back to article Tractors, not phones, will (maybe) get America a right-to-repair law at this rate: Bernie slams 'truly insane' situation

A person's "right to repair" their own equipment may well become a US election issue, with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders making it a main talking point during his tour of Iowa. "Are you ready for something truly insane?" the veteran politician's account tweeted on Sunday, "Farmers aren’t allowed to repair their own …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    There's an alternative line of attack. If the manufacturer doesn't want buyers to repair kit they bought, they, the manufacturers, repair it themselves (through agents if they prefer) at their own cost for the life of the item, life being as long as the kit physically exists. IOW a permanent warranty. Suddenly allowing right to repair might sound like a good idea.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      It's not necessarily just about the cost.

      You are a farmer in the midwest, you need to harvest a crop this week (before it rains/snows/price drops)

      Your local dealer (a day's drive away) can't be there until next week to reset the hours limit error code on the air filter or is waiting 4-6 weeks for a part without which your tractor shuts itself down.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        So the warranty needs to include a replacement for the time it takes to repair the original.

        Like the "courtesy car" that garages supply to customers whose cars they're fixing or servicing.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          courtesy car

          Or as the guy who looks after my car calls his, "bangers". Over the years I've driven everything from a beaten up old Mondeo, several asthmatic Micras, an MGB, a Jaguar and even a flappy-paddle Alfa Romeo. It's pot luck what he happens to have available :-)

          M.

          1. John Jennings

            Very pot luck if the Alfa is working or not.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              He's a good mechanic. He managed to keep our 178,000 mile Kangoo on the road for a few weeks when the turbo coked up...

              ...that said, not seen the Alfa for a while so maybe he no longer has it. The MGB was good fun. Overdrive on 3rd and 4th, not driven anything like it before or since - not used to heads turning as I drive past. Well, not until the Kangoo started smoking like a chimney.

              M.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Framing this as "It's mine so I have a right to repair it" is not helpful, it raises visions of jerry-rigged botch-jobs that are going to cost people lives / limbs. What is really the issue here is that an independent mechanic / service technician can do the necessary repairs without being an 'official' repair centre, with all the costs and monopoly issues that brings with it.

      It's not desirable for farmers to fix their own tractors, any more than it shouldn't be expected for the average consumer to fix their own phone. BUT a farmer farmer should be able to get a competent mechanic to fix most things in their tractor without having to wait for the dealer's time slot / visiting the dealer's location, and having to pay double for the privilege, without invalidating the warranty. Same goes for any other piece of kit. This should not be strange, this was the situation with cars, TVs, white goods etc for decades.

      I DO understand that there will be some parts where more advanced technology / features are not within the competence of your 'standard' mechanic / technician, and do need to be fixed at the dealer (but that's probably no more than 5-10% of repairs). But it's a big no-no to deliberately overcomplicate the design and build of things (particularly in software) to make it impossible for independent vendors to do repairs / maintenance without breaking your product.

      1. jake Silver badge

        "It's not desirable for farmers to fix their own tractors"

        Every single farmer that I have ever known has worked on all of their own equipment. So you can forget that line of reasoning completely, just to save us all a little time. Ta in advance.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          "It's not desirable for farmers to fix their own tractors"

          Every single farmer that I have ever known has worked on all of their own equipment.

          Indeed. I started learning stuff by being given the task of fixing a MF 35 when I was around 14 or 15.

          Had to fix it myself coz I was the one wot broke it, and I was in a field a long way from home - or shelter.

          Was also a jury-rigged "get me home" fix - but I got to learn very quickly the importance of doing roadside fixes well enough to last till the job is done right (and for that matter, the annoyance of doing them well enough to last a long time - disincentive to replace the duct-tape covering the hole with a new section of air hose or.....)

      2. rg287 Bronze badge

        It's not desirable for farmers to fix their own tractors, any more than it shouldn't be expected for the average consumer to fix their own phone.

        Bollocks. It's desirable for a farmer to be able to replace an air or oil filter without needing to pay a JD engineer to come and clear the service code so the computer will play nicely.

        JD, having a near-monopoly in parts of the US have been leveraging their control of the market to make increasing amounts of routine service (like oil changes) into "Dealer-required maintenance", enforced by software that throws a hissy if you don't have access to the software to clear error codes or certify the maintenance had been done, or if you're not using OEM parts with a chip (think printer cartridges).

        Nobody gets the Dealer to come and do an oil change, because it's easy to do yourself, and the dealer is probably 150 miles away. It costs a lot of money for a low-difficulty job, and incurs the inconvenience of having to work to their availability. A comparison to iPhones would be iOS updates only being available in Apple Stores and you being required to take your device in for "Approved Updates" by a "Qualified Service Technician".

        It's not just JD of course. I recall opening the service manual for a 2002 VW Polo to work out how to replace a light bulbs. The service book literally said "Light bulbs are not user replaceable, please contact your local dealer".

        This is a lie of course (though they were a right mare to get at), and the French translation had instructions. Because by law you have to carry spare bulbs in France, which comes with the expectation that you can actually pull over and change them in a timely manner - not "Yes officer, I know I have a bulb out, I'll take it to the dealer on Monday".

        1. jmch Silver badge

          @rg287 and @jake

          Of course, that was very badly phrased on my part, what I meant is that a farmer's area of expertise is farming, and while I am sure most farmers are mechanically minded and handy enough to do most basic repairs, they should not be expected to understand every single bit of their tractor that they can repair it themselves, especially if that involves electronics.

          I'm not even talking about oil and filter changes, that's routine maintenance not 'fixing'.

          My main point is that if the fix is something beyond the farmer's competence they should be able to go to the local neighbouring expert rather than be forced to go to a dealership

          1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
            Pirate

            Balance

            There is a balance to be had.

            From my reading of the issue, the JD equipment actively prevents ANY form of repair. You open the hood and you need JD to tell the computer to let the equipment work again.

            Perhaps there are some repairs that require a qualified technician to complete - that's a fair statement for a lot of equipment these days. But there are many competent people capable (even experienced) in making some repairs, and its simple extortion to prevent every repair. Or, as is happening, farmers are simply going to jail break their tractors with dodgy Ukrainian firmware

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Balance

              "Perhaps there are some repairs that require a qualified technician to complete"

              I categorically reject that argument. "Qualified" is both capricious and ambiguous.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Balance

              "Or, as is happening, farmers are simply going to jail break their tractors with dodgy Ukrainian firmware"

              Or even find that the total cost of ownership works out cheaper to import a Ukrainian tractor! (Isn't that where all the former USSR tractor factories were/are? It's safe to say they are no longer "Rooskie tractors" :-))

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Balance

                Some of us are collecting, restoring and using old gear of various makes and models, and of course most of us have a newer Kubota or two of one description or another.

                Purchasing old tractors and refurbishing them is fairly lucrative ... I found a Ford 850 that was complete but not running and had been out in the weather for several years. Cost me $750. I put another $2,000 into it, about 10 hours of my time, slapped on a coat of paint, gave it four used but serviceable tires that I had laying around. Sold the result it to my neighbor for $5,500. I fully expect that it'll be 8 to 10 years before he has to do anything to it beyond routine maintenance. It is used daily.

                1. JohnFen Silver badge

                  Re: Balance

                  I expect that we're going to increasingly see this same thing happen with cars, as well.

          2. Caver_Dave

            Farmer = mechanic

            All farm machinery requires calibration, maintenance and fixing on a regular basis. Training on how to do this is an essential, and large, part of any agricultural course in the UK, and I hope worldwide. The bits they don't learn to repair are the sections where the manufacturers IP means that it is a sealed box - ECU, SatNav, those kind of things. Exactly the sort of things that an independent mechanic can't change on a car, except at the same whole unit level.

            The level of protectionism exhibited by some of the companies though, is similar to saying that you have to go to a car dealer to get the tyres changed.

            In the UK, Young Farmers (voluntary version of the US government funded 4H) test the calibration, maintenance and small scale (because of time) parts replacement as part of their regular events.

            I am an Ex. Deputy President of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs and repaired tractors up to the replacement of a clutch (splitting the tractor in half!) before the age of 17.

          3. JohnFen Silver badge

            "what I meant is that a farmer's area of expertise is farming"

            Yes, and a big part of what you need to do to engage in farming is to be able to fix your own equipment when it breaks. Repairing farm equipment of all sorts has always been a core competency needed to be a farmer.

          4. jake Silver badge

            "they should not be expected to understand every single bit of their tractor that they can repair it themselves, especially if that involves electronics."

            Sorry bub, but my experience refutes your premise. We diagnose and repair or replace all of it. It is a part of what makes a farmer a farmer. I even put a Hondata ECU in the wife's old Prelude, just so I can easily keep it diagnosed and running without trips to the stealer. Only so-called "gentleman farmers" refuse to get their fingernails dirty on the equipment. We just smile sadly in their general direction as they shell out money needlessly.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Flame

          It's not just JD of course. I recall opening the service manual for a 2002 VW Polo to work out how to replace a light bulbs. The service book literally said "Light bulbs are not user replaceable, please contact your local dealer".

          Just this week came across that in a Toyota van a friend was wanting to upgrade the headlights in. "Take to authorised service centre". So if you're on a dark desert/mountain highway at dusk, miles from any shelter, and your headlights fail..... (unlikely but not impossible for both to fail at the same time - or one to have been dead a wee while and the other fails)

          So the bulbs will cost $20/pair, but the installation will be over $100/pair, at the very least $80 (minimum service rates 'n all that).

      3. Blank Reg

        Many farmers are competent mechanics. I've seen garages on farms as well equipped as any auto shop. When things break down they often need to be fixed ASAP, crops and weather don't wait for you.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Indeed. A friend of mine once had his car break down in the middle of nowhere (this was before cell phones). He had the presence of mind to go to a farmhouse he could see and offer to pay the farmer to do a little emergency repair of his car.

          The farmer did the repair without a problem, and didn't even accept money for it.

      4. Scasne

        Farmers know more about machinery then your common towneys

        A Farmer Should be a mechanic, an electrician, a carpenter, a plumber, a biologist, a chemist and a vet.

        Most technicians are just farmers sons who liked machinery, half of them have no understanding of electronics whereas I know people who still farm and make their own circuitry, whether it be a milk feeder that worked with an ear-tag reader, or building their own gaming pc.

        A standard engine is advanced to most people for some reason, others believe electrics or electronics are, to many driving cars they have noo idea of the simple equation for kinetic energy and velocity, the manufacturers have no basis to tell me what i can and cannot learn.

        Especially when they still do not provide a unique key for a £100,000 machine when i would get 1 for a frigging scooter.

      5. JohnFen Silver badge

        "Framing this as "It's mine so I have a right to repair it" is not helpful"

        But it is true.

        "It's not desirable for farmers to fix their own tractors"

        I think that farmers would strongly disagree with this. Why do you think it's not desirable?

        "This should not be strange, this was the situation with cars, TVs, white goods etc for decades."

        During those same decades, it has also been very common for people to fix their own cars, TVs, etc. That should also not be considered strange

      6. grumpy-old-person

        In my experience I can quite often do a better job (and at low or no cost) then the "professionals"

        My 2001 Mercedes Benz E200K stood for around six months because both "keys" (more like TV remote controls) stopped working.

        Eventually figured out that both keys had developed small holes in the flexible parts after much use and all sorts of rubbish had clogged up the lens through which the infrared is transmitted / received.

        Imagine what I would have paid to an authorised dealer!

  2. MR J

    I recently had the same problem getting something installed.

    It cost me $2,500 for a new aircon, and $2,500 for install... Because regardless of who would install it, the total needed to come to $5,000. The "Retail" price of the unit is ~$2500(usd) when you get it from Canada (who imported it from the USA) so I know the installers were paying a lot less.

    8 hours of work (4 hours * 2 people) for $2,500 is nice money.

    Even in the UK you still have this trouble. Daughter damaged a flexible pcb with microswitch on her phone. The part itself cant be repaired (too fine for me) and probably cost the company somewhere around 70pence to source. They refuse to sell me said part as I may damage the phone, but for roughly $60 they will attempt to repair the phone for me!...

    Heck, even my Honda (Shame on you Honda!) faulty airbag can't be replaced because there is no stock (I call BS on that). But here's the thing, if I opt for a paid service then the faulty airbag can magically be replaced as there is stock for people who are adding it to other products!

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      > airbag can't be replaced because there is no stock

      There's no stock because it's not just thousands of Hondas, but also thousands of Fords, thousands of Volkswagens, thousands of Audis, thousands of BMWs, etc... all competing for the same generic airbags. There's a reason why Takata instantly went bankrupt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My understanding is that in the UK (under EU law at the moment) you, or an independent garage, have the right to repair your car as long as you follow reasonable manufacturer instructions. I believe you' need to document what you or your mechanic did. As long as that's done your warranty, if you've still got one, remains intact.

        The car manufacturers have tried a few tricks to avoid this but so far they've been forced to do it. So if Honda are pretending that airbags can't be found but in reality they are there then perhaps raise it with Trading Standards or whoever is the responsible authority.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    > it makes really good products

    Sure it does, but shit breaks, no matter if you're a VW bug or a Tesla.

    Problem is, when shit breaks on a farmer and he can't get it going immediately during harvest, he can get fucked in pretty short order. The margin between profit and loss may be only a couple harvest days lost. You can't wait a week for the tech to get out there.

    There's a reason why farmers work 5am-7pm during harvest. That's money laying in the field that goes bad if it isn't harvested and sold in time.

    In addition to lobbying, Apple's been careful not to irritate people too much... John Deere apparently said "oh it's just some stupid farmers" and is now reaping[1] the consequences.

    [1] see what I did there?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: > it makes really good products

      John Deere is so bad that when attempting to restore a 55 year old tractor, the local dealership refused to sell me engine and transmission parts! Told me I was "stealing" from JD by having the gall to do my own work. So I called corporate to complain. They told me it was policy.

      Needless to say, I have sold all my JD kit, and will never purchase anything from them again.

      Out of curiosity, where did you find farmers who only work 5am-7pm during harvest? Slackers like that are going to lose crop!

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: > it makes really good products

        @jake - "Out of curiosity, where did you find farmers who only work 5am-7pm during harvest? Slackers like that are going to lose crop!"

        Be fair jake, not every farmer moonlights as a sysadmin for half the western world while holding down a full-time commentard job here!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: > it makes really good products

          Look on the bright side, Mr. Dyer, I'm too busy to be putting words into other people's mouths in a futile attempt at belittling them.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

            Re: > it makes really good products

            I apologise for not including the joke icon in my previous post.

  4. whoseyourdaddy

    If you think Bernie has a chance of getting enough swing votes to defeat Trump, you deserve to have your pre-existing condition and access to your parents healthcare yanked away from you, presumably because a black man gave it to you.

    The Dreamers, LGBT, and hard working families will lose even more. Supreme court will swing to a conservative majority for a generation.

    Huge winners? The idiot Trump children.

    Environment protections? Gone.

    Penalties for contaminating the planet, not to mention the entire state of Ohio with G8 by 3M and Dupont? Gone.

    Renewable Energy? Gone.

    Trump Tarriffs have done squat to bring jobs back to the US.

    Stop Talking About Bernie. Grow a fscking brain.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Wow... nice rant.. Did you miss your meds today?

      1. whoseyourdaddy

        ...you haven't met my relatives.

        I grew up on the Farm Belt.

      2. Joe W

        Hm, not sure (too lazy to look up the posting history), but this could as well be a rant from somebody who thinks that the points are all fsck'd up and has lost all hope of the situation improving. Ever. In dubio pro reo, et cetera...

        (language used seems to indicate otherwise)

        1. jake Silver badge

          He's actually got a point.

          Bernie's unelectable, as we have already discovered.

          So go ahead and stump for Bernie if you must. Just remember that while it's NOT a direct voice for Trump, it IS a voice that won't help defeat Trump.

          And it's moot anyway. I don't see Bernie getting the nomination.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: He's actually got a point.

            "Bernie's unelectable, as we have already discovered."

            Well, we haven't actually discovered that, since he was torpedoed by his own party in favour of Clinton who was REALLY unelectable, and indeed proved so. Of course if the raving loony left decide to counter the raving loony right by fielding a hard-leftie against the hard-rightie Trump, it's a toss-up whether moderate Americans would go for the devil they don't know over the one they do.

            Given that extreme lefties would vote for a shaved chimp over Trump, Democrats' best bet seems to me to be to field a more centrist candidate like Joe Biden, or a more left-field choice like Pete Buttigieg.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He's actually got a point.

              Given that extreme lefties would vote for a shaved chimp over Trump

              We already know they didn't.

            2. MyffyW Silver badge

              Re: He's actually got a point.

              Pete Buttigieg has my (non-enfranchised) vote, if only because I can't wait for the first "First Husband" to be Chasten Buttigieg.

            3. Cuddles Silver badge

              Re: He's actually got a point.

              "Clinton who was REALLY unelectable, and indeed proved so"

              Not at all. Clinton won something like 2 million more votes than Trump. Due to the usual shenanigans surrounding pretty much any electoral system more votes doesn't translate directly to a win, but the idea that someone capable of winning a significant majority of the vote is somehow "unelectable" is utterly ludicrous. It's really quite weird how people constantly conflate "Was not ultimately elected" with "Could not ever have been elected under any circumstances".

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: He's actually got a point.

                Voting against the Cheeto is not voting in favor of Granny Nixon.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: He's actually got a point.

                  "Voting against the Cheeto is not voting in favor of Granny Nixon."

                  You cannot vote against somebody. You can only vote for somebody. If people of a similar mind split their vote for two different candidates, the third candidate can take an election. And we wind up with an orange idiot-in-chief with tiny little hands in the Oval Office, despite him not winning the popular vote.

                  As the great Ben Franklin put it, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." The Democrats bitching among themselves is going to keep the senile old git in office if we're not careful.

            4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: He's actually got a point.

              "Pete Buttigieg."

              Noooooooo...we already had fun with Trumps name. President Buttigieg is a step too far!

              (Yes, I know it's not his fault and I know it's childish, but ya know....)

              1. jmch Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: He's actually got a point.

                Ah, the English sense of humour :)

                Pete Buttigieg is of Maltese ancestry, and as there aren't that many of us Maltese around, allow me to clarify.

                In Maltese 'Tigieg' (both 'g's pronounced softly as in English 'j') means chickens. 'Bu' is an archaic prefix derived from arabic 'abu' and pronounced similairly.

                I'm not sure there's an exact phonetic equivalent for English, I guess the closest pronunciation of Buttigieg should be something like Bootijiej.

                Or, I guess, booty-jiej

                Damn it!

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: He's actually got a point.

                  "Pete Buttigieg is of Maltese ancestry, and as there aren't that many of us Maltese around, allow me to clarify."

                  Thanks for that :-)

                  Now go look for the BBC radio Comedy Mark Steel's in Town and find the episode from Malta.

                  1. jmch Silver badge
                    Thumb Up

                    Re: He's actually got a point.

                    "Mark Steel's in Town and find the episode from Malta."

                    Heard it, its brilliant

            5. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He's actually got a point.

              American definition of 'loony left' is hilarious, mainstream US politics is so far to the right it would makeThatcher look like some marxist insurgent.

  5. PhilipN Silver badge

    Pah! Tractors are so last century

    Open the border for fresh farm labour!

    (Ducks for cover)

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Joke

      Re: Pah! Tractors are so last century

      I think copses are usually used for cover. Ducks are too flighty and quacky.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

    "No interested in any o that cheap John Deere shite"

    (many of them being Massey Ferguson men, even now JD doesn't do anywhere near as much business in the UK (prob due to that lingering attitude) as it does in North America where they have a monopoly almost) Local dealers are John Deere (small dealership), CASE/Valtra, New Holland, Kubota, Massey Ferguson and a few other brands I forget off the top of my head)

    Also the last paragraph was either sarcasm or El Reg is terrified of a John Deere lawsuit as it sounded more like advertorial..........

    Cars have right to repair to a degree, however GM mandates you buy SPS access at something like €30 an hour/day if you want to code in a replacement module etc) though you can use a standards compliant interface rather than MDI....

    Sign....days of Tech2 were cheaper if you were using it often.....

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

      I fail to see what old Scots farmers have to do with politics in the US.

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

        Mary Anne MacLeod Trump

        Do I get a prize?

        1. STOP_FORTH

          Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

          If you are very unlucky, you will receive a "loud MacLeod" kilt. That will brighten up your wardrobe.

          1. defiler Silver badge

            Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

            Got my own kilt, thanks, in my clan tartan that won't make me look like a fat wasp. That's a bit garish, isn't it? Could do with muting the yellow a bit!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

        Point that was being made was that JD couldn't pull that stunt here as what would happen would the other tractor manufacturers would state they didn't use the same system and JD's custom would dissappear and then result in a quick corporate screeching U Turn along the lines of "rogue staff member misinterpreting instructions, never was our intention to prevent our customers maintaining their machinery" etc.

        JD ONLY get away with it due to being a monopoly in North America, having free advertising through various channels AND being the "default" option in the USA akin to "no one ever got fired for buying IBM". Additionally from what I see its also akin to the situation with Microsoft - large scale buy in, farm has always bought JD so why change what works, likely also due to discounts given to wavering customers or to attract new - hence the "cheap John Deere shite" comment (IIRC when they came into the UK market they tried to undercut Massey Ferguson here, but it kind of blew up in their face - my massey is reliable so if your lots cheaper than you must be cutting corners somewhere and it'll break down when I need it most type argument)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

          No. JD never had a monopoly in North America.

          No. JD never had any more "free advertising" than anything else.

          No. JD was never the default for anything.

          Care to try again?

          1. Swarthy Silver badge

            Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

            I kinda' have to argue with ya' there, jake.

            I grew up in a rural community (in the southern US), but rather dis-like the rural mindset; so all of my understanding of farming and farm equipment was via osmosis. The only tractor brand I knew of until my late teens was John Deere. They are not quite to the "Band-Aid" level of brand dilution, probably only because "tractor" is easier to say than "John Deere", but you don't see any red tractors in the community I grew up in - they are all JD green. And also, how are you supposed to show up your neighbor if they can argue that because of the brand (and being "furrin") your nicer tractor isn't as good as theirs - you have to get the same brand, one model better, to show that you are better than they are.

            So, yeah, JD is kinda' the default, and word-of-mouth and community pressure is free advertising.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Or in the words of older Scottish Farmers

              That was your little corner, Swarthy. I can show you similar enclaves scattered across the US where everybody had Fords. Or Internationals. Or Masseys. Or Farmalls. But over the vast majority of the country, there is no single brand. Never has been.

              This reminds me of a stream in the autumn ... there is a random scattering of leaves over the surface, all heading downstream with the flow. Think of the leaves as tractors, with the brands being represented by the type of tree, and the stream being the US as a whole. Every now and then wind & currents conspire to bring together a clump of leaves into one location. That's tractors in a farming community. And once in a great while, all those leaves in the clump will be from the same type of tree. That's your JDs.

              In other words, it's a statistical anomaly, and far from the norm.

  7. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Clarity needed here

    What exactly is the controversy about?

    If you repair your own tractor or iphone, are you committing a criminal offence? Surely it's the government, not Apple or John Deere, who determines what is or isn't a felony? What is it that distinguishes something you can repair from something you can't? This just doesn't make sense to me.

    Or is it just that the act of repairing your own iTractor voids whatever warranty rights you might have, and perhaps any relevant manufacturer's liability if something bad happens? That would not be so unreasonable, though presumably it then becomes ultimately a matter for a court when $farmer claims his replacing a tyre wasn't relevant to the engine blowing up?

    1. James Ashton

      Re: Clarity needed here

      The problem is that the tractor detects that you’ve installed a new part and refuses to run at all until it’s blessed using equipment only possessed by authorised repair staff. It’s similar to ink jet printers refusing to use third-party cartridges because they lack some proprietary chip that marks them as authentic.

      1. david 12 Bronze badge

        Re: Clarity needed here

        <and refuses to run at all>

        Which is enforced by software, which is protected by DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), breach of which is criminal.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Clarity needed here

      It's all part of the Great Copyright Heist, which is to say, the stuff that's stolen from us on a daily basis by the abuse of copyright law.

      Tractor requires software to run. Software can only *legally* be run if you comply with T&Cs. Manufacturers can write whatever the hell they want in T&Cs. Therefore, manufacturers can now impose any conditions they want on their toys.

      What's really needed (but we'll never get) is a law saying, explicitly, that running any piece of software is an absolute right - that is to say, that the "copy" that's made solely in order to run it is not covered by copyright, and therefore all T&Cs (based on restricting the right to copy) are null and void.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Clarity needed here

        Software can only *legally* be run if you comply with T&Cs. Manufacturers can write whatever the hell they want in T&Cs.

        In Rightpondia, manufacturers they can write whatever they want in the T&Cs but within the bounds of legality, and those clauses which aren't legal aren't enforceable. If you don't comply with the T&Cs you've just broken the T&Cs and the manufacturer may never find out and if they do they could decide they're too much trouble to enforce and ignore you. If they don't, they could take you to court, but it'll be a civil court and they might lose.

        Is this not also true in Leftpondia?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Clarity needed here

          "In Rightpondia, manufacturers they can write whatever they want in the T&Cs but within the bounds of legality,"

          The legality can depend on whether the transaction falls within consumer protection. I'd imagine a sale of a tractor to a farmer wouldn't. However in Rightpondia the tractor market is competitive so such shenanigans might amount to shutting up shop. If it wasn't they'd result in an anti-trust investigation.

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Clarity needed here

      The key words to look up basically seem to be "John Deere" and repair. Like the iPhone, it appears that if you try to fix your own tractor, its computer detects interference and refuses to work at all. "Right to repair" therefore apparently means that manufacturers would not be allowed to include a self-destruct function of that type in their product. (You can still set your own iPhone to overload if you are captured by the Talosians, of course.)

    4. whoseyourdaddy

      Re: Clarity needed here

      Today, you or a third party cannot swap out a major electrical component on a passenger vehicle.

      Instead of thinking this is a money grab by dealers, it keeps cars from being stolen and parted out, since you need access to computers only sold to dealers to get the car electronics to accept these new parts.

      More often stolen leads to higher insurance rates and fewer cars sold.

      If you know someone who had a stolen Acura engine dropped in his Accord for extra street racing cred, be sure to thank him for me.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Clarity needed here

        Oh, horseshit. That's a red herring, and you know it. The cost of stolen autos is peanuts compared to the killing that stealerships are making by fleecing the general public.

        1. StripeyMiata

          Re: Clarity needed here

          The plastic cover that covers the rear towing eye on my 2015 Ford Fiesta fell off recently. Ford wanted £38.99 for a bit of plastic.

          Bought a copy off eBay for £2.99 delivered.

          1. STOP_FORTH
            Happy

            Re: Clarity needed here

            3D printers will eventually kill the "fifty quid" for a piece of plastic rip-off.

          2. jimborae

            Re: Clarity needed here

            Honda tried to charge me £15 for a piece of string to hold up my the parcel shelf on my Civic Type R. Needless to say I made it myself for a free from some para cord I had lying around.

            1. STOP_FORTH

              Re: Clarity needed here

              String will eventually kill off the "fifteen quid" for a piece of string rip-off.

        2. whoseyourdaddy

          Re: Clarity needed here

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2018/09/18/hottest-wheels-the-most-stolen-new-and-used-cars-in-the-u-s/

          Just not seeing a whole lot of luxury cars on this list.

        3. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: Clarity needed here

          You can actually do these kinds of repairs and mods yourself, at least on many manufacturers' vehicles. True, it often requires a factory-level scan tool or programmer, and possibly a not so cheap subscription to the "dealer net" or whatever they call their distribution channel if you want to obtain updates, but you can do these mods and updates yourselves.

          One of my current vehicles (2015 Chrysler) has the ECU protected against unauthorized tampering. But you can buy an aftermarket "jailbroken" ECU fairly cheaply, then mod it to your heart's content with also reasonably-priced software tools. And it will interoperate with the rest of the vehicle. (whole cost well under $1K USD) FCA won't try to stop you, but you will void any warranty you have left, which is reasonable. My 2006 is even easier--with a cheap handheld programmer you can adjust many aspects of engine tuning from getting a mild performance boost with higher-octane fuel, to destroying it if you don't know what you're doing.

      2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: Clarity needed here

        "More often stolen leads to higher insurance rates and fewer cars sold."

        Not more cars sold? The victim buys a new car, and the thief junks the stolen one sooner and steals another instead of repairing.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Clarity needed here

        computers only sold to dealers to get the car electronics to accept these new parts.

        You can buy adequate substute computers on eBay, or find a moonlighting mechanic to make the change for you. Like DRM, it just makes life difficult for the honest person but has zero effect on the criminals.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Clarity needed here

          You can purchase better than adequate computers over the counter from most performance parts stores. For example, Holley has a pretty good selection of parts to make just about anything work with just about anything else. Even if you want to keep it bone-stock. See: https://documents.holley.com/efi_selection_chart62914.pdf

          1. Sherrie Ludwig

            Re: Clarity needed here

            I notice that every car parts store near me will "pull the codes" (check the car computer for what ails the car when the idiot light on the dashboard lights up) for free. In my case, it was a misfitting fuel cap that caused some O2 sensor to trip. My dealer wanted $79 just to look at it. New gas cap from parts store, all serene.

      4. TrumpSlurp the Troll
        Facepalm

        Re: Clarity needed here - swap out components?

        How do you think independent garages in the UK service modern cars?

        They have diagnostic computers which can read and reset error codes, and code new parts into the ECUs.

        I have a legitimate cable and Windows application to read the codes, reset, and code new components for VW cars. Pricey but worth every penny IMHO.

        1. 404 Silver badge

          Re: Clarity needed here - swap out components?

          Pricey? Why? A Bluetooth OBDII sending unit for $20 and a $10 app (Dash Command in my case) on a tablet/phone is all you need. Replaced my $100-$300 scanners with that setup.

        2. genghis_uk

          Re: Clarity needed here - swap out components?

          The reason you can do that is because the motor industry made sure that the companies used a standard (OBD) and did not come up with proprietary connectors and protocols.

          They were heading down that path but were told to stop it as it was anti-competitive

          1. AVee

            Re: Clarity needed here - swap out components?

            "The reason you can do that is because the regulators made sure that the companies used a standard (OBD) and did not come up with proprietary connectors and protocols."

            FTFY...

      5. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Clarity needed here

        "Instead of thinking this is a money grab by dealers, it keeps cars from being stolen and parted out"

        Of all of the lame excuses trotted out to support the notion that we shouldn't be allowed to fix our own stuff, I think this must be the lamest.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aussie solution

    Install a Barra engine with a Haltech ECU. Then you have full control over everything.

    Is an 800hp Barra enough to run a John Deer tractor?

    1. quxinot

      Re: Aussie solution

      Probably not, honestly.

      Tractors need torque more than HP. 200hp is a quite sizable tractor, and more importantly, it can produce all of that power endlessly--at very low rpm, meaning enormous torque is produced. Not only does it help prevent wear from less mechanical stress, but it helps the fuel bill, which is really important when running multiple pieces of farm equipment for 80hrs/wk during harvest/planting/etc.

      Besides, powerful engines down under are apparently only used to spin their tires uselessly, and that's not a situation you want if you're racing against the weather, a delivery time, or a timer.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Aussie solution

        Indeed. Horses for courses and all that.

        Consider that the only tractor I have that'll pull my 12-bottom runs about 65HP ... but she's capable of over 1200 foot-pounds of torque. (1915 Case, running on old fence posts. On coal, she'll do about 70HP and the same torque). Your Barra trying to shift the same plow would probably shed rotating parts quite spectacularly before dragging it more than a couple inches.

        Over the road vehicles and heavy/farm equipment have completely different jobs, with completely different HP and torque curves.

        Besides, your Barra runs gas/petrol. Farm equipment runs diesel, for all kinds of reasons.

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Aussie solution

          But, but... I saw a documentary where they used a racing car to resurface a street.

          Cars - that was it!

          Torque schmorque...

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    WTF?

    Really good?

    Who says?

    How about a display module that uses deeply embedded filament lamps for various rather important indicators on a combine harvester. Dealer claims the unit can't be repaired and has to be replaced at a cost of thousands of pounds - in a week's time.

    Well, the small engineering firm I used to work for made some discoveries. It became obvious that the reason the lamps were so deeply embedded was to stop people taking them out - but that was solved with a bit of rubber hose and a vacuum pump - they were ordinary bi-pin ones, only not quite ordinary. the pins were slightly thinner than normal and slightly further apart.

    We solved that problem (and the deep embed) with an LED and a resistor - also resulted in a much brighter display.

    Oh and as for the 'short' working days, round these parts they harvest well into the night using high powered searchlights attached to the machines.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Really good?

      Same thing with automobiles. Consider my Father's Nissan Altima. At around 65K miles, the silly thing refused to shift from park into drive. Dad, not being the clueless sort, found the safety switch over-ride and got himself and Mom home safely. I wandered over the following weekend to figure out what was wrong with the thing. After a little simple troubleshooting, it turned out to be a microswitch that (combined with another switch on the brake) applied power to a solenoid that moved a lever that allowed shifting out of park. A 49 cent part.

      Except Nissan won't sell me one. They insist on selling the complete shifter assembly "because the old one might be worn out and a safety hazard". At somewhere north of $600+labor. So I pulled the microswitch, with the intent of finding one that I could install in its place. When I got it out, I demonstrated my circuit tester to my youngest niece (she was 6 at the time, and an aspiring mechanic), only to discover that the fscking thing worked normally out of the car!

      We got to looking at the problem, and discovered that the metal actuator arm on the microswitch had become bent with wear. I bent it back and re-installed it in the car. Result: working car and successful unexpected lesson for my niece. Win-win.

      It went out again 70K miles later. I re-bent the part, taking note that there was no appreciable wear on any of the other shifter components after 135K miles ... the shifter assembly that the Stealer insisted had to be replaced, mind you.

      Total cost to my parents: $0/parts, $0/labor, and 2 mom-cooked meals for the wife and I. The Stealer would have charged just about $1,600 for the two repairs ... and they tell me this is NORMAL for modern cars!

      A quick glance at TehIntraWebTubes suggests that this is a generic problem with the Altima, and has been for years. Nissan is well aware of it, and could have fixed it permanently over a decade ago at ZERO ADDED COST OF PRODUCTION! Now ask me why I'm sticking to 1970ish and earlier restorations. At least the old car set is (mostly) honest.

      1. 0laf Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Really good?

        Nothing new there. I had a PoS 2003 Renault that would regularly shed pieces. The window lifter would often break which was due to a small weak connector allowing parts to come apart. The didn't sell the connector only the whole windows lift mechanism. Same with the clutch pedal. It broke at a hinge point they wanted £200 for new clutch pedal mechanism.

        I'm sure these faults could be fixed easily with someone mechanically minded. For me the window was done under warranty so cost wasn't an issue and the clutch went the week before it was traded in (fixed with cable ties).

        I've a BMW now and everything for it needs coded to the car as well. Independent dealers can do this but obviously it cuts down choice.

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Really good?

          My 10-year-old Peugeot has suspension that may as well be made of breadsticks. Been through so many parts...

          On the other hand, my >20-year-old Honda motorbike has a wiring diagram you can draw pretty-much from memory, and everything can be fixed with a big enough hammer.

          Guess which one I'm happier with?...

          1. STOP_FORTH

            Re: Really good?

            Do you have to use a Honda approved hammer?

            1. defiler Silver badge

              Re: Really good?

              Honestly, the weirdest tool I've ever had to locate for it was an M7 stud extractor. And now BMW use M7 studs on some of their exhausts, they're easy to find these days. Although I don't know if they'll lock onto non-BMW studs through some DRM shenanigans. Mine's a Beta.

              1. DropBear Silver badge

                Re: Really good?

                ...so while we are talking about proprietary stuff and bikes anyway, let me tell you about that Koyo bearing in my rear wheel that is designated by a code that is a lie (a bearing with a code of "6302" is supposed to be a standard 15x42x13mm, and this one sure as hell isn't) and of course absolutely _nobody_ else in the world makes that size. You don't want to know what the dealers want to charge for it, whenever it's not simply "fuggedaboutit" that is.

                1. 0laf Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Really good?

                  Renault denied they made my car. A 2004 Clio register in 2003 (on hogmannay), with a new engine type, gearbox from a megane and front brakes from a 172 and rear brakes from something else.

                  Had to go direct to Bosch when it needed a new rear caliper.

                2. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Really good?

                  I'd double-check that number if I were you. The 3 might be an 8, the 2 might be a 5, the 0 might be a 9 or a 6 ... failing that, measure yours (ID, OD and thickness) and cross-reference it. I hear TehIntraWebTubes is good for cross referencing bearings ... Failing that, King Bearing has never failed me when I need an obscure part for a restoration. They ship, and have excellent prices.

                  1. DropBear Silver badge

                    Re: Really good?

                    Thanks for the tips, but the issue itself is a well documented one, once one is aware of its existence; the code really is officially "6302"-based, it's not just a misreading of a one-off. It has been replaced by a truly standard size a few years later in this model. Ultimately, it is not unobtainium for sure, but neither is it "standard deep groove bearing you pick up for a pound or two from any maker of your choice". As an example, one major bike parts supplier's wheel bearing catalogue even lists appropriate bearing sizes for all bikes right next to their own SKU for it - for sure mine is in it too, next to the SKU " ".

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Really good?

                      You've piqued my interest ... what's the make, model and year of the bike?

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Really good?

              No, but Honda did have a Honda-only tool to remove the lower center bolt on the intake manifold many moons ago. Eventually Snap-on made one, for the low, low price of $300 for what was essentially nothing more than a specially bent $10 12mm box end wrench.

              And any mechanic worth his/her salt knows what a Ford Wrench is.

      2. STOP_FORTH
        Happy

        Re: Really good?

        I keep thinking I should buy a Series III SWB Land Rover. I know I'd probably have to fix minor faults every weekend, but at least you can source/cannibalise/make most of the bits.

        Pretty sure that won't be the case with the new model!

        I could probably buy one for less than I spent getting the auto transmission fixed on my current vehicle.

        Mind you, when they finally ban diesels from London, prices may drop!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Really good?

          "when they finally ban diesels from London"

          What do the cabbies have to say about that?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Really good?

            "What do the cabbies have to say about that?"

            They'll insist on an exemption - and get it.

            1. STOP_FORTH

              Re: Really good?

              Every minicab I have used in London (and Home Counties) recently has been a hybrid. Not sure when the Black Cabs will catch up.

              (Hybrids are rarer further afield in UK.)

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: Really good?

                Black cabs have been hybrids for some time, apparently:

                BBC News (text)

                BBC News (video)

                both from December 2017.

                Bits for the cab are being made in a factory near me: The Independent or Wheels within Wales

                Link to the manufacturer.

                M.

                (edit to clear up some confusion on my part ;-)

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Really good?

          "I keep thinking I should buy a Series III SWB Land Rover. "

          Oh no! You mentioned the Landie!!!! Now we'll get endless stories of Landie owners competing on who did the best running repair. I hear one guy drove his to the top of Mount Everest, but only made it all way because he was able to whittle a new half-shaft out of a tree branch to finish the trip!!

          1. STOP_FORTH

            Re: Really good?

            That's obviously a fib, there are no trees on Everest. He may have used someone's tibia. (Not a fib!)

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Really good?

              "He may have used someone's tibia. (Not a fib!)"

              Oh, well played. You win the internet.

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Really good?

              Actually, there are trees on Everest. They grow below the treeline, or under 12,500 feet (plus or minus) in much of the Himalaya range. Some Junipers[0] have been found above 15,000 feet. I wouldn't expect you Brits to know this, though ... you lot don't have any mountains, and expect everything on the planet to be exactly like it is in Blighty.

              [0] The aptly named Juniperus tibetica.

              1. STOP_FORTH
                Happy

                Re: Really good?

                I have been skiing on a number of mountains in France, Austria, Switzerland, Andorra and Italy. I have been mountain biking at Whistler. I have seen mountains from afar or from the air in all five continents.

                In all cases, all of the trees grew below the tree-line!

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Really good?

                  Careful, if you out yourself as having actually traveled further[0] than Hull you won't be welcome down at your local anymore.

                  While I've got your attention, what do you have against the work of Chuck, anyway?

                  [0] Note to the pedants in the audience (and you know who you are!): I contemplated farther, and decided the context was more metaphorical than physical and went with the further. So shoot me.

                  1. STOP_FORTH
                    WTF?

                    Re: Really good?

                    I have no idea who Chuck is.

                    What makes you think I am welcome in the local? I have only been living here 22 years, I'm still an "incomer".

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Really good?

                      Chuck wrote the programming language you are calling to halt. (Given this forum is what it is, I ass-u-me'd you were talking about Charles Moore's Forth in your handle. If not, apologies.)

                      I wouldn't expect you to be welcome after lock-in quite yet, but not even in the public bar? How far North are you, anyway? Even me dad (a bloody Yank[0]) was part of the darts team after only 6 years in the Dales ...

                      [0] Apropos cartoon: https://www.xkcd.com/1015/

                      1. STOP_FORTH

                        Handle is random

                        Stopforth is someone's surname (not mine). I just made it sound a bit computery 'cos it's the Reg. I don't use it on any other forum. I believe it's a common surname in Yorkshire.

                        I'm not in the North, although all of my ancestors were. (Some of them North of the Forth.)

                        Only time I have been in lock-ins was when I was working in a pub in the Seventies, which meant free drinks for me!

                        Looked at Forth in the Eighties, never used it in anger.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Really good?

        Same thing with automobiles

        For a while I had a Chrysler Grand Voyager (3.3L v6 petrol engine, auto box). It was comfortable, moved fairly swiftly when driven with my usual method[1] and was generally not too bad a car. Until (at about 70k miles) the auto box failed - it would randomly change ratio and/or not change gear at all.

        Which, according to me reading, meant that one or more of the 9 clutches in the auto box had failed. The local Chrysler shysters wanted to charge me £2000 to change the auto box (on a car that was worth, at most £1500). To rub salt into the wound, they then charged me £250 for their investigation[2] that basically said "your auto box has a fault"[3].

        I came very, very close to just leaving the car with them as payment of the debt and just walking out. It was only the fact that my wife was with me at the dealership that stopped me.

        [1] Accellerate quickly up to the desired speed and then cruise. Which, happily, is the recommended method for driving my current hybrid at peak efficiency..

        [2] I had specifically instructed them to spend no more than £100 on investigation and watched the sales type write that on the job sheet. Oddly, the job sheet that I picked up with the car after the work had no mention of that. And the service manager told me to my face that they had no record of my request. Which is why I'll never, ever go back to that garage again. In fact, I'll never buy a Chrysler or Merc again since that dealership has the local franchise for both of those marques. My next car was a Honda (that we had for 10 years) and now I have a Toyota - becuase (in general) their dealerships at least try to gain some customer satisfaction..

        [3] Which was why I took it to them in the first place. I wish I could charge £250 for telling the customer something that they already know..

    2. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Really good?

      >> 'short' working days, round these parts they harvest well into the night

      Only harvest ? Around these parts they till and sow late into night also, with lights that set fire to remaining weeds.

      You may have an interesting sociological point. Almost every ag business around here also is into restoring old farm machinery. A few are into horse powered kit even. Are the Amish are going to be fashionable soon ?

      1. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: Really good?

        "Almost every ag business around here also is into restoring old farm machinery. A few are into horse powered kit even. Are the Amish are going to be fashionable soon ?"

        Farmer near me used Belgian drafts to work his hobby farm. He had a small side business of pulling equipment out of his neighbors' fields when they bogged down. Horses can get out and work fields too wet for tractors and other machinery. He doesn't farm anymore, wonder if he still does call-outs for stuck tractors.

        When I ran a stable, our two tractors were a Farmall Model H and a Ford Model 800 from the 1950s. I called the eighty-something year old farmer down the road if anything started to go south, and he would repair it. He could machine some parts himself in his barn. Miss him and the stable, do not miss the long hours and hard work. Here's real horsepower: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcsaoffblock&p=Horses+pulling+a+semi#id=19&vid=0efaebea6bae5a9e60640ec835e5036e&action=view

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Flame

    Personal account

    My uncle had issues with his JD, weeks before a technician was available, luckily enough neighboring farmers chipped in and helped harvest his fields before it was too late.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Personal account

      That's good community spirit - it's nice to hear about things like that.

      Reminds me of the time Joey Dunlop's motorbikes sank in the Irish Sea on the way to the Isle of Man TT. They managed to salvage them off the sunken boat, but they were ruined. Every other team in the paddock lent them mechanics, parts, tools, anything they needed to get the bikes running again, and then Joey beat them all in the races...

      1. rg287 Bronze badge

        Re: Personal account

        Similar story in target shooting. Defending Olympic Champion Malcolm Cooper's rifle was knocked off a bench by a BBC photographer and the stock sheared in two at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

        The Soviets had brought an armourer with them, who worked through the night and presented Malcolm with his repaired stock ready for the match. Which he went on to win, with another Brit (Jock Allan) claiming Silver and a Russian (Kirill Ivanov) taking Bronze.

        I'm not sure if it was the Armourer who was asked how he felt about Cooper beating the Russians after he'd fixed his rifle or if it was Ivanov who was asked how he felt about his armourer having fixed Cooper's rifle, but the crux of it came down to "Winning would be meaningless if we didn't have to beat Malcolm in the process".

        1. Stork Bronze badge

          Re: Personal account

          Essentially Elvstrøm's words: "You have only truly won if you do it in a way that your competitors respect you."

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Personal account

        "Reminds me of the time Joey Dunlop's motorbikes sank in the Irish Sea on the way to the Isle of Man TT."

        Did he trying using a boat the next time? I know some bikes are fast, some riders can "walk on water" but really....

  11. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Slightly OT, but inspired by some stories here ...

    How many people have learned to make minor tweaks to ****ing expensive equipment and reaped the benefit of years of service ?

    My favourite "fix" is to immediately use a USB hub on all USB-ported equipment ... saving hundreds if not thousands of insert/eject cycles on the one soldered to the board.

  12. Bryan Hall

    Ditto Tesla

    No right to repair Tesla cars either. A big reason I would not buy one.

    One would hope that farmers would wise up and just not buy any new JD equipment. But for used equipment this just stinks.

    1. JoMe

      Re: Ditto Tesla

      Initially, perhaps, but not currently. In fact, Tesla offers a web service where wiring diagrams, repair manuals, etc, can be acquired by anyone that signs up. They also have training to become a Tesla approved body shop.

  13. Reader2435

    The good ol' U.S. of A - Land of the free, home of the brave.

    Or should that be: Land of those whose ancestors were free, home of the not-quite-brave-enough-to-try-changing-their-own-oil.

    1. jake Silver badge

      You seem to be missing the point, Reader2435

      We are more than happy to change our own oil. And rebuild entire drivetrains, for that matter. It's Corporate America that is trying to remove that option from those of us down in the trenches (literally). We are resisting the power grab.

  14. Adair

    America - 'Land Of The Free'

    (Terms & Conditions apply)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: America - 'Land Of The Free'

      As I keep telling you lot, that's "Land of the Fee".

      1. A.P. Veening

        Re: America - 'Land Of The Free'

        "And home of the Slave".

  15. STOP_FORTH
    Pirate

    We can fix this easily

    Just get the people who make threaded rod, duct tape, cable ties and cyanoacrylate glue to sue everybody else for restraint of trade.

    Proper job as they say in these parts.

    (Pirate, 'cos DRM.)

  16. chivo243 Silver badge

    Old saying now appropriate?

    John Deere Noting runs like a deer and nothing stinks like a john (the US bog) or the customer of a lady of the night, not sure which would smell worse?

  17. erikscott

    others will take their business

    Turns out I'm buying a tractor in a couple weeks (I have to do it in this half of the year), and Kubota has started making bigger machines. The local K. dealer is too polite and professional to bring it up, but when I asked point blank he said they're seeing more business from soon-ex-JD customers. Their new stuff won't necessarily replace Deere's biggest machines, but they're moving up market. I suspect the plan is to chew JD's toes off until they can swallow the whole body. :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: others will take their business

      Local JD dealer here are a bunch of banjo player descendants inherited the JD franchise for generations, figured their product is so good they can just collect cash without working. Bought New Holland as Kubota did not have what I wanted at that time and the CNH dealer had a good rep for repairs (the dealer quality is more important than the tractor color). Nothing anywhere already built on the continent met specs, needed a custom build out of Jesi so there was delay as the Fiat/CNH engineers decided if it could be done and then the tractor had to waddle across the pond in a container, getting stuck for a while as collateral damage in customs as the usual government idiots of the time peed in each others cornflakes.

      No problem buying CNH parts, other then the staggeringly high cost. High cost for tractor parts is the standard situation regardless of tractor color.

  18. HarryBl

    What a bizarre country the US is...

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      It makes more sense if you remember that we're a nation "of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation".

    2. jake Silver badge

      That's nothing.

      You should see Blighty from a leftpondian perspective. Either side of the 49th parallel.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: That's nothing.

        We already know we're bizarre, and as a country currently trying to conduct seppuku

  19. adam 40

    What about the Software?

    A lot of "fixing" these days is fixing the damn code.

    And I see a lot of manufacturers making use of GPL'ed code which they (sometimes) publish according to the rules.

    What they don't publish however is:

    - the build environment

    - some sort of signing mechanism so you can install the compiled binary onto the device.

    I see this as gross misuse of GPL, but everyone seems to put up with it.... hey ho.

    P.S. Agree with all the above, which is why I drive a 1989 "banger" which I maintain myself....

  20. JoMe

    "When"

    "When we are in the White House, we will pass a national right-to-repair law that gives every farmer in America full rights over the machinery they buy"

    Seriously, this is grabbing at straws. Make no mistake, this idiot and his party are going to promise whatever it takes - even public execution of Trump - if it'll get them elected. Here's why you should think again:

    1) His party is the number one advocate for full-term abortions. Not only that, but his party also feels that a mother should choose whether a full-term baby should be murdered after surviving said abortion.

    2) I wanted to not add this to the list, but he's a raving socialist. To the immediate knee-jerk socialists that claim "it's never been done right", I would like to pre-empt you by saying that there is no moral way to implement socialism, because it bases itself on theft. There is NO successful socialist example in history.

    3) Democrats love imposing anti-business regulations that hurt the small guy significantly. You don't need to be a political savant to see the pattern of this, and ironically for all of Bernie's blathering, it is literally the small to medium business that always suffers, and NEVER the big business he claims to target.

    4) Mob rule will continue to dictate policy, as it currently does on college campuses

    5) Science will no longer be accepted as fact. Already we're being told a man can be a woman just because he says so - in absence of science, biology, even plain sight.

    6) Entitlement programs that bankrupted us before will proceed unabated. A simple example: Trump lowered taxes significantly in 2018. Yet national debt only rose about 400bn. in the same year. Obama raised taxes significantly, and yet also increased national debt by over 1.3bn per year on average. The only reason we're actually still in debt is because Trump is still unwinding entitlement programs that make no sense.

    I mean, that's literally off the top of my head, what we know is going to happen based on not only history, but current statements and laws the democrats are pushing. Bernie Sanders is NOT a good thing for anyone.

    1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "When"

      Trump may have 'lowered taxes', but myself and everyone I know actually got less money back in their refunds than ever before this time. Some paid taxes where they always got refunds before. I'm not a Bernie fan at all, but I'm not even going to address the rest of the opinions and inaccuracies.

      But that said, you're really drunk the Trump Kool-Ade, huh? Your reactionary rant might be better placed on a political forum. the only relevance to John Deere is that it is pure fertilizer.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: "When"

      I would like to pre-empt you by saying that there is no moral way to implement socialism, because it bases itself on theft.

      And yet, the early Christians did exactly that. You sold your property, gave the money (as much as you wanted anyway) to the commune for the benefit of all, and lived there with the others prospering or failing with everyone else. No one owned any property, everyone worked for the community not the self.

  21. Grinning Bandicoot

    And the Galactic Overlords want it this way

    In the 1970s an official of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) speaking of cars stated that the CARB did not want back yard repair as that SMOG controls were complex and sensitive to misadjustment. The CARB later extended its mandate to all internal combustion engines. This would provide sanction to the idea of factory techs only on maintenance. The EPA (Feds) sanction the manufacturers for exceeding pollution limits and the local air board goes after the user. Once the camel nose is in the door it is not much longer for the remainder entering. Bernie speaks green to one audience and to another he speaks of bypassing the systems that work for pollution control.

    Meanwhile for something different..

    To the gent that thinks people vote for a candidate my very unscientific poll has more people voting for the least objectionable mostly amongst those believers that not voting Demican or Republicrat is throwing the vote away. The situation is growing worse in California as it moves to a one party system. The current outlook for the national election is just as gloomy as the last.

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