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Thread: My opinion about MTBF

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashiekh View Post
    Would a manufacturer risk a long warrantee if the failure rate was high?
    Absolutely, if the return shipping cost to purchaser (both in money and effort) is high enough in relation to the value of the product. Probably won't see many warranty returns on $20 items that cost $15 to ship ('cause they only accept a high-cost shipping option) and requires original receipts from 7+ years ago. [Yes, that is an extreme example, but illustrates options; might only apply to USA, as the rest of the industrialized world has better consumer protection laws]

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    My guess is, in bringing a product to market, whoever ends up making the final decision about what kind of warranty length to offer is making that determination mostly based on marketing considerations such as how the warranty length may affect sales, what the competition is offering, etc., as well as financial/actuarial assumptions which may or may not include empirical data from past sales, warranty claims, etc. The actual quality or longevity of the item from an engineering perspective could and probably does enter into the decision process to some degree but it's probably not the primary consideration.

    Of course, in some industries and with some products, actual wear testing is conducted either in-house or by an independent party in conjunction with statistical analysis to help make longevity determinations. In such cases, that information would probably be fed into the decision pipeline. However, I suspect that unless the product is entirely revolutionary or the market otherwise demands it (certain government contracts, for example) costly analysis is likely not performed each time a new model or revision is brought to market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashiekh View Post
    Would a manufacturer risk a long warrantee if the failure rate was high?
    The easiest way I can always put this to folks is simple:

    I have 3 dead SD cards laying in a drawer right now. They lived their lives in my cameras and hit their limits in terms of read/writes. These SD cards have Lifetime warranties that I could trade in right now. I would mostly likely get a higher capacity and better performing SD card out of it, if I sent them in for RMA.
    To RMA these SD cards, I would need to spend ~$15 for shipping that is both tracked and insured; as per the RMA department requirements.

    For that same $15, I can also just go buy a really good SD card that's larger capacity than the SD cards I would be sending in.


    That's not to count the number of monitors I have seen "fail" within warranty that most folks kept using until they totally kicked the bucket. Mostly because it was a $100-150 USD monitor that would cost $50-60 USD to send in for repair. These failures would range from simple things like partially dead backlighting or stuck/dead pixels to broken stands to even a solid color line 2-3 pixels wide running down the monitor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tator Tot View Post
    That's not to count the number of monitors I have seen "fail" within warranty that most folks kept using until they totally kicked the bucket. Mostly because it was a $100-150 USD monitor that would cost $50-60 USD to send in for repair.

    I have repaired many a monitor by just replacing capacitors in the power supply, but I don't know how common capacitor failure is these days.

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    Demise in the significance of metrics like MTBF seems to have coincided with the erosion of concepts like professional communities, prestige in applied science, engineering, design, etc. Business decisions drive everything. In past generations, ignorant business owners and managers let the "eggheads" do the design and engineering. As a result, the consumer got meaningful metrics like statistical and science-method based MTBF, good documentation, truly technical support, etc. Products were achievements to be proud of by those who made them. Durability/longevity was often marketed as the key feature and also sought after by the consumer (chicken and egg scenario).

    Now, it's about "features" and "standards compliance" which naturally change often enough to keep the buyer coming back time and time again with an open wallet. To put it another way, why condition your market to expect durability/longevity and actually direct your product development and marketing people to emphasize it when you can instead condition the consumer to expect perpetual "advances in technology" and improvement of features that will ensure repeat purchases over and over again? Once entire industries came to realize the essential nature of sustainability, everything changed within a generation. AND, since you are building products which will become feature or performance obsolete in relatively short order, your engineering and material/component choices should reflect that reality whenever and wherever possible to the greater margin and profitability of the organization (read: build it cheap and quick). Consumers now mostly get durability and longevity coincidentally rather than by design.

    So then, MTBF is meaningless because manufacturers have NO vested interested in even promoting THAT angle in marketing or product development. What manufacturer wants to make a product so good it lasts forever and can only be sold one time? So why then do they even still publish MTBF figures? Because some people can derive a certain comfort and assurance from it and there's no one to call the bluff (Ralph Nader died and see the first paragraph). In effect, it's a free lie, which is mostly the extent of it because, you see, on balance, the consumer is a lucrative, relatively uninformed "dumb wallet" (starry-eyed disciples of JonnyGURU notwithstanding, of course).
    Last edited by 99wjtx; 02-07-2020 at 12:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashiekh View Post
    I have repaired many a monitor by just replacing capacitors in the power supply, but I don't know how common capacitor failure is these days.
    Still fairly common, though control board failures are just as common and those are more complicated replacement jobs in some respects. Still fairly easy to do if you have a decent soldering station and can find a replacement board on Ebay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 99wjtx View Post
    Demise in the significance of metrics like MTBF seems to have coincided with the erosion of concepts like professional communities, prestige in applied science, engineering, design, etc. Business decisions drive everything. In past generations, ignorant business owners and managers let the "eggheads" do the design and engineering. As a result, the consumer got meaningful metrics like statistical and science-method based MTBF, good documentation, truly technical support, etc. Products were achievements to be proud of by those who made them. Durability/longevity was often marketed as the key feature and also sought after by the consumer (chicken and egg scenario).

    Now, it's about "features" and "standards compliance" which naturally change often enough to keep the buyer coming back time and time again with an open wallet. To put it another way, why condition your market to expect durability/longevity and actually direct your product development and marketing people to emphasize it when you can instead condition the consumer to expect perpetual "advances in technology" and improvement of features that will ensure repeat purchases over and over again? Once entire industries came to realize the essential nature of sustainability, everything changed within a generation. AND, since you are building products which will become feature or performance obsolete in relatively short order, your engineering and material/component choices should reflect that reality whenever and wherever possible to the greater margin and profitability of the organization (read: build it cheap and quick). Consumers now mostly get durability and longevity coincidentally rather than by design.

    So then, MTBF is meaningless because manufacturers have NO vested interested in even promoting THAT angle in marketing or product development. What manufacturer wants to make a product so good it lasts forever and can only be sold one time? So why then do they even still publish MTBF figures? Because some people can derive a certain comfort and assurance from it and there's no one to call the bluff (Ralph Nader died and see the first paragraph). In effect, it's a free lie, which is mostly the extent of it because, you see, on balance, the consumer is a lucrative, relatively uninformed "dumb wallet" (starry-eyed disciples of JonnyGURU notwithstanding, of course).
    It is greed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by -The_Mask- View Post
    Warranty simply has nothing to do with quality, there is no correlation.
    Correlation is visible on large volumes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by And_corp View Post
    Correlation is visible on large volumes.
    No it isn't. Otherwise ask Philipus, he works for a large distribution center.

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    Quote Originally Posted by -The_Mask- View Post
    No it isn't. Otherwise ask Philipus, he works for a large distribution center.
    1. I do not know this person.
    2. I have my own statistics. Perhaps not extensive. Power supplies for retail customers w/10y warranty have better reliability.

    The investigation identified main problems:
    * poor quality of power network;
    ** get the most out of and maximize.
    Last edited by And_corp; 02-08-2020 at 05:55 AM.

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