Remember that the lifetime rating is at the specified maximum rated ripple current and the rated temperature. By properly derating an aluminum electrolytic capacitor, which means using it in an environment where the average temperature is well below the rating, and with low ripple current, a 1000 hour cap can and does last many years. Of course, in high reliability applications, caps with longer lifetimes should be specified. Should, but aren't always. As a power supply designer that has worked in both the consumer and telecommunications industries, I know that products can be designed for cost, or for a long lifetime under extreme conditions. There are many different series of caps for just that reason.
I have fixed many electronic devices by replacing the leaking or bulging capacitors. This includes PC motherboards, PC power supplies, control PCB in my furnace, DVD player, and LCD clock. If you read the electrolytic capacitor specifications, many are rated at 1000 hours (41 days). It is hard to find an electrolytic capacitor rated for more than 10,000 hours (416 days).
Nancy: Sorry, I can't disagree with you more! The fundamental law of Economics in a capitalist system is the Law of Supply & Demand. And, when there is a drought, then the supply is less, so the demand, and therefore, the price, rises to balance the see-saw. While I feel sorry for your situation, this is an everyday occurrence for every person on the face of the Earth who is part of this system. We all have to make decisions based on our ability to afford the item(s) we want!
With regard to the ECU module. IF my memory serves me (not sure nowadays!), the MAZDA pick-em-up truck is really a FORD RANGER vehicle, and as such, it shared the same platform & drive train components as the FORD BRONCO II / early EXPLORER models. We had a 1989 BRONCO II w/ the ESP plan (Ford's Extended Service Plan). The ECU failed on that vehicle about 100 miles BEFORE the expiration of the warranty. Although it cost us a very small "co-payment", the invoice showed that this module was priced at that "$1,000 level. Since it was a warranty issue, I made no attempt to diagnose and/or repair it myself. I would NOT be surprised IF the failure was also due to a substandard electrolytic capacitor.
I agree that overcharging for limited supply is morally questionable. But if the free market pricing has people willing to pay for admittedly limited resources, then why would the seller not sell at the higher price?
Now, on the other hand, you are being sold junk by a snake oil salesman, then outrage should be justifiable. If the product was of poor quality, then clearly selling a known bad part should be reprehensible and even prosecutable. However, the dealer is selling a new part gaurenteed to meet OEM. If $1100 is the price to get an ECM replacement because of limited-resources, then there must be buyers willing to pay. Just so happens this smart fellow was unwilling to pay this price and was able to fix his ECM. I know others would be unwilling to pay and unable to repair, but is that really the dealers fault (maybe the manufacturer)?
Hopefully, if you bought hay for $125 it was of high quality. Otherwise, your outrage is probably justifiable. But if the hay is limited and many want it and it is of good quality, is it the sellers fault that he has some to sell and others do not (he cannot control the weather)?
True enough, Ann, even the most mechanical folks can't figure out the electronic and computerized wonder that are modern automobiles, I reckon. It's interesting--while the internal bits and bobs have gotten more complex, it seems the external parts like bumpers and panels are often more frail than they used to be. Go figure.
Well, I *am* mechanically inclined (mechanical engineering runs in my family), pretty handy with basic tools, and at least some car systems make a lot of intuitive sense to me (although not electrical!). But--I can't fix most of the simple mechanical stuff on my car anymore because it's no longer mechanical: it's become an electronic module. And an expensive one, at that.
Ouch, Elizabeth - as the owner of a 1997 Chevy Lumina, I feel your pain! Auto repair prices are among the worst for being over-inflated and it is hard to find a competent and honest mechanic. I believe in a fair wage for a competent job but unfortunately that is often not the case. I hope it is for you today!
Yes, Nancy, I suppose the whole idea of getting what you pay for is true...and if someone takes time to repair something and you have to pay a fair bit, you don't feel so bad if you think they earned the price tag.
I actually am a bit biased today on this topic, as I am waiting for my own vehicle to be fixed at the moment and am anticipating a really high price tag (it's nearly impossible here in southwest Portugal to get a used vehicle, which most of us have, that doesn't constantly need work!). The work that needs doing is somewhat simple if you're mechanically inclined, but for an auto luddite like me I'll be spending big bucks--and probably have to listen to an excuse, too, as to why either a) it cost so much or b) something couldn't quite get repaired properly. So I tip my hat to all the gearheads out there and read with interest their monkeying around stories.
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