Well, I'm NOT so sure about the MOTOROLA "name" or logo. Back in the 1960s, etc. the MOTOROLA name was a HUGE name in several different "fronts" of electronics. There was the Consumer Products Div., the Communications Div. (Schaumburg, IL), the Semiconductor Div.
The Semiconductor Div. became ON SEMICONDUCTOR & FREESCALE ELECTRONICS. The Communications Div. kind of went in two directions w/ the "legitimate" communications products & the cellphone business unit, and, as you, said, the Consumer Products Div. went by the wayside totally.
I also had some intimate familiarity w/ MOTOROLA from a professional aspect. I was a project engineer for a (long-time deceased) company that designed, manufactured & shipped all of MOTOROLA'S SSB/AM (2-30 MHz) Commercial grade radio communications equipment. At one time MOTOROLA had two companion facilities for this equipment, MOTOROLA, ISRAEL & MOTOROLA TURKEY. It was somewhat funny since we marketed the exact same equipment (some desktop, some 19" rack-mounted) in the same markets throughout the U.S., Central & South America & Asia Minor. The ONLY difference was the nameplate insert & the serial # plates on the rear. There was a complete line of transceivers, Linear Amplifiers, FSK units, Antenna Couplers, etc.
I have several friends who used to work at various US TV manufacturers. We all started out with various parts of Motorola in the '60s. Magnavox, for example, was purchase MANY years ago by Philips (later by Thomson/CSF who merged all their brand names including RCA, Sylvania, even GE, etc. and phased out all NA development and manufacturing). Now nearly all THOSE names have been sold or licensed to the Tier 3 Asian manufacurers. Motorola sold off the Quasar name and line to Panasonic back in the early '70s and completely exited consumer electronics (later re-entered in the cell phone/pager market, but no other consumer). At least they never sold the Motorola name or the "batwing" (yet)!
Ratsky, etal: I don't keep up with the transferance of logos, but it seems to me that the RCA brand was purchased more than 10 years ago by THOMSON, CSF, which I believe is a French corporation. But, maybe the situation has changed there also. As far as TV sets are concerned, we have a 26" SONY floor model that is "old technology. It just passed its 30th birthday. Of course, we don't watch that much television, so in the scheme of things, IF there was an absolute hour meter attached, I suspect it has closer to 10 years ofactual usage. And, in this 30 year span, we have NOT had a serviceman to the house once. Now, watch.... that will have been the omen, and the next time we turn it on, it will go POOF!!!
In a somewhat related incident, we also had a FELLOWES document shredder, and it too was aged (about 20 yrs), BUT it was not in an office environment, so it's actual usage could be considered much less! However about a year or so ago, it began to make a loud noise. When I disassembled it, I immediately saw the problem. The first (nylon) follower gear from the motor shaft had several teeth stripped. I called FELLOWES w/ the model number & inquired about a replacement gear since the rest of the shredder was OK. They no longer listed a replacement gear, and so I had to trash the unit. What crossed my mind was the thought that moder modern models of their shredders could very well have the SAME gear installed, but they provided NO cross-reference to these older units & therefore couldn't assist me. So, going to OFFICE DEPOT, I purchased a new shredder. Kept it for all of about 3 days. It WAS total junk! Returned it for a different brand....... Still junk, but it'll do for our purposes. This new shredder has a heat sensor, so IF you attempt to shred too much at one time, it will go into heat overload mode, and shut down until it cools down, which means that here in FLA, you get to shred about 5 sheets of paper BEFORE it "rests".
Interestingly, nearly ALL the "old time top" brand names have been acquired by the SAME Chinese marketing group, and all the various products are manufactured by related contrcat manufacturers in China (or a a couple of instances, even LOWER wage Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, etc.). This includes Sylvania, Curtis Mathes (once THE top name in TVs), Philco, Magnavox, etc. I was victimized by a "Westinghouse" 19" LCD TV whose remote RECEIVER (inside the set) died, later followed by the power supply, about 1.2 years after purchase. This unit's housing was ultrasonically welded into a monolithic chunk, so it was absolutely unserviceable. There were two thread-cutting screws on the back, but removing them didn't do anything; apparently their function was to keep the back from warping outward. It's still sitting in my basement, since I see no point in paying to have it recycled!
"apples" and rutabagas"--love it! Thanks for the laugh, loadster. Yes, I noticed when 25-year appliance lifetimes went to 10 (or fewer), and I'm not happy about it. As many commenters on DN boards have said, I'd rather pay a bit more and get something that lasts longer and is easier to repair. Regarding switches and membrane keys, I'd prefer those old rotation contact switches that did just fine in wet environments for 25 years along with their appliance--or could be easily replaced if they were damaged. A simple switch is a lot different from a drum belt; just because one small part fails doesn't mean I should replace the entire appliance. That's also my philosophy with cars. Besides, as you noted, trying to find something of quality today is no easy task.
I think this discussion got confused with apples and rutabagas. The original article talked about the interconnection of the membrane switch panel to the processor/controller board. Truly, sputter deposited film ribbon cables are cheap and only suitable in very select environments, never auto or kitchens. I think the original author was correct in citing copper ribbon cables as better for a dishwasher environment. I have experience with even copper ribbon cables losing solder integrity due to age and thermal cycling in a microwave oven membrane switch application. Nothing is forever. Membrane switches make sense in an environment where liquid ingress is an issue. They definitely excel in reliability where rotational cycling is an issue. This is why most rotation contact timer switch asssemblies on dishwashers, washers have become obsolete. Membrane pressure and button indent may not be standard for all users and this is why switches on aircraft seat arms are problematic. Design is about tradeoffs and in some applications, unprotected press switches even with protective rubber boots are simply less appropriate than membrane switches. I'm not fanatical about them, but I won't throw out a purchase candidate based on their presence.
Ann, I have long noticed a trend in home "durable" goods shifting from 25 years expected life to less than 10. The manufacturers need you to buy a new one in that timeframe. That business with gas grills is the poster child. Fully stainless steel systems from DCS or Weber will still have corrodible hardware somewhere and if you buy a Charbroil or Brinkman it should be sold with a reclamation fee cuz' its going to the transfer station in three years unless you never uncrate it. A whole thesis could be written on how "cash for clunkers" was a conspiracy between gov't and industry to trash and buy rather than upgrade. In most cities, it is invariably cheaper to raze and rebuild than to refurbish. But from a resource posture it is wasteful and unkind to our environment.
One more thought. Sometimes you have to ask yourself if the item you face that has a failed component is on its downside of reliability curve. If you fix that element in the dryer, is the drum belt going to go next, or roller bearings or the filter screen with a patch already on it. What does it owe you and has the original cost been amortized and for safety and reliability's sake maybe you ought to retire the unit and buy some new box of quality if you can discriminate that in today's marketing whirling dervish.
We had problems with membrane switches early in one of our products. The keypad overlay did not last morethan a few months. We replaced the entire keypad with another brand that had hard key caps.
In addition to problems with membrane keys, the silicone buttons that are used in most cordless phones and remote controls have caused me headaches through the years. The silicone oil present in the molded keys likes to migrate out when the buttons are pressed and get on the contact surface rendering the button useless. You then find yourself pressing the button harder and harder to make it work. I have had to disassemble several remotes and clean the oil off the surface of the button and PC board to restore the function - but not for very long. The next time you find a button that won't work, take the device apart. You'll probably find an oily residue.
OLD_CURMUDGEON, the prices mentioned in the survey that were less important than quality had to do with materials that engineers have a say in buying to make the company's product, not in the price of the total product itself that gets shipped out the door. Maybe engineers should have a say in determining the price of the product they design. What do others think?
WOW!, this post really has taken on a life of its own, and I'm NOT the least of the contributors. However, I saw an ad over this weekend, which also is pertinent to this "problem" of cheaply made consumer appliances, etal. I believe it was for MICRO CENTER based in Ohio. Essentially they are a computer/electronics distributor with a large-scale internet operation as well as strategically located "brick & mortar" outlets. The point is that they advertised several WESTINGHOUSE TVs. Now, anyone who has trod this earth for any length of time knows well that in the earlier days of the Twentieth Century, WESTINGHOUSE was a familiar name in household appliances, competing directly with GE, MAYTAG, NORGE, SPEED QUEEN, etc. for sales. However, WESTINGHOUSE was also known for R/R airbrakes & a host of other industrial products. Yet, they are no more! Just as RCA doesn't exist in the appliance business, neither does WESTINGHOUSE...... their brand name recognition has been purchased by other companies to perpetuate the concept of brand loyalty, and that to me, is also a deception, just as marketing products with inferior design.
People of a certain age may well indeed think about WESTINGHOUSE appliances, and recall a good experience with one of their products from 50 years ago, and purchase one of these TVs, only to discover that it was Made in China, by the "no-name" factory, with ZERO traceability to the WESTINGHOUSE brand of old.
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