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Published On: Fri, Feb 19th, 2016

Decreasing Life of Electrical Equipment

Command back: not the makers of electrical appliances are to blame, that the devices are discarded after a few years. Consumers no longer want the “old” devices and want new. This is the result of a study of the Federal Environmental Agency. Are we to believe that there is no predetermined breaking point?
That’s the good news: A planned obsolescence artificial wear built-in by the manufacturer in electrical appliances, does not exist. “A targeted short product life span, which produce the manufacturer using built-in flaws the so called planned obsolescence is not detected in the current study”, made it clear yesterday the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

The Freiburger Öko-Institut and the University of Bonn researchers commissioned by the authority could find any malicious built-in defects or breaking point that manufacturers deliberately shorten the life of electrical equipment. You mean?

There is no too thin constructed components more that break? Or plastic gears in washing machines, which only a few years can stand the strain?

2013 in a study for the Green Bundestag group that reads are still quite different. The many products and components that are mentioned are intentionally so designed, that they break down after a few years. From the solid glued in the electric toothbrush battery ranging to the deliberately too weakly constructed heating element in the washing machine.

UBA: Consumers are to blame

Even if there is to be no breaking point and electronic traps still the average life span of electric appliances drops further. So the life with TV flat screens reduced between 2007 and 2010 from 5.7 to 4.4 years.

At notebooks dropped the life between 2004 and 2012 from 5.4 to 5.1 years. It is not the evil electro industry, which artificially reduces the useful life of the equipment. It is the consumer who would like to have a new, better and cooler device, says the Federal Environmental Agency.

“Many devices have short life”

And manufacturers of electrical appliances react exactly to this consumer behavior. They construct their devices so that they work so long before the desire for a new device in a purchasing decision. “The core principle is products to ensure that they keep as long as necessary and not as long as possible,” write the authors in the UBA study.

“From an environmental standpoint, that is not acceptable,” said UBA President Maria Krautzberger. “Many devices have a short life. We need to think about minimum requirements for product life and quality kind of minimum Haltbarkeit for electrical and electronic equipment.” For the manufacture of new products consumes valuable resources and charged environment and climate.

Four forms of obsolescence

Researchers have identified four types of obsolescence, so the device aging. There’s the mechanical obsolescence. This occurs when materials and components to quickly wear out, for example, a washing machine hose is porous. There’s also the functional obsolescence, if, for example, the laptop with a new software problems and needs to be replaced.

The psychological obsolescence is important, because it is created only in the minds of consumers. Since the full HD TV is obsolete already because of the huge 4K-Bildschirm promises an even sharper image. Also, everyone knows the economic obsolescence: it costs less to buy a new washer as repaired the old washing machine by a technician.

Consumer Council calls for protection against cheat software

Consumer advocates see manufacturer and political duty. “The more software is installed in electronic devices, the less consumers can realize if wear or break point be programmed”, says Marion Jungbluth Federation by the Consumer Council. “Here the market surveillance is facing new challenges, to protect consumers from cheat software.”

The scandal over rigged exhaust values at VW shows drastically as manipulated today is. The fact is also: the trend to the cheating has a pretty long history. In December 1924, leading light bulb makers in Geneva the Phoebuskartell and set that their light bulbs to break down after 1000 hours burning time.


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  1. Andy Gimpiel says:

    I guess that depends how you are using your equipment and what you choose. I am working on Pentium4 (LXDE) from +-2004 with iPhone4s in my pocket. all works perfect.