Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart - IEC 4th Addition ?'s

an0nemusAugust 22, 2010

I've got to get a washer & dryer. I've ruled out all the front loaders because I don't have room to leave open the door and I know I'll forget to wipe it dry enough to keep the musty smell away. I also want a top loader to save time & water - yes water! We have an ofuro / Japanese style bath and I used the clean hot soaking water to start my top loader last year.

I am looking at buying a Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart 4.2 cu.ft (IEC 4th Edition), model # WA42T26GW1

I've read all the posts I could find on this site and a few others as well as the online manual for this machine but I have a few questions please if anyone w/ real world experience could help...

#1 - the salesman says the AllergyRinse means warm. From my understanding it is just a deeper cold rinse. Clarification?

#2 - On a HOT wash cycle does this machine "dumb down" the hot wash water by mixing it with cold? I get very nice 135F+ water from my tank & it always did a nice job cleaning in my old machine because HOT was HOT not Mixed.

#3 - the salesman demo'd overriding the water level and the wash/rinse temp. At one point we had it lit up to use a full fill, hot wash & warm rinse. But I can't see that in the online PDF of the manual. Is it a secret & they just not publish that you can do that? In fact I don't see any mention of "rinse temperature" in the manual at all.

#4 & this is the odd one - do you think it would confuse the machine much if water was added to it before actually starting the cycle. I use a small pump to get water from the ofuro into my old Kenmore. I assume most washing machines know they are "full" by the same method. Is this true for Fisher & Paykel? They have so many innovative parts I'd rather not be wrong.

I do see in the manual all sorts of overrides and it appears you can basically re-program most of it to be what you like.

Some messages on here advocate the AquaSmart as being more customizable but I'm not so sure I like the stubby agitator (the 3 people I know with those complain the clothes aren't so clean but then again they cannot override their water levels either - the machines are older).

Thanks for any help!

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I'm familiar with F&P washers, but not "hands-on" with that particular model.

#1 - The User Guide at F&P's web site for WA42T26GW1 indicates the Allergy cycle is a hot wash with two cold agitated rinses. I assume that means hot wash for both EcoActive and the agitated wash period. For comparison, my older IWL12's Allergy cycle runs Hot water for EcoActive, Warm/Hot for the agitated wash period, two cold rinses and includes extra spray rinses during the spins.

#2 - Some models in the past (such as GWL08) limited hot to 120F. However, service info I have for GWL15 (a Phase 7 production machine) indicates 140°F. My IWL12 (a Phase 6 machine) is 140°F (which is also the max my water heater can go). I don't have specific service info for WA42T26GW1, but I suspect it's also a Phase 7 machine at 140°F. As an aside, there is a way via Diagnostic Mode to run the hot water valve manually, which would be tap-hot for sure.

#3 - The water temp selections on the panel are only for the wash. All rinses are cold. People are sometimes confused (and surely your salesman as well) when TWO indicator lights are on, thinking that's a reference to separate Wash & Rinse temps. It is not. Per the GWL15 info, these are the target temps:
- Tap Cold = cold supply temp (if controlled cold is disabled when no hot supply is available)
- [Controlled] Cold (Cold light) = minimum 68°F / 20°C
- Warm/Cold (Cold + Warm lights) = 95°F / 35°C
- Warm (Warm light) = 104°F / 40°C
- Warm/Hot (Warm + Hot lights) = 122°F / 50°C (this does NOT mean hot wash with warm rinse!)
- Hot (Hot light) = 140°F / 60°C (cold is added if the supply temp is higher, maximum recommended not to exceed 149°F)

#4 - Water level is monitored by a tub pressure transducer on the controller board. The machine has two methods for setting water level. Auto-sensing, or manual. Manual setting is of course exactly that. It fills to the selected choice of five levels. Your pump-fill wouldn't cause a problem. Auto-sensing might would be confused. It sets the level in response to A) how much water is required to saturate the load and float the basket (to disengage it from the drive coupler so the agitator can oscillate separately) and B) a series of test agitation strokes determines the resistance of the load against the agitator fins. Note that auto-sense still adheres to the five levels, it's not truly variable.

However, of more relevance is how your manual fill would impact the EcoActive wash process. On all cycles except Perm Press, the machine initially fills with just enough water to saturate the load, dissolve the detergent, and keep the pump primed to recirculate the concentrated wash solution over the clothes. This initial wash phase runs for about 4 mins to kick-start the cleaning process. If your manual fill is more water than is required for EcoActive, the machine will sense that it's already filled too much (the basket must not be floated for EcoActive) and skip the EcoActive wash period. That may or may not be of concern to you.

Here are links to some videos I've placed on YouTube showing the operation of my IWL12. The fabric sensing process is not relevant to WA42T26GW1, it's only featured on the Intuitive series.
Initial Fill & EcoActive Wash
Water Level Sensing

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:48AM
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Thank you Dadoes!

That is exactly the type of info I needed. And yes the salesman (& the 3 others in the past) are confused by the indicator lights. That's why I was reading the manual online - but I couldn't figure out what you so perfectly explained in #3.

Thanks for the info on how it knows if it is full as well ( I had wrongly assumed some sort of pressure tube)As you noted, if I manual fill the Eco-Wash wouldn't work right but I'm ok with that. Sounds like if I want to recycle the water I should just set it on the Perm Press setting to wash. I usually use the manual fill idea to wash things like rugs with dog fur on them or jeans that have a lot of dirt that I need to float away. Those things usually took me 2 washes + 1 or 2 rinses in my old machine - which I didn't mind 'cause I already had all that hot water.

I think I am ok with this machine - sounds like I won't break it if I fill it myself and the regular Eco-Wash option would be fine for throwing in a load of tshirts or button font office shirts and getting them clean.

This one is also reasonably priced, sounds like I could fix it myself in the future (I've seen some of your "tutorials" on here for others), and it's on sale locally right now.

I'm thinking about splurging on the top-load dryer (it's a special order but not unreasonable). I like the idea of not bending over and I don't really want my w & d at different heights if I put a pedestal under the dryer only.

Anyone have opinion on the top-load dryer?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:03AM
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To clarify, there is a pressure tube for the water level, connected from the tub to the pressure transducer on the controller board. That's how the machine senses the five discrete water levels. In auto-sense mode, the initial water level is determined by when the basket floats ... it initially fills to the next level that's reached after the float occurs, although the controller board also seems to monitor how long it takes for the float to occur. A heavy load of towels that absorbs a lot of water may float the basket between the low and medium/low levels, but instead of initially stopping the fill at medium/low it may go on to medium. Then the test agitation strokes come into play. The 2nd video clip shows the agitation test running twice ... at medium water level, then again at medium/high. At medium, the level was immediately determined to be too low and the machine didn't do the mix-up and retest. At medium/high it did the mix-up and retest, but still found the level a bit too low so continued on filling to high.

Regards to the topload dryer, I have the first-released model DEGX1. I've found it to be an excellent machine. Dries fast, the auto-dry sensor is accurate and consistent. The reverse-tumble feature really does help with minimizing bulky items from balling-up. It's a bit sensitive to airflow obstructions, so the exhaust ducting needs to be clean and routed on as straight a path as possible. The operational sounds are considerably different from other dryers but one gets accustomed to it soon enough. Some people have complained that timed dry being limited to 20, 40, or 80 mins is not enough choice, but I haven't found that to be a problem since I rarely use timed-dry.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Dadoes, is your top load F&P dryer a gas or electric?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 5:19PM
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    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 6:12PM
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Have you accumulated any impressions since you got yours about the sensor effectiveness and/or endurance of the more current gas TL units? They're not well rated on CR, and hard to find user ratings on them.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 6:50PM
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I've never had or used a gas dryer, so can't make a comparison on that point. My experience with my SmartLoad DEGX1 has been that the moisture sensor is very effective and consistent. I routinely use the default "Normal" dryness level (once in a while the next step up on a quilt or other bulky item) and rarely have anything come out either damp or overdried. A load of mixed heavy & light items may have slightly damp seams on heavy items, but that's common on all sensor machines. I make it a point not to mix widely-disparate items, which should always be avoided to get best results.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 9:53PM
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