Chances are your friend knew in advance there was a defect, hence the reduced price. This writer does not say he purposely bought some thing defective so he could save a few bucks.
Many years ago I was looking over a clearance table in a sporting goods store and found a fishing reel at half price, marked `AS IS'. I cleared a spot on the table and dismantled the reel and did not find anything wrong so I bought it. It has served me faithfully for 20+ years. However, at the checkout another man approached me and asked if I knew what was wrong with the reel. I told him I could not find a problem and he told me, "I took it apart and couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I was afraid to buy it."
Buying "defective" equipment isn't always a bad deal. A friend go a really good price for a radial arm saw. Apparently it would stall and trip on overload whenever the owner tried to cut something. It took only a few minutes to check the connection box and determine that the jumpers were set to 240 VAC but the cord was plugged into 120 VAC.
This post points to two of my biggest complaints. not only in industry, but everyday life as well. First is the lack of supporting documentation. I have griped about this before on this forum, so I will again. When I/we have spent thousands to purchase a piece of equipment or a software package they should come with an operators manual, including a section on trouble shooting. I would even be willing to pay an addtional amount, but instead you are lucky to get a web site or a phone number which is often peopled by someone who speaks with such an accent that everything after the initial greeting is impossible to understand.
The second and worst is a dealer who will resell defective equipment. It is impossible to believe these problems had not occurred before. The buyer should have been warned. If the original owner hid the problem from the reseller, than shame on him as well. What has happened to pride and integrity?
The quickest way to get deleted from my company's list of vendors is to supply defective parts or equipment and then not make the situation right. Particularly if the defect was known in advance. I wish the author of this article would have posted the name of the vendor to expose them for the frauds they appear to be.
That is like forgetting to connect the brake pedal on a new car- it steers fine, it accelerates fine, and the radio plays all your favorite stations. There's just this one little problem, so we will sell it to you cheap!
Isn't it amazing how expensive a simple design error like this can be to the equipment owner? The guys that design the system probably never realized that a broken thread was a normal event that happened frequently.
A few years ago when PCs were fairly new I did the electronics for a machine that utilized that I/O system having boards tied to a 64 conductor ribbon cable as the interface I/O bus. There was a huge design flaw in that if the control computer crashed, or stopped addressing the bus, all of the outputs would stay as they had last been set. Since this was a wet ful stand, that meant that gasoline would continue to flow if the system locked up, which happened daily while the testing program was being developed. The solution was a simple timer to pull down the master reset line whan it timed out after 1 second. The timer would be reset every 100milliseconds by the I/O write pulse if the control program was running, so under normal conditions the timer never timed out. We put the timer on the digital output board, since that was where control was most critical. But I never did find out why the makers of that system didn't even warn about the potential hazard.
That is a risky addition to the system. I had to add a similar circuit to a CNC motion controller's e-stop. I needed the controller's onboard capacitors to drain instantly. I wanted the motors to stop dead.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.