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Jon Titus
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Blogger
How about a better way to replace batteries?
Jon Titus   3/22/2012 6:53:38 PM
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Even when an owner can open a smoke/CO detector, getting to it can pose a problem. I have vaulted ceilings, so to change batteries I must bring in an extension ladder and move it from room to room to get to the battery compartment.  It beats me why some company hasn't figured out how to create a battery cartridge that could go into a detector and latch in place. Pushing on the cartridge would eject it. A long pole similar to the one I use to replace light bulbs would do the trick. Think how a retractable ball-point pen works and you'll get the idea. It sure would save time and energy.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: How could this even be sold in California?
Charles Murray   3/22/2012 6:28:39 PM
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Good point about the smaller retailer, Ann. My guess is that the big store probably gave the author a credit, sold him another one, and left the rest of the old ones on the shelf.

Andrew P.
User Rank
Silver
The real mystery is ...
Andrew P.   3/22/2012 5:32:26 PM
... why legislators think they can mandate private citizens in the United States to buy anything, be it CO detectors or health insurance.  How did we ever survive before the Nanny State came along?

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: place of manufacture
Nancy Golden   3/22/2012 4:51:21 PM
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Naperlou, I agree. We have seen that happen as well – for multiple reasons, often cost or availability related. There may also be engineers at the other end who simply disagree with the initial design...or perhaps they have an overstock on one type of connector when the initial design calls for another...

Your lament:

"What ever happened to design for manufacturing where the engineering team was colocated with manufacturing???"

While that would be ideal, I believe it is simply a matter of driving down the cost by manufacturing in other countries, but companies still want to maintain control of the design inhouse. One company I worked for, I worked in R&D where we developed the test sets that would be used to test the products manufactured in our plant in another country. A LOT of money and time was devoted to our test engineering staff travelling back and forth to initially set up the test sets and then to maintain them. Finally, our department was transferred to that country which made better sense and was more cost effective for our company. Unfortunately, it also eliminated the need for my job...

There are no easy answers, what works well for one company may not work well at all for another, depending on cost, staffing and industry contacts just as much as anything else. Yet another challenge of our global economy that continues to be a mixed blessing.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: How could this even be sold in California?
Ann R. Thryft   3/22/2012 4:33:56 PM
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Larry, I know that customer returns mean lost revenue. But then, lots of practices mean lost revenue and I see lots of companies keep doing the same things that lose them revenue, many of which we've covered here at DN. What I meant was that most big-box stores I've complained to about crummy product quality--like this one--don't care and keep selling the same crummy products. And I've had the same experience with the manufacturers of the same crummy products, even when they get lots of returns. I'm glad your experience seems to be different. But I wouldn't hold my breath assuming that the monitor manufacturer will even notice that the covers are stuck on. In my experience, if the product can be sold at a big-box store and costs less than $100, there's little motivation to change much.


naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: place of manufacture
naperlou   3/22/2012 4:19:04 PM
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Nancy, you post bring to mind a disturbing trend I have run into consulting over the last few years.  Many of the products made off-shore are not made to the design.  Changes are made in manufacturing without telling the "customer".   My experience was with small companies so I assumed that the problem was that these small companies just didn't have the resources to do the proper quality control.  I was telling a friend of mine who worked for a large company about a particular example in the industry he was in.  He related that his competitor, another very large company ran into exactly the same problem.  The only difference is that the large company had the resources to correct the problem.  The small company I was consulting with did not. 

What ever happened to design for manufacturing where the engineering team was colocated with manufacturing???

pjones
User Rank
Iron
Re: Failure of engineering
pjones   3/22/2012 4:04:15 PM
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Mr. Muren is partially wrong about the California requirement.  All homes are not required to have working carbon monoxide detectors.  A detector is not required if there is no  natural gas, propane, butane etc., service.  We have a rented-out condominium in San Diego that is "all electric".  I had a hard time convincing the property manager, to not spend several hundred dollars & have a c-m detector installed.

 

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: place of manufacture
Nancy Golden   3/22/2012 3:49:18 PM
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I agree TJ - and it is definitely a valid point. Poor design is poor design, wherever it takes place. My husband and I designed a product for the company he works for and they manufactured it in China. Any design flaws if they exist are our responsibility - not China's. I was simply suggesting another possibility as to why what happened could have happened...it is almost more plausible to me that a designer was given a project that he did not understand properly because he had no prior experience with the product, then for such a blatant design flaw to occur in the U.S. where these products are common. I could certainly be wrong, it was just a thought...

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: place of manufacture
TJ McDermott   3/22/2012 3:43:33 PM
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Nancy, that was my first thought, but many, many products manufactured off-shore are designed here.  That's why I asked about the brand-name.

QuailHillTony
User Rank
Iron
Re: place of manufacture
QuailHillTony   3/22/2012 3:42:55 PM
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Where it was manufactured is irrelevant to design flaws.  The pertinent question is where was it designed.

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