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Equipment, and the Useless Eco- legislation ...

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Arfa Daily, Sep 11, 2007.

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  1. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    I have just had a Denon AVR1800 AV amp come across my bench. It is a
    reasonably sophisticated model with six channels and Dolby Digital and DTS
    modes, optical inputs and so on. It has an open circuit power transformer
    primary. Enquires to the Denon spares agent came back with the surprising
    news that it is "no longer available".

    Now this is not what I expect from a company like Denon, given that
    according to the date codes on all the components, it was only manufactured
    in 1999. So what are governments doing, by forcing all of this lead-free
    crap on us in the name of eco-friendliness, and squealing about householders
    and their lack of recycling responsibility, and then allowing major Japanese
    manufacturers to get away with stuff like this ?

    I've been in the consumer electronics repair game for a very long time, and
    I realise that spares can't be kept for ever, but I really think that for an
    item such as this, which I'm willing to bet being a Denon, set the owner
    back a pretty penny when he bought it, should be supported by them for at
    least 10 years, instead of it now being an otherwise perfectly good, piece
    of written-off potential landfill.

    If governments *really* want to make an ecological difference with regard to
    consumer electronics, then they should stop pussyfooting around with all
    this ineffectual lead-free crap complete with all the reliability and
    service problems that it causes, and instead, make some serious efforts to
    address the issue of spare parts availability and, even more importantly,
    forcing the manufacturers to supply such parts at a realistic price, which
    reflects the true cost price and storage. This would save a very great deal
    of equipment, world-wide, from ending up as 'uneconomical to repair'
    garbage, two weeks out of warranty.

    Oh, and before everyone starts on the conspiracy theories about how the
    manufacturers only want it to last just out of warranty so that they can
    sell you another, I don't subscribe to this line of thinking. I believe that
    poor reliability is down to the manufacturers cutting the cost to the bone
    on component speccing, along with poor design by fresh-out-of-university
    graduates who know all of the theory and none of the practice. As far as the
    cost and availability of spares go, I think that this is basic profiteering
    on the former, and that both are driven by the company bean-counters. There.
    That's my rant for the week ... d|:-(

  2. N Cook

    N Cook Guest

    I've never contacted main agents for spares.
    If I can't get around it with a generic part or improvisation that's the end
    of the repair as far as i am concerned, eg microcontroller with embedded
    firmware, if thats gone then I cut my loses at that point.
    Ever since hearing about Tektronix , Guernsey spares policy.
    Every so often cut by half the number of spares on the racks, sell those off
    at auction and double the price of the remainder, hence likes of £760 plus
    VAT for small EHT oscillator transformer.
  3. Radiosrfun

    Radiosrfun Guest

    Couple of things:

    Here - years ago when I got into Electronics repairs - I was told two
    stories - one being companies keep parts for 5 years - the other 10, so who
    knows. I'm not sure if they still follow those rules - but if they do - then
    in one case - I can see where you would be SOL. On the other (10) years -
    you should still be able to get them.

    As to recycling - it is such a joke. When I was like 6 or so and in
    Elementary School - we had "film strips" showing us "future" recycling
    efforts using factories and so on to recycle all sorts of products. In say
    the past 10 years - bins came out with "some of" the local garbage
    contractors - to separate cans, glass, etc... - but that "fad" - died. So -
    they can harp on recycling all they want - they're not enforcing it like
    they think.

    And I agree - this country - maybe the world - has become a dumping ground
    for irrepairable electronics. "I" don't buy "anything" new - unless it is a
    I much prefer the old and it is a lot easier to maintain. My eyes don't
    swear at me for trying to see the SMD........
  4. carneyke

    carneyke Guest

    Obtaining power transformers were always a problem unless they were
    common. It wasn't unusual for a company not to stock many as they
    rarely failed. I've seen it a few times in 35 years and always had
    problems getting power transformers as a spare part.
  5. Ron(UK)

    Ron(UK) Guest

    You`ll probably find that although most mains trannies never fail, you
    sometimes get a particular item where the mains transformer is a common
    failure be it windings or some built in protection device. On my bench
    now is a huge Sony amplifier and a Denon with opencircuit primaries. The
    Sony has failed because the thermal fuse embedded in the windings has
    gone o/c simply due to the heat build up.The mains tranny on a lot of equipment is a designated safety part. I`m
    not sure how the law stands, but I think such a part has to be replaced
    by a exact replacement from the manufacturer.

  6. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    I always treat that as being the case, Ron, and would never dream of
    substituting a mains tranny in one that was a 'commercial' repair to which I
    have to put my name. The legal position, should anything go wrong with a
    substitute, is a potential nightmare. I see a lot of high end AV amps, as
    well as group PA amps, and seem to have seen an increase in failures of
    mains trannies recently - last 12 months maybe. And not just open primaries
    which are, as you rightly say, often down to a failed thermal fuse embedded
    in the windings. As you have a couple on the bench right now, I wonder if
    you feel that you have seen an increase in the incidence of tranny failures

    In the last few weeks even, I have had three transformers with short circuit
    primaries (yes, that's *short* circuit ...) One was a Marshall PA amp, and
    another was a StudioMaster mixer desk / PA. The third was a Musical Fidelity
    300 series Nuvista separate power supply unit ( ridiculously big and heavy )
    which had its heater transformer short on the primary side. Both the
    StudioMaster and the MF were torroidals, which I have not really had a lot
    of trouble with in the past.

    In any event, I was able to obtain manufacturer's direct replacement
    trannies for all of them, without a problem. In the past, I have not had a
    problem with Denons, or any others, either ordering direct from the
    manufacturers, where whoever I'm doing the repair on behalf of has a direct
    acount, or via third party spares agents, which is the only way that a
    number of the manufacturers will sell parts anyway, dealer or not.

    As far as how long to keep spares for, I'm sure that there did used to be a
    legal obligation in the UK, but I'm not sure for how long. Whether or not
    that is still the case, I've no idea. I do, however, feel that manufacturers
    of 'better' quality equipment, such as Denon are, should keep spares for
    their products, which are an expensive investment for their owners in the
    first place, for let's say 10 years. I don't think that is unreasonable. I
    would be pretty hacked off if I went to get a new starter motor for my 7
    year old car, and got told "sorry pal, it's scrap. Part no longer available

  7. Ron(UK)

    Ron(UK) Guest

    I can`t rightly say that I have, as I don't do anywhere near as many
    repairs as I did even just a couple of years ago. The vast majority of
    faults are solder related now.

    Most of the stuff these days is so cheap to buy that no one wants to
    spend any money on repairs. I have a pile of Behringer stuff that`s
    scrap simply because parts aren't available to anyone, it seems even
    their own service depts don't have spares!
    The lower end Marshall gear is crap isn't it. I havent seen any of the
    new generation of Studiomaster gear, but the old stuff was great. I dont
    have any great confidence in most modern sound equipment these days.

    There`s really no excuse for a toroidal transformer primary going s/c
    all by itself is there?
    I`ve really lost interest in doing repairs, seems like far too much
    hassle for not enough return.
    Ohhh don't get me started on the price of spares for cars! At least
    Dick Turpin wore a mask.

  8. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    A few years ago I bought a 1981 Honda CB750-F that had 5K miles on it for
    $800.00 US. The bike was and still is in near mint condition. One problem
    is that the alternator does not charge. Back in 1982 I bought an identical
    CB750-F new off the lot. The alternator failed in that one too, shorted
    windings in the rotor. Come to find out that this is a common problem.
    About 3 years after I bought the used bike, I contacted Honda for a price
    on the complete alternator assemb. Much to my chagrin the parts are, you
    guessed it, NLA. Now my options are finding used (and possibly defective)
    parts on the internet or taking the rotor and stator to a company in a
    nearby town that can rewind them. I haven't made a decision yet since I've
    been riding Harleys for a few years now but my girlfriend who can ride
    wants to ride my Harley and I have let her a few times but would rather
    put her on the Honda for obvious reasons :) Well at least until I can
    afford to buy another Harley or she wins the lottery and buys me "the bike
    of my dreams" like she said she would LoL.
  9. Don Bowey

    Don Bowey Guest

    Good rant, but........

    have you any proof of government responsibility?
  10. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    Responsibility for what ? Trying to force eco-friendliness on us all ? Why
    yes then !! The half-arsed ill thought through RoHS legislation championed
    by most of the governments in europe will do for a start. Then there's
    national government provoking local government into introducing eco
    legislation that leaves ordinary citizens with a fine and a criminal record
    for accidentally putting a paper envelope into a rubbish receptacle
    designated to be for glass ... Given those, I think that government has
    amply demonstrated that they want to get their snouts stuck into all this
    eco nonsense, so if they are going to do the job, they might as well do it
    properly, and do something that really *will* make a difference, like
    legislating on spares availability and pricing.

  11. Steve W.

    Steve W. Guest

    Have it rewound by a good shop. Most of the used ones I have found were
    crap. Or hit 125 bucks for a new one.
    Mine came from them. Better than factory and fit like a glove.
  12. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Why do you think the problem here is related to daft eco-legislation ?

  13. Guest

    Not sure what it's like in the UK but in the US the manufacturer pays
    tax on items on the shelf so after a short time it isn't worth keeping
    spares. In the US I believe there is a mandated 7 year parts
    availability but I don't know if that is from date of introduction or
    date of end of production though nowadays that may be on the order of
    months anyway.

    I opened a small transformer (not a big Sony or Denon) and found a
    resistor sized picofuse under the top layer of insulation and replaced
    it with the same size/value fuse. Would that be a possibility for the
    Denon and would that pass the legal requirements ? (I suspect not)

  14. Ron(UK)

    Ron(UK) Guest

    If anything went wrong, you'd probably find yourself explaining your
    actions to a judge.

  15. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    You are missing the point Graham. The problem itself is not due to the eco
    legislation, but a solution to a lot of electronic equipment going to
    landfill, or even recycling, *could* be. The point that I was making was
    that governments have all jumped on the eco-hysteria-save-the-planet
    bandwagon by legislating in a draconian way on issues that were not much of
    a problem in the first place, for example lead in solder. Whilst they are
    doing this - and causing endless further problems for manufacturers and
    service organisations alike, to say nothing of screwing with the established
    energy budgets to make and service the stuff, and buggering long established
    reliability figures for particular technologies - they are totally ignoring
    the thousands of tons of equipment that are being written off and going to
    landfill daily, because manufacturers either won't supply parts to repair
    that equipment, or make the parts so expensive that the item becomes not
    *worth* repairing. How easy would it be to legislate on this simple
    'solution', and make the manufacturers hold the spares for a particular
    length of time, and make them sell them to repair organisations for a
    sensible price that reflects what it has cost them to buy and store them? I
    write off a couple of DVD players a week, because the manufacturers want
    more for the laser as a spare part, than the item cost in the first place,
    or that they just won't supply it as a part. Even if you take into account
    that electronic equipment going to landfill is on the decline due to
    recycling initiatives for end-of-life products being put formerly into place
    (the WEEE Directive), it would still be better, energy budget-wise, to
    repair rather than recycle.

    So that's the point I was making - that I thought it was well 'off', that a
    'reputable' major manufacturer like Denon, could no longer supply a vital
    part such as the mains tranny for an otherwise perfectly servicable item
    that was only a few years old. Thus, the item was going to become just so
    much more landfill, or have to be recycled, when governments could quite
    easily address this 'real' problem, that we all know exists but they seem
    not to, and knock it on the head.

    See what I'm saying now ?

  16. Radiosrfun

    Radiosrfun Guest

    Arfa - I agree - however I wonder - big business "usually" has a hand in
    "buying" votes and forcing some legislation. Are they forcing this sort of
    action so people must continue to buy "new" as opposed to having repaired?
    They harp on recycling - yet the programs which "were" in effect around
    here - died off - and it doesn't seem to be such a big deal. And yet - as
    you say - here we are dumping tons of products made unrepairable - because
    of those same groups of people (politicians, etc).

  17. Does that transformer have an internal thermal fuse? I have dug out
    and replaced a lot of them over the last 20 years on all kinds of

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  18. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    Hi Michael. Trust you are well ? I guess that it very possibly does.
    However, it's not at all visible, and 'digging' is probably what would have
    to be done to get to it. If it was my own, I might go down that road, but as
    it belongs to a customer of one of the stores that I do work for, I wouldn't
    dream of doing anything to a designated safety component such as a power
    transformer, other than replace it with a manufacturer's original.

    In these days of responsibility and culpability and litigation and whatever
    else, I went past the "mend it whatever" stage some years back and now, sad
    as it sometimes is, for my own protection I never tamper with or sub any
    parts that might represent a safety issue to either person or property. If
    the faulty part is no longer available, then that's it as far as I am
    concerned. It leaves my shop as "Unable to repair due to lack of
    availability of manufacturer's parts." If the owner then wants to take it up
    with the manufacturer, or take the item to a back street 'bodge it up'
    merchant who will get it going for them, and then disappear a few weeks
    later back to whichever eastern european country he came here from, then
    that's up to them, and their own responsibility.

    I would guess that the situation amongst 'reputable' repair agents must be
    much the same over there. The US has always been a long way ahead of the UK
    I think, when it comes to lawyers and the compensation culture ??

  19. JW

    JW Guest

    I've never tried that - I assume then, that you don't need to remove
    windings? Or is it not quite so easy?
  20. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    As Michael says, sometimes you can get the old fuse out, particularly if
    it's just slipped into a card 'pouch' in the windings, but more often than
    not these days, they seem to be buried deep in the tranny, where you would
    likely do damage to the winding's insulation integrity, trying to get it out

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