Midwest Audio Fest

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OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

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  • OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

    Lately, I've found myself very frustrated with the world of manufactured goods, because so many of them are manufactured/designed NOT to last. (My biggest ire goes to a certain fruit-named technology company whose products you cannot even replace the battery. )

    But it's got me thinking about what sorts of things I use that have lasted a long, long time, perhaps much longer than they were even intended to be used. I came up with two memorable ones:

    1. A 1980's lazy-boy recliner I took from my parents' house. The thing's been in constant use all these years, and it's still the most comfortable chair in the house, and it really hasn't shown any signs of wear. Unfortunately, the fabric pattern is looking pretty dated. :o

    2. This is embarrassing, but my old soldering iron. I bought it when I was 15, trying to teach myself to solder. I paid $5 for it at Radio Shack. I've burned holes through carpet AND hardwood flooring with it, I've gone through probably 20 tips, but I've rewired several guitars and built dozens of crossovers with it. Course, I've also ruined some projects with it as well (remember how I said "teach myself"? ;)), such as an old Silvertone guitar amp, a television, and a Sony Playstation (trying to install a mod chip). Over the years, I have gotten much better at soldering, and used very nice soldering equipment when working at various pro A/V places, but I still keep coming back to this dopey thing when I get home.

    Now, as for things that didn't last long at all:
    1. Those plastic clamps from Harbor Freight/Menards with the orange grips. You know the ones I'm talking about! If you ever feel the temptation to buy them, don't. Just don't. If you want, you can just give me the $3, and I'll snap a twig in front of you, and you'll get the same effect.

    2. DVD players... from almost every manufacturer Those things don't last too long, do they? I don't even understand why. VCRs had WAY more complex innards, and they didn't seem to break this much!

    ... these are just the tip of the iceberg for me . But I wanted to get people thinking, and telling their own tales.
    Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

    Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
    Twitter: @undefinition1

  • #2
    Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

    Bought a Toshiba $60 DVD player forthe in laws for Christmas one year. It maybe played 4 movies, and either the sensor or motor-drive for the drawer died. Instant crap! Cheaper ones lasted longer.
    My power strip for the PC on the phone line suppressor usually takes a dump about every 2 years. The internet won't link up, I'll get a new unit because I have a dial tone, and all will be well!

    My old Pioneer 100 disc filer is likely about 25 years old now and still works well. My Technics receiver is about 18 years old and still pumps tunes out.
    My B&D jigsaw, the first one I ever had, finally chewed up the drive gear last year, and I had it for almost 15 years. Granted it was used heavily, but I know of others that are older and still working well. I hope my Ridgid lasts as long.

    My brain and ticker apparently still work just fine (for me that is), and I use them everyday! He did make that computer and metronome fairly state of the art when I was formed.

    "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
    "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
    "He is a true ambassador for this forum and speaker DIY in general." -Ed Froste
    "We're all in this together, so keep your stick on the ice!" - Red Green aka Steve Smith

    *InDIYana event website*

    Photobucket pages:

    My blog/writeups/thoughts here at PE:


    • #3
      Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

      Paul, I have a nearly 40 year-old Beta-max VCR (up-graded to D-Beta) that's still going strong, as well as a 1984 Zenith (Toshiba) S-VHS 6 Head VCR I bought myself as a Christmas present when I moved into this house. The Zenith could stand a new helical head (it only has 22,454 hours on it! It's the second one. "Normal" life is 10,000 hours.). Both are built on one cm. thick aluminum chassis's with hardly any plastic parts. They both use fluid tendency drives on the take-up, FF, REW, and hub brakes, so no little felt strips to wear out. The Beta weighes about what 25 of the last plastic VCR's did; the Zenith weighs 26 lbs, or a bit more than half what the Beta does. I have a 1946 Hamilton Beach Stand mixer that was my Grandmother's (my Dad worked in a defense plant and had ration stamps and was first in line after the war for "consumer goods") and a 1957 Kirby Vacuum that works like new, also, and a 1939 Chamber's gas range with three top burners, a "deep well" with three pots, an oven, a broiler/griddle that you couldn't get away from me with TNT, and I had an Arkla-Servell gas refrigerator I finally gave to the Salvation Army, and they store vegetables in it, because they'll keep in it 2 or 3 times as long as in an electric. Now I REALLY wish I had kept my '58 Imperial. 2 1/2 tons of drop-forged steel would protect you in an accident. The 403 CID engine with dual carbs got better fuel mileage than many V-6 "jelly-beans", and as far away as you could see it, there was No doubt it was a '58 Chrysler Imperial Club Sedan instead of an "anon-o-car" without even a brand name on the front or back.That "Fat Wedge" motor might have been on it's third or fourth re-build by now, but it would have had 8 or 9 more left in it without being re-sleeved.
      Talk about "made to last". My Great-great-grand mother gave my Grandmother three cast iron skillets and a cast iron griddle. Not this crummy grainy stuff they sell today but smooth blanchard ground bottoms. I might not kill for them, but you'd be bloody and have broken bones trying to take them from me. In the 12", I can make the BEST buttermilk scratch biscuits you've ever tasted in your life.


      • #4
        Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk


        - Woofer Tester II (bought is in 2002)
        - The green handle cripmers with interchangeable jaws from PE
        - Marantz SR7200 receiver from 98'
        - 7 yr old Kenmore Grill.. never replaced a thing on it yet!
        - Craftsman cordless drill from 96
        - Among others, but there are some..

        This that do not last:

        - Anything Sony
        - Frekin Lepai T-amps
        - Bosch router bits
        - HTC thunderbolt
        - Radio Shack soldering irons (post 2008) I needed a low power one for PCB work and burned through 2of them in a year... Ironically, the 40W one I have from the early 90's still is running strong.
        - People's ability to think for themselves and problem solve without using a computer. (Had to, I think we all feel this one when a cashier cannot count back the change)


        • #5
          Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

          Originally posted by Whitneyville1 View Post
          Now I REALLY wish I had kept my '58 Imperial. 2 1/2 tons of drop-forged steel would protect you in an accident.
          I won't argue you with you about the style of old cars vs new, but safety is another issue. Old cars don't stand a chance against their modern counterparts when it comes to protection and survivability.

          I can't find it right now, but I have some pictures of another classic car that sustained a mild side impact and it completely crushed the occupant space.


          • #6
            Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

            Originally posted by mzisserson View Post

            This that do not last:

            - Anything Sony
            Hey- THIS Sony thing do last:
            MDRV6 headphones :D (i think mine i got in '88 ...and they are still the same price now


            • #7
              Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

              Every one of those HF clamps that I've broken (and there've been a few) had a small PLASTIC triangle inside that holds the pressure. The little "pins" break off of it. I've thought about making that part out of metal, and putting it back in there, but . . .

              Good news might be that the last time I went into HF, they were replacing that ENTIRE clamp line with a new design. They're all black now! Hopefully they've upgraded that crappy little plastic internal piece. Same price yet.



              • #8
                Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                Great thread.

                Things that last:

                1972 Mercedes 350SL. I think it will make 100 years with oil changes and such - should there be any fuel for it and if Environazi's don't ban it (12mpg).
                1975 or so Craftsman heavy duty 1/2 inch drill. Used and abused.
                1980 or so Porter Cable demo saw....... ditto....
                1973 Accuphase amp. A beast.
                2003 Fujitsu laptop in front of me ----- long life for a laptop.

                Things that don't last:
                Anything Sony - if they work in the first place, which sometimes they don't. Haven't bought any Sony in a couple of decades though.
                ________ from Home Decorators (Home Depot). Sadly my wife loves the stuff.
                Home Depot solar path lights - the pricey ones - on the bright side (pun) two of the four have lasted 3 weeks.
                Ridgid shop vacs.
                Yes, there is a theme and I have modified my behavior accordingly.

                Bloody Marys and Margaritas.


                • #9
                  Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                  Back around '73 I bought a 1963 Chevy Impala SS that I spied sitting in a field with grass growning up around it. I think the owner said it had been sitting there about a year. He put a battery in it, poured some gas down the carb and it fired up! I bought it and drove it for a while when I was in the USAF.


                  • #10
                    Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                    Didn't last-

                    Denon DVD 1600
                    Milwaukee 18v cordless set
                    Just about everything Art Van sells
                    Fridgidaire range (still works, but has plenty of quirks for its age)
                    Insignia LCD TV (still works, but sometimes you have to power it on and off to get the screen on a couple times, about 3 years old)

                    Pioneer SX-950
                    02 Suburban (220k miles, so far)
                    Makita 10" sliding compound miter saw
                    Rigid table saw
                    PC jigsaw
                    Dewalt skilsaw
                    Amana trash compactor (it's about 30 years old)
                    Toshiba 32" tube tv (gave it away)
                    Panasonic BR DVD player (all the Panasonic dvds seem to be good)
                    "The ability of any system to produce exceptional sound will be limited mainly by the capability of the speakers" Jim Salk
                    "Audio is surely a journey full of revelations as you go" JasonP


                    • #11
                      Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                      That's odd that people have had such bad luck with Sony. I have nothing but the best of luck with them. I have running right now a 40inch Sony Bravia and a Sony STR-DG500 AVR that has been running non stop day and night for over 7 years straight. The only times that they have been turned off is when the power has gone out due to storms.
                      I can not fall asleep unless the TV is running and there has to be something good on or I cant fall asleep. The wife had a hard time with it when we first started dating but now she is the same way. If the TV goes out during the night we are both wide awake.
                      And we have 2 boxers that when we are away like to fight with each other. If you leave the TV running they do not bother each other.
                      Our household will fall apart the day our TV dies:eek:
                      Things that have not lasted.

                      A $400 G.E. microwave/convection oven combo. The convection fan motor died after 3.5 months(covered under warranty) and the magnetron gave up the ghost exactly 1year and 1month after the date of purchase(warranty had ran out) so to the curb it went.

                      Any thing lighting wise from IKEA. Have bought 4 different lamps(all bought at the same time) and every one of them have failed. The track lighting had a transformer catch fire and burn. Had we not been in the same room it would have burnt our house to the ground.

                      Wife had a Cuisinart blender that lasted exactly 6 times of use before the motor shaft snapped off down inside the motor.

                      Best purchase to date. 1989 K5 Blazer. 339,000 miles and still going strong with no major breakdowns. Just change oil every 3,000 and feed her plenty of fuel and it will take you any place you point her on road or off.


                      • #12
                        Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                        Thank you!

                        I am not alone, seems all week, make that the past month this has been discussed in my house at great detail.

                        Not just Goods, CUSTOMER SERVICE is dead!! (not you PE)

                        Brand new Toshiba Laptop (my thinking is 4-5 year life span - averages out to $200-$300 a year to go with a really good one), have one that is pushing 6-7 years and still works (sort-of). Wi-Fi drops about every 10min on average, sometimes so bad that it loses the SSID and password. Sent to Toshba for repair, Laptop returns with same problem - out for repair now. Everything else in the house works fine wireless, so have elimated my end more than once and in great detail. Toshiba refuses to replace or refund, now have case open with AMEX (which has great customer service).

                        Got the wrong perscription from CVS yesterday, and not just cold medicine. If I had not noticed that they tried to feed me non-extended release, very bad things might have happened. Yes, I fired CVS yesterday and will not be back, even tried to call main office - no one cared, but I got a Thank You for catching that.

                        I can go on and on with bad, yes HF clamps are on the Junk list, can we just add majority of HF and Homers-Depoop

                        On the list of things that have lasted:
                        my craftsman router from 80's? - won't quit.
                        My craftsman shop Vac from about the same time (it is GREEN, not that nice green, baby diaper GREEN) - won't quit.
                        And beleive it or not a Sony 32" CRT TV from the mid 90's (the one that was is every house) still alive and great from day one - now currently lives in the Mrs. Grandparents house, there Zenith with dials went green (after 25+ years)
                        The world seems to be filled with Junk (there is till good out there, to not be completely negative) and most people are just fine with it, I am not.
                        Bring back QC, even bump the price a little.

                        It feels so good to not be alone in this vast space of lousy products
                        THOMAS BROWN aka "STINKY"

                        I've got an idea - an idea so smart that my head would explode if I even began to know what I'm talking about. - Peter Griffin

                        - SCOTT IAN


                        • #13
                          Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                          Originally posted by Paul Carmody View Post
                          ...2. This is embarrassing, but my old soldering iron. I bought it when I was 15, ...
                          2. DVD players... ...
                          Spend 2 hours yesterday talking with a west coast buddy who's a "fixer of all trades." Buys test equipment based on what the repair requires, then sells it. Neat conversation.

                          Paul, I use my father's soldering iron, not the one he used to teach me, but rather the new one co-workers gave him at retirement in 1969... along with a Heathkit SW set. I first used it to assemble the transmitter (receiver was already done), even if I never had the guts to turn it on. Better yet, I'm using the same tip on my crossovers as I did on the transmitter.

                          VCR's have been uniformly junk, but my Sony DVD is going strong, as is the benchmark image quality HDTV (and the older 27" it replaced). I've a bunch of broken Craftsman hand tools, but the 30yo drill is working fine now that I cleaned the trigger contacts.

                          And then there's our Volvos... the worst only hit 216K, a 240 felled by Rochester rust, and the best, a 940 that made 330K with body rot as the failure mode again. No trannies, and 1 broken valve spring in 6 cars and something north of 1.25M miles. Driving a '94 now, sadly the last of these front-engine, rear drive icons.

                          Have fun,


                          • #14
                            Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                            Amazingly enough, one of the products that has lasted longest for me has been my Toshiba DVD player, which was purchased around 1999: SD-2200 -- I keep thinking I will need to replace it soon, but it just keeps going, and going, and going...

                            Vacuum Cleaners:
                            $300 Hoover Wind Tunnel (CR "best buy") -- Didn't last. Plastic gears disintegrated after 3 years.
                            $500 Riccar 8955 -- Still going strong after 7+ years

                            $1100 GE Profile Side-by-Side -- Didn't last. Freezer went our after just a few years.
                            $750 Crosley Side-by-Side -- Still going strong after 10+ years

                            Gas Grill:
                            Didn't last: Char-Broil grill
                            Still going strong: Weber E310

                            2000 VW Passat 1.8T: Loved driving this car, but it spent way too much time at the mechanic in the first 100K
                            2003 Ford F150 2WD 4.6L V8: Almost to 100K with zero issues... just routine maintenance.

                            $600, 27" Sony Trinitron from ~1994: Only lasted about 5 years
                            $300, 27" Toshiba from ~1999: I told my wife that as soon as this dies I'm buying a nice big flat screen... WHY WON'T IT DIE?!?!?
                            | there is no spoon... |


                            • #15
                              Re: OT: Still Going Strong vs. Junk

                              Originally posted by Phil Lloyd View Post
                              Hey- THIS Sony thing do last:
                              MDRV6 headphones :D (i think mine i got in '88 ...and they are still the same price now
                              There are always new grammar Nazi's :rolleyes: It's ok, you shoudl see me in chat. I type WAY too fast here because I often am time limited. Most vets are use to understanding mike-speak.

                              Come on! They are headphones. A uuber comapny like sony woudl have to TRY and actually mess them up.

                              \\has Sony headphones
                              \\\MEH compared to the KOSS porta-pro's
                              \\\\Good enough for surfing youtube at night while the sane people in the house are sleeping.