Customer Reviews: Sanyo ECJ-F50S Micro-Computerized 5-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker and Steamer
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on March 28, 2008
I am Asian and eat rice everyday. I bought this rice cooker to replace my 8 years old National 8 cups white rice cooker/warmer,which is still working fine only it was too big for our family. We change to eat only brown rice now and the old one can not make brown rice as good as this new one. I did research many brands and found this one has the best comment and match my need.I only cook 2 cups at the time except when we have guests because I like my rice fresh and moist. This rice cooker keep rice warm and fresh for more than 24 hours, really!. I tried brown jasmine rice, brown basmati rice and white rice. They all came out best, so soft and plum. I love jasmine brown rice the most. Unlike the old one that cooking time was about 30 mins, but brown rice came out hard and uncooked even I put more water. I don't mind the fact that this new rice cooker cooking time is about 1 hour and 20 mins. I just start cooking rice first and do other dishes in the mean time. So everything is done and ready to eat.

I like the fact that this rice cooker does not make any noise when I push any button like other appliances. It won't make my 6 months old wake up. I like the set up time that allow me to have cooked fresh rice ready when we got back home from going out. The whole house smell so wonderful. Clean up is so easy. Although the inner lid is so thin and light compare to the National, but the cooking pan is so thick and heavy that should last a long time. It is very nice design and smaller than the round design.

I only use this rice cooker for cooking rice or sometimes season rice and it works best. I would highly recommend this product to anyone who love brown rice. If you only eat white rice, the cheaper one should be OK.
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on March 21, 2006
People who are addicted to Zojirushi may change their mind when they discover how great the Sanyo ECJ models are!! I have the ECJ-F50S, pretty much the same as the D55S but with a thicker titanium coating--3.5 mm!! The 5.5 cup only has 2.5 mm thick titanium coating. It's super durable and cooks rice perfectly! We have been using rice cooker our whole life and this is the best we have used so far! If size doesn't really matter, go for the 5 Cup F50s model, that one is much better!
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on January 19, 2007
This cooker makes good rice. I don't find it especially slow--mostly because I'm used to planning ahead for my brown rice already (80 minutes rather than 60). The rice has great texture and flavour. An excellent nonstick pot means you get the rice skin in your food rather than having it stick to the pot (sufficient rinsing minimises this); in some circles the skin is a delicacy. Basically, not bad.

The product is not particularly difficult to clean day-to-day. The pot is easy. The cover is attached via an annoying rubber ball and socket: it pops on and off easily enough but looks like a hack (for example, compare to Zojirushi's NS-ZCC10, in which the pot cover snaps in and out of a sturdy latch, and won't let you close the cooker if you forget to replace the pot lid after cleaning). The Sanyo's steam vent is a finnicky little ball vent: you have to pop off its enclosure and then unscrew the two halves. Fortunately it doesn't need to be cleaned often. The Zojirushi is better in this regard.

But the electronics are pathetic. Given how easily Sanyo could have done better, I'm harsh in my criticism:

First: there is no audible notice when your rice is done. It cooks for a while and then it stops. It only counts down the last thirteen minutes (it does not know initially how long the rice will take because more rice takes longer and it has to sense how much rice there is). But this means that you can't even reliably set a kitchen timer! Not that you should have to--there's electronics in there, and it would add no complexity and little hardware to make it beep like everyone else! But no, you just have to watch the unit.

Second: there is a nice "steam" feature (this is an uncommon and welcome feature on fuzzy logic rice cookers), but it is not possible to use that with a timer. The manual helpfully advises that you time steaming by hand, which is difficult because while the machine knows when the water starts to boil, it doesn't tell you! You have to watch or listen for steam. In fairness, most of the things I steam are done when I can stick a fork in them, but the occasional exception irks. At least the "slow cook" feature lets you time things (in increments of a half hour; think all-day stew).

Third, I'm partial to 24-hour clocks, but I'm used to 12-hour clocks. This unit has neither: it mostly follows 12-hour conventions, but noon is 0:00, not 12:00. This is more logical (a numbering system that goes from 0 to 12- rather than from 1 to 13- as is the convention) but I've done double-takes a few times because 0:00 is midnight in the 24-hour world. Why Sanyo thought it a good idea to use _neither_ of the standard clock formats, but rather invent their own, is a mystery.

Fourth (only for the somewhat absent-minded): the unit does not shut off when you open the lid. When your rice is cooked the unit enters "keep warm" mode, which is great, but even when the lid is opened and the bowl removed the unit stays in that mode until I start to wonder why my kitchen feels warm. The "keep warm" light is probably more obvious if you're not as tall as I am, and I suppose some people will serve some rice, close the unit, eat, go back for more rice... at least an audible warning that the unit is still on upon lid open/close would be nice.

Fifth: The control panel resets to its default ("white rice") after each use. There's a battery backup for the clock and I leave mine plugged in anyway, so the machine could easily remember the last thing you did (I almost always cook brown rice), but it doesn't.

Sixth: of course a holster for the provided spatula wouldn't be a bad idea (most rice cookers seem to do this), but that's minor.

In summary: it makes very good rice, but Sanyo cut many stupidly trivial corners.
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on June 9, 2011
Well, this is the most idiotic thing. When the battery dies - and the battery *will* eventually die, you have to ship it to a repair center for replacement! I live in NYC, so I have to pack it up and send it to California - the only center in the USA that Sanyo refers to handle the unit?

I spoke to the repair center and the cost would be $25 for a diagnosis, plus $40 for labor, plus shipping costs: $65+ to replace a tiny battery! Even the person I spoke to at the repair center thought it was economically ridiculous to send the unit to them just to replace the battery, and she tried to dissuade me from doing it.

Seriously, you have to disassemble the unit in order to get to the front panel, then disassemble the electronic front panel to get to the battery. I kid you not. Trust me, it ain't easy - and you risk breaking something in the process. Unless you feel comfortable performing brain surgery, stay away from this unit!

Sanyo - very, very, stupid.
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on June 20, 2011
My 4 year old Sanyo ECJ-F50S rice cooker clock timer died because of a dead battery. Now it requires a strange series of (undocumented) button presses to get started at all. Programming delayed cooking is a problem. Called Sanyo service center 800-421-5013 for help. They said that battery requires major disassembly of the unit AND that Sanyo service centers do not offer a battery replacement service. I asked for instructions or even a diagram. "Sorry, we do not provide that". Another toxic electronic device designed to fill the dump after just 4 years- designed to pollute the earth. Apparantly other ECJ models have the same problem. Sanyos, how green is that? I am not buying any more products from this envionmentally irresponsible company. Sanyo ECJ-F50S Micro-Computerized 5-Cup Rice Cooker and Steamer
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on September 9, 2008
Update on 8/15/11: My unit died after 3 years 2 weeks of use. There's no display and it won't cook. I suspect it's the battery. It's been plugged in since I started using it, except for about 24 hours total unplugged when I've traveled with it on various occasions to potlucks. So keeping it plugged in may not help extend battery life.

A 1-star reviewer said the Sanyo repair center charges $65 to replace the battery, plus shipping costs. It's a special battery with metal leads that isn't available to the public. So you can't fix it yourself and it doesn't seem to make economic sense to send it in for repair.

It also doesn't make economic sense to buy this unit for just 3 years of service. You don't find out about the battery replacement issue until you buy the unit and read the fine print on the manual.

I loved this unit and am so disappointed. Brown rice and oatmeal came out great. I also loved the warm function and the Dol sot.. function for quick sauteeing. I probably used this unit 4 days out of 7, although only occasionally for rice because I eat low carb now.

If I could find a unit with comparable functionality with a user-replacable battery, I would buy it. No more Sanyo though.

Original post of 9/8/08: Compared to the Zojirushi on-off cooker I previously used, the pan that comes with this Sanyo model is much heavier and thicker. The titanium coating seems much more durable and hopefully won't peel off like the coating on my Zoji pan. This model has a 1 mm thicker pan than the 5.5 cup model.

I have used this Sanyo for cooking brown rice, forbidden rice, Bhutanese rice, oatmeal porridge, and cooked rice/veggy/meat combinations. The rice comes out much better than my Zoji on-off - no crust on the bottom and uniformly tender. I usually soak my rice prior to cooking, as per Nourishing Traditions, so with the timer feature the longer cooking time isn't an issue for me.

I actually use this cooker mostly for cooking oatmeal. I love the porridge option. I crack oat groats in my grain mill, set the timer for breakfast time, and set the cracked oats in the pan with water and whey for 12-24 hours. (I soak grains first to reduce phytic acid.) Sure beats stirring and stirring a pot over the stove. I also use it to cook my rice/veggy/meat combos.

My kitchen cabinets will appreciate not having the steam emitting from this cooker that used to come out of my Zoji. After cooking, I've always needed to remove the Sanyo inner lid and dry out the water that has settled on the lowest point of the rubber gasket. It would have been nice to have an audible signal at the end of a cooking cycle.

After using this cooker for 40 days, I am happy with it's functionality. I am unhappy that it will eventually need to be shipped to Sanyo for a battery replacement so the timer function will keep working. In order to hopefully prolong the battery life, I keep my Sanyo plugged in all the time. However, the directions do say to unplug the unit when not in use. The cord storage function is neat. It doesn't matter when the unit stays plugged in, but it's helpful for traveling with it.
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on January 31, 2007
OK. I think it's a little early for me to write a review as I just got the cooker the other day and only used it once but I'll update my review after a while.

I cooked 2 cups of rice (which was more than enough for 2 adults and a 2 year old). I am not very fussy about rice but I do think it overcooked a bit, perhaps because like other reviewer stated it doesn't have the brain to know the difference between 2 cups and 5 cups and cooking time is the same (it's based on the kind of rice you use as oppose on the volume). The good thing is: there is an option for "Quick rice" which manual says will make your rice a little aldente. I think that is the option I will use for small amounts from now on as it will decrease the cooking time.

I also wanted to take advantage of steaming while cooking rice, so I inserted a steaming basket on top of the rice and put broccoli on it in the last 10 minutes of cooking. I thought 10 minutes would definitely do it (I'm used to steaming in pressure cooker which only takes few minutes). That was a mistake. I should've put the broccoli in when I started the cooker: it was not cooked at all.

Another thing that bothered me is that it doesn't show you how long it will cook for. Timer starts the countdown only when 13 minutes left... I didn't get that at all.

Those were cons. The big Pro is: you load it, push the button and walk away (or in my case get to cooking the rest of the meal). I didn't think it took long at all as it was done before I made my Swedish meatballs.

This is very convenient, easy to clean, not bulky (like the models that are a little more rounded) and works on its own. I needed a helper in the kitchen and now I got one. I hope the book I purchased with rice cooker recipes will help me take advantage of Slow Cooking option (no reason to buy a slow cooker even though the bowl is a little small on this for making a big meal). I would certainly recommend this to anyone with a busy life style or a little toddler running around and not leaving you much time to put a decent healthy meal on the table....
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on December 9, 2010
I've had this rice cooker for about 3 years and this my list of things I like and can't stand.

Timed cooking is great.
Steamer is great.
Okayuu or porridge works great.
Rice generally is cooked perfectly all the time regardless of how long you soak the rice.
Compactness is great for small kitchens.
The thick pot is great and very durable.

Can't stand:
There is no tray to collect the moisture so you have a pond that you have to soak with a towel after each use. Every time you open the lid, moisture drops down.
After extended use, the spring which keeps the lid open weakens so the lid will always drop over half way. If upright is 90 degrees and closed is 0 degrees, the resting position is about 20 degrees or enough to interfere with your rice scooping.
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on June 14, 2006
i've been using traditional rice cooker all my life (by traditional i mean "da tung" brand, not those cheap american brands rice cooker), and i'm just switching to the electric type for the first time. It's really cute, got a NICE nonstick inner pot and easy to use. However, I had to increase the amount of water I normally put in to get my sushi rice the way I like (which is fine). I'm not sure if it's just me... but this thing takes so darn long to cook. Sometimes I just want to steam one lil bun, and it takes more than half an hr (which is a bit irritating). I do like the programming function though.
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on September 29, 2011
I loved my unit until the internal battery went dead. I sent an email to Sanyo and to my chagrin was told that the battery is SOLDERED in place on the main circuit board and that the cost of a new circuit board would outweigh the cost of buying a new one ! ! !

What kind of asinine research and development team puts together a product like that?

Fortunately I've found a work around and can still use the unit without the battery but when the time comes for replacement it will not be a Sanyo unit.
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