They said that about Japan in 1960. That nation then went on to hand
Europe and the US their butts in the manufacturing of optics,
electronics, and so forth.
Quality is not just a data point. It is a curve with the y-axis being
price and the x-axis being quality. The curve rises asymptotically as
you move to the right. The question is not "is it high quality?" The
more usual question is, "Is it high enough quality for the desired
task at hand AND is it worth the asking price?" Sometimes the quality
you need justifies asymptotic costs - say when life support is
involved. At other times a fairly low level of quality is all you need
or are willing to pay for - say a tool you will only use once to solve
a specific problem.
There are many examples of very successful companies and industries
that learned how to manufacture "good enough" technology for some
purpose. Microsoft is a great example of this. There were far better
technologies around when Microsoft first entered the desktop OS
business. But Microsoft figured out how to commoditize it at a price
people could live with. Was it "high quality"? No, but it was "good
enough" quality for the overwhelming majority of people and a
multi-billion dollar industry (and company) was born.
That said, my experience for most tools is that saving money is a
false economy. Good tools tend to last for the lifetime of the owner -
or at least a very long time. Short term savings end up biting you in
the hindquarters later on when you have to buy a replacement tool.
Incidentally, I'd argue that the Japanese are very much on par with
the Europeans for many classes of tools these days. A Mitutoyo digital
caliper is every bit the equal of a Brown & Sharpe for considerably
less money, for example.
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
Au Contraire - they make VERY reliable cars. You can rely on them to
make trouble when they are most needed.
That said, one of the least troublesome cars I ever owned - and the
price was definitely right on top of it all, was a 1972 Vauxhaul Viva
HC - sold in Canada as the Pontiac Firenza. I bought it for $250 in
1979 when it was traded for a new Lada
It took the typical British "fondling it's nuts" on a semi-regular
basis, but the only breakdown I suffered with it was when the timing
belt broke heading south out of Sydney Nova Scotia - fixed at the side
of the road - and the regulator died the next day just North of
On Wed, 16 Dec 2009 15:58:17 -0800, Too_Many_Tools wrote:
Yes, but my point is that there are times you *can't* pay for quality. My
fridge/freezer is over 30 years old and still going - but I don't think I
could walk into any modern appliance store and say "sell me a fridge
that'll still be going in 2039".
It may still be operating, but at what efficiency?
There were some 1,000 watt mercury lamps on life test.
The rated life of the lamp was 20,000 hours.
Lamp was still operating after 20+ years of 24/7 service; however, the
light output was less than 5% of initial output.
Your reefer may be in the same mode.
On Wed, 16 Dec 2009 19:44:15 -0800, Lew Hodgett wrote:
Yes, I'm sure it's not good... but then for 7 months of the year up here
whatever losses it has are still going into the house as useful heat
anyway (and I don't run aircon in summer, so it's not like I'm using more
power to combat the inefficiency then either).
I did try estimating how much power it was using once (based on monthly
bills and the other stuff that we have running), and it wasn't that bad at
all; in terms of the difference in running costs between it and a new
fridge, I figured that a new replacement would have to run for at least
ten years before it paid for itself. Having seen the way most things are
engineered to a price these days, a decade might be asking a
little much :(
Consider this, and my comparison is not an even one but you may want to look
at other appliances also.
I have been keeping records on a spread sheet of my electricity usage and
cost in the same house for the last 21 years.
I replaced the original central AC & heating in 1995, it was 14 years old.
I am still using that replacement central AC & heating system 15 years
later. From 1988 till 2003 my average monthly usage has been from 1214 Kwh
to 1456 Kwh. The graph goes up and down, up and down.
Beginning in 2004 my average usage has almost gone flat. 1347 in 2004,
1348 in 2005, 1335 in 2006, 1334 in 2007, 1184 in 2008. and so far in 2009
with one month to go 1297. The big drop in 2008 was because we lost
electricity for 11 days because of Hurricane Ike.
I replaced my electric water heater early in 2004. Looking at the
efficiency label on the old water heater and comparing to the new $300 water
heater installed by me, I determined that it would pay for itself in less
than 2 years. I have saved about 1300 Kwh per year since. Electricity has
cost me approximately 13 cents per Kwh on average. I have been saving about
$169 per year since 2003 after replacing the water heater. Including the
cost of the new water heater I have saved $700 in electricity over the last
Does your utility offer discount rates for an electric hot water
heater that operates only during off peak hours?
When my dad built our house in 1947, he installed a 100 gallon tank
for 3 people that only operated at night.
We always had hot water heated by low cost electricity.
On Thu, 17 Dec 2009 08:28:12 -0800, Lew Hodgett wrote:
Yes, that's how ours is... water heater, clothes dryer and baseboard heat
all load-controlled on off-peak. The 30yr old fridge is probably
responsible for a good proportion of our monthly "non off-peak" bill
(along with the TV and the electric stove).
Our water heater's got one of those stickers on it which claims it's
quite high in terms of efficiency - but it's also quite old (albeit
descaled earlier this year) so newer ones probably do better. I
thought about insulating it more, but the outside surface gets barely warm
anyway - plus like with the fridge anything it loses as heat is doing
useful work for more than half the year. Maybe there is a case
for putting it on a timer just during the summer months; we usually
end up using all the hot in an evening, and there's probably no point
having it maintaining water heat all night long...
Not yet! Before deregulation in TX I participated in a pilot program with
our only source for electricity. In 1995 they installed the fancy
programmable/hooked up to a modem central air thermostat. They also
installed a switch on the WH that was controlled by the central air
thermostat. During the Summer months I paid as little as 2.4 cents at
night, 3.4 cents in the late mornings, 12 cents in the afternoon and 6.5
cents early evening. Summer weekends an all Winter long never over 6.5
cents. The thermostac would control "what worked when" and inside
temperatures according to pricing tiers during the day and to what I decided
should be done at those points. Daily the thermostat would read the digital
electric meter and "phone home" the information concerning my usage. At any
time I could see how many KWh I had used for the day, week, and month. I
cold also see what the electricity had cost me for those time periods and a
projected estimated bill for the month. I LOVED IT!
I have not seen any thing like it since. However over the next 10 years the
Utility company is going to replace all the electric meters with digital
ones, like I had 15 years ago. Perhaps then I can get back on a plan.
I basically had the same set up except I told the WH to come on at 8:pm and
run for 3 hours and again at 5:00 am and run for 1 hour. That worked out
PGE recently replaced our analog meter with a digital one. So far it does
not 'phone home' to me and I only look at it when taking out the trash, but
the odd thing is my usage dropped by about ten percent since they put it in.
No changes at all in appliances or usage. I'm becoming very suspicious that
a faulty analog meter or reader's eyeballs have been charging me an extra
ten percent for years.
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