Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sudden death

I don't know what's going on with items in the Tom household lately, but things have been breaking with an intensity not seen in a long time.  Here is a list (possibly partial list) of things that have died in the last little bit.

  • A D-Link DSL modem.  This piece of hardware abruptly died Monday this week.  The modem has been in use between one and two years.  I'm renting a DSL moden from the phone company that I haven't sent back yet.  And boy, I'm glad I still had it.  Because when the D-Link DSL modem croaked, I was back up because I had a spare.  I bought a replacement DSL modem, but I need a back-up/spare before I can send the Actiontec modem back to the phone company.  That may be a while.  In the mean time, the rent is cheaper than the cost of the potential down time.
  • A D-Link eight port gigabit switch.  I've had this one for a while and I was surprised that it died.  One day I heard a pop noise, but I didn't realize where it came from.  Everything seemed to work just fine.  Then a day or two later the switch just died.  When I felt the power supply, it was really hot.  So I unplugged it.  I suspect the popping noise came from the power supply and it probably toasted my switch.  I had a port die on the switch several months before it completely died, so it was probably on its last legs.  I suspect I've had this for five or six years.  I had a spare, but since I'm now using my spare, I don't have a backup.  So I need to eventually replace this before I actually need it.
  • A Panasonic over the range microwave oven.  Manufactured sometime in 2004.  I think the magnetron (the piece that makes the microwaves) is going out on it.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn't.  The symptoms for nonfunctioning is the oven will run for about 3 seconds and then abruptly stop.  I never loose power.  (I had the loose power problem just over a year with this microwave.  That was an undersized fuse in the thing going out which was replaced for $100.00....)  It will run and stop after just a few seconds.  Bleh!
  • An Asus A7V266-E motherboard.  This motherboard was purchased around the time of September 11, 2001 to replace my ancient Pentium (yes, plain Pentium) based system that I put together several years earlier.  This is the first motherboard of my first system that I've ever build.  And since then, I've built all the rest of my computers.  This particular motherboard uses an old 486 style CPU fan to cool the VIA northbridge.  The fan on the northbridge finally puked on me.  I looked for a replacement CPU fan from that fan manufacturer, but because it is so old, they no longer make the CPU fan.....  While this isn't a recent failure, it is a failure nontheless.  And while I'm moaning about failures, I might as well add this one in here.  Yeah, the system is ancient, nearly 9 years old.  But you know what?  It still worked and ran.  And when you are using old hardware for a home PC lab, you'll take just about anything.  Like watching an old friend on life support die.  Painful.  But sometimes you have to literally pull the plug.
  • OfficeMax chair.  What the heck?  Why are you adding a chair?  That's not electronic.  Because the chair lasted about a year before giving me problems.  I suffered with it for about four to six months and finally, I had it.  So I went and bought another chair.  This new chair is OK, but it makes my tailbone hurt.  You never win, do you?
  • Bosch dish washer:  The motor/pump on this thing went out.  Less than one year old.  And it started acting up six to eight months after we bought it.  The freakin' pump went out!!  What the heck?!?  Thank goodness the unit was still under warranty and we got the pump replaced for free.  But why did that go out after such a short amount of time?
I'm sure I've got more stuff that's died on me, but this is what I can remember.  The thing that ticks me off is that you pay good money for stuff and then it breaks on you.  For example, the microwave.  I think I paid something around $400 for that fine piece of electronicness.  And all I get is six years of service out of it?  And the dishwasher?  Not even a year and the motor/pump goes out.  What's up with that, eh?

The fan on the motherboard.  I see that happening.  I just wish Asus would have used a different method to cool the northbridge than using an electric fan.

The chair.  OK, maybe that's a hint that I'm fat and I should go on a diet.  But the chair should have lasted longer.

The switch and the DSL modem:  Can you say, "No moving parts"?  How this stuff died is beyond my comprehension.  Other than the fact that D-Link used crap parts when they made their equipment; parts that are cheap to keep costs low.  When you make stuff using low end components, you're asking for trouble.  I'm sure D-Link engineers their stuff to get it through the warranty period, but who knows how long beyond that period of time?  I once heard that hard drives are engineered to last three or maybe five years.  After that, they fail.  So make backups of that important information before it is lost.

So what's next?  Well, I suppose that my hot water heater is the next item on the watch list.  My current hot water heater is 9 years old.  I had the thermostat on it replaced on it two years ago because it was leaking gas.  I've been told if you get more than six years out of your hot water heater, you're doing good.  So this one should die any time.

So what caused all this failure?  Was it all just crappy design?  Or was it sun spots?  Or is it the radon gas in my basement?  Who knows what is causing the failures in my house.  Stuff just happens.  Nothing lasts forever.  And it is disappointing to pay good money to have things wear out and die after just a few short years.

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