I don't think simplicity is the only solution to the problem. The simpler models are often less "enabled" (a lower powered motor, for instance). One may want more power (Tim Allen, where are you?), and thus have to go with one with additional bells and whistles as a result.
The lower powered motor may also be "cheaply" built, so the simpler model selected may simply fail in a different manner.
I like the new direct drive washer we purchased two years ago. It has a 10 year warranty; I like the attitude such a warranty supports. I will not have to deal with clutches, gearboxes or belts as I have in the past.
We've discussed the difference life expectancy of mechanical assemblies vs. electronics before. One might also note that equipment that lasts 20 years or more mean many fewer units being sold, lower profits for the manufacturer (this can be seen in some recent chewing gum commercials).
There are arguments that planned obsolesence does or does not exist, but one cannot refute that the shorter life cycles increase the number of units sold.
I agree Rob. Older cars are easier to fix, but unless you or your spouse or brother-in-law is a really good auto mechanic and willing to put in the time, they are not usually more reliable.
When it comes to washers and dryers, life has been a bit simpler for us in my household, but not always. We have replaced the control dials on the dryer, as well as its on/off switch, also a dial-type knob. But the on/off switch on the washer is a pushbutton--except that the covering is rubber, not something easy to remove. The interior mechanism is slowly wearing down and becoming too distant from the surface you push with your thumb. So we keep inserting the perfect fix: the little semi-coil plastic thingy you tear off the milk carton after you've taken off the cap the first time. There are now two of those under the rubber covering. This experience has taught me that I do not want an appliance with this type of control. And the idea of transparent touchpad-type controls on appliances that must withstand hundreds (thousands?) of repeated pushes over its lifetime sounds like a really bad idea.
I cannot agree more with you, OLD_CURMUDGEON !!! You are absolutely right.
Your advice to KISS, is absolutely right on the nail! Your bad experience with the latest versions of (what WAS) a good design from Toyota (And I would say from almost everybody else these days), is very true, sad and incredible far from a true "advancement", it seems more like a true backwards step in regard to reliability, repairability and fitness to the service.
I congratulate you in ACCEPTING it was a huge mistake to replace your perfectly OK 2004 Camry for the latest one. IT is happening in maybe 99% of all the cars and trucks in the last years "design"...
Lets discuss these stupid "design" trends that place a huge difficulty in servicing our automobiles by ourselves. Gosh!, even the mechanics at my near Dodge Chrysler dealer are pronouncing a lot of very colorful language when I ask them how THEY feel about the latter "designs", even they are affected by the very difficult maintenance that newer designs place on them, and supposedly they have the best manuals and software help!
My guess is that, apart from a "design for fast, automated assembly" and a perverse, planted-in design intended to discourage DIY maintainers; there is a large dose of unintended, naive and plainly stupid design by the younger generation of people born in the computer age; who have never-ever hold a common wrench in their hands, and who completely ignore that the need to repair instead of replace, which has transformed our world in a mess full of "last year junk".
As engineering professionals, we are in a unique position to understand and try to reverse this madness in design. at least this rants tell me I'm not the only one to recogniza the goodnes of past designs, and the flashiness of recent ones.
This is my nomination for good, solid design in a fully tried and time tested old design (about as old as the human race), which uses the most advanced "Predictive Bio-Software"; QUESTION: Who needs a computerized throttle, and for what stupid reasons?
and it is NOT trivial: As I understand, there have been about 14 deaths related to unintended sudden acceleration just in the USA.
Yes, MrMikel, it does make you wonder why these companies didn't start switching back when the electronic controls starting failing at a greater rate than the past mechanical controls failed. I would certainly think they're aware that repair incidences have increased. It makes you think they are OK with the problems. Seems odd.
The problems listed show a failure to select appropriate technology. Old mechanical controls in washers and dryers are all but foolproof, inexpensive and easily replaced by nearly anyone. They have the virtue of being mechanical devices which are not affected particulary by heat, humidity or the vibration present in these devices.
Electronics have none of these virtues, so why the substitution? Being modern, up to date?
In industrial controls where frills are not quite so dominant, machines are kept going 30 years because they continue to do the job. Good thing too, since that is how I make a living... keeping them going. Since they are $30K-$250K machines there is bit of a bias towards not replacing them. (grin)
In fifty years of driving, I've had only two "turkeys". The first one was my 1970 MUSTANG. It was a total lemon from day one! And, the next one was my 1976 TOYOTA CELICA fastback model. From my first vehicle, a 1960 FORD (of Germany) TAUNUS 17M KOMBI to my present vehicle, a 2010 CAMRY, they've all served me quite well for a minimum of 100K miles or more.
We're seeing again and again in these Monkey postings that older appliances seem work be more reliable than the newer models. The new electronics seem to be a big part of the problem. The mechanics seem to be build for 25 years, while the electronics seem to have a shorter lifespan.
I'm not sure the same thing is happening with cars. Older cars are easier to fix at home, but I'm not sure they're generally more reliable.
We have a GOLDSTAR microwave in the kitchen. It's NOT a fancy model, about 1,000 w, but it's been warming foods for about TWENTY FIVE years w/ ZERO problems. Maybe the conclusions of many in these blogs is NOT without merit: "Buy low end appliances WITHOUT all the bells & whistles". These devices seem to last much longer on average. Our refrigerator is also a relic of bygone days, a SEARS COLDSPOT, as old as the house. In the 35+ years, it required only one service call to replace a shorted compressor motor run capacitor. The SEARS (WHIRLPOOL) electric dryer is also that old, and continues to work flawlessly, although the companion top-load clothes washer has been replaced in this same time frame. My 2004 CAMRY w/ well over 100K miles suffered a failed throttle body assembly. Rather than spend the $2K to repair it (and replace worn out tires), I elected to upgrade to the new body-style CAMRY. WHAT A GIANT MISTAKE!!! Should have kept my 2004. The new style (2007-2011) & the 2012 are loaded w/ quirky features, ALL too much for my feeble mind to digest. The old adage, "KISS" ....... WHAT a PROFOUND concept!!!!
Siemens and Georgia Institute of Technology are partnering to address limitations in the current additive manufacturing design-to-production chain in an applied research project as part of the federally backed America Makes program.
Most of the new 3D printers and 3D printing technologies in this crop are breaking some boundaries, whether it's build volume-per-dollar ratios, multimaterials printing techniques, or new materials types.
Independent science safety company Underwriters Laboratories is providing new guidance for manufacturers about how to follow the latest IEC standards for implementing safety features in programmable logic controllers.
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