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.
@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...
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.
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......
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??
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 :-)
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!!
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?
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.