I'm with hubby on the "infernal pads". IMHO most current automobile dashboards are just very, very expensive distraction devices. And putting the controls on a DVD screen one has to look at and poke at -- while driving -- is insane, by definition IMHO. I can slide my hand down the emergency brake handle on my '97 Miata and adjust the radio or heat without having to look around for knobs, readouts or any other dumb thing. And talk about the eventual cost of repairs. I replaced the headlight control switch on my '65 Beetle for $15 + tax; and did it myself in 15 minutes. Replaced the rear window heater switch on my '92 Accord for about $25 and it took me an hour or so. My neighbor as one of those new über-mobiles with the DVD dashboards and the screen cracked this past winter on one of those -30°F mornings. The estimate was $1,800 for the display and another $600 to put it in 'cause they have to disassemble the entire dashboard to get to it. Yeah. And, just out of warrranty. I think I'll stick with my current rides, the aforementioned Miata and a sweet, mint-condition '92 Olds 98 Regency. I can adjust the heat and tune the radio without looking at a thing other than the road in front of me. ^_^
The article reminds me of the problem I had with the Dymo Lablewriter TwinTurbo we bought one year. Everyone once in a while, a side -- TwinTurbos have two label printers in the same housing -- would just empty it's spool of labels. Didn't print anything, just spooled them out. I finally disassembled the printer and found that the designer of the housing was apparently working from different prints than the designer of the printed circuit board. I say that because the nipple on the button for both label feed buttons was actually resting on the corresponding dome switch on the printed circuit board in it's assembled condition. A little snip snip on both buttons and all was well again. It's all well and good to play with the CAD systems my friends ... but sooner or later an actual assembly should be examined by an experienced hand. Now if I could just get my hands on the fellow who coded the software to automatically switch to side B when side A runs out ... even though side A is address labels and side B is STAMPS!! < eyes rolling > To make matters worse, the only way to undo that switch is it pull the power plug!! < ibid >
Thanks, jmiller. I forwarded that info to my husband for dealing with our oven--maybe. He works in the paint department of a hardware store. He says the controls for his paint mixers have gone from standard toggle switches (and pot dials) over to touch pads. Where once he could change out a switch, he is now "stuck with the infernal pads." The springs weaken, but worse, the electronics board on which they rest stared to flex backward over the years. When the first repair tech came through to deal with this problem, his "solution" to an inoperable pad was to cut a hole in the plastic which overlays the button to grant the switch more travel. Eventually, my husband says he glued little plastic bumpers to the buttons to be able to use them at all.
I will warn people because I'd hate for someone to try and fix something and not be able to get it back together. However, often if you can get the touch pad out of any machine and then take it apart you will find the plastic parts, springs etc. inside the machine and these can be modified to solve the issue. For instance if you are getting a stuck button error message you can shave off a little plastic to provide some clearance and prevent the stuck button. Be careful not to shave to much. You really can't glue plastic shavings back onto a spring. If there is a button that will not push you can use a peice of tape or a sticky note as a shim by placing it on the bck side of the touch pad. Just some of the tricks of the trade to get machines out the door when the parts aren't exactly what you ordered.
I'd love to be able to do that, in particular to get rid of car noises that tell me the door is open (duh) or the seatbelt isn't fastened (duh again since I'm OCD about that item). For PC noises, I've always just disabled the sound in the control panels. At least on the Mac you can easily do that, don't know about a Win machine.
jmiller, I remember being told exactly the same thing back in the 90s, but as a member of the press. What arrogance. Also, in many cases, how inaccurate. Also, thanks for the info about the touchpad. That's what my husband said. Of course, the answer is infuriating, because that means we can't fix it ourselves and basically, we've been given a poor design and told to live with it.
It's interesting how when you look underneath those touch pads it's just the same plastic pieces behind the membranes. Unfortunately, the mechanical spring has been removed and without a good ole metal spring the plastic just can't handle the lifetime load. I guess someone should have realized that plastic deforms when it gets a little warm and without a metal spring the buttons going to quit working.
Digital healthcare devices and wearable electronic products need to be thoroughly tested, lest they live short, ignominious lives, an expert will tell attendees at UBM’s upcoming Designers of Things conference in San Jose, Calif.
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