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Washing Machine Can Keep the Change

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uniquity@uniquitypsych.com
User Rank
Gold
Re: Burying the coin catch
uniquity@uniquitypsych.com   6/15/2012 8:16:33 PM
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I think that one reason these changes are made if for the sake of change. In the past most items did not change that often.  Now rapid change is expected. Look at the large number of each item a given company produces.  Computers, home appliances, autos, and almost everything else seems to have endless variations avaliable.  Along with this, new versions are expected frequently.  Therefore. in making all of these changes some bad designs are going to be used. 

I have a Toyota Matrix that was changed in 2009.  I was bedazzeled by the fancy instrument panel, and failed to notice the poor visability.  The large windows in the rear had become small slits that are almost useless.  The front doors and the dash were changed so that with the low seats, you could not see over the hood, or over the door to see the road.  I finally had to raise the driver's seat 3 1/2".  Not many other owners could do that. 

In addition, I too have had many problems with appliances.  Sometimes it is not bad design, but lack of available information on how to fix somethig.  Not only is it hard to find repair manuals for home appliances, it is gettig harder to find them for cars.  Almost everything we buy now is consider a consumable throw-away item.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Split Design
tekochip   6/16/2012 10:11:38 AM
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Very often the design of the appliance is split between the controls and the mechanical design.  As a EE I was never involved in the mechanical aspects of the device, and rarely saw the Mechanical Engineers.  The Mechanical Engineers treated the control as a black box and the EEs treated the machine as a white box, so to speak.  We had dummy loads and test boxes, so it wasn't until the very end of the project that we put everything together to wash clothes or cook biscuits.  Sometimes the same mechincal design would be used over and over and only the controls and case changed to produce the different models.  There were several models that used the same control and only needed the right jumper to change the unit from the cheap to deluxe model.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Burying the coin catch
Beth Stackpole   6/18/2012 7:10:48 AM
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@uniquity: I totally agree with your assessment. I think because we've gotten so accustomed to (and in some cases, hungry for) the fast and furious new refresh cycles for cell phones, tablets, and other electronics gear, we expect the same pace with all kinds of product. A lot of that is change for change sake and the fact that all of this gear is getting more and more dependent on software-driven, user interface-type features. It also speaks to the consumer mentality: Many won't be happy clinging to a 10-year old-plus product (even a costly product like an appliance) because they want to stay up to date with the latest and greatest. Definitely a non-productive cycle, but a cycle none the less.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Design for Assembly - NOT SERVICEABILITY
Ann R. Thryft   6/18/2012 12:56:01 PM
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I think the discussion of design principles is an interesting one. But why can't design-for manufacturing-and-assembly, design-for-serviceability/repairability, and design-for-(end-of-life)disassembly be considered all together?

RICKZ28
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Burying the coin catch
RICKZ28   6/21/2012 8:47:02 PM
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Greg, that must have been very frustrating!  Did the user's manual say to make sure all items such as coins and keys are removed before washing?   ...and to remove excess dirt (sand)?  I'm constantly finding loose change in the bottom of our relatively new top-load clothes washer.

I have almost all new appliances at home.  My wife and adult college student kids will not read the user's manuals, so I find myself telling them how to use the appliances when they become frustrated, especially for many of the modern features that were not on old appliances.  I don't want them to damage the appliances I took so long to decide upon and paid good money to purchase.

I always read many user reviews on the Internet before deciding on any appliance (and consumer electronics).  I want to know what many other users and owners think before I select and buy.  This is in addition to Consumer Reports and other such sources.

I did not buy the front-load type clothes washer that is touted for saving water.  I kept reading that many began to stink (smell) after some use.  Apparently such clothes washers leave behind a residue outside the inner tub that cannot be (easily) cleaned.

CPDick
User Rank
Iron
Re: Design for Assembly - NOT SERVICEABILITY
CPDick   6/21/2012 8:51:43 PM
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When we replaced our thirty-something-year-old Kenmore washer a couple of years ago (with a Maytag), the person who delivered it saw the old one and immediately said "Don't expect this one to last anywhere near that long!". I've heard essentially the same thing many times from others. This is indeed a sad state of affairs. With all the mew materials currently available, there is no reason why a washing machine should not last fifty years.

Of course the real reason is that during that fifty years they would not be able to sell me another one, or two or three.

I understand that my home AC (a Carrier) was installed in 1968. I bought the home in 1970, and during those 42 years I have spent an average of exactly $5 per year on maintenance. That is the way it should be! I keep hearing that a newer one would be more efficient, but there is no way I'm going to replace it until I absolutely have to!


I've been a Macintosh user since '84, and an Apple certified Mac repair technician part of that time. I love my Macs, and fortunately they need few repairs, but they clearly are NOT designed with the repair technician in mind, and heaven forbid a user try to repair his own!

Gregarious2
User Rank
Iron
Re: Burying the coin catch
Gregarious2   6/22/2012 1:20:37 AM
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The owner's manual is quite specific about shaking the sand, checking for keys,etc...but it's not something the guests are likely to do. On the previous Swedish washer,  this was not a problem. You just empty the trap weekly using the plug in the front panel. The Maytag requires a service call and a few hours.

The existence of the pump filter is barely mentioned in the manual. I had to dig through the parts diagram on a replacement site to find it. ( Note: there is a service manual located on the inside top cover of the washer. But it  deals mostly with error codes, etc.. )

I always research any appliance purchase but here, it often comes down to local availability.  Living here on Hawai'i Island, our major appliance choices are limited by Costco, HD, Lowes and with a 180mile roundtrip; Sears. Shipping something such as a washer is a major expense and it can take months to arrive. Meanwhile, at 5 loads a day, the towels pile up.

 

 

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Design for Assembly - NOT SERVICEABILITY
tekochip   6/22/2012 9:19:05 AM
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I had a 1967 Maytag dryer (model 3) for years. The parts were easy to buy and the only ones that went bad were the ones you'd expect to go; the belt, felt seals, and the turbine bearing. The knob broke off the timer, but you couldn't just replace the knob, you had to replace the whole timer. That was too much for me to spend on the aging appliance, so I attached a knob from an equalizer and told my wife that Off was 0db, Air Fluff was –3db, Cotton was +6db, you get the idea. The last time I moved the purchaser accepted the listed price but demanded that the washer and dryer stay with the house. This guy thought he was driving a hard deal, but we laughed and laughed as we signed the contract.
The new washer and dryer are still running but are not designed as well. The drum doesn't have rollers in the front, instead it drags along three nylon skids at the top of the door. These wear out every few years and then I take the opportunity to replace all the wearable parts and clean the dust from the motor. I miss the old Maytag, maybe that guy was driving a hard deal after all.


OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Modern major appliances
OLD_CURMUDGEON   6/22/2012 1:08:48 PM
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Several bloggers brought up very cogent arguments for the change in the appliance industry.  While I saw one brag about a 40 year old MAYTAG, one must not lose sight of the fact that the modern MAYTAG is only a name.  Just as when one goes to a store and sees an RCA television, etc.  The corporations behind these names are completely different.  MAYTAG now is the product of WHIRLPOOL CORP., for instance.  And, WHIRLPOOL has been the manufacturer of record for SEARS major appliances for several decades.

I disagree with some of the comments about changing designs every year because the consuming public wants that.  I believe that IF you look at the basic components of the each group of appliances, you will discover that there is considerable commonality of parts, whether found in a basic, "no-frills" model, OR a high-end offering.  Since there is allegedly relatively little net profit in consumer appliances, it would be logical to deduce that manufacturers will stick with a proven design as long as possible to get the maximum ROI for that component part.  The "newness" in yearly models comes from superficial, cosmetic changes, additions, deletions, which cost little to implement.  Think back to the post-War American automobile industry.  Every year one could expect to see entirely new sheetmetal from the BIG 3, but the underpinnings were identical from year to year, most items spanning decades before being replaced by new designs.  And, I submit, that IF it wasn't for the first Oil Embargo of 1973 & the emission laws then enacted that modern vehicles would still be on the same track that they were BEFORE these issues pushed Detroit into action.

rcwithlime
User Rank
Silver
OLD_CURMUDGEON is 100% correct
rcwithlime   6/22/2012 3:47:45 PM
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Maytag is now nothing but a purchased name. I research the snot out of just about every purchase over $50. When I purchased my new Washer and dryer, 1.5 yrs ago, I researched every locally available model. I talked to service techs, I read reviews, etc. I found out that the new Maytags still carry the identifier "commercial duty" but this is really just a marketing ploy. They are nothing like the older models. From talking to the local repair man, (as my large front loading washer barly fills up- which is they way they are now designed) the design that made them "commercial duty" is gone. They are now about duplicates of Whirlpool. Nothing special with them anymore. You see LG, Bosch, Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore, etc. They all look very similar.  The days of "Very heavy duty construction", I was advised, are gone. Most models are similar in features and construction and longevity. Sure they vary, and sure there are models that have more than their share of problems (look at floor models at your local store. Duplicate floor models usually spell out customer returns or rebuilds.) but you don't see the dramatic differences that you used to see. The ones that made the "Maytag repairman"  bored with his job. I still purchased the Maytag sets, but with all my research and now use, I did not find a dramatic difference in customer satisfaction between the Maytags and other models. Weight of each is also very similar and weight relates to material of construction. Granted, you do get somewhat of what you pay for, so you do need to compare apples to apples. But if you remember the Mayags (and even other mfg's for that matter) from 25-30 yrs ago, that your grandparents had and was still running strong when they passed on 20 yrs later, those had the "commercial" duty heavy design. Today, they all compete for that extra 1 cent in cost savings. They offer a few more bells and whistles for electronic features (just more non-necessary stuff to go bad) but sacrifice on the ruggedness. Mfg's do not want their products to last 20 yrs. Just my opinion, (as well as many others from the research I have done.)

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