Distortion on Receive

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by K0OKS, Aug 10, 2021.

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  1. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    How many hams in 1946 would have said "I'll pay extra for this radio because it will still be working in 75 years."?

    Answer: None, If they could have bought a modern-to-us solid state radio, they would have done so in a heart beat. :)
  2. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Almost nothing sold these days is intended to be repaired. The manufacturers don't want you to even try to fix it. Ever notice how many "consumer" (I hate that term) items are put together with "tamper-proof" screws? Over the years I have accumulated an array of special drivers to engage screws on stuff of mine I had to fix: Torx screws with a little tit in the middle of the hole to force you to use a hard-to-find hollow-tip driver, 3-point "Phillips" screws, triangular drivers, etc. It's not unusual for electronic gadgets to have the identifying markings deliberately ground off ICs and transistors, or in some cases the whole board may be encased in epoxy so you can't get at any of the components to test it, let alone repair it. Of course, there's the infamous "no user serviceable parts inside" warning label on almost everything.
  3. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    To your point, we just threw out a 42" LCD television, about ten years old, that was at my Mother-in-Law's place. It is on constantly, and one day simply crapped out. The replacement, same size, brand new, was $139 at one of the big box chain stores. Great picture, probably good for another ten years we can hope. There's no way I could troubleshoot, or pay to have someone repair, the old television, for that kind of money. Sad, throwaway approach.
  4. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    About a month ago or so, the Keurig coffee machine, one of those things that uses the K cups which in my opinion, are a real ripoff, crapped out. This was at a running shoe store here in town that I frequent. It's a commercial office machine; not one of the $100 home use jobs, so I asked if they'd let me try to repair it and the store managers let me take it back to my shop. I never planned to keep it because I'm too cheap to buy K cups all the time. I figured I'd either fix it and return it, or return it busted so they could dispose of it.

    From the beginning, it was blatantly obvious the manufacturer did not want anyone repairing those things. There was nothing official on line about them, other than manufacturer instructions to return it if it failed (it was long out of warranty). Lots of social media forums with posts from people complaining about their Kurigs lasting around 3 years before they'd have to put them in landfills and getting new ones. What's that doing for the environment? It had screws hidden under plastic caps that had to be drilled out. Even then, the plastic panels were ingeniously clamped together so the seams were hard to find. After a lot of google searching I found one paragraph buried somewhere on-line from some guy who described the trick to getting into that particular model. I finally got to the logic board (like everything today, it was loaded with chips) which was hidden under a plastic cover inside, and found two bad power supply electrolytics. I replaced them and the machine came to life. I put it back together and they're using it at the store. But the manufacturer seemed to do everything short of potting the board in epoxy, to keep people out of it. Maybe they'll do that next.

    Then there are macs. I had a mac mini I bought in 2008. After a few years, the internal fan started running full blast all the time. The temp. sensor and/or chip that interfaced with the sensor crapped out. I busted the plastic case apart with a wood chisel. Inside I found the DC line to the fan. I spliced into that, an Ohmite 50 watt 2K w.w. pot. It was about 4 inches diameter. I booted up the machine and adjusted the pot for an acceptable fan speed and ran that machine for the next 3 or 4 years. I would have loved to have had Steve Jobs look at it. That guy was responsible for more aesthetically pleasing but functionally disastrous case designs than anyone.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
    WA3VJB likes this.
  5. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    We are way off-topic regarding "Distortion on Receive," but I bet many people are nodding at these stories of planned obsolesence.

    Two weekends ago, I suspected I would have to go out and buy a new push mower, because the one I've got is about 15 years old with many, many miles on it. Yes, I know it's a simple matter to rebuild the carb to mitigate damage caused by corn in street gas, but I also realize the limits to a single cylinder 4hp Briggs & Stratton, that's asked to cut about 6 linear miles of grass regularly. But, I thought maybe I could both get a new mower and have the repair shop at a farm & feed store fix the old one up as a spare.

    The family farming community might be among the last where people try to make the most out of their implements and resources. That's the constituency of the Southern States store where I shop. So their repair shop is accustomed to sorting out old engines, and mine was no exception. Fellow took a look, pulled the rope, said there's plenty of compression and no rust on the deck, and that he has a good carb he can rebuild which came off a rusted-out mower that had been junked.

    Amazing! There was a two-fold payoff here. The "old" mower is back to full power. The new mowers I looked at are horrible, with all kinds of mandated safety "features' that destroy good function. And the engines are made in China, against poor quality control and manufacturing tolerances. Best $250 I ever saved.

    So, there's a story of victory over the kind of throwaway mentality we otherwise encounter.
  6. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    What does this have to do with AM?
    I was told in the past, maybe by you to stop posting about non AM things here.
    Does Keurig make AM equipment?
    Maybe start a hard to repair forum?

    W8KHK and WA3VJB like this.
  7. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Brett, if it helps, I once used the lawn mower to help clear the frequency.
    K4KYV, W3SLK and W8KHK like this.
  8. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are correct and I apologize. My post is more appropriate for the topic potpourri elsewhere on QRZ.
  9. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Planned obsolescence applies just as much to radios with distorted audio, as it does to lawnmowers and coffee machines that have crapped out. How many modern-day receivers come with pictorials and a schematic, have no proprietary components inside, and come in a case that's easy to take apart and put back together undamaged? And by the time it needs repair, chances are a chip or transistor or two that was available on the open market when it was made, will have been "discontinued" by the manufacturer.

    I had once entertained the idea of acquiring an Optimod audio processor after hearing some on-air demonstrations of their effectiveness, but I have heard numerous complaints about how the company eventually ends support for their ageing products and that much of the circuitry is proprietary. I don't want any piece of equipment in my ham station that I can't fix myself, or even worse, that can't be fixed period.
    W3SLK likes this.
  10. KE9U

    KE9U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Paul, I've fixed a few of those for friends who didn't want to spend for a new one. They few I've looked at, it's cheap underpowered electrolytics. You can't miss them, they're domed pretty good. Couple of bucks for parts, $20 labor for beer money :)
    OH, on topic, zero beating isn't hard to do, but breaking up is, according to Neil Sedaka.

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