What would cause an appliance to throw an error on a specific outlet?
August 3, 2018 4:58 PM   Subscribe

I have a Breville Smart Oven. It's been great for two years and now it's throwing an error (E05) every time I use it in one specific outlet. If I use it in another outlet, it works. Why?

This seems to be a common issue, so common that the first question Breville's customer support asked me was "Have you used it in a different outlet?" They wouldn't explain what the error is about, but said it's possible a brand new oven would throw the same error if using the same outlet that my current one is using.

What's up with that? Any idea what's going on? What about the outlet/circuit makes the oven not work? How does the oven "remember" which outlet is which?
posted by 10ch to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
If the problem is specific to an outlet, its possible the outlet is providing too little (or too much?) power, or the power is inconsistent. Many devices wouldn't care, but if it draws a lot of power, and is electronic, it might be very sensitive to problems other devices can ignore.
posted by nalyd at 5:30 PM on August 3, 2018

Is it the outlet attached to a range? I blew out 3 different appliances on that one before I sided up and put a cover on it so I won’t be tempted. I think it delivers uneven power.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 5:40 PM on August 3, 2018

Get an outlet tester, that shows the ground/neutral/hot situation on the outlet.
Under 10 bucks.

If the hot and neutral are reversed, modern equipment can notice it.
Likewise with bad bonding between ground and neutral.
These are wiring and connection problems, and should be detectable with an outlet tester.
posted by the Real Dan at 5:54 PM on August 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Would these issues emerge for an outlet out of nowhere? (It's worked fine in the same outlet that's throwing an error for 2 years.)
posted by 10ch at 6:33 PM on August 3, 2018

There's a comment here that suggests they had an issue with the plug prongs not making contact inside the outlet (though then they had another issue later, too?). In any case, yes, it's possible for a contact to go bad in some way over time, whether in the outlet itself or elsewhere on the same circuit. It's possible the oven is sensitive to things like that. An outlet tester might show you the issue, but it's possible the outlet tester won't be as sensitive as the oven is. For example, the oven might test the circuit by briefly drawing a large load (like it does when heating) and giving the error if it isn't able to draw as much as it wants.
posted by whatnotever at 7:06 PM on August 3, 2018

Unless you went to special pains to install better-than-the-absolute-cheapest materials when your house was wired, there's a good chance that the outlet you're plugging into cost substantially less than a buck. Sometimes stuff fails or was marginally installed to begin with.

Replacing an outlet is really easy (but know your breaker panel and ensure that power on that circuit is turned off first.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:43 PM on August 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have experienced the same issue as you. I went through five (!) of the Breville Smart Ovens within two years. I had bought them from Bed Bath & Beyond, who then had a no-time-limit return policy (note: as of July 23, their return policy has changed; they now accept returns for one year after the purchase date. If you purchased something from them before that date, the previous infinite return policy applies).

Breville customer service advised me that the E05 error is a non-resettable error and the unit would have to be sent in, so I don’t think I tried another outlet, and they didn’t advise me to; I just kept exchanging them at BB&B.

It did eventually occur to me that there might be a problem with the outlet, but no other appliances have had any issues when plugged in there, so I didn’t test it. But clearly something was up somewhere. Breville’s customer service claimed to have rarely seen the problem, and certainly not several times from the same customer.

I finally upgraded to the Smart Oven Air, because it has so many great features and a longer warranty, and I put it in a kitchen cart and plugged it into a different outlet. No problems so far, after about a year with the new model.
posted by theperfectcrime at 8:38 PM on August 3, 2018

10ch: "Would these issues emerge for an outlet out of nowhere? (It's worked fine in the same outlet that's throwing an error for 2 years.)"

Yes. Either that specific receptacle or wiring at any point down stream. An open bond is a likely culprit if the appliance detects for that. Changing a receptacle is generally cheap and easy if you are handy that way. Finding a bad splice upstream is usually quite a bit more involved.
posted by Mitheral at 8:58 PM on August 3, 2018

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