To go off on a tangent...
I have a couple of CFLs that have been going since 1997 in my first apartment while most of the CFLs I purchased after my last move in 2009 have burned out.
None of my LEDs have gone. Not the ridiculously expensive ones from a few years ago or the current "almost, but not quite cheap enough for the whole house" ones I've been testing out.
My impression is that there's a sweet spot in relatively early adoption for many technologies when you can get nearly all the eventual performance with much higher reliability. A point where manufacturers are perhaps over-engineering or at least have not yet dialed in their cost-cutting trade-offs.
Of course, whether this is worth anything depends on the context - my 2004 Linksys AP, 1997 bulbs and 1999 DVD player are fine for my purposes, but my tank-like 2009 Motorola Droid - not so much.
There were lots of 90s era printers that were just as trashy as the ones made today.
My HP was sort of okay, but it turns out that I don't print enough. Any inkjet would clog under my normal use.
They stay on all day long. That means 10% of the bulbs burned before reaching 9000 hours. The rest seems to be unaffected.
However, _older_ lamps (made > 15, 20 years ago) used to last much longer than two or three years on all the time. I know this because I took notice of this at the moment.
I have incandescent bulbs that are more than 10 years old, that burn 2-3 hours a day today. Incandescent bulbs I bought in the last years typically lasted less than 1-2 years at a similar burning rate. I saw a change in bulb quality when the local industry died (east Europe) and all you could get were Osram from Poland or Phillips.
In my opinion, the reaches of the cartel are still strong.
Electronics tend to have a bathtub curve of failure, with high failure rates at the beginning of life. It wouldn't surprise me that older CFLs (with much higher market prices) had greater levels of testing/burn in before being shipped, leading to much lower failure rates.
What's more worrying is that Governments have outlawed traditional light bulbs in favor of LED or CFL ones. If that's not some powerful lobby, I don't know what it is.
In the UK, CFL bulbs were also subsidised and/or given out free to households by the energy companies before incandescent bulbs were banned.
One was a set of many small ceiling fixtures for which only LED lamps could anymore be bought in shops, and those flickered because the switches were dimmers (which themselves would save energy, because most of the time 50% was enough).
The second flat had a $200 electronic dimmer switch, again as installed by the builders, and a halogen fixture with some sort of ballast or whatever you call it these days. This also flickered constantly, and worse, it burned out the dozen tiny $5 halogen bulbs every week. The fixture had to be replaced; the new one takes standard-size halogen bulbs and has no ballast thingy to make them flicker.
It has become quite unpleasant to move into new buildings and find that the electricals are not compatible even as built. And most shops won't sell some of the bits I need to fix it, because the government told them not to...but other less-convenient shops still do sell them.
This is the one I've liked best:
Not as bright as they claim it to be, though. I have 4 of them in the living room, and there's no way it's equivalent to 4 x 50W halogen bulbs.
When you compare retail prices and actual lifetime you notice that the new bulbs are significantly more expensive than the now banned traditional ones while having overrated life expectancies and now you understand that the manufacturers are getting more money and faster, suddenly this overpriced incompetence has a feel of greenwashing followed by an aftertaste of lobbying
I know of no study that agrees with your conclusion. Among others, Umweltbundesamt (German government), BUND (German NGO, parts of Friends of the Earth), Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science) have come out in favour of CFL bulbs.
A 60W equivalent costs around $1.50, and using ~12W of energy. Even if we use the lowest electricity cost for the US ($0.08/kWh), and assume the incandescent bulb was free:
cost of bulb / power difference * cost per Wh = break even time
1.50 / (60-12) * (0.08 / 1000) = 390 hours
So you only need to use a bulb for 390h to recover the total purchase cost. You can argue all you want about lifetimes, equivalence etc, but these are not marginal figures, especially when you factor in that real EU electricity prices tend to be 2-5x the figures I used-- with German or Danish electricity you'll have pay back times well under 100h.
Those like you and ekianjo make a good case for regulation. The EU banned incandescents, the world did not implode.
If it makes economical sense, let consumers judge for themselves. The cost at purchase of LEDs / CFLs is way higher than traditional light bulbs. Everyone should be able to have access to cheap lights.
I'm saying that at the present there is no economic incentive for consumers to save electricity large enough to make them switch to less energy intensive means of lighting.
We certainly won't maximize our standard of living by senselessly wasting energy. When there are two ways to light a room, yielding the same amount of light, but one uses much less energy, it is the superior one.
The tricky question is how to make it the economically sensible one for the consumer, as well.
Not necessarily. What about manufacturing costs? If manufacturing a CFL/LED is more labour or capital intensive then it's production uses resources that could have been used to produce other goods. If that's the case then a ban on incandescent light bulbs has a hidden cost.
You shouldn't look only at the visible effects but also at those invisible. A great essay That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen  by Frederic Bastiat comes to my mind. It explores this kind of situations.
Not seeing a whole lot of citations coming back from your side of the table.
Personally I would buy the car that has the most reliable and most powerful engine - even if it was a 6.0L V8 - but huge taxes on such thing are stopping me from buying it.
You can get "rough service" or "extended life" incandescent bulbs that claim 5,000 hour lifetimes, but they are very obviously dim and orange compared with the standard bulbs.
You can also get newfangled "high efficiency" incandescent bulbs (a 60W bulb's worth of light for ~40W) that package little halogen lamps inside the traditional bulb shape. (I'm a fan, I think they provide the highest quality light you can get right now.) But residential halogen lamps used to mostly claim 2,000 hour lifespans, and these new high efficiency ones only claim 900.
None of that means the cartel had good intentions, though. Sometimes the right thing happens for the wrong reasons.
I had no idea what it was, but my buddy did and explained it to me, and I laughed my ass off about it. But then I thought about it, and decided to replace one bulb without the miser inserted, so I would at least be able to see in my bathroom. Left the other 3 (it was a light bulb panel above the mirror) with misers inserted.
Sure as the sun comes up that one bulb would go out every year or so, but the ones with misers never did, in 9 years I was there.
One thing I have noticed in my house is that incandescent bulbs last longer if their power is ramped up to turn them on. We have this kind of switch in our main room and the bulbs have lasted longer than 8 years of more than 8 hours a day.
They are rarely on full bright so that could be it too.
I think it is well known that things that are made well and do cost a little more are available. This reminds me of a guy who shows how to counterfeit his own product - http://kottke.org/14/01/how-to-make-a-fake-bag
Some things however we've all seem to accept, like light bulbs, razor blades, etc, and its a shame. On one hand, having a newer product that may be better more often is good, and having a lower price for a product that lasts even temporary is also good, but it would be nice if there were more choice, and more awareness, of these kinds of issues in our markets.
I'm biased. I like that they run a webcam: http://www.centennialbulb.org/cam.htm
Where'd you get the 1/4 voltage figure and how does that relate to its longevity?
Lifetime is approximately proportional to the 16th power of the voltage, according to that article. 1/4 was a randomly made up figure (and probably wouldn't even result in a visible glow with many bulbs) but if you could see the light from such a bulb, it would presumably last up to 4 billion times longer than normal. By the same token a 5% reduction in voltage will double the life of the bulb.
So it wouldn't be hard at all to find a voltage somewhere in between that will allow an ordinary incandescent bulb to emit visible, maybe even useful levels of illumination, while lasting 100 years or more.
As others have mentioned, the Centennial bulb doesn't exactly emit useful levels of light. If I'm doing the math right, if you took a 100W/120V incandescent bulb rated for 1000 hours and scaled down the voltage by the 16h root of 876, or 80 volts, its life expectancy would reach 100 years. The bulb would use about half the power be about 1/4 as bright as normal. Its color temperature would obviously be pretty awful, but the Centennial bulb doesn't excel in that department either.
Brushes are intended to be replaced, and many manufacturers supply spare brushes in the original packaging.
In the 21st century however the traditional brushes have been replaced by electronic switching.
http://robots-everywhere.com/re_wiki/index.php?n=Main.Projec... Obviously, don't use the capacitor for light bulbs connected to AC!
Anybody who wants to get rich.
Let's say that you can sell such a light bulb, and that it's so great that everyone in the world buys one, on average. And say you can sell it for a dollar, but you only make a cent of profit on each one. Why, that'd only leave you with. . . $70,000,000 dollars.
Well that's not too bad, but really not great either. It'd certainly let you retire to a tropical island for the rest of your life. But you could do better. If the light bulb is so great, wouldn't everyone be willing to spend more than a dollar on one? After all, those inferior light bulbs cost about twice as much, so if your bulbs are better than others should be willing to pay at least that much. Let's knock the price up to $2, then. That puts the profit per bulb at $1.01. So then you can simultaneously destroy the light bulb industry (fun!) and put a cool 7 billion dollars in your pocket (profit!).
Who would choose not do do such a thing? Certainly most anybody who's motivated by profit (like, say, a capitalist) would jump at the opportunity.
More realistically, you might sell a few hundred thousand to the developed world, and then sales fall off a cliff, because it takes a lot of work to distribute outside your home market. Total payoff: Less than 2 months' salary.
That's the concern with the new lights. The industry is built on 1,000-hour bulbs and regular replacements. We currently have a boom as incandescents get replaced by fluorescents and fluorescents get replaced by LEDs (my father hates fluorescent light). Once that is done, who is going to buy bulbs at the rate that the factories can produce them?
If it took 100 people to make/sell/distribute, and you are the owner of the company, you're probably going to still be rich. Figure 99 employees at $150k fully loaded annually would cost you 15 million dollars, leaving 55 million to retire on.
Of course, if you are an employee, you would only have a job for 1 year.
You'd also need capital to stand up to much larger manufacturers who'd go for an all out assault to find real or imagined flaws with your product (it'll destroy the environment - think of the dying baby seals!).
Some products costs many times their manufacturing cost to sell and distribute.
> After all, those inferior light bulbs cost about twice as much
That may sound like a good thing for you, but it's not a given. You've just created a reason for people to go "hold on, if this bulb lasts so long, why does it cost so little? what's wrong with it?" (at which point the less ethical of your competitors will whisper in their ears: "think of the dying baby seals; we can't prove that's what they make their filament of, but ...")
You'll need to convince people that you're selling them a genuine product, because it sounds too good to be true and a lot of people would assume it is too good to be true. Convincing them would cost a lot of money.
The irony is that you might be better off promising a much shorter timespan (you'd still need a fortune for marketing campaigns) and/or hiking the price up.
But if you're promising a shorter lifespan, why not cut manufacturing costs and achieve a shorter lifespan and increase your profit? It's what your competitors will do.
And of course you'd face clones of your products - patents or no patents there'd be people trying to find workarounds, or just blatantly ignoring any patents and hoping to make a profit before you can stop them (or hope they can make it too expensive for you to pursue)
> Who would choose not do do such a thing? Certainly most anybody who's motivated by profit (like, say, a capitalist) would jump at the opportunity.
The article points out that a cartel of the biggest manufacturers at the time saw things opposite: They saw increasing how long they'd last as a threat to the extent that they went to extreme lengths to prevent it from coming to pass.
I think that's a pretty good indication that "most anybody who's motivated by profit" would not necessarily jump at the opportunity to create a longer life product.
Returns matter because it will fail no matter what, given that there will be a non-zero change of failure in every step from manufacture to end user distribution, to failures directly caused by the end user (what do you mean it it's my fault it broke when I tried to screw it into the wrong type of fixture and used lots of force?) to forces of nature (lightning frying everything). End users will try it whether they're right, or whether they they hit the thing with a hammer.
If the premise is "is indestructable", then we are in fairy tale land, well past "a bit far fetched hypothetical land". My expectation was that the premise was more akin to "will last 1000 years absent production failures and when treated/used according to spec".
I've dealt with customers demanding money back on an internet subscription because they didn't realise they needed a computer (this was before smart phones and the like) to use the internet.You will need to deal with returns.
Even if only rebuff attempt at claiming money back.
> No reason why a exponential improvement in lightbulbs would be less popular than anything else people have looked at and said this is way better than that.
Name one single such product that managed to get worldwide penetration with no marketing from anyone.
The point is not that such a bulb would not become popular if it came about, but that the cost of making any physical product a world wide success are high enough that a cheap product that's effectively destroying it's own market is not likely to be a good investment even if the potential final "one time" sales could be fairly large.
Consider that e.g. OSRAM when they spend marketing money is maintaining a market that keeps buying product. Every customer they gain is likely to buy bulbs multiple times, so their marketing cost per acquired customer is likely to be far lower than an unknown entrant who needs to keep selling to new people.
Keep also in mind that even with a promise of a 1000 year lifetime, it will take many years before the product will have proven itself sufficiently that people will have first hand evidence that it even outlasts common LEDs. Trust matters.
If I had a bulb that'd last for 1000 years and cost $1, I'd keep my mouth shut, and market them at about the same price as LEDs, and claim they'd last 20% longer, and back that up with a warranty. I might even artificially limit their lifetime to, say, 2x the lifetime of the LED (or try to cost reduce to get there). Then I'd invest a good percentage of revenue into marketing, hopefully managing to outspend competitors on sales and marketing unit by unit.
Whenever a competitor would improve length, I'd then release a "new model" maintaining the lead. But not immediately, and never with too much of a lead.
I learned the hard way not to undercut / overcommit vs. your competitors with my first business: An ISP. We realised we could sell subscriptions at 25% what the incumbents could. What we did not realise at the time was why the incumbents were so expensive: It was not that they could not promise what we did for the price we did. It was that they did not see the mass market promise, and their margins were great as they were. So what happened was that 4 days after we launched, together with one or two other small ISPs that had also found the same price spot, the biggest ISPs in our market followed suit instantly, and started a price war that totally ravaged the market over the following 5 years. Nobody made any money until the major players had exhausted their war chests and carved up the market between themselves.
What I learned was that 1) you should not assume your lead is as great as you think; assume the competitors either have stuff hidden away or at least have resources to quickly cut your lead; 2) you should not assume your competitors can't cut price, so don't underprice them enough to force them into a price war with you; unless you have deep pockets, you will lose, 3) you should not assume your potential customers will find you just because of price (and if they do,you'll lose them the moment someone underbid you). In general, assume that you upset the status quo at your peril - everyone will gun for you if you reveal your hand and demonstrate a too large of an apparent advantage. In well established market with large incumbents, unless you have massive capital behind you, it's a bit like walking up to a sleeping tiger and giving it a swift kick: not very conducive to your long term survival.
It's better to come in under the radar. If you still want to change the world and destroy your market, do it once you've built up distribution and a war chest.
I sense that you think manufacturers don't have an incentive to produce quality products like bulbs that can be used for a long time. I think you're making a mistake which I'll try to illustrate with an example.
Suppose light bulbs cost 1 USD each and last 1 year. I invent a new light bulb that is the same except it lasts 2 years. Would you say selling it would be a bad deal for me? Of course if I were to sell it for 1 USD then it certainly would be. But the value of my bulb to consumers is at least 2 USD, because it's equivalent to buying and using two competitors' bulbs! Manufacturing costs aren't relevant - if my bulb is cheaper to produce then it's even better for me.
You shouldn't look at the cost of production because it isn't the only factor. Take a look at e-books, for example. Sometimes they're even more expensive than paperbacks!
They do, to an extent, if they're not a dominant market player. But the article demonstrates quite clearly that once you reach a certain size, the effect on overall market demand starts to become a concern that relates directly to how much product you'll expect to be able to shift.
> But the value of my bulb to consumers is at least 2 USD, because it's equivalent to buying and using two competitors' bulbs!
It's not, because people (rationally) discount future events: We won't fully believe the claim; we'll assume other things may make it break in the meantime; we may have more immediate uses for the extra dollar. A dollar saved a year from now is not generally worth a dollar today.
It will be worth more than the competing products (all else being equal), but it won't be worth twice just because it lasts twice as long.
Absolutely agree. You rightfully point out broad simplifications that I made, though I think we agree that there's still an incentive for companies to build better products. Even if the price of the new bulb lower than 2 USD, but above 1 USD, the produces has an incentive to sell it - lower sales costs (you need to do it once), lower warehousing costs, etc. On the other hand the new technology can be more expensive than the old and offset these benefits.
Some people are happy to make enough money to generate a comfortable (but not outrageous) salary for all involved for a limited period, if it means making the world a better place. Not everyone wants to screw over their fellow humans to extract as much rent as physically possible for absolutely as long as they can.
Sure, you won't raise much capital from Wall St. to do it, so you'll need a rich backer with philanthropic tendancies. They're a rare breed, but they do exist.
My guess: Buildings tend to be over-engineered because any failure will kill people. There's just no reason to buy a light bulb that will last longer than your own occupancy of a given place.
That's not even remotely true. Without continual maintenance most of them would collapse in 100 years, maybe 200 on the outside. But that's not really the point. The real estate market is quite a different beast driven primarily by scarcity of space and location desirability.
I learned that thermal issues can be real killers when it comes to high power LED designs. While I have not analyzed any consumer lighting designs I would not be surprised if thermal issues, either steady-state or cyclic, are at the core of some of the failures over time.
In fact, this seems to be a purported feature of the patent system, not a bug -- to give inventors monopolistic control of a market for several decades.
In my eyes this article is a very good argument against a pure laissez-faire economy.
> It was rendered superfluous when in 1906 two European companies introduced a superior lightbulb whose filament was made from tungsten paste. That bulb was itself eclipsed in 1911 by General Electric’s metal-filament bulb, which used pure drawn tungsten wire, and in 1913 by GE’s gas-filled tungsten bulb.
It's better to have a technology available and have a choice to pay slightly more or to stay with the prior technology, as opposed to not having a technology available at all. That's why we have patents.
I don't think that this is established. Patents have existed since the 1400's and areas that have patent systems have general out-innovated areas without them. This could be the result of many other factors, but patents do clearly provide an incentive to innovate. I think a better argument is that the added costs of dealing with patent trolls outweighs the incentive of a temporary monopoly.
Your competitors will patent improved versions if you don't. They might also invent a product using a new implementation leaving you with no market.
And in practice, it doesn't work that way. Companies acquire patents on each minor upgrade to their technology.
Has the direction of causality been established here? Maybe areas with more innovation sprout wannabe monopolists who manage to lobby their governments to create patent protections.
Immediately after the sentence you quote is the answer to your question: "This could be the result of many other factors"
The other factor you suggest is certainly plausible.
I'm not sure that this article really gives any evidence to support the so-called "lightbulb conspiracy" even though the tone of the article seems to imply that planned obsolescence was involved.
Also, the article claims the limitations were explicitly on number of hours. If they cared about better quality of light, they could have had a similar effect by demanding brightness and efficiency, and let manufacturers produce longer lasting bulbs if they managed to achieve that as well.
In terms of evidence, it does not present much, though it references a number of other material, but the article author certainly claims to have seen it. It does however provide this quote from Anton Phillips:
“This, you will agree with me, is a very dangerous practice and is having a most detrimental influence on the total turnover of the Phoebus Parties…. After the very strenuous efforts we made to emerge from a period of long life lamps, it is of the greatest importance that we do not sink back into the same mire by paying no attention to voltages and supplying lamps that will have a very prolonged life.”
Either way I said "most."
Adam Smith recognized this when writing The Wealth of Nations, commenting 'People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.'
As described, the cartel sounds more like a "conspiracy" to help customers by providing a better standard of lightbulb (in terms of brightness and efficiency) rather than to hurt them.
The reduction in the lifespan seems like a side effect of this rather than the goal, even though I feel like the tone of the article is tending towards pushing that as the goal. They were undercut on cost and quality, though, not on lifetime, which seems like if it were achievable, would be a wonderful way to build a business.
But the cartel didn't fall apart 'on its own' due to magic self-regulating properties of the free market. It took WW2 to do it.
For some anecdotal post-war evidence, note that light bulbs in eastern Germany came with twice the lifetime of western models.
In Germany, there also circulates a story about representatives from Osram and Narva (an eastern manufacturer) meeting at Hannover fair, the latter presenting a light bulb with a lifetime of 5000h. The stories goes that the Osram representatives accused the Narva representatives of being imbeciles for cutting into their own profits...
 http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Binninger [german]
Despite the existence of fines for factories producing longer-life bulbs, quotas, and remarks such as 'This, you will agree with me, is a very dangerous practice and is having a most detrimental influence on the total turnover of the Phoebus Parties…. After the very strenuous efforts we made to emerge from a period of long life lamps, it is of the greatest importance that we do not sink back into the same mire by paying no attention to voltages and supplying lamps that will have a very prolonged life' from people like Anton Philips?
1) As someone previously pointed out the cartel was only possible because of a government created monopoly through the patent system.
2) You imply that while producers do not have the interests of consumers in mind, that the government somehow does.
We all know that government and corporations fail. The problem is the way that they fail and the methods for addressing failure. Corporations go out of business, making way for competitors. Governments only change through a painfully slow election cycle process that heavily favors incumbents (in the US). Even then, much of the government like the Bureaucracy and Judges are there for life, yielding very little redress for their incompetence.
Personally, I'd consider 15+ years a pretty good run. And yes, it really was a cartel.
An interesting side note: The US government got involved in 1942 (leading to the conviction in 1953 I already linked to) because the cartel tried to provide Wolfram to its German members.
Also note that there's speculation that the International Electrical Association (suppusedly disbanded in 1989) was essentially Phoebus 2.0
"Compare that to government failures like the 17th amendment"
Senators being democratically elected seem to be the least of our problems, in general it's been a great blessing to the country, since the body elected to serve it cares more about the national interest, than provincial ones.
How does being elected directly by the people of a particular state make Senators more concerned about "national issues" and less about "provincial ones" than the prior process?
Heavily covered are various light bulbs and rechargeable batteries. That includes checking power against manufacturer claims, noise, dimmability, power factor etc.
You cannot purchase a 100 watt bulb anymore, because the government says so. You can buy a 250 watt outdoor bulb, or a variety of CFL and LED bulbs with a bunch of additional things to worry about (light color, directionality of the light, warranties, shape, etc)
Consumers manage to make rational decisions about car purchases (15mpg SUVs aren't as popular in the era of $4/gallon gasoline), but we must be protected about the incandescent bulb.
You can purchase them here:
Also, the per-bulb price is like 300-400% higher than it was two years ago.
I tried using CFLs, I really did. I really wanted to like them.
I have 60 watt incandescents in my local stores (they're not phased out until 2020), though I don't buy them since CFLs work for me. If you just need illumination, you can buy a 35 watt CFL bulb with as much lumen output as a 120 watt incandescent, though I usually get lower wattage ones and spend a little more to get ones with a color temp I like. If you guy them at a hardware store they have a lot more selection and you can choose your color temperature. Assuming you like warm color temps like incandescents, LED bulbs are still a little pricey, but you can get LEDs in the 3000-4000k range that can output more lumens than a 100 watt incandescent at a 10th the power draw. They last long enough to eventually make up their up front cost in energy savings.
And once again "as much lumen output as a 120 watt incandescent" just isn't the case in reality. I've tried every lightbulb at every color temp and nothing works for me. Say that as much as you want but the light output sucks. I spent probably $60 on lightbulbs trying to find one to light my bedroom and the only thing that would help is buying about 2 more lamps. The same lamp worked fine to light my bedroom with an incandescent bulb year ago.
I had done (what I thought at the time was) the good thing and switched over. Now that I am sick of it and I want to go back it is very difficult to find them in the stores and if I bought online I'd pay an arm and a leg.
If you want the equivalent lumens, just find a build that outputs 1600 lumens. The lumens from a properly functioning 32 watt CFL are 2112, so they put out more light than a 100 watt incandescent, but if somehow that wasn't bright enough, they make 40, 42 and other higher wattage ones that are even brighter. My local Lowes has a huge range, as does WalMart in their lighting area. Think about lighting in terms of desired lumens and desired color temperature (good bulbs list both on their box - crap ones don't) and you'll be able to find something that works for what you want that's more efficient than incandescents.
This is one of examples why totalitarian decisions like banning incandescent bulbs are always bad. Banning something only makes sense when it impacts third parties.
LEDs are way too expensive to be economical now.
The ones they keep putting on teh porch during the winter die at least twice as often.
TL:DR; People don't understand how these things work.
At least didn't cost me extra to pay for crap.
Not difficult. File folder full of receipts, sorted by "action" date. Cost of gasoline is trivial (~$0.20/mile). Time doesn't cost anything (if you wouldn't otherwise be working).
Err, you just bring them with you the next time you go to the supermarket...
The display is fused to the glass.
The battery is glued to the case.
I don't know why, but I can think of many plausible examples that don't include ridiculous conspiracy theories about a company wanting to take all your money.
Huh? Cheaper compared to what?
Look at this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I0YiXE-gtk It's amazing to me that LED bulbs are priced so inexpensively, considering how complex they are.