I guess this comes under the category of “First World Problems,” but yesterday our laundry machine came to a clanking halt. Checking carefully, we found the drum would turn a few times, then jam. This machine is 25 years old, and although it has been well cared for by people who knew how these things worked, everything dies eventually. We started looking for a replacement.
There were two problems. Our main electrical system on the boat is 220 Volts, so being currently in the USA we are at a disadvantage, but there are some suppliers of 220 Volt appliances. The second problem was bigger: The size. It is tiny. And the space available requires a very small unit. We were not able to find anything that could fit. The good people on the Amel Forum steered us to a modern unit that would fit, but wasn’t available in the USA, and cost about US$1000–before shipping from Europe. Ouch. So… it might be time to try to breathe life into the old girl one more time.
The good news is that this model is a good, old fashioned, electro-mechanical machine. No software. No silicon chips. No mother boards. Just relays, switches, timers, cams, gears, and pushrods. Once you get it apart, the way everything works is right there to see and understand. So we hauled her up into the cockpit, and attacked with screwdriver and wrench.
When you first open one of these up, it is a bit intimidating. Wires running all over. Mysterious widgets. But with a bit of study, you start to see the logic. A pulls on B, and X turns, and before long it makes sense.
After a full disassembly and cleaning all the parts went back together–and it WORKS.
We know that this machine, made 25 years ago in Austria, has a finite amount of life left. Parts are no longer available–as far as I can find. But, we have postponed the day of reckoning out into the future once again, and nothing looks ready to break. We can avoid doing laundry in a bucket for at least a bit longer!
In another piece of good news, in taking everything apart, we found that the water hose feeding the washer had chafed, almost all the way through! We could have had a great flood dumping all our fresh water into the bilge. Another example of why taking things apart on a boat is a good thing.
It was entertaining to open the machine up and find notes inside in the pervious owner’s handwriting about how to reconnect the wires. Yes, Don, I do know your handwriting!