Home Improvement

Manufacturers, please stop implementing bs technology

By July 17, 2019 36 Comments

It’s late, my hot water heater was giving me trouble this week.  I just wanted to set my coffee for the morning.  Went to turn on the kitchen sink and nothing.

OK I’m not inebriated, I know how a faucet works, wtf is going on. This a 1yr old Moen MotionSense, a 300$ or so faucet. 

I check underneath, no leaks. Other faucets work, nothing seems amiss. 

Then I see it a blue blinking light on the side of this POS. I think oh the motion sensor must be stuck and unplug the battery pack. Nope still no water. Plug it back in, no water. Wtf?  I then think there’s no way this has been engineered to break if the batteries die.   Well let me just try to change them real quick to be sure.

Guess what, this f’n faucet doesn’t work without 6 AA batteries. The blinking light musta been my warning. To whoever engineers this shit this is a horrible idea. My drinking water relies on batteries. I’m sure you had some big meeting and somehow deemed this a reliable, marketable system. You’re just wrong.  How many people can’t do basic troubleshooting and will call a plumber because of your bullshit design?

Whats next? My wifi is down and I can’t shower or wash my clothes? I’m an engineer and would be fired for implementing this garbage.

Edit: I wasn’t clear, the handle does not work without power. With prior versions just the Motionsense would fail. It appears that the handle cannot function without power.

Edit2: I didn’t buy the damn thing, nor would I. Came with the house.

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  • Downvotes_catpics says:

    As a millwright, I question the motivations and aptitude of engineers and product designers on a daily basis.

  • I_Usually_Need_Help says:

    I’m not familiar with the faucet so I’m not sure I understand. The handle doesn’t work if the batteries for the motion sensor are dead?

  • mikeber55 says:

    Yeah, absolutely. That’s not the engineers fault – but marketing. They are desperately trying to come with new ideas every month. Just to “beat the competition” and stay in the game. Real improvements are relatively rare: better mechanics, better materials, improved reliability. Nobody mentions these in advertising. But the coffee maker is connected to WiFi and you control it from your iPhone. It makes coffee while you’re driving home.

  • ringolio says:

    In addition to the motion sensor don’t these also have a handle you can turn the water on with?

  • Cheletor says:

    My husband refuses to get a fancy new high efficiency washer because they break so easily. Once the computer components go there’s not much your can do! He did appliance repair in his 20s and knows exactly what to do with our shitty old drum style washer because there’s so little to it.

  • brazeau says:

    There’s a happy medium between modern technology and dumb unnecessary poorly engineered garbage. For anything in the household, batteries should be there for back-up power only. Not for wireless alarm systems, smoke detectors, CO detectors, nor faucets. What the fuck.

  • siberian says:

    I hate this thing. What I hate even more than the batteries is the fact that the sensor is not connected to the faucet handle.


    So, we do this dance a lot.


    Faucet handle on, sensor off.

    Wave hand, sensor on. Muscle memory turns faucet off.

    Wave hand, nothing happens. Turn faucet on.

    Wave hand, faucet goes off.

    Daughter reaches in the sink to set a dish in and gets fucking SOAKED.


    Can I just have a faucet that makes water when I pull the stick? OMG.

  • DigitalEvil says:

    Have you checked to see if there is a bypass valve? Usually somewhere down next to the battery/control unit. The reason the faucet can’t work without a power source is because of the motion sensor being tied to a servo located most likely in the control/battery unit. A lot of motion sensor sinks typically shifts the valve to stop/start water from the faucet handle down to the electric servo valve in the control/battery unit.

  • pookiemon says:

    Yes, the motionsense is shit when there’s a power issue. Blinking lights, turning on randomly, sometimes only hot water, sometimes only cold. Switched to a regular manual faucet and haven’t been happier.

  • peter-s says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure why you (or anyone) would buy an electronic faucet anyway. What problem does it solve? You can’t move the lever with the back of your hand on the occasion that your fingers are dirty?

  • fuzzy11287 says:

    So, I didn’t believe this and went googling. Found this in a faq:

    >Battery or AC power is required to operate the faucet in electronic or manual mode

    It’s at the end of the second to last paragraph:


    Apparently the gray box allows for non-powered manual operation but the black box doesn’t:


    So I assume you pay extra for that feature?

  • appropriateinside says:

    There is a reason I don’t get “smart” or “electronic” anything that can be analog… And I’m a software developer who lives and breathes IT.

    Lowest bidder, for the cheapest parts. You can have a $100 mouse fail early because of a $0.03 part that you can’t easily replace. And the higher quality part that lasts seemingly indefinitely is $0.05…. And the mouse only has 4 of them (The switches, also Logitech). The same switches you find on $10 trash mice

    It’s getting ridiculous now. $200 microwave failing because of a $3 part that could have lasted forever for $6 (The door latch switch).

    Or a $350 mini fridge failing because a $5 part was cheaped out on (Start relay).

    It’s depressing, because it seems you just can’t buy things anymore that don’t have planned obsolescence. I still have electronics from the 90’s that still operate, and gets full use. While the same thing has been replaced at least 2-3x in the last decade by others I know. Sometimes even the same brands…..

  • fengshui says:

    The more expensive model fails open, but the cheaper one needs an ac adapter to fail open.

    I have a similar unit from Delta and all of theirs fail open, it was a feature I looked for.

  • goeffyerself says:

    A fucking faucet that does not work without batteries??? I can hear my ancestors laughing at our vanity. Taps work off of town pressure. You need a simple valve to release said pressure. Introducing a faulty barrier for the sake of keeping up with the jones is the shit that makes me see red.

  • jpfrana says:

    did you try turning it on and off again?

  • Goodwsaja says:

    All smart home tech is like this and is why i avoid it. I cringe when i see people designing houses with smart everything wired in. That stuffs gonna break and cost a fortune to replace. Sorry i dont need a refrigerator that has its own tinder account.

  • vazili says:

    preventative maintenance aint hard.

    and after 5 seconds of research, heres an AC option

    Moen 169031 Optional AC Adapter Service Kit for Moen Kitchen Faucets with MotionSense https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CNBSLTK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_fSVlDbNY4NCK7

  • fahrvergnuugen says:

    This shit right here is exactly why I refurbished a 1986 Wolf Stove for my kitchen rather than buying a new stove. It doesn’t have a single circuit board in it anywhere and even though it has spark ignition, you can still cook when the power is out by lighting it with a match.

  • decaturbob says:

    its battery operate, batteries must be changed…..if your don’t want headaches do not buy this technology in the first place

  • RickyBobb1e says:

    Dude, no offense, but you purchased an electronic faucet yet seem surprised by the electronics. They sell manual valve operated faucets.

  • Dehno34 says:

    Agreed. Give me a new fridge that works for more than 3 years and then we can talk about putting TVs and cameras on them.

  • rwanders says:

    Consumers, stop buying bs gimicky technology.

  • toolatealreadyfapped says:

    This is why my dad (the epitome of function over form kinda guy) still drives cars with stick shift and roll down windows. “More shit to work, more shit to break” is pretty much his life motto.

    But yeah, any time a feature can shut down the entire function, you’ve got a bad design.

  • MarcieAlana says:

    I have similar concerns about things like televisions. Smart TVs are the latest craze. What makes them smart? Computers. What’s the (supported) lifespan of most computers? Maybe 18 months. How long have we traditionally kept televisions? Maybe a decade. That bites. Try finding a nice high quality television that is *not* smart. (Easy on the low end of things, very difficult on the high end.)
    I ended up verifying that the TV had a dumb mode before I bought it so I could attach… an external smart device (Nvidia Shield) that I could replace in a few years. Feh.

  • gunsnammo37 says:

    Reminds me of an all-in-one printer/fax/scanner I had once that refused to scan a document because it was out of magenta ink.

  • reed17purdue says:

    Most faucets have an override for loss of power or batteries. If its not in override mine wont work at all if it has no power. In override it operates just like a normal faucet.

  • Giblet15 says:

    If my wifi is down my light switches don’t work. This is of my own doing though.

  • TechnicallyMagic says:

    Unpopular, yet professional (product designer and renovator) opinion ahead:

    $300 will cover a nice, conventional (mechanical)sink faucet from Signature Hardware, a brand with all-brass components, etc. If you buy Moen or Delta from a box store, realize those are their lowest-tier products. I would think an engineer would know that, but you may not work in product development. A touch-sensitive kitchen sink faucet like that is going to be more like a G (MSRP, which is still usually 300% manufacturing cost) though you can probably find some marked down to around $600-$700. You will need to go to the plumbing showroom-type store though.

    This may not change the battery powered valve’s existence, but it would mean a second, mechanical valve and alternative internal plumbing route would mean the handle could bypass this and the electric valve could be normally-open.

    Plumbing fixtures are 20-yr.+ appliances in theory, but the junk on the shelf at the box store generally won’t be problem-free for even a decade. The guts are plastic, the bodywork is vacuum-metalized plastic. These numbers set a prescedent for consumers though.

  • Mcflyguy says:

    “Planned obsolescence” is the term you’re looking for.

  • naughtyrev says:

    I got a new Weber grill that several times I’ve had to do a hard factory reset on because it wants to connect to some app and if it can’t it won’t turn the gas on higher than the absolute lowest setting. Took me forever googling it to figure it out the first time. I just wanted to cook some damn chicken and had to reboot my grill. Dumbest thing ever.

  • klevenisms204 says:

    never understood those electronic faucets. water and electricity seem like a bad combo.

    im wondering if engineers at moen felt an annoying blue light would cause any idiot to change out the battery. then again, i wait til the beeping gets too frequent in my smoke detector before i change the battery

  • introspeck says:

    One of my programming specialties is firmware for embedded systems. You might think I’d be excited by Nest, a Ring, or pretty much any of that gimmicky IoT stuff, but I won’t have it in my house. When I say that, I often hear “Oh but they do this thing or that thing, and it’s awesome! You should have one!” No, I get by just fine without it. When I hear about the firmware upgrade that bricked thousands of Nests, the latest IoT hack that exposes your whole network, the devices that suddenly stop working because they stopped supporting it or went out of business, or how “smart” devices are doing 24/7 surveillance, I feel just fine with my old tech.

  • Inspi says:

    Stuff like this is why I specifically bought smart locks for my house that are also keyed. When the battery dies or my little key fob dies…. it is just a regular dumb lock, and it works, no hassle, no screwing around.

  • bobbyfiend says:

    My life goals now include never having a faucet that needs batteries. Thanks.

    I’ll add these to other goals, including never having a fridge, microwave, or toaster that has internet capability and never owning a Google Home or Amazon whatever.

  • nofourthchances says:

    As a bit of a gadget guy, I like my smart home products, but it’s still a bit of a shit show. You basically have to buy the top of the line. This might apply more to pure electronics, but my take is that someone designs a good smart product, then they make that the top of the line model, and then start removing features to make cheaper versions to compete with cheap alternatives. Plus there’s the issue of companies deciding it is okay to put beta software on devices and then spam the devices with updates (i.e. bug fixes) every two weeks.

    In a pinch recently I ended up with a HP Tango printer. It’s their small, pretty-looking unit that relies on wifi connectivity and an app. It’s pretty slick when it works, but it turns out that the printer has a power saving mode which can’t be disabled that seems to result in it dropping its connection to the network (it’s not a DHCP issue, the printer already has a static IP), requiring a power cycle. So now I’ve got my smart printer plugged into a smart outlet that automatically power cycles the printer every 12 hours. All because HP didn’t want to include an ethernet port on the printer.

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