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The washing machine now has a home

I had planned on testing the machine another time out front, but something rather nasty is blowing through. So, either I don't do any washing (or, worse, handwash) or I move the machine inside.
Since the hot water wasn't, and it would take around five hours to heat up, that meant handwashing wasn't really going to be an option.

I decided to bite the bullet and move the machine inside.

This, sadly, was fraught with problems. Nothing major, just a long list of annoyances.

  • The first annoyance was that I had to continue using the extension lead. Looking under the sink, there was a socket. A ridiculously oversized thing, about twice the size of a regular socket.
    For those of you old enough to remember the difference between five amp plugs and thirteen amp plugs, it was like that.
  • The second annoyance was that the outflow pipe was bunged up. Like literally stuffed with foam insulation. I tried to poke it out, but it wasn't happening. This was possibly done to try to reduce bad smells or stop vermin from coming up the pipe? Either way, there was no way the outflow was going there. I've set it to dump into a sink, holding the pipe in place with a bottle filled with water.
    This might actually turn out to be a better idea in the long run, even though it's not as tidy as a pipe into a pipe, because for some unknown reason the outflow is directly beside the massive mains socket. So if the outflow ever got clogged up, you know what would happen.
  • The final annoyance? The tap-off valve hooking the machine to the water pipe is quite far away from the machine. Because of this, there's a second flexible tube from the valve out to where the machine would be, with a double-sided joint to connect the washing machine pipes together. Only, no seal. I had a pack of card-like (non-rubber) seals around someplace, but had to take far too long to find them. But it leaked, so a lot of fiddling around with pliers to make the thing really tight.

Finally, the machine was hooked up and in place. Time to put a proper load of washing through.

I wanted it to run hotter, so I put it at two stops beyond the 60°C marker. This might be a little warm, but we'll see.

I took notes on my phone as the washing progressed.

 

  • Started at 11.40am.
    Load consists of two cotton shirts, one synthetic shirt, one sweatshirt, and six pairs of pants (Americans: not trousers! ☺).
    One dose of Super Croix washing stuff.
  • Drum filled at 11.48.
  • Reached 40°C position at 12.15 (so an extra ~22 minutes of heating).
  • Heating finished at 12.30 - 42 minutes in all.
  • Machine stopped for temperature reading - 50.3°C, oops!
    That said, not that different to filling the sink from the hot tap whilst handwashing.
  • Restarted at 12.34 exactly.
Observation: The controller moves itself in steps. It doesn't move in tiny increments like the minute hand of a clock, it goes directly from one step to the next. Timed one step as 2m59.96s.
  • Wash rinse at 12.46.
  • First rinse started at 12.49.
    Drum is on a timed rotate whilst filling. Draining happens immediately that filling is complete. There is no fast spin.
Observation: Extraction pump is powerful. It can empty the drum in about 48 seconds. Shame it doesn't fill that quickly, taking around eight minutes per fill. This means I'll be losing around 40 minutes (5×8) just waiting for the drum to fill.
  • Second rinse started at 12.58.
    Drum doesn't turn during filling. Took until 13.06 to fill, so yes, eight minutes.
    Timed rotate happens once drum has filled, for three minutes.
    Short bursts of fast spin once drum has emptied - allowing the removal of several additional litres of water from the clothing. The extraction runs full tilt for about fifteen seconds after the first burst of fast spin, so we are looking at around eight or so litres extra from the clothing. This will be good when it comes to clearing out the washing solution.
    The final burst of fast spin seems out of balance.
  • On the half load setting, we'd progress from second rinse directly to the third without draining.
  • Third rinse began at 13.12. As with rinse 2, this is waiting for the machine to fill before progressing.
Observation: The quoted rating for the 90°C wash is to use 110 litres. As this wash is similar in characteristics to the washes I'm using (basically just heating for longer), I'm going to assume that I'm using 110 litres as well, which divides neatly by five to give a drum capacity of 22 litres.
This is quite a lot more than the 50-60 litre average of a modern machine, however such things as water efficiency were not really an issue in 1991. Plus, since the water is coming out of the well, I'm not overly fussed about it either.
  • Fourth (conditioner) rinse started at 13.25.
    This one rotates the drum during filling. It appears to be running on timer as well, so it is likely to finish before the drum is properly full; two steps at 3 minutes apiece is six minutes which is two short of a full fill.
  • Final drain at 13.31 (yes, it stopped before full).
    Intermittent fast spin once empty.
  • Main spin at 13.34. Given how unbalanced the intermittent spin sounded, the main spin actually seems pretty smooth.
  • Cycle complete at 13.40, taking exactly two hours (though a mite less as I did stop the machine).

The duration is due in part to the extra heating time, and also because of the lethargic filling. The water pressure here is between 2.3 bar (pump cut out) and 0.7 bar (pump switch on); and the tap-off is itself restricted due to how it works, so all in all, it takes time.

The washing, at the end, was damp rather than wet. At a pinch, if I was in a hurry, it's dry enough I could consider putting it over the electric oil radiator.
It smelled nice too. A synthetic cherry blossom and green tea (or so they claim). Better than the weird almost-metallic smell that things had after handwashing. Plus, there's no doubt whatsoever that things will be a lot cleaner. I don't have the shoulder muscles to even attempt what a washing machine does. That's not to say my clothes are dirty, but... it's like the difference between a 2CV and a Porsche.

 

Observed problems:

  • The drum was a little squeaky at the end of final spin, otherwise nothing.
    No water coming out from under the machine.

 

Since that went so well, I decided to do another load. This time, some of the things that were less pleasant to hand wash (read: bulkier). This load as two t-shirts, two jumpers (American: light sweater), a sweatshirt, a fleece jacket, and various odd socks I grabbed along the way.

I wanted to aim for a little over 30°C, so I set the dial to two stops before the 40°C position. As it happened, this measured 32.6°C which was exactly what I had in mind.
I didn't bother timing this wash.

I didn't fancy babysitting the machine again, so I dug out that old tilt'n'turn IPcam and hooked it up. Signed into the Livebox and checked that it was denied Internet access (that camera is about as secure as leaving the front door wide open, a white van outside with the engine running, and a big "ROB ME!" sign hanging in the window). The resolution was naff, but it was enough to see the position of the control dial, and also (if you look really carefully) the draining.

WashCam
WashCam™ ☺

A note for Americans - the washing machine is a top loader with the drum mounted horizontally (like a front loader). Access to the drum is a hatch built into the drum. It is an arrangement that is more reliable than a front loader as the drum can be properly supported on both sides; and the design is quite commonplace in Europe as it means that a reasonable sized washing machine (mine has a 5kg capacity) can be made to fit in a small space. The height of the machine is 86cm (~34"), a little taller at the back for the controller. The depth is 60cm (~24") plus a little extra for the pipes. The width is 40cm (~16"). It's a really compact unit.
Looking on the Internet, it seems that most top-loaders in the US are vertical drum designs. Is that the one with the spindle-thing in the middle? If so, wow, that's considered old fashioned over here. ☺

The times I passed by, and while waiting for the final spin, no squeaking was heard. Everything passed by uneventually, and my drying rack is now full. I just hope the winds aren't too violent this evening. We currently have yellow alert for violent wind, thunderstorms, flash flooding, heavy rain, high rivers, and damaging waves (well, coastally, we'd have problems if I was hit by a wave!). In other words, everything other than snow, ice, avalance, and kaiju. Lovely.

Washing
Washing.

Upon lifting the front of the machine, there was a small puddle underneath on the left, in a position that would be consistent with where the drum's spindle would be. By small, I mean if I hiccuped and coughed a mouthful of tea, it would be two or three times more. To be honest, I would have been amazed if the machine was able to be abandoned for a decade and a half and brought back to order with no leaks.
Obviously no leaks would be preferable, but given the age and state of the machine, I'm not going to worry about what I'd estimate as 10-15ml over the course of two loads of washing, several hours, and plenty of shaking and wobbling as it did its thing. There was rather more water on the floor elsewhere that fell out of the pipes as I was bringing the machine in. So it's not something I'm going to be concerned about. Certainly not if I'm going to be using this machine, most likely, only once a week for a load or two (like today).
Additionally, the ~32°C wash seemed okay, and the washing stuff says it's good for 30-90, so there's probably not much reason to go higher. I did the two differently to compare the results. I'll have a better idea once things are dry, but looking at what came out of the machine, likely not that much difference between 32°C and 50°C. Maybe if I had food splatter or something there would be a difference, but since I prefer food in my digestive tract rather than all over the walls, that won't be an issue. ☺

 

Therefore, observed problems of all machine behaviour:

  • Trivial leak underside left.
  • Takes ages to fill.
  • Selected temperature isn't (approx. 10°C less than what it says).
  • No other problems observed.
    No major problems observed.

 

I did note that the Super Croix box was half empty.

One pack of Super Croix
One pack of Super Croix.

I actually got two, as conveniently they were on special offer - buy one, get a second for a euro. This gives me 44 washes in all. But what a waste of space having so much 'air' in the pack.
I tidily organised the washing liquid pods, and managed to fit all of them in the one pack.

Two packs of Super Croix in one
Two packs of Super Croix in one.
They ought to offer this themselves, Super Croix that is. Much less plastic waste - a whole box less.

I chose this because "Cherry Blossom and Green Tea" is sort of the same scent as the soap stuff I use in the bath.
The first thing I picked up in the supermarket (a different brand) had a scent that claimed to be something like "Alpine Breeze", but really it was that sort of fake pine that toilet cleaner often is. I didn't fancy walking around smelling like I'd used bog cleaner on my clothes.
There are a ridiculous number of different odours, and most of them have idiotically none-descriptive names such as "Ocean View" and "Mountain Heights". Those sound like addresses, not soap smells.
It's all synthetic stuff anyway.

 

It's utterly awful outside now. So I think I'll pop out and feed Anna and close the shutters before it gets too dark and/or worse. It's not that cold (~10°C) but it feels really chilly because the wind.
Then, bed&Netflix. I guess at some stage I'll need to make dinner. Dunno what though...

 

 

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David Pilling, 9th January 2022, 04:04
"Since January 1st 2021, France is the first country in Europe to have implemented a repairability index on 5 categories of electronic devices." 
 
So you're bang on zeitgeist.
J.G.Harston, 9th January 2022, 05:12
The problem with a top-loaded, and why they went out of fashion, is that you have to keep an infinity of space above the washing machine clear. With a front loader the space above the washing machine is useable. 
 
Additionally, with my washing machine, I have it on a stand so the drum is at chest height for easy access. (That means it's the space underneath that becomea useable) A top loader would mean having to cut a hole in the floor above. Can be seen at pics.mdfs.net/2016/12/161218.htm
Rick, 9th January 2022, 08:51
Unusual place for a washing machine! 
 
The problem with a front loader is that there is practically no support of the inner drum at the front. This means the bearings at the back are taking the full weight and stress. 
Even worse if the spider at the back (a three or four armed bracket that holds the inner drum) is made of cheap aluminium - these can be corroded by ordinary washing powder! 
Zerosquare, 9th January 2022, 17:50
You may solve annoyance #1 by replacing the plug on the mains cable ; they are available in DIY stores: 
https://www.leroymerlin.fr/produits/electricite-domotique /interrupteur-et-prise/fiche-electrique/prise-32a-legrand-p.html
Zerosquare, 9th January 2022, 17:54
Sorry, wrong URL. This one is much cheaper: 
https://www.leroymerlin.fr/produits/electricite-domotiqu e/interrupteur-et-prise/fiche-electrique/fiche-electrique-male-2 -poles-terre-20-0-a-debflex-54055652.html
Rob, 10th January 2022, 10:36
Or do as we did in the UK at 2+5+15 amp > 13 amp changeover, change the plug on a short extension lead to make an adapter.

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