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The Beeping Maid
Sep 03, 2002 12:47 AM 9171 Views
(Updated Sep 03, 2002 12:47 AM)

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''Look, see this spot here, see the collar is still dirty and this shirt still smells dirty and look at this....''


This is how my mom used to rant away after the servant would hurry off in the morning for the next house. And I don't blame my mom. She was right. The cloths were really badly washed. We changed servants many times and my meticulous mom could not stand their slapdash work. We decided that since it was only four of us (mom, dad and me and sis), we could share our work and do away with the servants. It was but natural that my mom would never appreciate our efforts, champs that we were at household chores. (hee hee)


So it was high time that we buy a washing machine. Any considerations?


1) My dad always wants the best and our relatives all had a semi-automatic washing machine. He wanted to get something superior (u know how it is between families, right). So it necessarily has to be a fully automatic machine.


2) We were a family of 4, so it has to be between 4 and 5 Kg.


3) Mom had gathered some information that WM's consumes lot of water and hence was skeptical. So it needs to save water.


4) Our house is a typical flat in Mumbai, every square inch is worth several thousand bucks. So it has to be compact - another reason why we wanted fully automatic WM.


With this in mind, we looked at the options that would match all of the above. At that point of time (8 years back), Videocon was the leader and its semi-automatic machines were a rage. But BPL had only recently launched a fully automatic version and with a single tub, something, which was unheard of in the era of twin tubs. With feather touch buttons and promise of no-intervention-wash cycle during the period of sliding buttons and rotating knobs that characterized the available machines, the BPL ABS 45 was looked upon as high technology product - something that scored very high on the 1st point above and moreover dad's point who dares challenge that one?. Needless to say that it also scored high on the other 3 points and offered much more than we ever expected WM's to offer, though it was a bit steep at Rs. 15,000 ( 8 years back).


«« MAIN FEATURES »»


a. Washing:What could be more important in a washing machine? Washing, of course. ABS 45 has three buttons for customized wash,


WASH: Three options- 12 min, 6 min and 3 min


RINSE: Two options- Watersaver and overflow


SPIN DRY: Three options- 6 min, 3 min and 1/2 min


Besides, there are presets like


REGULAR (12 min wash, Watersaver, 6 min spin dry)


TIME SAVER (3 min wash, Watersaver, 3 min spin dry)


WOOL (3 min wash, Overflow, 1/2 min spin dry)


REGULAR (6 min wash, Watersaver, 3 min spin dry)


Then again we have 51 wash cycles from the above permutations and combinations. The machine is top loading type with pulsator type of wash. The cloth rubbing action is achieved by rotating a disc at the bottom, which causes water to swirl in the tub with a gentle enough force.


We prefer the regular wash cycle and when in hurry, we tend to choose only wash and spin dry. So far we have used the ''wool'' option only once a year (considering that in Mumbai one hardly needs any sweater). The blanket option has been tried out only once so far. Mom tends to wash bed sheets in regular wash only.


Wash Method: Pre-soaked clothes are added to the WM. On putting it ON, we select the water level from among four options - Low 1, Low 2, Medium and High. Then we select Wash cycle from the preset or the three customized option buttons and press ''Start''. This starts the pump within and water starts filling the tub. On reaching the set level, the wash cycle begins. During wash cycle, the disc rotates in one direction for sometime, then in other direction. I have seen the cloths turn the other way slowly i.e. my towel, which was on top, went to the bottom and my shorts came up amidst many other clothes within. In the rinse cycle, the soapy water flows out of the tub through the drainpipe, it takes water in again and rinses again and throws out the remaining soap and water again. Then the spin dry operation rotates the tub at high speeds. Small ones like handkerchiefs turn real dry while most others are fairly dry. The machine beeps at the end of the cycle.


b. Looks: The machine has a steel body and comes in nice light gray colour. The top portion is plastic. It appears simple and pleasant. The drainpipe is long and flexible and can be attached on left or even the right side. The lid folds in half and rests perfectly when in open condition. The feather touch buttons are neatly arranged on top front side and to the right. The operating panel has the intelligent circuit, which is hermetically sealed to prevent water from entering. The water level knob, ON/OFF button and input pipe connection are on top rear portion (behind the lid). The machine has four legs that balance it well, but it does not have wheels. We had to buy an extra trolley that facilitate machine movement.


Note that while the wheels are convenient for moving it around, the entire machine keeps swiveling due to the forces while washing.


«« OTHER FEATURES»»




  • It has facility for softener dispenser and bleach dispenser that slowly adds the softener or bleach during the cycle.




  • When the lid is opened in between rinse or spin dry cycle, the machine is paused and it beeps an error signal.




  • When the drum rotates, the clothes move to the sides due to the centrifugal force, but are balanced by the specially designed liquid-balancing ring.




  • The WM comes with unique tap attachment. One part has to be permanently fixed to the tap. The water pipe has a input plug that snap fits to this tap attachment. This is good arrangement that prevents water spillage, provided that the tap attachment is rightly fixed. Else it doubles up as a water sprinkler.




  • The machine is silent to a fair extent, gets a bit noiser during spin dry operation.




  • The new ones have a rat mesh.




  • The dirt bag can be easily removed and cleaned.






«« PROBLEM AREAS »»


We took an AMC contract with BPL for servicing at Rs. 900 annually. The machine had no problems for two years. In third year the panel worked erratically and rinse button worked to operate the spin dry options instead. But we got it replaced with a new panel - for free. The machine went on well for two more years and we did not renew the contract, since we felt we were wasting Rs. 900 as the machine was quite reliable. Exactly after the end of that contract period the motor went phut. We got it replaced at around Rs. 1000 more. But till today it is working fine. Of course other area of concern is the drainpipe tends to crack, close to where it is attached to the machine due to the sharp bend.


The collars need to be scrubbed as it fails to clean real stingy and sticky dirt and it does not have hot water wash.


Also I would have loved a transparent lid as Samsung and Whirlpool have.


«« OVERALL »»For those thinking of buying now (available as ABS 45 Delux and ABS 45 Super Delux...sounds like Condoms, isn't it?), it is a good option and really needs no intervention from start to end. But I feel that it is a bit outdated now with high intelligent options available now like Fuzzy Logic that decides water level and wash cycle based on load and has hundreds of wash options OR the Neuro Fuzzy Logic that actually even identifies the fabric used and selects the wash settings by itself OR the washy talkie. Maybe they could add a feature where WM also irons the cloths and fold it too. So though available at Rs. 12,000 now, one can go for Fuzzy Logic WM at just Rs 3,000 more.


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