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Made by Monkeys

New Dishwasher Canít Beat the Old One

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GTOlover
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Platinum
Dishwasher manufacturers listening?
GTOlover   9/18/2013 8:22:29 AM
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Seems there has a been a rash of Monkeys in the dishwasher design business as of late. Many on this site have cited stories of their dishwasher stopping/breaking. Many use their engineering and common sense to repair/improve the design.

At some point, does the manufacturer stop and review the complaints? I think they just gloss them over with some new "feature" to hide the poorly designed basic function! I put dirty dishes in, turn on the cycle, I expect clean dishes to come out.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Dishwasher manufacturers listening?
Rob Spiegel   9/18/2013 10:37:11 AM
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Good comment, GTOlover. This dishwasher run happens every year or two. One story sparks stories from other readers. They all have the same theme. The family had a 25-year-old appliance that worked great. Then Mom wanted the new features. They bought a new one and it broke in two to four years.

Every once in a while a brand owner will find a Monkey story on this site. They'll reach out to the author through comments. We'll put the company together with the author and the company will try to makes things right. It doesn't happen often, but it happens.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Dishwasher manufacturers listening?
Ann R. Thryft   9/18/2013 11:46:43 AM
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This is scary. I have 2 Kenmore appliances--a fridge and a stove--bought 10 years ago, of course, which is probably why they work just fine, no problems ever. Looks like whenever I do have to replace them we'll have repair problems like this. B TW, is it possible to replace those silly touch keypads with a regular hard switch of some kind?

Gorewolf
User Rank
Iron
Re: Dishwasher manufacturers listening?
Gorewolf   9/18/2013 12:04:09 PM
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I considered the keypad replacement with a group of pushbuttons, but reverse engineering the keypad was nearly impossible.  Also, it appears that the microcontroller on the board connected to the keypad looks at the keypad on turn on to determine if it is working correctly.  So this may be a big project.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Dishwasher manufacturers listening?
Ann R. Thryft   9/18/2013 12:50:14 PM
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Thanks. I was wondering how far back on the chain one would need to go, i.e., how many things would have to be replaced to enable replacing the touch keypad with a hard switch of some kind. Sounds like the list, and the job, is pretty big if it includes the MCU :)

RICKZ28
User Rank
Platinum
Late-Model Appliance Problems
RICKZ28   9/19/2013 12:09:01 PM
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I have to agree that new home appliance don't last as long as the old ones, and break down much more often.  I've been through several clothes washers and dryers, and a couple of dishwashers, after having old ones that lasted many years.

When my several year old dryer recently stop providing heat, I found a website that has specific diagnosis steps for specific problems, along with videos showing how to test components.  After a couple hours of research finding the website, reading the diagnosis steps and watching videos, I was able to figure-out what was wrong with my dryer in a couple of hours.  I purchased the repair parts for $27 at a local appliance parts shop, and repaired the dryer in about one hour (it was the electrical solenoids that operate the gas valves that were faulty).  

Try this website if for appliance problems:  www.repairclinic.com

For dishwashers, our new dishwasher didn't clean so well, but my wife researched (Internet) and found that recent changes in the water was responsible for the film on everything washed in the dishwasher (something recently banned by the EPA I believe).  She found-out that expensive dishwashing "pellets" could solve the problem over time (I've noticed advertisement wars on TV between Cascade and Finish for their new dishwasher pellets).  We also found-out that washing using regular inexpensive white vinegar (no detergent) will clear the film and also clean the dishwasher.  We now do one load per week using vinegar instead of the expensive pellets.  For folks wishing to save money, just use vinegar for every wash, simply add one or two cups of white vinegar after the rinse cycle is done.

Fortunately, we've had good luck with our late-model stovetop, wall over, microwave and refrigerators.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Late-Model Appliance Problems
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2013 1:01:33 PM
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Hey RickZ28, your posting would make a great Made by Monkeys -- kind of a cure of the monkeys.

If that's OK with you, please send along your permission to: rob.spiegel@ubm.com

Analog Bill
User Rank
Gold
Appliance Manufacturers Listening
Analog Bill   9/18/2013 1:40:12 PM
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It's not just dishwashers! I have an Amana slide-in range that's about 6 years old. The fancy clock/control panel (a fluorescent display, membrane keypad, microcontroller, etc.) apparently can't stand the heat of being mounted above the oven ... gee, imagine an oven that actually gets hot!  Apparently the "engineers" at Amana can't. If the oven is set for, say 400-degrees, all is well for about 20 minutes then the display goes blank and the oven shuts off. Makes it kinda tough to bake for an hour!  Anyway, the part is "no longer available" from Amana (or any other supplier on the web) ... but I can pay $160 for a "rebuilt" one that likely won't fare any better since this is clearly a DESIGN issue. The same brilliant engineers put plastic endcaps at the oven vents ... as you might guess, they were the first casualties, becoming embrittled and crumbling. Oh yes, when I cleaned the stainless with 409 (a great grease-cutter to remove frying splatter), the silkscreening at the control knobs wiped right off!  These guys are not only "monkeys" but moron engineers as well!  I'm now looking for a replacement range ... one with NO ELECTRONICS at all. I'm keen on the line by NXP ... simple and elegant, even if a bit pricey. But never, ever will I consider Amana or any of its sister brands!

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Appliance Manufacturers Listening
GTOlover   9/18/2013 4:11:10 PM
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Bill, you just described my GE oven! This oven is also about 6 years old.

Plastic vents brittle and broke, yep!

Use a good degreaser to wipe the knob panel, all the silk-screening gets washed off, yep!

Florescent display blanks, yep! The only difference is that the display blanks, but it keeps on a cooking (and seems to still control the temperature).

One other issue, the self cleaning function no longer works. Seems the door has to lock and the mechanism that locks the door stopped working!

I have never heard of NXP, will have to check that out. The wife is getting upset with the blanking display and a new oven is on my list.

Analog Bill
User Rank
Gold
Re: Appliance Manufacturers Listening
Analog Bill   9/18/2013 4:53:10 PM
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Sorry GTOlover, I mistyped. It's NXR, not NXP (the semiconductor company, ironically). Check them out at http://nxrstoves.com/.  If the GTO stands for the Pontiac muscle-car, I still wax nostalgic about my '67 GTO, my second car after my '65 Mustang. Ahh, those were the days!

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Appliance Manufacturers Listening
OLD_CURMUDGEON   9/20/2013 8:15:55 AM
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Analog Bill:  I have the PERFECT solution for the heat prostration problem of the display.  IF there's room beneath it, why don't you cut an appropriate sized piece of asbestos cloth, and lay it under to act as an insulator for the clock/control panel.

OH, WAIT!!!!  I just remembered, asbestos is a no-no.  I'm sorry, MY BAD!!!! 

Maybe a sheet of NOMEX would suffice instead .......

 

Quacker
User Rank
Bronze
Why Such Surprise?
Quacker   9/19/2013 9:33:44 AM
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Most anybody that has purchased an appliance from an American manufacturer in recent years will have similar comments. These corporations are spending all their R&D wringing out the last penny from the design - most often without regard to reliability (think warranty plus one day).

 

Next time, buy a Bosch.

bobl
User Rank
Iron
Re: Why Such Surprise?
bobl   9/19/2013 1:52:03 PM
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I rent a house that has a Bosch dishwasher.  It seems to work fine except for the clips that are supposed to hold the unit in place under the cabinet.  I cannot figure out how they are supposed to work.  They get loose and get in the way of the door closing fully, thereby keeping the cycle from starting.  They don't seem to actually latch onto anything on the unit.  The dishwasher will seem like it wants to tip over if both baskets are extended at the same time becuase it is not being held securely.

 

Not quite sure what to do...

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Why Such Surprise?
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2013 10:56:29 AM
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Hey bobl, were there accompanying latches that needed to be mounted in the compartment the dishwasher slides into? Seems that would be part of the securing system. I have a dishwasher that does the same thing when both trays are extended. It's quite anoying.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Why Such Surprise?
OLD_CURMUDGEON   9/20/2013 8:17:42 AM
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Quacker:  NOT so sure about BOSCH either...  seems to me that there was a very recent MADE by MONKEES blog about a BOSCH product also.....

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Why Such Surprise?
OLD_CURMUDGEON   9/20/2013 8:17:56 AM
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Quacker:  NOT so sure about BOSCH either...  seems to me that there was a very recent MADE by MONKEES blog about a BOSCH product also.....

ab3a
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Why Such Surprise?
ab3a   10/11/2013 7:36:14 AM
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No, the problem is that these products are not being built with the sort of components that last. Period. It doesn't matter who you choose. 

I have been through appliance hell and it isn't any one manufacturer. It's the crappy electronics and that damned Energy Star rating.

For example, refrigerators are being designed for heat loads that only happen in air conditioned homes. However, if you're like me and you happen to live in an old farm house without central air, the refrigerator compresser will fail in just a couple years. And don't get me started about having a refrigerator for drinks or longer term storage in the garage.

What do they get for working with such precision? They get efficiency. They get to claim lots of energy savings.

Someone needs to beat the Energy Star people over the head and ask how much energy it takes to manufacture and deliver one of these products to a customer's door and to remove the old product. There is a lot of false economy taking place here. We're saving customer energy bills, but we're actually expending more energy building and delivering these products than we will ever save with reduced energy bills.

Environmentalists need to be very careful what they ask for because Engineers will give it to them exactly as requested.

kf2qd
User Rank
Platinum
Problem runs deep...
kf2qd   9/19/2013 9:46:17 AM
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The problem with many of these newer, computer conftrolled appliances is that they have totally changes out the mechaical system for electrical. For instance - We bought a new washing machine for a friend in Mexico. Her old machine had the normal mechanical timer and was easy to reset. They don't have presurized water out in the colonias so they are used to doing wash teh old ringer washer way. They fill the washer with water from a pail, wash teh delicates and whites first, stop the washer before the first drain cycle and reset the timer, remove teh clothes and wash the next batch. The last batch they will spin out and then spin out hte other batches before hanging on the line to dry.

 

This approach works well because it could take several hours to fill the washer, depending on local water usage.

 

The new washe had several problems. If you interrpted the cycle it would pump the water out every time and it would not nicely reset to the start of cycle. So I used an Arduino to make an alternate controller for the washer. The Arduino controls 2 solid state relays to the motor. One for forward and 1 for reverse. Problem is that the motor has poor cooling so she can put 1 load through just a wash cycle, but then she has to let the washer sit for 1/2 hour for the motor to cool or the thermal switch trips. If teh motor doesn't do a sping cycle after every wash cycle the motor doesn't get enough air through it to cool off.

 

The washer is great here in the US where we have plenty of water and can dump it after every load. So what we intended as a nice gift turned out to be not so useful...

cgauvin
User Rank
Iron
Not the machine - the SOAP!
cgauvin   9/19/2013 10:45:32 AM
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A few years ago our dishwasher also stopped cleaning as well as it used to.  We had to put the machine on pots and pan mode, or run it twice to get dishes clean.  After some Googling of the problem, we determined our dishwasher was fine, it was the new soap formula to blame: the detergent makers had taken phosphates out of their detergents.  The easy fix is to add a little trisodium phosphate (aka deck cleaner) from the hardware store.

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132072122/it-s-not-your-fault-your-dishes-are-still-dirty

Turbineman
User Rank
Gold
Re: Not the machine - the SOAP!
Turbineman   9/19/2013 11:08:47 AM
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We purchased a Maytage dishwasher about 2 years ago to replace a 10 year old Kitchenaid for a dumb reason: The lower rack was losing its plastic coating.  Immediately the dishes were coming out with a white film.  You resolved that with TSP.  Never thought of that.  We dump about 1/2 cup of white vinagar in when we load the dishes.  They come out spotless now.

Yes, we just had the touch pad board replaced on it.

RandellGreer
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not the machine - the SOAP!
RandellGreer   10/11/2013 7:46:35 AM
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I have a 1967 Kitchen Aid that still does 2 loads a week, the only required repair was the electro-mechanical timer about 15 years ago.

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