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COD [compulsive-obsessive disorder]
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I used to do Web-searching for members of an inventors' club I belong to.

I get some curious requests at times, such as one from a self-styled compulsive-obsessive disorder sufferer [a COD in the trade].

She wanted to know if there were some gadget on the market that would let those with "switch off" COD be certain that the light in the fridge went off when the door was closed!

I laughed and then apologised. She wasn't joking.

[Switch-off CODs are obsessed with the need to save power, and although they know they're potty as all CODs do, can't, while in or out of their houses, stop fearing they've left a switch on somewhere. Know the feeling?]

About the fridge-door, I did a perfunctory search to stay honest and then half-heartedly halfbaked a solution.

Show me yours and I'll show you mine, Halfbakery CO Disorderers. I know you're there, compulsively tapping.

rayfo, May 24 2001

Get one of these, and put it in the fridge... http://www.x10.com/products/x10_vk45a.htm
It will need power. The cheesy solution is just to snake the power cord out around the edge of the door. A more ambitious installer would open up the refrigerator's wiring compartment to extract power. (I've done this in the past, but, well, that's another story.) [egnor, May 24 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Use one of these to monitor the camera... http://www.amazon.c...os/ASIN/B000056SK7/
Also, you can use it to watch TV, once you're satisfied the light is off. [egnor, May 24 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Some background on the disorder http://news.bbc.co....1079000/1079437.stm
[angel, May 24 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       Haven't refrigerators had a little prong that switches the light off automatically when the door is closed and switches it on when it's open for decades now? It's just a little electrical contact...   

       Is that only here in the U.S.?
snarfyguy, May 24 2001

       Yes - her fridge has the knob system and she presses it, but believe it or not even then she can't believe it will "always work".   

       That's how nutty CODs are as I said earlier ... and they know it, but they can't help it.   

       My halfbaked solution? Actually it was half hers, i.e. it had to to be post-fittable - it was a photodiode vacuum-cupped inside and thin-wired through the closure in some way to a suction-cupped battery-powered tell-tale light outside.   

       Sad isn't it, but my caller said she was going to have one made up by someone at her support group. I hope it works the way a door-shop beeper does.
rayfo, May 25 2001

       I knew someone who bought a temperature monitor for the inside of her fridge - I think she got it from X10. I'm sure you could put a photo cell in like Royfo suggests, or a teeny video camera...
clynne, May 25 2001

       One of those X10 tiny wireless video cameras might work well. You could use a small, inexpensive kitchen TV.   

       I think it would work better than any sensor-based solution, because it would be visually very apparent that it was working. You'd see the door closing, and you'd see the light go out, and then it would be a mostly black screen. If the link ever failed or the camera's battery died, you'd get snow.   

       Alternatively, the really dead simple low-tech option: Take out the bulb. Arrange a spotlight outside the fridge to point at the fridge door. It won't be quite as convenient or well-lit, but I'm sure it will be perfectly usable, and she can relax.
egnor, May 25 2001

       About the window: Keyhole saw, piece of glass, a few feet of duct tape, problem solved.
Actually, the little switch thing is just there to fool gullible people. I distinctly remember an episode of Looney Toons where they revealed that the light is turned on and off by a little gremlin who lives in the back.
The problem with taking out the bulb is that you can't see the contents as well, especially those in the back. Reading labels is also a challenge. No problem with a mini-fridge, but quite irritating for full-sized models.
How about replacing the bulb with LED clusters placed at intervals throughout the fridge. More even lighting, and they don't use as much electricity (I think.)
nick_n_uit, May 25 2001

       [waugsqueke]: That was my point with the video camera; it's self-verifying in a way that even the OCD should find satisfactory. You can *see* that it's dark.
egnor, May 25 2001

       Problem with cutting through the door to install a window: the door is double-layer and filled with insulation, so you have to figure some way of making a finished viewport, perhaps by installing a coaming around the opening... My clever wife suggests sticking a short length of fiber-optic cable through a small hole, easily sealable with caulk, in the fridge.   

       Nice discussion you started, rayfo.
Dog Ed, May 25 2001

       See "Now you see it" par on page 55 16 June '01 issue of New Scientist for an "I wish I'd written that" contribution to the topic.
rayfo, Jun 22 2001

       It's obsessive compulsive disorder. It's obsessive compulsive disorder. It's obsessive compulsive disorder. It's obsessive compulsive disorder. It's obsessive compulsive disorder. It's obsessive compulsive disorder. It's obsessive compulsive disorder. It's obsessive compulsive disorder.   

       Oh and my fridge is an Electrolux. If the door is accidentally ajar, eventually it will start beeping to let you know. Get one.
Lula, Jun 23 2003

       Why not have a little red light on the outside of the fridge that lights up when the inside light is off. Once you confirm that the inside light is off, you can switch the outside light off too. Or why not just unplug the fridge? Or save yourself the trouble and wire your entire house to one big switch?
JesseOQ, Aug 01 2003

       UnaBubba is a little slow with that link.
po, Aug 01 2003

       Um: won't the hapless OCD sufferer simply keep returning to the fridge-light-checker to double-check that the light is off?   

       And wouldn't she then start obsessing about the power the fridge-light-checker is using?   

       Rods: I also immediately thought "glass-fronted fridge". It seems odd to me too that they're not available domestically. Maybe a glass door -- even double- or triple-glazed -- is too inefficient compared to the heavily-insulated opaque doors.   

       I quite like egnor's "take the bulb out" solution, but instead of arranging outside lighting, why not simply teach the subject how to remove the bulb when she's obsessing?
JKew, Aug 01 2003

       I like the fiber optics idea, and I'm now glad that my dad only rearranges the macaroni and cheese boxes.
krigre55, Dec 10 2007

       You could wire a buzzer into the same circuit. Annoying, but simple and effective. It might also stop people standing in front of an open fridge for ages choosing what to eat.
marklar, Dec 10 2007

       Peephole, like for a front door. Already designed for the thickness, easy to install, not that ugly, no power requirements, etc. I've never bought one, but couldn't be more than ten bucks at a hardware store, $20 for a nice brass one. PS What is the name of the website you go to? Sounds like fun.
MisterQED, Dec 10 2007


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