Miele W4840 washer child entrapment sensor--too much?

keleenJanuary 8, 2009

Help! When I start my new Miele W4840 machine, it often stops and I get a "pause" message on the screen. Sometime I have to restart my load three times!! In the ten-15 loads I have run, it has happened 90% of the time. I am loading it gently and not overloading it. Anyone else have this experience

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It's only happened a handful of times on my W4840, in the 3+ months I've owned it. I think it's triggered when the initial burst of water causes something in the load to shift. If your load is stacked up loosely in the drum, try flattening it out so it's stable.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 6:50PM
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Thanks for the reply. I will try your suggestion. Gosh--I do hope it's not something that I need to do each time I run a load. That's a bit too high maintenance for me, and certainly for the rest of the family. I wonder if my sensor is too sensitive.

Have you been happy with your machine?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 9:39PM
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Is it just me, or do others think that this "feature" sensor has got to be the epitome of absolute insult to the user? If I am loading my FL machine and cannot either see or feel that a child or pet is inside the machine, then something is wrong.

First, a baby could not crawl to the machine, figure out how to open it, then manage to crawl inside. Now a baby inside may be a bit harder to see/feel, so let's move to the toddler stage and size.

A toddler could figure this out and get inside, but a toddler is big enough that the minute I try to put my hand with laundry into the machine to load it, I am going to hit the toddler. Plus, I am not going to have enough room to put the regular amount of laundry into the machine, which would cause me to bend over further and actually look inside the machine to see what is wrong/what has changed. I would be able to see a toddler at that point.

So now I think of the other possible "benefit" of it, that being a pet sensor. First off, I know of no pet (except maybe a monkey) that would be able to open the door to get in. As for cats and other such animals that might want to crawl inside while it is in the open door airing out mode post usage, gee, if I had such a size and/or inclined pet, I would always look inside the machine before using it. But I really cannot believe a cat would want to get into a wet, humid and quite possibly smelly environment.

But then again, there are parents who are stupid and/or absent minded enough that they actually forget and leave their baby or young children in the locked car here in the desert while they go in to work or to stores. It happens every year - some poor child dies this way.

Manufacturers should really address the reality and usefulness of some of these new "features." Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now - no pun intended.

I hope your problem with it goes away!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 5:39AM
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If they wouldnt do anything about it being overly sensitive I would seek out a way to bypass it. Ridiculous to have to reset your machine several times due to a ridiculous toy aimed at drawing a few more paranoid customers.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 6:57AM
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schutzhund, the child entrapment routines (other machines have them as well) are not so much to guard from YOU starting the machine with a child inside ... but to warn a CHILD to get out ... as when kids play and attempt to have fun by starting the machine with a playmate or sibling inside. Some of the Whirlpool-family machines (Duet and HE3/4/t and Epic, etc.) lock the door, squirt some water, unlock the door for a few moments (at which point a child inside could kick the door open after getting doused), then lock again and continue on with the cycle.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 7:19AM
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keleen, to answer your other question, we're very happy with our W4840. It washes and rinses and spins great, no drama.

In case you don't already know, the Normal cycle doesn't use the heater, apparently to reduce the reported energy consumption. We never use Normal, rather we use Custom, which is similar but uses the heater to ensure the selected wash temperature. The wide range of wash temperatures is one of my favorite features.

Should also mention that the Pause function is somewhat flaky. Sometimes it'll fail to unlock the door after pausing, and once I managed to trigger a spurious "Door Blocked" error by pausing at an inopportune time. I don't generally have any reason to pause, so I'm not worrying about it.

If the entrapment sensor continues to be a problem, and you report it, please let us know how they fix it. My assumption is there's no discrete physical sensor for this, rather it's a software feature, using rotational positioning or other sensors that are basic to the machine's functioning.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 12:24PM
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Well, to contribute to the 'no child big enough to get in, would' discussion, let me add that my skinny, athletic, *autistic* six year old could and would. It hasn't been a problem so far, since my 9 year old Bosch is too small, even for her. But we're trying to get a new large capacity washer and her climbing into it kind of freaks me out. The odds of her getting in and figuring out a way to turn it on, or getting some other kid/sibling to, are incredibly slim, but not non-existent. (Well, okay -- the odds of her getting into it are really high; the odds of sending herself through the spin cycle aren't.)

Of course most people don't have a special needs kid for whom this would be a concern and even I'm more likely to look for a hard to open door than shop for such a dubious feature ;-)

All the same, thanks for letting us know that it's causing problems -- I'll take all the info I can get.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 4:32PM
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How the Miele W48XX sensor works:

  • When you load your clothes, and then start the machine, if the clothes settle and turn the drum the tachometer sensor reads the drum movement and stops the machine while unlocking the door mechanism. This is exacerbated by clothes settling when water is administered to the tub if enough drum revolution occurs through water wetting the clothes, thereby causing a lopsided weight situation, hence causing the drum to revolve. The water jet that is above the door is entirely unnecessary (and can be turned off through the firmware) but was designed to exhibit that water was indeed being introduced into the drum as people were concerned that they did not see water, or that there was too low a water level (common to those who switch from a TP to FL). Anything that gets the drum to rotate a certain prescribed distance sets the sensor off.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 7:08PM
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Although some people may find this feature annoying, I haven't had any issues with the function on my new W4842 after doing several large loads of laundry. As an owner of several cats and small dogs, I can also say that I would be happy to put up with these minor annoyances if it meant saving the life of one of my beloved pets. The same obviously goes for children. Once it's too late, it's too late. But prevention is worth all the money in the world to save a life.

That's my two cents.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 3:25PM
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I agree with Sshivastava.

Sometimes we stick too much to our own point of view /frame of mind

Sometimes we should walk in Bibliomom's shoes to open our eyes.

A bit of trouble when washing a load of bath robes is nothing compared to the fact this safety device can make her life a bit easier.

Once my sister heard the washer making odd sounds. She had not started the machine, so she ran into the laundry room and stopped the machine. My nieces thought their Barbies and a old cell phone needed a spa treatment on "wrinkle free" ......

Now i get why these big mieles don't have the electric latch / yellow button

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 5:38PM
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One of the ways to reduce the sensor from engaging is too simply pat your load down in the drum. I do this whenever I have a medium to large load.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 5:49PM
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It's incredible attention to these types of details that makes Miele special in my mind, and worth the price. They put a lot of thought into the product. God forbid someone's child or pet end up inside the washing machine, but if it did happen wouldn't you then feel the trivial amount of money saved on a Whirlpool vs. Miele would have been money well spent?

I don't begrudge anyone their choice of machine - it's wonderful having lots of choices. But if you look at the big picture of having a machine that will likely last you 20 years with a potentially life-saving feature, doesn't that alone justify the price?

Here is a sad news story in case you think kids never die in washing machines.

Here is a link to some front-load child safety devices.

Consumer Reports blog article about how over 2,000 children end up hurt (or worse) each year in washers.

Unfortunately the after-market door locks don't help once a child or pet is INSIDE the machine. This is where Miele's ingenious feature shines. I don't know whether other manufacturers have implement this feature like Miele.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 6:07PM
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We had the same issue and Miele insisted there was nothing wrong for the longest time. After three service calls they referred the issue to the engineers in Germany. They finally called us and admitted that the initial burst of water was spraying in sideways and causing the drum to shift, thus triggering the child entrapment sensor. They adjusted the water to spray straight onto the glass door and it has never happened again. No apology from them however...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 6:57PM
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