back to article No spin zone: Samsung recalls 3M EXPLODING washing machines

Samsung says it will recall millions of washing machines that are prone to blowing up. The South Korean electronics giant says that 34 models of top-loading machines are covered by the massive US-wide recall, which was sparked by hundreds of reports of units violently tearing themselves apart mid-cycle. According to the US …

  1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

    Those whom the Gods would destroy, first they make proud? Or something like that. No Classical education here.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      penny wise and pound foolish

      No Classical education here.

      That depends on your idea of classical. Hold the plastic and return to traditional materials like metal where strength is required. In fact Samsung could probably have saved 2 of the $2.3bn if they hadn't been so cheap.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: penny wise and pound foolish

        "Samsung could probably have saved 2 of the $2.3bn if they hadn't been so cheap."

        Yeah, it's not as if a top loader washer is some new design with no product history. A top loader is the simplest possible design and they managed to cut enough corners to make it break in a dangerous way. What level of stupid does that take?

        1. hotdamn

          Re: penny wise and pound foolish

          A broken jaw was one of the injuries.

    2. Terje

      Wouldn't it rather be.

      Those whom the Gods would destroy, the first give a Samsung?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or perhaps "first send them to the US"?

        I wonder why so many recalls happen in the US. I'm not saying they're always wrong but it does seem like it's often a case of "well I put my child in it to wash them and now they're dead. There wasn't a label telling me not too".

    3. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @Jack of Shadows It would appear to go back quite a long way.

      "To summarise, the saying as we have it is a 19th century translation of an index entry, written by Joshua Barnes in 1694 in his edition of Euripedes. The entry summarised rather than translated the content of a couple of lines of Greek. The lines were originally by a scholiast on Sophocles, quoted in the 2nd century AD by Athenagoras, and supposed to be by Euripedes by early editors of that author. Barnes in turn was almost quoting James Duport in his 1660 work on the ideas to be found in Homer."

      http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2015/10/31/is-those-whom-the-gods-wish-to-destroy-they-first-make-mad-a-classical-quotation/

  2. djstardust Silver badge

    First thing I would do

    Is sack the whole testing & QC department. Company wide.

    Or .... could it be Management pressure to ship items before adequate stress testing has been done?

    Answers on a postcard. .......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First thing I would do

      Yes, sacking the testing and QA departments would certainly send the right message. It would enable much faster time to market, too, so win-win.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: First thing I would do

      The merkins like their kitchen appliances to look the ones grandma had in 1950

      The also want the level of effectiveness, quiet and efficency of models from the developed world.

      This makes the design of grandma's old washtub combined with a 2400rpm spin cycle "interesting"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: First thing I would do

        This makes the design of grandma's old washtub combined with a 2400rpm spin cycle "interesting"

        You may wish to do a search on "Whirlpool tumble dryer fires uk" before assuming that either the US or Samsung have any exceptional problems in this department.

    3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: First thing I would do

      Every company balances the cost of fixing a defect in the factory versus in the field. Fixing in the field is very expensive but it impacts (ahem) a tiny percentage of products sold AND again a small percentage of products that have failed. Anyone who has had anything fail knows that a manufacturer has many walls of bullshit shielding them from warranty claims. You used it too much, looks like this scratch caused it, your home is in an area with power surges, hard water did it, improper care, you let a friend use it, not a factory authorized shipper, etc.

      Samsung's mistake is people getting hurt. Had fewer people been injured, they likely would have escaped without paying out a single warranty claim.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: First thing I would do

        Actually there are worse than Samsung

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First thing I would do

      "sack the whole testing & QC department. Company wide."

      For all practical purposes, it looks like Samsung may recently have done that in multiple parts of the company, and that they are now following the approved modern technology-industry approach of letting the customer do the product testing.

      Anybody know anything about Product Liability laws and why they are never invoked even in cases like this where a product appears to be Defective By Design?

      ps

      Any physicists or real engineering people out there remember m r omega squared?

      Double the rotation speed and the kinetic energy quadruples. What implications might that have in a case like this?

    5. Tony Haines

      Re: First thing I would do

      First thing I would do : check if Clement has been hired by R&D.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4sZVYInlPA

  3. waldo kitty
    Facepalm

    they need to return

    to what they did best and stay there... forget all the rest of the stuff... just return to their roots and do that properly...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: they need to return

      "a small trading company with forty employees located in Su-dong (now Ingyo-dong).[15] It dealt in dried-fish,[16] locally-grown groceries and made noodles." - source, wikipedia

      Really? You think a company claimed to create about 17% of South Koreas entire GDP should go back to selling dried fish, noodles and fresh veg?

  4. GitMeMyShootinIrons
    Mushroom

    Worried Samsung owner.

    I have a Samsung TV. I flinch whenever there's an explosion in a film....

    1. King Jack

      Re: Worried Samsung owner.

      Snap!

      1. nichomach
        Trollface

        Re: Worried Samsung owner.

        Also Crackle! and Pop! ?

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: Worried Samsung owner.

          I have a Samsung fridge-freezer - I'm now worried about putting any curry ready meals in there in case they are too hot for it to handle safely!

  5. smudge Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Uh oh!

    Oh dear. We have this very day acquired a new Samsung fridge/freezer. With NO Internet connection.

    1. rjmx
      Devil

      Re: Uh oh!

      > With NO Internet connection.

      Are you sure?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Uh oh!

        Hey, at least it can't be remotely triggered!

    2. MD Rackham

      Re: Uh oh!

      Start counting down. Between 6-9 months from now the main processor board will fail in some fashion, ranging from bogus indicators to complete (literal!) melt-down of your freezer contents.

      The cost of replacing the board is greater than the cost of the fridge. Samsung will not honor any warranty on it; there's always some way that it's Not Their Fault.

      This is from a sample of six Samsung refrigerators from myself and friends. All six have had processor board failures. All six have been replaced by units from more reliable manufacturers.

      (The ice maker usually fails around four months in.)

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Barring those options... No, replacement should be mandatory

    There needs to be a mandatory recall in circumstances such as this. Insurers, for example, should send out letters to their customers telling them that if they have such equipment on their premises then their insurance is null and void: after all, the costs to replace the equipment would be borne by Samsung - BTW, with no strings attached: without time limit or proof of ownership - the machine is as lethal five years down the line as it is today.

  7. DougS Silver badge

    This will be more expensive than the Note 7 recall

    Because washing machines are far more expensive to pick up and ship than a phone.

  8. Fred Dibnah
    FAIL

    One for the Samsung spin doctors

    They'll try to avoid washing their dirty laundry in public, etc etc...

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: One for the Samsung spin doctors

      Oh well, if they attempt to wash them privately in one of those Samsung machines, they will got what they deserve anyway...

  9. nichomach
    Trollface

    Does the "care pack" also include a helmet, life jacket, fire extinguisher and "make your own will" kit? 'Cause that might be an idea...

  10. William 3 Bronze badge

    At least they're recalling them, unlike Whirlpool.

    Who are still dragging their feet, whilst our toothless authorities shit themselves at dragging them to court to force them to confrom to the laws THEY created.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: At least they're recalling them, unlike Whirlpool.

      They're offering to take my drier off my hands and replace with a new one for over £90. That's ninety quid of my funds!

      Cheeky bastards! In the meantime it's still "safe" as long as I don't leave it plugged in overnight or use it unattended. I am hoping that it catches fire (just slightly, mind you) so I can sue the bastards.

      Oh, the part will be replaced, they say, next March.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: At least they're recalling them, unlike Whirlpool.

        Don't buy a Whirlpool, get a Maytag. It is technically now a subdivision after having been bought out, but the quality delta is there.

        1. hotdamn

          Re: At least they're recalling them, unlike Whirlpool.

          Ive had my Maytags since 1995. They broke down.But I repaired then myself cheaply.

        2. Kernel

          Re: At least they're recalling them, unlike Whirlpool.

          "Don't buy a Whirlpool, get a Maytag."

          No, the new Maytags appear to be of poor quality and have a bad reputation - what you want is a machine from the Whirlpool Jenn-air range.

          The Jenn-air range is pretty much a traditional, laundromat grade, Maytag in disguise.

          The design of these machines has not changed in at least the last 20 years (I recently fitted my 20 year old Maytag with a set of brand new recently manufactured Jenn-air tub seals) - they will not, under any circumstances, report the contents of your laundry basket anyone.

  11. Number6
    Devil

    In Other News

    Samsung sales to the Middle East have picked up recently.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Other News

      Maybe the word "samsung" means "high quality" in Arabic.

      1. Steven Roper

        Re: In Other News

        "Maybe the word "samsung" means "high quality" in Arabic."

        More like "Made of Explodium."

  12. Nallaikkumaran

    look that Apple agents propaganda. The exaggeration in this post. This site is an shameless Apple mother fucker site (Apple agents). They want to destroy Samsung. Please Don't trust the corporate media. You can't trust these media (yellow journalists). They're dishonest and ruthless business media. They're very good at masking Apple problems. But they always campaign against Samsung. Here's the proof "fraud Media". Just how honest are you? How much is Apple paying you $ ?. I hope it is significant amount. Have you no shame? Not at all. Shameful.

    And no one reported this issue for 5 years? Again..This is an American fascism- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). And this is an American FASCIST Business. They want to destroy Samsung. They're jealous of Samsung Because Samsung is only the brand, that can fuck Apple and other USA Companies. Been wondering why they only explode in the USA. Almost thinking it's sabotage. They always campaign against Samsung "Oh no don't buy Samsung products "- "Ban Asian products from coming into this country".

    This is exactly what happened to Volkswagen in the USA. They want to destroy other companies.

    "MAN LEFT TOOTHLESS AFTER EXPLOSION OF HIS SAMSUNG ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH (US Media News). How it's possible that after Note7 explosion every Samsung product explodes???

    I call BS on this. The problem now is the scammers. The American COWARD companies (Whirlpool, Apple...) were behind this explosion conspiracy. They want to destroy foreign companies.

    1. BobRocket

      Nallaikkumaran, you are The Donald and I claim my $5

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Ummm! I hope you are not including El Reg in the list of 'Apple Agents'!

    3. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Actually, reports of Sammy top loaders flying apart were being reported long before the S7 was even launched, exploded is a bit of headline clickbait though.

      Bad quality control - but a genuine issue with the shop floor staff? Lots of reports about middle/top management telling staff to just let it go when they have reported problems.

      It is a great pity, I have an early sammy washer, and it is a solid and genuinely GOOD machine, quiet, economical and washers better than anything I have owned in the past.

    4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Eh? WFT?

      anyone silly enough to embiggen an Apple product in this place gets downvoted right away.

      As this is your first post I have to ask, how much you are being paid by Samsung or their Ad Agency to spread this shite?

      AFAIK, Apple have been very quiet in public about the Note issues. IMHO, this is more because of 'that could have been us, thank god and steve jobs' than anything else.

      And since when did Apple make washing machines? Please enlighten us. I'm sure the commentards here would love to get more things to slag Apple off on an almost daily basis.

      This post is written with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

      1. moiety

        Re: Eh? WFT?

        Don't call him "the donald" FFS! That's what he wants. Call him "that twat trump" which is both more satisfying and has bonus alliteration. Can't be him anyway - the OP didn't say anything about building a wall around your washing machine and invoicing Samsung for it.

        That post though...you would have thought Samsung could have afforded literate shills. Really, if that's what their QC is like no wonder stuff is exploding. *goes off mumbling about how shilling was done properly in my day...*

        First post as well. You don't leap straight for the clitoris, boy. What's wrong with giving her a little kiss first?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eh? WFT?

          You don't want to do what "Trump wants," yet it looks like you obsess over him.

          ;-/

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Len Goddard

    Precautionary principle

    I searched my house and the only samsung device I could find was a small laser printer.

    So I buried it at the end of the garden.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Precautionary principle

      So I buried it at the end of the garden.

      Mr Goddard, I don't think your insurers will cover you for planting an IED in your own garden.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Precautionary principle

        Solves any mole problem though.

        1. Stuart Elliott

          Re: Precautionary principle

          Unless your name is Jasper Carrott.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fePU5CIHpas

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Precautionary principle

        It's not an Improvised Explosive Device!

        Well, It's not improvised...

  14. heyrick Silver badge

    I don't own a Samsung machine, so I don't know how rigid/delicate they are, but isn't it generally a bit precarious to put something bulky (like a duvet, or towels) in a washing machine and then fast spin it? Our ancient Zanussi (so old the super fast spin is a massive 800rpm!) gets scary wobbly on normal spin with towels if they clump together, I'd not want to kick it up to fast spin in case the thing breaks.

    Maybe, maybe what these machines need is a cheap little G-force sensor on the processor board. If the readings indicate the machine is thrashing, then just step back the spin speed until it calms down. And if it doesn't, stop the drum and blink some sort of "oh poop" indicator. That would probably add a $ or two to the build cost, and help prevent the sort of rapid unscheduled disassemblies that make clickbait headlines.

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      a cheap little G-force sensor

      I dont know how old your washer is, but my last THREE have all had a "Spin Balance" sensor.

    2. Triggerfish

      Wouldn't recommend a duvet you need one of the big washing machines at a launderette, but a big towel should not be a problem, mine spins at 1100rpm and is fine. Washing trainers is a bit noisy though, might be because it's more of a point weight.

      Really it depends on the weight of whats in there, a lot of the modern ones do have some sort of sensor for load weight which should stop it from running if you have to much in the drum..

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge

      As I understand it, the problem is that the spin-balance/g-sensor subsystem doesn't always work properly and an erroneous reading is not detected.

      So the machine thinks everything is fine and keeps spinning until it rapidly dismantles itself, instead of slowing or shutting down the way it is designed to do.

  15. SomeoneInDelaware
    Mushroom

    Is it true?

    Is it true that they are designing a battery-operated washing machine? How many Li-ion batteries would it take?

    Maybe the plan is to give them to North Korea to take out Fat Boy without developing their own nukes! :-)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Don't buy anything by Samsung again

    See also: Sony, Microsoft.

    These firms do not deserve your business.

  17. 404 Silver badge
    Devil

    Looks innocent sitting there....

    ... my Samsung top loading washer... doesn't look at all like a time bomb waiting in the darkness...

    I was relieved not to be destroyed when I checked the model number and found it was indeed the spawn of the Devil's Spinning Washer of Death. It let me live. This Time.

    Sent off the recall information for the in-home repair and decal kit. It's a good washer when it's not in an explody mood, sings the Song of It's People, a Happy Washing Time melody when it's done. Bonus.

  18. Slx

    US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

    Part of the problem with this is that American consumers (and European Consumers to a lesser degree) are demanding bigger and bigger drums in washing machines.

    The laws of physics come into play. When you have an object being rotated about an axis at a speed, the g-forces increase massively the further away from the centre it is.

    So, as you expand the radius of the drum, you increase the forces at play by a huge amount.

    You've also got a lot of machines on sale in the US that are ludicrously oversized as consumers have some notion that they need to be able to wash 400 towels at the same time or ALL their bed linen simultaneously. In reality, they never do and you end up with a few pairs of jeans or a normal sized load being flung around this huge drum which will inevitably have issues with balance.

    Where as an older machine (even in the US) would typically have a much tighter packed drum, with smaller diameter which is much easier to balance.

    Modern machines rely on sensors and software to ensure they don't go out of balance, and this has allowed cheaper machines to be made with much bigger drums. However, if the sensors and software don't work correctly, the machine will go catastrophically out of balance and fall apart.

    Also the build quality of these machines is not always totally comparable. I opened our Miele and it has a smaller drum, surrounded by a heavy stainless steel outer rub, huge cast iron weights and shock absorbers that look like something out of an industrial machine or a car and will take stuff up to 1600 RPM without even noticing.

    In the past it was only these kinds of machines that dared to push the speeds up that high.

    Nowadays, a lot of the other manufacturers are selling the same kind of high speeds, but with plastic tubs outer, far flimsier suspension systems and much weaker internal drums.

    Washing machines are probably one of the only appliances in your home that have to contain serious forces. Other than your car, they are the only device that really does need to be built very well to avoid a catastrophic mess like this.

    I think people are going to have to accept that unless you buy a very much more expensive machine like those made by Miele or a semi-commercial machine, you can't really safely do some of these kinds of speeds. Those machines have always been eye waveringly expensive for a good reason.

    1. PNGuinn
      WTF?

      Re: US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

      It has been shown that the maximum useful spin speed is 1200 rpm. Anything over this is just marketing willy waving.

      A 1600 spin speed machine today is probably the base model 1000 or 1200 rpm machine with a couple of bits of chromed plastic trim glued on somewhere, a few semi useless extra "programmes" and several more exciting blinkenlites - in blue, of course.

      The bottom line is you're spending 200 to 300 extra squid for it to shake more and fall apart faster.

      Many years ago we traded down from an old built-like-a-tank 1100 rpm real hoover to a 1200 rpm Hotpoint. Before doing away with the old machine I got a batch of towels, put 'em on rinse and spin at 1100 rpm a couple of times and weighed the result. Repeated the exercise with the new machine at 1200 rpm. The spun towel weight was identical. Drums not measured but obviously very nearly the same size.

      1. Slx

        Re: US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

        There is literally only one main-stream company still building them like a tank - Miele.

        However, when you look at the cost comparison of a modern machine vs one from the 1980s (most of which were pretty well built), they were simply way more expensive (closer to modern day Miele prices).

        That's why a lot of UK and Irish households in the 1970s still had really primitive washing machines in the 1960s-1970s - They were coming in at nearly the price of a small car for an automatic.

        If you pick up a washing machine for €299, you can't really expect it to be built out of the same kind of components that its €1299 ancestor was built out of or to be comparable to a modern Miele or comericall-type machines.

        What annoys me though is Samsung tend to just whack a fancy display and control panel and a load of polished chrome and bells and whistles onto a pretty cheaply constructed washing machine and sell it for Miele-like prices.

        If you're going to spend a grand on a machine, you're better off going for the boring looking German one that's built like a tank than the one that's more or less a Galaxy phone beautifully embedded in a bog standard washing machine.

        1. hotdamn

          Re: US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

          How do you feel about Asko?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

      Seconded re Miele, though my experience is based on kit from over a decade ago (why replace what works).

  19. Slx

    Eye-wateringly! (Damn autocorrect!)

  20. Tim99 Silver badge
    FAIL

    I don't buy Samsung

    Personal experience has led to me not buying their equipment for a while now. I have had several of their monitors which were excellent; at the time they offered a zero dead pixel guarantee. One of them is 12 years old and still works well.

    The rot started to set in when we bought two different Samsung mobile phones (before Android). The first one failed within a year and was replaced by the supplier with a later model which generally ran hot. The second one worked until we got rid of it, but the battery life was short, and the operating system was terrible - Three menu levels down to get the screen to dial in the number of someone who was not in the contacts list.

    Four years ago our friends had a new fitted kitchen. They bought a Samsung oven and an induction hob. The oven required 3 visits from an service engineer, but the hob only required one in the first few months after it stopped working completely. After threatening legal action they had both appliances replaced by Samsung. A few weeks later they had an unexpected delivery of a Samsung point-and-shoot digital camera, with a nice letter of apology about the cooker, explaining that the camera was a gift to help compensate them for their inconvenience - The camera stopped working 3 months later.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I don't buy Samsung

      Tim mentioned "Samsung point-and-shoot digital camera"

      I saw a Samsung point-and-shoot digital camera in use once. Each time a picture was taken, the camera was 'Busy...' for about eight or ten seconds.

      I couldn't believe it. The processing delay was ridiculous. Far too slow to be explicable as just a slow memory card (they don't make cards that slow).

      The owner didn't understand, they assumed such processing delays were normal. I had to show them with my camera. CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK...

      Crazy.

      At that point, I knew that Samsung was capable of offering obviously-crap products.

  21. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    I wonder how Samsung's new line of Self-Driving Cars is doing?

    Not really.

    I'm just attempting to implant some small nugget of skeptical common sense into those naive souls that inexplicably believe that Self-Driving Cars are going to herald some new transportation Nirvana in the next few years.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how Samsung's new line of Self-Driving Cars is doing?

      The difference is automotive safety standards are a bit more than vague suggestions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: automotive safety standards are a bit more than vague suggestions

        "automotive safety standards are a bit more than vague suggestions."

        Citation welcome. E.g. do you think former "thought leaders" in Toyota took safety standards seriously before they ended up in court following accusations of bad electronic engineering and software engineering practices leading to "uncommanded acceleration"?

        http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1319903

        (25 Oct 2013)

        "Could bad code kill a person? It could, and it apparently did.

        The Bookout v Toyota Motor Corp. case, which blamed sudden acceleration in a Toyota Camry for a wrongful death, touches the issue directly.

        This case -- one of several hundred contending that Toyota's vehicles inadvertently accelerated -- was the first in which a jury heard the plaintiffs' attorneys supporting their argument with extensive testimony from embedded systems experts. That testimony focused on Toyota's electronic throttle control system -- specifically, its source code.

        The plaintiffs' attorneys closed their argument by saying that the electronics throttle control system caused the sudden acceleration of a 2005 Camry in a September 2007 accident that killed one woman and seriously injured another on an Oklahoma highway off-ramp. It wasn't loose floor mats, a sticky pedal, or driver error.

        An Oklahoma judge announced that a settlement to avoid punitive damages had been reached Thursday evening. This was announced shortly after an Oklahoma County jury found Toyota liable for the crash and awarded $1.5 million of compensation to Jean Bookout, the driver, who was injured in the crash, and $1.5 million to the family of Barbara Schwarz, who died.

        During the trial, embedded systems experts who reviewed Toyota's electronic throttle source code testified that they found Toyota's source code defective, and that it contains bugs -- including bugs that can cause unintended acceleration.

        [continues]"

        Other coverage includes this presentation from Prof David Koopman, expert witness at the trial:

        https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/pubs/koopman14_toyota_ua_slides.pdf

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fires in New Zealand and Australia

    Samsung has been burning down kiwi houses for years now..

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/83714122/Washing-machine-fires-sparks-recall-warning-reminder

  23. Kebablog

    My Samsung TV has just gone bang :(

    It is 8 years old though and one of the (High Voltage Dipped) capacitors is now resembling a crescent moon.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only Hoover would learn from Samsung

    And recall their house-incinerating tumble-dryers et-al instead of promising to fix them at some ever-moving date in the future...

  25. Manu T

    What do you expect? When a third rate manufacturer is regarded as a first rate manufacturer without actually manufacturing first rate products.

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