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SpringHeeledJack 10th Mar 2021 06:23

Right to repair
 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56340077

This sounds like good news, at least for those who can tinker with things to get them working again, but bearing in mind much of today's manufactured goods are seemingly designed to be modular and in many cases sealed, any 'repairs' might prove frustratingly difficult.

Washing machine and fridges are often cheaper to replace than repair due to the cost of-spare parts and labour costs of a qualified engineer, so things might not work out easier or cheaper.

treadigraph 10th Mar 2021 07:50

I went to the excellent A1 Spares in Croydon some years ago to arrange a visit and repair of my washing machine. I described the fault and the guy said something like "50 call out, 80 for the most likely part, 80 (2 hours labour) to fit it and no guarantee that something else won't fail next month. Do yourself a favour son and go to Allders, buy a new one for 300..."

krismiler 10th Mar 2021 08:18

It's a very big issue in America with John Deere farm machinery, the new equipment needs to go to a dealer for virtually anything due to the amount of software involved. Their older steam driven models are in high demand and actually appreciating in value as they can be repaired on site by the farmer with hammer and tongs. Whilst somethings may not be worth repairing once past a reasonable lifespan, locking owners out by deliberately restricting software access isn't acceptable. I bought a Maytag washing machine 20 years ago which is still going strong and hasn't needed a single repair. Not cheap at the time but built to last with clockwork controls rather than electronic.

Buy the simplest appliances you can with the fewest features you can live with, unfortunately nothing is built to last anymore. The "BEKO" brand which is made in Turkey will probably be on my list for new purchases as the price per year whilst under warranty is very competitive and any major failure after that will result in a new model being bought.

​​​​​​

treadigraph 10th Mar 2021 08:26

The first washing machine I used in this house 25 years ago was my mum's old Hoover which she had bought new in the 1970s - it was at least 20 years old and I got another two or three out of it, plus before moving in I'd used it as part of a work bench made out of an old door for quite a while - amazingly enduring. Must be on my third, maybe fourth replacement now, they seem to last about five years...

VP959 10th Mar 2021 08:28

There's been a big campaign in the US about this, focussed largely on Apple, who very deliberately try to make repair of their devices impossible, by adding non-functional coding to parts so that the device won't work if some parts are replaced. Saw a video a while ago where an iPhone had been taken in to an Apple store for repair and the owner was told it was unrepairable and they needed to buy a new phone.

The problem was that one of the cameras had failed, apparently an easy thing to repair usually. An independent repairer fitted a new, genuine Apple, camera and although the camera and the phone worked after the repair, the phone was locked out of Apple services. Apparently Apple have hard coded serial numbers into components, solely for the purpose of preventing them from being repaired, even when a repair is relatively simple and cost effective.

Microsoft and Intel have done much the same. Intel agreed with Microsoft to add hard coding into some Intel chips so they would not work with older versions of Windows, forcing users to buy the latest version of Windows and preventing upgrades to older PCs. Luckily there are a lot of hackers around working on Microsoft-based systems and it didn't take long for them to find a way to bypass the Intel/Microsoft anti-repair/upgrade crap.

krismiler 10th Mar 2021 08:37

I'm typing this on a late 2012 Macbook which is still going strong, the battery life isn't what it used to be but that doesn't matter at home. However I would be wary of buying another one due to repairs being made deliberately difficult on new models.

The farmers in the video use hacked software from Eastern Europe to repair their machines.

ATNotts 10th Mar 2021 08:39

Our Samsung American fridge freezer stopped working at the beginning of December. We could easily have junked it, gone on to a website and ordered a new one. Instead a couple of clicks and a Google search found an electrical repair company that employs engineers specialising in various brands, including Samsung and after one false start, the PCB was identified as being the problem, a new one ordered and fitted and hey presto! fridge freezer was working fine before Christmas, we're 200 out of pocket, but have save in excess of 1000 by not replacing it.

It absolutely can be done, I fear however that people living "busy lives" will spare the time to ensure they can be home when the engineer needs to call, and the "throw away" society in engrained in the society now.

treadigraph 10th Mar 2021 08:44

One of my laptops had a recurring fault where the screen would lock, then the laptop would not restart. The solution was to remove the battery and disconnect the CMOS battery and leave it for 20 mins or so, the it would work. I'm not even sure I can take the back off my new laptop, let alone remove the battery, change the HD, etc. Same with my phone, the battery life is deteriorating, my old phone I'd simply buy a new battery and stick it in - in fact I had two, carried one as a spare when I was out - this one needs to be "serviced", you can't take the back off...


Originally Posted by ATNotts (Post 11005611)
I fear however that people living "busy lives" will spare the time to ensure they can be home when the engineer needs to call, and the "throw away" society in engrained in the society now.

I'm on the neighbourhood forum "Nextdoor" and it terrifies me how busy (read "incapable") some people are now - the simplest task needs doing and it's "does anybody know someone who can..." Does anyone know where my boyfriend can get his car tyre pumped up? Can anyone recommend someone to remove two square feet of ivy at chest level on my back wall... etc, etc... Genuine requests I've seen today...

ATNotts 10th Mar 2021 09:09


Originally Posted by treadigraph (Post 11005618)
One of my laptops had a recurring fault where the screen would lock, then the laptop would not restart. The solution was to remove the battery and disconnect the CMOS battery and leave it for 20 mins or so, the it would work. I'm not even sure I can take the back off my new laptop, let alone remove the battery, change the HD, etc. Same with my phone, the battery life is deteriorating, my old phone I'd simply buy a new battery and stick it in - in fact I had two, carried one as a spare when I was out - this one needs to be "serviced", you can't take the back off...



I'm on the neighbourhood forum "Nextdoor" and it terrifies me how busy (read "incapable") some people are now - the simplest task needs doing and it's "does anybody know someone who can..." Does anyone know where my boyfriend can get his car tyre pumped up? Can anyone recommend someone to remove two square feet of ivy at chest level on my back wall... etc, etc... Genuine requests I've seen today...

Replace the adjectives "busy" or "incapable" with "idle" and you're probably nearer the mark! People are very busy nowadays checking Facebook, Twitter (posting on PPRuNe!! :=) to find time to carry out mundane tasks like keeping their car on the road.

treadigraph 10th Mar 2021 09:15

Yes I really should be sanding my repaired bedroom ceiling - but I haven't finished my coffee yet! :p

TheReverend 10th Mar 2021 09:17


Originally Posted by treadigraph (Post 11005645)
Yes I really should be sanding my repaired bedroom ceiling - but I haven't finished my coffee yet! :p

I do hope that a legally enshrined "Right to Repair" will allow easy access to manufacturers' service data at a reasonable price (if not free).
For most white goods, an Internet search will usually find a free download for the user manual, but full technical service manuals are harder to obtain.

Krystal n chips 10th Mar 2021 09:20


Originally Posted by treadigraph (Post 11005618)
One of my laptops had a recurring fault where the screen would lock, then the laptop would not restart. The solution was to remove the battery and disconnect the CMOS battery and leave it for 20 mins or so, the it would work. I'm not even sure I can take the back off my new laptop, let alone remove the battery, change the HD, etc. Same with my phone, the battery life is deteriorating, my old phone I'd simply buy a new battery and stick it in - in fact I had two, carried one as a spare when I was out - this one needs to be "serviced", you can't take the back off...



I'm on the neighbourhood forum "Nextdoor" and it terrifies me how busy (read "incapable") some people are now - the simplest task needs doing and it's "does anybody know someone who can..." Does anyone know where my boyfriend can get his car tyre pumped up? Can anyone recommend someone to remove two square feet of ivy at chest level on my back wall... etc, etc... Genuine requests I've seen today...

And therein may be a significant problem with the "right to repair ".....albeit the OEM's will doubtless increase the costs of spares, in that what for some of us would be fairly basic mechanical / electrical work, could prove very difficult for generations not used to performing such.

I could be wrong, but, I recall the introduction of the moulded plug was to negate the consistent ability of the population to electrocute themselves when wiring one

alfaman 10th Mar 2021 09:22

My view is, if humans make it, & break it, they can probably fix it. If you can get the parts, & there are options online from the manufacturer & elsewhere, then have a go - if it's failed, you're unlikely to make it worse. The biggest hurdle is analysing what the failure is, so you don't throw loads of money at it, in pursuit of something you can't fix.

NutLoose 10th Mar 2021 09:23

I regularly used to repair my late mums 20 year old Hoover toploader, it was one of these

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....d36199f26.jpeg

I could order parts for it down to parts for the motor, I changed the brushes, some hoses and a valve and a couple of rubber mounts, and that was it, the thing was so simple to work on and even easier to repair.


stevef 10th Mar 2021 09:36

My late mother's dishwasher stop working several years ago and the local alleged 'pensioner-friendly' white goods tech told her it couldn't be repaired and he'd give her a good deal on a new one. I took a look at it first and opened up the control panel. Somehow the control gear had jumped out of time with the rack. I relocated it and, hey presto - it worked perfectly after a bit of position experimenting. She told me that the tech looked very miffed when informed she wouldn't be needing him again. No doubt he would have taken it away free for 'scrap', fixed it as quickly as I had and sold it to someone at a good profit on top of what he'd have made by stitching her up. *%$@> # shark, I wonder how many other pensioners he'd ripped off.
I've repaired quite a few things that apparently weren't worth fixing; it's in my nature to mend something rather than see it thrown away (see my age!). But as previously mentioned, the labour charges put some devices as beyond economic repair.

VP959 10th Mar 2021 09:46

The case I mentioned earlier of manufacturers DELIBERATELY making repair impossible, but adding codes to components solely to prevent replacement parts from being fitted, is this one:


Worth watching, as it highlights the way in which big companies (in this case Apple, but that aren't alone) are actively working to prevent their devices being repaired.

Saintsman 10th Mar 2021 10:41

There's pros and cons. If you buy a washing machine for little money (180 is the cheapest at Currys at the moment), then it is going to be almost as cheap to replace it, should it need a repair. In fact, even if you get a couple of years out of it and use it several times per week, that is pretty good value. A new one will likely last another couple of years, whereas a repaired one is likely to breakdown again.

The downside is there is a lot of waste, which I think the new rules are trying to avoid.

With a mobile phone, if it is replaced, then there will still be waste, but not as much. Besides, with phones, most people seem to want the latest version and ditch their perfectly good one. That is real waste.

I've been using my daughter's hand me downs for several years now and they work fine for me. They do last longer than people think.


Jhieminga 10th Mar 2021 10:44

Worth remembering that there are some very conflicting goals at work here. We have a world-wide industry that is able to manufacture some pretty smart goods for very low prices. That's mainly driven by 'we want it' and 'everyone should have it'.
As goods get smarter, they get more complex and more difficult to fix (not always the case, but not the last generalisation I'll use either).
While our manufacturing industry got cheaper, our repair industry got more costly as more training and specialised tools are needed to fix stuff. Also, the centre of manufacturing knowledge may no longer be at the same place as most customers and the main repair industry. Costly shipping may be needed for a simple fix.
An appliance designed for repairability is not the same as an appliance designed for maximum life, or one designed as 'easy to use'. Sometimes these goals overlap, sometimes they compete. A soldered connection is more sturdy than an easy to remove connection, but the second one is more repair friendly, and but also more failure friendly. It's the old pick two out of three: do you want it quickly, cheaply or of good quality?

Take phones (as the video above is also about this topic) for example. We want them as cheaply as possible, they need to work under very extreme circumstances (temperature extremes, vibration, shock, moisture or even submerged, just look at what the average user does to his/her phone) and they need to be able to do everything. Then they also need to be secure and user friendly, and we can go on. One of the solutions that Apple picked to be able to deliver as much of this as possible is one that the aviation industry invented: the controlled environment. By keeping a lot of the knowledge of the really secure stuff within these phones within a controlled area, that is: their own Apple stores and repair centres, they can deliver a secure appliance that is quite user friendly and keeps on working under a lot of circumstances. It comes at a cost though, both financially and on the repairability scale. The lady in the video mentions at one point that she is Apple certified, but not Apple authorised, so I feel that she should also be aware of what that means. Feel free to disagree with it, but it also feels a bit too easy to then blame Apple for an unwanted outcome. If I take my aeroplane to a shop for work and that shop is not fully authorised for the work it carries out, we have no issue with pointing the finger in the right direction when we want to apportion blame when the outcome isn't as we expected or wanted. Why is this different?

I'll grab the popcorn now...:)

charliegolf 10th Mar 2021 10:47

T'will turn out to be another hollow, pointless law. People can't be protected from stalkers, revenge-porners and ASBO-wearers. This one's really going to help. Now a mandatory 5 years parts and labour warranty with a fixed penalty fine of 20/day after 3 days; upgradeable to 10 years for 50 at point of purchase... That would be fun, if nothing else. Dido could run it, I'm sure.

CG

ATNotts 10th Mar 2021 10:52


Originally Posted by Saintsman (Post 11005705)

With a mobile phone, if it is replaced, then there will still be waste, but not as much. Besides, with phones, most people seem to want the latest version and ditch their perfectly good one. That is real waste.

I've been using my daughter's hand me downs for several years now and they work fine for me. They do last longer than people think.

I have owned three mobile phones in my lifetime. An Alcatel "brick" that we bought in 2001 that saw me through to December 2014, then a Nokia 210 that I was perfectly happy with until May 2010 when my employer told me that a project I was about to embark upon required me to have a smart phone (that turned out to be rubbish, but hey-ho) so I picked up a recondition Huawei Y9 that I have been using since then. Although having access to the web 24/7 wherever I am, an sufficient memory and processing power to use modern apps is a plus, I would have been quite happy to hold on to the Nokia, but I guess now, if anyone took the Huawei away and told me I had to use old tech I'd be mortified!


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