Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Lemaire Automatic Washing Machine
Washes 2.5 kg Per Load

This would have to be the most economical way to get into washing on the road. It truly is a great little machine and works really well and being just about all plastic rust will never be a problem. You must however bear in mind that it only washes 2.5 kg dry weight per load. This is not as restrictive as it might first seem - see for instance the photos at the bottom of this page for examples of typical washes. In our case we try to wash each day we are travelling, as it works great on the road as long as you don't have massive panic stops! Yes it does work fine whilst moving - an added advantage is you are using the vehicles alternator. The huge advantage is that of hygiene, as in some caravan parks you even get working permanents washing work boots in machines. Similarly with Laundromats, you get people washing horse and pet blankets. Ouch!! The unit is Russian made by Lemaire - XQBM20-C. The engineering is quite good and warranty is 2 years and it is very light at 17 KG..

Engineering is not complicated and easy to source belts are used. We particularly liked the all stainless steel bowl assembly. We didn't try this but it should work on modified sine wave inverters as there is virtually no electronics. (the Electrolux for instance wont work with some Onan generators, due to phase problems, a point worth checking if you are thinking about a front loader) Note that it isn't an RV specific product, but is in fact made for those tiny flats in Russia. Now if this scares you just a little - a bit of reassurance! We have had a couple of Lemaire airconditioners and these lasted for years so please don't let Russian built put you off!

Controls are absolute simplicity - just two. One for water level and one for wash cycle. They look to be fairly splash proof and both are located along the rear top. There is a lint filter and the photo above shows one removed and being cleaned. You can buy spares of these at Camec, however we feel you should get many years use out of one. The belts used can be picked up in any engineering suppliers.

We have installed ours in the bathroom of a 2003 series Winnebago Leisure Seeker - the one with the foot bath. See photos above. Initially we had it in a bin but we found this far too restricting and it limited where you could wash if you were trying to look like environmentally friendly campers. Matilda have a very neat bin installation on a slide out on their 2004/05 models. There is a story on this set up on this page. We have put up a very detailed DIY article on this site as our installation took about 3 days - not easy!! In practice this system works fantastically well as you avoid accumulating a pile of washing you can't even jump over! Water consumption on "high" is BAD at 60 litres (compared to the miserly 9 litres for front loaders), however you can reduce this to around 21 litres by always setting the level on low whenever water is scarce. The water consumption is only high because of a double rinse cycle. You can of course use buckets to collect the waste water and recycle it. Lots of motorhomers use this system, particularly those who haven't yet got round to a permanent installation. What we tend to do for large washes is to park near a town with easy access to water and then refill when finished. The spin dry is excellent with clothes requiring little line drying - we simply hang ours up over the shower on a Flinbex folding rack. The pictures below show a couple of typical "loads". Rather amazing don't you think for such a tiny machine and remember it does it all "automatically!

There is only provision for using cold water. We get around this in winter by using the shower wand and popping in a bit of hot water. Height is 698 mm, depth 425 mm and width 416 mm however, as it has curved sides you can shoe horn it into 410 mm with no problems. Electrically, consumption is excellent for bush camping use at 225 watts on wash and 260 watts on spin. Ours runs very happily off a Kyocera 120 watt solar panel and a Selectronic LD 200 inverter. Weight is excellent at 17 kg. Weight wise we actually reduced overall bathroom weight - something you really have to watch with Mercedes based motorhomes as the front axle loading is usually right up near the upper safe limit. The photo below shows three machines having their "maiden" runs of course with three lovely maidens! The grey water wasn't going into the lake either folks - buckets were used.

Most larger RV outlets have these machines, but beware that prices vary by a huge margin. Ours came from Retra Vision at Beenleigh in Queensland and we paid around the $325.00 mark. Camec for instance have them at $499.00 (last checked December 2003). The guys on the Caravanners Forum (October 2004) advise that they are $301 at the Good Guys on Bundall Road on the Gold Coast, $359 at Harvey Norman in Noosa Qld, $315 at Retravision in Young NSW and $310 at Betta Electrical in Gympie in Queensland. As things stand, in our view this is the best washing option currently available and it eliminates having to hand wring with arthritic hands! For those new to motorhoming and washing on the road there is a heap of information on this page. Absolutely recommended.

UPDATE from Bi-Rite Electrical at Burpengary in Queensland has them for $288.00 cash - contact Roger Newberry on (07) 3888 9555

Regarding the lemair washer Due to manufacturers price increase we regretably have had to raise the price to $328
And The shop has relocated to Kippa-Ring.


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