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How does this rice cooker work?
September 8, 2010 8:15 AM   Subscribe

How does this rice cooker work?

A friend recently bought a used rice cooker that she was told was in perfect working condition. It has a complicated pair of concentric dials and a couple of buttons, and she can't figure out how to make it work.

The brand is National, and the model number is sr-2103kt. She's not able to find the manual online anywhere.

Here's an image of the dials/buttons. Both of the dials can be rotated, independently of one another. As you can see, the counterclockwise numbers seem to correspond to the R.C. TIME arrow (rice-cooking time, presumably), and the inner dial with the orange hand indicates P. TIME, whatever that is.

When she tried to use it, she turned the dials to settings that she guessed made sense (not sure what those settings were), and pushed down the "rice cooking" button, but nothing much happened in terms of turning rice into cooked rice. How does this thing work? Thanks for any and all help!
posted by sleevener to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
 
My fancy Japanese rice cooker has, as the default cycles, a slow warm-up for about half an hour before the cooking starts. That can be by-passed by selecting the fast-cook (normal) cycle.

Apparently, it can be set not just for white or brown rice, but for 10 gradations in between. I don't know where one could get that kind of rice in the US. I'd like to get the 10% brown rice, so I could say it was brown rice, but wouldn't have to chew each bite for five full minutes.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:37 AM on September 8, 2010


Most rice cookers I know use some kind of sensor that determines when there is no more boiling water inside the chamber. They also often come with delay timers.

I think that's what's going on with this rice cooker.

Have her leave the dial at 0. Fill up with rice and water and press down on the cooking tab.

She can feel the outsides to see if it's getting hot (be careful!) or pop the lid up after 10 minutes.
posted by royalsong at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2010


First suggestion would be to talk to whoever sold her the cooker.

Pure guesswork, but could the "P. Time" dial be a delay? "Pre-cook time" maybe? She could try setting that dial to zero and the "R.C. Time" dial to whatever might be appropriate (I know nothing about rice cookers) and see what happens. My guess would also be that if she sets both dials to non-zero values, presses the big white button, and none of the three lights shows, the cooker is not in fact in perfect working condition.

If she can find any other number on it which might be a model identifier (sometimes the same product has very different model numbers in different countries), this page might help:

http://www.usersmanualguide.com/panasonic/rice_cooker
posted by nja at 8:47 AM on September 8, 2010


Thanks for the help so far, and please keep it coming! I just wanted to quickly point out that there is no zero on the number dial.
posted by sleevener at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2010


There is a zero point, but it isn't labelled - it in the same place as the 12.
posted by nja at 8:58 AM on September 8, 2010


Following on from nja's comment: The number dial goes from 1 to 12 and presumably represents a clock. My guess is that you set the thing to have finished cooking rice at a specific time, and then specify what time it is now. So maybe Rice Cooked Time and Present Time? Have her set P time to the current time, RC Time to 1 hour from now, and then come back in an hour and see if she has some cooked rice.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:00 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mine has a digital counter below the cook/warm buttons, so I think it works like this:

Fill up the rice cooker. If she wants rice now (well, in 30 minutes or whatever), press the "cook" button. If she wants rice tomorrow morning, set the outer dial to 8 (hours), then press the "cook" button. After it's done cooking, it'll chime or beep. Then if you want it to keep the rice warm, press the "warm" button.

I think the inner dial is for a specific timer; maybe for steaming vegetables?
posted by specialagentwebb at 9:23 AM on September 8, 2010


That makes sense to me - I was thinking along the lines of those slow-cookers where you can put a stew in before you go to work, and arrive home to find it has just finished cooking having started three or four hours previously. I hadn't made the connection between the dial going 1-12, and it referring to clock time rather than cooking time. This does imply that the cooker thinks that all rice takes a fixed time to cook, though.
posted by nja at 9:29 AM on September 8, 2010


Have her set P time to the current time, RC Time to 1 hour from now, and then come back in an hour and see if she has some cooked rice.

I like the thinking there, but I'm guessing "RC Time" is when it begins. So, she'd probably come back in an hour to find that the rice cooker had just turned on.

I'd suggest try putting them at the same time, hit the switch, and see if it starts cooking. First thing's first: get it to cook your rice NOW. Then worry about the timer whatnot after you've gotten that figured out at least...
posted by StarmanDXE at 11:32 AM on September 8, 2010


Yeah, I'm guessing that's a clock somehow. Nice rice cookers usually have wall clock features so you can throw everything in there after breakfast and set it to finish cooking for dinner. It can take hours to cook rice sometimes so having a "done at" feature is a huge win.

I also would not waste rice figuring this out. Just put water in the bowl until you get a handle on things. Also note a good cooker will gently preheat the water so it might not be obvious that is "on".

At a guess, P. Time is present time, RC time is Rice Cooked time.
posted by chairface at 12:20 PM on September 8, 2010


Side track:

I don't know where one could get that kind of rice in the US. I'd like to get the 10% brown rice, so I could say it was brown rice, but wouldn't have to chew each bite for five full minutes.

StickyCarpet, unless you've got some dental issues going on, I think you're cooking it wrong. When I cook (100%) brown rice, there's a bit of extra texture, but most of the difference is in the taste, according to my guests.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:27 PM on September 8, 2010


I will add that it takes longer, and slightly more water, to cook brown rice than white.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:27 PM on September 8, 2010


Thanks, all, for your imagination and help. I'm passing this whole thread on my friend, but it seems to me like the "P. Time = present time" theory might be a winner. I'll check back in with the solution once a big steamy bowl of rice is achieved.

Alternate theories still welcome, of course.
posted by sleevener at 1:25 PM on September 8, 2010


Update: she got it to work! She and her roommate fiddled with the dials until it started cooking immediately, at which point they taped the dials down with duct tape. Now it cooks rice every time!
posted by sleevener at 10:30 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


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