My guess is that the button switches did not use silver, since that material is "expensive", but rather some much cheaper substitute. Many times, after a product is designed it gets it's bom cost reduced, often by people with only an accounting degree, and having all the engineering skills that an accounting major study provides. So the expensive switch gets replaced by one using electroless tin, which is cheaper. Of course the pull up (or pull down) resistors may not be in spec either, ading to the complication.
Actually, I am now having push button panel problems on my relatively new dishwasher, which the membrane assembly does not want to continue to sick to the control panel, My guess is that the really good adhesive would have added a cent to the cost of the dishwasher.
That slogan goes " Never Time to DO IT RIGHT, Always time to do it over". I once worked for a company that was often in a rush to do things before they knew what to do. The result was often a lot of expensive scrap. That organization is no longer in business, by the way.
mrmikel, that's an interesting point. But--designing dehumidifiers in a desert state?! That doesn't make much sense. Or at least, it doesn't make sense to not do your homework about the environment the product will be used in.
Good point, Ann. As well as the durability, I also wonder about the cleanliness of the keypads in stores. Every time you use one of those, you're effectively shaking hands with the last few dozen people who have used it.
Jon, those touch screens worry me, too. Just like the ones at grocery store checkout stands that can't handle thousand of pushes by impatient people, the ones on my stove can't handle years of pushing by only one cook several times a week. They are cleanable with a light touch, but you often have to reset them afterward. I just wish they were more durable. Actually, I prefer knobs and dials.
I looked around our house and found the same type of "switches" on our dishwasher, stove, microwave oven, washer, and dryer. All the large appliances seem to have them. I suppose the alternative comes down to LCDs with touch screens, but I wonder how easy it is to clean off dirty-finger marks and smudges without activating something. Perhaps some smart designer would include a "clean-up mode" that deactivates the touch-LCD panel for a few minutes so someone can wipe it clean.
Jon that sounds a lot like mine. I think we've had it about 5 years, maybe more. The dial goes from Off to High, but with numbers representing relative humidity percentages. Cleaning it every 2 years seems to be enough (no animals and we keep dust down due to allergies).
We've also had a problem with a soft disc switch on the washer. I bought it before meeting my husband and as soon as he saw it he said "That won't last much longer!" He's already replaced the mechanism underneath at least once. The ones I really dislike are the touchpads on the kitchen stove: I have to push them harder and harder to make the timer work.
When I was early in my career one of the best pieces of advice I was ever given is, "If you can't find the time to do it right, you will have to find the time to do it over." That is still a fact of manufacturing. You may get away with poor slipshod design for a while, but probably sooner rather than later it will bite you.
@Mydesign: That's my point. For the most part, we don't investigate or repair things. It's not only that no one has tme to check. No one checks it out at all in small appliances.
@Mrmikel: I think good designers and engineers take all consumers into consideration. Designing for our own interests would put us out of business quickly. Today, overseas does not equal cheap design, the way it did in the past. Design schools throughout Asia are full of bright, creative people who are creating unique products for their local markets.
I bought a fairly cheap unit from Sears about 27 years ago. This has a Neon indicator to tell you when it's full. ( What's an LED?? ;-) It runs about 5-6 months every season.
As noted in some of the other posts, I've had to clean it out pretty much yearly. I've also had to pull it apart and oil the fan motor bearings a few times because the fan stopped spinning once when it was about 3 years old.
I don't think the Humidistat uses silver or gold contacts but I'd bet the electrical current is sufficient to keep them clear. No standby current either. How can you get Greener than that?
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
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