Thread Number: 81463  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Speed Queen: Loophole in Federal Regs brought back classic TC5
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Post# 1055022   12/21/2019 at 10:49 (1,532 days old) by dylanmitchell (Southern California)        

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Interesting article in the Wirecutter (now a NY Times publication) about how Speed Queen was able to bring back classic washers. Basically they created a cycle that meet DOE regs but doesn't clean so you just use the other setting and can deep fill which uses up to 24 gallons a load. Similar to how the 2017 machines met DOE regs but an even more useless token normal cycle for DOE testing. The tough part is consumer education don't use the normal cycle dealer should have stickers they can put over it.

Speed Queen’s VP of home sales Jay McDonald, Speed Queen “found a loophole” in the regulations that allowed the company to reintroduce it in its classic form, with some minor modifications to the settings.

Washer efficiency, in the eyes of the Department of Energy, is determined almost entirely by the Normal cycle. To measure efficiency, the Department of Energy takes a weighted average of the water and energy use of all the temperature settings and other options that might affect things, such as the cycle time, spin speed, and water use. It doesn’t look at the water or energy use on other settings, like Heavy Duty, regardless of how inefficient they might be.

So essentially, Speed Queen created a Normal cycle that (most of the time) is so purposefully stingy with water and energy that it allows the TC5 to meet the efficiency regulations—even though it also has a Deep Fill option that fills the entire 24-gallon tub to the brim, and even though the Heavy Duty and Permanent Press cycles use more water and higher temperatures on the Hot setting. These other options are Speed Queen’s defining traits, and popular features among people who prefer this old-school-style washer (even though there’s a ton of evidence to prove that efficient washers are usually much better at removing stains and preventing fabric damage than the washers that use the most water).

According to McDonald, people jokingly referred to that Normal cycle as the “Department of Energy cycle” when it was under development. It’s labeled as Normal Eco cycle on the final version of the TC5, which McDonald said was meant to signal to owners that it might not work as well as a typical Normal cycle.

In our testing, the Normal Eco cycle was not effective. We tried it with different load sizes, with different temperatures, and with and without the Deep Fill option, and no matter what, our stain strips barely looked any different when the cycle ended. On the plus side, the Poka-Dot test strip (which shows wear on fabric) came out almost entirely undamaged, but that’s a hollow victory when the machine is barely cleaning your clothes.

We shared our results with Speed Queen, and the representatives were not surprised. McDonald even told us that the company coaches dealers to tell customers not to use the Normal Eco cycle and to use the Permanent Press or Heavy Duty cycle instead.

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Post# 1055059 , Reply# 1   12/21/2019 at 18:56 (1,532 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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I call BS on Speed Queen’s claim they were able to bring back the classic wash action TC5 because of a newly-discovered loophole in DOE regulations. They’d been doing it for several years prior to the debut of the agi-tub/transmissionless TR series. My 2017 9-series has a Normal/Eco cycle that’s virtually identical to the same cycle on the TC5.

They brought back a “classic” washer due to a drop-off in sales because of consumer complaints and dismal test results of the TR line.

One change: Adding the Heavy Soil option to the Normal/Eco cycle on the TC5 (which is how CR tests washers), increases wash agitation time to about 25 minutes. This boosted the cleaning score of the TC5 to ‘Very Good’ in CR’s latest test.

I use the Normal/Eco cycle frequently for small-to medium-large size loads with great results.

Unfortunately, the N/E cycle on the 9-series provides what amounts to a cold water wash no matter what temperature you select. I fill the washer with true warm or hot water using the Heavy Duty cycle, then switch to the N/E cycle.

Someone here with a TC5 says it fills with true warm or hot water on the N/E cycle. If that information is correct, then the N/E cycle is identical to the Heavy Duty cycle except for the spray rinses.

Not sure why cleaning results in Wirecutter’s test with the N/E cycle were so poor. They certainly weren’t using the Heavy Soil option, with its very long wash agitation, but my N/E cycle has a max wash time of about 15 minutes (roughly the same as HD or Whites cycles) and it does a great job of cleaning when filled with true warm or hot water.

The article also references SQ’s “corkscrew” agitator, implying it has a dual-action agitator, which is not true.

I don’t use N/E for really large heavily-soiled loads because SQ’s spray rinses are not as effective as those on some other brands’ washers. And a very large, heavily-soiled load needs a deep rinse, as do loads using liquid chlorine bleach; but for many typically-soiled 3-8 lb. loads, it works well.

This post was last edited 12/21/2019 at 19:19
Post# 1055106 , Reply# 2   12/22/2019 at 06:57 (1,531 days old) by PinkPower4 (USA)        
Speed Queen

I agree with this statement, "They brought back a “classic” washer due to a drop-off in sales because of consumer complaints and dismal test results of the TR line."

For those who only wash business casual, keep the TR series for them. I have a portable washer I paid $200 dollars for that is perfect for those loads, though, so I see no need to get one. However, I have other stuff to wash too like kids' clothing, pet messes, outdoor wear, etc. For these type of loads, why not just bring the AWN432 back? What purpose do the TWO control boards bring versus a simple mechanical timer? Was this done only in an attempt to bring up the scores on that "eco" cycle at the expense of other cycles that consumers actually use? Wouldn't these simple models be less expensive to make and offer the consumer more value for their dollar? Offer the touch pad model too for those who want or need more options. I really do think SQ's control boards are designed to be more durable.

I had my old Whirlpool top load for 15 years and never had an issue with the timer. Have we really gotten to the point we cannot do anything without Alexa, Hey Google, or an app telling us our wash is done? I just set a timer on my watch or manually on Alexa or Google :-).

I really struggled with the decision whether or not to get the TC5 while I can especially with that extended warranty (which may or may not be good if SQ quits selling residential washers). I still think the TC5 is the overall top pick for reasons I have already stated, but maybe not for me. If I had never used the Maytag mvwp575gw, I can say without a doubt I would have gotten the TC5. The problem is I have used the Maytag now for 18 months. The dual agitator really does move the clothes in, down, and through the water better than a straight vane and certainly better than the TR series which "twirls the clothes around like a feather". I have put it through its paces with a variety of loads. I honestly don't know if *I* would buy the TC5 now or not over the MT575. If you want the matching dryer, there is no justification for the extra cost in SQ's dryer over the MT one (for what it's worth, I am still using the LG dryer from the set I had). I would know what I am missing. I feel it would be a tradeoff that I am not willing to make, and I am not gaining that much more by getting the TC5. After all, what I really wanted was the AWN432 with more water level control, transmission, and mechanical timers. I would plunk $1k in a heartbeat if I could find that model new again (but I would still keep my MT--doesn't make sense to take a financial loss on something that works!).

The Maytag mvwp575 has tap hot for the main cycles. At least this has been my experience with with the water heater set at the recommended 120 degrees F. I have gotten the same results with the water heater set higher. With the Normal "Eco" cycle, the best way I found (given what I know now) is to add hot water manually (tap hot fill) or restrict (but not completely turnoff) the flow of the cold water during the wash part of the fill if I need a near hot or warmer wash. This cycle now works great on everything but delicates. The suspension on this washer is no issue when used properly. The MT575 only failed the overload test because it tried to turn over the clothes when the SQ TC 5 couldn't. Since this ATC is one of the issues why someone might choose a SQ over it, why do reviewers not go back and correct this information at least in the description? The hot temperature for the main cycles does not appear to be tempered. I agree the way the Maytag manual is worded is confusing. I think it applies to the Normal "Eco" cycle and the fact that new washer have some water leftover that is used for the next wash cycle. I realize the temp sensor can maintain a minimum wash temperature, but I'd rather not have something else that could break.

I understand the reviewers are limited to what they can say. Their businesses thrive on selling the other quality products the company makes. But SQ is not doing themselves any favors by having "ordinary" people that don't know how to use their products promote it. I also feel certain people are given some type of incentive to comment about how superior the TR series on no matter what brand is being reviewed. If you feel it is the best, state why. General comments are not as helpful.

What really bothers me is I see these Speed Queens being pushed like they are. A $3K stack washer set should me made so the pieces can be used independently if needed or replaced if needed. SQ front loads might last twenty instead of ten years, but they cost twice as much too and do not have an onboard heater (the new one does have an oxi cycle, which would work for me). After the first of the year, the warranty goes back to the standard (which lessens the overall value for the dollar). It should not be Speed Queen or nothing. I really like my MT too, but some people just cannot get that. I try to let them know about the GE direct drive and the Roper/Amana/Conservator etc. for around $399 that have the dual agitator. The real difference there is probably in build quality.

Post# 1055121 , Reply# 3   12/22/2019 at 10:03 (1,531 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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... and the fact that new washer have some water leftover that is used for the next wash cycle.
Explain, please.

Post# 1055128 , Reply# 4   12/22/2019 at 10:54 (1,531 days old) by imperial70 (MA USA)        
explain please

I think that has to do with the fact that some front loaders don't spin between rinses or they spin at a shortened duration or slower speed between the rinses.

I'm not to familiar with the top loaders so I won't go there.

Post# 1055133 , Reply# 5   12/22/2019 at 11:44 (1,531 days old) by dylanmitchell (Southern California)        
TR failed so what's old is new again and voila TC5

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SQ could have brought out the TC "classic" washer in 2018 but went with the TR line instead. With the failure of the TR line they needed something new or even better something old and proven what's old is new again. As long as the mechanicals are there the washer can be tweaked to perform well be fun to set up a TC5 controlled by a Rasberry Pi.

Post# 1055143 , Reply# 6   12/22/2019 at 13:24 (1,531 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
speed queend washer going back to classic design

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speaking of speed queen going back to there classic design do you think they should go back to timers like these rather than use fancy electronic where its the person starting the washer that select the needed wash time wash and rinse temp as well as water level depending on the size of the wash load rather than having fancy electronic that decide everything and where wash water might not go in the washer tap hop if hot water is selected for the wash or warm as well as add the option of a warm rinse that can be toggle on or off like the extra rinse option when needed? pic is an exemple

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Post# 1055151 , Reply# 7   12/22/2019 at 14:51 (1,531 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Speed Queens TC5 TL Washer

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Yes I agree with Eugene in reply #1, there are several mistakes in Wirecutters article and some of what the SQ rep is saying is BS, not the least of which are they providing stickers to place over the Normal-Eco cycle label.

SQ is trying to make the best of a situation that caused to plummet after the new TR TL machines were introduced.

I still predict that SQ is going to redesign the new TR models as they need to do this anyway as the current TR models will not work in commercial situations and they want and need to stop building the old transmission washers.

John L.

Post# 1055222 , Reply# 8   12/23/2019 at 08:00 (1,530 days old) by PinkPower4 (USA)        
Water leftover & Raspberry Pi & Controls


Although I have read there is residual water leftover that is used for the next wash, I think the sloshing I hear when I rotate the drum is mostly the liquid in a balance ring. I found this response below in a Q and A, but would probably apply to my Maytag as well. It is confusing. This should be pointed out in the owner's manual. If it is, I do not remember seeing it.

"The washer is equipped with a balance ring. The balance ring is an enclosed plastic container that is partially filled with a salt water solution. The two halves of the balance ring are welded together to form a permanent seal. It is attached to the inner clothes basket and allows the basket to spin smoothly if an uneven load creates an out-of-balance situation. As part of the normal operation, there may be some water left between the tub and the basket." Most new washers use a hung suspension.

Speed Queen's design is better. It addresses out-of-balance issues better. Speed Queen explains their excellent suspension model here:

. I can see where those control boards may be helpful in this situation.

The Maytag manual needs to be clearer how automatic temperature control affects wash cycles. It could have even gained them a few more sales.


I prefer an option with the mechanical controls. What I really wanted was for SQ to bring back the tried and true simple model, AWN432. I don't overload my machine, so I do not need a computer sensing that for me. And I would still get a better suspension system, if needed.


There are not too many electronics around my house that I have not altered. I have always wondered if I could tweak the electronics on my Maytag. How does Raspberry Pi work with a washer? This certainly peaks my interest!

Post# 1055226 , Reply# 9   12/23/2019 at 08:50 (1,530 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
@Reply #4

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Nearly ever since commercial washers became also extractors there has been considerable debate within industry about extracting between rinse cycles.

Many commercial washers this day are programmed to run several wash then rinse cycles and only extract and end of things. Indeed tunnel washers that are rapidly taking over industrial/commercial laundry business (at least for larger plants) cannot extract between cycles, and only do so at end.

Rationale for not extracting after main wash and or rinses is that it pulls dirty water through wash. Some people still feel old ways are best; to dilute all suds/muck out of wash first, then extract.

Much of this goes back to when soaps were main "detergent" for wash day; you didn't want to drain scummy soapy water through wash, so things were rinses several times before wringing, mangling, extracting to ensure most of dirt/soap was gone.

The large SQ washers at local laundromat only do short slow gentle spins (if you could call them that) after main wash and first rinses. There is one or maybe two hard spins after spins before final rinse.

Obviously if you're not fully extracting between cycles there is considerable carryover of water (besides other things), which one supposes does keep water usage down (at least for H-axis washers). Subsequent rinses use less water because the less then spun dry wash won't absorb much as it would otherwise.

Post# 1055234 , Reply# 10   12/23/2019 at 11:45 (1,530 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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All household washers (and dishwashers) retain a bit of the final rinse water in the pump and tub sump, but that is due to design and limitations of the pump, not for the express purpose of reusing water for the next washload.  It's impossible for the pump to push 100% of the water up/out the drain hose.

Balance rings, liquid-filled or other, are not a new thing.  Early WP direct-drive washers have a "ballast ring" integral to the basket.  They later went to an attached ring.  Maytag Neptune frontloaders since 1997 have a balance ring that can be heard sloshing when the drum is rotated by hand.  Unknowing DIYers occasionally get concerned about hearing "trapped water" and drill a hole in the balance ring to drain it, resulting in trouble. 

Post# 1055240 , Reply# 11   12/23/2019 at 12:37 (1,530 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        

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Pinkpower4 if you can afford to have washer dryer sets ship from canada to your home you can find on this website old fashion washers with mechanical timers


Post# 1055241 , Reply# 12   12/23/2019 at 12:50 (1,530 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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A stacked Neptune set came with the house we bought last year.  I was unfamiliar with Neptunes and when I heard water sloshing the first time I turned the drum, I thought it hadn't completely drained.  I later learned that it was ballast to help with balancing, and indeed it does.


As for SQ TC vs. Maytag 575, in the case of a matched set the choice is easy.  The Maytag dryer is a Whirlpool design which has remained tried and true for more than 50 years.  Meanwhile, SQ still uses a (non) sensing system that is inferior to perhaps any other make.  Between bad rinsing and bad drying from SQ, the decision to go with Maytag is an easy one.

Post# 1055247 , Reply# 13   12/23/2019 at 15:04 (1,530 days old) by Brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

I still say that SQ should look to how F&P did it in 1985.

No gearbox, no brake, just an infinitely controllable motor, and two shafts with locking tabs to lock the agitator and tub together once it turns past 360 degrees.

They already have all the components in their Agitub, they just need a second shaft.

Post# 1055252 , Reply# 14   12/23/2019 at 15:53 (1,530 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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>> There are not too many electronics around my house that I have not altered. I have always wondered if I
>> could tweak the electronics on my Maytag. How does Raspberry Pi work with a washer? This certainly
>> peaks my interest!

The sky is the limit, really. Add some relays and support circuits for sensor interfacing, and you could completely replace the entirety of your machine's control system, and program it to do whatever you'd like from start to finish. Or you could create something like the "piggyback ECUs" that are popular in the performance car world, and create a device that sits between the sensors/motors and your Maytag's control circuitry, allowing it to modify the values to trick the Maytag's brain into using higher water levels, different water temperatures, allow the lid to be unlocked during different parts of the cycle program, etc.

You might also consider using an Arduino (or the like) instead of a Raspberry Pi. For something as simple as a washing machine, there's really no need for a full-blown computer.

Post# 1055318 , Reply# 15   12/23/2019 at 23:15 (1,529 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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After reading this, I used the Normal/Eco cycle on my Speed Queen for the first time yesterday.  It's an unscientific test...but I ran a small load of four dress shirts on the medium level.  I then ran them through the rinse & spin cycle on the same water level.  The water on rinse & spin was clear as a bell, which leads me to believe that, for some loads, the Normal/Eco cycle does an adequate job of rinse.  However, I certainly would not use it for a full load of towels! 

Post# 1055648 , Reply# 16   12/26/2019 at 17:45 (1,527 days old) by ladd (Maryland)        

> Someone here with a TC5 says it fills with true warm or hot water on the N/E
> cycle.

Might have been me. On my TC5 with Normal/Eco cycle selected and Hot temperature selected, I get water temps to the full 120 degrees that my water heater is set at. I have no idea what water temps in the TC5 would be if the water heater was set to 130 degrees or higher.

FWIW: With Normal/Eco cycle selected, I get brief splashes of water for the rinse. Additionally selecting the option of Extra Rinse, the rinse changes from brief splashes to a full tub rinse, twice.

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