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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Shouldn't remotes be easy?
Rob Spiegel   7/11/2013 8:42:56 AM
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Seems odd that a company would make a remote with a difficult-to-change battery holder in the remote. It's not as though this is new technology.

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
GTOlover   7/11/2013 11:19:47 AM
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Even the 9 V leads that the author suggested are sometimes difficult to replace. I suspect that the designer thought that this design is easier to change the battery than the lead style. However, the plastic remote case may have been manufactured on the small side. Instead of reworking the tooling, the company of the remote felt it works even better to ensure battery contact. Overlooking the battery replacement ergonomics.

Or this is another way to bilk money from the owner by getting service contracts or service calls!

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
Tool_maker   7/11/2013 4:48:23 PM
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@GTOlover: Knowing that these devices will be used by the elderly or immobile people, I think your suggestion of a service call is right on. I do believe if I had been faced with the same situation I would have broken off the piece of plastic that hampered access to the battery and resorted to good old duct tape to close the hole. I do not have your patience.

  By the way I also loved GTO's, even though I never owned one. When you really put your foot in it, the sound of the three deuces sucking air was really cool.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
Charles Murray   7/11/2013 5:35:54 PM
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I hate to be cynical, but I too suspect that this may be a way of encouraging service calls.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
Charles Murray   7/11/2013 6:33:09 PM
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I agree about the air induction sound of a GTO, Tool_maker. I've mentioned this previously, but if you watch the clip from the movie, Bullitt, the Mustang has a similar air induction sound. It's the best part of the clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Lbs_nYW3-o

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
Ann R. Thryft   7/11/2013 6:49:43 PM
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I'm cynical, too, about service calls but I also think Rob has a good point. How tough is it to design something this simple that's been around this long?



Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
Rob Spiegel   7/11/2013 8:49:02 PM
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I'm almost that cynical, Chuck. But when I see something that makes me super cynical, I do a reality check and remember that stupidity is probably the greater possibility.

Jim_E
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Good sounding Pontiacs
Jim_E   7/12/2013 8:57:25 AM
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Pontiac also carried the good induction sound into the 70s and 80s with their Trans-Ams that were equipped with the shaker hood scoops.  Any decent owner knew to open up the back of the shaker scoop, to enjoy the goodness of the induction sounds that came from within.  Only a four barrel, instead of triple-dueces, but still good sounding.

I'm still angry with GM for killing my favorite brand.  I was just about ready to buy a new G8 GT, but never got the chance.  I still may pick one up used.

fauxscot
User Rank
Silver
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
fauxscot   7/12/2013 9:18:48 AM
Two things....

First, I am sorry if this comment shows up in a thread as a reply to another comment. My intent was to leave one standalone comment, but the PAGE IS BROKEN!  Clicking 'comment' leads one to the COMMENTS section, with no ability to post a comment. To get here, I had to REPLY to some other gent's comment.

In a venue that wallows in criticism of other peoples' mistakes, having a comment posting link broken is a nice irony!  (I use firefox and Safari on a win7 box, and I am pretty sure it's not the browser, but if it is browser-specific, that alone is egg-on-face territory.)    

The larger issue, of course, is not this specific design failing, but the environment that breeds design shortcomings.  There is a tradeoff of time to market and product features.  The things that might short circuit a bad system element like this remote battery are things that are expensive to implement.  Product specifications (pre-design), implementation specifications, software specs, etc.    Design reviews, the most hated part of product design are essential but are useless if there aren't product criteria against which to judge the thing.  These types of things are hallmarks of large organizations,  and even then, are no guarantee of covering all the bases.  If they were, the word "recall" would not feature so often in discussions about top notch product design firms like Toyota and GM.  

It's easy to be smug about a battery connector.  Criticism is a much more common hobby than good design.  Anyone who has spent any time designing anything knows how hard perfection is to achieve, how easily career-limiting criticism is distributed, and has a list a mile long of personal failures in design and judgement.  Small companies in particular do not usually have the enormous resources available to tolerate multi-year design efforts and the large support groups with specialties like quality, IE, incoming inspection, reliability engineering, maintenance engineering, manufacturing engineering, procurement and one or two engineers have to cover all the design and much of the build load.  

I hate bad features as much as anyone.  I have a lab full of failures stretching back 20+ years and memories that go well beyond that.  I can pick up almost any product in my house and criticize it, and I do that extremely well.  I wonder, however, how we can help the small guy dodge these bullets without just complaining about a feature shortcoming?  What about some organizational advice on how to spread the single slab of engineering butter over 10 loaves of engineering bread?   

I'm lucky.  My career included some big firms (video games to rockets to hydaulic presses to remote vehicles to dairy equipment ) with some big names and I am eclectic as hell for a poorly educated engineer, but some BSET with 5 years of industry experience isn't going to catch that batter connector problem.  Gray hair will, but a MSEE from MIT alone won't.  

 

Ideas, gents?  Not specifics, but generalities.  How to achieve perfection on a budget?

fauxscot
User Rank
Silver
Re: Shouldn't remotes be easy?
fauxscot   7/12/2013 9:28:28 AM
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A mistake isn't necessarily stupidity.  There are 1000 elements in this elevator design and that one implementation isn't grounds for labeling something stupid. It's a human transport mechanism with fail-safes, basic engineering problems, rate and position controls, a wide tolerance of loads ranging from zero to fat passenger, predictable performance when the power  goes off mid-lift, 1000 connector choices, PCB layout, software design/coding/debug/revision control, materials, mechanical engineering issues (like gear ratios, drive coupling, motor sizing/type), packaging, documentation, CAD, bills of materials, sourcing, tooling for custom parts, manufacturing.  That's all before the marketing, sales, installation, and other types of support.

Stupid, in the face of all that reality, seems a harsh description.  (I'm sure you didn't mean anything horribly negative, sir, and I apologize if it sounds like I am criticizing you.  Odds are you are a vastly better engineer than I!)  

I'm just ranting about a sore point for me and my fellows who have spent careers dodging bullets from all directions!

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