Re: Live that everyday
Fans are an interesting one. Most small fans are standard sizes and ratings, but occasionally you find one that isn't. I have a large fleet of projectors at work, mid-range Panasonic DLP units - bigger than the sorts of things you find in boardrooms.
One "chassis" used in two models that we have (D5700 and D4000 projectors) has a very vulnerable "FAN1", which is a fan to cool the DLP unit. We've replaced many of these projectors by now, but I still have eight D4000 and two D5700 units in daily use, with run times in some cases well over 30,000 hours (I consider 20,000 hours a reasonable lifespan for our sort of use).
You can't get spares for these projectors now, so if the DLP module goes (usually stuck or dead pixels) or the colour wheel goes (I've had one or two just "shatter") there's nothing you can do but it's nearly always FAN1 which fails first, a fan which probably cost Panasonic about 50p to buy-in and some of the projectors still in use have had fans transplanted into them from other, retired units.
By 30,000 hours of course, other things are beginning to be a problem. You can't get original lamps for the D5700s any more, so we're now relying on remanufactured ones. The colour wheels do begin to fade so contrast begins to suffer, and again in the case of the D5700s which are more powerful than the D4000s and run hotter, the foam seals have almost completely turned to dust. The projectors are sort of mission-critical to the place, but still there is no timetabled replacement cycle and we tend to get new ones, only when the old ones have failed or are so past-it that people other than I begin to notice.
It didn't get off to a good start as the original fit of "Christie" brand (badge-manufactured Sanyo units) projectors (before my time) was promised with a 28,000 lifespan, and should therefore have lasted pretty much to the planned refit seven years after opening. There was therefore no need for a replacement cycle. Anybody who knew anything about projectors though would have told you that 8,000 hours would be good going for that kind of unit and indeed when I arrived and delved further, the critical LCD module turned out to have an expected lifespan of just 4,500 hours and a replacement cost about half the original cost of the projector or about the same as a brand new Panasonic which had better specifications and lower running costs.
Then again the refit never happened and a lot of stuff is getting creaky. For example, three or four of the public-facing computers are still original-fit Pentium devices with a pair of Maxtor 10k SCSI drives for data and a Maxtor 7k2 SATA drive for boot. They are now over 15 years old and have mostly only needed minor maintenance and perhaps a new power supply.
I have a colleague who is beginning to wonder if our ability to "keep things going just a little longer" has worked against us in the long run...