Major malfuction

A project log for Monitoring washing machines

One mans quest to spend less time in the basement

Lars KnudsenLars Knudsen 04/09/2016 at 22:061 Comment

So last weekend I had some issues with running my scripts for prolonged time but I did manage to get some data. I was monitoring the data remotely as we visited family while the machines were running, and I noticed some odd behavior.

Data from both sensors during a test with both machines running

If my memory is correct then I started both machines at same time, the dryer on a 3 hour program and the washer on a 45 minute program. The data shows the dryer stopping after ~20 minutes and the washer after ~50. To be honest I don't recall whether the reamaining spikes after 15:30 are from my messing with the macine (unlikely, should have shown up on both sensors) or from the centrifuging part of the program (more likely, matches up pretty well with the count of spikes).

The good news is that it seems possible to determine whether the washer runs or not when it is running alone, based on the current sensor placement. The bad news is that it seems practically impossible to tell whether the washer runs if the dryer runs as well. Actually, given the machines run individually it seems plausible to detect which machines is running by just using the accelerometer mounted on the dryer.

However the most troubling fact here was that the dryer only ran for 20 minutes! When we came home we found that the dryer had not dried the clothes. After some troubleshooting and (mostly) non-invasive investigation we decided to use the guarantee and are now waiting for a technician to stop by and fix the machine. I did not predict this use case for the monitoring hardware, and I'm pretty bummed out by the machine breaking after just over a year of use.

So for now it is back to the drawing board. My solution is fine for people with non-stacked machines, but it does not fullfil my needs. I'd like to test out the mics I have laying, mounting them flat on the side/back of the machine would hopefully be able to distinguish which machine is running or I might use a combination. I can still use accelerometer on the dryer alone after all, the movement caused by the washer isn't anywhere near the motion detected when the dryer is running. Another possible solution is also to revise my motion detecting code, I have a sense that there is some room for improvement.

Speaking of which, I noticed my last post had a very specific reference to some of my code and I hadn't posted it yet! It is still a draft, lots of potential for cleaning up and probably optimizing, so I refrained from posting it earlier, but I guess a lot of people feel that way about sharing their code, so here goes nothing.


Michael Vowles wrote 04/11/2016 at 07:16 point

Bad luck mate, at least with your system it gives you a bit of insurance if they need more info! 

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