Jesus 'n Jim

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How long stuff lasts


see this forum post on this subject.

general rule about electronics

commercial electronics generally last no longer than 10 years of continuous operation. I have learned this from the field

how long computer and electronics-relates items last
item lasts
dvd recorder's optical drive 50,000-100,000 hours. warrantied for 1 year. Ours lasted for 2 years and after this we noticed that it pauses a lot by itself on a good disc. If it starts rejecting a lot of brand-new DVDRW's, chances are you need to take your DVD recorder back to the store for a replacement or you need a firmware upgrade. 50,000hrs/24hrsperday/365.25daysperyear=5.703years=5years8.4months. 100,000hrs=11.408years=11years4.9months
computer optical drive rated for 50,000-100,000 hours which is about 5-11 years of avg use usually 5. warrantied for 1 year. supposed to last 2 years if environment is not dusty. If really dusty environment, can be 3 months. However, my Philips DVD burner lasted 4 years (my computer is on my desk, not on the floor, and my room is relatively dust-free) and was still working when I took out of machine. 50,000hrs/24hrsperday/365.25daysperyear=5.703years=5years8.4months. 100,000hrs=11.408years=11years4.9months. mother's dvd player bought in 2004 started acting up in 2007-2008 (3-4 years). see article on lifespan of laser (old vs. new)
see article on MTBF of laptop optical drive 50,000-75,000 hours.
keyboard $5 keyboard:3-6 months usually, $60 keyboard 5 years usually, for desktop keyboards. Solutions: replace keyboard (with power unplugged). on a laptop this costs $200-$259. or, plug in a USB keyboard and don't use the laptop keyboard anymore - use the laptop like a desktop. my choice would be a mechanical keyboard.
computer's power supply ball bearing fan fails after ? years (had mine since 2004, one since 1990).these should be oiled once in a while and the fan and PSU (and computer) should be kept clean using canned air.
sleeve bearing fan fails after 3-6 months and will make whining and growling noises (cheap PSU's). good 80 plus expensive power supply: 12 years+, as long as the fan lasts. PSU's capacitors may degrade in capacity over time and lose 10%-50% capacity depending on how long and how hard the PSU is used. typically 20% over a few years is the rule.
computer's motherboard 10 years@12hrs/day if it's old 286/386/486 style and has a barrel NiCd battery. today's mobos may last longer than 10 years these days using CR2032 batteries (you just change them every few years). beyond this you will find that the either the motherboard doesn't work or that your cards do not work in the motherboard. If you can still get them. 2 years (1 year?) is obsolescence in this business. I have seen old NiCD batteries crust out & short on old 1990 motherboards, which corroded the mobo. newer mobos used replaceable plug-in 4.5V battery packs and then moththerboard switched to CR2032 coin cells(lithium CR2032/Duracell DL2032 Medical batteries last for 4 years).
computer motherboard battery Listed in order of system build date:
Built-in NiCD (barrel): 5-8 years (1990s).
Alkaline 4.5V(black rectangular block): 1-2 years (1990s).
Lithium CR2016 button cell: 4 years (1998).
Lithium CR2032 button cell: 4 years (1998).
Symptoms: system loses track of time, (on really old boxes, disks misconfigured or disappeared or partitions appear mangled), peripherals misconfigured or missing, USB keyboards and mice don't work, file dates are all wrong, prone to viruses & network attacks due to date+time being wrong (worst case)
laptop battery Li-Ion used like a desktop: 5-6 years before noticeable wear. used with battery removed when not needed: ?
Li-Ion battery (cell phone battery, laptop battery) Li-Ion: 5-6 years before strange things start happening or wear is noticeable), cell phone goes bonkers (battery needs to be replaced). By then, cell phone will start acting up and cell phone is about dead anyway (static discharge?). The futuristic idea of having one implanted in your head is ludicrous given these stats. Things wear out.
alkaline batteries AAA Duracell: 5 years on shelf
lithium batteries CR2032, CR2016, etc: see date on package, that's the shelf life use in a product will depend on how much the product draws. computers: 4 years, keychain remote (CR2016): ? years.
cell phone, cell phone Li-Ion battery for Nokia 6310 5-6 years. cell phone went nuts at end of period, doing weird stuff, and turning itself off on a full charge with no warning. replaced the battery and most of the problems went away. then it went nuts again s short time later.
floppy drive if continuously used (and cleaned), the heads wear out. expect about 3 years? note that most usb floppy drives are digital, not analog, except for kyroflux controller.
floppy disk 3 years continuous use before data degradation. I have seen them last longer, sometimes up to 20 years, but I wasn't really sure how long. it varies with the disk manufacturer etc. hard to tell! sometimes you can recover your data with a kyroflux controller card or possibly with some data loss (20 years is a long time) with's spinrite (version 5).
hard disk why to use 7200RPM disks, 5-7 years for desktop drives and also from my own experience. 1 year for server disks (older ones at least, they make them more reliable now). 2 year for some warranties (check) like WD green. 5 year for some warranties (check) like WD black. in times past, a disk with a 5 year warranty could last up to 7 years. that was a 1.6GB WD1600. it seems like the longer the warranty the longer the drive lasts. Vista and 7 may be just like putting it on a server if you run it continuously due to constant head movement. We will see what statistics hold for those two OS's. updated 3/27/2015
CDR, DVD discs see OSTA CDR[W] Longevity
OSTA DVD-R Longevity
NIST study
why 7200RPM disks (disk bearing) and the short lifespan of recorded CDR's
5-6 wks for DVD-R(very bright light like sunshine?)
DVD and CD lifespan
Blu-ray, DVD-R lifespan
on different dye types. heat is the worst offender for any disc. light takes about 325 hours before things start happening with average discs. direct sunlight is not good for discs because it also generates heat. 30 years for average burnable disc? using a label reduces the lifespan - adhesive seeps down into data layer!
zip disk 2-10 years quoted by one source (below). The more you use it, the shorter its life, and it isn't very long - moderate use I would give it 6 months based on my experience with a zip250. the technology (how it works, cartridge makeup) hasn't really changed now that the zip750 is out. bad blocks are not automatically marked on these disks! once there is failure you have bad data. I do not know if this has been solved in the zip750. I also had an older zip250 parallel port drive. apparently's spinrite can fix the click of death problems and maybe recover your data. part of the problem is the zip drive disconnects itself from the world if there's an error. this should not be the case. in fact, the drive should report the error.
flash/thumb drive 10 years is how long the data will last just stuck in place readonly. If you write to the drive, average lifespan is more like 3 years for Industrial Flash). static and washing machines can stop its lifespan. Static is where 2 surfaces rub together and generate electricity or can come from wintertime. in real life, about 3 years average use or until washed.
memory card ? years or until washed
TLC Flash SSD don't defrag it! TLC has 800-1000 PE (Program-Erase) Cycles per block. warranty is 3 years. Suspect it will last longer than 3 years. I like to use these as fast readonly devices. turning compression on will slow it down to hard drive speed.
MLC Flash SSD don't defrag it! MLC: 3 years. warranty is 3 years. 3,500-30,000 PE (Program-Erase) cycles per block. Suspect it will last longer than 3 years. I like to use these as fast readonly devices. turning compression on will slow it down to hard drive speed.
SLC Flash SSD don't defrag it! I was told that high quality SLC's (by Texas Memory Systems) last 3 years in a production environment under 24/7 high-traffic use. so article author's 10 years maybe only applies to a desktop environment where the machine is not under high-intensity barrage, and only for 8 hours/day. SLC usually has 100,000 PE (Program-Erase) cycles per block. Suspect it will last longer than 3 years. I like to use these as fast readonly devices. turning compression on will slow it down to hard drive speed.
laptop lid switches 4 years, probably good for about 3000 operations at 2/day. avoid closing the lid or flexing if you can, it will last longer.
laptop screen 4 years with moderate flexing (the less the better) $600 to replace. may as well get new laptop for $600 and put the hard drive in a drive cage or use a $140 external monitor or pick up a monitor at the local computer recyclers or Goodwill.
laptop wifi card 4-5 years maybe? depends on the card. the one my mother had lasted 4 years.
laptop need for cleaning every 3 years unless you have pets. $75 (most) to $259 (toshiba).
1998-era laptop 12+ years with hd,optical drive replacement if that's still possible (?). used like a desktop daily 8 hours/day, with breaks between: before failure. used with battery in. some run warm, but some run hot, like the pentium III's.
2004-era laptop 4 years used like a desktop daily 8 hours/day: used with battery in most of the time. runs hot.
2012-era laptop estimate 4 years used like a desktop daily 8 hours/day: used with battery in most of the time. runs very hot.
2004-era desktop now 2012. used like a desktop or a server daily 12-24 hours/day: still running. runs cool. failure of PS/2 keyboard port after much static electricity over the years (workaround by installing a new PS/2 card), or could be corrupt driver. 12+ years
2012-era desktop used like a desktop daily 8 hours/day: estimate 12+ years with hd, optical drive, battery replacement, cleaning every couple of months.
CRT Monitor 4-5 years before things like jitter and twitch start happening. monitor should last about 8+ years. but they are being recycled now.
LCD monitor varies, 3 years+? basically, this is supposed to be for the lamp or it could be the power supply or a capacitor. but I have read that LCD screens last longer.
LED monitor 50,000-100,000 hours or ?
ink jet printer 4 years approximately before it starts to jam once in a while or misfeed. it's the feed rollers, and probably partially due to dust on those rollers... solution: get a new printer. you can't reach them. I tried. Today's plastic printers are made to be put together, not taken apart.
Oki LED laser printer 5 years on the warranty for the LED's. actually, mine has lasted 17 years, through several Image Drums and a number of Toner Cartridges. don't use ink jet paper in a laser, it contains plastic, and this melts in the hot fuser!
Laser printer some printers working since 2000. question is, can you get drivers? maybe! check the mfr's web site. win7: when you add a printer in start, printers, if it doesn't find your printer, you can click the button "that says something like "windows update". this will look for more drivers. don't use ink jet paper in a laser, it contains plastic, and this melts in the hot fuser!
power switches 10,000 cycles at full load 10,000/365.25/2=13.689 years at 2 power cycles per day approximately
circuit breakers 1,000 cycles

see this page for media lifespans.