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Old 10-14-2021, 07:09 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2018
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High price of RV spare parts.

Outrageous overpricing of RV parts, might as well call them Airplanes, Boats or Race cars.

FWIW, I have over 5 decades of experience with Airplanes and Boats, over 20 yeas with Race cars and around 20 with RVs.

The trusty Onan DKD generator in our Country Coach decided to act up during Hurricane Ida. Following the trouble shooting guide in the Onan Service Manual, every chart ended up with “Replace the Control Board.”

Going on line looking for a 300-2604 control board, the price varied from $200 to over $450.

Looking at the picture of the board and the schematic in the manual, I could not wrap my mind around the price so I pulled the board out to have a look.

The board itself can be made by any number of fabricators for $10 or less. If you have access to a 3D printer, you can print one for a couple bucks. The components on the board, 2 terminal strips, 2 relays and 2 resistors are all over the counter, available at most any electronics supply house, I found I could source all the parts for less than $25.

Assembly of the components on the board requires +/- 40 solder joints. If the assembler does not have a Solder Bath, manually assembling the board could take maybe 15 minutes, with a Solder Bath, less than 5 minutes.

So, $10 for the board, $25 in parts and 1/4 hour of labor, what should be a fair retail price for the Control Board?

Back to the Generator acting up. I went through the Control Board, No problem. The Generator was acting up due to the DC voltage regulator going faulty. Sort of a fun problem to solve. It was intermittent for a few weeks before it finally failed. Caused all sorts of shutdown problems. I would have found the problem sooner if I did not keep all the RVs batteries on Battery Tenders so there was never a low battery to steer one to look at the DC charging circuit.

I posted in another thread about the same price gouging on the regulator. Best price for the “Onan” part is around $150. One look at it and I realized, it is the same exact part as the regulator on our Kubota tractor. Makes sense, the Onan is powered by a Kubota engine. A call to the local tractor dealer told me the retail price of the Kubota part was under $40, they had one in stock and offered a trade discount, I paid around $25 for it.

I understand making a fair profit, after all, I am an old Jew and we Keystone everything. For anyone not familiar with the term, Keystone is Double the Cost +10%. I would not complain about RV parts being Keystoned but charging $150 for a $40 part or $450 for a circuit board worth $100 tops at retail, is totally unacceptable.

BTW, the Onan is running as sweet as ever, totally happy with its new Kubota voltage regulator.
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Old 10-14-2021, 07:37 PM   #2
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Just mention RV or MH part and the price triples. I hope I can remember about the regulator.
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Old 10-14-2021, 09:04 PM   #3
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I spent 20 years in the contract electronics manufacturing business.

While you are absolutely correct about the cost of material and labor of most electronic boards, you have not figured in the engineering, supply chain, and regulatory costs.

All that triples or quadruples the cost of the boards.

The bottom margin in the EMS space is less than five percent.

It is what it is. It is a whole lot easier to look at a board and make a judgment than it is to conceive it, design it, manufacture it, and support it.
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Old 10-14-2021, 09:08 PM   #4
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RV Toilet Paper vs Regular off the shelve TP.........
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Old 10-15-2021, 05:00 AM   #5
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COGS doesn’t determine price, the market does.
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Old 10-15-2021, 05:34 AM   #6
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With your history I'm surprised you're surprised about parts costs.

The generator you're working on is OLD, roughly 30 years. How many companies do you know that supply parts for equipment that old?

That comes with a price, Onan's service parts division must be massive and a huge investment. They have to pay for that, and many of the costs associated with a service part will be independent of value, size, or weight. That makes a cheap board seem expensive but is still a legitimate cost of providing the part.

Because you BELIEVE the board could be assembled in 15 minutes doesn't mean anyone will do it for that and parts. Again you ignore the details of what it actually would cost a business to hand you the board, from obtaining the parts to the many overhead costs associated with not working out of your trunk.

I don't like the cost of parts at times either, but you're not being honest with yourself about what it costs Onan, or a small business, to exist.
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Old 10-15-2021, 06:10 AM   #7
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I would sell a widget for $100 over selling it for $10. It’s just like everything else going up and unavailable and things will keep going up. Have you seen all the container ships that can’t dock raising prices and unavailable items.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:13 AM   #8
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Sounds like the OP has a solid business plan.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:25 AM   #9
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Hobby's are expensive.......period

Hobby's are a 'niche' market and therefore cost more

Hobby's are NOT cheap and never will be

Hobby's cost

always have/always will-----goes with having a hobby
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:36 AM   #10
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I'm still scratching my head over people buying bottled water for $1.00/gallon!

OK, different subject, but .....
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bneiva View Post
I'm still scratching my head over people buying bottled water for $1.00/gallon!

OK, different subject, but .....

And the price for the small bottles is even higher. The cost of the bottles themselves are probably 99% of the price. Plus the fact that most of them end up in landfills, forever!

I worked in the electronics field for years. Cost for most parts were basically outrageous. It cost more to repair most items than they cost initially.

Try to get your television or stereo repaired, if you can even find someone to do it.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bneiva View Post
I'm still scratching my head over people buying bottled water for $1.00/gallon!

OK, different subject, but .....
I’m scratching my head, as well, since bottled “Designer Water” is more like $1.00/pint.
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Old 10-16-2021, 11:18 PM   #13
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Think to yourself, how much you would need to make, market and sell a product like this in order to make yourself a good living. It is not just recovering your costs but doing so in a manner that you can run a total profitable business, covering all your cost and providing for your family.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:48 AM   #14
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Also, these replacement boards are likely produced in volume at the time the current units are being made and sold ... And then sit in the warehouse, taking up space, for 10 years. That space costs money too, both for the space itself and the opportunity cost of potentially being able to use that space for more profitable items.
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