Circuit Boards

Why is it that things like washing machines and boilers seem to suffer wit circuit board failures - yet they are relatively simple and are in a fairly stable environment. Cars. on the otherhand have very complex on-board systems coping with high speed signals and widely varying conditions - yet they seem to be incredibly reliable.
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On 19/08/16 16:58, DerbyBorn wrote:

Better built and better specced. Early car electronics were dire.
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On 19/08/16 17:02, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Yes. I had the misfortune to have a Volvo 480ES, which had a CEM (Central Electronic Module), the equivalent of a convenience/body control ECU in today's cars. A nightmare, madly built, unreliable. Mind, that applied to the body and mechanics too, not just the electronics.
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Pretty well the first EFI car in the UK was the Rover Vitesse. Nominally a Lucas system, but based on Bosch and uses lots of Bosch parts. The ECU is pure Lucas - and actually pretty reliable in terms of failing. The main snag with the system was production variations. Even when new, some cars performed very much better than others.
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On 19/08/2016 16:58, DerbyBorn wrote:

It'll be simply that the car ones are built better. It costs a bit more to do so, but a) they have to be because of the expected life and conditions they're operated on, b) on something which costs 10K there's more money available, and c) a manufacturer which skimped would soon get a terrible reputation - people complain a lot more about their cars not working than their washing machines.
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Well washing machines pcbs get shaken a lot don't they, they also seem to suffer issues of solder joints going dry on mains carrying parts. My suspicion is they are not made very well in the first place with lead free solder that is mostly crap. In cars, much of the kit is better made and housed at least the sensitive stuff is as its a higher value product and people would expect it not to go wrong for both safety reasons and of course reliability. Washing machines seem to have an accepted official life of no more than 7 years or so these days, though many do last longer of course. Brian
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Cheapest components? Car electronics are in a hostile environment and are expected to have a decent life. Components specified for the odd voltage spike you get in cars, rather than the absolute minimum in a more controlled environment.
So saying, the PCB in my Viessmann boiler is beautifully made. As well it might be at a spare part price of 500 quid. ;-)
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[Snip]
and, of course, for the very large temperature swing
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On 8/19/2016 5:57 PM, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Hope it fairs better than my Baxi Barcelona .... gas maintenance have changed 5 boards out in past 3 weeks ... even changed both boards at same time on one visit.
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rick wrote:

iv’e had a Baxi Barcelona in a rented house for 13 years and only needed to repair it once. ( christ what have said touches wood, lucky rabbits foot) preventive maintenance, change spark electrode every year and check combustion chamber seals. "gas maintenance" are mostly plumbers who only seem to know how to change a circuit board
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Perhaps they need to find out what's *actually* wrong?
We had a similar (though not as extreme) problem with our boiler which turned out to be due to a badly sited automatic bleed valve above the boiler leaking water into the boiler. The "engineer" completely failed to spot this.
Tim
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That was the problem with my Viessmann. A hose at the top of the boiler - between the heat exchanger and copper pipework - split, and soaked the spark unit and gas valve. But was pretty obvious. ;-)
The exploded view of the boiler in the installation booklet didn't show this hose - just a solid pipe - so it was presumably a mod on later boilers, perhaps to reduce noise.
I've just got rid of my '97 BMW and that never had a coolant system hose replaced in its life, so it's possible to make such things last more than the few years this one did. Or to have some form of shield to deflect water away from electrical bits.
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On 21/08/2016 11:08, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

I got rid of my 1997/8 Astra F estate last year and it never let me down after 13 years of motoring.
Apart from replacing both front wishbones when the rubber/metal joints failed (design flaw) that was it. Nothing ever failed and left me stranded. Had all its original hoses and drive belt for the alternator, PS and air-con. The ford garage I bought it from in 2003 put new disks and pads on and new tyres all round. The rears still had 6 mm of tread when I sold it after 40,000 miles.
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We need "Boiler Technicians" Not "Plumbers" or "Gas Fitters". They need to understand the control logic and the interlocks.
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On 21/08/16 16:28, DerbyBorn wrote:

trouble is, after all the training they can earn more fixing something more expensive
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They are reasonably easy to fault find, start up goes flow sensor ok > fan running ok > spark ign on ok > gas valve opens > flame detected ok: it working.
Lockouts, will not attempt to start flow temp thermostat fan thermostat safety thermostat condenser trap full
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.....but usually - It isn't working, I'll change the PCB!
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On 19/08/2016 16:58, DerbyBorn wrote:

Well for some value of "incredibly". According to the AA etc over half of all breakdown calls they get are caused by electrical faults.
In both cases, of course, the manufacturers want the device to fail after a few years, ideally after the guarantee has expired so you buy a new one. Sometimes they get their timing wrong, of course.
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Failing computer boards cost me ?2000 in repairs on my last car (Citroen). I've gone for a car made in a different country now, in the hope that the boards won't be made in the same factory.
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Input or output devices could cause the board to fail!
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