Washing machine

dsimonldsimonl Registered Users Posts: 6
I need a new washing machine for our off-grid cabin. It must be able to run off my 1000W Prosine inverter......thus consume <1000W maximum.

I know the Fisher Paykel Smart Drive machines only uses 600-700W max during the start of the spin cycle, but they get pretty iffy reviews.

What other machine should we consider?

Thanks!!

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    You can still buy a gasoline powered ringer machine from Lehmans. http://www.lehmans.com/store/Appliances___Practical_Appliances___Electric_Appliances___Home_Queen_Wringer_Washer___32901100?Args=

    Uses no electricity at all.

    Tony
  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    you will most likely find a washing machine at start up for each cycle will draw about 2 to 3 times the rated continuous current
  • dsimonldsimonl Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Washing machine

    As I mentioned in the original post, Fisher Paykel uses a soft-start motor that only consumes <700W at maximum.

    I'm sure they are not the only ones.

    Can someone please put a kill-a-watt meter on their newer machines and let me know what the maximum current draw is?

    I don't want to rely on gasoline, and don't want to buy a larger inverter.

    Thanks very much!
  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    a kill a watt meter will not give an accurate indication or the start up current. as they only take readings about each half second, and it can totally miss the start up current peak.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    I have a pretty basic model top-loader that's six years old, and I couldn't find any notes in my "power book" from when I measured everything else. But I know I put the washer on the KaW and it wasn't very high overall. I also have a Fluke clamp-on meter, if I can remember that long I'll run the washer tonight and see what that says. I'm now curious to find out myself...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,639 admin
    Re: Washing machine

    I have a pair of 4-5 year old Fisher Paykel Washer/Gas Drier... They averaged around 0.26 kWhrs per load each for me.

    Interestingly, the "standby power" was about 1/2 of the average kWhr load per month for the machines (~9 watts stand by). I put them on a power strip and turn them off between uses (the wash preference memory is lost when power is shut off to the washer).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    Okay, made some measurements. This is a GE basic unit, has electromechanical controls instead of fancy electronics. Washed some towels with "large" load setting. Current measurements were with a Fluke clamp meter, everything else from the KaW.

    Off draw is zero, let's hear it for old fashioned controls! :p

    The timer and whatever other controls pulled 0.01A. With the fill valve open, total draw was 0.05A, or 3W/5VA 0.67PF on the KaW.

    Agitating - peak startup surge (stopped/started a few times) was around 8.5A, running fluctuated between 2.8 and 4.2A. KaW said 420-480W, 0.96PF.

    The drain / spin cycle is two steps.

    First step, just pumping out water, had no noticeable surge and pulled only 1.23A, dropping to 1.1A once most of the water was gone. PF stank - KaW said 71W/156VA and 0.45PF!

    Second step, spin, surged all the way to 12.8A and held there for several seconds while the drum got moving. Then the current settled down to 3.33A the rest of the run. KaW said 374W/431VA 0.86PF.

    So, at least with mine, I'd need an inverter to be able to deliver 1548W for several seconds - twice per wash too, two drain cycles.
  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    Those figures seem about correct, As I said in post #3 it will use about 2 to 3 times rated continuous current. So if using an inverter I would recommend one with a continuous of 1500w and surge of 2000w
  • dsimonldsimonl Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Washing machine

    Great data! Thanks. That's bad news for me.

    I need to check the specs to see if my inverter can actually handle a few seconds of surge.

    My wife told me she is absolutely NOT washing by hand :>)
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    if i remember i'll put my killawatt meter to my washer, but i just did my wash and will be awhile before doing it again. i may need to check if mine has a constant draw too.
    btw, i have not seen or heard of too many women willing to wash things by hand, but they'll be the first to complain to you that if they have to do any kind of work that it is somehow your fault.:cry:
  • dsimonldsimonl Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Washing machine

    I think I found a compromise!

    It's more work than a fully automatic machine, but far from hand washing:

    Danby Twin Tub Washer
    Super low power and water use—only 360 watts for
    the wash and 150 watts for the 1600 RPM
    adjustable-spin tub extractor (6 watts per minute—
    you need about 14 minutes for heavy items and only
    about 5 for light ones. Uses 36 liters of water per
    load—less than 10 gallons! Quick connect for attaching to sink faucet
    and holds 11 lbs. of clothes. 115V AC, 33.5" H x 29" W x 18.3" D, 70.4 lbs


    It is old-school, but it seems like it is still the norm around the world. LG, Samsung, Toshiba and others all make twin tub models in other countries.
  • wild01wild01 Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    I have a larger prosine 2.5 that runs my frigidaire front loader dorm stack without trouble, one thing I have noticed is that the prosine is notoriously picky about start up surges, it goes nuts when the the high surge start drops the battery voltage, I was able to solve this problem with a 1f dc cap at the battery, now I can vacuum at night before at least 40 amps had to be going into the battery from the solar to kick the vac on. the washer never seems to have a surge problem though, I always figured it had something to do with how slow it can turn for tumbling clothes and then the gradual acceleration for spin. Shakes like a b*tch though if it gets outta balance.
  • JeffMiloJeffMilo Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: Washing machine
    RandomJoe wrote: »
    Okay, made some measurements. This is a GE basic unit, has electromechanical controls instead of fancy electronics. Washed some towels with "large" load setting. Current measurements were with a Fluke clamp meter, everything else from the KaW.

    Off draw is zero, let's hear it for old fashioned controls! :p

    The timer and whatever other controls pulled 0.01A. With the fill valve open, total draw was 0.05A, or 3W/5VA 0.67PF on the KaW.

    Agitating - peak startup surge (stopped/started a few times) was around 8.5A, running fluctuated between 2.8 and 4.2A. KaW said 420-480W, 0.96PF.

    The drain / spin cycle is two steps.

    First step, just pumping out water, had no noticeable surge and pulled only 1.23A, dropping to 1.1A once most of the water was gone. PF stank - KaW said 71W/156VA and 0.45PF!

    Second step, spin, surged all the way to 12.8A and held there for several seconds while the drum got moving. Then the current settled down to 3.33A the rest of the run. KaW said 374W/431VA 0.86PF.

    So, at least with mine, I'd need an inverter to be able to deliver 1548W for several seconds - twice per wash too, two drain cycles.

    Hi RandomJoe-- this looks like good news for me, maybe. I'm interested in buying a Speed Queen in the awn line like the AWN432s because it is supposedly the only one left that is still very simple as in no computerization, electronics, etc and thus reputed to be much more trouble free. A top loader.

    But like all the old timers I guess one downside maybe high surge currents. Have an Outback 12 volt which should suffice but battery size kind of minimal and hate big voltage drops. More importantly, I want a machine that can also run off a Honda EU2000i if need be which has a max of 2k watts for surge.

    Speed Queen has a 1/2 hp motor and doubt it's slow start type. Can you tell me what size motor your GE model had and what model it was as well as any other relevent info and or opinion? Possibly yours was a 1/3 hp. Many were I think.

    I commend you for being diligent enough to measure this and post on it. Doesn't seem like anyone else has.

    Seem to remember long ago reading something about adding in a capacitor to lower the surge, but not sure if that's accurate, or what I would use or how to get one. In fact I'm not even sure I can remember how a capacitor works. Sigh. Would have to do my book work.

    Anyone know if wiring one in would work?

    Many thanks
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine
    JeffMilo wrote: »
    I'm interested in buying a Speed Queen in the awn line like the AWN432s because it is supposedly the only one left that is still very simple as in no computerization, electronics, etc and thus reputed to be much more trouble free. A top loader.
    <snip>
    More importantly, I want a machine that can also run off a Honda EU2000i if need be which has a max of 2k watts for surge.

    I have that Speed Queen and I have a Honda eu2000i. No problem, as long as the eco-throttle on the honda is turned off.

    Your reason for buying the speed queen (mechanical controls, trouble free) was not my main reason for buying one... My primary reason for buying the speed queen was that I have very low (gravity) water pressure. The speed queen takes a long time to fill (so does my toilet reservoir), but it does fill and functions properly. Most other modern computer operated washing machines will fault out if the water pressure is too low.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine
    JeffMilo wrote: »
    Speed Queen has a 1/2 hp motor and doubt it's slow start type. Can you tell me what size motor your GE model had and what model it was as well as any other relevent info and or opinion? Possibly yours was a 1/3 hp. Many were I think.

    Haven't been to the forum for a few days...

    My washer is (still using it!) a GE WDSR2080. No idea on the motor size, it's crammed into a tiny nook and a pain to pull out!

    The capacitor you are talking about is called a "hard start capacitor" or "hard start kit". At one time I talked with some of the HVAC techs I work with about them, considering one for the fridge. I never really got a clear understanding of just what happens with them, the name alone makes me think I'm "hurting" the motor! Not sure that's true though. I wound up not bothering, as I went with an inverter that was plenty big enough to start the fridge.

    I don't think a hard-start cap would do the job for the washer though, as it isn't a momentary / couple seconds surge. The very high current for the washer is the motor getting the drum to spin up from a standstill to extraction speed as fast as possible, which simply takes a lot of energy and takes many seconds. I've been running the washer on my inverter lately, even drawing from battery (a new bank of 8 L16s) with little/no sun input the system has no problem at all with the washer. Never tried it with the EU2000i, had no need.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,822 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    FWIW- I ran the washing machine today, a small front loader from a stackable set, and wasn't even thinking about the A/C running (475 watts) and the fridge running at about 80% duty cycle (90 degree day, outside of the bedroom) and it ran fine on my Prosine 1800 watt with a low peak of 2700watts. It's likely not worth much, but figured I'd pass it along, I think front loaders use a bit less wattage, though I'm not sure. I'll get the Model if your interested...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine
    RandomJoe wrote: »
    My washer is (still using it!) a GE WDSR2080.
    <snip>
    I don't think a hard-start cap would do the job for the washer though, as it isn't a momentary / couple seconds surge. The very high current for the washer is the motor getting the drum to spin up from a standstill to extraction speed as fast as possible, which simply takes a lot of energy and takes many seconds.

    I can't speak for your GE washer, but regarding the Speed Queen the current draw while the drum gets up to speed is indeed greater than when it is up to extraction speed, but only by a couple of hundred watts. However there is a momentary (fraction of a second) startup surge that is much larger (too large for the Honda to handle if its eco-throttle is turned on).

    Here's what I do about it: (file this under stupid eco-throttle tricks)

    1) start generator with eco-throttle on.

    2) start washer, with lid up. It will fill with the lid up, but it will not start the agitation cycle with lid up.

    3) when washer is full, use the Mate (conveniently located in laundry room) to drop the AC (generator), and then immediately use the AC. There is a 10 second delay while the inverter qualifies the AC. At nine seconds I close the lid on the washer and it begins to agitate (on battery-inverter power). One second later the AC is qualified and the generator picks up the load.

    The generator has no trouble picking up the several hundred watt load with its eco-throttle turned on. This process must be repeated for each agitation and spin cycle. You are correct that the spin cycle draws more current while it is getting up to speed, but this is not the same as the momentary startup surge

    By the way, I usually run the washer on the inverter as an opportunity load (batteries full, sun shining). In the event that I need to run the generator to bulk up the batteries, I will often do a laundry while the generator is running, and that's when I do the eco-throttle trick. If I knew how to put in a starting capacitor, perhaps I could run the laundry unattended with the eco-throttle on.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    Traditional top loaders do not hard link the drum to the motor when bringing the drum up to spin speed, rather there is a clutch of one kind or another that slips, allowing the motor to maintain normal speed while the drum slowly comes up to speed. So while it might be expected to see somewhat of an increase in motor current while the drum comes up to speed, it couldn't be compared to the huge surge of starting the motor alone from a dead stop, and probably not much more than the normal wash cycle current.
  • Eric LEric L Solar Expert Posts: 262 ✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    My current washer is a Whirlpool WTW4800XQ1. My Kill-A-Watt clone shows a peak draw of 780 watts during the oscillation cycle. This washer also seems to hit that peak right when the "start" button is pushed; I think this might be part of the load balance test when the motor is very briefly engaged.

    We used to have a GE energy star washer with a "clutchless" direct drive motor that I could run off of a Sure Sine 300. I think the model of that GE was WPSR3090V0WW although I'm not sure; it would have been made about ten years ago. Unfortunately, these models had reliability problems, which was too bad because it seemed to be an efficient washer.
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    Folks may want to check out a Staber Washing machine. US built and for years was the only washer that would tolerate MSW inverters. It uses a variable frequency drive so there is minimal startup surge. Next time I do run I will see if I can measure it.
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine

    I realize this is an old thread, but if anyone is still looking for low power washing machines...

    We swapped to an LG high efficiency washer and Dryer a few yeqars back and earlier this year I installed a whole house energy monitoring system that can measure loads on individual circuit breakers.

    Here is a graph of the electric power used to run one load of laundry through the washer and then the dryer:
    Attachment not found.

    The max power drawn by the washing machine was ~320 watts, total energy was 130 wh

    FWIW the LG high efficiency front load washer supposedly uses less than 14 gallons of water per wash, I haven't measured this yet.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,639 admin
    Re: Washing machine

    What is your power logging system--Looks interesting. How is it working out for you?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Washing machine
    BB. wrote: »
    What is your power logging system--Looks interesting. How is it working out for you?

    -Bill

    Brultech ECM-1240, although the new GEM looks even better.

    The ECM-1240 can monitor 7 different loads. The first 2 channels can even tell which direction the power is going, so I use them on my solar array and main breaker, that way I can tell if I'm pushing power to the grid or pulling it. The last channel can be configured to count pulses, so you can use it to monitor a water or gas meter.
    I have a webpage up at:
    http://www.vanderwal.us/energy/ showing the different things I monitor.

    The new GEM by Brultech can monitor 32 channels. Either power, pulses, temperature probes, etc. Pretty cool toys.

    FWIW I use an opensource application called btmon.py to pull the data from the ECM-1240 and put it into an RRDtool database (also open source). RRDtool has a lot of neat features including the ability to create the graphs I use.
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