Thread Number: 73162  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
spin speeds
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Post# 966311   11/5/2017 at 23:16 by Losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        

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Can someone explain why to a non-engineering type combos spin at such low speeds. I have watched the video of the Duomatic racing at 250 RPM and my mother had a Westinghouse slant front combo that could probably reach 350 RPM on a good day. And why do washers that spin counter clockwise achieve higher spin speeds than those that spin clockwise? I have always wondered. Thanks

Post# 966318 , Reply# 1   11/5/2017 at 23:53 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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The early GE combo, with it's blinding 208 rpm spin, had no suspension system so if it spun any faster, it would have walked all over the room (full disclosure-this has been learned from experience with my undercounter 1956 model. Gotta bolt that thing to the floor one of these days...)

Post# 966341 , Reply# 2   11/6/2017 at 06:29 by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        

My vague understanding is that one company, I think it was Bendix, had patents on a combination washer / dryer with suspension. To avoid violating the patents, other manufacturers had to make washer dryers with no suspension, and this required either bolt down of the machine to a solid floor, or making a machine with very slow spin to avoid jumping around on spin.

I guess over time either patents expired, or rival manufacturers devised new variants of suspension that side-stepped the original patents.

Post# 966357 , Reply# 3   11/6/2017 at 08:14 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Paul, the feet of your undercounter combo are supposed to slide into tracks that are attached to the floor.  I remember getting a friend's GE combo to spin at "full" speed by sitting on the left front corner of it to keep the speed controller attached to that foot from slowing the speed as the machine rocked on it with a less than well distributed load.


Doumatics only spun at around 250 in the initial minute of spin, then ramped up to 500 rpm. They could do that because they had a suspension system of springs and shock absorbers. Bendix engineered the Duomatic while AVCO owned the company so AVCO held the patents on a suspended mechanism for washer dryer combinations. Avco also held what is called the intellectual property rights of a washer-dryer combination so anyone seeking to manufacture one had to pay royalties to AVCO for every combination produced.  Making combos in the United States was living under a deal with the devil that caused most companies to lose money on them. They had to engineer a hobbled machine and then pay money to AVCO before they ever sold them. Your mother's Westinghouse combo spun at around 200 rpm. At 350 rpm it could have danced out of the house or at least to the end of its hoses or power cable. When WP redesigned the combos they made for their own label and for Sears, they went to a complicated water balancing system with feedback to air-driven clutches in the transmission to correlate balance with speed, not allowing the machine to go into high speed spin (400 rpm) until the cylinder was in balance.  This avoided running afoul of the AVCO patents while providing water extraction that was almost on par with the Duomatic.

Post# 966386 , Reply# 4   11/6/2017 at 11:26 by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Size matters?

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This brings me to a question I've had about front loaders that I've owned. When my LG front loader was in working condition, I noticed that it took the machine (most loads) many, many attempts at balancing the load before it could begin the spin cycle, in earnest, which would gradually wind up to 1200 rpm. There were loads where the LG would simply give up and flash an error code indicating the user needed to manually redistribute the load or remove some of it.


My Miele, on the other hand, never has to waste a lot of time balancing the load. It is much smaller than the LG so I was wondering if this was just a function of size, or did Miele have a better balancing system? 


Talk amongst yourselves.

Post# 966401 , Reply# 5   11/6/2017 at 12:55 by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        
Redesigned Kenmore Combo (from 1961 on)

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I thought those combos with the complex air/water balancing systems spun, once they were balanced, about the same speed as the top load WP / KM washers: 525 rpm.

Post# 966403 , Reply# 6   11/6/2017 at 13:06 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Miele washing machines are or were

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Historically built like tanks in aid of coping with unbalanced loads to some extent. The older machines in particular have all that weight plus heavy duty suspension system. Newer machines IIRC still have or much of this but maybe even more robust shocks/suspension system.

My AEG Oko-Lavamat OTOH is another matter. The machine is clearly designed to avoid where possible spinning with unbalanced loads out of a certain parameter. The shocks/suspension system are not nearly as robust as the Miele.

While the Miele will make a set number of attempts then simply start spinning, the AEG will take ages (to me it seems) of drum movements to get the wash juuuust right before spinning. There are times have stopped, opened up, pulled out and redistributed load, then started things up again just to move the process along.

Post# 966410 , Reply# 7   11/6/2017 at 13:46 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The smaller drums of the Mieles with sophisticated software do tend to balance loads easier than machines with larger drums because there is less surface over which to plaster the load. That is why the longer drum for the 6.5 kg machine makes more sense than a wider drum to say nothing of keeping it in the same 24" cabinet.


The earliest of the 29" combos did spin at 500, but the machine did not have a lint filter for the dryer that could be cleaned; it was one of those separation things that then flushed everything down the drain and when the machines were rebuilt to get rid of that and have a transmission that shifted action between the pump and the blower, the new transmission only spun at 400rpm.

Post# 966450 , Reply# 8   11/6/2017 at 18:08 by Losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        
Spin Speeds

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So...What dictates clockwise or counter clockwise spin direction and does this correlate in any way to the spin speed?

Post# 966457 , Reply# 9   11/6/2017 at 18:54 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

Duomatics spun at 505rpm. Speed Queen also made a combo, of which at least one example survives in the hands of a member of this forum, which spun at 515rpm, and so I presume it must have some kind of suspension system.

My Miele W2240 (washer only), about 10 years old, is built like a tank and wastes no time balancing. The suspension is clearly up to the job and it never bangs around.

Post# 966571 , Reply# 10   11/7/2017 at 10:25 by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        

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I am also interested in the question of clockwise vs. counterclockwise spin issues but I would be very surprised if direction makes a difference except in machines like the LG where there is no belt but a rotor and a stator.

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