About two years ago I bought a car adapter for my iPhone, enabling me to play my phone through my stereo. This car adapter is the inspiration for today’s post. Here is a photo:
Recently I have become more aware of planned obsolescence as I have been taking a Coursera course on entrepreneurship. While I had understood planned obsolescence to some degree prior to enrolling in the course (I mean, don’t we all say, “They don’t make things like they used to.”)? I really did not understand how purposeful and deliberate this is. In a day and age when items should be lasting longer, they are being designed to break at record speeds in the name of profits and capitalism – and at the expense of our environment and consumer pocketbooks.
Armed with this knowledge, I was not happy when my car adapter broke and I was determined to handle its potential demise in an eco-friendly, consummate consumer sort of way. My first instinct was to hit the car adapter, to see if that would “fix” it. Okay, you may be laughing, but admit it – you have used this approach on one or two televisions or computers in the past! I refrained, though I did wiggle it a bit. My partner said to me, “well, it is broken, we will need to buy another one or see if we still have another one lying around the house from when we used to have two cars.” While I would be happy to find said old car adapter lying around our house, I did not want to spend $15-$25 on a new car adapter – it seemed like such a waste. I know that this silly little adapter was designed to last about two years, so can I fight this and save money and add less to the electronic landfills?
So, I did something I like to do – I took it apart. When I did I found this:
This is a fuse, apparently they last about two years. I was sure this was the problem – if I could just go buy another fuse, then my car adapter would be fixed. Wow, I was SOOO proud of myself (yes, I really was). So I went to one hardware store looking for a fuse – they did not have one. I went to another. WHERE THE HE** DO I BUY A FUSE AROUND HERE? I had to go to find a specialty electric shop, and was told that they may not even have them. Wow, are you kidding me? This device was designed to last only two years, due to the fuse, which I cannot replace – because no one will carry them because the public normally throws away their devices and does not think to replace a fuse. Nice. Great way to save our planet for our children and grandchildren.
I was determined to fix this on my own so I set out in search of a shop that would have a fuse for me. I found the fuse at the third shop. I was so proud of myself – a 50 cent purchase that would save my car adapter! I HAD WON!!!! YEA!!!!!
Except, I hadn’t. The fuse replacement did not work, so then I decided to take the entire thing apart, hoping to find a loose wire. Except it did not come apart as easily as I had hoped it would. The black wire seemed to have been what had detached:
BUT I did not have a soldering iron and I needed to take it all apart in order to properly solder it together…… I thought I should look anyhow, so I did decide to take it apart. I needed to apply a bit of pressure…. actually, a LOT of pressure….. then I got a bit carried away…. and then this is what it ended up looking like:
…. and this:
… AND THIS!
Alas, I had succumbed to the realities of planned obsolescence – and lost an additional 50 cents at that!
I then went to our old electronic box and rescued the very old car adapter that used to be in my partner’s car – if it does not work when I plug it into my car in the morning, I think I will cry.
Today, 10 days ’til 40, I will continue to do what I can to not add to the landfills in our society and continue the fight against planned obsolescence.
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