck. The one my husband bought is handheld, about the size of an 80s-era early cell phone.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/25/2013 8:29:49 PM
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You're right, Chuck. The ones I see in shops are not the $50 to $100 kind. I didn't know the cheap ones even existed. Surely there must  be a significant difference or the shops wouldn't invest in pricy equipment.

Charles Murray
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Charles Murray   7/25/2013 8:59:02 PM
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I do wonder sometimes, though, Rob, why they can't bring the size and price of the garage equipment down. Everything else in electronics continues to get smaller and cheaper. It would be nice if they could make a low-cost home version.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/25/2013 9:04:26 PM
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It sounds like some of it is coming down in price if you can get a read-out on your engine light with a $50 to $100 piece of equipment. 

For a lot of it though, it's probably trapped by the same economics of medical equipment -- complex equipment for a limited market.

oldjimh
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
oldjimh   7/24/2013 8:44:01 AM
Rob,

We can work on them if armed with tools, reference material, patience  and humility.

i 'bit the bullet' and bought a $49  code reader like Ann described. I was able to extinguish  the "check engine" light on our "new" 2002 Ford Escort.  Actually the computer does a lot of the troubleshooting for us, it spotted  O2 sensors, a PCV line air leak, sticky thermostat and  broken wire to a  gas tank purge solenoid. But one absolutely needs the factory shop manual as well to find where they hid those things.

Thoreau advises "Simplify,  Simplify".  So as a retirement present to myself i've bought a 1968 Ford F100 pickup.  "No EGR, No Computer,  No Problem".

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Rob Spiegel   7/25/2013 8:57:42 PM
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Ah, man, OldJimH, that Ford pickup will be fun to work on. Tons of elbow room under the hood. That takes me back to my Detroit days when my grandfather was a Ford executive, my Dad worked in marketing for Vicker's, a hydraulics system producer, and I worked in an automotive paint lab. Back then, if you grew up in the Detroit area, good jobs grew on trees. For those who came in from the outside, jobs were not quite as plentiful, but there was still a lot of good work to go around. That started changing in the 70s with OPEC boycotts and great small Japanese cars. Fellow Detroiters did not look kindly on those who bought Japanese cars. The view was that if you bought a foreign car, you were depriving your neighbor of a job.

oldjimh
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
oldjimh   7/26/2013 1:28:38 PM
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@ Rob and Charles

Thanks for your kind words.

The inexpensive OBD code readers from Sears et al are okay ofr us shade tree machanics. Take a look at them.  The cheap ones won't read ABS codes though.

People fluent with computers can buy a USB device that interfaces a laptop to the disgnostic port below steering column, same place you plug in the little hand-held unit.

To overcome initial fear - most auto parts stores(Oreilly,  Autozone etc) will let you use theirs in the parking lot. My local Oreily's loaner does read ABS.

Re foreign autos :  i owned one Toyota and swore off them as soon as i received the 'factory' shop manual.  It was pitifully lacking in detail and illustrations ,  practically useless.  Perhaps 3/4 inch thick. By comparison i have a 6 inch stack of genuine Ford manuals for the Escort i mentioned earlier.  They have marvelous drawings, wiring diagrams and step by step troubleshooting procedures. 

 

That old '68 truck IS a delight to work on.  To service the distributor and fuel pump I climbed inside the fenderwell.  You can stand next to the engine in the shade of the hood with your feet flat on the ground.. I found genuine Ford shop manuals on Ebay.  It should be the last vehicle i'll ever have to buy. And it turns more heads than a new one !

 

old jim hardy

Charles Murray
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Charles Murray   7/26/2013 5:25:45 PM
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Thanks for the info, oldjimh. We have a lot of smart-resourceful readers of Design News. Those who don't already know this will appreciate the information.

notarboca
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
notarboca   7/26/2013 10:05:56 PM
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Oldjimh--as long as there are good ole boys, tools, and problems to solve, nobody is ever out of the picture.  Where I used to work, all you had to do was open your car hood (for any reason) and 5-6 guys would gather and see if there was anything that needed fixing.  Ah, good old ingenuity!

jmiller
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
jmiller   7/28/2013 4:01:28 PM
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I enjoyed this ariticle.  Washer and dryer hinges are quite interesting when you look at all of the different types and models out there.  I love the way you dug into it and fixed it. 

oldjimh
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
oldjimh   7/23/2013 7:20:28 AM
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I'm with you on that  one, Ms  Ann.  What was 'intuitive' to the programmer is usually counter-intuitive to me.   I am mistrustful of machines that presume to think for humans.

Knobs and switches won't argue with you about what it is they're supposed to do..

jim hardy

GTOlover
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
GTOlover   7/23/2013 10:18:15 AM
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oldjimh,

I like the knobs as well, but when I bought my wife a new washing machine with the touch screen, she loved it! I perferred to keep the old one and fix it, but the cost to replace the main pump made my wife look for a new machine. She found one and alas, I had to relent.

Oh well, at least the dryer is still old school (single knob and start button) and I refuse to change this out (thankfully it is white and will still match the wash machine).

Constitution_man
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Constitution_man   7/23/2013 10:39:17 AM
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Whirlpool [i.e. "cesspool"] Corporation has lost my business inasmuch as I can possibly avoid them.  Their dishwasher racks are JUNK, and a replacement set costs about 2/3 of a new machine... the dealer margin on a set of racks is a whopping 30 bucks so even the dealer cannot help much.  The phone bank @ Cesspool corp is heavily armed with script, most of which is aimed at blaming the consumer for not buying their expensive extended warranty.  I have had very good service, even after warranty, on Frigidaire [electrolux].

 As for the author's use of a 17 caliber bore brush... I own a 17m2 rifle, which fires a .17 from a 22 rimfire casing.  Excellent rifle, fitted with a 6 x 32 Bug Buster.  I just may use it to shoot a Whirlpool logo next time I'm at the range.  Given the horrible inconsistencies of zinc plating worldwide, even domestically, it baffles me that a moving component subject to friction in such a wet and warm environment couldn't be made from stainless steel... OH, silly me... SS is only for pretentious styled front panels, NOT for anything functional.

oldjimh
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
oldjimh   7/24/2013 8:53:40 AM
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Constitution_man wrote:

"it baffles me that a moving component subject to friction in such a wet and warm environment couldn't be made from stainless steel..."

 

Yes,  it's one of those 'small things of the earth that confound the mighty".

Not even a provision to lubricate..... i hope some designer learned from it.

Constitution_man
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Constitution_man   7/24/2013 9:38:47 AM
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oldjimh wrote...

"I hope some designer learned from it"

That is a statement I hear from time to time and it seems so natural to push things back to the designer.  A root cause analysis would be more useful.  Often times, that designer has been constrained by a cost target, or a new content limit.  So, in this constrained environment he/she saved 15 or 20 cents per hinge by avoiding stainless steel, or the designer found an existing part number in the system to avoid the release of a new part number.    This is precisely why collaboration is SO important at the most infantile stages of writing the spec for a new or upgraded product.  Too often, the functional [marketing] spec is written, and only then does the designer see it AFTER all the rules are written and the cost targets are set.  Even a small level of experience at the spec-writing stage would have helped avoid the placement of a carbon steel part in a vulnerable location.  Combine that issue with the steep ramp [short timeline] from new product request to "market-ready" and some types of tests just cannot happen.  Tests that are not easily accelerated can be passed over IF the designer is allowed to fortify that untested component reasonably.  If neither collaboration, adequate testing, nor fortification are allowed, it is very easy to see why  a tiny component can create a mountainous issue in the field.  So, just as we hope the designer learned from it, I also hope that marketing, purchasing, service/warranty, spare parts personnel, manufacturing, and quality control learned from it.  COLLABORATE up front, and COLLABORATE on lessons learned.

William K.
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
William K.   7/24/2013 9:33:44 PM
ConstitutionMan, I don't think that a designer has any say in the features. That is determined by marketing idiots, possibly based on inputs from focus groups, who are mostly dysfunctional in a few aspects. The main emphasis is always on minimum cost to produce it while still having an adequate production yield. So even a cheap plastic insert in the hinge would have been a cost penalty at around 4 cents. And the plastic would have been a better choice than stainless, since it would be simpler to install and require a less precise alignment. And it would be quieter.

So the designers will never learn anything, or even hear about the problems, unless, possibly, the machines start killing people. That may get some attention, possibly.

wbswenberg
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
wbswenberg   7/24/2013 9:58:42 PM
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SS corrodes in warm salt water.  So I would question its use on a washer.  

 

I used my gun cleaning brushes on the Toy valve guides after reaming.  Just discovered chamber brushes from CMP M1 Garand.  So that is another story.  Don't use a chamber brush and use your foot to eject an empty case.  My dad's hunting partner had it happen to him.  Good thing he didn't have the timber wolf encounter.

jmiller
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
jmiller   7/28/2013 4:03:36 PM
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I hope the screen lasts for you.  I prefer the buttons as well.  I can take it apart and fix it if I need too.  Can't do much with a bad screen.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 1:08:18 PM
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The only computer I ever found intuitive as a user was the pre-OSX Mac. From the very beginning, that was true: "computers for the rest of us" and "intuitively obvious." I even fixed the hardware several times, including warranty-breaking memory upgrades. That machine and its software never presumed to think for me--it just did what I needed so I could do my job. Too bad most people never had that experience.

Charles Murray
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Charles Murray   7/23/2013 5:24:45 PM
I agree, Ann. I prefer physical knobs and switches, especially for car radios. I've been saying for years that automakers should let Fisher-Price engineers design their radios. Kids toys have better interfaces.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2013 5:35:19 PM
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Your comment about Fisher-Price toy engineers designing interfaces sounds like a great plan, Chuck. It's like the old marcom principle: make graphics and text super simple, like for kindergartners.

oldjimh
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
oldjimh   7/22/2013 8:36:43 PM
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Thanks Mr Naperlou for your kind words.

My 'Technophobia" is directed mainly at what i consider  excessive and unnecessary automation. And that's subjective.  We've all seen how today's kids become so quickly computer savvy .  Well,  I wish you could have seen my grandkids' first encounter with the rotary dial telephone i keep  in the living room for nostalgia....

As the guy who has to keep the appliance running i would have much preferred simple squirrel cage motors and a mechanical timer with round knob.   But  it is the lady of the house who interacts with this contraption,  so it's Noblesse Oblige.  Like Sir Walter Raleigh I lay down my coat. 

Good idea - i think i will drop Maytag a line. Probably just email them this link,  with my model number.

 Jim Hardy

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Re: Just a bunch of good ole boys
OLD_CURMUDGEON   7/23/2013 9:10:13 AM
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oldjimh:  MY advice to you is NOT to waste the energy of all those neat little electrons sending this blog to MAYTAG.  They're part of WHIRLPOOL CORP. now, and there isn't anyone there that gives a rat's pitootie what the customer thinks of their products.  When you've achieved darn near 100% monopoly status, you can dismiss the rantings of the consumer......  Too bad they don't sell the BENDIX washer/wringer appliance anymore...... probably would outlast a whole bunch of us!!!

 

Jim_E
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Control knobs
Jim_E   7/24/2013 9:39:33 AM
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We recently upgraded our Toyota minivan from a 2005 to a 2013 and are not too thrilled about the user interface for the HVAC. Luckily the radio still has knobs, but the HVAC controls are not very intuitive.

With the old van, there were four knobs. One controlled the fan, one controlled the temperature, one controlled the function (floor, dash, defrost, etc) and the last one controlled the rear HVAC function. The A/C button had an LED which let you know if it was on, and everything worked well. While driving, I could reach down and make adjustments by feel without looking.

The new minivan has one knob-like control, a bunch of buttons and a small color computer monitor (non-touchscreen). The knob isn't a knob, but a left right switch with two buttons on the front. The button for the Air Conditioning does not have an LED on it, and you now have to look up at the color monitor to see if the A/C is on. There are +/- switches for the fan control, but the response is delayed, so when you press them, you have to wait for a second or two to know if it's blowing fast or slow enough, which is quite annoying. To make any changes to the system, I have to take my eyes off of the road, not once, but twice, as I have to first look at the controls to make sure that I'm pushing the correct button, but then I have to look at the screen to see if the system is in the correct mode. This is particularly annoying when you want to change the air from blowing on your feet to coming from the dash. In my opinion, a single mode button is a poor implementation of this feature as you have to cycle through all of the other options to get the one that you want.

With all of the power features (seats, doors, rear hatch, moonroof) on this new van, I dread when they start to fail....

tekochip
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Re: Control knobs
tekochip   7/24/2013 12:26:50 PM
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One reason for doing away with the simple timer on washing machines has to do with the DOE regulations.  There are a bunch of laws that require a machine to default to a low energy wash (Cold/Cold) no matter what the consumer did on the previous load.  It's expensive to do that and still provide all the wash options that consumers want without using a computer interface, even if it is just buttons and LEDs.


Larry M
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Re: Control knobs
Larry M   7/24/2013 11:23:14 PM
Tekochip wrote: "There are a bunch of laws that require a machine to default to a low energy wash (Cold/Cold) no matter what the consumer did on the previous load."

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

Tool_maker
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Re: Control knobs
Tool_maker   8/9/2013 8:32:56 PM
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@tekochip: I knew sooner or later that somewhere in any problem is a government regulation, issued by a government agency full of bureaucrats. Thank you for pointing it out.

To an earlier poster who stated that stainless steel corrodes in salt water is too simplistic to be taken at face value. There are many grades of stainless and some will stand up better than others. A simple test is just to try a magnet on it. If the magnet will attract, that stainless has a higher percentage of iron, and will corrode faster. Chances are it can also be heattreated and be more wear resistant. The higher the nickle and various other alloy contents are, the less likely to corrode, but it will probably be more ductile.

Charles Murray
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Re: Control knobs
Charles Murray   7/24/2013 7:52:51 PM
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I understand your frustration, Jim_E. I frequently travel, and when I do, I keep running into vehicles with difficult user interfaces. I recently rented a car on vacation and none of the three people in our car were able to figure out how to turn on the radio until we reached our destination -- approximately 35 miles away. The problem is that designers are trying to make their interfaces do too much. As a result, they have screens with multple nested displays. The user needs to learn which "buttons" to hit in order to move to the screen they want. I'm sure the owners have no problems with the displays after a few weeks, but it's hard for people who are renting the cars, or getting into them for the first time. We need more simplicity...please!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Control knobs
Rob Spiegel   7/24/2013 11:42:55 PM
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Hey Jim,

This would make a good Made by Monkeys posting. Let me know if it's OK to use it. I'll also need to know your last name.

Thanks.

rob.spiegel@ubm.com

Jim_E
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Re: Control knobs
Jim_E   7/25/2013 8:28:06 AM
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Rob, which Jim were you refering to?  Jim_E or oldjimh?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Control knobs
Rob Spiegel   7/25/2013 8:45:39 AM
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I was talking to you, Jim E. Sorry for the confusion.

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