Sunday, April 13, 2008

Electronic Appliance Controls - I HATE Them

Our 15-month old dishwasher basically stopped working. It was pretty clearly the touch-sensitive control panel, since it would eratically respond to button presses. I called in a highly-recommended independent repairman. He said it was likely one of two boards--one that costs $80, the other $120. More likely the former. Oh, and they can't be returned (the downside of an independent). That made matters worse, since if it turned out to be the latter, it would require a second service call, since it had to be ordered separately. So between $140 and $320 to repair a 15-month old, $399 dishwasher!

The primary culprit here is expensive, proprietary electronic controls. Adding insult to injury, is the fact that electronic controls don't really add much value. Sure, you have a bunch of different cycles and permutations, a few more than might be feasible with electro-mechanical controls. But all those variations are overkill. Almost all we ever use is normal. Occasionally, rinse or heavy. The same settings you had 20 years ago.

At the very least, appliance equipped with these crummy electronics should have a default basic mode that will work even if the board goes ka-flooey.

The odd postscript to this is that, while putting off the decision, the dishwasher has been working. Not quite perfectly, but basically in the way I just described--normal mode works fine.

(Dishwashers have gotten better at cleaning the dishes, and quieter, but I think they are also flimsier. This Kenmore replaced a Whirlpool that the people we bought our house from had ordered only a few years before.)

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya, we usually only ever use Normal. Overkill is right.