A broken oven

When my girlfriend and I returned home from our New Year holiday, we discovered that the oven was broken. The stove elements worked, but baking and grilling didn’t.

Thinking that something had burnt out inside, we called an electrician. About 30 seconds after arriving, he had solved the problem. While we were away, there had been a power cut. This had reset the oven’s clock to a flashing “0:00”, and reset the oven to something called “Auto” mode. And the combination of those two makes the oven refuse to work.

Or to put it another way, the oven is useless by default.

The problem would have gone away if I’d set the clock, but in the three months I’ve been living in this house it’s always been a flashing “0:00”, because I hadn’t figured out how to set it. Before you laugh, consider the controls available:

four buttons, labelled (1) “Timer”, (2) a picture of a steaming pot, (3) “Stop”, and (4) a picture of a hand; then a knob with arrows pointing clockwise and anticlockwise.

The answer, as the electrician cheerfully informed me, is to hold down the first three buttons (but not the fourth), turn the knob until the correct time is shown, then release the buttons. Discoverable? Hardly. Would an extra “Clock” button have been so difficult to add?

Apart from that, there’s no good reason for an oven to insist on knowing the time before it will cook anything. That’s a broken design. So the oven was broken after all, just not in the way we thought.