We remodeled our kitchen and selected a five burner GE stove - the kind with a large griddle plate in the middle. We also purchased the Extended Warranty from the retailer, Best Buy. The extended added 3 years onto the manufacturer's standard - 1 year if I remember correctly.
As with all modern gas stoves, this model used an ignitor and spark gap. From a few months in, burners would not reliably ignite - we kept a box of matches nearby.
GE service sent a local repairman who spoke more Russian than English - but it's amazing how the F-word translates across boundaries! He replaced the ignitor, the tubing, the spark points, the power cord, even the knobs. He even tried an ignitor that looked more like an oil burner transformer, complete with ceramic insulators and weighing over 40 pounds.
The stove was designed as a sealed top and required that the entire top be hinged back to service - very carefully - as the designers at GE used aluminum tubing with minor S-bends in them. The idea being that the bend would be the flexure point - only being aluminum, you can only flex it so much.
On his last (and I emphasize last) service call, he replaced half the tubing with items from his truck as they were showing pronounced cracking. And wouldn't you know it, to show us of his acheivement and design prowess, as soon as turned the knob and the ignitor sparked, a huge flame rocketed out the side of the stove singing the countertop and cabinets.
At the time, Best Buy has a Lemon Guarantee: that if something breaks down more than three times, you get full credit. As this was the Fourth repair (and first fire) for the same problem, I called and demanded a new stove. "Oh, No, Mr. Bloom. It has to be for three DIFFERENT problems! Not three repairs of the same one!"
Like (heck)! I filed a complaint with the California Department of Insurance (extended warranties, at least in California, are considered Insurance. Within a week, I picked out a new stove at Best Buy's expense - a Whirlpool. It's been 7 or 8 years now and it works just like it was brand new.
Here's to keeping the home fires burning - just in their proper place!
Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, Skoda and of course, Volkswagen nameplates... That's not too bad... The fact that Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover is somewhat more disturbing...
Everything is becoming a throw away product... Has anyone here taken an iPod Touch apart? My kid broke the touchscreen twice... It's really not intended to be taken apart and put back together... And they are starting to make cars the same way... Automatic transmissions are now commonly sealed units that you can't check the fluid level or add fluid to it without special equipment... And very quickly many new cars can really only be diagnosed by the dealership... Stealership... You decide...
And the people that have the most of the latest gadgets that are really not serviceable seem to also be the ones that are so concerned with the environment and scold me because I still have a few incandescent lights in my house... What do you think is a bigger problem, throwing out a refrigerator that is 5 years old because it's not worth fixing, or having a 100 watt incandescent bulb where there is no good alternative...
The game now is to make products that will just make it past the warranty... Washers and dryers should easily make it past the manufacturers warranty and the extended warranties they sell. Good luck when something does break, though. I worked for Samsung, and I couldn't get parts for a co-workers washer that had a fairly minor problem... They just weren't available unless you paid the factory tech the big bucks to fix the little problems that inevitably crop up.
I have to hand it to Apple, though... Their products seem to be very well engineered and very high quality... But a Mac notebook costs about 4 times what an equivalently powered PC laptop costs... And the price differential for an iPod over any other music player is almost ridiculous... But they are better. I still have my iPod Mini, and I use it daily. The hard drive didn't fail, I just wanted more room so I took out the 4GB hard drive and replaced it with a 32GB compact flash. I have used that thing literally almost every day for 10 years or so, and it has yet to malfunction...
Whirlpool is almost all that's left of the American appliance companies... And they are not doing really well against the Koreans and the Europeans... Even Australia is starting to gain serious steam at appliance manufacturing... Fisher and Paykel refrigerators are pretty highly rated by buyers... And Breville makes outstanding small appliances...
I read a post by Jeff Immelt of GE titled "Why We're Betting On Manufacturing"
This is from a guy who has shipped hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas... Any CEO or CFO can be lumped into the same category we used to joke about politicians... How can you tell when they're lying? When their lips are moving...
When did this column devolve to nothing more than a gripe session? No analysis of a problem, no engineering insight, just a rant about dishwashers. This is supposed to be an engineering-focused forum, not just one more place to whine online.
Quality Whirlpool products used to be made in Evansville Indiana. They pulled out of there so they could be produced "south of the border" for lower labor rates. After they announced they would close the Evansville plant, but before they moved, there was all the drug lord problems "down there" so they decided instead to move to another location in the states. I'm glad they stayed in the US, but think of all the experienced engineers and labors they kicked out the door. Whirlpool's "quality" has been anything but since their plant closing and relocations. I purchased a microwave from them (made in Mexico) and the transformer burned up within a year. I, like some of the others in this posting, luckily found a replacement part on the web for much less than "factory service" was charging. I guess what I'm saying is this... I see on ABC news their little jabs about how we should be buying American products to support America. I propose that if American products were worth a damn, we'd be buying them, but I refuse to buy a car that will last 100000 miles when I can buy a foreign car that will last 300000 miles. Wake up America!
Engineers at Fuel Cell Energy have found a way to take advantage of a side reaction, unique to their carbonate fuel cell that has nothing to do with energy production, as a potential, cost-effective solution to capturing carbon from fossil fuel power plants.
To get to a trillion sensors in the IoT that we all look forward to, there are many challenges to commercialization that still remain, including interoperability, the lack of standards, and the issue of security, to name a few.
This is part one of an article discussing the University of Washington’s nationally ranked FSAE electric car (eCar) and combustible car (cCar). Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow, which will discuss the four unique PCBs used in both the eCar and cCars.
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