Why your ability to repair a tractor can be a matter of life or death | John Notting

IIt was one of the few happy news to come out of the war in Ukraine. Russian thieves with the undoubted help of Russian troops, He stole 27 pieces of John Deere’s farm equipment, worth approximately $5 million, from an agency in Melitopol. The kit was shipped to Chechnya, where the scammers were waiting for a nasty surprise. Their shiny new cars became, overnight, the world’s heaviest paperweight: the dealer they stole from them remotely “knocked out” them, using the built-in “lock key”.

No doubt, this news made the hearts of many Westerners warm. But it would only have elicited hollow laughs from the farmers in the US who are John Deere’s customers and very angry, because although they have paid small fortunes (apparently up to $800,000) for the company’s machines, they are unable to service or repair them when they make mistakes. These behemoths are no longer purely mechanical devices, but rely on plenty of electronic control units (ECUs) to power everything from the air conditioning to the driver’s seat to the engine. Intensive care units run software necessary to operate, maintain, and repair the equipment. but only John Deere has access to this computer code Without an in-house technician, the tractor’s software wouldn’t even recognize (let alone allow) replacement parts from another manufacturer.

So what happens when your tractor develops an error? You can’t go to your local garage, so you have to call a John Deere agent and wait for them to send in a technician – at their convenience, not you. Vice motherboard shaft has an extension Interesting story about how to implement it. Missouri farmer Jared Wilson discovered that the air conditioner in his tractor cabin was flooded when he was about to plant a soybean crop. The tractor was running, but it would be hot in the cab, a closed glass sauna over a huge hot engine in the heat of a Missouri spring. So call your local John Deere agent and request an appointment. The manager told him he wasn’t a “profitable customer,” he says, which he saw as a veiled threat.

Now why would that be? Wilson turns out to be a very vocal critic of John Deere and a strong advocate for the “legal right to reform”. for him Evidence To the Missouri House of Representatives when it was considering a bill to provide this right was a sight to behold.

Wilson eventually filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about the dispute, which may explain why his local agent then found out he wanted his business after all. The last thing a giant American company needs right now is to have the Federal Trade Commission chaired by Lina Khan Close attention to its business practices.

It is right to be concerned. Last July, the Federal Trade Commission They voted unanimously To pursue policies that would make it easier for people to fix their things. Khan said the kinds of restrictions imposed by John Deere can “dramatically raise costs for consumers, stifle innovation, close jobs for independent repair shops, create unnecessary electronic waste, delay timely repairs and undermine resilience.” She vowed to press the issue forward with “renewed vigor”.

This power will be needed because there is a huge industry lobby dedicated to resisting – or slowing down – legislation to provide the right to reform. Weapons of choice for lobbyists include intellectual property law, trade secrets, consumer safety, and competition issues. What they ignore is the inconvenient fact that planned obsolescence is a bedrock of the consumer electronics industry. apple We should release a new iPhone every year (we’re now 13th, although the iPhone 6 is still a perfectly working device). And the aesthetics of modern design in this market place very low priority on recycling or sustainability.

This isn’t just about consumer electronics or even farmers’ rights by the way, as we found out during the first panicked months of the pandemic. Then, hospitals urgently needed to repair or maintain vital medical equipment, but found that sometimes manufacturers would not provide special repair manuals or provide spare parts. In March 2020, for example, an Italian hospital was unable to obtain valves for its propellers from its manufacturer. Volunteers Designed and 3D printed 100 replacements at a cost of a dollar each. In normal times, these engineers might have been sued by the manufacturer for violating its intellectual property rights. So sometimes the right to repair isn’t just an eccentric obsession but a matter of life and death.

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