Fixing our Bosch ‘1 minute remaining’ dishwasher issue

We have a built-in Bosch dishwasher in our kitchen, and it has started occasionally not really running well, and never finishing the cycle – it just sits showing 1 minute forever, with the drain pump running.  We tried changing the drain pump, but it didn’t fix the issue.  So, since it is around 7 years old we thought we’d get a new one … but we couldn’t find one we liked.  All the good ones nowadays seem to have a third cutlery tray, which didn’t come out of the machine … it might look cooler, but just doesn’t seem to be a step forwards.  What we really wanted was out current one, fixed.  We’ve succeeded, at a total cost of £13, and about 30 minutes in the end, but it took quite a while to suss it out, and there was no complete guide I could find on the internet, so I thought I’d note down what we did for any future searchers.

The model number of our machine is SGV57T03GB/02 though having looked about a bit, I suspect that the details below will work for most machines that have a similar set of buttons on the top right hand side of the door. After a bit of internet searching and I found a site that said that the 1 minute issue was due to faulty relays – see here.  The advice was to replace the control unit, and we found that this was possible, at £140 or so (plus VAT at a guess).  Probably worth a go, but a better option if we were going down that route anyway was to see if we could change the relays.

The usual issue with relays is finding the right coil voltage, contact ratings, and mounting configuration, and initially it looked like this would be an issue.  I had got used to the idea that I would have to fettle the controller a bit to get some relays that were at least the right rating fitted, and then I found what look like exact matches.  They come from RS components, and their code is 683-9150 (see here).  Key data is a 6 volt coil voltage, and 10 Amp AC rated contacts.  A cost of just over  quid each is hardly a bank-breaker, even if you need to buy them in 5s.  Inlcluding postage and VAT it came to under £13

Fitting was pretty easy -basic soldering skills, a soldering iron and desolder tool, and a Torx driver are pretty much all you need.

First stage was to remove the front panel (the one that matches the other kitchen units).  The top of the front door panel, including the control unit, comes out of the top front of the door, and only requires four screws to be removed – two in the middle at the top, and the first one down on each side. It then can be sprung out and swings forward.

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Remove all the connectors, noting that each has a catch to stop it falling out that needs to be pushed in to allow removal. It looks like they are keyed so that they can only go in one place, but we wrote them down to ensure we got the correct order.

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The control unit can then be removed from the top panel. There are three catches, one in the middle at the back, and one on each side near the top. It is a bit fiddly to get them all off – start with one side, pulling it back a bit, then the one at the back, then the last side.

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The control unit is held closed by a series of catches between each button, and one more on each side. You need to take the plastic splash cover off the top first. then the front ones can be sprung with a small screwdriver, the side ones by finger. The circuit board is then held in with two catches, one on each side – with these sprung off the board can be removed.

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The relays are pretty obvious. Our board has room for four, but only three fitted (the white blocks in the photo above). Presumably, one does the circulation pump, one the drain pump, and one the heater … but I’ve no idea which does which, and at less that £2/relay it seemed sensible to simply change them all (especially as I had a pack of 5). They are pretty easy to desolder. Two of the legs are bent to retain them, so they need freeing up to allow removal.

The relays I got were identical pin configurations, so replacement was a doddle – plug in and solder. – Visible as the black relays below. Then re-assemble and test.

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Dry ice ice cream

I held out for ages, but Kat has a ‘desserts’ school cookery project, so we gave in, and had a crack at making ice-cream with dry ice today. We almost didn’t start, as the delivery driver couldn’t find our gate (it’s right there on the front of the house, next to the house number on the gate post; not really a hard ask).  And, we didn’t hear the call, so only mid-morning did we find an email saying that the delivery couldn’t be made.  The driver said he’d come back on Monday – not all that useful as the dry ice would have evaporated, and we would have just bought the most expensive empty polystyrene box ever.  But, we managed to cajole a return, so just after lunch we set off.

Of course, having gone to the expense of the dry ice (almost £50 including £20 for Saturday delivery), we kept making more until we ran out.  Caramel was super, and Tia Maria (Kat’s invention) was just outstanding – we thought it was the best we could remember ever having.  Bacon and egg ice-cream was as odd a taste as when we had it at the Fat Duck restaurant – great, but odd.  Only what we thought would be a dead cert, of chocolate, was a bit meah – fine, but nothing special.

Of course, there were some errors along the way, most clear of which was to break the dry-ice into near powder, and add gently. Our first go had a rather larger load of dry ice, which ‘boiled over’ :-

Too much dry ice for the ice cream

Quite fun to look at, but it took quite a lot of cleaning up of sticky everything afterwards, and some effort to recover the icecream which was in iron hard lumps.  We abandoned using the baby ice-cream maker that we had been using for churning and used a large bowl, a wooden spoon and elbow grease.  A decent bowl mixer would have been easier, if of course we had one.  We also blitzed the ice cream in a blender when frozen, which made it really smooth.

We also had a go at using it in drinks.  The first stab was a little too enthusiastic to risk putting near your mouth
All drinks should be like this

But, we managed to crack it so Sa could have a witch’s sherry
Witches can have sherry too
All in all, great fun.  And with great results, even if it is by far the most expensive ice-cream we’ve ever had!

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Playing with custard

Summary – recipe for set custard

Ingredients (for ~400g = enough for 4 people)

150g semi-skimmed milk
200g double cream
100g egg yolks (6 medium eggs)
1 tsp vanilla essence
30g caster sugar
3 g (1.5 leaves) leaf gelatin

Method

Put all the ingredients apart from the gelatin in the Thermomix, at 80 degrees Centigrade, speed 2, for 7 minutes (or use a saucepan and care not to heat it too hot).

5 minutes from the end, put the Gelatine sheets in cold water

Once finished, stir the gelatine sheets into the custard, put into container you want it to set in, and cool over ice before refrigerating.

Notes

A couple of weeks ago we made a custard with our Thermomix (our new highly indulgent kitchen toy).  Pretty much everything else we have done has been fab, and this wasn’t – the flavour wasn’t great, and the set wasn’t good either.  And, many recipes for custard have loads more sugar in than tastes good at the end (to us), so I decided to suss out a decent custard recipe, both for pouring and set.  This post is for me, to make notes as I go

Trial one

Based on Thermomix cookbook recipe, p 189.  50% recipe, asked for 3 large egg yolks; I used 4 smaller ones.  Note that the temperature is 80 degrees rather than the 90 degrees used for the original recipe that I didn’t like – less likely to over-cook the egg.

Tasted lovely when just done.  Trial on setting for 200 ml using 1.5 gelatine sheets.

Trial two

Based on Custard part of trifle recipe in Heston Bulmethal’s ‘Further adventures in search of perfection’, p 294.  Target temperature is 75 degrees.  Used 80 degrees (in choice between 70 and 80) as it worked pretty well in trial 1.  All ingredients added in one go (like trial 1).  Used 3 yolks (45g vs. 50g recipe quantity) vs. the 4 in trial 1. Used half fat milk rather than whole.  Used vanilla essence rather than saffron (same qty as trial 1).  Run at speed 2 to get slightly less air in.  Set was with 1g of gelatine sheet (half a sheet) – volume was also lower that trial one, and in fact this is still twice what was in Heston’s recipe (oops!).  But, good to try, as approx 50% of what was used in trial 1.

Hot it tasted not only creamier, but also sweeter.  Same amount of sugar was included, but liquid volume was only 150ml which probably explains it.  So, might be able to drop the sugar by 40% to match trial one.  There was less air in both the hot and set versions.  Much yellower colour than for trial 1.

Outcomes from trial 1 and 2

Trial 1 was better for non-set, whether hot or cold, and even guessing for the correction for sugar in trial 2.  But, needed less air, so speed 2 more appropriate.

Trial 2 was better for set, with a much creamier mouth feel and deeper yellow colour.  Only issue was that it hadn’t set enough after an hour – worth trying with slightly more gelatine, along with less sugar. That was true even allowing for the extent of setting,which was much too much for trial 1.

Trial 3,4

Same basis as trial 2, but only 60% of the sugar, and using the seeds from a vanilla pod rather than vanilla essence.  Used 75g of milk rather than 50g.  And, 150% (trial 3) and 200% (trial 4) of the gelatine.

Came out runnier (as you’d expect for slightly more milk).  But, only intended to be used as a set custard, so need to wait to assess.  As they went into the fridge, looking at trial 3, the vanilla seeds appear to have settled out somewhat – for trial 4 they are still well blended.

Outcomes from trial 3 and 4

In trial 3 the gelatine sheet hadn’t been properly melted – the result was lovely, but not set.  Trial 4 was firmly set, so splitting the difference, trial 3 should be the right amount of gelatine (if actually melted!).  Use of Vanilla seeds rather than vanilla essence didn’t really feel like it added much.  Sweetness was about right.

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Press guilty as charged over crap survey (yet again)

In  weak moment at breakfast on Tuesday I was flicking through the Scotsman paper.  There was an article on page 16 proclaiming under the banner of ‘staff guilty as charged over mobiles’ (see here, and also in the Metro) that workers charging their phones at work were costing employers £1.5 billion per year.  Charging a phone feels like a small thing, and this is a seriously big number so it deserves a sanity check bit of mental maths.

Mine was to guess that that there are 30 million workers in the UK, with the survey noting that half saying they charged their phone, so around £100 per person per year per charger.  At a guessed 10p for a marginal kWh of electricity, that is 20 kWh per week, 3 kWh/day, or over 100 Watts if used 24 hours a day.  At a guessed 10 watts for a charger, the figure is over 10 times too high, and probably more like 30 times too high (based on an 8 hour day).

So, what is the actual source of this fantastical (and wrong) number.  Well, it comes from a uSwitch press release (see here).  The explanation given is :-

When asked “Do you ever deliberately charge your phone or other gadgets at work to save on household bills?” 3.8% said “yes, all of the time”; 16.2% said “Yes, some of the time” meaning 20% said yes. 29.2% said “I charge my items at work, but not to save money”. This means that 49.2% of workers charge their phones or gadgets at work. When asked how much they save by charging gadgets at work the average amount was £9.18 a month, which equates to £110.16 a year. Based on ONS stats which show that there are 29.1 million people working in the UK (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/october-2011/index.html), this means that (0.492 x29.1) x 110.16 = £1.577 billion is spent charging gadgets each year.

So, the glaring point is that they just asked people how much they saved by charging their phone, and took the average of the responses.  Then, having asked for a figure that most people would be unlikely to know without effort (and who knows what the consumers responses really were), they didn’t even bother to do sanity check on it.  They just published.  And the Scotsman and Metro just used it, again without any sight of engaging their brains.

Of course, this was probably just a silly article many pages in, that may not have had the scrutiny it should … oh no, wait, the Scotsman did a leader on it as well!

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