Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #5

2 December 1997

Merry Christmas

Well, another year has passed. I'd like to pass on a big Thank You and Merry Christmas to all our customers. We will have a skeleton staff operating between 29 December 1997 and 23 January 1998. Our service technician will be available during this period to carry out repairs. If you are phoning and don't get an answer, try again in 10 minutes as there will only be one or two people working and it is a big building with five incoming phone lines!

How much power - washing machines

Gone are the days of the old wringer washing machines which had 2 or 3 settings or functions. Modern washing machines often have a dozen or more different programs. When selecting a washing machine always make certain you can program it to do a 'normal' wash cycle without heating your water. In other words, you don't want the washing machine to heat your water (using power generated from your solar panels). In Australia, the Star rating can be misleading in terms of renewable energy systems because it takes account of how much water it uses and the electricity needed to heat this water. This is typically 90% of the total power used. So, for example, Fisher and Paykel use a lot of water and so they do not fare well on the energy Star rating label. However, from our testing, they are probably the most energy efficient unit (assuming you are using solar, gas, wood to heat your water or that you wash with cold water).

Using background data from Choice magazine in 1995 we calculated the power for a 5 kg wash to be between 150 to 350 Wh for some dozen washing machines that they tested. However, our local electrician measured 81.5 Wh/load with his Fisher and Paykel machine!

Other 'problems' with washing machines is that with their increasing 'sophistication' some do not work on modified square wave type inverters. We would suggest that Fisher and Paykel units only be used on a sine wave inverter such as the Selectronic SE10. Experience both here and in the USA suggests not to use the Asko brand on any type of inverter. I'd also be wary of using newer washing machines on petrol/diesel gen sets unless they are of good quality and regularly maintained (in terms of frequency and voltage regulation). The last problem we've encountered a couple times is that the unit becomes 'confused' or comes to a complete stop in between cycles. This can be caused by the inverter detecting no load, going onto standby, and thereby causing the washing machine program to 'crash' due to a 'power failure'.

That's all folks - Have a Good Holiday!

Cheers from Dave and all the RPC crew.

Dave Lambert (Director)

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We install solar systems in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.


QLD:
Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)


NSW:
Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Yamba, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Grafton via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

For larger system we also go up to Brisbane or down to Coffs Harbour and even Glen Innes. Other places by arrangement.