Some products are expected to display energy ratings
Why not make tech products show repairability ratings?
Make it a selling point, or at least a point of difference.
Let the consumers know.
America's consumer watchdog, the FTC, today scolded technology makers for their anti-repair practices, and signaled it will support new legislation that ensures people can mend their own stuff without penalty. In short, the FTC said manufacturers were, among other things, regularly breaking or stretching warranty law, …
More to the point, poor repairability dominates the environmental impact a company has. Apple can plant all the trees it wants, but the poor repairability & short planned obsolescence times of its products makes it environmentally as dirty as an oil company drilling with endangered species tied to its drill bits. There needs to be an international push as large as the greenhouse gas reduction pushes for repairability and upgradability, not merely end of life recycling. EOL recycling alone gives companies cover for purposefully bad practices.
I'm just quoting iFixit's repairability ratings. Louis Rossman is wants companies to be required to supply every possible part, even some tiny little chip in case someone wants to microsolder it onto a subboard the size of your thumbnail, which is a totally different can of worms.
strangely, i-Things may be one of the biggest violators in this regard.
LiPo batteries wear out after a few years, usually not that few (3 or so). A relative of mine has an i-Pad, a hand-me-down actually, and it needs a battery. I checked the procedure for repairing it and it involves heating the glue around the screen to separate the halves so you can access it. The batteries ARE available, but the procedure is just as likely to do damage to the unit as allow you to repair it...
(a battery compartment where you can access it directly would be nice)
[Unfortunately, sending it in to get it repaired would cost half as much as a new one]
on a related note, I've repaired laptops a few times, and they are difficult enough to deal with. This is just impossible in my view. I can only see a cracked screen as a result of getting it slightly wrong.
While I wish the FTC had better powers to punish companies, they don't, and I can't see legislation passing in the Senate to change this.
However, they apparently have injunctive relief as an existing option.
How about starting with an injunction against using unremovable glue?
On the flip side, at a previous job one of the tasks I had was managing the "walkie talkie" radios used in the factory and warehouse. We had some, not the cheapest on the market, but not particularly expensive either - and they were well made.
I day I was handed one to sort out - it had been dropped in a vat of candle wax ! Once I'd cleaned out the mic and speaker grills, and unstuck the knobs, it worked just fine. It was designed to be completely waterproof, but was easily taken apart to get at it's insides.
Glue is not needed to be waterproof, it's just one way of doing it which suits the manufacturers as it makes repairs harder and gets them more replacement sales.
On another occasion I got a radio back that really was beyond repair - it had an argument with a forklift wheel and the forklift won.
Older Alcatel mobiles way before the age of the "smart"phone touchscreeniness also had a battery pack cover that - if you removed the original pack - acted as a battery case for 3 AA batteries.
I might have one of those - now quite likely defunct - lingering around in one of those way too many compartments, boxes and whatnot containers that seem to multiply erratically like trumbles in Elite.
On topic of repairability, i have a Blackview bv5900 "outdoor" mobile that - although definitely waterproof * - can be disassembled with a single screwdriver. Spare parts are the real problem, though. All i could find is a replacement screen but the battery and the speaker(box) seem to be non obtaineable. At least i could play the old "two broken equals one working" game with that kind of phone.
*Waterproofness as well as shockproofness have been unvoluntarily tested several times - although luckily not in the restroom testing facility.
To be honest, I thought they already had, so I express surprise the S8 made it to 4 years. I'd have put an alternative OS on mine, but LIneage hasn't made it to the S8.
To me this is a reasonable expectation, 2 years however isn't.
Of course its all different if you are in Africa or somewhere else where you less financially enabled to upgrade every 2 years, or maybe 4 years. However, the fact is that many people probably don't apply updates to the OS themselves, and I'm sure many still don't.
The driving factor of death in a mobile is the battery life expectancy falling.....
Batteries should be user replaceable items - if my THL phone of a few years ago could not only have user replaceable batteries but even came with a spare battery in the box why is that no longer possible on most current phones.
Perhaps for phones pass a law that manufacturers are required to replace batteries with new ones for a fee of not more than $50 with a penalty of having to refund the original list price if they do not do the battery swap.
that might be reasonable if you bump it up a bit, to account for the time it takes to change out a battery.
Keep in mind that just looking at a broken device and determining what is wrong with it might cost more than $50 in the USA (when you factor in costs of labor, time, equipment, number of techs needed to handle the expected demand, and so on).
Back in the day, TV repair shops had a minimum fee for this reason.
However, a price cap on battery repair *MIGHT* motivate engineers to make it easier to change the batteries out, in order to save time for the tech doing the replacement and make it cost-effective, and at least 'break even' on the repairs. Profit would be better, of course.
A plus for the industry: if this only applied to FUTURE devices, they could re-design THEM to be more easily repaired, and THEN use this mandated service as a "new feature" for the new phone/slab/whatever.
(I'm currently thinking of a case modification in which you simultaneously press pins into 2 or more waterproof holes on the sides of case, where locking hooks are, and then slide it open - this could allow it to remain "thin" while also making it possible to open in a shop [or DYI repair], AND to assemble quickly, and ALSO rework a device that fails in manufacturing or is returned for warranty repair)
"but LIneage hasn't made it to the S8."
/e/ (forked from Lineage) not only has a ROM for the S8 but they also sell refurbished S8's that are already flashed for you.
I'm considering purchasing one of their refurbished S8's because I love the hardware of my S8 but the version I have does not allow for the bootloader to be unlocked.
That for me is the biggest issue here. If a manufacturer is going to drop support for a product, they should be required to provide unlock tools for any locked areas of the ROM/bootloader. Of course, no firm will voluntarily do this because they want you to throw it away and buy a new one. Alternatively, locked bootloaders should really be banned on principal. If I've bought a device, why shouldn't I be free to do what I want with it?
Regulating bodies like the US FCC are not exactly keen on unlocked bootloaders in cell phones and things like routers because of the possible ability to tamper with the radio signal strength.
This hasn't completely stopped people, of course, but it's one of the reasons Samsung implemented e-fuses.
to do a battery replacement I suspect would be the number 1 thing that people want.
Perfectly good phone... knacked battery.... 15 mins with a screwdriver and a new battery (from the manufacturer) and hey presto... the phone is good for another 2-3 years.
Or make them unfixable... the customer has to pay to dispose of it... and then pay for another phone that will last 2-3 years....
The first one aint gonna make the C suite guys rich..... so the 2nd is the way ahead unless someone stops them.
Why 15min? And what's the screwdriver for? On my ancient Nokia 2126, changing out the battery takes 30 seconds and doesn't require any tools. It'd probably be faster with practice. But I don't need to replace the battery all that often.
Could Apple, Motorola, Samsung et.al. do that if they wished? I'll bet that somewhere in dark, forgotten corners of the ... ehrrr ... campuses, they each have an engineer two who vaguely remembers how to design things like that.
Of course, before we can have replaceable batteries we probably need to replace all the MBAs in management and the lunatics in marketing. A bag of cabbages from the local market would probably have about the same intelligence and would have a far lower burden rate.
I never had a phone with a removable battery that didn't get loosy goosy after a year or two, with the battery door / battery falling out at the slightest provocation. I had two Nokia and two Motorola phones back in the 00s, all had that problem. I see the same things on devices that are handled a lot with replaceable batteries, like remote controls, anytime my Tivo remote falls off the couch when I get up or whatever I'm hunting for the door and sometimes one of the batteries.
No doubt it is POSSIBLE to design products that aren't like this, but when you only need to replace a battery every three years or so, making it take 15 minutes instead of 15 seconds is hardly a major imposition.
@DS999 “No doubt it is POSSIBLE to design products that aren't like this” not just possible actual. Companies have produced phones that aren’t like you described.
I am using one about 4 years old and at the time the manufacturer’s flagship phone, USB C charger and wireless charging micro sd slot and with a replaceable battery. I change the battery a few months back, popped the back off, flipped the battery out, dropped a new one in and popped the back on in less than a minute.
What I find strange is the makers of this phone Microsoft, of glued together Surface PCs fame and who made a complete mess of their mobile strategy, were able to do what Apple, Motorola, Samsung et.al can’t or won’t.
Nokia, Hagenuk, Sony, Samsung, Motorola and Alcatel mobiles with replaceable batteries never gave me any issue. If necessary i could look after the type and model i used until today.
Since i am crawling around on and into (partly quite large) machines and machinery for a living, bringing stuff to electrical and electronical life, the occasional drop, wiggle, (mechanical)pressure change in my pocket, and shock is a regular event happening to any equipment i need to have on me.
As the older SEM52 radios of the Bundeswehr were prone to bad performance and several kinds of failure (especially after some bright spark introduced the organic lithium battery that would lose power when temperatures fell below around 5-7 degress Celsius) my first mobiles were carried around in a magazine pouch, and suffered quite a variety of mechanical abuse.
(Guess what kind of being insists on me being permanently reachable for whatever reason, no matter my actual situation and no matter how unimportant the "reason" for the call... Yeah, right)
reasons for soldered-in battery:
* thin profile [people want this]
* WAY less likely to have the 'flickering' problem that flashlights get when galvanic corrosion appears on the battery terminals [even with gold and silver, dissimilar metals and moisture and electrical charges still present]
* unlikely for the battery to be easily reversed, which would probably explode it and/or seriously damage board components.
etc. - there are many good reasons for soldering the battery in place. Then you void the warranty if anyone changes their own battery. But I agree it SHOULD be both possible AND reasonably easy to do so. And cracking the case open should take less than a minute and be repeatable.
I don't care for thickness. I'll sacrifice a few mm of thickness just to have a removable battery.
Clever engineering can be used to make sure that the battery package is optimized by using the least space possible, to keep it neat and thin.
Of course we don't want a brick like the Nokia Communicator...
Sounds more like reasons for a proper battery plug instead of those pseudogold plated springs and plates.
At least you can open the device and wipe the contacts clean, not so much with a soldered battery where this tiny plastic film"cable" wears out and gets brittle or less concuctive after some time.
Not supporting AAPL. I remember when the iPhone first came out and we found out through AAPL engineers (yeah, they weren’t locked down so hard at that time) that a major reason they glued the battery was the drop test.
I was working on another phone product and we all nodded our head; we knew that our phone’s battery covers and many times the batteries would go flying off.
Moreover the contacts would not after some time and that was pure headache.
I can change iPhone batteries in roughly 5 minutes; who says nerds can’t impress girls.
In iPhone 12 it seems that cameras are paired so you can’t swap cameras.
TouchID is another area where any damage means you are not going to be able to use it for anything other than a push button.
Waterproofing is another reason you have to glue down components.
Most people have dropped something in the water. Dropping a $1200 phone in the toilet is not fun.
So yeah, it is a good goal to make repairability a high priority. But it may not be that easy.
regulators could/should stop musk^w companies from creating yet another battery housing every phone iteration.
Ditto for tablets, laptops, e-cars etc
PS: electric cars with swap-in-out batteries would 'solve' :
1. charge point/distribution issues, and
2. renewable energy storage (repurposed fuel/service stations holding/charging said batteries).
It's not just IT kit. A Mercedes car has loads of parts that can't be replaced without "coding in" the new bits. And the coding equipment isn't available.
To make matters worse, components aren't available. My car needs a new DVD drive head for the navigation system.
It'd probably cost a few quid, but you can't buy one. You can only buy the whole unit, which has to be coded in on the 'Star' system. The £3 head would cost well over £2000 to fix.
So that means you'll either have to buy a completely new Mercedes, or make-do with a Bluetooth speaker paired to your phone for music etc...
I have been eyeballing the integrated radio consoles in modern cars. They sure look neat and all that, but they'll be a ballache to replace should Mr Murphy drop in for an unwanted visit.
The older style of radios are easier to replace if not worth repairing.
Repairing in car entertainment electronics is not only a pain with mercedes. VW, Opel/Vauxhall, BMW.... any manufacturer has "quality assurance" traps and quirks built in.
Worse even if the screens or other parts of the whole system are integrated in the whole console with the usual individually different measurements.
In the beginning of this kind of vendor lock in, adapter electronics were available so that your original built in audio amplifier would think that your audio signal would come from an "appropriate" source.
Audi tops it off. Never ever change the car battery without making sure the voltage is buffered or your steering position will dealign as the unbuffered steering has incremental sensors but not absolute positions nor any kind of the classic track zero sense. If you manage to change the battery, you will still have to go through the process of finding a garage to make your car grudgingly accept the new part or try less appropriate means to silence the electronic nagging.
Best of all is of course Siemens TIA portal. This well refined programming environment is incompatible with different versions of the original parts databases, so keeping a collection of VM on your laptop is mandatory if any kind of hardware combination "issues" arise.
And Citroen, fuel injectors are coded to the ECU, the exact same engine in a Peugeot they are not.
On the C5 X7 you can't even check the oil level for the suspension without connecting to the ECU and depressurising the system.
Thankfully knock off Chinese OBD-II interfaces and software are available.
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