Author Topic: Right To repair in Australia - Draft Report  (Read 428 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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Right To repair in Australia - Draft Report
« on: June 11, 2021, 04:05:26 am »
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Offline richnormand

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Re: Right To repair in Australia - Draft Report
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2021, 06:21:35 pm »
A step in the right direction. At least people are taking about it.

But it does not seem (unless I missed it) to address  manufacturers that "booby trap" the equipment so that damage occurs if you do not have the exact replacement or procedure. Tagged parts so replacement don't work with generic replacements (phone screen, cars, etc...).
Built-in unreasonable DRM, lots of example here from refrigerator water filters, coffee makers, washing machines etc... and ,for good measure, making it illegal to defeat that DRM.

False information by manufacturers about "safety" and fear mongering without any proof. Availability of the information to repair BUT at a reasonable price. After all they had to produce that information in the first place for their own authorised or in house repair people.

Also interesting on the comments that smaller items are not worth repairing BUT many more could be if third party parts were available at a good price without the "copyright" lawsuits. That point meshes well with the section about e-waste .

Here is a good (fiction...) example where we are going:
"Unautorised bread"

Repair, Renew, Reuse, Recycle, Rebuild, Reduce, Recover, Repurpose, Restore, Refurbish, Recondition, Renovate ==> RIGHT to REPAIR

Offline fzabkar

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Re: Right To repair in Australia - Draft Report
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2021, 06:33:05 pm »
A fair price for service manuals and circuit diagrams is $0, especially when they can be delivered via a PDF download from the manufacturer's web site. If East Germany was able to do it, so can we.

My reading of the draft report made me cynical. My overwhelming feeling is that the authors really cannot comprehend the magnitude and nature of the problem, and their comments seem to be too heavily skewed towards the manufacturers' interests. I doubt very much that any substantial progress will be made, or that the legal costs and other impediments will be reduced. Laws are worthless if the primary beneficiary is your lawyer.
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Offline Tomorokoshi

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Re: Right To repair in Australia - Draft Report
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2021, 09:41:06 pm »
That's a lot to work through. Comments on Figure 6.2 on Page 203 of the long report:

Figure 6.2 Examples of claimed planned obsolescence

Design prevents repairs or upgrades
• Using rare or proprietary screws that require specialist tools
- "Security" screws are endorsed in some cases by applicable safety standards.
- Disassembly may result in a malfunctioning unit that requires specialized fixtures for reassembly.

• Gluing, soldering or welding components together to prevent disassembly
- These are fast and durable methods of assembling pieces together. The alternative, screws, requires multiple additional parts and operations, and may not be compatible with automated assembly.

• Non-removable batteries
- Agree, if otherwise functional.
- Note how to deal with "Dallas" memories with built-in batteries.

• Sealing screws on washing machines to hinder repair
- Thread locker materials like Loctite are endorsed to prevent screws from loosening during operation. Washing machines in particular tend to have operating modes that work well to loosen screws.

Limiting access to spare parts
• Restricting or discontinuing supply of parts for electronic devices
- It's hard enough these days to get modern parts for production. Maintaining a stock of replacement parts is costly. It may be impossible to get new parts used for the sub-assemblies.
- The programming methods for old assemblies are lost to failed programmers and computers, loss of personnel, etc.

Software reduced performance
• Releasing software updates that slow down older smart phones
- Feature upgrades often require additional memory and processing bandwidth and capacity.

• Discontinuing software updates
- Software engineering resources are limited, and are generally allocated to upcoming or existing production. Only limited capacity is available to update older product lines.

• ‘Software doping’ that prevents products from functioning with third-party spare parts or refills
- Business cases often trade appliance initial revenue for continuing consumables revenue.

• Programming printers to shut down after a certain number of prints
- Agree, if otherwise functional.

Design includes structural weaknesses
• Appliances and white goods made with low quality materials
- Market demand has strong price signals.
- High quality materials are often more expensive.
- Use-cases may not always be completely explored by the manufacturer.

• Thermal fuse placed to cause overheating
- It is unclear what this statement means. An illustration would be instructive.
-- Thermal fuses are placed such that overheating failure modes force a shutdown of the system.

• Electrical cables wear under normal use
- It is unclear what this statement means. An illustration would be instructive.
- That said, Apple is notorious for failed USB cables.
- That said, replacements are not that reliable either.

Limiting compatibility across products
• Changing connections of chargers and peripherals for electronic devices
- Maintaining the same connector that supports multiple voltages may cause safety or damage issues unless both the load and the supply are guaranteed to be compatible with each other.
- That said, it would be nice if otherwise similar chargers used the same connector.

• Changing page references when textbooks are updated
- Is the alternative to encounter incorrect references?

Restricting refurbish and resale
• Requesting online sales platforms to remove ‘unauthorised’ sellers of refurbished phones
- It may be that quality can't be guaranteed. Distribution channels are often authorized for several reasons, including:
-- Maintaining a business relationship between the manufacturer and the distributor.
-- Enforcing sales territory which generally includes a responsibility on the distributor for services.

• Forcing recyclers to shred old phones and laptops rather than reuse
- There may be personal data liability issues.

Offline MIS42N

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Re: Right To repair in Australia - Draft Report
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2021, 10:59:20 am »
Subject dear to my heart. I will try to repair anything myself if I think I can. Access to manuals is key. One printer I wanted to repair, I eventually found the repair manual published on a Zimbabwe website. I have a dishwasher that failed. First time I tossed up if I should buy all the parts I thought could be a problem, or get a repairman. The repairman cost $5 more than all the parts. Second time I looked at gumtree to  see if I could buy a donor machine, there was one for free, destined for the tip if nobody took it. With the appropriate repair manual I was able to build a good one from two dead ones and score a few spares. The problem both times was cockroaches invading the electronics - a case of bad design and now those parts are covered with fiberglass fly wire there's been no further problem. At the time I was wondering if one could claim 'not fit for purpose', I'm confident my kitchen is not the only one that had cockroaches (no longer, cross fingers).

One proposal I saw was that the government give guidelines to what is a reasonable lifetime for an item. I think a better idea is the manufacturer publish their own figures that are legally enforceable. Vehicles are now warranted for extended periods by the manufacturers, and that influences buyers. I'd buy a phone for a hundred dollars more if it had a guaranteed lifetime a few years longer than a competitor's phone. Also it would combat the fear tactic of selling maintenance contracts to old ladies that may not be worth the paper. Pay for 8 years then when it does break be told the parts are no longer available. Try getting back the useless last few years payments.

So: manuals and parts available as soon as a warranty runs out (I think it fair the manufacturer have the right to repair until then). But have legislation to recompense for losses incurred by failures within the warranty period. Having a vehicle in for a warranty repair is sometimes a costly inconvenience.

Same for unlock codes. I have what I assume is a perfectly good unused PVR because it was provided as part of a contract but not needed. The unlock code was only available while the original contract was in place, it has now expired. Technically it remained the property of the provider, but it is now superseded and they just trash them if they are returned. I shall probably disassemble it to use the power supply and 1Tbyte hard disk. What a waste.

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