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Philips small appliances.

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Philips small appliances.

Old 18th Mar 2015, 09:51
  #1 (permalink)  
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Philips small appliances.

I took 3 items into the service centre the other day to have them repaired. Two were out of warranty and couldn't be fixed even though I was willing to pay the repair cost, the other one was replaced with a new one.

It seems that personal care items such as electric toothbrushes and hair clippers are designed as non serviceable and will be replaced if defective during the guarantee period, after that you're on your own.

The manufacturers must have worked out that it's cheaper to build the product and save on construction costs by not having any provision for dismantling and reassembly, also they save by not having to supply spare parts and trained technicians in workshops. They allow for a certain failure rate during the first year or two during which it is probably cheaper to supply a new unit than have a trained technician spend an hour replacing a 10 cent part.

I now think in terms of a subscription with smaller appliances, price/warranty = cost per week, with any time it keeps working once the guarantee expires as a free bonus.

What happened to fixing things when they broke ?
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 10:08
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Our throw-away society...

There's an excellent and very helpful little white goods spares shop and maintenance place here in Croydon. Went in one day and described a problem with a three year old washing machine, beyond my mechanical abilities, could someone come out?

"Save yer money mate, it'll cost 50 quid for the part, and a 100 quid for the time, then something else might break next week - you'll get a brand new one off the internet for not much more, with free delivery and a year's guarantee."
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 10:17
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As you say, the business model takes into account all the variables and there it is. It's a shame for with a few adjustments/repairs a lot of cheaper products will carry on ticking for a good number of years. Planned obsolescence is a wonderful thing, but it engenders an attitude of accepting a lesser quality from the consumer and simply replacing when broken. Am I correct in thinking that such thinking started in the automobile industry in Detroit ?

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Old 18th Mar 2015, 10:20
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..and look where it got them

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Old 18th Mar 2015, 10:23
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5 years ago my Samsung TV died 2 days before the 1 year guarantee ran out. They said it was not worth repairing and replaced it 2 days later, leaving the old one with me to "recycle". The new one lasted about 8 months and died the same death but the guarantee did not extend to it. I rarely watch TV for more than 1 hour per day.

Competition forces prices down which leads to "more than it's worth" repairs, and far more scrap. Of course, old CRT TVs had far more mass and components, but did tend to last for 1 or 2 decades. However, LCD TVs have pathetic speakers so to get half decent sound you have to buy more extras!

I reckon humanity is becoming ever-more wasteful, but thinks that recycling a few old envelopes and newspapers will sort everything out!
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 10:32
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I've always had a service contract for all my white goods, CH boilers, TVs etc. In total about 30/month. Everything is electronic and require diagnostic equipment to find out what is wrong with them. There is a callout for something about every three months and items like printed circuit cards being replaced are commonplace. The washing machine alone has had two seperate card changes plus a pump and a bearing change. Next time it goes sick it will, as it is more than five years old, be replaced by a new one for free, as was it's predecessor, and the one before that.

The country of origine does not seem to make any difference. British, German or Chinese, they all take their turn.

The biggest mistake I made was not insuring my high class German oven and microwaves. Eight years old and they have just cost me 1,700 to replace.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 10:46
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Labour and overheads kill a lot of repair viability. Remember, you have to "unbuild" before you can diagnose/see the problem, repair/replace a defective part/solder joint/whatever
then you have to build the item again......or you can just bung a set of brand-new shiny parts together.

Having established the cost of repair is likely to equal the cost of building a replacement (don't forget the ex-factory cost is 1/3 to 1/2 of the retail.)
you can now simplify the item...crimp, weld or swage components together....better seal, better alignment and a saving on fasteners and labour.....you have now gone past the point of no return....only a very determined repairer will make tooling to "unpick" and rebuild such units, unless there are big volumes.
Even the Motor-trade has moved away from reconditioned/relined clutches and brake-shoes. A new Alternator or starter is usually cheaper than replacing the major wear components.
Washing machines....tank is welded together in all cheaper machines when the drum-bearings go, you can't get it out of the tank....so, scrap.
When an item is obsolete ,and otherwise sound, the economics alter. Witness the supply of reproduction parts for vintage cars and motorcycles.....if the original manufacturer had been able to get the eye-watering prices demanded (and attained!) they'd still be making them!
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 11:18
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I've had the time to take apart a few items in recent years, and I've also built my own house from scratch. I've noticed the following.

The major factor is costs and their effect on profit margins, especially at the manufacturer end.

Materials: Saving 0.01p on a cheaper grade of steel in a washer has almost zero effect on the final price of a machine, but when the washer manufacturer is selling his (now) 0.04p washers for 0.08p, he's just increased his profits by 33%
However, the cheaper washer may mean the machine vibrates itself to death in 5 years, not 20.

Labour: The big saving here is in design, not just manufacturing labour. There are a lot of f#ckwit engineers out there who don't know the first thing about designing for longevity and maintainability, and care less. Half of the first year engineers I taught recently don't know how to use a tape measure properly or read instructions. Because they didn't spend any time in their childhood fixing stuff in the garage. Because nothing is user-maintainable. And how many houses have a useable garage? Vicious spiral.
Add to that the massive influx of third world engineers (e.g. India) and China shifting to 'steal some else's design and modify in-house', and you have lawn tractors being designed by people who have never used one, and never will, never mind having to reattach the plow blade in a blizzard because some d!ckhead can't design a hinge properly (which as you can guess from the invective, happened to me yesterday ).

The market: I think consumers are ready for simpler, easy to maintain devices...but no one is making them.

I spent about 3% more in material costs on my house than a similar constructor built home. Probably about 5% more in Labour time doing jobs properly, though I probably saved that with a simpler design. I have had zero maintenance costs in 3 years, and expect none in the next 30. My utility bills are 40% less than the constructor equivalent.

Good engineering saves a lot of money in the long run. But it doesn't save it for the manufacturers.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 11:47
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There is an exception to the throwaway society - the Philippines. Virtually everything is repairable there.electric motors are rewound,parts cannibalised to make one good unit from two etc. Nothing is thrown away - there is no equivalent of the White goods area of my local garbage disposal dump. Filipinos are hopeless at routine maintenance but can fix just about anything that breaks.With labour costs so low it makes economic sense.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 12:05
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They aren't all in the throw-away business.

My great-nephew is an engineer in a company which makes accessories for jet engines. (pardon aviation content) They make little money when selling the new item, but make their money on later refurbishing the items. I gather that each item is refurbished numerous times.

But those are professional products, not consumer products. The consumer products I use would have to cost a lot more if designed to be disassembled and repaired. Most last me many years as it is. I don't buy again brands that die early - the market talks to those manufacturers.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 12:41
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The greatest single killer of repairable items is the massive cost of carrying spares that may not be needed for 10 yrs or more.
Carrying an extensive line of spares means "high inventory costs" - anathema to bean counters. Warehouses have to be leased to hold the stocks of spares.
Then the spares deteriorate over time, and have to be binned because they have degraded (rubber and plastics decompose, metals react with each other and with pollutants and moisture in the air, creating corrosion).
Then the spares have to be picked for an order and sent to outer Woop-Woop - at more cost.
Then the part is found to be wrong, because the component has been modified - so it has to be sent back and the correct one sent.

I did some cleaning on the 10 yr old Italian rangehood over our stove last month, and replaced a couple of blown globes.
The lights have an opaque plastic cover over them, held in place each end by a tiny plastic clip.
One of the clips broke when I snapped it into place. I went looking for a replacement at a local appliance parts store.
They didn't have it, of course, but they'd try and find out a price and availability.
Three days later, the girl rang me and told me if I wanted one, it would take 10 days to get it - and the price was AU$29.00!!
Needless to say, I modified another piece of plastic to do the job!
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 12:50
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I can remember our first couple of TVs. When they stopped working we opened the back and checked all the tubes. Any that looked dodgy we took off to the drug store/chemist who had a tube tester. Tubes were tested and if bust replaced with new one from handy compartment under the tester. New ones were tested before purchase. Kept the TVs going for little money.

Now - well, I have three CRT boat anchors in the place as I am not willing to pay for a recycle dump fee or expend the energy to move the hulking objects.

New flat screen is pocket change these days - sort of.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 13:27
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Think you mean valves but get your drift.

TV recycling- When a young teen 13/14 I was playing with a couple of old TV'S and decided to swap tube from a busted tv and put into an old tv where the tube had gone. Being young, reckless but inqusitive it was always fun taking things apart, I learned that day thay you can get a nasty nip from a tv tube no matter how long it has been out of use!

Last edited by maliyahsdad2; 18th Mar 2015 at 13:45.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 14:03
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There is an exception to the throwaway society - the Philippines.

Thailand is the same. Here ,a little workshop in town will rewind any motor or relay for next to nothing,BY HAND.! If it takes the man all of one day,it is still cheap. The minimum wage is only about 6 pounds A DAY ! Recently had a car starter motor refurbished. 3 new bearings,new brushes,new contacts in the solenoid and new commutator (and painted black ! ) for about 20 UK pounds. That takes some beating. Still working 18 months later.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 14:47
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I just can't figure out why you would want anything for longer than about 3 years. Things change so much that anything electronic is obsolete within 3 years
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 15:26
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You are obviously the answer to all salesmen's (sorry salesperson's) dreams!
You must believe all advertising if you need to replace devices every three years (or less).

Why would I replace a 10 (or even 15 ) year old television that satisfied my requirements by showing me the programmes I wish to view?
Why would I replace a similar age washing machine that successfully washed clothes?
Ditto, radios, toasters, kettles etc etc.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 15:30
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Ditto, radios, toasters, kettles etc etc.
Mobile devices...
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 15:40
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A new Alternator or starter is usually cheaper than replacing the major wear components
With the latest versions you're probably right. But I'm fortunate (in a way), that I drive a 25 year old car. The Alternator is a "special" which I got from a scrap yard and modified to my own requirements. It needed new brushes and slip rings recently, after serving for some 8 years on 2 different vehicles. 3 & 6.30 respectively. I replaced the bearings whilst I was at it, another 7.83 and it's as good as new. However when visiting a local factors to get the parts, a guy came in wanting an alternator for particular Volvo truck. After much searching it transpired that it was a special, only available from Volvo themselves, and a cool 240 + VAT! It also appeared to be an "Intelligent" unit - i.e. one which is controlled by the engine management system, so that's another nice little earner for the manufacturers. I wouldn't mind betting that attempting to replace it with a conventional unit would result in all sorts of error codes, or even a complete refusal of the engine to start...
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 15:46
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Think you mean valves but get your drift.
Your valves are known in North America (at least) as vacuum tubes...

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Old 18th Mar 2015, 15:50
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I am not North American nor is my Dad, Guess thats why I call em Valves
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