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Right To Repair

Discussion in 'audio' started by Tony L, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    How many would be able to change a mains plug if the wiring diagram wasn’t made available? Would denying the end-user this information make the world a safer place?

    Where do you draw the line? Should we ban electric drills, jigsaws, routers etc? Lawnmowers? Hedge-trimmers? All cause lots of injuries each year.
    Old Shatterhand likes this.
  2. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Ban the avocado I say.
  3. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    I am not sure that designers are deliberately avoiding repair criteria. Rather it is the case that the product is designed for 'manufacturability' at a low cost and access for repair is not part of the design spec. So much functionality and electronics gets buried in proprietary or customised chips that making a supply available for say 40 years of repair is not practical. Things (technologies) are moving quicker these days - you can hardly expect a DAC/SMPS/Streamer/TV to need a 40 year life. A old-style discreet analogue amp, maybe. Most things are cheap enough to replace every 10 years. For instance a mobile phone is pretty much old in 4 years, an antique by 10 years and quite unusable within less than 20.

    Better recovery of old devices for mining of useful elements would be a good step.
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    This is quite interesting, though mainly for Louis’s reactions rather than the pretty low quality original Canadian TV show content (looks about the level of The Gadget Show or whatever). His comments on the iPhone 7 audio chip highlighting the gulf between corporate attitude and something what is (in his view) very easy to repair. The good thing it is does highlight the overall concept of Right To Repair is gaining real traction in the mainstream.
    Old Shatterhand likes this.
  5. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand pfm Member

    @Tony L : The guy is so funny. I love his rant about bullshitting customers, especially when he raise his voice that high.:D
    Tony L likes this.
  6. jamjar

    jamjar pfm Member

    Applause to Belling, my oven recently burned through a backplate and after 10 years I expected to have to buy another oven. I was surprised that the part was still available and easily identified on their web site. It was also pitched at a fair price and very easy to fit.

    Less on topic, but I also need to replace some kitchen unit doors on which the veneer has shrunk as they were adjacent to the aformentioned oven. Again, 10 years after purchase the company are still making the same pattern and with the same colourways. Another win! If the topic arises both companies will be strongly recommended by me in the future.
  7. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    If only hifi and mobile phones were as simple as a cooker!
    westsea likes this.
  8. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    I agree that people do need clear notices to the effect that any form of 'repair' etc has to be done with due care and knowledge. And that unless authorised by the makers or their agents is done at the risk of the person doing such 'repair'. The Law should be clear enough on this point, also.

    However I don't regard that as justification for witholding the key info *when an item has been 'orphaned' by its makers*. If they no longer wish to make or service it, then they should release the info others may need to do repairs which then remain feasible. The argument that competitors will 'steal' the info seems dubious to me *once the original makers have abandoned it*.

    So we have two classes. One where makers will do service work, or upgrades to the most recent spec, for a reasonable charge OR should make the info available for others who may wish to have a go - or even make similar items. Playing the 'IPR card' for things you no longer intend to make seems shaky as an an excuse for refusing.

    And TBH companies keeping such info 'secret' actually can make it *easier* for another company to rip off the details and do the same in a different guise. So the secrecy can make IPR ripoff *easier*, not harder.

    Plus the reality is that most 'new' designs are simply a tweaked up version based on a mountain of previous work by other people. Then hidden under a box to obscure how little is actually 'new'. A point anyone looking at the work of Marconi or Edison will know very well.

    So I'm with Tony on this.
  9. djftw

    djftw Heterodox Member

    I'd draw it a long way the other side; I think it's criminal I'm not supposed to do my own gas plumbing, especially when registered gas engineers don't seem to know how to solder any more and I end up repairing leaks they have left... Every single time I end up using one for the sake of legal compliance! It's a flipping con to let British Gas Homecare et al rip people off left right and centre, my late Granda used to teach 12 year olds how to do this stuff for goodness sake...
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Some positive news from iFixIt.
  11. JonHarrison

    JonHarrison pfm Member

    Just thought I'd chip in with a recent experience with Arcam.

    I contacted them because I was looking for a service manual / schematics for a CDS-27 SACD/CD streamer which has been discontinued for a good few years.

    In the good old days when they were a private company (i.e. pre Harman) they were only too eager to help with service information and spare parts but since 2015 it seems that they are now so worried about people suing them after supplying information that they will now only deal with 'professional repair businesses'.

    I've been repairing old Arcam equipment for the past 20 or so years and would never dream of suing anyone, offered to sign a document to that effect and a non-disclosure agreement but they won't deal with me. This change in attitude is very disappointing to say the least !
    Operajulian and Nytechy like this.
  12. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    It seems like a very paranoid argument given:

    1) They can require the person to confirm in writing that they are suitably capable and work at their own risk.

    2) That they require some evidence of the person being capable.

    The implications for those who want to preserve or use the info in the future when current companies are long gone are also worrying. Particularly because museums, etc, still seem too snooty to care about such areas of technology.
  13. wulbert

    wulbert pfm Member

    From Kit Ryan's instruction booklet for RSL plug-in boards for NAC72 pre-amp: "Anyway, there are no lethal voltages inside the preamp itself (24 volts dc max), so don’t be afraid to dig right in."

    More of this from manufacturer's please.
  14. wulbert

    wulbert pfm Member

    Agree. I paid professional installers to fit the chimney flue to a new wood-burning stove because I wanted the "peace of mind" from a certified installer. After I checked building regs when self-installing a wood-burner in a garden building, I realised that they had made some potentially dangerous omissions & errors. I spent £400 getting the correct parts and a whole day fixing their sloppy work, including externally on the roof fitting a storm collar and terminal to the chimney flue exit that potentially allowed fumes into an upstairs bedroom. When I phoned them to complain and seek redress, they were long gone. ( probably busy installing Green-Deals or Smart home heating).
    djftw likes this.
  15. Darmok

    Darmok "Didactic Prophylaxes"

    Great thread Tony, sorry bit late here as I am satisfied with my audio since the mid eighties.

    Always bought as non working as I couldn't afford GWA kit at the time.

    I bought a non working Leak TL50+ and contacted Leak for a cct diagram, an A4 envelope arrived stuffed with one of every Leak TL / Stereo Amp and Pre / Tuner diagrams available that they had FOC. :)

    A lovely binder file I made to keep them preserved.

    In the early days of Hi-Fi some makers printed the cct diagram on the base plate of amplifiers ect, it stopped I guess because they got worn away.

    In the later eighties some high end makers would conceal the transistor device number to protect copyright.

    Idiots, in the know people can remove and plot the characteristics of the device and find an alternative.

    It applies today with obsolete devices, you can always find a usable alternative

    When I did a C&G electronic servicing course at college, we were given a task to wire up a 13amp plug.

    We all failed because when you tug the cable away from the plug the earth should remain connected when the live and neutral give way.

    The technique is to wind the earth lead around the screwdriver shaft once to extend it making it the last connection to break away in a failed strained cable situation.

    Hope this helps?

    Thanks for all the useful youtube vids, I wish I wasn't retired, too frail at my age. :(
    Guinnless and David W Brown like this.
  16. wow&flutter

    wow&flutter pfm Member

    Check out #73

  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    B&O have a new ‘Level’ wi-fi smart speaker thing that features some degree of modular design and is marketed as being more future-proof (The Verge). This has to be a good thing and hopefully is an indication that the whole concept of sustainability and Right To Repair is at least entering the dialogue. Still a very long way from shipping with a full schematic in the manual, but a step in the right direction.
  18. Neil P

    Neil P pfm Member

    I've hankered after a dualit toaster for ages .... problem is my 25 year old Breville refused to die! grrrrr :)
  19. Neil P

    Neil P pfm Member

    I read that has B & Q ha ha
  20. booja30

    booja30 pfm Member

    I'm surprised that Lavardin hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread. From what I've read in several places (on PFM and elsewhere), some of their components contain 'black boxes', which are groups of components cast into opaque resin, presumably to prevent reverse engineering. Some component values and part numbers are also filed off.

    If/when a Lavardin component develops a fault, it will have to go back to Lavardin for repair. And if Lavardin ever goes belly up, well...


    I found a reference to the black boxes buried in a review on the Lavardin website! It's a 1999 review from Hi-Fi World:

    "Look inside the IT and it's obvious there's something a little out of the ordinary going on here electronically. For a start, many of the transistors and some of the ICs have had their numbers filed off to protect their identities. Then there are the parts potted inside the four mystery black boxes, each about 1.5in. square, a pair of which sits in each channel."


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