I too, have experienced a ghost in the machine--this one a Jenn Air oven. For 10 years, I've used the oven with no problems and all of a sudden about a month ago, these fans started going on every time the stove got over 220 degrees. That meant ever time the stove warmed up, the fans went on and didn't shut off until after the stove cooled down. Depending on what you were cooking and for how long, the fans could blow for hours.
I did some research online and surmised that perhaps we'd blown a sensor or something like that. I got my local appliance person in and after researching the issue with Jenn Air, they concluded that the stove was working properly. That can't be, I said. But low and behold, the design spec called for the fans to come on after 220 degrees to protect some of the more sensitive electronics. So for 10 years, I'm suppose to believe that my stove was faulty and now all of a sudden, it corrected itself. Hmmm. Everything else seems to work fine, so I'm not going to go looking for a problem. Instead, I'm just trying to get used to the din of constantly blowing fans.
I agree Beth, I would not go looking for a problem now. But I am curious as to why it just fixed itself after 10 years. I have never experienced something just fixing itself...once my things break they seem to stay that way.
I'm still not convinced it was ever broken or that it isn't broken now. I, like you, Lauren, can't imagine that it's normal for a stove to operate one way for 10 years then shift gears and do something else and the company says that's the way it should have worked from day one. I'm thinking this is temporary and my stove will be blowing up (not literally) before I know it!
Sometimes it's really hard to tell what is going on with electronics. I got slammed on the back of my mini van on an icy road. I got hit on the bumper, and there was little damage. But when that happened, the turn signals quick blinking automatically. I had to click the blinker manually. Before I got the blinkers fixed, I put a cup of coffee on the dash and accidently spilled it. The hot fluid went down the heating vent right above the steering column. Suddenly the turn signals began to operate as thought nothing had happened. That was two years ago and all's well.
If there's a lesson here, it's probably in the recurring problems we see in the Made by Monkeys blog -- owners are experiencing increased difficulties with their white-box appliances. This increase seems to reside in electrical and electronic systems. From the anecdotal data in these postings, it seems that newer appliances are more prone to problems than older appliances -- apparently because of the new electronics.
Reading this class of experiences, I feel compelled to share my impression on LG appliances, based on my three VERY different experiences with the microwave ovens from that company that I have used in the last 8 years:
First LG oven: a model MS-1442 DP, 1650 W, 13.6 Amp, 120 V, "made in England", 1.4 cu.ft. white color... This was a magnificent performance oven, Really powerful: quickly heated my LARGE coffe cup in less than a minute to boiling water temp (198 F or 92 C at our high elevation of 7350 ft ASL), this was one of three identical ovens purchased by the company I work with, to serve in the coffe area of the building.
I don't need to say that at lunch time, it was used and abused by at least 30-40 people, M to F, and even then, it kept performing without any apparent loss of power, but finally failed after more than four years of restaurant-like abuse!. I guesstimate it endured the equivalent of maybe 30 years of comparative household use. So, I was very favorably impressed and thought: When I'll marry, I'll buy this same model for my house...
Second LG oven: In 2007 the only available model that was most similar to the previous one, was model MS-1444DP (ECN:MS-1444DP/01), curiously labeled as"13.8 Amp." but with the same "1650W" power rating, in white color... this one "made in China", This oven was definitely NOT as efficient as the first ones at the office, requiring about 80 to 90 seconds to reach the same temp with the same cup (¿?) After only three years and two months of home use, the magnetron failed, and thanks to the omnipotent Internet, I was able to find a site with ample instructions (and warnings) on how to properly diagnose and repair it... the part replacement was faster and easier than actually browsing for it. It is still working with the new magnetron after a year, and the price of the part was about a third of the price of a new oven. Power is the same as before magnetron replacement. Operating noise is a bit higher than the made in England version, but not much. This could be caused by the lack of several screws to hold the cover, which had holes punched in the cover but not in the chassis and no sheetmetal screws.
Third LG oven (and most probably the last one!):
This is an smaller, 0.7 Cu Ft, silver color, LG design, bought to replace an old Sharp small microwave oven in the office (other building). I don't have the model number now, but this recent design is the PERFECT example of an Idiot Design (worst than Monkey designed)... the Stylish, mirrorlike door, is so stupidly designed, that it is completely impossible to see inside during operation, thanks to the mirrolike door and a badly placed lighbulb. Not only this is inconvenint, because nobody can see if a bowl of oat is already boiling and making a mess inside, and because it is so inefficient (It requires more than two full minutes on High to heat the same large cup of water, more like 2 minutes and 30 seconds), so that users tend to input "standard"or "commonly used" times, only to find that the damn little oven didn't heat the food enought, then they add "a little more time, and than find it still requires a third heating... at that time the accumulated heat frequently ends in an overheated, bubbling or alredy spilled mess! It also makes a higher level of noise than I remember from the other two larger models.
This means to me that:
a) LG WAS a good option about 8 years ago...
b) It appears that the power rating rules have been loosened at LG.
c) Could it be that sheetmetal screws are becoming scarce in Korea or China?
d) State of the Art in LG ovens:Now more 'stylish', innefficient and less durable.
Those are the lessons!
NOTES: My efficiency and ouput power estimates didn't measured temperatures with a calibrated thermometer, a certified chronometer, or a lab grade wattmeter... but I DID CHECKED that the AC voltage remained above 120 V; as a fact it was 125 plus or minus half a volt during my estimations, and the room temp was almos the same, so that gross differences were not a factor at all. A call and two emails to the LG representative in Mexico were completely unattended... So that I cannot recommend their ovens anymore.
I have an 02 Ford F150 that has had an issue that seemed to fix itself a few times. Occassionally, in the morning, the trucks dome lights would be on when I walked to the truck in the morning. Turning the truck on would put everything back in working order. Over time and research I found that the windshield's on the 02 Fords tend to leak around the seal and into Power Control Module causing electrical faults. Long story short, nights that had heavy dew or light rain allowed enough water into the PCM to connect a circuit for the dome lights. To correct, it was necessary to re-seal the windshield. No problems since.
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!!!!
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Each one who has written w/ deep analysis of the current situation w/ appliance life expectancy has contributed in a valid way to this argument. I believe the most poignant point is the one in which the ultimate "blame" can be put on the concept of replacement. IF you are old enough to remember back several decades you will recall that MOTOROLA made a majot advertising effort to tout their TV models with the "Works in a Drawer". The advertisements were specifically designed to allay the fears of users that their TV products were so designed that when a component failed (early days of solid state electronics), it was a simple task to disconnect a "board" and replace it, thus minimizing in-home service technician repair time and/or trips to the shop w/ the malfunctioning unit. I think a case can be made by historians that this was the beginning of the "Throw-away" Era for appliance, apparatus design in the U.S., and ultimately, the rest of the consuming world.
Good point, Old Curmudgeon. There are a lot of factors contributing to the throw-away era. For one, ongoing technology advances make older appliances obsolete. TVs are a good example. No matter how well the old tube TV works, people want the flat screen, they want the HD versions, the 3D TVs. Soon they will want the Google or Apple TV. The old TVs can't be converted. And no matter how well they continue to perform, consumers will go for the newer experience.
Plus, the cost of repair now exceeds the cost of replacement.
Now we're delving into the philosophical realm. When are technology upgrades impactful for the masses, and when are they purely an exercise in effort? Sure, the internet has produced some great byproducts, The WIKIPEDIA group being the most prominent (in my opinion). BUT there are also all those unintended consequences. During yesterday's MICHAEL MEDVED program, he discussed a recent NEWSWEEK article concerning the almost exponential rise in "sex crimes", and the reasons for it. One very credible factor IS the internet! Pornography is rampant and easily available to anyone w/ a PC. Here's two very upsetting statistics that he produced. EVERY day in the U.S. (alone), there are at least 40 million people "tuned in" to a pornographic website, and there are currently operating in the U.S. approx. 14.2 MILLION pornographic-specific websites. To me, that's almost criminal!
There are literally too many vivid examples of products that have flourished. but for what ultimate reason? Were they really needed, OR were they brought onto the buying public by extremely effective marketing depts?
Personally, I have been a technologist for the better part of fifty years, but every product that I designed or was a team member in the design was a useful product, and not something frivolous. When I see new designs in any category, I analyze that product to determine the usefulness of it for society as a whole.
For example, FORD is touting one of their new models that's equipped w/ self parking. While I'm sure it was a major engineering feat to accomplish it, is it really necessary?, OR, is it a marketing gimmick? What ever happened to the HONDA ACCORD years ago that had 4-wheel steering? That was a mechanical solution to ease a vehicle into a tight space? It last only a few short years. In the very early 1950s, an engineer modified a CADILLAC with a purely mechanical drivetrain to convert the spare tire into a cross-axled fifth wheel. When the parking space was too tight to maneuver out of, the driver could lower the "spare" which was powered. The vehicle would then rotate about the axis of the two front wheels. The spare wheel would reset, and the vehicle could be backed out.
We could discuss this from now until after Doomsday. That's why I continue to adhere to the philosophical argument for most of these blogs.
This machine sounds like it's inhabited by a poltergeist!
But seriously--TJ, a 10-year warranty on a washer? Who makes it, Mercedes-Benz? I'm afraid to think of what it costs. Yet, that length sounds like the old warranties we used to get on household appliances.
I just read the article by Peter M. Blackford in the November 2011 issue of Design News in the section Made By Monkeys. Of all of the deficiencies, or design snafus, that Peter picked up on, he said nothing about the incorporation of a touch panel itself. My God, it’s a refrigerator. It keeps milk cold and ice cream frozen.
It doesn’t need computer control. It needs a thermostat. Your not trying to control a 100,000 BTU furnace, it probably has a 1/8 to ¼ HP compressor. Don’t label me a dinosaur or anti progress activist but come on, all the manufacturer has done is raise the price by several hundred dollars in the name of progress and energy savings. I have a computer and flat screen TV’s but I will never have a $1500 washer or dryer or a refrigerator with computer type control.
When young people see a refrigerator with a touch panel their eyes glaze over and they sign on the dotted line, even though they don’t realize that they probably can’t afford it and they aren’t saving any energy at all.
Lantronix Inc. has expanded its line of controllers for sensor networks with the release of a rugged controller that improves management of automation systems used in a number of industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and chemicals.
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is