[CS-FSLUG] How Apple makes products difficult -- and expensive -- to repair

davidm at hisfeet.net davidm at hisfeet.net
Sat Nov 3 11:30:08 CDT 2012

In this connection, I'm trying to get some old cell phones working to be
useable as mp3 players as 'give aways' to Indian people. (Put a New
testament or other gospel material on it in an Indian language, and give
it to an illiterate family to take home with them.) Problem is replacing
the batteries: They are often not available, or very expensive.

Soldering connections to the old connectors is difficult, because they are
'laid in plastic' which melts as soon as you tryn to solder to the metal
against it.  I'm thinking of a gelatinous, conductive glue. Does such a
thin exist? and if it doesn't any ideas how to use existing materials to
get the same results?

David McMullen

> Heh heh.  As a missionary, I have also pulled apart a lot of stuff to
> fix.  I am sure I am nowhere near as experienced in field repair as
> David McMullen is,  but I do know a bit about pulling things apart
> and fixing it.
> I think the key to the complaint is that they are talking about
> "devices."  When I am pulling apart a cellphone or mp3 player, the
> more "device-like" they are, the more they are designed to be thrown
> away.  Most computers, on the other hand, are designed for longer
> lifetimes and more upgrade potential.
> If you look at netbooks, you will find that a surprising number of
> them are non upgradable.  Usually the drive is removable in some
> manner or other, but lots of them have the RAM soldered into them.
> This is just one of the many issues I have with the current trend
> towards device-ifying the workplace.  The BYOD (Bring Your Own
> Device) philosophy that many organizations are stepping into, where
> people bring their own iPad, netbook, or whatever, and plug it into
> the corporate network, has so many issues with it.  I think it is a
> place that the workforce will go to for a bit, but hopefully quickly
> revert back from.
> Anyway... Getting off the old soapbox...
> It is not just Apple who does this.  Most "devices" are being made to
> be a lot less repairable, simply because it is often much more
> expensive overall to make them that way.  The vendors for many of
> these things would prefer that the device be replaced every year or
> so instead of remaining around for 5 or 6 years.  I have some
> household appliances that my grandfather left for me when he died.
> Some of these things are 25+ years old and are still going strong.
> I can see both sides.  A 25-year old cellphone would be, what, the
> size of a shoe-box?  I helped someone upgrade their DSL connection
> from a 128k modem to a 1.5MB connection.  Yes, 128K.  The phone
> company was trying to figure out how to force the upgrade because
> they only had one techie who was old enough to know how to maintain
> the equipment needed to keep that old monster running.  The
> organization was spending over $120 a month for their connection, and
> upgrading them to 1.5 MB cost them $50 a month because it was using
> main-stream equipment  / functionality.
> Anyway.  It is not just Apple.  Most vendors do it in one form or
> other, especially on the "devices".  :)
> On 11/2/2012 8:32 PM, Fred A. Miller wrote:
>> How Apple makes products difficult -- and expensive -- to repair
>> <http://ct.zdnet.com/clicks?t=1157373632-f09aff1f3240c763b781087d83996fa3-bf&brand=ZDNET&s=5>
>> Gallery: In recent years, Apple has attracted a lot of criticism
>> for making devices that are difficult to repair, and complicated to
>> recycle. Let's take a look at why.
>> <http://ct.zdnet.com/clicks?t=1157373633-f09aff1f3240c763b781087d83996fa3-bf&brand=ZDNET&s=5>
>> --
>> Socialism is to communism as seduction is to rape. -- George Putnam.
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