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July 12, 2005 12:02 AM

Broken: Toaster oven

BadtoasterPeter Conrad writes:

Here's the toaster at work. It has three knobs that all look alike. The bottom one controls the function (toast, bake, etc.); the middle one controls the time in minutes; the top one controls the temperature.

In order to actually turn on the heating element, you must select both a temperature and a function. That's problem number one. You can't just turn the function knob to "toast" and get your bread toasted, even if you also select a time on the timer. Nothing will happen. So, many times I've listened for the timer and then discovered that my bread was still cold from the fridge. The temperature is usually turned all the way down by people when they turn it off, because it's not obvious which knob to turn to make it stop.

The timer does not shut it off automatically. Or at least it doesn't turn off the red light. I don't remember whether the heating element cools down when the timer goes off. It bothers me that I don't remember. But I don't think it's my fault.

The functions are listed in light gray, and OFF is down, even though zero on the timer is to the left. By the way, the temperature knob is marked as far down as 150, but turns past 150 to some unknown temperature that is kind of diagonally down and to the left.


how is it broken again? it just seems non-standard to me

Posted by: ToasterKing at July 12, 2005 12:18 AM

Looks resonable to me.

You set the Function and Temperature to what you want, then just set the time. Time counts down, it'll stop, you have toast. What do you do next time? Just set the timer.

Actually, that sounds like a real convienence. What's broken? *Perhaps* the temperature not reading below 150. But why would you use a setting so low?

Posted by: Jim King at July 12, 2005 12:21 AM

How is a blind person going to use that thing, there is not even a toast button,

My toaster has a knob on the bottom for toast darkness, A knob in the middle for timer and a toast button and the top knob is the oven control with broil being in the selection of temps

Posted by: unknown at July 12, 2005 12:52 AM

How is a blind person going to use that thing, there is not even a toast button,

My toaster has a knob on the bottom for toast darkness, A knob in the middle for timer and a toast button and the top knob is the oven control with broil being in the selection of temps,what is also broken is tHAT, that toster does not auto shutoff, causing a firehazard

Posted by: unknown at July 12, 2005 12:53 AM

Its just some funky controls(OMG don't start with a blind person interface). NOT BROKEN!

Posted by: l00kalive at July 12, 2005 01:22 AM

Someone needs to clean that thing. That's nasty.

Posted by: Faolan at July 12, 2005 03:24 AM

Seems rather simple if you ask me, I agree with Jim King. Maybe not what YOU would expect, but not broken. I think you are a tool, and perhaps YOU are the broken one.

Posted by: Hugh Jardon at July 12, 2005 05:40 AM

_@_v - since the chinese took over much of the worlds manufacturing of electronics and small appliances the whole world's gone to hell.

_@_v - but at least it's better than this toaster...

Posted by: she snailie_@_v at July 12, 2005 06:04 AM

The item in question is not a toaster. It's a toaster-oven. By looking at the controls, and the labels, it would indicate that the appliance can toast, bake and broil.

The original poster indicates that the middle knob is a timer. That is NOT what the label indicates. The label says "Toast". The implication of the labelling is that the control is related to toasting. On most dedicated toasters, this would be a "darkness" setting for how much you want something toasted, and not a timer per se.

The top control is labelled "Oven". The implication is that the control is related to the bake and broil functions.

I would expect that the appliance would use the top knob to control temperature when the bottom knob is set for bake or broil. I would also expect the middle knob's setting to be irrelevant to the operation of the oven as it is labelled "toast".

Similarly, I would expect the appliance would use the middle knob to control toasting when the bottom knob is set for toasting. I would also expect the top knob's setting to be irrelevant as I'm not using the oven function.

Based on th original poster's description, this is not the behaviour being exhibited. In which case, I'd say it is a ratehr poor interface for a toaster oven.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at July 12, 2005 08:56 AM long have you been using this? you should know by now how to use it

Posted by: nan at July 12, 2005 10:04 AM

Pardon me, but what's wrong with this?

i personally don't see a problem.

Mr. Conrad's post was too long. This is Boring.

Anyway, Mr. Conrad, it *is* your fault. Go buy a pop-up toaster. It won't toast as well, but at least the agonizing step of selecting a temperature is removed.

Posted by: Bob at July 12, 2005 11:14 AM

Just exactly how much did he pay for this toaster oven. Maybe he got what he paid for. Ya know??

Posted by: sandy at July 12, 2005 12:05 PM

If I am understanding this right, there doesn't seem to be any difference between the diffrent functions, apart from the timer maybe stopping the toaster oven fonction. This sounds very broken to me.

Some thing else that seems to be broken, the box marked "Remember personal info?" dosen't seem to work. And before anyone asks, my browsr does accept cookies.

Posted by: Sean P at July 12, 2005 12:20 PM

Yes, absolutely broken. This is what happens when the people who design the interface think they know what they are doing but actually don't.

I have no doubt I could figure it out, but a toaster (ok, a toaster oven) shouldn't require constant vigilance during its use. I should be able to successfully toast the bread while still groggy from sleep, or (as this is the oven at work), brain-dead after a 4-hour AM meeting.

Posted by: Patrick at July 12, 2005 01:09 PM

This is a common design incorporated into appliances today add more buttons and/or knobs to make the customer feel they are getting more (i.e. cancel button on a toaster. Why not just lift the lever up like we used to do?)

This is a toaster oven it only needs two knobs temp. setting and a timer that will shut it off when the set time elapses.

What's broken is the consumer when deciding on a toaster oven things this design is better because it has more knobs.

Posted by: kent at July 12, 2005 01:57 PM

Pretty intuitive to me, I don't thinks it's broken.

On the other side, the picture shows an oven toaster that looks very used. If my assumption is correct, I really can't understand how come the owner still gets mistified when trying to get some toast.

Posted by: SAM at July 12, 2005 02:41 PM

just use a push-down toaster

Posted by: SpicyMeatball at July 12, 2005 03:12 PM

I have this same product, and I have no beef with the bake and broil functions. But like Mr. Conrad I take issue with the knob labeled "Toast", because it doesn't turn the oven off when the time's up, it just goes DING and keeps cooking. It should be labeled "Timer". That label is surely broken.

Posted by: ToastTimer at July 12, 2005 03:35 PM


As is clearly indicated in the post, this toaster oven is at work, therefor the poster is not the owner, he is simply one user among many.

By the way, anyone have any idea why the box marked "Remember personal info?" dosen't seem to work.

Posted by: Sean P at July 12, 2005 06:27 PM

Could be worse. Could be digital.

Then you need the manual just to learn how to make toast. (Bake and broil are beyong the scope of this article) Once you get that down pat (after a few weeks) you can lose the manual... until the power goes out and you have to reset everything. Of course, if you lose the manual and the power goes out, you get to go out and buy another non-digital real toaster because setting the digital without the manual just ain't possible. It's funny starbucks and donut shops don't sell digital toaster ovens. They'd make a killing on the folks who lose their manuals.

Posted by: g man at July 13, 2005 03:24 AM

I have a toaster over with the same controls. It is in my kitchen, I've had it for 6 months and I still need to study the knobs each time I use it. Mine also came with a big sign in the box that said "Important Information... In order to turn on the bake or broil setting you must turn the toast knob clockwise with firm pressure." This means "enough pressure so that you think you're going to snap the knob off." I should've retuned it right then.

Posted by: nick a at July 13, 2005 09:51 AM

It's broken because of this: how do i know what temperature to create toast at? I have no idea how hot toast has to be. For an oven, this is required, but for toast, it is difficult w/o some little icons for "lightly toasted bread", "oven-baked pizza", "burned to a crisp anything" so that I know what I'm getting.

Posted by: sir_flexalot at July 13, 2005 02:55 PM

I dunno Sean, I've been having the same problem lately too.

Posted by: ambrocked at July 13, 2005 02:58 PM

OMG - we have pretty much the same toaster oven at my work. I just used it for the first time today...set it to toast, added the time...noted that the little red light went on...waited two minutes. Nada! Aside from sticking my hand inside, how was I supposed to know it wasn't doing anything?

Posted by: Michelle at July 13, 2005 06:31 PM

As with most things considered "broken" nowadays, it's simply poorly designed and takes more effort than today's average McTeenager thinks should have to be put into doing anything. RTFM (Read the F-ing Manual). In my experience, most things called "broken" are usually "broken" due to "user error" or "user is stupid, easily confused and lazy".

Posted by: Julie at July 14, 2005 12:34 AM

Totally broken. I had a kitchen burn down because of this model a few years ago. A friend went to the kitchen and put bread in the thing and turned the knob. Instead of dinging when it was done, it heated up the toast until it caught on fire, then exploded.

Posted by: J. Scott at July 14, 2005 01:34 AM

Sure, yeah, RTFM, blah blah blah. It's a TOASTER. I should be about to use it WITHOUT thinking about it. The one I have at home (also a toaster oven) has one knob: timer. Turn the knob, the toaster gets hot. Timer goes off, toaster cools down. I don't have to think about it. Am I smart enough to figure out the other toaster oven? Sure. But why bother?

Posted by: Peter S. Conrad at July 14, 2005 12:58 PM

Daaaaaaaaaa... Sorry. I thought i could post w/o thought.

Posted by: Bob at July 17, 2005 08:04 PM

Made in China?

Posted by: Nigel Pond at July 19, 2005 11:01 AM

Who, me? Nah, more like Pennsylvania.

Posted by: Bob at July 20, 2005 11:02 AM

All toasters are broken. They have a control for degree of toastedness, which invariably has a setting to burn your toast beyond edibility. I have to leave mine all the way down, and it still burns sometimes. And it heats unevenly, so I have to rotate my toast. But at least the knob is very simple. Turn it to the left to burn things in toast mode, or turn it to the right to burn them in oven mode.

Posted by: WurdBendur at February 22, 2006 12:22 AM

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