Hi Rick....ya gottta love the QC these days. I got a 3-way cordless phone system and so far it has been fine - but I have only fired up 2 of them so far...so plenty of opportunity for something to go wrong.....
These things usually happen in 3's. What else did you buy?
Quality certainly seems to have gone downhill with lots of product categories. My husband and I shopped for new phones for our land line (yes, really!) and I was amazed how cheap and flimsy they felt. Whatever happened to that nice heft of the old rotary dial phones? We've had the phones for a short time, and the numbers stick when you dial. Seems like a fairly severe QC problem!!! I should have bought the more expensive one, I guess!!
The conversation in the shop usually goes something like this:
Optimistic Me: "Gee - $ 29 - that's a good price."
Pessimistic Me: "Yeah, and it's probably a lemon...."
Optimistic Me: "It LOOKS ok, how bad could it be?"
Pessimistic Me: "(sigh) Pretty damn Bad! Don't you ever learn?"
Optimistic Me: "Well for $ 29 it's worth buying it, if it's no good I won't lose tooo much"
Pessimistic Me: "I'm looking forward to telling you "I told you so!"""
(3 months later)
Optimistic Me: "Rats, this @#$%& thing's not working now....."
Pessimistic Me: (triumphantly) "I TOLD YOU SO!!!"
Thus proving one of my favourite adages:
A pessimist is an optimist with experience!
In my case the 3 phones were to give us a couple of extra phones around the house (my wife is disabled) and since they had an answering machine, I have retired my 30-year old fax / answering machine - who faxes these days? But the fax had a nice feature - if a call was not answered in 15 rings it would automatically go to answer. So you never needed to worry about putting the Anwering machine on. The new one doesn't have that.... such is progress :-)
David: I think one of the problems, at least when it comes to electronics, is that the more expensive items have more features, but are not necessarily of "higher quality." I wonder why more companies aren't thinking about bringing back all-mechanical washing machines made like tanks that will last a lifetime, but I suppose those might be incredibly cost prohibitive. When I think about all the cheaply made crap going into the landfill, I get depressed. Maybe we all just stop buying??
Karen...washing machines...don't get me started....
We bought an LG washing machine with a year guarantee. A year and a day (or thereabouts) later it went wrong. I opened it up and found a board full or ICs and relays, with burn marks on the board where one of the relays was obviously making bad contact and had been sparking. But the board was potted in a kind of silicone gunk, so I couldn't just resolder it. I bought a new board ($180, Kaching, thank you) which sorted the problem out. Two weeks later I saw a recall notice for the machine...same problem.... I did manage to get the company to reimburse my $ 180, though.
Some time later the machine got more or less the same problem. I could not see any problems on the board, but bought a new one anyway (only $160 - thanks to a stronger Aussie $:-) Kaching, thanks again) but this did NOT solve the problem. Eventually I determined that the motor brushes were worn out. Got on the phone to the parts place again. "Sorry, we don't sell motor brushes. A new motor is $ 230. Kaching, thanks again".
So I have a good board and an old motor that a friend says he can fit new brushes to. So I should be able to keep the machine going for years now. But, by murphy's law, the next thing that goes will no doubt be something else, like the drum bearings......
@kfield "I wonder why more companies aren't thinking about bringing back all-mechanical washing machines made like tanks that will last a lifetime, but I suppose those might be incredibly cost prohibitive."
My last Whirpool washer lasted 8 years, given a new Direct Drive Washer Motor Coupling transplant every couple years (I got pretty good at those!), before the transmission died.
My local appliance store carries the residential version of the "Speed Queen" commercial washers- stainless steel tub, electromechanical timer, heavy duty construction.
It cost a few hundred $USD more than a basic Whirlpool/Kenmore model, but has a 3 year full parts & labor, 5 year motor (parts), and 10 year transmission (parts) warranty.
So far, no problems- I'm hoping this one lasts!
p.s. any time I hear "Speed Queen", I think Deep Purple, "Speed King"; but I suppose "Smoke on the Water" would be more on topic...
@Rick...."David: Your conversation is EXACTLY what went on in my head!"
Which proves that fools never differ!!! I must admit though that I have been lucky recently....the 3 Cordless phones have been good and actually have some quite nice features. I also bought a $44 mini-hifi the other day and it's been good too. But it's eary days yet, I need to get to the 1 year and 1day mark first.
Happy new year (it is in Australia already, you're still on New Year's eve I think...)
From what I have seen and experienced, a "good" product is less profitable than a "fair" one.
Imagine you are selling something - washing machines, TVs, whatever. You can make an excellent one, and the customer keeps it for 20 years with the occasional part replacement. Or you can make a "fair" product, in the knowledge the customer will have to buy a whole new unit in 10 years.
The problem with this logic is, it reinforces a "race to the bottom" where you get incredibly cheap junk with an estimated failure time of 13 months [or less] which you then sell with a 12 month [or less] warranty.
Have you noticed talk about the decline in sales of PCs? The lack of sales of Windows 8? It's not that the new products are no good [benefit of the doubt to Win8] - rather that the older products are running nicely, thank you.
@SA_penguin, your comments are bang on target. My parents are still happy with their 15 yr old CRT that is running without complain while the LED that i bought 5 yrs ago is asking for yearly maintenace. The adage "old is gold" i think is also true for electronics.
fully mechanical machines may be reliable, but in todays world , it is not an "in-thing" and hence how much superior it may be the customer will always get attracted to the one having some kind of electronics in it - be it a simple LCD display , or a much touted micro controller handling Fuzzy logic for smart washing ( whether you can really prove it or not) , or some electronic bells and whistles attached to the basic functionality.
Durability is not a problem in today's world because the technology is changing so fats that every few years people want to change their gadgets - whether it is the TV, fridge or the washing machine.
Samsung products are not so good anyway. I have seen and heard friends complaning about the smartphones that they have bought. Even the LED that i bought is not at par with my expectations or money that i paid. I found old Sony products much better.
This was an early draft I did not mean to publish.
My intention today was to write a lighter, funnier version --and maybe omit the vendor names--oh well!
Samsung's local support person called and said two boards were on order for the non working TV. I called back and said cancel the boards. (Who wants a new TV repaired?)
I decided to call Best Buy who said bring the old one in and get a replacement, which I did. They didn't even mind I could not get the TV back in the box because I could not get the plastic stand unscrewed from the display.
It took maybe 10 minutes for them to confirm the old set wan't working and get me a new one.
The new set works!
What does Best Buy do with the old set?
I noted someone had returned an LG 42-inch TV while I was there. These returned TVs must be a pretty big cost for someone! Still less than the cost of a QC person at the factory?
Re the boom box: So far I am limping along by using the AUX button as a virtual off switch. This won't last.
Dumb Question: I sat the boom box on top of my microwave which really affected FM radio reception when I was using the mic. Could I have irratiated the boom box in some way causing the off button to not work and the small display to die?
>My intention today was to write a lighter, funnier version --and maybe omit the vendor names--oh well!
Not to worry, just tell it like it is. I tore apart a Samsung microwave back on The Connecting Edge to show the overheated and melted push-on crimp connectors 2 weeks after the warranty expired. Plus they could not get the parts to repair it.
>I sat the boom box on top of my microwave which really affected FM radio reception when I was using the mic. Could I have irratiated the boom box in some way causing the off button to not work and the small display to die?
Speaking of microwaves, you might want to have the RF shielding tested for leakage. If it is doing all this to your radio, what might it be doing to your eyeballs?
Rick - You're not quite the last person in America to not have a flat screen TV. The tuner on my old CRT TV died last year. I ended up discarding it with the intention of buying a new flatscreen. As it turns out, I didn't miss the TV, nor did the rest of my family.
Any one of our computers work fine for watching movies and enough media is available online that we really haven't noticed. Every now and then, I'll check out TV prices and features, but, again, decide I don't need one.
Rick, welcome to the real world! Don't feel bad, I too finally got rid of my CRT TVs earlier in 2013 but I was already into watching contents on tablets and smart phones in 2011 itself! Now that I have a flat screen, I watch TV even less because the handhelds consume all my bandwidth and waking hours.
Rick - I thought I would miss my TV more than I have. It surprised me how little I have missed it. I recently bought a Chromebook and I've found that to have much more utility in terms of entertainment and news gathering than a TV.
You are aboslutely right though, that there are some documentaries that really do beg for a large screen.
We've got a CHP (combined heat and power - in our case driven by a natural gas ICE) - a xxxxx EUR affair.
Setup/startup was done by the company selling this system. Whether they experienced problems: I don't know.
What has happened since installation ?
1. The ICE is supposed to have 3500 h service intervals. What a pity that the oil reservoir does not hold enough oil :( (Or: the ICE is consuming much more oil than planned.) They could exchange the oil injector - if there was any appropriate injector available. Which isn't.
2. During one of the unplanned oil replenishment services I got the message that the control unit is poorly designed (the 'standard' electrolytic caps issue). We'll see how long it will last. Maybe this could be a new business opportunity as the sales company has currently no means to repair the units - just replace with a new scrap unit :(
3. What I nearly forgot: the CHP is leaking water since the very beginning. Retightening of the joints did reduce, but not eliminate the problem.Good thing: underneath is a leakage sump that - until now - did not overflow :)
For newer television sets I have had great luck with Vizio products and for the typical xmas present, well I have never had a failure with Old Spice.
Now don't even get me started on the terrible washing machines that are available these days.
I would love to have an old pre 2000 or later year model washing machine and not so much because of parts or quality problems but for me it is the RF pollution that these newer washing machines put out.
Being a weak signal Moon Bounce ham radio enthusiast, I have found that my wonderful Whirlpool washer puts out more undescriminating RF than an F15 fighters radar jammer, in fact enough RF to even jam the receive side of a local ham repeater that is only 5 miles away.
Having taken a portable HF/VHF receiver down to the local appliance store I found that every washer that I tried out had sufficient RF spewing out it to the point where it would hold the squelch open on numerous radio frequency bands tested.
>it is the RF pollution that these newer washing machines put out.
>I have found that my wonderful Whirlpool washer puts out ... enough RF to even jam the receive side of a local ham repeater that is only 5 miles away.
> Having taken a portable HF/VHF receiver down to the local appliance store I found that every washer that I tried out had sufficient RF spewing out it to the point where it would hold the squelch open on numerous radio frequency bands tested.
Interesting reading here in Section 15.103(d) of the following FCC Bulleting No. 62:
"Digital devices that are exempt from FCC technical standards. There are a number of digital devices that are exempt from the technical standards in Part 15. These are:
.... Digital devices used EXCLUSIVELY in appliances...."
As for intereference to the ham radio repeater and your moonbounce activities, you might have a case to get Whirlpool to clean up their emissions:
"Digital devices that are exempt from the technical standards in Part 15 are still not permitted to cause harmful interference to any authorized radio communications. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that the manufacturer of an exempt digital device endeavor to have the device meet the technical standards anyhow."
I always questioned that FCC white goods exemption for appliances and permitting them to spew out excessive amounts of RFI.
Their is no excuse at all for anything spewing out this much undesired RFI as I also have excessive interference to my FM broadcast radio from this washer.
As to the Visio TV's, I wasn't aware of their design methodology or how cheap they could be designed/assembled but I have 3 Visios at home in various sizes and we have one very large screen Visio in the lunch room at work and we also have Visios in some work conference rooms and never a problem with any of them.
Maybe I should attempt to repair my old washer instead of getting a new one... I didn't realize that the new ones put out that much RFI. The old one has decided not to extract water on the regular cycle (but works on the permanent press cycle) I strongly suspect that something broke off the rotating mechanical dial... Of course finding repair parts might be a problem.
Whirlpools response was to send out a poorly designed untested filter which is to be installed at the AC input mains internal to the washer.
The problem is the unshielded and poorly designed microprocessor circuit board and the reference clock. If the Up and clock were properly grounded/shielded and low pass filtered then the harmonics which I have measured up to the 11th Fh with a specanalyzer, would not be present.
Unfortuunately The FCC has bigger isuues than sending out fines to washing machine Mfg's.
IF you can get the timer mechanism apart you will see a bunch of switch contacts operated by cams. Maybe you can adjust (bend slightly) the contact involved if it is not closing. This has worked for me in the past - I prefer the mechanical timers to the digital ones since they can often be repaired.
Been caught 2x2 times in the last 6 to 6.25 years with LCD's, "reputable brands".
CCFL's failed 1 to 3 months out of garantee. that was over 800quid of scrap.
It will be interesting to see the longevity of the LED backlights. Ain't optimistic.
My designs are (Weibul, NASA, NPL etcl) aimed for 20 to 25 years with a 6 sigma off the line without repair or touchup. +100krad, even 150C+ and all the other nasties. Geuss it does not enhance sales but I like stuff that falls out the the box and works reliably. One current ambition is to fall out of the Oak, Pine or Wicker and just fire up again when the time comes.
At least do not watch telly (boring) or use mobile anything (nought much worth saying and, besides anything with less than an 18" screen would be w waste of space). Opinionated! Never worn a watch, use map and compass rather than GPS, larger disply and no batteries, and once one is suffiecently familiar with places the map paper can be used for clensing the nether regions.
Forgot the compulsory HNY (don't you just like TLA's and FLEAS?)
Planning to go out for a 24mile cross country stomp tomorrow (boggy path and pathless bog) and then finish the tree felling on the better forecast for Thursday. A half century old epileptic aspersger with a chain saw and a bunch of 50 foot trees! Old sit harness, old rope and old crampons, ice axes have a tendency for pulling out so slings and rope are better.
Life does have a propensity for chucking the worse directly in one's face! Up to one's neck in a cesspit with someone readied to throw a bucket of vomit over one's head.
Regarding electonic longevity, and mechnical switches, still have a 2nd hand microwave that has breached 27 years, and my Dad and Iboth use it several times daily. Even still have the ICL7106 based multimeter that I designed and made 36 years ago, ~2.7mA constant current diode (low tempco) with an indelible ink hand drawn PCB. 0.1% resistors and Mylar caps were damn expensive back then.
Rick, as the "test guy" for EE Times, I can tell you that when it comes to consumer products, the cost of testing every one, even to make sure it simple turns on, is cost prohibitive. Manufacturers rely on process and figure that if the process is good, the products will be good. The cost of losing a customer is small compared to the cost of testing every product that comes off the assembly line.
You're right, testing every unit is expensive. Which is why test setups are automated as much as possible [ATE = Automated Test Equipment]. The next step is to test one in N products, then use statistics to say you are matching your quality standards.
But - what is N? 1 in 10? 1 in 1,000? one in ten million?
Martin: I'd love t see a feature or series sometime on "The New Test" describing the more complex and high volume products, the more automated and statistical test approaches used today and the results for the consumer.
The speaker cost $129. It works OK, better if plugged in and it also can charge my phone at the same time. I happen to have an AC outlet with two built-in USB charging ports right where I keep the speaker so I use it plugged in most of the time.
The real hassle came at the store. Best Buy was giving away $15 gift cards with purchases last weekend. I said to the cashier, "can I just return the speaker and uyt it again using the gift card?" The cashier replied "Yes, you can do that" so I did.
Well, they tried gave me a refund less $15 saying that the gift card was not refundable. I would have been OK with that had the cashier told me that at the register. I returned the speaker, arguing with the manager that the store had a communication problem. When they again deducted $15, I returned it again, this time arguing with a different manager. Finally, they reduced the price by $30 and still gave me a $15 gift card.
I have another week on the 15-day return period and I'm not convinced that I should have spent the money so I may yet return the speaker.
Samsung quality issues? Been there done that.. In the past 2 years. 1x 50"TV lasts just over a year. 2x phones with severe battery issues and crappy Samsung printers galore at work. Not just a quality control issue but either a poor product design and/or accountants forcing cheap components in. Of course Samsung is by no means the only manufacturer to push out poor quality shinny products but they are on top of the world now and consumers will easily switch if their marketing falters..
What are the engineering and design challenges in creating successful IoT devices? These devices are usually small, resource-constrained electronics designed to sense, collect, send, and/or interpret data. Some of the devices need to be smart enough to act upon data in real time, 24/7. Are the design challenges the same as with embedded systems, but with a little developer- and IT-skills added in? What do engineers need to know? Rick Merritt talks with two experts about the tools and best options for designing IoT devices in 2016. Specifically the guests will discuss sensors, security, and lessons from IoT deployments.