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Microwave Has a Bad Connection

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Elizabeth M
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They don't make them like they used to
Elizabeth M   1/27/2015 11:49:13 AM
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I'm not surprised by this story, as in general I don't think electronics products, appliances and the like are built to last the way they used to be. There's a reason products tend to conk out just after their one- or two-year warranty expires--they just aren't soundly built. A shame you had to experience this first hand.

bdcst
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Re: They don't make them like they used to
bdcst   1/28/2015 9:49:09 AM
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Hi Elizabeth!  I agree with you in part that the ruggedness of appliances has waned over the decades partly to price competition and partly due to technology changes.  For example a clothes washer used to rely upon an electromechanical sequencer to control its wash cycle.  Almost every model today has a microprocessor board instead.  One might think mechanical timer/sequencers would wear out faster than an all electronic controller.  But in the real world it is simply not the case.  Electrolytic capacitors have finite lives and the quality of them has dropped significantly over the decades.  Electronic controllers are exposed to static discharge and power line transient events in the home that often kill them.  Some appliances keep them powered up even when shut off! None of this is the case with the motor driven sequencers that were ubiquitious in washing machines of the prior century.

My suggestion is the buyer look for simple appliances rather than deluxe feature rich versions.  Not only will you save on initial cost but repairs will be much less expensive and doable by the owner! 

I have a 35 year old Sears Kenmore electric stove.  The only failures have been two oven elements.  Replacement required removing the back panel and unscrewing the electrical connections to the element to release it.  Elements where inexpensive and readily available.  So the stove is still in service though the paint finish is getting long in the tooth.  This appliance owes me nothing!

In the time my sister-in-law has gone through three refrigerators I've gone through only one.  Again, I bought a basic non name brand fridge without chilled water dispensers or other high maintenance features.  It was intrisically more energy efficient too.

Just like American consumers are addicted to excessive sugar in their diet, they are addicted to frilly features in products that make them feel worthwhile, "happy," better than the average Joe.  Money is spent on advertising to promote low real value but high profit extras, not on product improvement.  Besides, as you pointed out, built in obsolescence helps corporate profits.

 

Elizabeth M
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Re: They don't make them like they used to
Elizabeth M   1/28/2015 11:56:29 AM
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You seem to be making some good consumer choices, bdcst, when it comes to the appliances you buy, and you've given some good advice that others should take if they want their products to last longer.

Larry M
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Re: They don't make them like they used to
Larry M   1/28/2015 3:32:05 PM
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Not just the electrolytic capacitors. Lead-free solder just about guarantees no electronic device will make past 4-5 years. Wish products marketed in the US didn't comply with tht foolish EC recommendation.

dbell5
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Re: They don't make them like they used to
dbell5   1/28/2015 3:49:11 PM
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Well, like the OP, I'm hoping "they" still are making good products.

Our over-range microwave+convection oven was around 10 years old when the microwave went out. My wife called out a (non-manufacturer) tech, who took it down, opened it up, and diagnosed a bad magnetron. $60 service call, creditable against an estimated $250 repair. We had him put it back up for the time being, and since we had another uwave, used it as a convection oven for the last year and a half.

I finally prevailed 2 weeks ago and took it back down, opened it up, and checked it out myself. Shorted high voltage diode! Had one in 2 days from Amazon for <$5.
 Microwave works perfectly again...

OTOH, our 25 year old Jenn-Aire dishwasher has developed a leak under the body. New LG unit being delivered today, so let's hope it lasts as long!

Dave

William K.
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Re: They don't make them like they used to
William K.   1/28/2015 3:56:07 PM
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It sounds like the service tech used the same line all the time. Or else, equally as likely, he used the same diagnosis as the previous service call.

There is no substitute for actual competence.

bdcst
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Re: They don't make them like they used to
bdcst   1/28/2015 4:36:52 PM
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Larry, it depends upon the solder formulation.  Early versions of lead free solder were bad news.  I think most of those issues have now been resolved.  There was/is a learning curve.  That said, I still use standard 60/40 tin/lead rosen core solder for my personal projects.

I do wish the consumer appliance industry did not follow the example of the computer, smartphone, software industries with their propensity to declare product lives of only 24 months.  That's way too wasteful, way too expensive and it contributes greatly to runaway technology not allowing humans to catch up and fully adapt to it.

Looking at the explosion of mobile personal communications including the Internet, I think the accelerated progress in electronic wizardry is moving ahead way too quickly for humans to sort out what, in the long haul, will really work for them.   And temporarily, at least, it is skewing human behavior in some unnatural, probably unhealthy ways.

One could, in retrospect, say the same for the televison age.  Households without televison or with serious viewing limits tended to produce children with better reading habits and learning ability.  Binge viewing of on-line video series' today is yet another example of poor human adaptation to new technological resources.

Amclaussen
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Platinum
Re: They don't make them like they used to
Amclaussen   1/28/2015 4:50:39 PM
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Another s-too-pid measure from the obsessed "eco-illogical" persons and politicians that impose measures that end up causing more harm than good (more electronic garbage that pollutes more than the previous, more durable tin-lead solder built products.

Add this to the ever expanding list: The prohibition of incandescent lightbulbs in favor of CFL's, the impossed use of flammable refrigerants in car air conditioners, the promotion of exclusive mass transit lanes that are empty 99%+ of the time, etc.

bdcst
User Rank
Platinum
Re: They don't make them like they used to..so apply Darwin!
bdcst   1/28/2015 4:52:20 PM
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If you buy products judiciously you don't need to worry about the cost of field service which, because it requires human labor, has become way out of balance to the value of the original product.  Case in point.  MY 1000 watt microwave oven cost me $50 on sale.  Heck, I couldn't buy a new magnetron tube for what I paid for the entire oven! 

I recently bought a ham radio handy-talkie from a Chinese manufacturer via Amazon.  Total cost for VHF/UHF synthesized radio with Lithium Ion battery, charging stand and free shipping was $35!!  Almost everything electronic these days is made in China.  For fun, I bought a green laser pen on-line for $1.50 including shipping!  Really?  It came with a nice magnetic latching gift box and batteries!

Want to buy only from US stores?  How about an 8 inch Dell tablet computer running Windows 8.1 and also equipped with Office 2010 suite for $199.  Can you by MS office alone for that little money?

As consumers, we have a lot of clout with our wallets and pocketbooks. Buy only well made products at reasonable prices and the crap will eventually go away via "natural selection."

 

Amclaussen
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Platinum
Re: They don't make them like they used to
Amclaussen   1/28/2015 5:10:52 PM
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Good point bdcst, in a recent performance evaluation run, a consumers magazine found that more than 80% of the domestic refrigerator problems were related to ice cube makers and cool water dispatchers mounted on the doors. a simple, basic refrigerator is a better design.

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