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Discussion Starter #1
I know that a lot of the topics and or products that I get on a rant about seem like I am just an old timer that is against new stuff. But here's the real reason why I am against some of this stuff.

Shark Bites. product integrity aside. And we can argue O rings all day long. My big concern with them is that they allow a home owner to quickly and easily hack into the potable water system for god knows whatever reason. Possibly leading to cross contamination and or backflow. Yes he could do it to a copper or pex fitting also but it requires special tools and a bit of knowledge and may be enough to deter his actions.

AAV's It again is a mechanical device that up till a few years ago there was no need for. We always managed to properly vent fixtures without this abomonation and when you get down to it, isn't that what we get paid for? Also same homeowner cabal as sharkbites. An easy way to accomplish something that may very well pose a health problem.

Pex. I'm a little waffeley here because my company uses hundreds of thousands of feet of this stuff a year. Mostly for radiant, but we do do quite a few re-pipes and repairs with it also. Again, with the purchase of a 35 dollar crimper for Watts Pex, any uneducated homeowner can again cause huge problems. Also I am beginning to become very concerned with product liability here as I am beginning to see more and more lawsuits and discussions about restriction, flow rate, chlorene degradation, rodent damage, UV damage and, well all the same stuff that torpedoed Polybutylene. I won't quit using it just yet, but I will not be surprized if the day comes when I have to.

Tankless water heaters: if you add up the SFU in most any residence you will quickly see that a normal sized tankless water heater does not meet code. That local inspectors are willing to give them a pass is a result of the "green" hysteria that has gripped our nation.



As professional, licensed plumbers we have a responsibility to more than just the dollar. Many of the new products get to the marketplace because the code committees are populated with whores willing to sell out the trade for manufacturing kickbacks and bribes. It is ultimatly up to us to make informed, intelligent decisions as to the products we peddle. Just because something is code approved does not make it a good product. Remember that PolyButylene is still on the acceptable water piping list.
 

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I've been preaching the same warnings for years and even though some of it is falling on deaf ears,

I'm watching products that came with strength, only to disappear and become a property owner's headache.

My visit to home depot tonight confirmed the obvious; All Zurn brass fittings for PEX was pulled off their shelves, all of it.

Now it's QESTPEX...the stuff that was around years ago with primarily all plastic fittings.

I'm going to stop myself right here because I've made it clear about some of the things I won't touch in this profession.

Does anyone want to put up a wager against mine that in the next 5-9 years, one of the well known PEX mfgs. will be subject to lawsuits due to product defect?

Product liability lawsuits are only when the product fails to live to it's life expectancy, or it's use causes indirect property damage, piping failure as a result.


Back in the 80's and 90's, PB, Blue-MAX, Failing Dip tubes were all found out, but not on the internet. With PEX being so popular now in installation practices, its time here in the states is a rolling time clock, and now we'll have the ability to hear and know the plumbers, the contractors that use the products and how they hold up as the time stamp grows.


Has anyone, anyone figured out how and why we dont have plumbers on this forum, any forum on the internet AFAIK, not talking about how they installed a product they felt was so awesome, was the bestest in the world, and then went in failure mode? And then the piping they installed, similar to the product came out, is failing now as well?

And it's starting to show up in Texas, same material.

We are embarking upon a different track record in history now because if any of these products that are highly used in the plumbing profession are used, and widely talked about in their use,

there's going to be plenty of informational data on the internet of those with plumbing companies, those who installed it that will be forever etched into the 4 walls of the internet proclaiming their use, unlike the former class action lawsuits.

So, the sharkbites I use less than 20 a year gets me into a debacle when and if a lawsuit becomes of it, my statements online would very well incriminate me of being liable. It's amazing to know how easily it is to find information about yourself on the internet.

Amazing how easily it would be for the lawyer who wants as much money as possible to go after those who installed defective, faulty plumbing systems.

Don't rule it out; the internet age is always evolving and I'm sure there's software systems that can be built to follow ISP's, IP's, usernames, locations, reference to phone numbers or addresses.

Just a passing thought...


Why is the UPC/NPC/IPC passing the use of these failing materials? You tell me. I'd say it is evident that the materials are used on a running start, and no one clearly knows the life of these new products until it is too late.
 

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I like the asse 1061 fittings.

AAVs are useless as tits on a boar hog in my opinion. I've had a run in with just one of them in a mobile home, and yes, it had already failed.

PB tubing is a joke.
 

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just a thought here downunder we have houses roughed in with yorkflex (sharkbite) i think its going to be a maintenance nightmare in the future. we have so many brands, with most exclusive to a supplier. now im starting to see a supplier selling imitation rehau made in china hmmmm. we have a standards boards but it has been found suppliers are selling inferior stuff and no one seems to be protecting the buyer. we had an example of a national hardware supplier selling copper advertised with a brand when in fact it was imported from korea and failed our standards well thats ok how much of it made it back on the recall i wonder.

anyway thats my 2c worth cheers brad
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One problem is that no one is truley representing us, the plumbers. The manufacturers have dozens of marketing firms and advertising outlets to bolster their sales and though you might think the trade publications would do their best to fairly critique some of these products the they seem more interested in selling ad space. When was the last time you read a non biased product review in any of the trade's ? Then there's the PHCC. This at one time was "our" mouthpiece to the trade and industry but lately they have fallen into the same practice of bolstering the manufacturer and getting behind the bogus "green" movement. They seem more interested in selling code books and stuffing lobbiest money in their pockets than anything else. Where was the PHCC when AAV's, Sharkbites, and all this so called Green crap were introduced. I'll tell you where. Squarely behind the product. There's two reasons for that. One is there is hardly any voice of the working professional on their boards and the other is because the membership continues to pay dues to an organization that is at this point doing them more harm than good. And its all back door stuff. On the face the PHCC blows smoke up your ass with all ther business practice advice that seems pretty good while what they really need to be doing is fighting bogus legislation. Fighting the big box stores and fighting to keep unlicensed hacks from plumbing and gas work. If anything is going to change it is going to have to be us that change it. Either by phone calls, emails and or showing up at meetings and having a good rant. If we are not united and don't do something pretty quick, you are going to see a continued degradation and dumbing down of our profession (never say trade, electricians have a trade, carpenters have a trade, we have a profession)
 

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Very good posts.

One problem is that no one is truley representing us, the plumbers. The manufacturers have dozens of marketing firms and advertising outlets to bolster their sales and though you might think the trade publications would do their best to fairly critique some of these products the they seem more interested in selling ad space. When was the last time you read a non biased product review in any of the trade's ? Then there's the PHCC. This at one time was "our" mouthpiece to the trade and industry but lately they have fallen into the same practice of bolstering the manufacturer and getting behind the bogus "green" movement. They seem more interested in selling code books and stuffing lobbiest money in their pockets than anything else. Where was the PHCC when AAV's, Sharkbites, and all this so called Green crap were introduced. I'll tell you where. Squarely behind the product. There's two reasons for that. One is there is hardly any voice of the working professional on their boards and the other is because the membership continues to pay dues to an organization that is at this point doing them more harm than good. And its all back door stuff. On the face the PHCC blows smoke up your ass with all ther business practice advice that seems pretty good while what they really need to be doing is fighting bogus legislation. Fighting the big box stores and fighting to keep unlicensed hacks from plumbing and gas work. If anything is going to change it is going to have to be us that change it. Either by phone calls, emails and or showing up at meetings and having a good rant. If we are not united and don't do something pretty quick, you are going to see a continued degradation and dumbing down of our profession (never say trade, electricians have a trade, carpenters have a trade, we have a profession)

I agree with you 100%.

I blame the plumbing contractors and not the manufacturers. It is ironic that many of the posts complaining about these new products are actually using them. Plumbers have been using copper pipe and brass for over 60 years. It appears the plumbers are always anxious to try new plastic products when they know they do not have a long history of testing and proving their life expectancy. We get asked about new products almost daily and we tell our customers to stick with the copper even though copper does get pinhole leaks in as few as 5 to 15 years. I think customers are not willing to take a chance, willing to listen, and the specs on blue prints can be modified. If you are concerned and want to drive away these new products call your local newspaper and have articles written. You will even get to throw in a plug for your company.
 

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Sorry but I 100% completely disagree. Show me any problems found with Viega or Wirsbo? Viega is the largest manufacturer of pex pipe in the world. They have over 25 years of proven installations, no problems, no lawsuits etc. How much longer do you need? I"m getting tired of a couple of folks here bashing the industry, it's getting really old.
Just like any other product in our industry you can buy junk or you can buy the good stuff, that's the way it's always been. Bashing the entire pex industry is uncalled for.
Pex is now the norm and it's here to stay. This isn't even close to the same scenerio as the old quest pipe, not even in the same ballpark.
I'll take that bet regarding viega or wirsbo any day. Bottom line, use quality materials and stay away from the big box store garbage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Some interesting statistics.

Average annual pay for plumbers in the U.S is $44,000.00

As a percentage that figure (adjusted for inflation and such) is down 50% from the 1950's

Why? Good question. Lots of answers. Why are we in such a rush to "get er done"? Plastics, better tools, newer codes all make our job easier and much much faster. Easier and faster translates to less profit unless you are absolutly swamped with work. It means we have to do more work faster to make the same margin. So do we go back to the old ways just to protect our income? We could'nt even if we wanted to because contractors and homeowners are used to what we have been doing. This is a conundrum we, as businessmen have to deal with on the one hand and as craftsmen on the other. There is a balance there somewhere. Ironranger is correct in that only we in the end can determine the products that we feel comfortable with. There is crap on the market everywhere. What has always made me scratch my head though are the plumbers that boast that they can rough a 2 bath house in in a day and a half with pex and pvc. Nice, but what do you have lined up for Wednesday? I know that economy wise a lot of guys are hurting and so is their bottom line. Maybe we need to slow down a bit and smell the profit. :thumbsup: Even more head scratching is the DOE's forcast that there will be 100,000 new plumbers needed by 2012. Hell we are lucky to get 8 or 9 apprentices per class the last couple years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Further musings: The other thing that is killing us is the big box stores. Even if homeowners and contractors are not buying the fixtures and pipe from them, they know how much the stuff costs (sort of) and then when we price a job they hit us with the " I can get that same toilet at cheepo deepo for 1/2 of what you are charging me" Yes you and I know that there are overhead and handling costs attached to that toilet but I'm sick and tired or having to explain that time and time again. Also because of the sliding economy, everyone thinks we should drop our prices and give them a break? WTF is with that mentalaty? I've been around this a long time now and it seems to me that 30 years ago we got a whole lot more respect from the clientel than we do now. Is that our fault or are we being eaten alive by a cancer we have no control over? I think we all need to start doing a whole lot more PR than we have over the last 25 years and get the respect back. That means uncompromising service and quality. That means standing behind our work and our code 110% and taking crap from no one. That means expressing your opinions to the state plumbing boards and code review commitees and getting on the legislation mailing list so that you can have your voice when some dumb assed ammendment comes up. Fight Fight Fight.....:thumbsup:
 

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well i have to say you're not an old grouch. all the points made are valid, lucid, and spot on. if you think about it 50 years ago the homeowner had 2 choices white for fixtures and chrome for faucets. and the sam walton mentality had not caught on yet. yeah if you are a large corporation and have buying power you get a great break on inventory there by cutting our throats, thanks again big box america. and im not a big fan of sharkbites, my wholesaler sold a homeowner thousands of dollars of shark fittings and pipe so he could pipe his whole house. which i could have piped it for the same or just a little more with a conventional tried and true method. i got real pissed that my wholesaler would help w/ the cutting just so they could make a buck. all of the owners and all of the guys working for someone how much do we spend annually w/ wholesalers. who really has the buying power. i think kohler, delta, moen and thier ilk would rethink the big box break if all of the nations plumbers startes a unionized buying program. and boycotting materials until the playing field gets leveled.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You know, none of this is anything new. I posted this some months back. Most of it is still valid today a hundred and some odd years later.

The Baltimore resolutions of 1884
In reguards to shoddy plumbing practice and inferior materials a group of Master Plumbers drew up this resolution which was the foundation of professional plumbing standards and practices. See how times have changed.

Whereas, the manufacturing and wholesale firms in plumbing materials persist in selling to consumers, to our injury and detriment, placing us toward our customers in the light of extorsionists, causing endless trouble; and

Whereas, The system of protecting us from this wrong, which draws in it's wake other wrongs, is innefective; it is absolutly necessary to perfect such a system, by united action, which will remove these evils from which we have suffered for years; therefore be it

Resolved, That we withdraw our patronage from any firm manufacturing or dealing in plumbers material selling to others than master plumbers.

Resolved, That the manufacturers of gas fixtures, selling to consumers shall not recieve the patronage of any master plumber.

Resolved, That the master plumbers shall demand of the manufacturers and wholesale dealers in plumbing materials to sell goods to none but master plumbers.

Resolved, That this association shall keep a record of all journeymen and plumbers who place in buildings, plumbing material bought by consumers of manufacturers or dealers.

Resolved, That and manufacturing or wholesale dealers, dealing in wrought iron pipe, who sell to consumers shall not receive our patronage.

Resolved, That a commitee be appointed by this association in every state and county, for the purpose of reporting to the proper officer at it's head in the state any violation of these resolutions.

Resolved, That these measures are just and necessary to our welfare, and a rigid enforcement is demanded.

Resolved, That this convention endorse the above, and urge upon the national association to perfect and adopt a uniform system of protection for the trade over their entire jurisdiction.
 

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Barnett

well i have to say you're not an old grouch. all the points made are valid, lucid, and spot on. if you think about it 50 years ago the homeowner had 2 choices white for fixtures and chrome for faucets. and the sam walton mentality had not caught on yet. yeah if you are a large corporation and have buying power you get a great break on inventory there by cutting our throats, thanks again big box america. and im not a big fan of sharkbites, my wholesaler sold a homeowner thousands of dollars of shark fittings and pipe so he could pipe his whole house. which i could have piped it for the same or just a little more with a conventional tried and true method. i got real pissed that my wholesaler would help w/ the cutting just so they could make a buck. all of the owners and all of the guys working for someone how much do we spend annually w/ wholesalers. who really has the buying power. i think kohler, delta, moen and thier ilk would rethink the big box break if all of the nations plumbers startes a unionized buying program. and boycotting materials until the playing field gets leveled.
 

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I agree with NHMaster! But I think the horse has left the barn. Too many plumbers, manufacturers, trade organizations just sold out for the almighty dollar (not much different than Wall Street). It's the human condition of GREED.

Pride has become a relic of the past. . .

Sometimes my husband just says he's too old for this world anymore - for the record, he is not that old - just fed up with the crap!

We will continue to fight the good fight, but until every professional plumbers signs on, we are barely holding our ground.
 

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Everybody knows that plumbers are too expensive.

And that's part of the problem.

We're on the defensive when we walk in the door.

Most of the faucets I sell are "budget" models. People refuse to pay $120 or more for a faucet. And I have a clear memory that when I first started in business a good faucet only cost $20.

I'm more than willing to make copper repairs in copper. I'm also more than willing to charge about four times as much as if I were making the repair with PEX. It's a no-brainer which I'll be using.

Isn't cast iron great?

No, not really. It must last better in some areas than it does here. I've replaced 30-year-old TySeal all the way through a house that you could stick your hand through at any point in its length.

I've recently seen copper installed to code that was only a few years old with several pinholes. I have no idea why it failed. I know that someone can post something about PEX that failed, but I've never seen it. My own house is plumbed with polybutylene and I have never had one single problem with the plumbing. Not one.

As to AAVs - there are places where they'd be really nice. I was up in Jackson Wyoming talking to some plumbers many years ago who were quite happy with plumbing entire houses with only one stack and no vents anywhere else. No inspections, no permits, no inspectors. One stack in the middle of the house.

Now, if there were a good plumbing code that was enforced, and I mean enforced, all across this great nation, we might see some good plumbing systems. Don't hold your breath. We don't all live in Chicago, and we don't all do commercial.

Do you suppose those guys who string hoses around in restaurants for Pepsi or Coke are saying, "Gee, I really miss the days when we did all this in galvanized."

We use what we must, and we try to be as good at installing it as we can. After all, we aren't the ones making the decisions regarding materials anymore. The politicos have taken over the code making from the old plumbers. No more lead pipe. No more galvanized pipe. No more buggy whips. We move on or we become obsolete ourselves.
 

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Everybody knows that plumbers are too expensive.

And that's part of the problem.

We're on the defensive when we walk in the door.


We are individuals that do high hazard work, for high hazard pay. Not every job, but quite a bit follows the nasty.

Most of the faucets I sell are "budget" models. People refuse to pay $120 or more for a faucet. And I have a clear memory that when I first started in business a good faucet only cost $20.


I don't have this problem, and most of the faucets that customers supply me are over $100 most times. Rarely do I have the cheaper versions.

I'm more than willing to make copper repairs in copper. I'm also more than willing to charge about four times as much as if I were making the repair with PEX. It's a no-brainer which I'll be using.


I know for a fact that in Idaho the ground is very acidic, that's whay galvanized years ago was used for that very reason.

I don't live there so I can't vouch for the "common" piping materials in that state. Given financial restraints that you hear from your customers, why would you charge 4 times as much in a PEX repair?

If the water and the ground is acidic in Idaho, why are plumbers even tempting fate, knowing the piping material will not hold up? Remember, that's a geographical problem, not the piping to blame.

If it isn't geographical, why is Illinois and Cincinnati, New York having no issues whatsoever with copper piping systems stretching 80 years and still continuing on? They are going to be breaking 100 year statistics...soon.



Isn't cast iron great? Yes, it is. It's still spec'd for hospitals, large skyscrapers, large commercial, Industrial, even some residential. It is outliving its installers completely in some cases.

Older schools with these types of systems prove that point.

No, not really. It must last better in some areas than it does here. I've replaced 30-year-old TySeal all the way through a house that you could stick your hand through at any point in its length. It's Iron ore, baked mud with a variety of metals. 30 years is a significant life of a product. I know you know this, but there are different "grades" of cast iron and the heaviest grade was hardly ever used in residential, EVER. So you deal with the thinner gauge that won't see the 25-40-70 year time spans that show proof of this time span in the buildings that are erect, standing with this piping material still in use.

That heavy grade cast is always found in the fittings used in cast iron, always. The fittings are the last thing to fail, it's always a 1/4" thick. Back in the day the majority of my cast iron replacements, it was always the horizontals that would split the tops and verticals that caught water closets on down would cancer themselves out completely. From that receiving tee up to the roof? Good shape, leave it in, it's got another 40 years of life most times.



I've recently seen copper installed to code that was only a few years old with several pinholes. I have no idea why it failed. I know that someone can post something about PEX that failed, but I've never seen it. My own house is plumbed with polybutylene and I have never had one single problem with the plumbing. Not one.

Now you and I have discussed before, and you know that "what's in my back yard" doesn't hold a flame to the entire United States and the prophecy that something "doesn't" happen if it doesn't happen here.

Why is copper installed in your area if ph levels are as such that it attacks the piping? Why is your code allowing this piping choice if the water treatment plants are KNOWINGLY sending out ph levels that in time, will destroy copper?

Why are you refusing to accept the failures of BLUE-MAX, KITEC, PB, ZURN...the surprise of Rehau PEX piping shutting down all production of their pipe making in the United States?

Why are you NOT believing me that I constantly remove PEX risers that start to fail around 8-11 years in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana and copper not showing one sign of failure, in the same application?

I've never, ever have removed one chrome copper riser that was pinholed. They always leaked at the compression ferrule, but I've never seen one over time pinhole or "Abruptly rupture" and I'm going to give explanation to that two worded demon outside this quoted text when I'm done.


You get high marks for having one house that has PB with no failures, but you can't possibly ignore the billions of dollars of property damage claims, insurance premiums raised, untold millions of people that were affected by this piping and the undo hardships it placed on people that probably lost more than a plastic pipe in the wall.

Do you have family that was blungeoned by the hardships of this piping? Those who "missed" the class action lawsuit and had to pay thousands to correct it?

As to AAVs - there are places where they'd be really nice. I was up in Jackson Wyoming talking to some plumbers many years ago who were quite happy with plumbing entire houses with only one stack and no vents anywhere else. No inspections, no permits, no inspectors. One stack in the middle of the house.


AAV's are a one way valve, with no design to allow air to reverse or "equalize" a plumbing system which is a give and take scenario, constantly in a correctly installed DWV system. No two ways around that statement.

Becoming a plumber in my state, then parading across the internet tuned me in real quick of how some states lack good enforcement, and some supercede the state I reside in. I don't agree with some codes in my state as I do with some in others. KY follows MAXIMUM demand, not minimum demand requirements when figuring DFU loads.


Now, if there were a good plumbing code that was enforced, and I mean enforced, all across this great nation, we might see some good plumbing systems. Don't hold your breath. We don't all live in Chicago, and we don't all do commercial.

What code is Chicago? NPC? IPC, UPC? In KY, every drain must have a vent, period. Some ridicule this application but I don't believe in airplane plumbing or connect-the-dot piping systems. This allows the fixture with its own separate vent to function properly while other fixtures that are malfunctioning, to keep from affecting the other.

I remember an Ohio inspector telling me once that the reason they didn't vent fixtures there in commercial is because "that way when it gurgles you know to clean it." WHAT?!?!?!? Could not believe what I was hearing.


Do you suppose those guys who string hoses around in restaurants for Pepsi or Coke are saying, "Gee, I really miss the days when we did all this in galvanized."

They are not plumbers, I don't know why you used this analogy to make a statement like this.

If I installed a galvanized piping system in my home today, we already know that it will last significantly, years in this matter. A very long long time. It takes years for those lines to close up, leak at the threads. That's why they are always found in homes that were built in the 40's-50's-60's...and guess what? There's a lot of that piping still in use.

Want an example? House I worked in today, built in 1920. I don't know when that galvanized water service was installed from the street to the house, up to that main shutoff, but it's still supplying water to this home.

Why am I still working on plumbing systems that still have this piping system, effectively working inside the structure in 2009, and to predicate that statement, do you know how many more years to come that piping will STILL be effectively delivering water inside homes? Businesses?

We use what we must, and we try to be as good at installing it as we can. After all, we aren't the ones making the decisions regarding materials anymore. The politicos have taken over the code making from the old plumbers. No more lead pipe. No more galvanized pipe. No more buggy whips. We move on or we become obsolete ourselves.

No, we ARE making the decisions, as individuals to choose what products we put in our hands, use them day to day in our work lives. I can't blame no one but myself when I put a product in a customer's home that's going to have a history of failure, or possible failure in a short time. I simply won't do that, and that's a choice made by the person who makes that decision from the word go.

Plenty of lead water services still serving water supplies without failure....and that will be true to that statement long after we are out of this profession. Some of that stuff shows absolutely no signs of wear, some of it was 5/8" thick and the only weak points was where it connected. Aside from that, I've worked on buildings that have them without problems. It's resilient to ground and water.

Galvanized pipe at one time was all they had to work with. Of course, given the day and age of systems, no one from a cost perspective will hand cut and thread a water piping system, ever again. The use of threaded 3/8" brass, if it wasn't so expensive, was one of the most superior products to ever hit the plumbing profession. Take any brass product, throw in into the ground for 100 years, dig it up, clean it and reinstall it and it will go another 100 years.

So, back to my "Abruptly Rupture" coined two worded phrase:
 
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