IoT-ify All Things: LG Has Gone Overboard

If you been following Hackaday lately, you’ve surely noticed an increased number of articles about IoT-ifying stuff. It’s a cool project to take something old (or new) and improve its connectivity, usually via WiFi, making it part of the Internet of Things. Several easy to use modules, in particular the ESP8266, are making a huge contribution to this trend. It’s satisfactory to see our homes with an ESP8266 in every light switch and outlet or to control our old stereo with our iPhone. It gives us a warm fuzzy feeling. And that’s completely fine for one’s personal projects.

But what happens when this becomes mainstream? When literally all our appliances are ‘connected’ in the near future? The implications might be a lot harder to predict than expected. The near future, it seems, starts now.

This year, at CES, LG Electronics (LG) has introduced Smart InstaView™, a refrigerator that’s powered by webOS smart platform and integrated with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service.

… with webOS, consumers can also explore a host of WiFi-enabled features directly on the refrigerator, creating a streamlined and powerful food management system all housed directly on the front of the fridge door. Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service gives users access to an intelligent personal assistant that, in addition to searching recipes, can play music, place Prime-eligible orders from Amazon.com…

This is ‘just’ a fridge. There are other WiFi-enabled appliances by now, so what?  Apparently, during the LG press conference last Wednesday, the company marketing VP David VanderWaal said that from 2017 on, all of LG’s home appliances will feature “advanced Wi-Fi connectivity”.

Notice the word advanced, we wonder what that means? Will ‘advanced’ mean complicated? Mesh? Secure? Intelligent? Will our toaster finally break the Internet and ruin it for everyone by the end of the year? Will the other big players in the home appliances market jump in the WiFi wagon? We bet the answer is yes.

Here be dragons.

[via Ars Technica]

133 thoughts on “IoT-ify All Things: LG Has Gone Overboard

  1. *facepalm*
    Does these things still work when the Wifi-card has been pulled out / connected to mains directly / the antenna replaced with a dummy load? And when will these devices become mandatory by law because you know, they are REALLY needed to guarantee security and fight terrorism and so on!!!!!!! What a nice future…

      1. Unfortunately tinfoil-hat paranoia is a reasonable response. Companies and governments have had 5 minutes of IOT and they’ve already implemented every idea from every dystopian sci-fi film.

        1. I like the idea of removing unnecessary wifi radios and “ensuring their health” with a nice shock. We don’t want their tiny IOT hearts to stop beating! Better make it pre-emptive shocks just in case…

  2. To be fair, my spouse would love it if our fridge recorded me every time I said “damn, we’re out of cheese/milk/lettuce/bread/coke/etc” and added it to a grocery list, instead of finding out by asking to eat something we don’t have any more.

    1. I have a note pad that is held onto the front of my refrigerator and when I run low or out of something I write it on the pad – got the magnetic thing from my local utility some years back. One caution, some people might object to a note pad on the front or side of the refrigerator for decorating reasons – – but this crude method has been working will for me, no need to worry about the server or anything, and when I make a store run I take the note with me – if I don’t get all of the items the note goes back on the refrigerator

  3. LG can’t even get the fridge part right. Mine had to be repaired twice in the first year and still gives me problems. Now I have another reason to never buy LG appliances.

        1. You are right… I was mixing things up,
          but if every light bulb/outlet and things that plug into them become IoT, there will need to be a huge number addresses needed. and I don’t think even IPv6 will handle that.

          1. The earth is about 4.5 billion years old. If we had been assigning IPv6 addresses at a rate of 1 billion per second since the earth was formed, we would have by now used up less than one trillionth of the address space.

  4. I see the next phase of IoT hacking being the Frankensteining of such devices to replace their brains with open, privacy protecting and more secure hardware. Screw warranties they are calculated to run out just before the meantime to failure of the appliance anyway.

      1. >Why buy an IOT device in the first place?
        because soon there won’t be any non-IoT devices on the market… :-(

        WTF is wrong with today’s world? How people even survived 20 years ago without “smart” stuff? Oh man…

  5. I don’t see any advantage to an IoT toaster. However, I can see my way clearly to an IoT coffeemaker. The kind (which I don’t have) with a bean hopper, grinder, water piped to it. Tell it to make coffee and then get a notification when it is ready.
    But I’m not ready to give up my french press.

    1. I have one, just without water pipe. So I have to fill the tank (and the beans) manually. But I never noticed the necessity to start the brewing remotely. I have to put the cup there anyway. And then it is much more convenient to push a button on the device than grabbing out the phone, opening an app and finger a start button .

      1. if you always wash and replace your cup after drinking, and add water/beans back as part of the same cleanup, it makes getting out of bed sleepily in the AM much easier… just set it with your alarm or push da button on your phone as you’re trying to convince your legs that its time to stand up, and by the time to stumble into the kitchen, your coffee is ready. Cleanup can be done when you’re more awake.

  6. your warranty has expired this appliance will no longer in service.
    Please contact your dealer for further information. ( all your food has gone bad.)

    OR

    We are sorry but we no longer support this device please contact your dealer for further information.

    OR

    We are sorry but the company that was running our servers is no longer in business please contact your dealer for further information. ( The dealer is no longer in business due to high electricity prices. )
    Now what?

    And again.

    Your internet provider will no longer allow connection to this device for security reasons.
    You call ( Please hold we are expecting a larger volume of calls then normal. 3hrs later. )
    ( Still on hold. wait. what. You just lost phone connection battery low.)

    And the story goes on and on and on.

    OK one more.

    We are sorry but you are behind on your hydro bill, we are forced to cut back on your power usage.
    Please contact your electrical provider to make a payment arrangement.

    1. Nah, this is LG. You’ll come home from work to find out it’s automatically updated the OS and is waiting in reduced functionality mode until you agree to the new EULA which allows them to live stream everything happening in your house in order to improve your experience. That reduced functionality mode will be that you can’t set the temperature in the freezer or refrigerator below 65F until you agree to the new EULA!

      And “Customer Service” will tell you there’s no way to roll back to the previous version of the firmware.

  7. I wouldn’t trust LG with anything internet related. Smart TVs phoned home every time you change the channel or plug in a USB reporting structure and filenames of everything on the drive in plain text. The fix was an EULA that broke local network functions too which was dumb. Customer services completely refuse to acknowledge any firmware issues or pass on complaints. e.g. defaulting soft subs on when you play a file from usb or network. even if you turn subs off then restart the file it turns them back on. very annoying. can’t seek certain filetypes through dnla but manages no problem on usb.
    Gets a software update every few months with absolutely no visible changes. garbage.
    I wouldn’t buy an internet fridge but i definitely wouldn’t buy an LG one.

    1. Oh my god, you must be unlucky enough to have the same TV as I do. I really have no idea how they let the firmware on their TVs out the door. Id be ashamed to hand it in for a first year embedded programming assignment.

      I could go on for days about how LG engineers couldn’t code their way out of a wet paper bag but it’s irrelevant as I’ll just never buy any LG products again. BTW, I found a good solution is a raspi media centre hooked up to the HDMI port. Delete your wifi password from its memory and just use it as a dumb display.

      1. You are assuming you can trust yourself – the tin foil hatters can’t be sure that their own brains aren’t compromised, so even letting themselves see what is in their fridge can lead to the great government yogurt conspiracy, and must be avoided at all costs.

    1. I did exactly that. I bought a cheap magnetic mount from Monoprice and stuck an old, retired tablet to the front of my fridge. It’s replaced the notepad and paper family calendars that had graced our refrigerators for many, many years, and now CalDAV keeps the home calendar and phones in sync. There’s no real downside, except LG didn’t get a couple thousand dollars.

    2. That’s what I did for the photo (actually a MacBook screen poorly hacked out of the keyboard part). Had the same thought while doing that: “Geez, a magnetic iPad frame would do this for real and have better features and be easier to upgrade”

  8. The beautiful thing about this is that a refrigerator is still a compressor and a thermostat. No matter how much they try to lock down physical devices you can still bypass everything and build a controller for it like they have always been. An oven is just some heating elements, a blender is just a motor, etc.

    1. ..Until the motor becomes a sensor-less, brushless one with that needs voodoo algorithms buried in the MCU to drive it. Or the controller is inside the sealed compressor housing and needs a crypto handshake to run.

      1. Thank God that compressors run WAY to hot to stash electronics inside. The limits of existing technology prevent that. At worst you would be wiring up a brushless controllers from a drone motor and controlling that via arduino.

        1. No, They don’t run too hot.

          With good design and careful pick of components an operating temperature of 100-125 degrees C is possible without going overboard on the design or the components. Grundfoss, f.ex. manufacture circulation pumps with integrated VFD’s that is sitting for 20 years at 90 degrees C. With thick film and other trickery one can go to about 200 degrees, but not for so many hours.

          I know someone who builds expensive electronics that goes down oil wells – these modules burn out in days.

          The appliance people would only be too happy to sell you a “smart” product that burns out in maybe 5-6 years time.

          That is for Silicon. Silicon Carbide is something else entirely, these devices can in principle operate up to 600 degrees C junction temperature. That’s a nice, red, glow. Packaging becomes a problem then. One can actually buy these now, after 30 years of work.

          Decent high voltage switches too, 12 kV some kA. “They” are working to get to 33 kV because that will cover all Medium Voltage in Europe at least.

      2. That kind of design should be outlawed on environmental grounds alone as it causes stuff to end up in the waste stream and the materials and processes used in those kind of electronics are much more toxic than traditional hardware.

    2. Well, once they start making the compressors with BLDC/perm. magnet AC motors (higher efficiency and all that shit) and sealed controllers IN THE SAME CASING (because then they can save 2c/unit), you will eventually be screwed, as you’d have to literally hack it open, which would most likely ruin it…(or be enough cost prohibitive to just not do it)

      1. I have such a compressor in my 12/24V camping fridge/freezer box. But the controller is outside the pressure vessel. Electronics do not so much like 100°C and 15-20 bar of pressure, at least some components like Al-electrolytics are very unhappy about this. And replacing them with Tantalum or big ceramic caps costs more than 2ct/unit.

        1. Silicon chips esp MLC NAND flash also do not like temps above 100°C and it drastically shortens their lifespan.
          A flash device that may have data retention for more than 20+ years at normal temps can die in months at those temps.

  9. Cool. Now that science experiment in my fridge (you know, the one that just gained sentience) will have Internet access! Maybe that’ll help it learn faster than the last one.

    It was so depressing when I had to take the last one out behind the shed…

      1. I have one in the fridge that is over 15 years old.
        ( it is peach brandy.) we moved it from house to house and fridge to fridge.
        It is just learning to talk. were does the time go. The last time I talked to it was at its 10th birthday.
        It said da da.

        Thanks for the memory. I think maybe later today I will go and talk to it again. Things are starting to get ruff around here.

    1. There’s enough for something like an entire IPV4 Internet for every square centimetre of the Earth. We’re not gonna run out of IPV6, ever. 97 ker-squillion ought to be enough for anybody.

      IPV4 was invented to have way more addresses than you’d ever need, for the Internet of it’s time, and run efficiently on the hardware of it’s time. I don’t think they envisioned everyone in the friggin’ world connecting with their pocket supercomputers. The amount of hacks and bad splices holding the V4 Internet together is horrendous.

  10. The twitter user ‘internetofshit’ visited CES2016 and made a report on everything crapy IOT device at the show. It’s giving a good idea where this is all headed…

    “What? You don’t have a smart fridge? What do you got to hide?”

  11. If LG “Smart” TV’s are any indication, the fridge will never get the features it is sold as having, it will require you to give up all sorts of privacy to do even the most basic tasks, and even of those who buy it just for the smart features, 99% will end up annoyed and frustrated to the point of just using it as an ordinary fridge.

  12. I realize that this sounds stupid, but honestly, looking at the contents of my fridge, I *need* something like this. I *need* my fridge to remind me of what’s about to expire and should probably be eaten, what’s definitely no longer edible and should be removed, and what I’m running out of.

    1. Without trying to be glib, you could invest a few minutes of your time to learn what needs to be eaten by its expiry date vs. what can be left longer, and learn what is off by sight/smell. There aren’t many things you need all the time, and your fridge can’t (or at least I really wouldn’t want it to) decide what you’re going to eat so it doesn’t take more than a minute to check the basics. Also, leave a dribble of milk in the bottle and the fridge thinks there’s still milk: you’re in the same position as before but annoyed that your $1000 “investment” hasn’t made your life one IoTa better.

      The key question underlying any adoption of technology is why? This is just trying to get you to buy more stuff that you don’t need, and will ultimately deliver zero increase in quality of life.

      1. Yes.
        And I can not imagine a fridge doing a chemical analysis about the real edibility of stuff. Probably it will only look at best-before dates. I can do this myself – and further on I can smell or taste the stuff to decide if it’s still good. So there is no benefit from such a fridge for me.

      2. It’s really sad that so many people here are so quick to find reasons to slam these kinds of things. You’re all so busy telling me all the reasons you think I shouldn’t have a smart fridge that you don’t spare a millisecond to see what might be good about it.

        I’ll be the first to point out that none of my home automation devices delivers a dramatic gain in our Quality of Life. Some, especially the SmartHome appliances made by Samsung, are the most frustrating, most useless wastes of money and resources on the planet. But those were flawed specific implementations, not that the concepts are inherently flawed. On average, I’ve found that most IoT things offer a smaller incremental benefit that’s harder to quantify, but is still present. So I can see that a fridge that automatically tracks the shelf life of perishables could save me an occasional trip to the grocery store if I’ve forgotten what was on my list. It could save me an hour per year in writing down lists. It could eliminate waste if both me and my spouse stop at the grocery store on the way home from work and we both buy the same things. More importantly, it could warn me if the homemade salsa or plate of leftovers has been in there too long. None of these reasons will ever be a life-changing experience, but added together, they make things nicer. And when you add the small benefit from the fridge to the other small benefits of the thermostat, lighting, burglar alarm, leak detectors, washer, dryer, water heater, garage door, etc., the total benefits of all these things does become tangible.

        When you see the TV shows that portray future homes as being smart, and everything looks really cool, remember they all had an immature start somewhere in today’s world. So give people the opportunity to try out today’s smart devices without shooting them down first. Let LG and Samsung and Microsoft and Apple and Google put out their silly and weird and wonderful stuff, and let people learn from the failures, and covet the successes. Otherwise, we won’t ever get to live in the Jetson’s house, and that would be a sad future, indeed.

        1. It seems like people doing this are the ones who “haven’t thought for a millisecond” about what might be good about it. I’ve really thought quite long and hard about what might be good about this, and it’s purely for the sake of selling more fridges to gullible consumers. Some of the examples you provide are good ideas (like the heating and home monitoring), but this really isn’t one of them.

          Take your plate of salsa – first of all, unless you equip the fridge with a sensor specifically tuned to “salsa” (what kind? red? green? spicy?), how does it know if that bowl sat on the table for 4 hours before going in, or was made fresh? Unless you tell it (defeating the purpose), it has absolutely no idea! So, say some computer vision was used (massively more inefficient than your eyes) to gauge (under sub-optimal lighting conditions) the condition of the salsa, it would probably be conservative (to avoid people suing the manufacturer for letting them eat off food), so it would tell you to chuck it out. Before considering the massive waste of resources in making a “smart fridge”, you’re also throwing away food that may well have been perfectly edible.

          Also the “saving an hour over a year” is a red-herring – it’s equivalent to just under 10 seconds a day. Let’s be generou and say you do your shopping once a week, that’s a minute a week, i.e., you wouldn’t even notice it from whatever task you were doing. If it saved that hour in one chunk, that would be a reasonable saving, but it’s a tiny incremental increase on a normal day. Even lawyers don’t bill in 1 minute increments – that should tell you all you need to know ;)

          1. To be fair, when the whole ‘smart fridge’ idea started in the ’90s, I did have a conversation with the owner of our local independent grocery on the matter, (a friend as he and my wife grew up on the same street) He told me that the industry press were running articles on the matter with the general idea being that if all the consumers in a small town like ours managed their food shopping through such a system where he could see in advance what his customers would be looking for, even a day in advance, he could make sure it was available at his store. This would reduce waste on his side from overstocking, would guarantee he could offer the freshest products, and would give him some leverage negotiating price with suppliers. This would also mean one-stop shopping for the consumer, thus saving time and fuel. Of course he knew this was highly idealized and was likely to be fraught with problems that would only come up later, but the point here was that there was some forward thinking being done in some sectors with real-world practical applications in mind beyond just the gee-whiz factor.

        2. “you don’t spare a millisecond to see what might be good about it.”

          Well, One good thing is that when someone slaps a screen on the fridge, then it is safe to short their stock. Made good money in Ericsson back in the day, on that. The PC-on-the-door fridge is the business equivalent of the “Hey, lets Invade Afghanistan!” that proceeds the failure of empires.

          Now, I do have the Hue light bulbs, which are nice enough, except that the new app for controlling them is garbage.

          This will be the problem, I suspect, one sort-of get something to work and communicate then once that is “settled” some new crap comes along that requires everything to be upgraded and then some other things will not work.

          The other problem is that for Hue to detect me coming home, it needs to connect to “The Cloud”, why the hell is that and why do I need this? The phone roaming onto the WiFi should be good enuf and does not involve those creeps in Langley. Once something is in “The Cloud”, it’s only a matter of time before 4Chan runs it.

  13. From a more civilized time. If you wonder these fridges were made by the Italian car maker in the Turin factories after WW II. You could still find some of these fridges working happily after 60 years, like a Fiat 500 or 600. If you think about it the sheet metal they used and the paint were similar (I have seen these fridge in the same colours of the cars), and a fridge compressor looks a lot like an air cooled engine, and the electrical wiring on ancient cars was really simple and of better quality than the ones of static appliances.

    I wonder what is the plus factor of having a frigde with internet connectivity compared to have a rugged electromechanical thermostat or an electronic analogue one

    1. Compare the adjusted cost (inflation) of the fridge to a new one…if you are ready to pay that kind of money, you will find quality even today…
      Also, those old beaters are HEAVY as fuck, transport would cost more making them even more expensive.

    2. The American appliance industry (and probably other countries too) nearly put themselves out of business by making appliances that were too reliable and backed off the quality so things would wear out. According to a former co-worker, they taught a class about this at his engineering school.

      1. This is why I keep repairing my washer and dryer, about every 5 years, they need a $30 part, and people are all “why don’t yo get rid of that old crap?” … because it costs me $30 every 5 years to keep running, not $800+ for a new pair that’s uneconomic to repair after 3 or 4 years.

        And don’t get me started on how energy star ratings for anything requiring X amount of heat are BS, the peak draw is lower but the average draw is identical. Like ovens that take 30+ minutes to preheat instead of 10.

  14. I like my old fridge. The one someone bought in the 80’s and it still purrs like a kitten keeping my beverages frosty.

    Don’t need WIFI fridge, don’t want WIFI TV, really really don’t want WIFI washing machine; sorry LG…

    1. Great. Isn’t choice wonderful? You get to make inefficient economic decisions for unknown reasons and I get a nicer looking appliance with significantly lower energy consumption and operating costs, better temperature regulation moisture control, better lighting, quieter operation, and improved usability.

      That’s what I call a win-win !

          1. Quote from the conclusion of…
            http://jestec.taylors.edu.my/Vol%205%20Issue%204%20December%2010/Vol_5_4_435_446_B.%20O.%20Bolaji.pdf

            “The coefficient of performance (COP) of the domestic refrigeration sy
            stem using
            R12 as a refrigerant was considered as benchmark and the COPs of the system
            using R134a and R152a were compared. The COP obtained using R152a was
            very close to that of R12 with only 1.4% reduction, while that of R134a was
            significantly low with
            18.2% reduction. Refrigerant with lower COP will
            consume more energy, which will have great adverse effect on the environment”

            With R134a being more common.

          2. With the proviso that the seals are in good condition and the coil is kept dusted… but there can be as many newer fridges developing those problems after a few years of service.

            Where people get bent about R134 efficiency is that it can at higher pressure cool across a larger temperature differential, so is said to be more “efficient” thermodynamically there. And also takes less charge, so is volumetrically efficient. But to do the same work, across temperature differentials typically seen in fridges and freezers in the home, it has to run at higher pressure, hence requires larger compressor to push it, hence using more electricity.

  15. “smart”, “advanced”, “new era”, and all the other marketing terms are only the sign that someone are pushing his big c*ck up your tiny ass*ole brutally.

    I DONT want someone on other side of world know what i eat, when, and how much. STOP TO SPY WORLD!

  16. I want LG to standardize all their appliances around the same $5 control board with as much standard functionality implemented in software as possible. I want them to report “appliance telemetry” to back LG (and ideally me…). I want them to build better appliances via real world feedback and issue updates to tweak controls or add features. I want more options for control and energy efficiency and I want them to implement advanced fast DR functionality.

    I am not really concerned about security or privacy and I haven’t seen any compelling arguments for why I should.

      1. That would be nothing new, I am sure nefarious actors have been capable that since I put a microphone on my 386. These days there are internet connected microphones laying about my home, work, and on my person nearly all the time…

        1. Wait till one of those nefarious actors posts a vid of your wife/daughter undressing on the internet captured via one of the many connected devices you have and you’ll be wishing you had worried sooner!

  17. Hasn’t this been a wet dream for years though “Imagine a fridge that tells you when you’re running out of milk.” because obviously futurists use opaque depleted uranium milk containers that make that determination super hard to derive in use by sight or changing weight.

  18. Didn’t Electrolux release a “smart” internet connected fridge around the turn of the century?
    And last time I heard from them were that they still don’t know what it is supposed to be better at.
    Though, having a dish/cloths washer that sends me a notification when they are done would be a bit nice. But otherwise I don’t see the fuss about IoT.

    1. Yeah, round about the last internet appliance type fad, there were a couple of examples of fridges with a an email/webrowser type thing built in. I think they partnered with a particular ISP and grocery chain, one of the first with internet orders, wanna say Krogers, but not sure if that’s right, big in Cali.

    2. Last year they had a fridge that makes a picture of the content of the fridge each time you open it and then you can check in the supermarket if you are out of anything.
      I suppose that can be handy for some people.

      Also handy because you can put notes to your fellow terrorist in the fridge I guess?

      1. I wish I had a cap/visor that took a photo every 15 seconds or so while I am dismantling something (lawn mower, radio, car engine) so I would remember where everything goes back and what sequence.
        I’d have a lot fewer extra parts then, especially if it takes me more than 1 week to get back to working on it.

        1. Back in my youth, someone like me might have added a few spare parts to the “mixture” when someone took his motorbike gearbox apart. Circlips and may be hex screw are good.

          There was no need to ever take this thing apart, it was kind of a ritual to prove oneself to ones friends. The failure mode was having to go to the bike shop with everything in a bag and have them assemble it. So, often that “left over part” was installed (or disposed of silently) to avoid admitting defeat.

  19. Hmmph I coulda SWORN HaD was swinging all over IoT’s nutsack a coupla years ago as if nothing could possibly go wrong…
    I’ve said it before and will say it again- If you have so much shit that a computer needs to take care of it, then you probably need to simplify ;)

    1. Yeah, because a couple years ago the IoT things featured here were mostly just DIY types, and even then there were people warning against giving control of your stuff to services like IFTTT. Now we’re seeing big companies pushing DDOS spybots disguised as everyday appliances.

      The benefits of IoT still exist, but the risk/reward calculation has changed drastically for the worse.

      1. ABB sells a version of their SACE Emax Circuit Breaker that is controlled by “The Cloud” ….

        One of these appear on Shodan, then on, off, on, off ….. BOOM! -> “Waaaah Putin is Coming”!

  20. Smart appliance malfunctions and causes damage leading to an insurance claim. This happens a few more times elsewhere. Coffee makers and toasters inexplicably turn on by themselves. Houses burn down when no one is home…. or people die if they are home. Insurance companies require you to unplug said devices if you aren’t using them to avoid an unattended malfunction. The people at UL, CSA and other safety agencies look at the 1 in a million probability that a bad thing will happen to someone, somewhere and will add new protections and costs to the other 999,999 users. The straight-jacket will tighten around what you can and can’t do and the technology will be sterilised. Certified and specially trained technicians will be required to fix specific appliances. Companies that do follow the standards and codes (as its legally required) will charge you a lot of money to do anything for you, due to their high compliance costs.

    If you hack and do-it-yourself, you won’t be insured for a loss caused by that device.

    This is not fiction. Everything I’ve stated above is already happening today.

    1. Actually, they’re not very smart, but I have been avoiding the purchase of a “digital” stove/oven (Cooker) because I have known 2 instances where the control boards went bad and turned on both oven elements full blast, locking out the controls… temps just continued climbing… fortunately the owners were here to see this happening, and were able to unplug or turn off at the breaker… but one of them was beginning to make the adjacent cabinet smoke lightly from nearest surface.

      Anyway, I cannot find a scrap of honesty about this problem from manufacturers, just “oh well it was out of warranty, we can sell you a new part that will do the same thing eventually.” kind of crap. So lacking the correct information, and stonewalled by manufacturers and retailers about how more recent units manage to avoid doing this (Because I guess nobody has managed to force them to admit, yes it’s a timed incendiary device that will burn your house down.) … I will not buy one.

      Assuming that smarts will just hook in to these tried and faulty digital control boards, that would make smart appliances just as dangerous.

      1. You figure they would design the controls to fail in an open state and there would be some sort of mechanical thermal breaker and a thermal fuse as a last resort.
        Appliances used to have to be tested by UL for this sort of stuff before they could be sold to the public.

      1. In my experience, what kills them is doorknobs leaving the pot off it with machine still on, or leaving the pot empty on it. This allows hotplate to go over temperature and one of two things happens, on older ones, the heating element burns out, on newer ones, the feed tube from the reservoir melts off and it leaks all over the counter next time you try to fill it. You can probably make good ones out of cannibalised old ones… and maybe check if RetroBrite will freshen up the plastics so they don’t look all grungy. Often they are disposed of when the carafe smashes. So just pairing up carafes and machines would work. Another problem is plastics getting weak with age and the pause’n’serve type gizmo breaking, resulting in not activating when the pot is present, so filter overflows.

        Anyhoo, they’re still common enough in thrift stores etc, at the moment that I haven’t actually bothered repair, but I’ve got 2 of the old faithfuls in the basement that I will return to service should I no longer be able to pick up another for a couple of bucks, next time I have a doorknob infestation that kills one.

        1. IMO best application of technology to a coffee pot would be an independent optical sensor system low down across the pot, such that if coffee fails to block it while the pot is on, for more than a minute, it sounds an ear bleedingly loud klaxon or smoke alarm type bleeper.

  21. The first Iot enabled soldering iron… parts bin… window fan… furnace… garbage disposal… toilet… shower head… lawn mower… treadmill… recycle bin…

    Gents. How many times will this discussion be held?

    1984

  22. I’d love to have my oven and microwave networked so that they can alert my phone when they are done. I often like to start something cooking and go upstairs while it cooks.

    I’m not sure about a lot of the other stuff. Also, I always dreamed of this as a DIY project. I imagine companies really screwing it up. I can see them being full of security holes. I can also see them requiring internet access to a cloud service which they control. I just want something that talks to an app on my phone over the LAN, no internet required. Then again… I have unlimited data and often leave Wifi off on my phone so maybe I do need internet but I can provide my own server thank you. Cloud connected appliances really suck even if they are free because eventually the server gets shut down or upgraded beyond compatibility and then the appliance either doesn’t work or reverts to being a ‘dumb’ appliance. True dumb appliances aren’t so bad but having functions on them which no longer work really bothers me in an OCD kind of way. I really hate my Blueray player for example with it’s non-functioning YouTube support and crappy Netflix that has no search and 1/2 of what I can find on the Android client doesn’t even show up. i’d have been just fine with a plain Blueray player but that’s what was on sale when we bought it.

    I think it’s funny that people still act all surprised when someone announces an internet connected refrigerator. Nope, I haven’t seen one personally and don’t even know what they do (besides keep food cold) but my first experience with one was taking a tech support call where I had to help someone get their internet working on one. That was somewhere around 2003 I think. 14 years ago!

      1. The “timed” cycles on my clothes washer and clothes dryer are not linear. The timers stop while water is filling the basket or while the dryer humidity sensor shows humidity. Oven warm up times vary with the set point temperature.

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