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Topic: My electric blanket doesn't work ... (Read 9476 times) previous topic - next topic

nickgammon

Years go I had an electric blanket. It had a simple 3-position switch: low/medium/high. You moved the switch to the level of heat you wanted. It worked pretty well.

Now I have a modern "digital" one. I didn't choose to have it. It was the only one the store stocked (and this isn't a small corner store).

It's very clever. You tell it the time, and the time you want it to turn on, and it turns on at the appropriate level, when requested, and then turns off when its told to. Except ...

A minor interruption to the power (like, half a second), that you might not even notice if you aren't at home, makes it lose the current time and the programming. So it resets to "no time" and "no heat".

More recently, it just "forgets" the setting. Like, I have - well I don't know how many - computers here. All are still running, so the power hasn't been lost. But if you glance down at the controller, the heat setting has gone back to zero. That's if you can read it because the LCDs flicker and are almost impossible to read.

Bad unit, you say? Well this is #3 of a batch. First one, failed. Took it back. The shop assistant sighed, as if this was number 10 for the day. Second one failed. Took it back. Not much argument. This is #3.

Is this is what electronics is coming to? Devices manufactured to the lowest possible standards? I don't blame the manufacturers that much. They probably had to submit a quote that undercut everyone else.

I think my point here is, if you design electronic devices, just don't let your bosses convince you to omit that necessary protection diode, to save one cent. Or to under-specify the device ratings. It might make money in the short term, but in the longer term you lose consumer confidence. And that doesn't help anyone.
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics

cowjam

Melbourne? Electric blanket? Do you live in a fridge??

graynomad

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Do you live in a fridge??

Some might consider Melbourne to be the next best thing :)

Anything < 30 degrees C and I'm reaching for my thermal undies.

______
Rob
Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

Grumpy_Mike

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I think my point here is, if you design electronic devices, just don't let your bosses convince you to omit that necessary protection diode, to save one cent. Or to under-specify the device ratings. It might make money in the short term, but in the longer term you lose consumer confidence. And that doesn't help anyone.

At my last company it was written into your contract that a you had not to make it more reliable that the target figure if it cost you more. When making sets in the millions every cent counts.

Valalvax

It's kind of like one-shot surge protector power strips, rather than put a resettable fuse they have a one time circuit, after that your stuff is no longer protected, what do they care? it's in the manual that it only works once

nickgammon


Melbourne? Electric blanket? Do you live in a fridge??


Well, we are heading for autumn. Tonight it is 11.6 C. That's 52.9 F.

Not exactly snow on the ground, we never get that, but cool. Besides, do you think it is OK to sell electric blankets that forget the time, forget the set temperature, as long as they are sold in Melbourne?
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics

Valalvax

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Electric+Blanket&x=0&y=0

This might be your best bet, buying one that isn't "fancy", or you could try fixing it yourself, adding a capacitor to the circuit should help things

nickgammon

Well, as I said, only the one model available.

And I don't know that my wife would like for me to hack open the controls for something that is plugged into mains power, and that we lie on every night, and hope that my modifications don't actually kill both of us.

Anyway, it's still under warranty. There is something strangely fascinating about being able to return a blanket every couple of years, and have it replaced with the same model ("that's the only one we sell") and then rinse and repeat a year or two later.

It's like the warranty we get on other products - "if it fails we'll replace it" - right ... I have a badly designed product, and if it fails it will be replaced with a copy of the badly-designed product.
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics

keeper63

Part of it is that they are also gambling on you losing the receipt (or throwing it away) before it goes bad; I always keep my receipts for about 7 years for things like this that I buy, so I can take it back if it does die (or at least send it to the manufacturer for repair/replacement - if it is still under warantee). Most people don't, though. Of course, to counter people like me, a lot of places use these thermal printed reciepts that fade after a year or or so - no matter how well they are kept. For those, I scan them.

The other thing, which the designers of such products may or may not have any control over - is that they may specify a given component, but that component is sourced from a bad manufacturer. Right now there are a ton of products being made with a ton of bad electrolytic capacitors from various asian manufacturers (most in China); these caps are in tons of devices, from the most benign and common, to things people really rely on (I fear - I wonder - how many of these caps have made it into medical equipment). These caps have been a source of headache for many people - they leak, explode, burn, etc - in products and situations where you wouldn't think it would happen, but it does. The manufacturers (or at least the brand names - they might all be made by the same company for all anyone knows) are numerous - but if you do a search, you will come up with some names. Inevitably, if some device you own fails, and you open it up, and you've purchased it in the last 5-10 years, look at the caps first.

Ultimately, though, it comes down to us consumers and citizens insisting on a quality product first, instead of the cheapest product. Unfortunately, most people don't think this way (thus, Walmart)...
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.

retrolefty

When it comes down to features Vs reliability, put me down for reliability first. However it's not always easy to determine that when purchasing stuff like electric blankets in stores and higher price doesn't always mean more reliable either.

I recently bought a new refrigerator from a Sears store. The salesman commented unsolicited that they don't make the appliances as reliable as they use to. Of course he was using that as a hook to try and get me to purchase the 'extended warranty'.  :smiley-roll-blue:

Lefty

cowjam


Well, we are heading for autumn. Tonight it is 11.6 C. That's 52.9 F.

Not exactly snow on the ground, we never get that, but cool. Besides, do you think it is OK to sell electric blankets that forget the time, forget the set temperature, as long as they are sold in Melbourne?


No I don't think it's ok, I was just a bit surprised to hear about electric blankets being used.  Still surprised, it's 12 C here in the daytime in summer. Guess it's largely relative though.

mowcius

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Anything < 30 degrees C and I'm reaching for my thermal undies.

Anything above 17C outside and I'm considering removing clothing :D
I've never been in temperatures greater than about 24C - does not appeal at all.

graynomad

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Anything above 17C outside and I'm considering removing clothing

As I said, anything below 30C and I'm considering adding clothing :)

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Guess it's largely relative though.

Ain't that the truth.

As I understand it humans as a species prefer 25C, it's just that we all live in different places and get used to a certain range. I used to live in a cold place and was well happy with low temps, now I live in hot places (mostly) and prefer the heat.

______
Rob

Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

nickgammon


I've never been in temperatures greater than about 24C - does not appeal at all.


Never? Occasionally it gets to about 45C, and I think "I'll go for a walk" ... a couple of minutes later ... "maybe not".

Mind you, I've been to the UK. The buildings are built for warmth, not for getting rid of it.
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics

cowjam


Mind you, I've been to the UK. The buildings are built for warmth, not for getting rid of it.


It's because we love complaining. We spend all winter complaining about the lack of sun, most of summer complaining about the rain and on the three sunny days we get every year we complain that it's too hot.

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