Thread Number: 527
I dream of a twin-tub
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Post# 49318   11/16/2004 at 20:43 (7,038 days old) by partscounterman (Cortez, Colorado)        

Last weekend Dennis and I went on a hike up in Olinda. Through the hike Dennis kept on talking about how beautiful etc everything was & I kept thinking "I wish he'd shut up so I can think about washers"
What I was thinking about was twin tub machines. I really don't know why they quit making them, especially for the portable market. An automatic is OK if you can hook it up permanently, but if you gotta do the kitchen/bathroom sink thing-a twin tub is best. Why? Because you can get done and the darned thing put away quickly, so you can have your bath/kitchen back.
I imagined that some manufacter (speed queen-are you listening?) could develop a twin tub that really like 2 automatic washers. You could load clothes in the wash tub side, set the controls, and walk away. The machine would fill, agitate, and either hold the washwater or drain it-depending on how you set the control. The spin side would be just as automatic-put the clothes in, choose the number of rinses and how much spinning the load needs and thats it. The machine would return sudsy water to the wash tub, go through a series of saturation and spin rinses and final spin. If you have a series of loads to do you get done quick- with a fresh load coming out every 10-15 minutes. Team this dream machine up with one of those stacker dryers and wash day would be over FAST. I'd like to see this type of machine available both in a full size and an apt. size.
I know members of this club want a machine that demands more involvement, but I think you have to make it nearly as automatic as a regular machine or the lazy american public won't go for it.
Now if I just owned a factory....

Post# 49323 , Reply# 1   11/16/2004 at 21:10 (7,038 days old) by arrrooohhh (Sydney Australia)        

Twin tubs are still made my many Asian manufacturers such as LG, Daewoo and Samsung.

Here is a link to the Samsung twin tub. Samsung and NEC(daewoo made) both sell twinnies in Australia, though I dont know how many people actually buy them.


Post# 49334 , Reply# 2   11/17/2004 at 05:36 (7,038 days old) by wilkinsservis (Melbourne Australia)        
re twintubs

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its my observation that country and regional stores stock more twinnies than in the city. Guess country folk are more set in their ways and reactionary than those in the "big smoke".

Post# 49526 , Reply# 3   11/19/2004 at 17:18 (7,036 days old) by partscounterman (Cortez, Colorado)        
Nice link

I loved looking at those twin tub samsungs. Notice they feature a window-now there a great idea!
I imagine these twin tubs are more automatic than the old hoovers/maytags and speed queens I was raised on.
Once, I owned a little japanese built twin tub from Monkey (Montgomery) Wards. It featured a pressurized fill system and an automatic timer on the wash side. You'd load clothes and soap. The washer would fill to the selected water level, wash for up to 15 minutes (it had a bottom impeller) then, it would drain, refill and do an overflow rinse 3 times, using fantastic quantities of water. Lots of great washer drama, but not the economy that twin tubs are usually known for.

Post# 49571 , Reply# 4   11/20/2004 at 09:34 (7,035 days old) by hoovermatic (UK)        

I just got rid of a Hoovermatic 3314L which is still in regular use as far as I am aware. Gutted but simply didn't have the room as I have just bought a Hotpoint TL. The Hoovermatics were great machines and very hardworking, not to mention fast, you can't beat a 4 minute wash!

Post# 50868 , Reply# 5   12/12/2004 at 22:38 (7,012 days old) by Designgeek ()        
Efficiency; General questions; comparisons

I'm something of a layperson in the appliance field, but it seems to me that twin-tubs could offer a serious option for energy & water efficiency at a lower price than horizontal-axis washers. They also seem more suitable to apartment use than horizontals for various reasons including portability and relative lack of vibration.

Question: For a given quantity of laundry, and a machine operating at full load, what's the power and water consumption for a typical horizontal axis machine? For example assume a smaller one that handles a 10 pound load, and assume 3 rinse/spin cycles, and assume cold water (so we're not counting kilowatt-hours used to heat the water): how many gallons, and how many kilowatt-hours to clean that load?

So far I've found two brands of twin-tub available in the US. One is the Danby TT-420, the other is a newly-introduced Haier, both being made in China. A local appliance store I checked with said they don't carry either, but they discontinued other Haier compacts after having trouble with quality and parts availability. Also it seems there are no local dealers for the Danby machine in northern California; nearest is Los Angeles. Anyone know of any, let's say between Santa Cruz and Sacramento?

Does anyone here have any experience with either of these units, or with other compact washers from either Danby or Haier?

Also, I ran across a Panasonic Soakmatic twin-tub on some overseas websites. In my working life I install & program Panasonic business telephone systems, which are second-to-none in terms of quality & flexibility, so I have to believe that a Panasonic washer would also be excellent. However it's not in their USA product line; so far it seems they only sell these in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Pacific Islands, and the Middle East.

Does anyone here have any experience with the Panasonics? Are they made in a version for 110 vAC / 60 Hz? Anyone know how to get one into the US for testing? Depending on what happens, I could suggest that Panasonic introduce them here. Panasonic is very good about listening to engineering-geeks among its certified dealers, and some of my inputs have actually made it into the telephone systems products, so there's a chance this might make a difference. Though, what's the market likely to be for something like this here?

Other questions re the Danby TT-420 and the new Haier:

How many motors on each unit? Ideal case is three motors: one for the agitator, one for the spin centrifuge, and one for the pump; this would reduce the need for transmissions and linkages etc., and probably reduce energy consumption since each motor could be matched to its intended load.

Is the drain valve separate for the wash tub and the spin tub, or is there a common drain valve for both tubs? On the Danby there seems to be one control for both, but is there a separate solenoid valve for each? (You see where this is going: modify the unit by installing a toggle switch somewhere that won't look objectionable...)

What's their tolerance for hot water? Danby seems to say not above 120 degrees Fahrenheit; I can't find specs for the Haier yet.

I agree with the person who started this topic, that these machines could be slightly more automated without compromising their inherent simplicity. To my mind the best place to start would be a valve for introducing water into the spin cylinder to provide an "extract" function. This would relieve the need for manually pouring water into the spin cyllinder.

Now here's another Wild Idea. Fellow geeks might like this. Have a secondary control circuit using low-voltage DC to operate relays that in turn operate the various motors and solenoid valves. This circuit would be available via a multi-pin connector on the back of the unit. For the sake of the discussion let's call it a 5 volt DC circuit that controls the power relays. It would have no built-in sequencers, timers, or other such controllers.

You see where I'm going with this? It would be used with either a) an automatic controller sold by the manufacturer as an optional add-on, that mounts above the existing manual controls, or b) anyone could interface this to a PC running some flavor of Linux or BSD, and in effect write their own wash program sequences by filling in the blanks on a screen that looks like a web page. The primary application for the latter would be cases where someone wants to do something unusual such as interface the washer into a graywater recycling system (where it would be stored in a tank and used to provide water for flushing toilets) (and yes, this is specifically what I have in mind). But it could also be used in special cases such as by clothes designers testing their designs with different fabrics, hand-laundry type applications, and so on.

Is this worth pursuing as a general matter, or is this just a wild geek idea with no relevance to the market?

(By the way, this website is way cool. I've discovered over the past few years that these types of sites, i.e. technology history sites run by hobbyists & professionals, are a darn good place to get information on obscure aspects of technologies of all kinds. Technology hobbyists provide a real and valuable service to the general public, including to design engineers and technicians from other fields who are looking into areas that are new to them.)

Post# 50884 , Reply# 6   12/13/2004 at 01:34 (7,012 days old) by arrrooohhh (Sydney Australia)        
sorry to be a wet blanket.

Automating a twin tub would take away its main resource saving feature, the ability to wash several loads in one tub of soapy water.

Lets face it though, a twin tub requires you to spend up to an hour manually handling wet washing in some format. No one has the time to do that these days. As much as I would find an old Hoover twinnie or similar to be heaps on fun, its still a luxury in my busy lifestyle to sit in front of my front loader with a packet of chicken crimpy biscuits.

There are only two Twin Tubs on the Australian market one by Samsung and one by NEC. They cost the same amount as a small automatic, or even a medium/large automatic. As stated by Wilkinsservis, these are more popular in rural areas than they are in Australian cities.

Post# 50893 , Reply# 7   12/13/2004 at 03:35 (7,012 days old) by Designgeek ()        

Thanks for the quick reply.

Re. time-luxury, the way I figure it, people are sitting around hanging out on the internet, or reading, or watching the TV, or socializing in some way, so all they have to do is get up occasionally ("during the commercials":-) and do whatever manual operation is needed at that point.

Re. automating the wash tub component: That's not what I had in mind; only automating the spin tub component so it would go through a couple of extract & spin cycles with little or no attention. The wash tub would stay full of water & suds during all of this, so multiple loads could be run through there and then wait their turn for the spin cycles. Yes, somewhat inconvenient. But where water and energy are scarce, could be useful.

I suppose if I wanted to "geek out" on this, I could design some kind of outoboard solenoid valve and pump system (or their manual equivalent) that would enable storing the soapy water from one cycle in a tank and pumping it back in for the next load. Though this could also be done with a conventional top-loader or possibly even a front-loader, if it were possible to break out the control system circuits.

Which in turn brings us to the question, would it be worthwhile looking into purchasing an older machine for that purpose? The key consideration being that it would have to have all relay & cam-driven timing & controls, or something as close to manual cycle selection as possible, so the control lines could be intercepted and connected to relays for outboard control.

And then, is there a reliable supply of older machines having these characteristics, such that one could publish the plans for the modifications and have a reasonable expectation that people could find these things without unreasonable effort?

Post# 52246 , Reply# 8   1/2/2005 at 09:24 (6,992 days old) by designgeek ()        
Re-use of water

Something just occurred to me.

Let's say you have a FL, and it uses, for example, 10 gallons of water in the wash cycle for a 10 lb. load. Okay, so in the same batch you also have however-much detergent, and however-much suspended dirt of various types that got washed out of the load into the washwater. No one in the "conventional consumer" world thinks there's anything "icky" going on with this.

Now let's say you have a small TT that's got a TL wash tub, and it holds 10 gallons of water and you can put 5 lbs. of laundry in it at a time in order to get good agitation. Now you put in the same amount of detergent as you would have used in the FL, and 5# of laundry. And about ten minutes later, you use a set of tongs to take the laundry out of the water and put it in the spintub, whilst putting the next 5# of laundry into the washtub full of "used" water.

Most people nowadays, i.e. most "conventional consumers" are going to get uncomfortable with the "used water" idea.

However...! The ratio of detergent to water in the TT is the same as in the FL, and when the first load goes through the TT, the "used" water contains *half* the suspended dirt as would have occurred from a 10# load. So when the second 5# goes through the washtub, *then* at the end of *that* wash cycle, what you have is water with the *same* amount of suspended dirt that you would have with the entire 10# load washed at once in the FL. Right..?

If anything, the TT provides the opportunity to wash the first 5# in water that's cleaner than what you'd have in the FL with all 10# in from the first press of the button. So, you do your light-colored stuff in the first batch, and your darker colored stuff in the second batch so the dyes from the latter don't get into the former.

Is this making sense? Am I on track or have I made a stupid mistake somewhere?

Post# 52282 , Reply# 9   1/2/2005 at 21:37 (6,991 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
I believe the rule of thumb with wringer washer was to awsh the whites first in the hot hot water then advance on to light colors and so forth. Detergent boxes in the 50s & early 60s that had wringer instructions said to add 1/2 cup for each subsequent load of laundry.

Post# 52294 , Reply# 10   1/3/2005 at 00:05 (6,991 days old) by designgeek ()        

Appnut, thanks.

Okay, so assume I have the hypothetical wringer machine here and have just put 10# of clothes through it. Now before I start the second load, have I lost some water from the first load? Is the added half-cup of detergent going in there along with some more water (to replace lost detergent and water)? Or is the detergent going into an already water-full washtub in order to strenghen the cleaning ability of whatever detergent molecules haven't yet been "used up" by capturing dirt from the first load? Or both?

Pardon me if this looks like I'm obsessing about minutae or asking dumb questions, but I have a few hypotheses that I think are leading to more efficient use of water without sacrificing cleaning ability. (See also my endless questions in the "rinsing towels" topic":-).

And yeah it makes sense to start with the whites in hot water, then as the water cools down, progress through light colors to dark colors. That's a wonderful synergy because the normal cooling of the water dovetails nicely with the progression toward darker colors from one load to the next, and there's no need to tweak any of those variables further. And of course the heavy workclothes go through as the last load, after which the washwater is pumped out and the rinsing cycles begin.

Post# 52336 , Reply# 11   1/3/2005 at 16:36 (6,991 days old) by laundramatt (Youngstown, Ohio)        

From all my experience with wringer washers, you didn't add water with each wash load. You didn't always need to add detergent
either, as long as you had that good 2 to 3 inches of suds on top of the water. You just started with a load or two of white sheets, then lightly colored, clothes, and so on until the last load or loads were the dirty work clothes.

Post# 52390 , Reply# 12   1/4/2005 at 04:55 (6,990 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        
Water Usage

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Twinnies are great to use and here in UK housewifes here where among the last in the west to take advantage of autos etc...

Its true you can use the water again,(have never known anyone to ditch the water after each load)most machine here wash around 6lbs but in my opinion the only full weight of 6lbs would have to be absorbant cotton loads etc...

The later Hoover machines have linked semi auto technology, auto wash timer linked to thermostat and auto rinse facility, the pic is of my latest Hoover T5054 twinny in action, which is my favourite later twinny with the black fascia.

Will be interested to see how the debate continues as you start to use more of the large capacity front loaders with fast spins etc and lower water consumptions..

I did a test with my Titan washer (similar to Whirlpool Duet) it takes a 7KG load and user pump shower spray technology, very low water consumption, and four rinses....I put the outlet pipe into an auto top loader and the full water usage didnt come to half way in the top loader...

This load would have taken at least six loads in a twinny with considerable water usage.

I hate to say it cos I love taking the twinnys for a run, but overall eco usage it would have to be the new range of front loaders for max cleanness with minimum water /powder/electricity energy consumption....

But there is still only one machine that you can use to boil with, wash rinse and spin at the same time with.....alltogether now!!!!!...... SERVIS....Who Better...

CLICK HERE TO GO TO chestermikeuk's LINK

Post# 52423 , Reply# 13   1/4/2005 at 16:57 (6,990 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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I usually add a little fresh water with each load change in a twinnie or wringer, as well as a little bit of detergent.

If you ask someone who used a wringer washer - or a washboard and boiler-tub, the hot (& clean) water theory will hold true for "whites first" washing as well as the fact that many times the water had to be carried so you used it as much as possible before carrying it to the garden to water the vegetables.

My grandmother, married in 1930, used a Maytag "Gray Ghost" wringer washer with a gas engine, heated the hand-pumped and hand-carried water on the wood cookstove in the kitchen. Most of the time, the whites were put to soak the night before washday (Monday) and then boiled prior to washing - especially if washing by hand on a washboard. The Maytag gas powered washer was considered the ultimate in luxury for a farm-wife, born in 1906 she had never known any automation or relief of drudgery ;-) Electric service was not available until the late 30's in their rural farming community but by then, they had lost the farm and most everything else including their first daughter to lukemia during the depression and midwestern "Dust Bowl" devastation. Hard life...

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