back to article UK draft legislation enshrines the right to repair in law – but don't expect your mobile to suddenly be any easier to fix

The UK government has said it plans introduce rules later this year that would enshrine in law the "right to repair". Under the new regime, manufacturers of (mostly) white goods will be forced to open up their supply chains to consumers and independent repair shops, giving them access to spare parts. The legislation also …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    3 years is "up to a decade"

    I hope that it is better worded than that. Should be "minimum" of a decade.

    1. Binraider

      Re: 3 years is "up to a decade"

      Indeed, as someone embroiled in asset lifecycle management, up-to-a-decade quite clearly means I can buy it and have it last less than 60 seconds before needing a fix. Cue, unreliable, but fixable parts, spare part sales, and high callout fees to fix stuff.

      How about moving it to 2 standard deviations worth of the asset population being expected to serve 10 years without intervention; and for those components that have potential to fail out to year 10, ensuring they are both replaceable and stock not exorbitantly priced. Replaceability is useless if it's cheaper to throw away and get a new one (Which it probably is for you average consumable white good - think fixing a £100 TV - probably not cost effective).

      A really crazy, recent example - bought a Samsung telly about 2yrs ago. Not long after buying it, on unplugging a HDMI lead from the breakout box; one of the sacrificial fuses on the PCB triggered when the cable arced. 1) it shouldn't have arced and 2) rather than just replacing the breakout box; they replaced the entire TV. How wasteful!

      I do think there's something of an irony here; Cars have spent a hundred years getting exceptionally good at being maintainable (and their failure modes being well understood); to the point now that spares availability is the main blocker to keeping it in circulation. My last Subaru, 15yrs old - still excellent, but spare parts availability dried up around year 12 or so. Minor issues therefore become unresolvable. I know they are a comparatively "small" volume UK seller; but it just stopped being cost-sensible to hang onto it.

      White goods, and anything other than modular computers, the complete reverse. Remember the IBM DeathStar hard disks that failed on cue to the day the limited warranty ran out? Or the capacitor plague - particularly the awful support by Apple of the G5. Technically, a "fixable" machine, but can you get the parts; can you heck. Even 10 years ago, spares meant taking good parts from other failing systems.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Energy savings of up to £75 a year

    How does repairing white goods achieve that?

    My fridge-freezer is now something like 20+ years old and uses about £50 a year more electricity than a modern equivalent. My energy bills (and bank balance) would go down if I had to replace it...

    I could understand it if they are talking about the energy costs related to replacement, but that doesn't seen to be the case.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

      I think the point is to make goods last long enough to reach the point you're at, at £50/yr cost difference you'll still need 10 years to break even on a new £500 fridge.

      1. StuartW

        Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

        When you scrap a device there is still substantial carbon footprint in the disposal of that. As well add the carbon footprint of the manufacture of a new device. With most devices the primary carbon cost is in the manufacture not use. so prolonging use staves off the impact of another device being manufactured.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

          Sure, but the report says that consumers will save £75 a year of their energy bills, which is not the same?

          It would make sense if it talked about reducing the consumer's carbon footprint.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

            "Sure, but the report says that consumers will save £75 a year of their energy bills, which is not the same?"

            It's a reference to the change in grading systems, where it's harder for a device to get an "A" for energy consumption.

            1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

              Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

              "£75" is not real world, it's another marketing statistic to try to get people to buy stuff (and raise tax). If you replace a old A rated washing machine with a new A rated ,machine, run it every day on a hot wash perhaps you could see such a saving. On average you will be chucking out an existing appliance, buying a really expensive new appliance (which may be identical) but getting a new sticker.

              Bit like gas boilers where people are being fooled into replacing perfectly good boilers with "modern boilers that are much more efficient" - sometimes it's the difference between a 93% thermally efficient and a 94% thermally efficient unit where cost savings can be totally negated by the regular service calls on the rubbish new system ...

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

                >Bit like gas boilers where people are being fooled into replacing perfectly good boilers with "modern boilers that are much more efficient"

                And then run them in a way that results in them rarely operating in the highly efficient condensing mode and so fail to actually realize the benefits.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

      >My fridge-freezer is now something like 20+ years old and uses about £50 a year more electricity than a modern equivalent.

      Did you read the small print and have you measured it?

      Also with fridge-freezers, location and ventilation play a small part in energy consumption.

      My 2020 tumble dryer and dishwasher are, under real-world usage, only fractionally more energy efficient than the 17-year-old appliances they replaced (I've been using an OWL monitor for years). Yes, they do have an energy efficiency programme that is more efficient than the old models, but in general that programme takes twice as long to do the same task...

    3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Energy savings of up to £75 a year

      How does repairing white goods achieve that?

      Did you read the bit in the article about a new energy efficiency standard ? One article, two different topics.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

    Repairability is a good snd necessary thing but the legislation needs to encompass not only the difficulty of repair but also the cost snd the way in which spares are sold.

    An example, I have a 2kW angle grinder with maybe s hundred hours of use on it. I began to cut some floor tiles when the back end of the machine began to make unpleasant noises, I stripped it down and found the rear bearing had disintegrated, it had no bearing number on the shields which was suspect in itself, although it looked like a common size. On looking online the bearing shows in the parts list as only being available as a part of the rotor assembly at a price of €85 odd. Fortunately I can use a puller to remove it and then mic it up for the dimensions.

    I know this stuff but many others who could otherwise repair items may not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

      Had a approx 9 yr old washing machine and the drum bearings failed. Clattered and rattled, and you could lift the drum up and down by a couple of inches. Looked online, bearings were available, but at around £60 (I'm sure the same size bearing from an industrial distributor would be a couple of quid max). However, I had no micrometer, etc., to take the thing apart, measure up and try and get one to fit. Also, looked for online guides as to how to replace bearing. About 3-4 hours work involving dismantling pretty much the entire machine and splitting the outer drum into two ( needing a new gasket to put back together). Given the relative urgency of the situation and repair I dumped the machine and bought one from a different manufacturer. I expected the machine to have lasted 15-20 years, and that a bearing should be no more than a few quid and changeable in an hour or so without needing to dismantle the whole machine.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

        Daughter in law changed her washing machine this week after the previous eight-year-old unit developed a noise like a barrel of bricks going down a flight of stairs - but only on spin... Having the back off, it was clear that the main bearing had died (and given the noise, perhaps let go a chunk of metal into the drum) but she ordered a new one same day, rather than fight with it. Probably a sane decision.

        To change the bearing would have required the drum inner removing from the outer; that would have required the whole drum assembly to be removed from the back via all the mounting hardware and including the bloody great lump of concrete that sits on top of it... doable, but too much hassle by far in a small space!

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

          The hassle factor can carry a high cost!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

          My Washer did the same a few weeks ago. It was 11 years old.

          Getting someone to come and even look at it without a £100 call out fee was next to impossible.

          Eventually, I found someone who accepted my explanation of a bearing failure once I'd explained that I was a mechanical engineer.

          The labour costs of the repair to replace a £20.00 item was over £300.00. not a lot less than the cost of a new machine.

          I declined and bought a new washing machine. Came the next day and the delivery people took the old one away along with all the packaging.

          My only hope is that this legislation will make the likes of Apple and Tesla sell the parts that people need in order to do the repairs or at least sell them to 3rd party service centres. My neighbours Model 3 has been waiting for parts for 8 weeks now. Then he'll have to wait because Tesla is the only place that are allowed to fit a wing mirror. Pah! Balderdash.

          1. JassMan Silver badge

            Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

            This washing m/c bearing failure seems to be the new Covid. My 24year old Bosch also recently started making the barrel full of bricks sound on spin. The hard to answer question is: should I get the bearing replaced and hope for another 24years out of it or replace it and maybe save a bit of leccy - it says it is an eco model and has fuzzy logic, so I am guessing it was one of the first energy saving models. I vaguely remember it having A+ on the old style labelling so I am guessing the energy saving of a new one will be a lot less than the government says.

            [edit] Just noticed further down someone saying they had brush problems. So did my Bosch - it went through 2 sets of brushes in 10 months. On the second visit, the repair man replaced the whole motor. It is now running on 23 year old brushes. Hmmm. Maybe time to replace it after all.

            1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

              Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

              Problem with main bearings is that something like 60-65% of all european machines use drum assemblies from one manufacturer which have embedded (ie non-replaceable) bearings. So what was a £20 replacement bearing is now a full drum assembly replacement ... Saves several pence on production, perhaps a few pounds on total parts but absolutely kills economic repairability for the consumer. Washing machine bearings are the glued in batteries of the washing machine world.

          2. stiine Silver badge

            Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

            Yes, they will sell the parts, but they'll be priced like the aforesaid mentioned bearings, at 300% mark-up.

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

        20yr old Miele washing machine (£800 new) is onto its third set of motor brushes, second set of dampers and a new relay soldered onto the PCB (under £100 the lot), no nasty sounds from drum bearing yet but will investigate a replacement when it finally goes.

        They're not cheap to buy and it's hard argue that the three (four?) cheap washers that I could have bought for the same money over the years wouldn't have lasted as long, but as the previous machine lasted five years before its drum bearing went (years 1-5 of sprog #1) I'm impressed with this one surviving three children into adulthood for pennies/week additional outlay. (Those of us with multiple sprogs will be well aware of the near permanent laundry operation the little dears require)

        1. CrackedNoggin

          Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

          No surprise - "Nearly all of their manufacturing is in Germany, and every component is produced directly by Miele in one of its 12 factories. "

          Being manufactured in a first world nation necessarily pushes the price above a certain threshold at which it makes economic sense to design it from the bottom up to be truly repairable. Many if not most tools and white goods were repairable up until the 70s or 80s. Conversely, pricing below that threshold means that design it from the bottom up to be truly repairable does not make economic sense, and therefore makes competing at that lower price an impossibility for first world manufacturing companies.

          This new law does not address the issue of bottom up design. Therefore it is unlikely to be a huge success.

        2. Shadow Systems Silver badge
          Joke

          At Wellyboot, re: sprog laundry...

          I'm amazed you managed to fit your sprogs inside the machine to launder them at all, mine nearly tore my head off when I tried! =-)p

          I'll get my coat, it's the rubber one with the Ace bandages in the pockets.

        3. FIA Silver badge

          Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

          I'm on my first Miele becase of tales like this.

          Parents have a Miele washing machine that finally stopped heating the water after about 12 years, my dad still remarks how well built it was, and how easy to fix it was.

          A friend used to fit them, he's said more than once he's taken out 20 year old Miele stuff that was perfectly working simply because the owners fancied a new one.

      3. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Repairability at reasonable standards and costs

        "Had a approx 9 yr old washing machine and the drum bearings failed."

        Only nine years?!

        My washing machine is a mechanical Zanussi top loader. My mother bought it in the mid 80s. It recently died with some smoke from the hideously complicated mechanical controller (and the trip switch clicked out).

        I'm wondering if I could rig up something with some meaty relays (2kW heater!) to be controlled by some sort of processor. A Pi, an ESP32, something like that...

        But nine years. That's pretty awful for a white good.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Its good that things are progressing in right to repair laws but its very short sighted on behalf of the law makers. Why should say Samsung's smart fridge or washing machine divisions have to make parts available to repair their stuff. Yet the rest of Samsung making and TV, Phones and laptops sectors get away with still making them hard to repair?

  5. JDPower Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    "The government said it expects white goods to last for up to a decade, rather than the average of seven years"

    Wow, so ambitious.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Our Beko freezer stopped freezing just after Christmas - noticed food not frozen, did a temperature check and it was just on 0degC. Called the local white goods repair outfit and given a few things to check (clean out drain, etc) but told that any component replacement would probably cost as much as a replacement freezer, considering the time it would take. It was 10 years old so offered it free to anyone who wanted it as a fridge. Was taken by somebody to use as a mice-proof seed store in his shed.

      Replaced it with another freezer, but one a lot smaller (a "table-top" model) as grandkids past the age when we need supplies for regular sleepovers. So replacement has probably cut the power use down. Had the old freezer not failed, we would have kept using it just because we could. The new one is about 1/3 the size and meets our need.

  6. I am David Jones
    Joke

    “Under the new regime, manufacturers of (mostly) white goods will be forced to open up their supply chains to consumers and independent repair shops, giving them access to spare parts.“

    So next year all fridges, washing machines and tumble driers will only be available in a nice shade of lilac?

    1. Adelio Silver badge

      What they should really do is force manufactures to guaranteee their machines for 10 years, instead of the current 2. That will make them redesign them pretty quick.

      1. Santa from Exeter

        Guarantees

        @Adelio,

        You miss the point. That is so that they can sell you an "extended warantee" for the other 5 years that they expect the thing to last anyway.

  7. Norman Nescio

    Letter of the law

    I'm afraid this will demonstrate the considerable abilities of people/companies to comply assiduously with the letter of the law, while riding a coach and horses through the spirit.

    There is a huge difference between 'availability of parts' and 'designing for repairability that is cost-effective and practical'. Sometimes there are arguably good reasons for designing complex integrated parts (like modern car headlight assemblies), and sometimes there may not be. I don't mind a phone being a couple of millimetres thicker and a few grams heavier if I get an easily replaceable battery and screen - but other people, apparently, do. Getting hold of foreign language keyboards is unreasonably difficult for laptops (there are, or were, sellers on eBay, but more official routes were difficult or impossible to find).

    Sometimes you need special tools and/or jigs, so even if the part costs pennies, the equipment needed to replace an old part successfully costs a fortune, or is unavailable. Sometimes there are valid health and safety reasons why user-repairs are discouraged.

    As others have pointed out, the embodied energy/carbon of an item makes repairing a good long-term option. I am unreasonably irritated that the vacuum cleaner hose for a Miele vacuum cleaner costs more than buying a new cleaner in the sales/special offers. The part is theoretically available, but I object to paying a king's ransom for a plastic tube that will most likely fatigue fail in same way as the original.

    I will stop ranting on this topic for now. Triggered, I was.

    I suspect a law will require some tweaks to get it working effectively.

    NN

  8. gerdesj Silver badge
    Gimp

    I have managed to repair some things

    Samsung fridge/freezer: £2.50 from espares for a new thingie (thermistor I think). I also discovered that pressing the outer two buttons for >10s resets the thing which has fixed it going mad around 1/year or so, mostly after a power outage. I've also replaced an internal fuse at rather short notice (thank you Maplins - RIP) and that saved the day when the kids were down with the grandkids and granny was going berserk in the kitchen. All food saved. All of that was knowledge lifted from various forums.

    Flymo spares are horrifically expensive. I had to replace the fan (plastic injection moulded thing worth pence) it costed around 50% price of the mower.

    I have printed a new blade spacer which saved a few bob and is still working after a year.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: I have managed to repair some things

      I replaced the main bearing on a ~10-year-old Flymo once – turned out it was identical to a standard roller skate bearing, of all things, which I got from RS for less than a fiver (including postage) and "press fitted" with a hammer (I was surprised that didn't kill it, to be honest). As far as I know, it's still going now, 15 years later (it's been passed on to someone else though).

  9. ovation1357 Bronze badge

    Well it's a start...

    It's a pity that this falls short of including the many smaller consumer goods that are becoming less repairable but just might help a little with the bigger stuff.

    On the subject of washing machines I've ended up with an Ebac machine which is a brand I'd never heard of until I discovered, following a drum bearing failure on an Indesit machine, that almost all manufacturers including Bosch are now using sealed drums where the bearing cannot be replaced. The only known ones to still be making repairable machines are Miele and eBac.

    I've got 3 young kids so a to bigger machine is a must. The entry 7kg Miele was already over £600 but Ebac was offering a mighty 9kg size machine for about the same price but with the added bonus of a 7 year parts and labour warranty, 12 months interest free credit, and the option of a hot water inlet so I can use my gas-heated water... A year on and the machine is serving us well.

    Unfortunately for Ebac, their chief is a forming at the mouth rabid Brexiter, a fact I only discovered after the machine arrived with a glossy book full of Union flags and gushing with pride in their British manufacture. The company could improve their logistics a bit as the first machine arrived damaged and the delivery dates were slow and inflexible - not hugely competitive there when you consider that next Day and even same day delivery is becoming the norm.

    We did have to make use of the warranty as the machine sprang a leak, which seemed to be due to where a tie wrap had been used in lieu of a proper hose clamp. To be fair the engineer said he rarely gets any problems with Ebacs and confirmed to me that they're very repairable anyway.

    I guess I'm saying that they're worth considering despite a few flaws.

    My fridge is made by "EuroLec" which went bust about 10 years ago. The main bottle shelf in the door shattered and it's been impossible to find a replacement. I guess this law won't help in the scenario of a cheap brand flooding the market with low end goods and then closing down... Maybe if manufacturers were forced to publish 3D printing specs for propriety bits of plastic then this could be avoided in future.

    Finally, on dishwashers (but this applies to other goods too) - I tried to repair the main PCB on a Zanussi dishwasher a few years back where a relay had failed and a small surface mount resistor had burnt itself out. It was at this point I discovered just how secretive the white goods market is... Nobody could/would tell me anything about the board (all I wanted was the resistor value) - Zanussi claimed that they don't have any circuit diagrams for their PCBs. But worse than that, if I'd bought a new PCB for around £120 it would need 'programming' to be usable but they won't share the secret key combinations except with registered engineers. I believe one reason behind this is that you might be able to upgrade the machine to the more expensive model if the only difference is software features, but still, it really hampers repairability.

    In the end I found a specialist PCB repairer who did a warrantied repair for half the price of a new board... Still a lot more than the components would have cost me but at least they had the means to fully test the board as well.

    When you compare this to consumer electronics where detailed diagrams and service manuals are easily found for many products the white goods industry really needs to open up and share more info so that people can do component level repairs.

    I'm reckoning this new law won't achieve us anything more than whole module parts and I'd love to see if/how they tackle the secret dealer codes situation.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Well it's a start...

      ...and gushing with pride in their British manufacture. The company could improve their logistics a bit as the first machine arrived damaged...

      Sounds a bit like some people go on about the infamous 1970s... Except then they blamed the wicked Trade Unions.

      1. ovation1357 Bronze badge

        Re: Well it's a start...

        Oh yes the good old 1970s! I missed them myself but lots of older people tell me how great they were: all those great British products, especially cars, and how patriotic it felt to be paying 8% -12% interest on your mortgage.

        The opening letter in the Ebac brochure would be most effective if ready, very passionately, with land of hope and glory playing in the background and gradually increasing in volume until we all join in the chorus together!

        In other words it was nauseating! Fully of stuff about how proud you can feel about supporting British jobs for British people and how by buying this great British washing machine you're securing the futures of your grandchildren :vomit_emojii:

        The guy himself John Elliott is clearly a very passionate man and is very proud that his company is making a high quality product. That's all fine and laudable but then if you see him in interviews he's very bitter about the demise of the British manufacturing industry (also a valid point) but then starts ranting (in the context of Brexit) about how the Japanese are now making our trains.

        I put the guy in the category of somebody who's rightly angry that their industry has been destroyed, but who's angry with completely the wrong people.

        Hopefully Ebac will (if they haven't already) adjust their brochures to tone down the Brexit propaganda and focus on the really positive aspects such as lower carbon footprint by buying 'locally', top energy ratings, built-to-last products and the value of such a long warranty.

    2. BenM 29

      Re: Well it's a start...

      >> I believe one reason behind this is that you might be able to upgrade the machine to the more expensive model if the only difference is software features,

      I suspect this is true...

      The in-laws have a higher up the range Bosch, I have a basic model. The basic model has exactly the same contrrols, and the program knob has as many positions as the posher one, yet if you put it in the unlabelled positions you get an error code - so the hardware is connected (after all its just sense switches and the relays are controlled by the logic board for different programmes) and the logic board knows that those positions are forbidden on the lower range of device.

      Of course, in the good old says of electromechanical clock programmers, they wouldn't connect the loom to the bits that weren't going to work on a given model.

      Mass production is all about maximising profit, and what better way to do that than to enable/disable things in software rather than having actual differences in product? Even your logic board can be the same...

      1. ovation1357 Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: Well it's a start...

        >> Mass production is all about maximising profit, and what better way to do that than to enable/disable things in software rather than having actual differences in product? Even your logic board can be the same...

        Yes! Now just wait until your washing machine requires an internet connection to function and you're invited to subscribe to the Washing365 cloud license in order to keep it running.

        Want to use the whizzy Super-Spin 2000 mode? No problem! Just Upgrade to the next licensing tier online and you're good to go!

        All for the affordable price of just £15.99 per month.

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Well it's a start...

          Washing365 cloud

          Hmmm, clouds and washing - not a good combination

        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Washing365 cloud license

          You will need to apply patches regularly to your clothes.

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Well it's a start...

        The interesting thing now is that for many types of machines, once you get the complicated mechanical bits sorted and produced at a price, the rest of the function is driven by software.

        For the manugacturers point of view, it makes every sense to basically create a single model that is differentiated by how the microcontrollers drive the thing. I'm sure that this is the case with washing machines and dishwashers (although for the larger/higher end washers, it may be the case that a different motor is needed). but my biggest question is about computerized sewing machines.

        Once you've got the mechanics that allow the needle to move side-to-side, and to drive the feed dogs backwards and forwards, the only difference between the entry level machines and the top end ones is the number of stitch types and stitch patterns (plus some tricks that the designers have thought of).

        So an entry level one is about £250, and they go up to £700-800, and the basic mechanics are identical.

        With the cost of flash memory being really low now, I expect that the computer is the same, with the same amount of flash memory. For all I know, the firmware may be the same, and the computer is 'told' what model it is so as to only expose the features available in that model.

        1. BenM 29
          Thumb Up

          Re: Well it's a start...

          >>the computer is 'told' what model it is so as to only expose the features available in that model.

          c.f. Tesla Cars.... and they can be updated to enable or disable features on the fly! I am quite surprised that no-one has, to my knowledge, hacked them yet.

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Well it's a start...

          "so as to only expose the features available in that model."

          I had a cheap Daewoo VCR back around the turn of the century/millennium. Inside, a big circuit board that was bereft of anything. A couple of big chips, some meaty transistors, and a lot of emptiness.

          Something that stood out was a series of holes in two lines, with one wire link across the first pair. I removed that and soldered in a bank of little DIP switches.

          And shortly after had NICAM, HiFi stereo recording, LP mode, and something else (I forget).

          It was probably cheaper to fit the exact same hardware into everything, and use some links inside to determine what was enabled on that particular model. But, still, if they can do that then what justifies the cost of the bells-and-whistles model?

  10. DenTheMan

    How about right to use legislation?

    Hardware is now getting. Bricked by companies.

    Coming to an item you own, very soon?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately, the legislation as written does not encompass laptops and smartphones

    so, much ado about little. But looks great in the media: here, we are GREEN!!! Meanwhile, current laptops and smartphones are practically unrepairable / unupgradable.

  12. Richard Cranium

    What about batteries?

    OK not white-goods but many smaller electricals use rechargeable batteries with a limited life. I've just binned a decent battery drill because the battery pack has died and replacements are no longer available. I took the battery pack to bits to see if it was just a cluster of something like 18650s but no, proprietary. I also have a collection of other stuff, mobile phones, digital cameras, satnav, dashcam, multimeter, kitchen scales etc with dead, non-standard batteries and no manufacturer replacements available.

    A lot of this stuff has a 3-5 year life expectancy as a consequence.

    On the other hand my RadioShack EC4075 programmers calculator (using 2xAA cells that last several years) is still perfectly fine after over 40 years regular use.

    Lets see some standards for battery electricals:

    Standard cells or if they must be proprietary then consumer replaceable (or at least by third party repairers) not glued in and spares available for 10 years. BTW another issue is that I was able to get replacement party batteries for a digital camera but I guess they were old stock (or counterfeit) with much lower effective capacity than new.

  13. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    There's a different between the right to repair and the obligation to repair. One of the reasons given for this legislation is that sending white goods to the dump is bad for the environment. However a lot of people don't even bother trying to find out if their faulty appliance can be fixed. Washer on the blink? Buy a new one.

    If you want to reduce the amount of repairable hardware going to landfill then maybe the solution is to educate folk to stop treating these appliances as disposable.

    My oven died an irreparable death recently. I had already repaired it twice, but it finally died needing a new control board that was NLA not surprising given its age. I couldn't even find one used. The delivery driver who brought my new one told me that he couldn't believe how many ovens her replaced daily that only needed a replacement hearing element. His employer actually makes a reasonable amount of money seperating the repairable and selling it on to a company that sells reconditioned white goods.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      The problem there is that it's just not economical to repair a lot of stuff these days. If a new machine costs (say) £300, who's going to spend an indeterminate amount that starts at £100 for the callout repairing it ?

      Just last week I had a new alternator in the car. Not that long ago it would have been an exchange job - old one goes back, gets fettled, and back onto the shelf for someone else. These days, it's not worth it as a new one is less than it would cost in labour to overhaul one.

  14. WhereAmI?

    Not just white goods. I have a garage full of motorcycles, not one of which is younger than twenty years old and all of which I can repair myself. Even the three that have fuel injection systems are repairable because it's all analogue, single-sided PCBs and off-the-shelf CMOS, with the exception of the mapping EPROM. That's in a socket, so... copyable. I did buy a spanky-new motorcycle last year but not before a) I'd figured that if the FI went TITSUP (total inability to spray usual petrol) I could replace it with a carb off an earlier model and b) a replacement FI was relatively cheap and easy to fit anyway.

    The fridge, unfortunately, has reached a non-repairable point. It's a twelve-year-old Smeg and the hinges on the main door are so badly worn that the small freezer at the top no longer seals properly and drips water everywhere. Making new hinges isn't a problem - they're just bent metal with holes in - but dismantling the fridge to fit them is a complete no-go.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      The fridge, unfortunately, has reached a non-repairable point. It's a twelve-year-old Smeg and the hinges on the main door are so badly worn that the small freezer at the top no longer seals properly and drips water everywhere. Making new hinges isn't a problem - they're just bent metal with holes in - but dismantling the fridge to fit them is a complete no-go.

      Curious, normally you can fit them very easily, most fridges have a possibility to change the side the door opens to by putting the hinges on the other side.

  15. Spawn of Seaton

    Rule takers and PR spin

    While the whole idea of right-to-repair is a good one, there's no way the UK will be able to mandate stronger rights than the EU does, for the simple reason that few if any manufacturers will want to sell in to a relatively small market with more onerous conditions of sale. If UK rules insist on parts being available for a longer period than the EU does then manufacturers will sell a more restricted range of products to the UK. On the other hand there would be a great increase in unofficial (grey) imports with no right-of-repair, so we'll end up worse off.

    So we'll just find that Great British Rights are just copied-and-pasted from EU rules, with a Union Flag for decoration. And a Lion too.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Rule takers and PR spin

      But Brexit gave you the right to mandate weaker rights.

  16. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Forget the parts. A welcome start would be to insist phones/Macs have a decade of software upgrades.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      At that time span, a replaceable battery becomes extremely necessary.

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