Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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small appliance odometer

Keep track of instances / hours of kitchen appliance use
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

I'm using my CostCo rice cooker bought a few months ago for the 3d time right now; it cost $30, so at the moment, I'm right at a $10 surcharge for each 4-cup rice serving, which is pretty expensive. However, in the medium term, I think it will end up saving me money on food, by helping me meet my resolution to spend less money on restaurant meals, and I'd therefore like to keep track of how often I use the cooker. However, I only know how often I've used it because that number is so low; I don't have regular "rice days" either, so I can't just multiply Mondays to arrive at a usage figure. So: I propose an electronic odometer which clicks forward a notch for every complete cycle (for a rice cooker or other 1-task appliances) or which simply keeps track of "active cycle" times for other items which are used more as-needed (blenders, washing machines, microwaves). Knowing how often particular things are used would be good in increasing household efficiency, and would be more aesthetically pleasing (though less visceral) than carving notches each time ...
yhtomit, Jan 14 2006

My recollection is that it was a mercury bead device that killed Airey Neave http://news.bbc.co....2783000/2783877.stm
(The bomb was wired to go off the second time it was driven, not the first.) [DrCurry, Jan 14 2006]

Mercury Tilt Switch http://www.elexp.com/cmp_00tl.htm
[DrCurry, Jan 14 2006]

Minature elapsed time indicator http://www.frederic...ts/timetracker.html
Difficult to track down an example. [Ling, Jan 14 2006]

Just like buses - another one comes along as well http://www.curtisin....dspListDS&CatID=25
Scroll down to "coulometers" - electrochemical recorders [Ling, Jan 14 2006]


       OK. The only caveat would be the relative value of whatever the item being monitored does. i.e. The single time I needed/used my powered car battery jumper was enough to have justified the cost. While the four times I used that damn juicer still leaves me wondering why the hell I bought it. (Juicers really piss me off. Never again, man, never again...)
Zuzu, Jan 14 2006

       Mercury bead timers Very, very baked.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 14 2006

       Can you find a link to one?
jutta, Jan 14 2006

       There's another slight problem with certain equipment in that it might not be easy to distinguish between a successful mission and a failed or partial one. Should you count a usage event that didn't result in what you were trying to use it for? For example, if you boil a kettle, that's one boil. If you then come back in 30 seconds later and switch it back on, so it boils for a few seconds and clicks off again, is this another boiling?
Ian Tindale, Jan 14 2006

       I thought mercury bead timers were devices used by car bombers?
DrCurry, Jan 14 2006

       [DrCurry] I can't see how you'd use an bead elapsed timer device to detonate a bomb, without perhaps, some light beam interrupter. A bead device works by transferring metal electrochemically through an electrolyte. The current (usually very small) controls the rate of migration., and so the distance moved by the electrolyte "bubble" indicated elapsed time.
A mercury tilt switch works by bridging two electrodes at the bottom of a cup - if the cup is tilted, the circuit is broken.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 15 2006

       + for visceral
zeno, Jan 15 2006

       Would it violate federal law to roll back your appliance odometer?
Jscotty, Jan 15 2006

       Watch out, you're going to get manufacturers charging per usage if you're careful, like office photocopiers!   

       'I'm sorry sir, you've exceeded your limit for this month, no more toast for you!' Could be a forced dieting mechanism though...
Texbinder, Jan 16 2006

       I like this - my bread machine cost about £100 and we've certainly used it a few hundred times since it was new, but the question is how many times? How much is each loaf of bread costing me as a proportion of the original purchase cost?

I may be wong, but I have a vague recollection of old photocopiers and cameras having mechanical counters hidden in their innards which could be read during servicing. Their purpose was to show when critical but long-life components needed replacing - e.g. a shutter in the case of a camera, which might need replacing after 100,000 uses.
hippo, Jan 16 2006


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