Thread Number: 72751  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Timed fill
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Post# 961240   10/7/2017 at 22:14 by chetlaham (United States)        

I see many members referring to timed fills in vintage machines, but how do these work? I've seen pics where the dial says heavy, normal, light yet its somehow its timed fill? And how did they stop these machines from over flowing if something goes wrong?

Post# 961243 , Reply# 1   10/7/2017 at 22:43 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Some timed fill timer dials have fill periods, like Norges and Maytags, for example. Others like Frigidaire allowed the user to select the wash time when the machine's timer is set. Timers with the separate fill period on the timer dial were easier to set for a partial fill for the wash, BUT the wash time had to be manually reset AFTER the fill was complete if a shorter wash time was desired. In these machines, the rinse fill was full unless the user manually shortened the fill period. Machines like the Frigidaires where the wash time could be selected at the start of the cycle had to incorporate a mechanism that allowed the user to select a regular load or a small load which speeded up the timer to make the fill shorter. This mechanism speeded up the timer advancing so the entire cycle was shorter, but the rinse fill was automatically shortened.

Finally, there was no fail safe mechanism in the Maytags if the water level overflowed. With the solid tub machines, the pump often ran when the motor did so as long as the machine was running, at least some of the water was pumped out while the washer was running, but when it stopped, flooding could happen.

Post# 961261 , Reply# 2   10/8/2017 at 00:35 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Quite surprised how many vintage washers have them and the Temperature being the sole knob outside of the timer dial, versus the (metered) Water Level being that and the Temp. incorporated in the timer...

-- Dave

Post# 961268 , Reply# 3   10/8/2017 at 01:32 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Grew up with Frigidaires

And we never had any problems.

Post# 961308 , Reply# 4   10/8/2017 at 08:02 by chetlaham (United States)        


Ok- a bit confused here. Are you saying that on Frigidaires when you pull the timer on either heavy or light, it starts a separate timing sequence that allows for a fill and then starts washing based on the time selected?

Post# 961309 , Reply# 5   10/8/2017 at 08:35 by johnrk (Houston)        
timed fill

My mother had a Frigidaire in the sixties and never had any problems with it. Replaced with a Filter-Flo in the late 70's and I think it was metered. I think my 1977 Filter-Flo was metered.

BTW I do have a half-dozen Consumer Reports magazines testing washing machines from 1950 into the 1980's--the regular issues. I'd be happy to scan and post if anyone is interested.

Post# 961313 , Reply# 6   10/8/2017 at 09:03 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Not exactly separate, but built into the time selected. In fact, the instructions in the owner's manual for the WI-61 for dealing with over sudsing illustrate this:

1. Stop washer by pulling cycle selector OUT.
2. If excess suds have stopped the washing action, wait one minute and push the Motor Protector Button (located under the control panel) back IN.
3. Advance Cycle Selector to Heavy Soil setting and push IN. Then immediately pull the Cycle Selector OUT and turn to the RIGHT 5 clicks and push back IN. This starts washer agitating and the water pump will begin pumping out excess suds.
4. After about 3 minutes, pull Cycle Selector OUT, turn to SPIN and push back IN. This is usually enough to get rid of excess suds and the washer will then continue with the rest of cycle.

Cycle Selector is the fancy term for timer dial. The reason for this procedure is that the tub needed to be stationary during the initial pumping out process to help get the suds level low enough that the spinning tub does not whip up more suds and trip the motor overload protector by spinning against the resistance of an outer tub full of suds. It is generally at the initial spin portion of the cycle that this would occur.

From this procedure, you can see that the first 5 increments of the wash cycle are the wash fill in some Frigidaire timers. I have a less deluxe model from 1965 and the timer is different. At the start of wash, there are two settings: Large Load and then two clicks further, Small Load. This allows for adjusting the fill amount without a separate switch with large or small load settings that adjusted the speed of the timer. This machine has to be started at one of the two positions on the wash dial and the rinse fills the tub completely.

The WO65-2 does not have a provision for a less than full fill unless you advance the timer two increments AFTER starting the fill.

Let me know if you have further questions.

Post# 961415 , Reply# 7   10/8/2017 at 23:54 by chetlaham (United States)        

Ok- I get this. Less time, less water for a smaller load. But what about washers where you have "Heavy" "Normal" and "light" with a timed fill? Or am I thinking of something that does not exist.

Post# 961419 , Reply# 8   10/9/2017 at 01:42 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

as far as I remember the frigidaires had some kind of second timer over the main timer.

This way the user could select heavy, normal or light, but always have the fill time added to the cycle.

Maybe I can be wrong... I'm not that experienced with vintage American washers.

Post# 961438 , Reply# 9   10/9/2017 at 04:57 by chetlaham (United States)        

Thats what I am thinking, but I've never had the chance to play around with such a timer or read about how it works.

Post# 961550 , Reply# 10   10/9/2017 at 16:40 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

No matter where you started the Frigidaire timers with Heavy, Normal and Light, the first 5 increments were for the fill so you got a full fill and the selected wash time UNLESS you selected a SMALL load in which case the whole cycle was 2/3s of the total length of a Normal Load cycle. This is graphically illustrated on the timer dials of the 1957 and 1958 TOL models. There was only one timer. If you look at the timer dial, there was a whole lot of wash time between light soil and SPIN. That was wash time AFTER the fill.

Post# 962344 , Reply# 11   10/13/2017 at 18:37 by chetlaham (United States)        

So how does the timer pull that off? If someone pulls the knob in then out couldn't the machine overfill?

Post# 962347 , Reply# 12   10/13/2017 at 19:01 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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No because to start a solid tub Frigidaire washer, you pushed the timer knob in, not pull out.

Post# 962349 , Reply# 13   10/13/2017 at 19:17 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

When you stop the machine by pushing/pulling the timer knob, whichever applies, it kills the power to the water valves and they close. There was a Blackstone model that had a timer driven off a gear train from the main motor, which ran all the time. The water valves were purely mechanical and activated by pushrods off of the timer. If the machine lost power during the fill, the water kept running.

Post# 962365 , Reply# 14   10/13/2017 at 20:46 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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an example of a Speed Queen Time Fill

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Post# 962383 , Reply# 15   10/13/2017 at 22:33 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

You could force the machine to overfill and cause the water to overflow from the inner tub into the outer tub, BUT, if you will read what I posted earlier, once the machine starts agitating, the pump would start pumping water OUT of the machine's outer tub so that well before the time that the wash period came to an end, the outer tub, which could hold the entire inner tub full of water BELOW the inner tub, would be empty and could accept the entire volume of water spun out from the inner tub. In case you have not ever seen the inside of a Frigidiare solid tub washer, the outer tub is twice as deep as the inner tub. It goes almost to the bottom of the machine.

Post# 962405 , Reply# 16   10/14/2017 at 05:52 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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The motor, and presumably the belt-driven pump, started immediately with fill on the 1969-ish SQ time-fill machine that my aunt had, so I assume any overflow from initial overfilling would drain while it happened ... yes?

Post# 962407 , Reply# 17   10/14/2017 at 06:21 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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Yes Glenn, for a banging solenoid SQ, the motor started as soon as you pulled the timer knob out, but on a reversing motor machine, the motor was off during fill...

Post# 962413 , Reply# 18   10/14/2017 at 07:50 by chetlaham (United States)        

Ok, that makes sense now in regards to solid tub machines. But how did perforated tubs do it? Fascinating subject. :)

Post# 962417 , Reply# 19   10/14/2017 at 08:08 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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the Maytag AMP was a perforated tub so to speak, as a solid tub shell was bolted to it, there was also a full outter tub to take care of any overflow....

the only perforated tub I knew of that did a time fill was a Maytag Highlander, in so, you had to watch for the fill portion, because any overflow was going on your floor.....the outter tub filled along with the inner basket, there was no extra outter tub to handle any overflow....

about your only safety for that machine was having the standpipe just below the fill level, some excess may flow out that way....

our neighbor had one of these, she was forever losing track of time, and would flood her kitchen...

Post# 962431 , Reply# 20   10/14/2017 at 08:39 by chetlaham (United States)        

Ok- so this was a more solid tub machine thing. Though it would be kind of neat on new machine supplementing a pressure switch. Yes I have those dreams lol.

Post# 962433 , Reply# 21   10/14/2017 at 08:50 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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well yes....

but one thing you needed, water pressure....

after all, you have X amount of time to fill a machine before agitation began....

the one advantage when pressure fill was introduced, was it could operate at a minimum pressure, usually 20psi, and no matter how long it took, agitation would not begin until that selected level was reached....

I have been to homes with such low water pressure, where it would take close to 3 hours for a load to complete.....

Post# 962435 , Reply# 22   10/14/2017 at 08:54 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
low water pressure

I have been in older homes with iron pipes that had heavily corroded and the flow was greatly reduced.

Post# 962441 , Reply# 23   10/14/2017 at 09:07 by chetlaham (United States)        

True, and well water with low pressure. But timed fill does work fine for DW ;)

Post# 962445 , Reply# 24   10/14/2017 at 09:22 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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well, for some dishwashers.....

there are ones that only allow like a 2 minute window to fill, and theres also a float that would shut off the water if a certain level was reached...

I know my Kenmore is like that....if I turn too far and miss that window, it jumps right to turn on the motor without water....

Post# 962450 , Reply# 25   10/14/2017 at 09:45 by chetlaham (United States)        

I think DW are such that the fill is based at a minimum water pressure, and at high pressures the valve has a restrictor which regulates it down to a specified GPM.

Post# 962538 , Reply# 26   10/14/2017 at 16:08 by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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My compact Frigidare GMini washer is time-filled but it does have a pressure switch in the outer tub as a safety feature in case the timer would fail and the washer would overfill. It's a safety feature that many time-filled dishwashers have (either a float switch or a pressure switch).

Some Frigidaire time-filled machines also had a solenoid that would make the timer escapement run faster during the fill periods so the wash time wouldn't be shortened on the "small load" setting. I have a few of these.

Post# 962880 , Reply# 27   10/16/2017 at 13:44 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Phil, the WCI-60 has that. It stops after the fill in case the timer motor speed needs adjusting from fast speed for small load to normal speed for regular fabrics cycle.

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