Friday, November 05, 2004

Irish Electric Showers

This is really a mystery of lack of design and usability. I’ve just encountered a newly installed Centon Generation M888EP Multipoint Step Control device. It has a built-in pump to provide enough pressure to make you believe that you’re not standing outdoors on a soft day. But its thermal control just sucks. It has three settings: Low, Medium and High. In terms of water temperature, these settings result in Freezing, Cold and Scalding. This leaves you, as a user, with only a few options. You can either keep switching between Scalding and Cold, or, you set the dial to Scalding and try to put the showerhead really high and then you kneel down, hoping that the air will cool the boiling water on its way down. Alternatively, you can set the dial to cold and just suffer and shiver. Perhaps the design of Irish Electric Showers is a scheme devised by the Catholic Church. When modern times arrived and fewer people went to Mass, the Electric Shower was devised to make people realise what Hell might be like – in a very physical sense.
When will somebody teach Irish designers about continuous control and things like triacs, pulse-width modulation, control using feedback, etc…? With a small bundle of electronics, for less than 10 euro, you could easily provide constant and continuously controlled temperature of the water.

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