Friday, November 17, 2006

Will That Be Dial or Digital?

My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to commune with the spirit of the universe, to be intoxicated with the fumes, call it, of divine nectar, to bear my head through atmospheres and over heights unknown to my feet, is perennial and constant. Henry David Thoreau; On Man and Nature"

Ah, but Thoreau and I have not been "communing with the spirit of the universe". He's dead and I have been attempting to follow the incredibly obtuse instructions which came with the new thermostat we (Tony and I, not HDT and I) bought. The manual is written in three languages, none of which make any sense at all.

I admit to being something of a Luddite when it comes to gadgets. My timepiece of choice is a Mickey Mouse watch whose hands point to the numbers on a dial. Dear God! Give me dial with numbers, or a knob to turn. Do not hand me something with a face full of buttons labeled with arrows. I am not "intuitive" - what apparently comes naturally to modern man just leaves me befuddled and extremely cranky.

Expecting something I could set by moving a little red thing-a-ma-jiggee up and down as needed, I was (and am) truly dismayed at this incredibly complex gizmo which requires that you set the temperature separately for each 12 hour period of the entire week! Oh, wait! It comes with default settings which give you a cozy 60 degrees of heat during the night, boots it to 70 at 7:00 am and then drops it back to 62 for rest of the day. Hello? Does anyone stay home anymore? Maybe everyone who buys these things sleeps at the office. I don't mind 65 degrees, rolled up in my MEC sleeping bag, but I'm old and I have to get up in the night to make a tinkle trip. 60 degrees???

Worse, the display is stacked. There are two layers of numbers and codes indicating days of the week, hours, temperatures, cycle times, weekend overrides and other imperatives. You can't really read the stuff underneath, although those are the ones which change when you press the various up/down/hold/release/off/on/run/stop/swear buttons. The manual doesn't mention two sets of numbers, so is the manual just poorly written or did someone at Purolator or the post office drop kick this thermostat across a dock somewhere, giving it a case of digital schizophrenia?

It's Friday. The manufacturer is closed until Monday, so I guess we'll play human thermostats as usual this weekend; wake up cold, turn the heater on, get awakened by the sweat dripping into your eyes, turn the heater off. Wake up cold, turn the heater on, get awakened by...

Somewhere in the 80s I think I took a wrong turn. Two roads diverged on a yellow legal pad, one marked "dials" and one marked "digital". I took the one less travelled by and I still haven't figured out how to make the microwave do anything but run on full power for multiples of one minute.

Edit as of Monday Nov 20

I called the technical support line of LuxPro; voice mail. I hung up and e-mailed them and in five minutes had my answer to the "stacked displays" question. "There's a sticker on the face of the display. Take it off."

Well, sugar. How was I supposed to know that? Once I took off the sticker, and sat down with the instructions setting the thing was relatively easy, though fiddly and time-consuming. You have to set the temperature for four time periods for every day of the week. I managed to do some of it right, though I now see that my night time temp settings are running in the day, so I've crossed up an instruction somewhere. But give the company good marks for a fast reply on the display question. Wonder how many times they've answered *that* question already?

Bet they are having a neon sticker printed for the next shipment, "Remove sticker from face of display".


SMM said...

A manual written by someone who hates people and failed his Tech. Writing course years ago.

JeffM said...

You may want to try the RTH8500 Thermostat from Honeywell. It uses menu programming that works like an ATM machine. It also includes a cd-rom that walks you through all of the programming and installation. There is a virtual thermostat on the disk that allows you to play around with the settings prior to trying it out on you real thermostat.

Deb said...

I should have made it clear that the reason I bought this particular thermostat is that it's a plug-in. You don't have to hard wire it in. The Honeywell model you suggested has to be hardwired. I just planned to use the thermostat to control a space heater. It plugs into the wall socket and the heater plugs into it. I'm going to call their customer service line in a bit.

SMM said...

I just caught your edit of this post.

The "Well, sugar " was like I could hear it. Just like I was sitting there in your trailer taking to you face to face.

I seriously miss our visits over a plate of sushi or a cup of tea.