1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

RANT: Why can't things be repaired anymore!?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Badfish740, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,655
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Vacuum tube Volt meter.

    I was born in November

    "Old as dirt" - well maybe young dirt. Being of old mind I can't remember precisely, but aren't you around that??

    And Jeremy - you are correct on all accounts with the amplifying distortion. (by the way, I really like old McIntosh amps).

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,655
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    + a gajillion.
  3. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,929
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    Oh my, guess I'm a geezer. But I knew that anyway...

    I remember building a 5 tube radio in electronics school. We had to use slide rules, no calculators back then. The guy next to me in the lab zapped himself one day, never came back. It wasn't for the faint of heart back then.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  4. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,135
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    You were in November. ;hm
  5. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'm younger than all of you.:p I still love to work on machinery made loooong before my time and can fully apperciate the old tech. Sometimes things change to make them faster and cheaper but not necessarily better.

    Funny thing is, I was the only mech at a former job that truly understood breaker point ignition. :confused:

    Talked to a new hire recently (age 20) and after graduating from an automotive tech school, he had no idea how a carburetor worked (only that it was something to be avoided) or what points were.
  6. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    WTH school did he go do?

    I went to school for auto tech about a year ago and there was plenty of info about old ignitions, carbs, even early mechanical fuel injection (not very common)

  7. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I have no idea what classes he took (or where) but the blank stare I got when I explained a venturi was pretty telling. He does what the computer tells him to do. <>;lol
  8. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,061
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    We can't fix your (insert motorized transportation device) today because our computer is down is going to be heard more and more.
  9. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,929
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    Here's where a "mechanic" did the computer's bidding without knowing what he was doing:

    I bought a used car from a local used car dealer that developed a bad catalytic converter. The OBDII codes said so. I took it to the Mazda dealer for warranty repair. The kid who checked it out (had more hardware on/in his head than in his toolbox) said that it needed new plugs, and valve cover gasket, because that's what his computer said to do. The used car dealer obliged, and of course that didn't repair the problem. The car wasn't misfiring, the cat was bad. Second trip to the dealer, the service manager came to me and asked me if I knew the cat was bad. I said yes, that's why I'm here. He said that it would cost me about $800 to replace the cat!!! I informed him that it was a warranty repair, as the car was well within the federal limits. They were going to charge me, then submit a claim to Mazda. Just another bad dealer experience for me. And on top of everything, they charged the used car dealer $80 to diagnose the problem.

    Last time I ever went near that Mazda dealer. The car is great, dealer support, not so much.

    Most dealers seem to have one mechanic that sort of knows his way around, and a bunch of monkeys.
  10. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,402
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    I haven't had many good experiences with dealers, especially with buying cars and how high pressure some of them get. Not to mention how overpriced and arrogant their service departments are.

    When we needed a new transmission on our Honda Odyssey the dealer wanted $4500 and wasn't willing to take pictures of the inside of the new transmission nor discuss what caused the failures in the first place. They were also only going to offer a 20,000 mile warranty for 2 years.

    I ended up paying $3100.00 plus I got the pictures, the explanation and some upgrades to the cooling and filtration system from a private transmission shop along with a written 4 year 50,000 mile warranty.
  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest


    Catalytic converter is one of the most misdiagnosed trouble codes out there. It usually isn't the cat itself but in your case it was. ;lol
  12. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,467
    Loc:
    WI, Milw
    Don't even get me started on overpriced substandard part swapping dealer service departments. Got to love a stealership that charges $35 for shop supplies and misc. plus a $125 diagnostic fee for a warranty recall. No, I did not pay them one red cent. I did however send them a bill for my research time and diagnostics that led to the proper warranty repair. ( I call this double dipping by the stealership, charging the customer and collecting on the warranty work, very prevalent in the industry)
    heat seeker likes this.
  13. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,765
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts

    China
    heat seeker likes this.
  14. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,402
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    Actually lawsuits and regulations are the main reason many things can't be repaired anymore.
  15. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    651
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I love fixing things, anything, from engines to squeaky door hinges. It kills me to see anything broken, or worse, half broken, not working properly. It may look like sh** when I'm done, but it will work. Sometimes I'll fix something, and then throw it out anyway, just to prove I could do it. Despite this, I can't complain about how most appliances can't be fixed any more because the simple fact is that most manufactured goods cost just a tiny fraction of what they did 30 years ago, and last longer, so I can have a lot more of those toys. Those cost reductions aren't just from cheap labor overseas, or increasing cost of domestic labor to repair, its a complete change in philosophy from design through "customer service". It is frustrating to have to buy a complete new coffee maker, or entire wheel assembly when only a small wire is broken, but when you look at the cost/benefits, even this fixaholic thinks it's worth it.

    TE
  16. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,689
    Loc:
    WNY
    We've got an old Westinghouse I mean to look at eventually, I am pretty sure it needs a tube. It doesn't hum and it lights up, but that's it. No time at the moment. It can be seen hanging out on top of the china cabinet in my dining room in the "two rooms done" thread in the picture forum. DH still won't believe me that it will be able to get in the stations it shows, like Havanah.

    Venturi...I know where it is, but I won't mess with carbs. A friend of ours is a carb savant. He can rebuild any we have a need to have rebuilt. I think our old truck needs new floats, DH took a corner faster than normal about a week ago and it was choking for a few minutes. Most of our vehicles are fuel infected now though :p

    As to repairs, they don't make money if you FIX it. Heck, I've got a 60ish year old (1950's era) fridge-imagine how few fridges people would buy if new ones lasted that long! Actually, my stove is about the same age and my mixer is only a little younger (1960's 4C kitchen Aid). Personally, I prefer vintage to new for a lot of things. Exceptions are the washer and dryer, water heater and the wood stove (clearnance have gotten SO much better!). We use a Corelleware stove top perculator and are collecting cast iron cookware (I just found an early 1900's waffle maker, I can't wait to get that!!). A lot of things were just built better then. Parts might be harder to find, we'll see when that comes up I guess. I've got a "spare" fridge anyway, it's a 1950's Philco (hanging out in the shed at the moment). Lol.
  17. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,217
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    I'd agree with many things we take for granted being a lot cheaper than they used to be. Not so sure about the lasting longer part - for cars, yes. Appliances and consumer electronics - not so much.

    To use my old stereos above as an example, I think one part of this is the amount of complex electronics and computerization embedded into everything today. My old McIntosh amplifier was built in 1962, and still runs as well today as the day it was built (with some repair along the way). I'd like to see an iPod that will still turn on in 2062!

    The difference is that the circuitry in the Mac is all simple point to point wiring with discreet components that can be diagnosed and repaired by anyone who can use a soldering iron, voltmeter and has access to an electronic supply house. The downside is that its huge, heavy and inefficient... and it performs a single very basic function.

    The surround sound receiver hooked up to my TV performs a gajillion different functions, has more processing power than a 1980s mainframe, and uses a fraction of the power and space of the mac. It does it by packing all those functions into one big printed circuit board with a lot of integrated chips. And they release a new model every 6 months or so necessitating a new board design. Replacing an individual component on one of those boards, even if its possible may require tooling not available outside the factory. And over time it probably becomes cost prohibitive to stock replacement motherboards for hundreds of old designs in a parts warehouse. When a fix means replacing the entire boards that's 90% of the cost of hte whole unit anyway, hence the junk and replace mentality.

    And trying to duplicate that circuitry with point to point wiring like my old mac? It would probably be as big as my house if it was even possible.

    And these electronics are in everything now... even dishwashers and toasters.
  18. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    651
    Loc:
    SE PA
    To put some of it in perspective, how long did that amp last before it first needed repair, and how much did repairs cost in time and money? What proportion of your paycheck went into buying that amp compared to that surround system? That 1950's fridge may be still running, but it probably needed a bank loan to purchase, and a new one now might pay for itself in a year with the electricity saved. Some of those old appliances last forever because they were made from materials many times heavier duty than was ever needed, resulting in unnecessarily higher costs to buy and operate. The problems come when someone mis-calculates how thin or weak to you can go...
    I honestly don't think manufacturers cynically design their equipment to beak after set time, but that they look at the time before someone will want to replace it for other reasons, so there is no need to design it to last any longer.
  19. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,765
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    So economics has nothing to do with it?
  20. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,402
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    Not to mention the regulations requiring certain things be met on appliances now that make no sense. Some of the water saving techniques on washers and dishwashers that require that you washing something twice now to get it clean or have to use a rinse agent.

    For refrigerators they eliminated R-12 which was a very efficient refrigerant and have replaced it with refrigerants that are much less efficient.
  21. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,402
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    Economics is a factor, but regulations and lawsuits are also a big portion of the issue as well.
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,655
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Yeah - kinda like the good old fashion lead paint.o_O
  23. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,765
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    You don't believe in planned obsolescence?

    http://owni.eu/2011/05/09/planned-obsolescence-how-companies-encourage-hyperconsumption/
    heat seeker likes this.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,655
    Loc:
    Northern IL
  25. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,217
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    When I got it and opened it up it looked like it had never been touched - so about 35 years. On average those old amps will go 20+ years or so before the first major repair, which is usually a power supply electrolytic cap drying out. Tube replacement is more regular maintenance like an oil change but even that might be once every 5+ years.

    Was it expensive when new? Heck yea. I think it was $300-400 in 1962 money. Like I said, things have gotten cheaper but not more durable.

    I think throwing out and replacing these items every 2-3 years is a much bigger waste then using a little bit more electricity to operate them.

Share This Page