When a product is developed the manufacture will test it to see how
long it takes for the product to fail. This testing is done in the
Research and Development phase of the products life span.
As the product
is tested the manufacture will get a baseline of how long the product will
Different products have the life time measured in different ways such as:
- A car will be measured in miles or kilometers that the car has been
- An aircraft will be measured in hours that the aircraft has flown.
Other products are also measured in hours such as:
- Small and large engine driven generators or compressors.
Also electronic devices such as:
- Hard drives
- Optical drives
- Tape drives.
On the other hand devices such as these are measured in years:
- Power supplies
You have to scratch your head and ask why some devices have an
hourly or mileage measurement and others are years?
One big reason: The
hourly/mileage measurement is because they have mechanical components.
Mechanical components have wear when they are in operation. The
heavier the wear the shorter the life time or Mean Time
Between Failure (MTBF) rate.
When a device is developed the manufacture
will test the device to failure, if the device doesn't meet the
manufactures base line MTBF then they re-evaluate the part that
failed and redesign or re-engineer that part to see if the time it
lasts can be extended.
Troubleshoot, repair, maintain, upgrade & secure...
A lot of great products
didn't make it to your local show room floor because the MTBF was too low
in comparison to the cost of producing the product and replacing parts on
failures under the warranty time.
statistic the manufacture will use is the quantity of the product has
been returned for repair under the warranty period versus the
total number of the product produced and sold to the public.
the product out lasts the warranty period and the number of
returns for repair or replacement are low then the MTBF will
I will use a mechanical device used in a computer, the
hard drive, for an example.
When Western Digital (WD) designed
the first small hard drive for the Personal Computer it was code
named the Winchester to throw off any other manufacture that was
also designing a small hard drive for Personal Computers such as
Seagate. (For those that have the
Self Computer Repair Unleashed 2nd Edition see page 278 for a
comparison of the original Winchester hard drive to a 2.5 inch laptop
The first version of the hard drive was for the
Research and Development departments of Western Digital and IBM.
The first known hard drive in a PC was with the IBM PC XT, the
original IBM PC had two floppy drives and the floppy drive at that
time had a MTBF of less than 1000 hours.
The WD Winchester hard
drive after two years of use in the IBM PC XT had a MTBF of a
little over 50,000 hours. To reach this
WD took the total
number of hard drives produced, divided that by the number
returned under warranty for a given period. The time period was
from the sell of the first hard drive to the end of the production
of the hard drive, about two years.
In actuality the original
Winchester hard drive lasted almost 100,000 hours. But because the
MTBF is based on the quantity vs. returns against the total
manufactured the base line will be lower.
With the newer storage
device called a SSD (Solid State Drive) the MTBF has gone to over
1.5 Million hours between failure. The reason that the SSD has
such a long life time is because it does not have any mechanical
parts, it is all electronic.
One of the factors that will cause
the MTBF to fall will be the design of the device, some new ideas
are coming into vogue lately that are causing more failures.
There have been ways to conserver energy in electronics for decades,
first introduced in the mid 1980's a concept called "Energy Star" that PC
manufactures and PC peripheral manufactures applied to their products.
The Energy Star intuitive was driven by manufactures that wanted
to help the consumer conserve energy and lower the cost of
ownership and operation of a PC or peripheral. It was not
politically driven, it was a way to sell more products. "Our PC
uses less electricity because _____." Fill in the blank.
newer hard drives have the politically driven "green" seal of
approval. These drives have a
MTBF of less than a 1000 hours.
All of the great work done by hard drive manufactures over the last
three decades to increase the MTBF has been decimated by a politically driven hoax.
When you go to purchase your next great product for your computer
or personal use maybe some research of the product will help, is
it a product designed and produced to help you or is it junk to
satisfy some activist motivated hoax?