Category Archives: Parts Dirt

$24,000 Charge to Make a Service Call? Before The Work Even Starts!

Did you hear the latest way that some manufacturers are trying to embezzle money from the hospital?  How they are forcing them to sign service contracts that they don’t want and don’t need?

They refuse to sell the hospital ANY PART to the unit unless there is a service contract in place.  And if the company is required to make a service call, they charge $6,000 just to drive to the hospital’s front door!  (A different company allegedly charges $24,000 just to show up.)

I hospital I know needed a caster (a wheel) for an imaging machine.  They tried to purchase one.  The manufacturer stood firm and would not sell them one.  So the hospital had no choice but to have the manufacturer come in and make the replacement.  True to their word, the manufacturer (which is based in another country, not the United States) charged them $6,000 just to come to the hospital.  The cost of the caster and the labor were extra.

This is apparently legal.  This is just the latest tactic for unscrupulous companies to abuse the United States’ healthcare system by forcing them to make financially disastrous choices, or be faced with even more devastating consequences.  This is no more than blackmail or extortion, in my opinion.


I urge hospitals to identify these companies and to cease to do business with them.  If the President is serious about improving things in this country, he should champion legislation to make the access to repair parts and medical device service affordable and without the artificially imposed policies that these companies use to suck American dollars to their foreign corporate headquarters.  And pays little or no US taxes.


Leave a comment

Filed under Cost, Parts Dirt, Service Dirt

Are OEM Parts Better than Parts from Elsewhere?

A recent ad in 24×7 Magazine suggests that only Siemens sells real OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts.   This ad (at the end of this article) is very misleading, as it is intended to be.  Everybody sells original OEM parts.  No one but the OEM make parts for medical equipment.  There is a thriving alternate source for medical equipment components, circuit boards and other parts that break.  The reason that this market exists is because other companies besides the original OEM can repair and resell parts much more inexpensively than the OEM can.

Oh, and another thing – many OEMs would have you believe that the parts they sell are brand new, unlike the old, traded-in parts that other companies would sell you.  Well, not true.  Why do you think that everybody (including the OEMs) require a trade-in of the broken part when you buy a replacement part?  It is so they can repair and resell it, just like the third party independents do.

I know of a hospital system in Milwaukee that tracked out-of-the-box failures of newly received medical parts.  The OEMs parts failed at a higher rate than those parts received from alternate sources.

And let me tell you about the claim of savings of “up to 40%”.  “Up to” means that all parts are not included at the maximum discount.   Additionally, the 40% refers to 40% from the original price of the part – the suggested retail price.  Every biomed and clinical engineer in the US knows that 40% off of list is nothing.  Real OEM parts can be found from many sources at discounts far exceeding the 40% advertised in this ad.

The real message here is that advertisements are full of misleading information.  You have to read everything with a skepticism born of experience.    Have a wonderful day.    Pat

Siemens Ad

Leave a comment

Filed under Cost, Information, Parts Dirt, Service Dirt

Examples of Restrictive Products from Apple

Leave a comment

January 23, 2013 · 3:51 pm

Making Equipment Hard to Service

This article refers to general technology, including computers.  But I am sure that there are a lot of additional ways that Medical Device manufacturers deliberately make it hard for others to field repair their devices.  Anybody want to comment on their observations?    Pat

Five ways manufacturers make devices hard to repair

August 16, 2012, 10:27 AM PDT

Takeaway: Bill Detwiler shows you five ways manufactures are making our gadgets harder to fix and gives you tips on working around these self-repair roadblocks.

Computers, smartphones, and tablets are smaller, thinner, and lighter than ever before. But to build today’s ultra-slim, ultra-portable devices, designers and engineers often make their creations more difficult, if not impossible, to repair.

On this special episode of Cracking Open, I show you five ways manufactures are making our gadgets harder to fix and give you a few tips on working around these self-repair roadblocks.


Automatically sign up for our Cracking Open newsletter!

1. Tamper-resistant screws

Tamper-resistant pentalobe screw on the MacBook AirTamper-resistant pentalobe screw on the MacBook Air

Our first self-repair roadblock, tamper-resistant screws, aren’t new or unique to computers, but manufacturers are using them on a lot of devices. Nintendo used tri-wing screws on the Wii and Gamecube. Sony used special security torx screws on the slimline PS3. And, Apple uses pentalobe screws on the iPhone, MacBook Air, and Retina MacBook Pro.

Luckily, this roadblock is also the easiest to overcome. With a little online research, you can buy a driver or bit to handle any of these screws.

2. Glued-on components

Unfortunately, some manufacturers are abandoning screws altogether–choosing to glue components in place. And, that’s our second roadblock.

Whether is the iPad’s front panel, Galaxy S III’s ribbon cables, or Retina MacBook Pro’s battery, removing glued-on components can be difficult and risky. And, it’s best not to remove a working component that’s glued in place. If you absolutely must do so, heat can sometimes help weaken the adhesive, but should be used very carefully.

3. Tiny, fragile connectors

If glued-on components weren’t enough, today’s gadgets are also filled with tiny, fragile connectors.

Whether it’s a board-to-board connector or flexible-flat-cable connector, tablets and smartphones are filled with them. The keys to working around this roadblock are a little patience, a light touch, and a few really thin tools.

4. Battery soldered to the motherboard

Up to now, I’ve been able to help you overcome the repair roadblocks on our list. But, the last two aren’t as easy to work around.

At number four is a roadblock that manufactures are using less frequently, but that still appears from time to time–batteries that are soldered to the motherboard.

Favored by some tablet and smartphone manufacturers, there’s no way to replace a battery like this without using a soldering iron or wire cutters. Replacing a soldered battery is definitely an advanced do-it-yourself fix.

5. Fused front/panel display assembly

iPhone 4 fused front panel/display assemblyiPhone 4 fused front panel/display assembly

Lastly, there’s one repair roadblock that’s almost impossible to overcome. And unlike soldered batteries, device manufacturers are actually using it more frequently. It’s a fused front panel and display assembly.

Whether it’s on the Apple iPhone or Google Nexus 7, a fused front panel and display assembly makes repairs more expensive. Because, if one component breaks, you have to replace both. And while it’s sometimes possible to separate the two components, you often risk damaging the working half in the process. It’s just not worth the risk.

Leave a comment

Filed under Parts Dirt, Question, Service Dirt

Humphrey Instruments Lens Analyzer – Zeiss won’t sell service manual or provide tech assistance

I have a Humphrey Instruments Lens Analyzer which will not capture and save. Zeiss tells me it that it’s likely that the capture switch is at fault. They will sell me the switch, but they warn me that they don’t advise doing the repair without the service manual. When I ask for a part # on service manual, they tell me they won’t sell it to me. When I ask if they would walk me through the repair over phone, you know what their answer is. I of course told the technician what I thought of their approach and policy (I was polite).

Anyway, does anyone have this manual, and could you make the pertinent section available?



Robert Resnicoff CBET, BA

Senior Clinical Engineering Technician

Union Memorial Hospital

Baltimore, MD 21218

[Biomedtalk 8/9/12]

Leave a comment

Filed under Parts Dirt, Service Dirt

Microlite Test Box for Nicolet Vasoguard not sold to End Users

I just contacted Nicolet about purchasing the MicroLite Test Box required to perform most of the calibrations detailed in the service manual. They tell me that they do not sell the test box and that I will have to send the unit in. I told them that the service manual does not state that nor did the tech who set the unit up mention this fact.

The manual states: “This section, Servicing & Calibration, covers in detail how to repair and service a VasoGuard in the field. The calibration instructions are supplied for setting up the components of the VasoGuard in the workshop, as specialist equipment is required to perform this task.”   Not “I have to send the unit in for testing”

The manual is very detailed and complete with schematics. But without the MicroLite Test Box I’m stuck with sending in the unit.

Any ideas fellow Biomeds? Have any of you been able to get this box or build one?

Doug Ensley

Valley Regional Hospital

[posted on Biomedtalk 8-8-12]

Leave a comment

Filed under Parts Dirt, Service Dirt

Niagara Irrigators (owned by Olympus)

Hi all. Our surgery department is currently using the Niagara irrigators. Now that ownership has gone to ACMI then to Gyrus and currently to Olympus, it’s become a real biomed unfriendly situation. Now the only thing I can get for parts is the bladders and nothing else. No rocket science with these, just valves and tubing and fiberglass. Are your surgery departments using something different? Is there a third party parts source for these Niagaras? At an average of $1300 a pop for a minor repair, it’s a hard hit to us financially.

[from Biomedtalk 8-1-2012]

Leave a comment

Filed under Parts Dirt