Remote for 2002 Sienna still worked after nearly 12 years, same battery

When I bought my 2002 Sienna in 2001, it came with an add-on TRW alarm system. We were given two remotes, which I only use when that TRW fires off when it should not.

Today, I thought to take it to the weekly market. There is a clock guy there who told me he can replace remote batteries, and he did so with elegance.

That remote was clearly nearly 12 years old, and still worked when I tried it.

My wife’s did not work, but a new battery fixed it.

I changed mine at 5 years old for a few bucks whether they needed it or not. I also change the garage remotes every year. When its ten below out and you’re outside using the key pad to get in and the battery is dead, its worth a couple bucks just to keep fresh ones in.

Lithium batteries have a lifespan of 5-10 years in low current drain devices. It’s not unheard of nor unusual that you got 12 years out of one. Those smoke detectors that advertise a 10 year life where you never have to change a battery use a lithium battery.

I find it harder to believe, that a freezer that my parents bought sometime around 1960 and has been moved to 5 different houses still works w/o any repairs that I know of.

Read a letter some couple wrote to Whirlpool where they complemented us on our good, long lasting products. They had had the same washer and dryer for nearly 40 years and needed only a couple items fixed/repaired. They finally decided to upgrade to a brand new front load set and the only thing I could think of was that they were going to be disappointed.
Not badmouthing the company, but EVERYTHING being made today is basically disposable. From phones to TVs, can anyone envision keeping the same appliances for 20 years? 30 years? half a century? Would they even make parts for it after 10 years?

Well, a refrigerator should still last a good long time, though probably not as long as one from the 60s. A 1960s fridge had one moving part–the internals of the compressor, which is of course hermetically sealed. Modern fridges have multiple fans in the interior, and probably one for the condenser coils too. Plus ice maker, filtered water, a defrost timer, etc. All that adds complexity and more failure points. I’ve seen ones with a touch screen on the door—I’ll bet that gets use for about 6 months before people stop caring about it. But we don’t have to fill ice cube trays, defrost our freezers, worry about veggies not keeping well, etc.

Re. phones and TVs—not many people would want to keep the same ones for 20 years with advances improving them every few years. I do still have one CRT television that I bought in 1992 (which was a display model at the store), which is still going strong and I doubt will die before I get sick of it and recycle it. The 1976 Magnavox TV my parents had lasted 25 years with one picture tube replacement. I was trying to figure out how to bring my mother into the next generation of better television when she got sick and passed away. The washing machine I have today (I won’t get a front loader) seems no better or worse in reliability than the one we had when I was growing up. And a dryer is a pretty simple machine even now.

Did a 1960s television last 20 years? I doubt it. If so, did many people keep them into the 80s? Not likely. One family I grew up with hung on to their old tube (not solid state) Zenith consoles into the 1980s, but the picture definitely wasn’t on par with a newer TV, and they probably got rid of them because no one knew how to work on them any more. 1960s cars? Maybe, but with a lot more repairs and maintenance. I will say that very few homes, unless people pay for “premium” ones, seem to be built nearly as well as homes from a century ago.

Re. phones and TVs—not many people would want to keep the same ones for 20 years with advances
I just had to replace a cell phone that was about three years old. The display was reversed and read from right to left instead of left to right. It was becoming inconvenient to find a mirror when I wanted to use the cell phone. Of course, I was told that these cell phones aren’t repaired.
I still have a 1939 Hallicrafters S-20R shortwave receiver that still works. I am sure that if a tube burns out, a replacement would be difficult to find. My brother has a 1939 GE refrigerator in his garage that still works. He uses it as a backup in his apartment buildings if a tenant has a refrigerator that quits.
I have an LCD flat screen television that was repaired in my house under warranty. when I talked to the technician, he had no idea how the old CRT televisions worked. I kept my first black and white television going for years. I don’t think today’s consumer can even obtain the circuit boards for a flat screen television.

I feel for those who are in the tech field today; you’d never really ever get out of school, you’d just keep going back to learn about all the new stuff being made or getting ready to come out.

Not sure who is going to get the honor of removing my mom and step dad’s old TV, but I pity them.; a 32" crt tv can’t be light.

Stuff gets obsolete. We just got rid of our 23 year old Whirlpool washer and dryer. The new ones are art deco design and look like they’re from the 50’s. I’m sure it won’t last anywhere near 20 years though. OTOH, The new ones of the same grade were only $100 more than I paid 23 years ago, so something had to give. I bought a new TV for my home office to replace the picture tube one, and I’m amazed at all the additonal digital channels I now get. I don’t know when or what I paid for the old TV but I’m sure it was around the same price, and the new one is a lot lighter to throw in the trash when the time comes.

A few months ago our 18 year old dryer quit. I fix cars for a living, so how hard can a dryer be, right? One evening after dinner to disassemble and diagnose, got new parts the next day, another evening to repair, in addition freshened up the machine with a new belt and a couple of rollers. All told, had it fixed for $70 in parts and a couple hours of time. I expect it to last another 10 years or more. Some may say I’m cheap, but it’s fixed and works as designed and will probably last as long as if I had bought a new one.

A month later I find that the fridge has quit. My wife found a very nice one for $3500. I immediately went to work fixing this one. Second time I had to repair a 10 year old fridge. Meanwhile we were using the garage fridge, which is the one we bought 18 years ago and has never missed a beat.

About 5 years ago we bought a 55 inch flatscreen, had them come and mount it on the wall, and run wires for all the surround speakers, etc. My dad came to visit, looked at it in awe and asked how much we spent on that huge thing. I told him with installation it was 2 grand. He shook his head and marveled at how we spend money on things like TV. Now hold on dad, when I was a kid we had a big 25" Zenith console TV, remote control, Hi fidelity speakers, walnut cabinet.

“Yeah, I remember how proud I was of that. It was the top of the line, the newest model when I bought it, must have been 1966.”

“Do you remember how much you paid for that?”

“Yeah, it was $600. Saved for a while to buy it.”

“Uh huh, and how long did it take you to earn that $600 in 1966?”

“I think my salary was something like $160/week.”

“And we’re the ones spending a lot of money?”

We had a Dodge Caravan (2000 model, built in 1999) and the remotes still had the original battery when we sold it a few weeks ago.

Still using cellphones that are 4-8 years old. They are not “smart” so less chance to brake, but I see the writing on the wall with our phone plan being obsolete.

Quote @Tridaq "I don’t think today’s consumer can even obtain the circuit boards for a flat screen television."
Sure you can, and they are mostly easy to replace, Just plug and play. The TVs are considered to be junk when a power supply goes out. A new TV to replace mine would have been half of its new cost, but I didn’t toss it out. The honest TV technician recommended that I buy a new one. He doesn’t sell them. He charged nothing for his diagnosis of a bad power supply. I went to Best Buy’s website and bought a new power supply for $45 and put it in myself. That was almost a year ago. So far, so good.

Actually, they still make tubes, but I am guessing it is in Russia. They sell extremely expensive tube stereos, I mean like thousands of dollars. I helped my son-in-law fix a couple.

We had new techs come in direct from school, and they taught them nothing at all about tubes. In some cases, they got assigned to setting up CRT displays for the attack helicopters, and had no idea what they are dealing with.

A kid had one that didn’t work. I checked with a Triplett VOM, and told him to reject it back to the vendor with a shorted G2. He looked at me like I was speaking Swahili, and asked me how I knew what voltages were supposed to be. Hee, hee.

One reason new electronics cost so much less is they can make single chips replace a lot of components in old TVs, and they use robot assembly of the circuit boards, eliminating labor (and jobs.)

One thing I think is better are new cars. My old 2002 Sienna is by far the best car I have ever owned, bar none. I am not sure I want a newer one where you can’t just turn off the ignition and kill the motor instantly. I worked on too many complex computerized devices and saw too many major bugs to trust my life to drive by wire.

@MG McAnick–I am glad to know that replacement circuit boards are available. The problems I have had with my two flat screen televisions happened while the sets were under warranty. In each case, a technician was dispatched to our house and changed the circuit board. One technician replaced the board, checked out the set and was on his way in less than 15 minutes. The other technician changed a circuit board, checked out the set within 15 minutes and then played with our dog for half an hour. I was able to repair our tube type black and white television set and our tube type audio equipment. I haven’t had a problem with a flat screen television outside the warranty period and I am still using a solid state Sherwood receiver that I bought back in the late 1970s and it has never had a problem.

Speaking of tubes, I remember Rexall Drug used to have the old tube tester. Put the tube in the right socket and push the buttons. New tubes were a couple bucks. I’ve got an old 40’s floor model radio that was my Grandfathers. It still works but need to go over it and re-wire and so on. I had no idea tubes were still available but have no idea anymore how to test them.

Somewhere in mosts cities is a group of old radio lovers. You might have to hunt for them. Try Craigslist. I am sure there are still simple tube checkers out there.

I once owned a lot of old radio stuff. Before I retired, I called up a local collector and gave it all to him. I imagine it was worth hundreds of dollars.

It included a small suitcase tube checker, which, ahem, did not have tubes nor transistors in it. LIfe expectancy should be almost infinite, unless a transformer goes bad.

The hardest thing to find for an old radio would be the transformer. Of course, I haven’t been looking for some years now.

You can even replace the power supply tubes with modern semiconductor power diodes if you are not entering it in shows.

Do not ever leave an old radio collector alone with an old radio. I am not saying they are all thieves. But, I have seen too many who go to look at an old radio, and when the owner leaves the room for a second, disconnects something to disable the radio, thus driving down the selling price. I hate that.