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July 15, 2005 12:02 AM

Broken: Water dispenser buttons

BothredbuttonsPeter Conrad writes:

Here's the water dispenser at work. To get hot water, you have to push "both red buttons." But there are three! It turns out that you have to push both of the LARGER red buttons to get hot water. The smaller one is supposed to give you extra hot water, but there's no indication of whether you push and release it before pressing both larger red buttons, or push all three, or what. Pushing the small red button turns on the red light, but sometimes the red light is just on anyway. And the water doesn't stop flowing for about three seconds after you release the buttons (red-red or blue) so you always end up with a full spill compartment.

[P.S. Peter Conrad draws cartoons at Good shtuff. -mh]


Col, hot and ext hot? WHy not use Warm and Hot instead? I see "ext" and I think of the word "External."

Posted by: Robert at July 15, 2005 12:24 AM

Warm??? If you look carefully, that "WARM" water is currently at *90C*! What same designer would label that as warm???

But why couldn't they use visual mneumonics instead of instructions? A line connecting the word HOT and the two buttons, and then another line connecting the words EXTRA HOT and all three red buttons would make the point beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Posted by: DaveC426913 at July 15, 2005 12:39 AM

This is what I'm sayin':

Is there any doubt how to get hot water or extra hot water?

Posted by: DaveC426913 at July 15, 2005 12:52 AM


I dont think thats 90C, probably 90F


Posted by: davey crocket at July 15, 2005 03:33 AM


I think that means 90F, not 90C, because 43C wouldn't be very "cold", now would it?

Posted by: Chris B at July 15, 2005 03:44 AM

What an absolutely stupid design.

Poor design + pain in the ass to use = broken.

Posted by: Faolan at July 15, 2005 03:59 AM

Definately Broken. Any of the above mentioned changes would make this better.

Posted by: Frank Senbeens at July 15, 2005 05:41 AM

Is that "Extra" hot water, or "Extra Hot" water? Geez! Anyone would be totally confused by this.

Posted by: sir_flexalot at July 15, 2005 07:30 AM

I can't believe nobody has commented that there are five buttons for three functions.

Probably what happened here was that originally there were just two buttons: Cold and Hot. Then for a later model designers wanted to add an even hotter temperature (because Hot was really just "quite warm"), so they added a third button: "Ext. Hot" (which should have been "very hot", oh well). They figured couldn't relabel the middle button "Warm" because users would be confused.

Then it was discovered that users often don't pay attention to the buttons closely and were ordering up hot water and melting their plastic bottles, or scalding their throats after chugging what they thought would refreshing instant iced tea. So the designers added buttons to make sure that selecting "hot" had to be more intentional.

Broken, broken, broken!

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at July 15, 2005 08:54 AM

Actually, I'm pretty sure that the hot reads '190'. That would mean that it has to be °F.

Posted by: a_cheesepuff at July 15, 2005 09:00 AM

further complaint: of the three similar black ovals, two show temp and one a button?

Anyway, 90F isn't very hot for a drink - just warm. Coffee at a restaurant is typically served at at least 140. 190 would be seriously dangerous (see McDonald's lawsuit -- the coffee there really was too hot).

Posted by: Misha at July 15, 2005 09:14 AM

i just have to comment on Frank Senbeens' name...genius:) and the 3-button hot water thing is so some kid doesn't get scalded...most dispensers that have near boiling water have some sort of safety feature like that.

Posted by: picklejuice at July 15, 2005 10:26 AM

>> Robby and picklejuice, you both make excellent explnrtions on this item.

Also the water dispensing for a few seconds after you release the button happens in most cappacino machines and causes waste and or scalded hands because customers don't read the sign release button when cup is 2/3 full(not that this one has one).


Posted by: kent at July 15, 2005 11:20 AM

I don't think his comics are that clever. In fact, I don't really even get it... the guy tells the mechanic to not change the radio station, and then when the mechanic gets in the car the radio is swearing at him?

Posted by: James Schend at July 15, 2005 11:39 AM

We had that same water dispenser at my old job and although I never got hot water, I always wondered why there were two buttons.

Posted by: Michael at July 15, 2005 11:51 AM

After cleaning up the photo and enhancing the quality, It IS 190 F, IF THAT IS HOT WHAT IS EXTRA HOT!!!!!!?!?!??!

Posted by: unknown at July 15, 2005 03:01 PM

Easy. Just press all the buttons at once for 6 hours. Then gargle minty toothpaste and spit it at the thing. Just throw a brick at it, and it should be sufficiently messed up- ready for sale on Ebay!

Posted by: nickd at July 15, 2005 08:07 PM

Wow, he's right; the first oval says 43, but the second says 190! (You can see the "1" if you increase the gamma/brightness).

Posted by: shill at July 17, 2005 03:56 AM

Nickd, you are neither wacky nor fun, but you certainly are random. Sorry.

Posted by: Bob at July 17, 2005 03:37 PM

I'm not that nick d. from Texas Instruments.

Posted by: nickd at July 17, 2005 04:22 PM

who wants warm water?

Posted by: ... at July 17, 2005 05:26 PM

here is the touched up picture show 190

Posted by: unknown at July 17, 2005 06:10 PM

Here is the pictuer

Posted by: unknown at July 17, 2005 06:10 PM

Ja, I know.

Posted by: Bob at July 17, 2005 07:48 PM

"Actually, I'm pretty sure that the hot reads '190'. That would mean that it has to be °F."

What you mean that you don't want your coffee to be 190 degrees C or 374 degrees F? WIMP LOL... JK

yeah must be F or there would definately be no reason for extra hot.. unless that's in case you wanted to make sure the suicidal coffee was effective.... :


Posted by: infinity at July 18, 2005 01:08 AM

Ja, it's 43 and 190, pretty obviously fahrenheit.

Unless it's lukewarm and boiling.

Posted by: Bob at July 19, 2005 08:58 AM

The News & Observer in Raleigh NC has the exact same one. Everyone there gets cold water and heats it on their own.

Posted by: Jake Nelson at July 20, 2005 07:49 PM

I get it. if you want extra hot water you press both the lower left and the little red button, the other (red) button is for 190f water. blue for 43f

Posted by: Waterboy at October 31, 2005 04:16 AM

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