Earth Notes: On the Electra C1845W freestanding slimline dishwasher: Review

Updated 2021-10-11 15:37 GMT.
By Damon Hart-Davis.
New brand, more efficient, better delay!
C1845W controls
This site has now outlasted several major kitchen appliances, which helps show what improves with time. Changing brands now allows a more efficient and grid-friendly wash at last, without expensive, unnecessary and risky baubles (WiFi remote control, anyone?).

Review

Initial review on its way...

Out With The Old

dishwasher slimline domestic Electra C1845W 1 DHD

The Zanussi ZDS2010 was replaced () with the Electra C1845W.

(The Zanussi expired 2020-11-26 and the Electra was finally correctly installed 2020-12-11. Here is my spreadsheet of options.)

We also amongst others considered a 'connected' Bosch SPS2IKW04G, to little apparent added value and some privacy risk. The Candy was bigger than described on the retailer's site, and didn't physically fit!

The Electra feels a bit more flimsy than the Zanussi. But it beats the Zanussi on many parts of the spec, including energy use. There is also a half-load button, and a remaining-time indicator. Possibly best of all, there is a start delay incrementable in hours to 19h. I expect to make good use of the flexible delay to hit 2am-ish to minimise grid impact.

I'm also liking the 'pause' action that makes it easlier to check that everything is OK briefly without a splash of water escaping, or worrying that I am damaging something. Am I the only person who checks that the rinse has done its job on a particularly full load before moving to the main event? Maybe I am!

I could not find the manual on-line before the machine was delivered, which these days is unusual. The paper manual is fairly bland and generic, and titled Electra EN Dishwasher / User Manual and then C1845W / C1845DS / C1845B.

The Turkish manufacturer Vestel now uses the Electra brand. I am told that Vestel manufactures TVs for many of the leading [] brands including Toshiba, Hitachi and even low cost Panasonic ones. Seems like they're doing a reasonable job in the TV world anyway.

The Electra nominally holding 10 place settings to the the Zanussi's 9. However, the top rack feels more cramped with less headroom. I tried lowering the top rack to its other position. But then the upper spray arm was striking our dinner plates. Will need more getting used to.

Dishes Ex Machina

As we get to understand the soul of our new machine, I'll update this review.

Maintenance

The manual does not specifically mention regular maintenance washes, but says:

Oil and grime may build up in your Dishwasher over time. If this occurs:

  • Fill the detergent compartment but do not load any dishes. Select a programme which runs at high temperature and run the Dishwasher empty. If this does not clean your Dishwasher sufficiently, use a cleaning agent designed for use with dishwashers. ...

2020-12-11: Fitted, Finally

One of the services that we paid AO for was fitting. We had four AO visits in total. Three were attempting to fit a machine: all failed. (One was unannounced to take away the too-deep Candy machine. Though even that might have been made to fit with a minutes' work.)

I've had to twice call out a separate sensible tradesman that I know. One was on Sunday afternoon. All to do what the AO folks should have done.

The last AO visit two days ago, bringing the Electra back (with a dent in the side and the front panel deformed) was not a success either. The installer was seemingly in such a panic to get to the next job that he failed to connect the water feed, and tried to claim that it wasn't needed... His colleague and I eventually convinced him to. But he certainly did not then spend the few minutes it turned out to require to inspect the space, adjust the machine feet and get the device properly in so that we could use the adjacent kitchen drawer again.

That has now been done by me and the sensible tradesman. So we are finally where we should have been over a week ago.

2020-12: Installation Troubles

Notes from a troubled purchase (lightly edited):

  • AO 1st attempt to install 2nd Dec, machine too large (1.7cm longer than the 60cm shown on the site, site now fixed.)
  • AO 2nd attempt, ~11:30am, installer/driver could not remove old machine saying fitting was cross-threaded. Left old machine connected (and obstructing 2 drawers and cupboards) and left without saying anything and taking new machine away.
  • Called Dave [sensible builder] and asked for estimate to replace valve to be able to remove machine: GBP75-80.
  • AO call from AO logistics (~12pm) will rebook for Monday. I said to avoid 11:00 to 13:30. She said to call customer care on 0344 324 9222. Reported 28 minute wait time to get through.
  • DHD 12:16 asked Dave to come out and replace the valve so that the Candy can be removed.
  • AO got through on customer services at 12:54. She cannot book for Monday and item now marked as out of stock.
  • 13:30 Dave has replaced the valve. Candy fitting was not cross-threaded and is easy to remove: device could have been removed.
  • 13:50 Called AO customer services to update them. Wait time >30mins. 14:20 answered. Trying to get driver to come back with the new dishwasher today.
  • 19:00 Machine and fitter not back.
  • 7th ~14:30: unexpected AO visit to take away the Candy. So currently no dishwasher at all, though this could be a deceng place to call it quits, if necessary...
  • 9th ~12:30: AO visit with Electra C1845W. Had to be reminded to connect the cold water feed. Device still obstructs the drawer, though less. Will need to take remedial action of some sort ourselves; cannot face another round...
  • 11th ~11:30: Dave round and in 5 mins had got the machine to fit (by adjusting the feet). Any trained fitter not in a panic over time could have resolved this: maybe even made the Candy work. Also noted the dented side panel and deformed front panel. Another callout charge. 20+ deliveries per day attempted?
  • 11th 12:44: calling AO to talk about above, 15m hold time. Composed and sent strong email while waiting. Wait ~20 mins. Got cut off 5 minutes in to describing the sistuation.

2020-12-17: Observations

C1845W 20201217 ECO cycle consumption in whole house Enphase chart

The top rack seems less roomy than in the ZDS2010, and the foldable space for very small plates is probably the basis for the claim that 10 place settings can be held. I think in fact that the usable capacity is slightly lower than the ZDS2010. In any case I shall need to unlearn some old tricks for making best use of the available space, and learn some new ones.

The ECO cycle is 198 minutes long. Like the ZDS2010 ECO cycle, there are two main bursts of demand. In the ZDS2010 they are about 60 minutes apart, in the C1845W about 90 minutes apart. This means a longer period of sustained sunshine would be needed to cover both.

The C1845W manual makes a fleeting reference to a non-existent pre-wash detergent chamber, but does exist in the C1745W and looks a lot like that in the Zanussi ZDS2010.

2020-12-19: Delay Until 2am or 3am?

20201219T21:30Z BRMS screenshot

When setting up an overnight run with the ZDS2010 I would wait until a little before bedtime (~10pm) and select the fixed 3h delay. Thus the cycle would start at 1am, drawing the first significant (heating) load about 20 minutes later, and another heating burst ~40 minutes after that (~2am).

Minimum GB grid demand is more like betweem 3am and 5am. Aiming to consume then minimises grid infrastructure demands. It also flattens the daily load curve. It is nominally about lowest carbon intensity then also. There has been little or no coal burn at that time, looking at the stats for the last couple of days.

C1845W 20201220 ECO cycle consumption in whole house Enphase chart

Tonight I have set up the ECO wash shortly after 9pm, when I remembered and it was convenient. I set a 5h delay, which should start the cycle at ~2am, demanding significant energy soon after, and also at ~3:30am. On reflection maybe I should have gone for a 6h delay (3am start) to push a bit further into lowest grid demand.

(The first significant consumption can be seen in the Enlighten graph to be 2:15 to 2:30. The last is 3:45 to 4:00. So up to 1h later would be good.)

In future I think that I should aim for a start around 3am, not before 2am.

2021-01-01: just right for another 5h delay tonight, starting at 21:45.

2020-12-23: Energy Measurements

Today I am starting to take some energy-consumption measurements. I am using my Maplin N67HH plug-in meter.

I will update this table periodically as I take more.

The N67HH sees consumption at "off" as 0.5W after being turned back off. Load while sitting at a programme position but not set up nor started, 1.4W.

Today I'm starting with rinse (prewash).

Measured Electra C1845W energy consumption.
Programme Feature(s) Duration (m)
[1]
Energy (kWh) Date Water (°C)
[2]
Comments
prewash (cold) 15 < 0.1 2020-12-23 13 Cold rinse. Too low to register total kWh on meter, so showing 0.0. Programme run time seems about right. Power factor was ~0.95+ during rinse, but nearer 0.35 during final drain. Peak power draw was 131W. Final "resting" draw with selector left on prewash and when turned "off" was 1.4W. Opening the door and leaving it ajar dropped the power draw to 0.5W.
900s "20210402 Electra C1845W dishwasher prewash" Uploaded . Download stereo MP3 clip 19652kB (may not be available in data-saver/lite mode), download low-bandwidth mono MP3 clip 5529kB.
quick 40°C 30
eco (50°C) 198
36s "20210106 Electra C1845W dishwasher ECO sample" Uploaded . Download stereo MP3 clip 784kB (may not be available in data-saver/lite mode), download low-bandwidth mono MP3 clip 206kB, hi-fi stereo lossless clip 3162kB.

2021-03-06: prewash as part of the eco wash appears to be 10 minutes.
half-load 170 0.7 2020-12-24 12 109W during prewash, ~30W during drain and then 8.4W while refilling afterwards. ~2.2kW as the wash starts (~246V / 9A), mains cable slightly warm, 0.4kWh metered by the end of the first burst of water heating with ~138 minutes left. At 90 minutes remaining, 0.7kWh has been metered, and the machine is drawing 1.3W. Programme duration as display, final draw before door opened 1.3W, peak draw 2244W, total energy 0.7kWh. (Separate observation suggests that the main wash is finished after ~90 minutes, and rinsing starts.)
super 50 min 65°C 50
intensive 65°C 114 [122] ≲ 1.5 2021-03-07 10 Running time observed to be ~122m, allowing for some pauses to inspect the wash in progress. Energy consumption estimated from Enphase whole-house readings.
intensive 65°C 114 [119] ≲ 1.4 2021-06-26 19 08:21Z start, 114m shown on display. Enphase shows 0.8kWh 'consumed' today so far, ~50:50 covered by battery:PV, 0 import. 19°C mains water (ie pretty warm). (There is other stuff going on, such the final hour of a small cold wash.) Paused ~3 mins at 08:39Z as sun went behind a cloud just when I expected the main wash water heating to start! But there is other cloud around that I won't dodge (indeed, I may already have missed one heating phase)! (~09:18Z cold wash finished after its final spin.) ~09:59Z with 20 mins remaining time displayed, the dishwasher is in 'dry' phase. Finished 10:20Z (so running time ~119m, but ~3m manual pause). After, Enphase shows 2.4kWh 'consumed' today of which ~0.2kWh will be the washing machine since the start, so ~1.4kWh for the dishwasher. ~20:80 covered by battery:PV and still 0 (<0.1kWh) imports. See Enphase 1m whole-house metering data. Today solar power has covered two washing machine loads (and now line drying outside) and the dishwasher!
hygiene 70°C 124 1.7 2021-04-04 11 Sunny day with >2.5kW generation, just had big lunch, machine quite full, so a good time for a 'maintenance' maximum-temperature wash at 70°C with a full tablet and a couple of drops of dish detergent for prewash. 124 minutes shown on display. Started 12:20Z, with the Maplin N67HH plug-in meter, and Enphase per-minute samples of whole-house consumption. Heating almost immediately (within 2 minutes of starting relay click heard) at ~2.2kW. Has not opened the tablet drawer: so is hot prewash. For the C1745W this would be the 50°C (first) wash phase. By 12:36Z down to ~108W, 0.4kWh consumed, still apparently in first phase. 12:46Z draining. 0.5kWh used. 12:50Z 70°C wash cycle has started, tablet door opened, consumption ~2.2kW. (Note: I did briefly pause/open the machine a couple of times for inspections!) 13:05Z brief pause, consumption down to 106W, 1kWh used (ie in first 45m). 13:35Z drain (~20W), and on to rinses (refill ~7W). 1.1kWh used. 13:42Z drain and refill. 13:44Z (52m on the display) hot rinse started, ~2.2kW. 13:52Z brief pause, three clunking noises like tablet drawer opening, could be rinse-aid dispensing (not that we have any), 1.5kWh used. 13:59Z brief pause. 14:09Z drain, display showing 25 minutes and 'dry' phase. ~1W, 1.7kWh used. 14:35Z drain, and finish. 1.7W, peak 2.279kW, total consumption 1.7kWh.
  1. Duration is that shown on the machine's display at the start of the cycle, unless otherwise stated. The display time seems to be fairly accurate.
  2. The mains water temperature when measured. This affects energy consumption of any cycle that heats the water.

The C1845W manual is coy on these details, and not available on-line. However, I deduce that the following apply from looking at the manual of the similar C1745W:

  • Max total power 1900W, of which 1800W heating, 100W pump, 30W drain pump.
  • Wash temperatures (°C): prewash cold, quickwash 40, eco 50, super 50' 65, intensive 65, hygiene 70.
  • Wash energy (kWh): prewash 0.02, quickwash 0.72, eco 0.73, super 50' 1.31, intensive 1.45, hygiene 1.5.
  • Wash water (l): prewash 3.8, quickwash 10, eco 11.0, super 50' 10.5, intensive 17.6, hygiene 15.
C1745W programmes excerpt
Extract from Electra C1745W manual.

2020-12-24: ECO Half Load

C1845W 20201224 ECO half load cycle consumption in whole house Enphase chart cropped

The half-load option with ECO cuts the running time from 198 minutes to 170. It seems to be shortening the main wash and/or the following cold rinse to do that.

The two demand spikes seem to be ~45 minutes apart (cycle starting ~11:30) rather than over an hour. This would explain some of the 28 minutes saved.

The load wasn't particularly small, but it wasn't heavily soiled. Everything seems to have been cleaned well.

2021-01-06: Sound Of ECO

I recorded a sample of the dishwasher running on the ECO programme overnight. It may have been in the wash or the rinse part.

36s "20210106 Electra C1845W dishwasher ECO sample" Uploaded . Download stereo MP3 clip 784kB (may not be available in data-saver/lite mode), download low-bandwidth mono MP3 clip 206kB, hi-fi stereo lossless clip 3162kB.

2021-02-07: New Plastic Smell

When in the heating parts of the wash/rinse cycles there is still some off-gassing of volatiles — a slight new/hot plastic smell. Maybe a bit acrid/phenolic.

2021-03-07: 65°C Intensive

Bright sunshine (2kW PV generation) and we've just finished lunch, so I've the first ever 65°C 'intensive' wash to help thoroughly clean the large load and the machine itself.

114 minutes was shown on the display, with the actual a little later, with a couple of brief interruptions to inspect the wash in progress.

I am not measuring power consumption with an in-line meter, but I can try to infer it from the whole-house load as measured by the Enphase. (The incoming water temperature is low at ~10°C.)

Enphase data covering the period the programme was running:

Date/Time,Energy Produced (Wh),Energy Consumed (Wh),Exported to Grid (Wh),Imported from Grid (Wh),Stored in AC Batteries (Wh),Discharged from AC Batteries (Wh)
2021-03-07 13:15:00 +0000,498,243,232,0,45,22
2021-03-07 13:30:00 +0000,362,353,16,0,30,37
2021-03-07 13:45:00 +0000,450,546,0,55,13,54
2021-03-07 14:00:00 +0000,409,94,252,0,65,2
2021-03-07 14:15:00 +0000,365,113,191,0,64,3
2021-03-07 14:30:00 +0000,344,380,0,29,30,37
2021-03-07 14:45:00 +0000,332,374,0,37,31,36
2021-03-07 15:00:00 +0000,312,79,170,0,65,2
2021-03-07 15:15:00 +0000,280,48,165,0,67,0

Summing column 3 gives 2230Wh (2.2kWh) which will include other demand. No more than ~1.5kWh of that is likely to be the dishwasher. (Eg see consumption of 94Wh of which Electra will have been ~25Wh, suggesting other loads of ~300W.) The C1745W table above suggests 1.45kWh for this programme, double that of 'eco'.

This hot wash did not lift all the gunge out of the mesh filter.

2021-03-18: F2

Today the machine stopped after the prewash part of an eco cycle with "F2" on its display, indicating that it was unable to drain. And indeed the bottom of the machine had grey water in it when the door was opened.

I assumed that some paper from a jar label (or similar) had caused a blockage, as I think happened with the previous machine occasionally. So I poked around carefully with the back blunt end of some cutlery to attempt to clear any such, and believe I could feel and moved such an obstruction.

After a few forced programme cancels to try to drain the machine, eventually all was well and a normal eco programme was run.

2021-04-03: More Observations

There are a couple of small areas where the design of the Electra seems to improve over the preceding Zanussi.

Firstly, the cutlery holder actually works to hold the items separate, and has top holes large enough for the handles of our cutlery. Though some of the forks have rears so wide that only holes around the edge of the basket will accommodate them.

The device that releases the washing tablet slides vertically in the Elextra. For the Zanussi it used to flip up, and could be blocked by large plates etc at the front left of the machine, preventing the tablet dissolving properly. Now large plates can go anywhere that they'll fit, including front left, which is useful extra flexibility — used last night, in fact!

2021-04-04: Seasonal Shift

Today with the sun out and bright I ran a 70°C 'hygiene' wash for the first time on the Electra, partly as a 'maintenance' wash. (I used a full tablet too!)

Being able to postpone such actions several months until there is abundant energy is effectively a form of interseasonal (demand) storage. Being able to wait until all or nearly all can be supplied from live renewable generation avoids needing a store for it elsewhere in the system.

This 'stored' the extra 1kWh of energy demand of 'hygiene' over 'eco' since (say) December.

2021-05-20: F2 Again

Last night the machine hadn't drained fully after a rinse, though did so when forced by starting then cancelling a prewash.

This morning the overnight eco eash had stopped with a flashing F2. The murky water had not drained, and the tablet had not been released, so it was stuck after the prewash phase again.

I lifted the filter and gently poked around to try to clear any blockage. I cancelled the cycle and started and cancelled a prewash to drain. I then finally restarted an eco cycle.

2021-06-19: Dry Indicator

On reflection I do appreciate the explicit "Wash", "Rinse", "Dry", "End" indicator LEDs. In particular, once "Dry" is on, if I'm in a hurry, I know I can open the machine up knowing that all the cleaning is safely done.

2021-06-23: Stain

When running eco washes with half a detergent tablet, it seems that tea/coffee mugs' insides may be retaining a slight brown cast. I will try to run an experiment with a higher temperature and/or full tablet.

2021-06-26: Maintenance

There's fairly good sunshine now and forecast for the next few hours, so at I am starting a 65°C 'intensive' wash, with per-minute whole-house power monitoring. I'm hoping that most of the energy for this maintenance wash will come from our roof.

It is a releatively light load, so would normally be postponed until full. But I have put in a few mugs showing signs of tea/coffee staining as above, to see if some of that can be shifted when not rationing detergent.

(There is other stuff going on, such the final hour of a small cold wash, and me having a bath which which needs the gas combi boiler to fire up.)

I used Finish powder detergent in the dispenser, and nothing at all else, in the hope that this change of method would help lift some of the accumulated grot in various corners of the machine (eg on and under filters).

Observations:

  • Tea/coffee staining not completely removed from mugs.
  • Metal and nylon filters still interestingly grotty so cleaned by hand in sink in hot water.
  • Some parts of the machine still grotty: will be cleaned by hand.

Grid Friendly

Along with my unicorn, I'd like a standard way to feed into this dishwasher a standard "I am generating from PV but also importing from the grid" signal. That could be used either to throttle back heating, say from 2kW to 500W, or pause it briefly to allow a cloud to pass if exports have happened in this cycle. It would take some strain off the grid and battery systems, and need not add any extra bill of materials cost except to receive the signal. This could come from a smart meter in a standard cheap lowish-security way, eg over the wiring, since even interfering with it could not cause much harm, in the manner that David MacKay asked me to look at for DECC many moons ago.

Even more simply, I'd like the eco wash never to draw more than ~500W--1kW to reduce I^2R losses and peak demands and make more use of local PV, battery, and other self-consumption opportunities: lower and slower is good.

2021-08-20: 9h Delay

Sheer unbridled hedonism: at a little after 6pm I set the ECO programme with a 9h delay to hit a low-demand time for the grid in the wee hours, but be done in good time for breakfast. 10h would probably be better for the grid, but more marginal for breakfast for at least one person!

2021-09-08: Solar Power

I took the opportunity of the likely last very sunny day for a while (hitting 29°C) to run a fully-solar-powered intensive 65°C wash, partly serving as a maintenance wash.

2021-10-11: Marbles

A Combimate mains water phosphate dosing device was fitted today. An ECO cycle was already running when the builder arrived to fit it. It has just heated water for the mains wash and had 172 minutes to go when we had to pause the wash and then take the dishwasher out entirely to have enough room to install the Combimate and all the related work.

The Electra was off for at least about three hours. It remembered where it was, and that it was paused, once it was all replumbed and the power turned back on. Hurrah!

IN PROGRESS

~3766 words.