Now that's a very good observation about how tinkering can affect the warranty, Ann. That unfortunate fact has stopped me on more than one occasion - at least until after the product in question was out-of-warranty...
It's not so much a question of figuring out the electronics--it's more a question of replacing a sealed, can't-mess-with-it electronic module at high cost, instead of being able to tinker with a mechanical subsystem. Broken wires are no problem, but failed chips and sealed modules that bust the warranty if you tinker with them are something else entirely.
Call me crazy but I think there should be a different criteria for pricing "want" versus "need." Staying home and eating homemade spaghetti satisfies "need" but eating out satisfies "want" so of course you expect to pay more. Unless of course your personal chef called in sick and eating out is a neccesity LOL
When we got to SWEET TOMATOES restaurant, I WANT to eat EVERYTHING on their long line of items, BUT I know that I NEED only a fraction of these items to satisfy my hunger AND supply the nutrition that my body requires for proper nourishment.
Unfortunately, the simple Law of Supply & Demand, is NOT so simple in its implementation, and that's where "Big Brother" (government!!!) steps in to throttle back some of the unintended consequences. And, we all know that many times their answers don't work either...... The see-saw continues to oscillate.....
I don't begrudge anyone a profit GTOlover - We have a hay meadow ourselves. It is a lot of work and we don't irrigate while some folks do - which is of course an added expense that cuts away from the profit margin. And baling hay is hard work! My gripe is only with those folks that are taking advantage of the situation with ridiculous prices (that morally questionable issue you mentioned) rather than settling for a nice profit brought about by higher demand.
Well, Old_Curmudgeon - it looks like this part of the conversation really belongs in a forum about ethics, so I won't go there ;) Suffice it to say, I see your point, but I believe that there is some point where upper limits should be set. Situations are often more complicated then they seem on the surface...and we can have a whole other conversation about the difference between "want" and "need" :)
Seems auto manufacturers have a history of underestimating the underhood temperature of their constructs. Early Model-T's would boil the gasoline and vapor lock when hot and the carburators would ice up on a foggy day. These issues plagues cars until the late 70's. When alternators first came out all the manufacturers used diodes rated at the commercial range of 85 degrees C. max (probably still do). So many of the early diodes leaked so badly when hot that the battery would go dead in a couple of days. I bought the most beautiful car I have ever owned, a 70's Jaguar XJ-6 which had the alternator diodes leak so badly when they were hot that they drew over 1.5A, and they met factory specifications! Unfortunately the car could not seem to run for six weeks without something electrical failing (insert comments about Lucas here). Looked pretty sitting there though! I used to moonlight with a local Japanese car dealer doing electrical troubleshooting and it was amazing the number and nature of electrical problems found even on well engineered Japanese cars. I'd say 80% of "ECU" issues were connector, and replacable component issues that did not warrant complete replacement of the module.
David Moberly wrote: "With nothing to lose, I opened up the ECM and immediately noticed that one of the electrolytic capacitors had failed and burst open. I replaced the obviously failed electrolytic capacitor and the other electrolytic capacitors in the ECU with extended-temperature-range electrolytic capacitors."
Yeah, I had to replace the electrolytic capacitors in the ECM of my 1992 Mitsubishi Expo, too. This was a trickier job though. Mitsubishi (or its supplier, probably Nippon Denso) had used radial lead electolytics (standing up, not flat on the circuit card). To minimize mechanical failure due to shock and vibration they had bonded the base of each capacitor to the board with a silicone- or RTV-like adhesive.
They had not realized that the adhesive was corrosive under the stimulus of electrical bias--and the capacitors were directly across 12 Vdc or 5 Vdc. The failure mode was sudden death as a card trace or plated-through hole was completely eaten away. (The more copper is eroded, the higher the current density through the remaining portion and the faster the erosion occurred. For a period the gap would heal. The car would stall, but after a few minutes it would restart and be fine. Then it failed completely.)
The tricky part was finding the breaks. An inexpensive ohmmeter is useless because all the electronic parts are connected in parallel between Vcc and ground. Measuring across a break in the Vcc line reads a few milliohms because of all the shunt paths available. This problem was solved by about six hours of tedious study of the board, tracing from front to back, mostly by by visual inspection, and isolated the problem to an eroded plated-through hole carrying 12Vdc. I applied a jumper of 18 or 20 ga. wire between pins on either side of the break. And I used NO adhesive when installing the new military-grade capacitors: around $4.50 with shipping.
Had to replace the electrolytic capacitors on my heat pump controller card too, but didn't have to mend card traces.
Along these lines, have other hobbyists noticed that all (but one) of the big supply firms that advertise here and want your business sock it to the hobbyists with their $50 minimum orders and excessive shipping/handling fees? There is only one firm I can do business with.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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.