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Adventures with an old washing machine

I took the washing machine outside, to hook it to the external tap, and also brought out the extension lead that is normally in the kitchen for the oven, kettle, and microwave. This one can carry 2kW without problem. The orange lead that I normally use is hooked up to a plug that I wouldn't trust to carry a single kilowatt, never mind having no earth connection.

While I waited for the post to arrive, I checked the wiring and fixed the damaged wire. It turns out that there were other cables in a slightly lesser state of fray. So I wrapped tape around those as well.

The old (grey) and new (white) capacitors
The old (grey) and new (white) capacitors.

The capacitors arrived, and were easy to hook up. My main concern, to be honest, was "will it rain?". It's a bit iffy. We had an unexpectedly cold night, it went down to 5°C. Yeah, I know it's the end of December, but it wasn't supposed to be below 9°C. Anyway, the result of that was a heavy mist this morning, and the grass is still soaking wet. I know it's damp around here, but still...

New capacitors in place
New capacitors in place.

I set to machine to its delicates spin cycle. This means it should spin both directions gently for a short time, then switch up to fast spin to end with.
I switched the machine on, and then pressed the lid closed from arm's length. You know, just in case.

The drainage pump started up, and after a few moments the drum began to turn. Well, that was a good start.
There was an oddity in that from time to time the drum would suddenly start spinning quickly, to then slow down and go the other way. From later testing, it only seemed to do this in the spin cycle, so maybe it's something to try to spread the load out so it isn't horribly unbalanced for the main spin?

Speaking of which, the machine cranked itself up to full speed and ran like that, the drum vibrating a good inch or two. The empty drum is unbalanced, the little plastic arm at the bottom is notably lighter than the door mechanism. This means that an empty machine will be out of balance and it'll always finish with the door facing down.
Be interesting to see how it behaves with actual washing inside.

The second test was a fill test. For this, I selected the cold fill cycle and let it run until the machine was full, which was indeed at the level of "just a little under the knobble in the middle" as I photographed yesterday.
An interesting observation was that the little motor that turns the controller dial is inhibited whilst filling, so the machine will pause until there's enough water in it. It's a little more complicated (to allow rinses to work) but again it's another example of a little mechanical doodah giving a rather smart behaviour to the machine. It's as if they've produced a mechanical state machine.

I did another fill, spin, and empty in order to try to clear out anything that may have remained in the machine. There's a lot of bits of white stuff coming out, is this a hard water area? I don't know... what comes out of the ground isn't. It's actually mildly acidic (a lot of slate and "gris" which is a sort of proto-slate here).

Fill and empty both worked, as did the motors and the controller advancing. I put the front panel on and bolted it in place, and clipped in the plastic thingy at the bottom.

Pretty much the only thing left to test was the heater.

And for that, I decided that if I was going to run the machine for the... what was it, twenty odd minutes of heating, then I'd make it count for something.
I dug up an old shirt, a jumper that might actually have been clean, and a light jacket that was in a plastic bag and get damp and icky. Into the machine, with a sprinkle of handwash powder (I don't have machine powder or liquid, not needed it in years), lid closed, 40°C cycle selected, let's see what happens...

The Linky informs me that the machine is taking ~1947VA, rising to ~2164VA when the motor is running. The controller is advancing as expected. I'll stop the machine when we reach the end of the heating to measure the water temperature. But, so far, everything appears to be "nominal". It's hard to see if there are any leaks because the ground is damp, plus there's a lot of water dripping from the tap adaptor - I need a new washer in there, I think. Suffice to say, there were no obvious signs of leakage. No rivulets of water behind the machine (unlike the latter days of the Zanussi). This is also a good thing, for if I decide to move the machine into the back kitchen, which is definitely the plan.

Okay, we're on to the cold cycle now. I started the machine at exactly one o'clock and it has reached "hot" for half past. The actual timing will depend upon water pressure, how fast the machine fills.
I've just probed the water with a thermostat, and it turns out that since the well water is quite cold, the 40°C wash heats the water to 28.6°C. So I guess if I wanted a true forty, then I should probably use the 60 cycle... in the winter. I'd imagine it would be better in the summer when the ambient temperature is higher?

Not quite forty
Not quite 40°C.
It's not bad, mind you. Modern washing powders are aimed at lower temperature cycles (better for the environment, etc etc). But just something to keep in mind when choosing how to wash. I wonder, for those of you with older mechanical washing machines, have any of you ever measured to see how hot it actually gets?
Count four minutes for the measurement (two waiting for the door to release, two to measure).

I've just noticed that the Génie box says "don't use this in a washing machine" (it can make a lot of suds). Oops! That said, I didn't notice much when I had the drum open, as I didn't put that much in precisely because I know it can sud up (having done a lot of handwashing with it).

Forty two minutes past one, and we're into the first drainage. The drain motor is making a lot of noise. It mightn't like trying to expel bubbles.

The end of the first rinse at fifty two past one. The pump is still noisy but less so. And, yes, it really does seem like the motor is running at high speed for just three seconds, with about a fifteen second pause in between. The first time is jarring, the next two are smoother. It's helping to force more water out of the clothing, to be a more effective rinse.

Because I am running the machine on the half-load setting, it just breezes right through the second rinse. Filling, but not emptying or spinning, just carrying on through to the third rinse. Accordingly, the third rinse is actually quite long, as it counts for the duration of two normal rinses.
This rinse will empty in time for the final rinse (this one is for putting conditioner into the machine, if you so choose), before the main spin. This happens at ten past two.
This also means that the machine performs four rinses normally, or three if set to half-load. The user handbook doesn't specify what the half load button actually does, only saying to press the button "pour réaliser d'appréciables économies d'eau". I trust I don't need to translate that.

The rated time for a wash is one hour and fifteen minutes. Which is now, as the final rinse begins. Just shows that my water pressure is quite a bit lower than would come out of a regular tap.
The machine, by the way, is a cold fill only machine. It might seem less economic to not use hot water if it is available, but the problem is the complication of getting the water in the drum to the correct temperature. Most people heat their water to between 55°C to 75°C (it's supposed to be "about sixty" but there's a lot of leeway), so if you tell the machine you want a thirty or forty degree wash...
Our old Zanussi (a Z988A) had inputs for both hot and cold, and usefully a button that said "Cold Fill Only".

At twenty three minutes past two, the final spin begins. It sounds surprisingly smooth, so that odd behaviour with the brief spinning must indeed be to help balance the load.

Then, just about half past two, the machine clicks off. It's done. Finished. Clothes washed, no major incidents.

In other words - test successful.


Here's the above, with fewer words and moving pictures. ☺


A year in review

Well, remember when I said a few years ago that "in the future, if anybody says in what year did, then just answer 2016"? A half decade later, nobody remembers 2016. It wasn't a prelude, nor a warm-up. It seems somehow... naïve, quaint, calmer. Even though, for Brits (and perhaps the English world that isn't Canada or New Zealand) the beginning of the end in a way. But this is only in political terms. Turns out, nature wants rid of us too.

2021 opens with a small glimmer of hope. The Americans came to their senses and realised that Trump was not fit to run a country, and vaccines were starting to become available.

That glimmer was firmly extinguished when the outgoing President, who stated "there's no way we lost Georgia, no way" failed to recognise that the problem was, well, him and the Republicans did, in fact, lose Georgia. So began lots of lawsuits every single one of which was thrown out, demands to be able to harrass vote counters, to discount legitimate votes, and culminating with whipping up a frenzied mob to support democracy by...attacking democracy.
The world watched in wonder as people stormed their own government. I mean, yeah, some "shithole country" like the ones Trump mentioned at the start of his time in office, this might be a thing. But America?

A few days later, the ghost of a former Democrat is installed in The White House. Meanwhile tens of millions of people still firmly believe that the election was "stolen". Thus showing that America is every bit as fractured and broken as the former United Kingdom.

Speaking of ghosts, Phil Spector becomes one.

Speaking of America, a major storm blew across the country from the Pacific in late winter. If only they knew that the weather is in cahoots with Covid...

Speaking of America, they rejoin the Paris Agreement, 107 days after Trump took them out in his toy-throwing "I'll bugger up everything on my way out" phase. The sad thing is, Trump is delusional enough that he probably does genuinely believe that the vote was rigged. Perhaps he ought to pay less attention to the likes of Steve Bannon and Tucker Carson? Maybe somebody who's more likely to point out that in February, the US became the first country to hit the 500,000 deaths milestone. Not Saudi Arabia where a billion Muslims run around a big black box. Not India where people live on top of each other. Not somewhere with slums and poor medical aid. No, America. Because they have their God-given consitutional right to walk around without a mask and not be vaccinated and to tie up anybody mandating such things with all manner of legal cases.
Protip guys - Covid doesn't give a crap about your God or your consitution. You're just another meatsack to infect.

Still with America, they landed a remote helicopter on Mars. Which is pretty awesome. A month later, in mid-April, they flew it. Which is off-the-scale awesome. So there are a small group of boffins with the bragging rights of "I was the first to fly a drone on another planet". To be spoken with the end of that sentence in italics.

Actually, speaking of space and awesome, two more stories. The first is a rocket startup called Firefly that had a less than nominal first launch because one of their Reaver engines failed so the craft was not getting enough thrust. Now, anybody who actually watched Firefly will know that there are only two sorts of ship that should be avoided at all costs. Any Reaver ship, especially if flying in an atmosphere where you can see them belching worse than a diesel bus in the 80s...and anything with a Capissen 38 Mark II engine - they fall right out of the sky.

The second? A failed launch from a different rocket startup, this one called Astra (yeah, same name as the European broadcast satellites). Their Launch Vehicle 006 took off from Alaska at the end of August. A little way into flight, you can hear the excitement in the voice of Carolina Grossman, who was doing some of the live video commentary, as she said "Our next objective is Max Q!".
Why the excitement? Probably every part of her brain was screaming "that actually just happened?!?".
Why? Well... thrust problem. A rocket is a big pointy object that needs a heck of a lot of oomph to overcome gravity. If something isn't right, there are usually two outcomes. The first is the rocket will do a tiny bunnyhop as it tries to take off, collapsing down on itself and the mother of all kabooms. Or it'll manage to take off but just won't have the thrust or the ability to go where it's supposed to go. That's the Firefly problem, it seems one of the four Reavers wasn't working.
Astra? A tense ten seconds and they go down in rocket history. Because there wasn't enough thrust. The rocket didn't go up. In fact, just as it left contact with the ground it started to tip over. And then righted itself. And wobbled some more. A further away camera started to pan up, and back down again as the rocket wasn't there. It was actually slowly (way too slowly) climbing, having departed the launch pad sideways.
That's... that's... here, just watch the video.

As for the two glory seekers - Bezos and Branson? Neither are astronauts, neither went "into space". They just went for a very high altitude joyride in a flimsy looking plane-thing (Branson) or a giant dick (Bezos, clearly compensating for something). So while they were both interesting achievements, neither have made it to space...yet.
In fact, I'm still wondering what the use case is, other than "tourism for people with money to burn".
For comparison, in September, SpaceX launched Inspiration4, a craft that carried four civilians into space, to a height of 585km (364 miles), higher than the ISS. They orbited for two days, then came down a little for the final day before reentry. See, Bezos/Branson? Real civilian astronauts. Not just weightless, you can do that in a jumbo if you're falling out of the sky, but actual orbit.

Now, back to the shitshow that was 2021, and in the beginning of March the Pope meets with a grand Ayatollah, for the very first time. I think it'll take a lot more than that to bring peace to the various religions (on both sides), but it's a start.

Somewhere along the way, I got a new tablet and tarted up my NetRadio, and fixed Big Mower. Little things...
Oh, and the little white toy car becomes a little red toy car, and my bank account considerably lighter.

I also get my hands on the ARCbbs source code, about a decade late. But I do manage to coax it into starting up on RISC OS 5 on a 32 bit machine. Unfortunately, there is no documentation of the file formats, which are different in the last versions of ARCbbs than the available source (historical reasons, harddisc failure, IIRC). Makes the going hard. But I've heard nothing regarding Arcade BBS, so I think it's safe to say, that era has finally come to a close.

For March's one step forward, it needed one step back. That backwards step was Turkey's president Erdoǧan withdrawing his country from the Istanbul Convention that his country was the first to sign up to. Or, if place names don't mean much to you, it's the accord to stop violence against women. Sadly, a lot of right wing men have been spreading misinformation regarding gender fluidity and homosexuality. And since some of these places have rather traditional views, they get into a moral panic over "oh my god, there's a gay!" and try to fight an agreement that's more about "oh my god, you can't beat your wife!".
That being said, some of these places have views traditional enough that women are more possessions than autonomous biological entities.

But the speen venting over Turkey's backwards approach to femininity is short lives, as a ship with a strange name (Ever Given) gets stuck in the Suez Canal and suddenly everybody finds out how resilient their JIT is. (hint: not very)

We end the month with a late cold snap in France that wipes out grapes and fruit and all sorts. Oh, and the government locks down Paris but gives everybody many many leave the city and help spread Covid all over the country.

Only a week into April, and the Duke of Edinburgh dies. The closest I ever got to the DoE was the DoE Award Scheme. Basically, put a bunch of emotionally dependent children into a tent, with a (usually male) adult in charge of them, to act as sort of fake Scouts. Gee, the Church is probably kicking itself for missing that trick.
I started doing a DoE at school, but dropped out because it didn't feel "right". Yeah, me, the person so disinterested in things that stuff of that nature barely registers.
Mom told me a while later that the guy had done a runner when the fuzz went to nick him. She didn't need to say why...
Just another in a depressingly long set of data points of people who use and abuse children, aided on by well-meaning people who's first reaction is "not possible, you're lying". Allow me to point to the ghost of a man called Jimmy. Not only is it possible, it happens. And you people, by implication, are helping it happen.
Oh, sure, there have been cases of malicious children lying about people they don't like, so this sort of thing shouldn't be approached as a witch hunt. However I'd be willing to wager that for every one nasty child, there is a comfortable three digit figure of those being screwed over. Literally as well as figuratively.

Mid April and the news that 3 million have died from Covid, globally. India, meanwhile, reports a global high of 315,000 new infections in a single day.
Elsewhere in April, a bunch of Premier League (and the like) football clubs break away to from a new European Super League. To say it didn't go down well would be an understatement. Many clubs do a Johnson and make a swift U-turn.

The rush-job of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement is approved by the EU. Well, it would be. It's pretty much as the EU dictated it would be, for the UK has next to no power in negotiations. More and more people are pointing out that the UK has done itself serious harm with a hardline stance that nobody needed, but the government would rather argue about fish.

I plant potatoes.

Into May and more vaccines arrive. Probably Chinese, given the names Sinopharm and Sinovac.
After a year of absence, The Eurovision Song Contest returns, minus the favourites Iceland (who sit it out as their rehearsal performance is inserted instead). Italian hard rockers Måneskin win, with a song in - of course - Italian.

I play with an ESP32CAM module, and go up to Rennes to sort out the post-Brexit residency permit.

In June the G7 agrees a minimum corporate tax of 15% to try to deal with the big companies avoiding their fair share of tax.
Italy win again, this time UEFA Euro 2020, beating England.

Champlain South collapses, due to building management seemingly preferring to play politics rather than fix the building's problems... though reports of seawater frequently flooding the underground car park should really have been a giant warning sign. If not that, then the massive amounts of corrosion around the pool deck (that was not draining due to being made flat). Water corrodes iron. Iron rods run through slabs of concrete to given them strength. If these rods corrode, then there's no strength. Video seems to show one or two of the underground pillars (in the car park) failing and collapsing, water gushing around (pool collapse?). Which means there was, by then, nothing holding up the twelve storeys of that part of the building.
A few minutes later, the centre section (where the fault was) collapses in on itself, and mere seconds later, the destabilised sea-side section of the building also collapses. In a security video from another building, the middle section falls in five seconds At nine seconds the second part begins to tip over, and by twelve seconds it is down.
It's pretty much only luck that keeps the third (land side) section stay up. 35 people were rescued from the standing part, but due to stability concerns the final part was brought down in a controlled explosion destroying all belongings and pets within.
Most residents died, for the collapse happened at around half one in the morning.

John McAfee (yeah, you've heard that name) dies. By hanging. In a Spanish jail. Shortly after his extradition to the US (tax evasion) was approved. Suicide or...?

Finally, a vaccination shot. Moderna, because nobody wants to use AstraZeneca in case they die of a blood clot. Instead they can risk dying of heart failure. In the US, in mid July, 339M vaccine doses have been given to 187.2M people. Only three have died as a result of an interaction with the vaccine. And, remind me, how many have died of Covid?

Back to Rennes, for my little plastic card. Now I've sorted that, time to get a replacement passport.

Into July, and many wildfires in Western Canada brought about by lightning strikes, with a record breaking heatwave in North America.
The Covid death toll passes four million.

Meanwhile in Europe, not so much a heatwave as flooding. Beginning in the United Kingdom, and spreading across west-central Europe. Reifferscheid (about halfway down Germany, on the left, near the French border) saw 207mm (8.1") in a nine hour period. Estimates suggests that this hasn't happened for about a thousand years.

I play with a strimmer, then give up on it and get a new one.

The world learns about an Israeli spyware-for-hire outfit called NSO Group, who fail in their efforts at spin control. Because we all know they know. And now they know that we know that they know.

In July, to mostly empty stadiums, the 2020 Olympics are held.

Potato crop failure - mildew. Because it's not enough having the unforgiving plague knocking on the door, the weather hates us too.

The following month, the US reaches the endgame in their military strategy with Afghanistan. They basically pack up and walk away, letting the Taliban return, and essentially negating two decades of slow progress.

I go to Nantes. By myself. What's more surprising, Rick venturing out or Rick venturing out into a place full of other people (ew!)?

September Morn... and El Salvador officially accepts Bitcoin as a legal currency. What were they thinking?

AUKUS becomes a word that people know, though it reads more like it has an 'F' in front of it to the French, given how it played out. Moral of this story? The countries that like to think they rule the world will stab you in the back.

A bunch of elections are held. Trudeau is still running Canada. Putin is still running Russia. And we bid and awkward farewell to Merkel, who is no longer running Germany. As part of her exit game, she helped Europe (the institution) to better find its place, and put into effect recovery stimulus packages to help counter losses due to Covid. Things that would have been fanciful just a year ago suddenly are not only possible, but actually happen. There's strength in numbers and I think various countries in Europe have learned the hard way that while the north and south like to shout at each other, we're all in this together. Covid isn't picking on one country over another. It doesn't have preferences, morals, or any other human attribute. It's only goal is to reproduce, and it does this by infection.

Somewhere along the way, I forget when, there was a COP summit to make serious changes in order to protect our environment. At the end, the guy in charge was given a paper outlining what commitments the countries had agreed to. He just wept. I don't think anything more needs to be said, except... we're doomed.

In October the Pandora Papers were released, a treasure trove of who current and former world leaders have money stashed away offshore.
The world reacts with a "yeah, figured". After the past couple of years, it'll take more than that to raise an eyebrow. Especially if one is British, where it's been made quite clear that it's one rule for us and a different rule for them. Speaking of which, one almost feels sorry for Dom Cummings. He's tried all sort of ways of flinging dirt at Johnson. The sort of scandals that would have brought down governments. You know, in the past where people actually cared about the bigger picture rather than being permissive because "he's my man" (translation: he's saying what I want to hear and I'm too stupid to realise that he's full of crap).

I get a new passport. Not the shade of blue I was expecting, but it's done for another decade.

NASA launches Lucy. Not anywhere near as pervy as it sounds, but let your mind hang out in the gutter for a few moments, you gotta get your laughs anywhere these days.

I end the month by releasing a game. An actual proper game. Though, due to how Store is implemented (steampunk and excitable gerbils), it's the end of the year and my game has been available for two months and I have zero idea about how many copies were sold. Hmmm...

November begins with a sobering statistic that Covid deaths pass five million. A bump of two million since mid-April. That might not be a lot in a population of seven billion, but those are the deaths, not the infected. Which continue to rise.

I give up on the ROOL forum. I pop by now and again, but nothing like in the past.
I also discover... Felicity, my old car. Seemingly fixed up and resold to somebody in the same little village. Uhhh....?

Dean Stockwell dies. He was a prolific actor in many things, but a child of the eighties will probably best know him as Sam Beckett's holographic friend Al.

Mid November brings the rain to west Canada. And to west Canada. And to west Canada. And to west Canada. And to west Canada. And it's like places in Europe earlier in the year. Biblical style flooding.

Russia decides to flex it's muscles by demonstrating an anti-satellite weapons test. The cloud of orbiting debris thankfully avoids triggering a Kessler Event. Even more thankfully, Trump is no longer in power, as one can imagine him responding to that by saying that he has a better weapon and blowing up two satellites. Until there's nothing up there but a crowd of high velocity debris that will make alien visitation near impossible, as well as us getting ourselves off this rock.

The month ends with the UK being the fourth country to pass 10,000,000 cases (after US, India, and Brazil). That, plus the sobering news that there's a variant of concern - Omicron - which is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet. We're in danger of running out of letters. Either that or Omega will be the one that kills billions and sends global population back to the Dark Ages.

To end on a slightly more positive note, Barbados throws off the shackles of their colonial overlords (cough, us, cough) to become a republic. They remain in the Commonwealth because, can't upset 'er Maj now, can we? Or she will not be amused.

In December, shortly after the UK hits 10 million cases, the US becomes the first country to his 50 million. But this is merely a statistic, the two aren't actually that different. Why? Because five times ten is fifty. And five times the population of the UK (~66M) is roughly the population of the US (~330M).

I manage to blag my way into a vaccination booster shot, with no appointment. Of course, it does a number on me the next day. I'll tell myself "it's my immune system doing its thing" as I walk into a wall because I'm so out of it.

Anne Rice dies. And with her, a little piece of gothic vampire fiction is laid to rest. In a velvet lined coffin, of course.

On Christmas Day, as the prospect of further lockdowns looms, the James Webb Space Telescope is successfully launched.
I discover that my memories of Cadbury are better than the real thing.

And, as you have read above, maybe a washing machine. Won't that be nice?


But, in summary, it's been a long year of woe and failure. Either the virus wants us dead, or the weather does. It's like the bathtub curve and we've passed the point of no return. I predict by mid March there will be meteors falling from the sky. Not the pretty ones you make a wish upon, the big ones that smack into the ground and leave a five kilometre shock wave. Not enough to be an extinction level event, but enough to consider it raining fire from the sky.
I also predict a lot of copies of The Bible being sold, as everybody turns to the book of Revelations to find out what happens next.

Revelations, however, could rival Nostradamus for drug-induced bollocks. Good luck figuring out anything more than "the end of days", and no, blockchain won't save us.

Happy 2022.


And finally...

Holeeeecrap, I've written a blog entry every day this month, except for the 17th when I was feeling in a way that not even tea could fix.

Every entry, except today's, was written in Zap on RISC OS. This one was written on an Android tablet (using a Bluetooth keyboard, of course!).

Well, I think I've also used up my year's allocation of words. So... until next December......if we all live that long.....



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VinceH, 1st January 2022, 02:28
!Store - I was getting month end reports, until... August? September? Not sure now, but either way nothing since. 
Dean Stockwell - popped up tonight in a couple of the episodes I watched of the Battlestar Galactica do over. 
Cadburys - just looked at that post and watched the video. Those Cadburys Twirls look gross. I have some in my fridge (I always have some in my fridge!) - they tend to be a lot more appetising than that!
Rick, 1st January 2022, 08:44
I think the problem with Store is how much is likely done manually. 
Yep, the Twirl was definitely less than appealing, wasn't it?
VinceH, 1st January 2022, 15:56
Yes, it wouldn't surprise me if Andrew has to click a button to trigger those emails being sent out. 
And as for the Cadbury Twirls: :) 
Joe, 2nd January 2022, 09:29
Surprised that a nerd didn not speak on Facebook becoming Meta.
Rick, 2nd January 2022, 09:47
Joe, as much as Zuckerberg might want to think he's doing something exciting and original, Second Life has been around for nearly two decades. The term "Metaverse" came from Snow Crash, a novel that's nearly thirty years old. 
The only Meta in Facebook's Meta, is Meta Joke. 
Plus, given how Facebook operates, I'm afraid I simply wouldn't trust them no matter what they are called. 
Meta and it's concepts...Just isn't new. 
It's simply some selfish prick polishing an old turd and hoping everybody will see it as a gleaming gem. 

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