Climate Change Obsessed Britain to Outlaw the “Throwaway Society”

Chinese Mobile Phone Module Plugged into a US manufactured control unit

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

In an act of near Soviet level micromanagement, new British rules will require mobile devices to be fastened together with removable fasteners like nuts and bolts rather than press fit.

Climate change: New rules could spell end of ‘throwaway culture’

By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst

New rules could spell the death of a “throwaway” culture in which products are bought, used briefly, then binned.

The regulations will apply to a range of everyday items such as mobile phones, textiles, electronics, batteries, construction and packaging.

They will ensure products are designed and manufactured so they last – and so they’re repairable if they go wrong. 

It should mean that your phone lasts longer and proves easier to fix.

That may be especially true if the display or the battery needs changing. 

It’s part of a worldwide movement called the Right to Repair, which has spawned citizens’ repair workshops in several UK cities.

The plan is being presented by the European Commission. It’s likely to create standards for the UK, too – even after Brexit.

That’s because it probably won’t be worthwhile for manufacturers to make lower-grade models that can only be sold in Britain.

Read more:

Why do I have a problem with rules requiring devices to be consumer accessible?

The reason is, it is already possible to make consumer accessible devices. There is a vast array of modular components for mobile phones, displays, small computers available online, along with instructions for how to use them, which can readily be wired together to make any kind of mobile device you can imagine.

Why hasn’t someone started taking these modules and used them to assemble consumer accessible mobile phones?

As someone who has built a phone out of consumer accessible modules, I feel qualified to answer this question.

What you end up with if you try this is a 90s style brick phone – just like the old days, when mobile phones actually were held together with nuts and bolts, and the individual electronic components were large enough to see without the aid of a microscope. All those nice removable fasteners and pluggable components take space, adding bulk and weight to the final product.

Not an issue if you are building an experimental device or a device with bespoke capabilities not available in mainstream consumer mobile phones. A big issue if you like the convenience of owning a mobile device which fits neatly in your pocket.

The people pushing these new consumer accessibility rules want you to believe they are trying to help you, and trying to help the environment. But they are actually attempting to “fix” a problem which doesn’t exist, micromanaging what consumers are allowed to own, attacking rather than promoting consumer choice.

Update (EW): Demo of someone building a DIY phone using components purchased in a Chinese electronic wet market. The Chinese government did not force component manufacturers to create a marketplace which sells the required parts, people started selling components of their own free will because there was genuine demand. The parts required to build a DIY phone are available online.

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Steve Taylor
March 13, 2020 6:46 pm

No, The issue is things that are now glued with adhesives that can’t be softened to separate breakable parts, like charging ports, so they can be replaced , booby trapped with sensors to brick the device for daring to try and open it.

I buy it, I own it.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 2:33 am

Eric , you seem intent on missing the point here. It now about hobbyist “tinkering”, it is the simple right to repair.

for example my washing machine has small leak at the drum bearing. Having pulled to case off, it’s 10 eurobuck bearing to replace. But the manufacturer has clamped the bearing in a press fit steel housing which is impossible to remove to change the bearing. It’s a complex bespoke part. The “kit” goes for about 60 euros. That makes it about the price of working 2nd hand machine.

I’m not saying that this law is well designed or will end up achieving the end it claims to serve but the idea is long over due.

If we can buy a washer which last 20y ( like my parents were able to do ) then we can buy something else useful next year instead of buying yet another Cleanex washing machine.

Another case is the inkjet printers which were programmed to stop working after printing x number of pages. The thing was still in perfect working condition but showed a cryptic error msg and refused to work ever again.

This programmed obsolescence just turns us in hamsters forever running in our treadmill existence instead of building on what we have and moving ahead.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Greg
March 14, 2020 3:29 am

“Another case is the inkjet printers which were programmed to stop working after printing x number of pages. The thing was still in perfect working condition but showed a cryptic error msg and refused to work ever again.”

That was Epson—but it only did so if one used non-Epson ink cartridges. (It has apparently reformed its behavior recently.)

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Roger Knights
March 14, 2020 4:41 am

I figured out in one instance that it was cheaper to buy a new printer w/included ink cartridges …… than to purchase the specified “replacement” ink cartridges.

Reply to  Roger Knights
March 14, 2020 5:32 am

Not so far as I can tell. My Epson inkjet NX420 printer refuses to print anything – even black and white – if any of the color cartridges is empty. It is a transparent case of reducing the functionality of a product I own to maximize revenue.

Reply to  Roger Knights
March 14, 2020 6:05 am

you could buy “chip resetters” or just run 2 sets and refill n replace
but the count the headpass ink out IS an uttter ripoff as theres usually hundreds of pages of ink left.
mobile phones and ereaders that have high use ports for chargers that have minute solder and fragile can be resoldered and I have done it, but its a pig of a job without decent expensive equipment most of us cant afford.
they plan obsolesence to keep sales going
like apples glued together phone or their nasty trick of changing screw heads with models
I repair pcs laptops and anything else I can get to bits n figure out
many thing I get just have a plastic part thats split or jammed
but many throw it out and buy another
its utterly senseless when a few minutes tinkering some glue or other option makes it good to go again.
not everyone wants a new every yr phone or pc or anything else
many of us cant afford to either.
the right to repair wont affect the well off
its a HUGE help to us who are not able to buy new the first time and get by with older/damaged items.
example is the dud Invidia graphics chips in multiple brands of laptops especially for some years perfectly good pcs just went blackscreen
repairs were near impossible due to hundreds of tiny soldered pins reflow didnt work well either(I tried) I repaired 2 units but I had to hunt up intel chip motherboards to do so,
I still gained 2 decent laptops for far less than one new designed to die unit would have cost inc postage and time to gut n rebuild both total cost inc buy of duds /boards postage was $200
and I LEARNT from that. priceless

Reply to  Roger Knights
March 14, 2020 2:25 pm

Roger, your evidence that the printer was in “perfect working order” is what exactly?

Reply to  Roger Knights
March 14, 2020 4:12 pm

Canon has such “features” too

Gerry, England
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 6:54 am

The washing machine has to compete on price so will be constructed as cheaply and efficiently as possible. So it is no doubt easier and cheaper to retain the bearing in a spot welded or resistance welded cage than using a minimum of three bolts that could work lose. Yes, they could be threadlocked but that adds an additional component and additional operation. I doubt you would convince many people to buy at a higher price by saying you can change the bearing!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Greg
March 14, 2020 4:36 am

“Another case is the inkjet printers which were programmed to stop working after printing x number of pages. The thing was still in perfect working condition but showed a cryptic error msg and refused to work ever again. ” Reminds me of how Microsoft periodically abandons millions of computers by saying it won’t support those operating systems anymore. It forces us to buy new computers when the old ones are working perfectly. Really ticks me off. Microsoft is a fabulously rich company and could easily support older OSs for many more years.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 5:57 am

Yeah, Windows 10 helps that along quite nicely.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 6:10 am

utterly wrong
the pc is fine
the programs are the crap
so go to Linux
or find a right to repair type person and get the pc upgraded
ok a 32 bit isnt going to run 64 bit programs
theres usually a workaround option ie Linux again;-)

funny how Billg is so green yet his company DID sucker millions into ditching perfectly good pcs

Guy Dombrowski
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 6:28 am

A good example is the HP printer that I bought a year ago because it could use
inexpensive non HP cartridges.
But following an automatic firmware update it stopped working with the non HP one
and all my inventory was now useless. Yes, it was WiFi connected.
I tried to download the old firmware but it was no longer available.
No more HP product for me forever…

Brian Jonnes
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 9:04 am

Was. Let us champions of compatibility realise that Microsoft is now the hero, supporting OS’s for 2 or 3 times longer than any other commercial entity. Unfair to name them without naming those others in a smartphone/tablet world.

(I have a Linux box on a P4, so talk to someone else if you’re gonna throw that at me!)

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 11:12 am

I have never had a printer that stopped printing after x number of pages. They have stopped after I “adjusted” them against a wall or a meeting with the floor, but never because of ink. I use third party cartridges all the time. I do run a Mac,but that should not matter. It didn’t take long for third-party ink people to overcome the chip problem. You can also buy cartridges to refill, but they do need a new chip or you need a chip resetter.

Admittedly, printers are a royal pain and I have hated virtually every one I had except the first one, a $900 HP photo printer that lasted nearly a decade. Printers are not designed for longevity any more no matter what you pay, though I did get 5 or 6 years out of a Brother printer before it needed “adjusted”.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 2:24 pm

Just how many years do you believe MS should be forced to spend money on your behalf?

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 6:54 pm

When Microsoft says they won’t support old versions of Windows any more, that just means you won’t get patches, bugfixes, and online or telephone technical support any more.

You’ll be able to run the s/w you already have for as many years to come as your h/w lasts. What’s wrong with that?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 7:30 pm

“ozspeaksup March 14, 2020 at 6:10 am

the pc is fine…”

As later version of Windows 10 are released PC’s will start to fail an upgrade even if the vendor says it will run. You will be lucky to run Windows 10 on a PC bought today in 3 years time. Not because the hardware is poked, because Windows won’t support it. You will then be left with an unsupported platform or forced to buy new hardware.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 7:45 pm

“ozspeaksup March 14, 2020 at 6:10 am

ok a 32 bit isnt going to run 64 bit programs
theres usually a workaround option ie Linux again;-)”

Nope! You will never get a program written to run on 64bit architecture to run on a 32bit machine unless it had some kind of 32bit compatibility mode (Which it won’t as it would be too costly to code and pointless to do) regardless of what OS you run.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 14, 2020 7:48 pm

“James Schrumpf March 14, 2020 at 6:54 pm

When Microsoft says they won’t support old versions of Windows any more, that just means you won’t get patches, bugfixes, and online or telephone technical support any more.”

Windows 7 is still supported until 2023 when everyone was panicikng about the end of support date beginning this year. Of course, you have to pay for it on an individual basis but it is still there.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 15, 2020 4:13 am

No one has mentioned the fact that Intel, AMD, etc. upgrades their microprocessor chips every year, with new features, etc.

And programmers modify (revise) their current software or create new software that takes advantage of changes in the “chip” design, thus creating what is called a “revision break”, …… meaning, …… incompatibility between the “old n’ new”.

Monna Manhas
Reply to  Greg
March 15, 2020 3:10 am

I did figure out how to reset the counter on my old inkjet printer, and it worked for a good long time. Eventually, because I was running a business, I replaced the inkjet printer with a laser printer. The toner cartridges are more expensive than the ink cartridges, but they are good for many more copies.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 5:27 am

“If you want your own bespoke gear”

There’s a term I never heard before in this context. What is a “bespoke gear” or “bespoke part”?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 14, 2020 10:03 am

British English – bespoke means custom-made in ‘Murcan English

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 14, 2020 1:00 pm

Thanks, Rich. I never heard it said that way before.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2020 3:08 am

Has anyone read or seen the “Bespoke Overcoat”?

Reply to  Steve Taylor
March 13, 2020 9:17 pm

Are you willing to pay 30% more to make the same phone repairable?
Are you willing to pay more than a new phone would cost in order to have it repaired?
PS: If you don’t have proper anti-static gear and training in how to use it properly, if you open your phone, you will brick it from static discharge.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
March 13, 2020 9:41 pm

I have a Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone that has an accessible battery for easy replacement with no nuts or bolts just a snap on back and under which is also an accessible micro sd card for memory.
Inside the case is also tiny screws which allow for further internal access
All micro screws and snap on no bolts and nuts and all accessible

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 6:35 am

sir you are just so underinformed!

most NEW apple products have purposefully preprogrammed security codes in chips that prevent servicing – this even applies to displays. Change the faulty/broken component and brick the phone/laptop.

Some phones have batteries that are glued with permanent adhesive to the case. Trying to replace these parts means using EXCESSIVE force on the lithium battery which could cause fires. Sensible manufacturers use pull tab adhesive to aid battery removal.

Why are manufacturers allowed to get away with reducing the functionality of phones as they age? (Apple)

Glueing (with heat sensitive glue) the back/front glass on does not prevent repair.

In the quote you gave I see no mention of nuts and bolts (all phones use many micro screws/bolts ) it simply says “and so they’re repairable if they go wrong. ” Is this really so stupid?
“Approximately 350,000 mobile phones are disposed of each day, according to 2010 figures from the EPA” Is this at all sensible??

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 9:47 pm

“ghalfrunt March 14, 2020 at 6:35 am

most NEW apple products have purposefully preprogrammed security codes in chips that prevent servicing…”

Even the home button!

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 15, 2020 4:39 am

You guys are arguing past each other.

Yes, it’s annoying to people like us if we can’t fix the stuff we own. But if it’s stuff that is produced by private manufacturers in a contended market, they have the right to use whatever manufacturing process they see fit, and we have the right to avoid buying their products because we don’t like their non-serviceability.

You have to remember that most people don’t wish to service their own stuff (the vast majority of women I know wouldn’t dream of taking – say – even a toaster apart if it stopped working) and thus expecting them to pay more for an item that is constructed in a way that allows it to be taken apart is unreasonable.

Where it becomes more complicated is when these items are not bio-degradable and the costs of their disposal is shouldered by the rest of society. It’s reasonable for governments in that case to levy some kind of tax on such items if they’re more likely to end up in public landfill because of their non-serviceability. But even in that case, a user-serviceable Samsung is going to eventually end up in landfill, so a per-unit tax is reasonable, as you’d expect far more ephemeral Apples to end up in landfill than long-lived Samsungs. So Apple owners would end up paying more tax than Samsung owners.

It’s also reasonable for governments to demand a vender builds something a certain way if ownership of that manufacturer’s good is mandated in some way by the government. For instance, if the government demands citizens supply documentation in Microsoft Word format, then it’s reasonable for the government to demand that the Word format is a published standard so competing vendors can supply it.

Reply to  Bryan A
March 14, 2020 6:18 am

and theblackberry Q10 is a gem
dog chewed mine it worked but had damage replaced screen keypad and case for under 40$ au inc postage3x for items
newphone ?
many hundreds

Reply to  Bryan A
March 14, 2020 1:16 pm

s6 (iirc, maybe s5) was last galaxy to have that option. s7 onward not an option.
have had s4, s5, s7, s7edge,s9plus and getting s10 soon.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
March 13, 2020 9:45 pm

“MarkW March 13, 2020 at 9:17 pm

PS: If you don’t have proper anti-static gear and training in how to use it properly, if you open your phone, you will brick it from static discharge.”

While ESD discharge is likely, modern devices are better equipped to handle such events, so your point is rather inaccurate.

BTW, I worked for IBM many years ago as a test engineer on 8100 and 3745 systems and I used to know the ladies on “Logic test and rework” stations that showed me what ESD can do to circuits through a microscope. The damage looked like aerial pictures of WW1 battle fields with craters all over the place.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 4:57 am

and I used to know the ladies on “Logic test and rework” stations

In the old, old day, ……. “static” caused by female pantyhose wasn’t the only problem.

Hormones emitted from the hands of females during their “period” would contaminate the electronic components.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 14, 2020 6:00 am

Indeed. Once there was a rather large lady that wore predominantly man-made fibres and when she walked past our test systems the screens would distort. We checked her, she was generating about 50,000v of static.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 15, 2020 4:23 am

Shur nuff, ….. and wasn’t that “static electricity” deadly on/for CMOS transistors.

If you worked on/around that stuff ……. ya had to wear a “ground” wire.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 2:28 pm

Better is still far from perfect.
So there’s only a 30% chance of destroying the device instead of a 100% chance.

PS: Protecting every single component on a board from static electricity adds a lot to the cost of each component.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 7:50 pm

Not these days.

Mick Walker
Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 3:35 am

The hazards of static are grossly exaggerated. But nobody dares to question it.
If I order screws from Farnell or RS, (electronics suppliers), they arrive in a anti-static bag, covered in labels. Ffs.

Reply to  Mick Walker
March 14, 2020 6:20 am

yup but the general public belive it;-)
then a ram arrives in a nice clear plastic case;-)) all those chips and not an issue?
hmm? lol

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 9:45 pm

It is a static case, like a bag, but just clear plastic. They work exactly the same way, but are easier to pack and ship. The DIMM, SoDIMM Or whatever is better protected from physical damage during shipping.

Reply to  Mick Walker
March 14, 2020 2:31 pm

That’s your evidence that some screws were delivered in an anti-static bag?
For many companies, it’s cheaper to ship the few non-static sensitive parts in anti-static bags, than maintaining multiple types of bags in inventory.

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 3:42 pm

Very small parts can jump out of the bag or stick to the wall in a non ESD bag.

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 6:27 pm

very difficult to generate enough static to pick up metal parts-impossible, in fact.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Mick Walker
March 15, 2020 4:32 am

The hazards of static are grossly exaggerated.

Mick Walker, ……. me thinks the design of every PC, cell phone, etc., includes “protection” from static electricity.

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 6:16 am

I was an assembler for electronic for a fair while, and yes we had static bands
ive repaired everything since then using none and not one things had a static issue
just dont work on a bloody nylon carpeted area or wearing nylon jumpers etc
cotton shirt or bare arms is fine
and as for the shocktest ;-)dropping things was a daily occurrence at work and honestly nothing dropped ever died for good
if it did you probably had done a dry solderjoint.

the most common screen death issue is simply a dying capacitor a $1 at most part usually, or I desolder from old boards with good parts
few minutes to unscrew and look at it n swap over

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 2:32 pm

It’s been decades since boards have had components that could be unsoldered with a home soldering iron.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 10:33 pm

All depends on the tip. But these days, for SMT, you need a “heat/air gun”, flux, lots of high quality flux, not a soldering iron (Only to clean/remove solder), and flux. Did I say flux?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 10:31 pm

There is a 1meg ohm resister in the strap that helps you from being killed (Worst case situation, it is possible). In industry you need the whole caboodle, the strap, a grounded mat to stand on and a tester to test your strap before you connect to any equipment or handle any “sensitive parts” (LOL).

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 11:11 am

I replace electronic components all the time as part of my job description. I never wear anti-static gear, if I think about it before hand I’ll grab something that’s grounded before starting for a quick discharge but that doesn’t happen often (I try not to think first, ignorance is bliss!). Not once have I ever had a problem. This is from working on small, sensitive electronics to PC’s to replacing electronic components in manufacturing equipment.

I’m sure if I walked over to one of our conveyors, remove the ground, let it build up enough static electricity to cause our operators a healthy jolt then ground it through a card it will end up toasting it. Outside of that, not found static electricity to be an issue.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Darrin
March 14, 2020 10:39 pm

I have found the same thing Darrin.
I have watched people buy all sorts of little wristy things to ground themselves, and I never have and never had a problem.
Of course, it is different if you live where the RH is near zero, and you have a carpet on your floors.
Here in Florida in a house with tile floors, there is no static electricity.
Up in Philly in Winter…you get a shock every time you grab a doorknob.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 15, 2020 4:18 am

Yeah, it’s largely down to where you are. If you’re in an area or building with low humidity it’s much more of a problem.

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 6:24 pm

My son talked me into getting a Motorola G7. As he pointed out, Motorola specifically offers replacement parts that can be installed at home- batteries, glass, some electronic parts. No noxious glues.
They also cultivate local “replacers”, folks with a little more experience who can fix most newer Moto phones, using factory parts, doing it for you in 15-20 min. while you wait. Lots of online tips on you tube.

Lee L
March 13, 2020 6:48 pm

No. They are in thrall with the idea that everything can be reused infinitely often and no new materials will every be torn from Mother Earth’s body if only we make things reuseable.

Well even 99.9 percent recyclable ends in the same place as non-recyclable. It might just take a little while longer to get there.

Reply to  Lee L
March 14, 2020 2:37 am

infinite recycling is a pointless waste of energy , however the idea of reusing where possible is a much better idea than just crapping everywhere like there’s no tomorrow.

michael hart
Reply to  Greg
March 14, 2020 11:29 am

Agreed, but Lee L’s comment is very pertinent: We are increasingly being forced to “recycle” things at the bottom of the energy pyramid (plastic bags and plastic straws, ffs) by the green lobby, yet woke companies like Apple are deliberately designing their products at the top of the energy pyramid so that re-use/recycling is almost impossible.

The phenomenon is not unique to the mass consumer electronics market. I’ve also seen it in extremely specialised scientific instrumentation (an advanced bio-chip type analytical instrument in this case) . The manufacturer gained very little profit on the sales of their expensive machine but then made it up on the sales of the consumables required to operate it. With careful use the bio-chips could be reused many times, but they then made sure that the operating software simply didn’t allow them to be used more than once.

Similarly, while GE and Rolls Royce couldn’t currently get away with selling single-use aero engines, they reportedly still coin it on their service contracts, just like IBM used to when they owned their market. Eric might argue that the free market fixed that problem, but it took a long time. Maybe too long. Anti-trust laws often exist for good reasons.

B d Clark
March 13, 2020 6:58 pm

This idea has been around for a while in the UK, it’s not just about mobile phones , it’s about white goods as well,EG my grandma’s twin tub still works after 50 years of use ,with only the odd belt needing replacing,(consumable) were as a modern washing machine is unlikely to last ten, the main differences are bearings designed to fail after a certain period of running , computer controlled, =every thing relies on the cost of paying a service engineer to come out ,plug in, charge you to say “its 3/4 of the price of a new one to fix” the end result is the comsumer is given a bill ,and still no working washing machine, and probably deciding to buy a new machine. Of course this is all by design to screw the comsumer. I want the choice back, to be able to fix myself, pay some one to fix,or buy another one. I simply dont have this choice at the moment, you can scale this up to cars as well, I dont have a choice, EG To change a injector you have to programme the ECU to allow the new injector , to do this myself I have to have a mobile computer, the correct hardware and software that’s over a thousand notes, I would only use it once over the life time of the vehicle!! It’s crazy ,over complicated ,monopolized in favour of a 3rd partie .

Reply to  B d Clark
March 13, 2020 8:00 pm

People are not willing to pay for quality. If someone made a machine that was good for twenty years, with easy to repair features and ample spare parts in stock, they’d gather dust on the shelf while consumers bought the shoddy ‘cheap’ alternatives.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  B d Clark
March 13, 2020 8:07 pm

It’s called inbuilt fallibility and it started in German and the making of electric light bulbs in 1922 that lasted too long. So it was decided, by Govn’t IIRC, to make stuff fail earlier. And now, most stuff is made to a price so that the cheapest components are used, in China, and burns out in no time.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 13, 2020 9:19 pm

If that were all there was to it, the first company that made a cheap, high quality product that lasted for decades, would own the market.

It’s not always a conspiracy to screw you.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
March 13, 2020 9:46 pm

It’s not a conspiracy, it is true. YOU can find the history yourself, don’t trust my word for it.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 6:41 am

Hmmmm! my LED light bulbs have been running fir the last 7 years and 1 failure in 20.
still got a stack of cfl just waiting for failures in the 3 still running to use them up.

so the long life light bulb story is no more.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 2:34 pm

It’s not true, no matter how much you want it to be true.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 8:07 pm

Of course it’s not true and it has nothing to with what I want;

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 11:28 pm

“ghalfrunt March 14, 2020 at 6:41 am”

Humm…yeah, LED’s, different ball game! But the circuits that drive the LED’s…yeah.

Monna Manhas
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 15, 2020 3:20 am

ghalfrunt, I have never had an LED or CFL light bulb last as long as they say it will.
In fact, a couple of years ago we must have got a bad batch of LEDs, because in one particular light fixture the bulb would die after about 3 months. This happened until the package was used up.

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 4:28 am

But you can’t have it all. That’s why companies don’t make cheap, high quality products that last 20 years. It can’t be done. It’s the old triangle problem of economics: cheap, fast, high-quality; pick two. You can’t have all three.

Brian Jonnes
Reply to  Matthew
March 14, 2020 9:19 am

And economics of scale then dictates that the readers of this thread willing to spend for quality and repairability are totally insignificant to any business. Maybe they should make a law?

Reply to  Matthew
March 14, 2020 12:48 pm

Hey, I know. Let’s have laws dictating what we are allowed to buy! Then we can make laws dictating what we *must* buy! Then we can have a golden utopia of perfect consumers. Who cares what they want. The only thing that matters is the Greater Good. Which is defined, of course, by the people in charge. /sarcasm

Making a law is the last thing we need. We already have too many laws. But maybe I misread you, Brian. It wouldn’t be the first time. 🙁

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 4:35 pm

Burning Since 1901, this Bulb is the Poster Child for Planned Obsolescence

The Phoebus Cartel was a cartel that existed to control the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs by appropriating market territories and fixing the useful life of such bulbs. It was founded on December 23, 1924; originally intended to last for thirty years (1925 to 1955), it was suspended in 1939 owing to the outbreak of World War II. The cartel included manufacturers Osram, General Electric, Associated Electrical Industries, and Philips, among others.

The German enterprise mentioned below in bold

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Krishna Gans
March 14, 2020 10:57 pm

After 1924, whole different ball game!

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 3:07 am

My understanding about the rather famous issue of tungsten-filament light bulbs is that the design is a trade-off between efficiency (more light, less power, less heat) of a very thinly-drawn filament, which has a predictably short life, and a fatter element that will last a long time but cost more to run and give less light. The market’s decision on how thin that filament should be seemed to me (when we were still allowed to buy them) to be just about right. No way that a conspiracy of bulb manufacturers could have forced that upon us.

On the other hand, there are very real cases of built-in obsolescence to which I deeply object. Nine years ago we had a completely new kitchen, with appliances from some of the biggest, quite up-market manufacturers. After 5 – 7 years, the knobs on the cooker front began to fail. Knobs no longer obtainable. One of the plastic, formed trays in the fridge broke. Replacement no longer obtainable. Bits that cost just a few cents lead us prematurely to junk some very expensive equipment.

Even worse is the racket run by manufacturers of office printers. We had eight Epson screen dump printers in our office. After a comparatively short number of prints (a predetermined number, I understand), these printers in turn came up with a warning of ‘ink tray full’ and refused to operate. Epson would only offer to get an engineer to empty and reset the system at a cost at least as large as the original cost of the printer [which, granted, was very cheap, as they are sold as loss-leaders for the very expensive ink]. The internet forums tried, but eventually gave up on this. Reportedly there was a Russian software fix for the problem which would allow you to reset the offending counter but this became unobtainable after a while. Epson refused to engage with us, and so we resolved never to buy another Epson product. Now we use Canon. Unfortunately, there are some signs that Canon adopts its own Machiavellian tactics to limit your long use of their printer and buy their ink.. And worse – we can’t find a generic alternative to their absurdly expensive and absurdly packaged ink. With Epson, at least we found a way to get the ink cost down to 50pence, from an OEM cost of more that ten times that. Know any printer makers who don’t play these games? Of course, in this case the market doesn’t operate as well because once you’ve bought the kit, you’re captive. Your only way to punish the maker is to avoid his product in future – and he’s probably already calculated how much damage he’ll suffer as a result of that, which is not very much.

Reply to  mothcatcher
March 14, 2020 4:10 am

I’ve had an Epson inkjet for 15 years. Works perfectly though occasionally it objects to generic cartridges. It surrenders if I persist.

Reply to  mothcatcher
March 14, 2020 6:29 am

ink for canons is around 25$au for a set of 3 colour n 2 black 250?/200?ml bottles
its a minute or two to drill into cartridges and refill(syringes and stand supplied via ebay sellers.)
ive never run more than 2 sets of cartridgesf or the 5+ yrs of any printer I owned
the inks fine and I even printed photopaper to test that out and was very pleased.
printers cost around 60$ branded cartridges cos? 50$ EACH if youre a fool to buy em

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 7:51 am

Thanks, Oz. The Canons don’t, as far as I know, allow resetting the used cartridge whether it contains ink or not, printer just won’t recognise it. Don’t know a way round it. I quite like Canon products and have had a couple of Canon G5X compact cameras which have exactly the features I need. But there again, the batteries they use (Li-ion NB13L) Canon sell for GBP69 each, with a warning that use of non-Canon batteries may invalidate your warranty (not true – unless they leak!). I bought a pack of 3 generics for just GBP11.99 (GBP4 each) and, as I always take the same photos at the same range with same light setups, same brackets, same large format, was able to do a controlled experiment using Canon and one generic turn and turn about for nearly a year, and about 8K frames each. Both returned consistently similar results (I have the exact details somewhere) of approx 105 frames per charge, with the generic very slightly ahead. Both batteries are still going strong after 3 years. The other two generics remain unopened. The only difference I can identify is that the generic provokes a warning only three or four frames before it calls for recharging, whereas the Canon gives 10-15 frames warning before shutting down.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 1:53 pm

The light bulb conspiracy is well known and the cartel limited the life of bulbs to only 1000 hours for consumer bulbs, if you look up the specifications for bulbs that used to be sold to the local authorities for traffic lights for example, you’ll find 8000 hours or more.

Reply to  B d Clark
March 13, 2020 8:50 pm


You identified the problem yourself.
You could buy the hardware and the expertise required to work on the new vehicle.
Alternatively you could buy a 20yo vehicle and -doing the work yourself – restore it to as-new condition.

I’m driving a 1992 model Toyota with no computer and 650,000 kilometres on its mechanical odometer.

But you won’t. You want the benefits of the new technology and you aren’t prepared to pay eith the mechanical costs or the time costs involved in keeping one of the more serviceable models running. I say “but you won’t” because if you did, you would be saying exactly what I have.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  PeterW
March 13, 2020 9:03 pm

“PeterW March 13, 2020 at 8:50 pm

You could buy the hardware and the expertise required to work on the new vehicle.”

You can in America. Try that in Australia, New Zealand, two countries I know for sure you can’t, see how far you get.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 13, 2020 9:54 pm

Read the comment fragment in my post, it states NEW vehicles (I read that to be modern vehicles with a profusion of electronics, ECU, GCU, BCU etc etc, and special tools required even for basic maintenance), in that case you are wrong.

Reply to  PeterW
March 13, 2020 10:06 pm

Does the US still allow non computerized cars?
For how long?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  niceguy
March 14, 2020 5:18 am

“Does the US still allow non computerized cars?”

There is no law or rule that disallows non-computerized cars in the U.S. Although it seems that rebuilders of classic cars are more and more turning them into modern automobiles using all the latest suspension, engine and computer accessories. They end up building a 2020 automobile with a classic car body. Of course, one EMP burst would get them all. 🙂

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 14, 2020 6:36 am

yup and that why I regret losing my old woolseley bluestreak motor went forever
but the oil uptake wurm was a weak spot
parts were easy to get fix it with a spanner n screwdriver for most of it
makedo side of rd repairs were possible
jackaroo isnt new at 20+yrs but its got damned efi and a pc control in it.
also got the most uselss trans fill n check setup ever! NO checktube at all- all underneath
you have to have a damned truckjack or pit to get to it
im fairly small framed but it defeated me.;-(

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 14, 2020 10:48 am

“also got the most uselss trans fill n check setup ever! NO checktube at all- all underneath
you have to have a damned truckjack or pit to get to it”

My sister has a Ford Explorer and she wanted me to check her transmission fluid for her the other day because it was making a little noise, and I looked under the hood and couldn’t find a dipstick to check the transmission fluid, and I looked in the manual and it said it had to be checked in a mechanics shop!

Next thing you know, you will have to take the car into the shop to check the tire pressure.

Reply to  niceguy
March 14, 2020 5:52 am

The US absolutely “allows” non-computerized cars in the sense that older vehicles built without ECUs can be driven indefinitely.

I am not aware of any direct prohibition on selling new cars without ECUs, but I don’t think any manufactures do / will produce them, and I would not want to own one. Most of the improvements in performance, efficiency, and safety depend on computer control. It -might- be possible to build a reliable air bag controller without a computer, but why would anyone? It is questionable whether anyone could design an engine that meets current emissions standards without computer controls without taking a huge hit to performance and efficiency.

Reply to  JoeShaw
March 14, 2020 6:43 am

as an older car owner I cant see that the new superexpensive trickbit toys are worth a damn
huge cost outrageous service contracts and limited motor life
most get driven in cities and the superduper features arent even used
what you pay the dealer the loan company and the service guys?
would buy my home.
the maintenance of an older car is affordable requires little specialised equipment and allows YOU control of costs secondhand if not recon is a doddle to find
have to admit my saying is
plastic cars for plastic people
the old dears might not have the airbags but then they dont turn into an accordion when hit

Reply to  JoeShaw
March 14, 2020 11:34 am

There’s not a direct federal law against non computer controlled older cars though state law might make it tough on both restorers and older cars that don’t pass emission testing (CA is a prime example). There are indirect federal regulations and that’s meeting CAFE, safety and EPA standards for new cars. Good luck making those standards without a computer in your car.

Reply to  PeterW
March 14, 2020 12:55 am

Look at what can be done.
70% of the Land Rover Defenders ever built are still on the road.
Certainly in the UK there is a band of enthusiastic people who know how to serrvice them and the spare parts are still available.
I think the same applies in many countries to which they were exported.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  StephenP
March 14, 2020 2:48 am

“StephenP March 14, 2020 at 12:55 am”

At ever increasing prices. You go check out how much a re-con diff costs.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 4:06 am

You make a good point.
There comes a time when repairing becomes economic.
However some people just enjoy tinkering with vehicles.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 9:12 pm

If you own a Land Rover (LR) I would recommend Ashcroft transmissions (Or whatever they are called now). Started by a guy call Ian Ashcroft (No kidding), was my inspiration to convert a LR from manual to automagic. Ian has passed away sadly, but the business still remains and they do lots more now. I spoke to Ian on the phone about autos in LR’s (BW35’s and BW65’s) back in the late 80’s. He even was able to modify the oil valve pack so that it could be locked up in 2nd gear so that you could bump-start the engine. Amazing man!

Reply to  StephenP
March 14, 2020 6:22 am

funny you say that
a mate of mine here in Aus with a fewof em was told hed get very good prices to ship em back to UK.
and apparently the landy discovery as well

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 9:41 pm

No, won’t be economical freight costs would be too high. Depends on the age of the Disco. If circa mid-90’s and no rust, rot etc that would be worth sending back. He may even have better returns shipping to Canada.

Reply to  B d Clark
March 13, 2020 9:07 pm

No, current products are not just cheaply made, they are cheaply priced. A 60’s washer, in real terms, cost a lot more than one does today. That extends to most manufactured consumer goods. That’s why almost no one in the USA or other first-world country lives in abject poverty, except by choice. Stuff is cheap, food is cheap. Quality and customization is expensive.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  B d Clark
March 14, 2020 2:29 am

Your points are BS.
You can buy low end stuff that is all analog and has the same functionality as stuff built 50 years ago, or you can buy modern equipment with vastly improved functionality.
The new stuff costs, on an inflation adjusted basis, a small fraction of what the one’s sold 50 years ago cost.
And back then there were reliable brands and unreliable crap.
It is always cheaper to fix an old machine than it is to buy a new one.
No car repair costs as much as a new car.
And for stuff like washing machines, you can watch a you tube video, buy the parts on line, and fix anything from a washer or dryer to the brakes on your car or your air conditioner unit, even if you never picked up a screwdriver in your life, and do it for a tiny fraction of what it costs to pay someone to come do it for you.
It is also possible to read reviews, Consumer Reports magazine (or the online version), etc, and make sure you get the most reliable one if that is what you value, or the one that is quietest, or works best, or is cheapest to repair…whatever you value.
Or you can whine and complain and insist laws are passed to make it illegal to sell stuff that annoys you, assert that the clunky loud crap they made in 1965 was waaaaay better than the machines they sell nowadays for washing clothing, or use ripoff repair services and claim nothing is as good as it used to be and everything is too expensive to repair.
I never have problems with consumer goods I buy, routinely fix stuff I have no training in besides you tube videos, and happily do so…shielded from ripoff artists by the knowledge that the average repair technician has a week of training, and IQ of 85, and was flipping burgers last month.
Air conditioner not working a few times over the past 7 years, and each time I took off a few covers and found a simple repair job. One time it was a bad circuit breaker on the evaporator in my attic, one time it was the capacitor, and one time it was the coils needing to be cleaned.
Circuit breaker, 60 amp QO model, 15 dollars at home store, capacitor, 12 dollars at Amazon (w/ next day delivery), coil cleaner, 18 dollars for a gallon of concentrate that will last me and everyone in my neighborhood for the next 150 years.
Same sort of thing with anything you want to fix.
You tube.
There are no incantations known only to the druids of repair magic.
It is the amazing ignorance, lack of curiosity, and “I better get that fixed or buy a new one” mentality that keeps anyone from doing any of a thousand simple types of repairs themselves.
Paint cost 25-50 a gallon, and it takes a few hours to paint a room. I have been doing it since I was 12 years old, and back then only a millionaire would hire someone to paint their house. Nowadays almost no one thinks they can repair anything, and most are not curious enough to even try, even though nowadays the instructions are in video form at the click of a few keys, parts can be searched for and bought online, symptoms and models numbers entered in a search and the likely issue and how to fix it will appear instantly, and parts cost almost nothing compared to even a service call base fee.

And if you think stuff nowadays is not as good as back then…the washer I bought ten years ago uses a tiny fraction of the soap and water as an older model, has never needed a single repair except for a rubber bumper for the door that I got on Amazon for 6 dollars, and they clothes are so clean I once forgot a load of towels in the machine for a week, and there was not even a trace of mildew on them. Before I opened the door, I was imagining I would have to just throw them out, because that is how it used to be, no matter how much bleach one used.
You think that 50 year old washing machine sanitizes, removes allergens and dust mites, and will clean 30 pounds of laundry with an ounce of soap and 4 gallons of water?

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 14, 2020 4:13 am

“…Or you can whine and complain and insist laws are passed…”

I don’t think that anyone, any one at all apart from unelected government bureaucrats, wants laws passed, I believe that was the point being made in the OP.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Stonyground
March 14, 2020 10:13 pm

I think you have not read the comments here very carefully.
That is exactly what a whole bunch of the people commenting here are saying they want.

B d Clark
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 14, 2020 4:45 am

No your talking BS a car a modern one has a CPU It has all the information I need to fix a car that I have paid for, but it wont give it to me ,I have to pay a tech mechanic to do it, every modern car has a screen that a CPU can tell me what’s wrong , and give me the choice to fix myself or employ a mechanic to do so, theres no reason to withhold that information, unlike you i dont advocate paying some idiot to do a job i can do myself,

The same CPU can also enable any new part i fit there is no reason to yet again pay a mechanic to do something the CPU is capable of doing, do you understand the word choice mcginley, do you understand a choice taken away from you is a licence to extract more money from you,

Patrick MJD
Reply to  B d Clark
March 14, 2020 9:05 pm

A modern car has a CPU in the ECU(Engine), a CPU in the GCU(Gearbox), a CPU in the ABSCU(Brakes), a CPU in the TCU(Traction) which is usually connected to the ABSCU, ECU and GCU, even a CPU in the BCU(Body). And they are all connected on a “CAN”, it’s like a small LAN(Local Area Network) but for cars. And then can be connected to SatNav and GPS and the internet like Teslas for dynamic updates.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 9:39 pm

And they can be connected to Wifi (and other wireless protocols).

So, what about the computer security issue?

What if someone can now wreck a car:

– without ever touching it (and getting dirty or leaving prints: fingerprints, print of the tooling used…);
– without even getting very close to it: using two high gain antennas, “close range” Wifi was proven to work over hundreds of miles; with just one high gain antenna and the inherently low gain antenna of the car, it can work beyond what most user imagine;
– without the criminal even bringing tools in the vicinity of the car: the criminal could hack a Wifi device used by the owner or a passager of the car, and then the device would connect and hack the car Wifi and then the car main computer; the criminal would only have to get close to one device used by a car occupant, once;
– by a virus contaminating many vulnerable Wifi devices, but designed to only take over one car.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 9:42 pm

Yeah, and someone can light houses on fire, or throw rocks off overpasses, or drop a bag of tacks onto a freeway.
So what?
Crawl under a rock if you are afraid everyone is out to get you.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 10:22 pm

“Nicholas McGinley March 14, 2020 at 9:42 pm”

Not sure where your paranoia stems from I was just commenting on the post about CPU’s. There is more than “a cpu” in a modern car these days and they *ALL* have to work together. A dry joint, badly crimped terminal, open circuit signal cable, open circuit return (Earth. Negative return through the body/frame is a BAD thing unless properly done), the whole system fails. Bad returns are the main cause of really weird stuff on cars, even in the days before electronics.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 15, 2020 4:31 pm

“someone can light houses on fire,”

Since you dismissed me for not having created a vaccine, you have to prove you have an experience of burning stuff before speaking here.

Also, it has zero relevance to the subject matter which, as usual, you missed entirely.

You have nothing to contribute and are essentially spamming the thread.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  B d Clark
March 14, 2020 9:40 pm

Anyone can buy any of several different types of devices to read the codes.
There are little dongles that are connected via wifi to a service that will give you all sorts of repair info.
Have you ever tried to find out how service technicians access the info?
They buy one of these, just like you can.
You can get a low end model for $39 and change, or an expensive one for a lot more.

B d Clark
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 15, 2020 2:37 am

Are you really that dumb mcginley did you not reply to my first post,were I specifically stated the hardware and soft ware needed for access to a CPU ,a distinction you fail to observe is the software and hardware needed to allow a fix and or allow a new part,is different to a 20 note code reader that will tell you what you already know with a bunch of meaningless codes,new vehicles are franchised through dealerships only the dealerships have access to the fixes until the software licence expires that can be 3 to 10 years. It’s a scam a legal scam mcginley to force me to use a franchise for a product I own, I have no choice,

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 14, 2020 6:53 am

sanitises removes dust mites and allergens hey?
you believe that??
love to know what you paid
a hot water wash in an old wringer machine would do that too
and handle the load.
same thing for a slightly news 70s hoover as well
why the hell do you think clothes need “sanitising? dust mites would drown in cold water and any detergent used.
how anyone caan “forget” a load of washing….thats funny.
and is everyyones best friend
go check em out.
if you cant find the info there then the is also good

Brian Jonnes
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 9:35 am

“Cleanliness” has some unsanitory connotations to some people, which is why we must use the word “sanitory” now.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 10:35 pm

So wait a second…first you sound incredulous that a HE washing machine could remove allergens and sanitize laundry without bleach, then you say any one from a hundred years ago could do that with just soap?
Which is it?
I have saved enough in the laundry detergent, bleach, and anything else it takes to get laundry truly clean, than the machine cost, over what I would have had to spend in the time I had it if I bought the kind that works by filling a tub with hot water three times.
The money saved in drying time and hot water is just gravy.
And yes, I believe it…and I just told you why.
Why do you doubt it?
Do you really think ignorance is a good look?
You have no idea, but you doubt it, having never seen it to doubt?
That is just being a jackass.

How can anyone forget a load of laundry?
Some of us have a life.
I really think you have your head jammed way to far up your jackass bunghole, mate.

Why would laundry need sanitizing?
Have you ever had a pet, or a child?
Have you ever had a job where you get actually dirty?
Done the kind of work where stuff gets on your clothes that is actual filth?
I get dirty when i work, dirty when i play, dirty when I live my life…and then i like to get clean, all the way clean, after that so there is none of it in my home.
Maybe you are just one of those people who has never gotten your hands dirty, or worked in a place where stuff gets on you that you do not want in your house or in your life once you get home.
Why sanitize the towels I wipe my face with, or the sheets I sleep on?
Are you seriously wondering why anyone would want to be clean, and have clean \things to sleep on and to dry themselves with after bathing or showering?
I guess if you do not know why, I cannot tell you.
You might enjoy a life or blithe ignorance of the filth you are carrying around, but some people like certain things to be clean, to smell clean, not just look clean, or be perfumed.
Why do I need Ifixit?
I just told BD Clark how to do something he was whining about costing too much to fix.

And Brian:
Clean and sanitized are two different words.
Sanitized means something specific, and I explained the difference.
Try looking it up if you are confused.
BTW…sanitory is not a word.
I do not employ language because of PC connotations, but to be concise, and to say what I mean to say.

John Robertson
March 13, 2020 7:08 pm

Well it will sure make the current trend of..shall we say unimagined uses,so much easier.
The Uni Bomber would be proud.
Why is it,that the useless and clueless figure they can dictate to manufacturers?
Most minature electronic device owners have no ability to repair anything and the rest no interest.Where will the “spare parts” be stocked?
Is this to be the British version of the Lada?
Of course reverse engineering and outright theft of patent will be much improved by such legislation.

Reply to  John Robertson
March 13, 2020 9:23 pm

It’s all but impossible to remove and replace parts that are wave soldered to a circuit board.
All you can do is replace the entire circuit board. In most electronics is all on a single circuit board anyway.
You could legislate that all products be made up of lots of circuit boards. However doing that will make your products more expensive and less reliable. (In many cases, the part that fails the most often are the connectors.)

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
March 13, 2020 10:24 pm

“MarkW March 13, 2020 at 9:23 pm

It’s all but impossible to remove and replace parts that are wave soldered to a circuit board.”

Nope! You can, but you need special tools, and skills and experience, to do it. It’s rare to see “pin-through-hole” stuff these days, it’s all SMT. It’s when the “chip” is encapsulated, you can’t unsolder it.

Reply to  MarkW
March 13, 2020 11:30 pm

It’s not as hard as you make it sound. Basic surface-mount component repair can be managed with a fairly modest investment in tools and some time spent acquiring the skills needed. In some ways, classic through-hole component repair that has been done for decades is actually more difficult. There are even small business repair shops with the tools and skills to do BGA rework, despite BGA’s being probably the most difficult type of component to replace.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 2:36 am

Besides for that, one can always buy a Cricket phone at Walmart for ten dollars. In fact, even at the Verizon wireless website, one can buy reconditioned older models and lower functionality units for almost nothing.
Anyone willing to spend a little time can find out that by switching carriers every now and then, one can find inducements that make it possible to never pay for a phone.
But for those that want the best units and are willing to pay, it is a miracle what manufacturers are able to produce now.
Even a cheap phone has more memory than a top end $2500 desktop computer had 20 years ago, and it has a processor many times faster, a touch screen with ten times the resolution, and a camera that is better than a $1000 still camera PLUS a $2000 video camera PLUS a $400 GPS unit from that time, and one can stream movies and TV on a screen that although smaller, is far easier to see fine detail than the most expensive TV in the world was back then as well.
And one reason is, there has been no one in government telling everyone what they can make or buy.

Reply to  MarkW
March 14, 2020 6:55 am

problem isnt so much wave soldering its the tiny parts with NO damned ID on em;-(((
all the resistors are little cack coloured/ lose under a fingernail/ wtf value jobs;-(((

some copper wick and a tiny tip will allow removal but knowing what you removed? ah thats a problem

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 8:41 pm

You need a microscope to work on that stuff. All components have markings to identify the component. It may be a colour. But you really do need schematics/diagrams to work on that stuff.

March 13, 2020 7:31 pm

The repurposing of technologies where they are best fit to purpose, and the end of short-lived Green solutions and blight on the environment.

Len Werner
March 13, 2020 7:31 pm

This one I’m going to agree with; I have fixed things all my life, and have been frustrated enough with iPhones (for example) that I disqualified them simply due to the difficulty of a task as simple as changing a battery. I voted with my wallet however, and have for some time bought only phones for which the battery change procedure was no more difficult than it is for a flashlight; it doesn’t have to be, other manufacturers (who’s products I buy) have proven that.

I too am tired of consumer devices deliberately made non-repairable. To illustrate–just yesterday my old Dodge diesel pickup was hauled away–with 600,000 km on it–having been quite repairable for all of that time and driven until the day it left. But sadly there just wasn’t enough body metal left on it anymore to keep Canadian winter out. I was already the ‘Hello Mr. Bundy’ equivalent at the local parts store.

Do we really need a law though?–well, probably; manufacturers would much rather sell new ones than retain parts inventory. But I guess it’s up to us–quit buying things that can’t be fixed just because they’re sparkly.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Len Werner
March 13, 2020 8:10 pm

Me too. I agree with Apples. You need a special tool to open the case, but once open, standard screws are used. I would like to be able to replace the battery on my iPhone 7 but I can’t. If you use non-genuine parts, like the home button, it will fail. Also, if you use non-genuine charging cables, it complains about them and, sometimes, won’t connect.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 7:00 am

making a phone with a no replace without paying half as much as the ph cost almost to apple..
or a good phone with a 5second replacer battery
well i will never buy an apple
their old pcs were good though still have an older ibook

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 8:32 pm

I didn’t buy it, it was a given to me, so I have different reasons for my opinion. I would hold opinions similar to yours if I had lashed out AU$2000 for it, or whatever it was when it was newly on sale in Australia. Personally, I would like something like a old Nokia that lasted a week or more as a phone on a single charge but now I have become used to the benefits I have with a “smart phone”, yes there are benefits, not many, but I like the ones I have and use.

Back in the UK in the 1970’s all this stuff was sci-fi, Star Trek, Dr Who and many others. One TV show, the main character had a device called “Box”. He’d just talk to it, ask it do stuff and it would. The WWW hadn’t been invented then. Google Home would be close to it now.

Brian Jonnes
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 14, 2020 9:39 am

The worst of it though is the software, imo. Have a 4S which is in perfect nick. What can I run on it?

March 13, 2020 7:46 pm

You’re absolutely right, Eric. Your opening line:

new British rules will require mobile devices to be fastened together with removable fasteners like nuts and bolts rather than press fit.

contradicts the end of the throwaway society.

We finally deserve single-use items for a worthy purpose when energy is plentiful, reliable and affordable enough to produce them at a scale at which the cost becomes trivial. When the market works freely, that cost fully accounts for scarce resources (and you cannot fool the market for long). To replace components through official fiat instead of a response to the consumer is a backward step, and when it results in a more expensive, bulkier, heavier and harder to manage item, fewer will want it. In addition, if it uses more raw materials and energy than before, it’s self-defeating.

Keep the government out of industry.

March 13, 2020 7:52 pm

I think you’ll know exactly who wanted these rules, when you see who’s first to meet these manufacturing standards. I’m betting on Huawei.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  max
March 13, 2020 10:09 pm


Reply to  max
March 14, 2020 7:09 am

No WRONG!! its people like me and millions of others who want the ability to NOT be riped off every 2 yrs to be forced to buy a new phone at a huge price
or to pay 1k for a fridge or washer thats going to last 5yrs or less(if it doesnt ignite and burn the home down beforehand)
pay a mint for a brandname?
the same factory makes the generic too
as do the pharmas who rip usa off making the meds in china india sth america and charging as it it was made with costlier labour in usa or elsewhere.
like the farmer who buys a Jdeere tractor and has to sit n wait days to get someone to reprogram a setting to change a spray unit or attachment and PAY for the inconvenience
to be stranded and unable to fix something when a harvest is critical
its Normal consumers who are fighting back NOT the idiots in govt who let this stranglehold by makers craziness happen.
they sell at their price
end of story
we buy parts from them but dont want to be hogtied to inhouse repair costs.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 2:24 pm

It’s not as if making the products more serviceable would cost too much more, the plastic clips can easily be designed to be “sprung open” without using destructive force, look at a simple cable “zip” tie for example, there are several versions on the market. Those that are designed to be single use and others that have a minor design change that makes them reusable.
Just replacing the “weakest link” that was deliberately chosen to limit the life of the product with the component that would provide a useful life for it would be a great leap forward.
Maybe more tax on products with artificially shortened working lives would resolve the issue.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 10:03 pm

You guys are a whining nancies.
Don;t buy them if you do not like them.
What gives you the right to tell me what I can make and sell?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 15, 2020 3:05 am

And if you have no choice?

John K.
March 13, 2020 8:12 pm

1.) Gov’t interference/over reach to fix something that isn’t broken.
But of course these elites know better than you about how you should live.(sarc)
With his Brownie camera, George Eastman created consumer photography, where the consumer did not need knowledge of optics, chemistry or physics to take a snapshot. The marketing slogan was “You take the picture, we do the rest.”
That created the divergence of “photography” from “picture taking“.
Digital technology eliminated the need for picture taking to require film, paper & wet chemical development.
People still like to take pictures (example: cameras in every mobile/smart phone) & others are into photography with SLRs using either old style film/paper & development processes or more complex digital cameras. Lots of choices. No government regulations required to “(mis)manage” this evolution.
If you are an electronics hobbyist or professional, by all means have at it & connect/create phone technology to your hearts content. For the vast majority of phone users there is no interest in taking a phone apart – these are the “picture takers” who want to snap the shot, get the picture or just make the call. They could care less about what happens in between. There also is a wide range/choice of products at various price points to satisfy a huge worldwide market.
2.) It is also possible to recycle phones that you can’t open. Do you?

March 13, 2020 8:22 pm

The bizarre extension of the claimed warming effect of fossil fuel emissions into the full agenda of eco wacko activism all the way to veganism.

Reply to  chaamjamal
March 13, 2020 10:08 pm

It’s conceived, it grows, it reproduces, it dies… Save the clean, green artichoke from the vegan terror.

March 13, 2020 8:39 pm

Technology marches to improvements/upgrades, not easy to repair. It’s like saying VCRs would still be around if they were easier to repair.

Reply to  markl
March 14, 2020 2:04 pm

Technological advances have and always leave products behind, no real issue with that. Video tape & Cassette players have been superseded by digital media so are not needed by the majority.
The problem is when there are products that can still provide the same service now as they could that have life limitations in their design and designed such that they are impossible to repair.
Domestic “white goods” fit into this category. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a washing machine to last 25 or more years with some maintenance (belts, motor brushes, etc), but manufacturers would prefer it if you threw it away after the first failure.

J Mac
March 13, 2020 8:39 pm

I’ll buy what I want, Thank You! I really getting tired of government bureaucrats trying to forcing me to pay for crap that I don’t want when products I do want are readily available. I’m fed up with petty dictators of all forms and their petty tyrannies. If you want a cell phone the equivalent of a 1959 Trabant ‘car’, go ahead and choose to buy that piece of shiny junk and enjoy repairing it…. a lot!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  J Mac
March 13, 2020 10:16 pm

One “good” thing about the Trabby, the body was made from cotton.

March 13, 2020 9:04 pm

“Used briefly.” That is not, in my experience, a result of the non-repairability.

I have had my very stupid smart phone (they all are, my opinion, but I think that a guy named Alexander should have been smothered at birth…) for about five years now. Still going strong, no problem – but I am not a heavy user of it. I don’t watch videos on it, I don’t twitter like a sparrow defending its chicks, etc. My three kids, in the meantime, have gone through at least four apiece – because they want the latest and greatest. I suppose if they could be upgraded, they might last longer with most people, but possibly not. Flashing the iPhone 97 around is the modern status symbol. (Hyperbole, in case nobody can guess, I know they’re only current at 11…)

Reply to  Writing Observer
March 13, 2020 10:09 pm

There is a market for a used, old “smart” (dumb) phones.

At least when the battery is not too used.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  niceguy
March 14, 2020 2:46 am

Yes. Everyone I have had that was replaced with a newer one went, in working order, to a friend/relative in Africa.

Reply to  niceguy
March 14, 2020 7:17 pm

I have one in the car it runs software that enables it to function as a dash cam, it has a better quality picture than many of the “budget” dash cams out there.
Plenty of youtube videos on how to do it.

March 13, 2020 9:14 pm

Even for a “simple” problem, the cost to fix a mobile phone will be more than a new phone would cost. And a new phone would have a lot of new features.

The only thing this mandate will do is make phones cost more, and there will be more stuff in them when they get thrown away the first time there is problem with them.

When was the last time you had a TV or stereo fixed?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 4:46 am

I built my own 400w mosfet bass amp many moons ago. The magnet alone in the speaker weighed 14lbs.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 7:20 am

of course we could build from scratch. that NOT the point!
the parts priced singly are going to make that unfeasible
as well as getting the boards
and yes you can breadboard the circuits but then theres clunk factor;-)
you can wire bit to bit with no board and sink it in resin too
messy and then unrepairable
but good for spacework( i worked for BEA) not in the sat room though I got to look n learn abit.
your utterly missing the point seemingly on purpose
its not govt its people who want this.
because not all of us want new or have the money
and the 3rd world chaps already do small miracles with no training on stuff we send to landfill
nothing being asked for here is going to make the unabomber more likely than he already is/was.
its just going to stop some good stuff being trashed and make poorer people able to have things they cannot otherwise afford
and thers not ONE VALID reason it should add to the cost of aything new by a single cent!!!
the companies HAVE the spares they just make 100x the money charging for someone to do what WE want the right to do ourselves. IF we so choose.
you reckon apple isnt making enough already from overpriced cheaply made by slave labour practice???

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 7:26 pm

Companies used to promote the durability of their products, until they found that they could make more money by ripping off the consumers.
The Ford Model T was designed to last, and they did last, but Ford discovered that their sales were not as good as others who made short lived vehicles.
So now we have the evil twins of planned & perceived obsolescence which move resources as fast as possible from the quarry to landfill while ensuring the rapid cash flow to the top.
By making stuff that needed frequent replacement and by making it harder to keep existing products functioning by limiting the “right to repair” reinforced by restricting spares.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 2:50 pm

You’re missing the point, if your 5 year old TV failed, you should expect that it can be repaired if you want it repaired either by an “official” repairer or any 3rd party repairer or yourself if you’re competent. The issue is that manufacturers are trying to prevent precisely this type of repair, they want you to throw it out and buy a new one.

The right to repair movement was started to prevent manufacturers from blocking your ability to get stuff repaired.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 6:59 pm

That may be correct for some products, the more hobbyists end of the market, not true of the mass market.
For example.
Apple are doing all they can to prevent third parties from repairing their devices, even down to burning in serial numbers into key components to prevent cannibalization of two devices to make one good device. As well as preventing parts from entering the market for repairers to support their customers. Look up Louis Rossmann on youtube, he has countless videos on Apple’s planned obsolescence and their anti repair business model.

March 13, 2020 9:27 pm

I call shenanigans on everyone that thinks that these newfangled things are just ways to take your money, etc.. Nonsense. New products are, compared to my (and most of your) childhoods, frankly amazing things that cost almost nothing. Really, for smart phones, we’re complaining about battery replacement cost on a device that works for years, makes phone calls almost anywhere(!), sends text messages, emails, acts as a global atlas and guide(!!), holds all your music(!!!), has the news of the day, and connects you with most of the accumulated knowledge of humankind(!!!!), fits in your pocket, and recharges in an hour or so. And you can buy it for a few hundred bucks, in an era of devalued bucks. No one who made these rules is going to give up their phone. Shenanigans.

Clyde Spencer
March 13, 2020 9:52 pm

How about a compromise? Make things more easily repairable/serviceable in a clever way that doesn’t end up looking like a Rube Goldberg contraption? As someone who put 1/2 million miles on a 1970 4WD IH Scout, I prefer to keep something that meets my needs, rather than being forced to buy a replacement. I would still have the Scout were it not for the salt on the roads in the Midwest. Modern cars are extremely difficult to work on at home, and often have features that I pay for, but have no real need or desire for. Who needs WIFI or a built-in phone in an off-road vehicle that is used where there isn’t any cellular service?

I practically had to destroy the case on my Garmin GPS in order to get it open to replace the battery. That shouldn’t be necessary. Some things are designed stupidly, from the consumer’s viewpoint. Perhaps the manufacturers need more competition.

March 13, 2020 10:00 pm

How many eggs with a trivial amount of fipronil were destroyed for no valid reason in Europe, again?

Fipronil is often used on pets. When you pet your recently fipronil treated pet, you get a trivial amount too, but not as trivial as eating tens “contaminated” eggs.

Don’t bother us EVER AGAIN with “throw away” and “waste” if any of you stood for that decision.

Note: A few parents have used fipronil on their children, which is not an authorized use:
(I have no idea if the ban of that pesticide on children is justified or not.)

Chris Hanley
March 13, 2020 10:01 pm

I have an Apple iPod Touch that has come apart all by itself.

March 13, 2020 10:17 pm

yeah, good luck with that. Just false economy im my experience. The scale of manufacturing and efficiency with these integrated devices has vastly improved the technology and the affordability, often by many multiples. I still fix older phones for the kids to use, but even then the software compatibility on the older units often just makes them more of an issue trying to keep on-top of that. Besides the fact it is apparently “social suicide” to rock-up at school with anything more than a generation or two old ;-P

If you want affordability along with high tech, small packaging, shock proof, water proof, dust proof, drop proof, idiot proof, (all of which significantly increase lifespan and reliability), your not going to combine this with easy corner-store repairability.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  diggs
March 14, 2020 2:44 am

The waterproof factor alone is more than enough reason not to have something like a phone bolted together.
It used to be one rainstorm, puddle drop, or bathroom slip up would ruin a phone for sure and every time, and it was such a common cause of failure they put indicators inside the case so they could tell if it \had gotten wet.
That is the main reason why no removable batteries.
Good luck getting a phone you do not have to worry about dropping in water with a removable battery in a an easily accessible compartment.
Better batteries, better power management in the devices, better chargers…all these have made battery compartments moot.
For anyone so inclined, there are videos that show one how to take any phone apart to change the battery, replace a cracked screen, how to avoid static while you do the repair, etc.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 14, 2020 9:59 pm

NASA developed WD40 for these sorts of applications. If you have driven an old British made car like a Mini or Land Rover, a can on WD40 is always best found in the boot/trunk if you want to get home on a damp night!

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 15, 2020 2:26 pm

You denied the right to speak about even the most obvious failures of vaccines (obvious even for a moderately intelligent teenager) to anyone who has not invented a vaccine, so prove us you invented a smartphone or shut up.

John in Oz
March 13, 2020 10:22 pm

The use of screws/bolts and other fasteners will be the norm after fossil fuels are removed from the plastic industry.

Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass and often contain other substances. They are usually synthetic, most commonly derived from petrochemicals, however, an array of variants are made from renewable materials such as polylactic acid from corn or cellulosics from cotton linters.

Will the price go up if plastics from other sources are used?

Perhaps one of the readers here has some info on the relative price of using petrochemicals vs polylactic acid.

Reply to  John in Oz
March 14, 2020 1:22 am

Perhaps contemplate that question in light of the information in the immediately preceding WUWT article entitled BIOFUELS.
Are the non-petroleum substitutes discussed there more or less expensive?
Also, what about land use, mineral resources requirements, and any other differences that are mandatory to make the alternates functional?

March 13, 2020 11:25 pm

It started out as a simple design to develop a horse but then the committee got together and voilà-the perfect design! Now we get a three-humped camel with the third hump beneath! Such genius from the ruling class rules!

Rod Evans
March 14, 2020 12:11 am

Relax, just look at the name of the person reporting this EU induced lunacy. Non other than Roger Harrabin of the BBC a so called environmental spokes person.
The BBC have previous when it comes to telling its audience what to think. Now they see merit it telling its dwindling audience, what to make and how to make it. Pravda used to provide that kind of help back in the old days.

March 14, 2020 12:20 am

There is an interesting discussion discussion on “right to repair” on Louis Rossmans youtube channel.

ThisUK action seems to be a numpty politicians answer to the question

Reply to  yarpos
March 15, 2020 10:28 am

There’s “right to repair” which is something I do support, as stuff becomes ever more complicated, it has a greater chance of premature failure. Most cars in the future will be scrapped due to an electrical fault that can’t be fixed due to the complexity of the systems and time needed to troubleshoot.
People go on about the consumer demands, but in most cases they lack the information to make an informed decision on durability over cost.
The other thing I would advocate is labeling on products that states it’s design life and repairability, similar to the energy labels we see now.

If the consumer is given the information, they may shun the cheaper products that last only three years and buy the longer lasting ones that can be serviced.

Capell Aris
March 14, 2020 2:32 am

We’re all supposed to be converting to Smart Meters and Smart Devices in the near future – a near future which year by year is delayed by another year. But what if we have devices that can be repaired? Suppose we’ve all gone out and bought always repairable domestic appliances. When will we have an opportunity to then convert our washing machines to new, smart washing machines?

By the way, Roger Harrabin is an English graduate and a one time newspaper sports commentator.

Reply to  Capell Aris
March 14, 2020 7:29 am

yeah a washing machine that needs wifi to be fired up?
when you have NO wifi?
that decides to order what detergent they want to sell you online and have it delivered all by itself?
that is utterly unuseable if the circuit board to one area fails?
when an old one could be just swapped to another setting and keep working
when your washing/load/frequency info is sent to ??knows where for marketing and some other bullshit excuse to invade your privacy?

when yout TV eavesdrops(read the samsung fineprint) they do tell you not to have private conversations in YOUR OWN HOME near the tv ffs!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 10:02 pm

The place I just moved from the guy had a washing machine that played a tune when it finished the wash cycle. I bet you $5 if that washing machine had an internet connection option to download more tunes he would have wanted it.

March 14, 2020 4:28 am

I was going to mention that Roger Harrabin is not a reliable source of information but Rod Evans beat me to it.

I replaced the touchscreen on a Tomtom satnav using a regular soldering iron that I had sharpened to a point. I did it while wearing two pairs of reading glasses.

Our microwave oven is a Panasonic, we bought it in 1993, it has never been repaired and still heats and defrost our food.

Carl Friis-Hansen
March 14, 2020 4:55 am

It is not always helpful that serviceable parts easy accessible.

The reason being that the print boards inside are basically holding/interfacing one or more VLSI circuits. You have to replace the whole board, which is nearly the whole phone, or you would need very expensive and dedicated test equipment to diagnose which VLSI circuit is broken, unsolder it and resolder a new.

A broken glass can, on most phones, be replaced using cheap kits, even though nuts and bolts are not used. Alternatively, buy a solid phone with thick durable glass,rubber protection and water proof.

The real issue her is that people have gone from POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) to advanced micro computers, which incidentally can also be used as phones.
My first “mobile” phone (NMT system) of 1981 in Denmark costed around $5000 and put 10kg on the scale. It was really good quality and could have lasted decades, but as usual new development made it obsolete.

The Greens will solve this issue for us, as they close our power stations, puts the oil business out of business, bring the elite back to their castles and have the common people work the land.

This will bring the revival of The Pony Express. – Interesting time!

March 14, 2020 4:58 am

Global phone sales are about 500+ million pa. UK sales about 20 M pa. The big players like Apple and Samsung will probably just abandon the market and wait out the government. Nokia and inferior Chinese products will comply trying to grab volume but the public will demand their preferred brands and the government will cave in.

Roger Knights
March 14, 2020 5:01 am

Didn’t this movement start in Germany over a decade ago, under the name Design for Disassembly? It was focused on enabling car bumpers, for instance, to be easily removed for recycling. That sort of motive sounds like a worthy one, and not something that has much of a downside.

March 14, 2020 5:29 am

Sorry Eric, you are wrong. We desperately need right to repair laws. Some companies go above and beyond to make their products unrepairable. John Deere and Apple are some of the worst offenders. If your John Deere tractor breaks, it will not work again until a John Deere employee resets it with a computer even if you correctly fixed it. If you replace the battery in your iPhone 11, it will say service battery even if you put in an unused one from a different iPhone. Apple laptops had a butterfly keyboard that was prone to failure and riveted to the computer case. And I could go on.

It has nothing to do with the environment, that is just a bonus. It has everything to do not needing the permission of a company to do what I want with my own purchased product. We bought the product, we did not buy the right to use the product. I have a measure of pride when I fix my own stuff. It is getting harder and harder to do that because that hurts the company’s profit. Furthermore, independent repair shops often do a better and cheaper job that the manufacturer. Right to repair prevents a company from screwing the consumer.

I will leave this video that proves how important right to repair and independent repair shops are.

Reply to  Wade
March 14, 2020 6:52 am

Well said!

Reply to  Wade
March 14, 2020 7:31 am

+++++++ many many;-))) exactly!!!
I paid for it
I own it
no one should say I cannot repair it IF I want to.

Steve Taylor
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 14, 2020 12:46 pm

Exactly what I said in the very first post here. Eric is missing the point. we ELECT the govt. I expect it to do sensible things on my behalf, because I don’t have the power. Making things repairable does not mean we end up with Trabants in our pockets.

Reply to  Wade
March 14, 2020 1:46 pm

I couldn’t agree more, the sheer waste caused by planned obsolescence has to be stopped.
The corporate greed generated by life limited products, the “bricking” of older devices, either by sending updates that diminish their functionality or the refusal to provide support must be stopped.
The deliberate policy that many companies adopt to force consumers to repeatedly buy the same product time and time again due to the designed in weak component or a product that is designed not to be repairable and the restrictions on spares, is, in reality, a criminal waste of resources.

Manufacturers do not have the right to decide when something you have purchased from them becomes end of life.

This process of moving resources from the quarries to landfill at the fastest rate possible, must come to an end for the sake of future generations.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 4:43 pm

What are you going on about! If a buy a product how am I going to find out if it is repairable ? I suppose you would suggest tear downs on youtube but this is not always possible.

as has been said I purchased the product I own it. I did not purchase only usage rights. Why do you want apple to dictate my ability to repair or continue to use the product. surely you are not suggesting a dictatorship run by big business?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Wade
March 14, 2020 6:47 pm

Apple are the worst offenders IMO.

Reply to  Wade
March 15, 2020 3:57 pm

I am sick of discarding small household appliances for what is probably a minor electrical fault: I can’t get in to take a look and it’s always cheaper to buy new than pay an electrician.
I don’t know about making things compulsory but the idea is sound.

March 14, 2020 8:16 am

As an audiophile with an affinity for that “tube sound” … I look forward to the day when I can deconstruct my iPod to be powered by KT88 tubes!! Oh wait! There are already DA (digital to analog) converters that do the trick. Yeahhhhhh … but they don’t have glowing tubes!!!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Kenji
March 14, 2020 8:36 pm

There is nothing like a valve amp. It is said that if you can find an original, good condition/working, Vox AC30 amp, from the 60’s/70’s you have struck gold in the amplifier world.

Paul Penrose
March 14, 2020 8:42 am

Most people replace electronic items like phones not because they are non-functional, but because (in their minds) it is functionally obsolete. It doesn’t have a high enough resolution screen, or not enough memory, or it’s too slow for certain applications (usually games), or the camera isn’t good enough. Forcing these things to serviceable by the consumer won’t change that, it will only make them more expensive. The vast majority of consumers aren’t qualified or interested in servicing their devices anyway.

March 14, 2020 9:17 am

Why cant we easily replace a battery in a cell phone? some say this is for law enforcement, so they can track phones even when powered off. Another possibility is simply to make the phones stronger as they have gotten thinner.

A cell phone us basically a beam. A beam that is bolted together us typically not as stiff as a beam that is glued together. And you want a cell phone that is stiff to resist breakage.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ferdberple
March 14, 2020 9:55 pm

Everything is done the way it is with these devices for very specific reasons.
Rarely has a more engineered device ever existed, perhaps ever in the history of the entire Universe.
You can buy a phone with a removable battery.
And you can take apart a phone with a sealed case…you just have to know how.
What you cannot have is the right to make other people or some company do everything, or anything, they way you want.
You cannot get the best of what their engineers can design but also tell them what to do.
If you do that, what you get is the best of what you can design.
If there is one brand that is made in a way you hate…buy another brand.

March 14, 2020 1:10 pm

Right to service is needed, I’m a small government guy but this is where I believe government does have a role in our lives. In a free wheeling capitalist system with no intervention businesses could obsolete their phones every week by turning them into a brick. Sure there could be a couple that say their phone works for a year so we have some choice but then there might not. This is why a pure capitalist system can be bad.

I haven’t read the proposed bill but it would be ridiculous to say 100% of a phone needs to be serviceable down to the component level on a board. Making it so the most common failure point is replaceable (screen, battery, etc.) would be a better way to write such a bill.

Take my work as an example. I’m supplied a phone by work, I have no choice on the phone type (iPhone), and have had 3 replaced because they were not even repairable by our local Apple store (Apple store claim not mine). I’ve lost a battery (2 years), screen (6mos) and power jack (1 yr). I’m on phone #5 in 6.5 years though one of those phone changes was because of a position change (phone stayed with the position). At $600/phone, discounting the one phone Apple has pulled $2,500 from my company for one employee. If the phone was fully repairable locally I might still be on my original phone for a few extra hundred dollars in repairs.

We did look into DIY but IT decided against doing that and it’s their call because of a few reasons. No local parts and we need a fast turn around, buying new we can have a new phone the same day or next at the latest. With DIY there’s no guarantee you wont brick the phone anyway and still need a new phone. Last of all you break the water tight seal on your phone to do any servicing, leaving it vulnerable to water penetration.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 7:08 pm

The point is that people should have faith that the product that they buy will last for several years and if it is an expensive product then it should be repairable.
Electric cars now come with seven or more years warranty, no phones or domestic products come with a warranty anywhere near that length of time because the manufactures KNOW it will fail as it was designed to do so.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 7:40 pm

We can design and build our own anything, even cars and aircraft. It’s very expensive to do that, and then you have to get it approved for use. That’s the really expensive bit.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 14, 2020 9:48 pm

There is a very simple solution for how to deal with a company that screws it’s customers: Do not buy anything from them ever again.
No one has to buy a Apple phone.
Anyone that keeps buying them and paying all that money has no logical right to be upset about something they themselves are responsible for.
Why should you or anyone else have a say in what someone who owns a company has to do or not do, make or not make?
Whining about how much money you keep giving to a company you cannot stand is just whining.
Grow up, and grow a set.
Stop whining about your own choices.
And stop telling other people what they have to do.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Darrin
March 14, 2020 9:50 pm

Darrin, you say you are a small government guy, but your own words after that show you to be a nanny state busybody control freak.

son of mulder
March 14, 2020 2:25 pm

As far as I can see it gives the consumer choice, something that is missing in the throwaway society.

March 14, 2020 6:45 pm

By 2030, the UK will look like a set for Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.”

Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 14, 2020 7:15 pm

As someone who has seen the film … Yiiikes!!!! And mix-in a Little Clockwork Orange … double Yiiiikes!!!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 14, 2020 7:34 pm

Some parts already are and were a long time ago too.

March 15, 2020 8:10 am

Most of the comments here are about cellphones and laptops/tablets. The BIG, HUGE, problem is power drills, saws, sanders, toasters, microwave ovens, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.
I can buy a NEW battery operated drill for less than a new battery (which goes dead in under 3 years) or a having bad bearing replaced at the service shop. The price of having a Microwave (________) repaired after the extended warranty ran out are well above half the price of a new one. And that is when it can be done in the house. – (_________) fill in the name of most home appliances, TV’s etc.

Reply to  Uzurbrain
March 15, 2020 5:28 pm

There are several brands of battery power tools that actually have “countdown to death” chips in the battery modules. And yes, most products are designed to last as long as the warranty and die as soon as possible afterwards. This is really where the main issue about planned obsolescence and right to repair come into their own.
Forget climate change, this is where the real scandal is.

Hocus Locus
March 15, 2020 8:03 pm

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

Chris in Calgary
March 15, 2020 10:45 pm

“Planned obsolescence” is a tremendous waste of resources. Things that are built to be repaired and renewed are simpler and cheaper to buy and use, better for the consumer, and better for the actual environment.

Unless there are good technical reasons to build disposable products, making them throwaway simply greases the bottom line for corporate executives. They’re the only ones that benefit, and then only in the short-term.

Legislating this is only one approach. How about creating common technical plans or standards for how repairable products should be built?

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