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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
An utterly disappointing experience
      #5793664 - 04/12/13 01:05 AM

Back in mid February I purchased a Paramount MX on their $1000 sale. Since then I've had the mount set up three times in my yard. Clouds kept me dormant for all the other days. Of those three attempts, I got the mount to function correctly once.
The first time, I got a Comm error that prevented the mount from initializing. No matter what I tried, the Comm error would not clear. Last night, I set everything up, turned the mount on and I was met by a horrendous buzz coming out of one of the motor housings and it would not connect with my laptop. That problem degenerated into what I assume is a complete electrical failure of the mount.
I called Software Bisque this morning. I was told that no one would speak to me and I would have to post my problem on their support forum. The best response I got today from them was a request for a screen shot of my mount firmware numbers, but that my problem might be electronic.
I just read their policy on warranty replacement of the control board. I pay them $300, they send me a new board and I install it. I send the old board back and they credit me $300. And I get to pay shipping both ways. I don't remember paying OPT all that money so I could become an SB service tech or Beta tester. And OPT's policy, don't bring it to us, it's the manufacturer's problem.
As I said, "An utterly disappointing experience."


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ManuelJ
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/19/05

Loc: Madrid, Spain
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5793700 - 04/12/13 01:40 AM

Welcome to my world, the beta testing astronomers.

You'll learn to appreciate it over the years.


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Agatha
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5793701 - 04/12/13 01:41 AM

Charles,

Disappointing to say the least. I hope things get straightened out without too much expense. Having to deal with problems on something so new and of this caliber must also be a bit heartbreaking. I hope for the best. Good luck.

Regards, Linda B.


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NilRecurring
newbie


Reged: 02/19/13

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: Agatha]
      #5793797 - 04/12/13 04:40 AM

The MX seems to have a lot of problems if you read the SB forums. Just from the top of my head - there was someone whose belts had completely worn out and TheSkyX kept saying that the mount had hit something or was out of balance. Another recent issue was when declination motor had been unplugged from the MKS board. A few MXs sold from the first run also had bad worms and SB had to replace them.

SB did fix all of these issues and did right by their customers, but I just feel that such an expensive mount shouldn't be developing problems like this. I also feel that they should be willing to help customers over the phone, email or over their support form - just like AP.

A few members of SB are quite helpful and assist you in troubleshooting the fault, from what I've noticed and then they send you a new part. I don't mind them having a deposit but at least pay for shipping from your end - if your mount hadn't failed why would I need additional motors or a new board?

I am an MX owner myself but haven't had the chance to use my mount yet. It's still in it's box, and I'm waiting for an adapter that I needed to attach the mount on my G11 tripod - but stories like yours leave me quite worried and makes me wonder "Did I make the right choice with the MX?". Please note this post isn't meant to be SB bashing - on the contrary, I think, overall, SB makes some great hardware (as good as AP, IMO - especially the ME) and great software, but their customer service needs to step up.

Edited by NilRecurring (04/12/13 04:41 AM)


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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: NilRecurring]
      #5794114 - 04/12/13 10:29 AM

You know, having to deal with this problem over a support forum just leaves ou with a feeling of helplessness. You post your problem, and then sit around and wait for a response. And you reply, and more waiting. Don't forget, today's Friday, they are leaving for the weekend and I'll be left looking at 50 lbs of anodized aluminum.

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coz
sage


Reged: 08/25/10

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5794170 - 04/12/13 10:55 AM

Bummer good luck. I feel like an out of the box problem should be treated very differently than a normal service problem with an old mount. I assume you can't return it either? With a small firm like this I would have hoped that they tested each mount before they sent it out.

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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: coz]
      #5794178 - 04/12/13 10:58 AM

Quote:

With a small firm like this I would have hoped that they tested each mount before they sent it out.




From what I've read on SB forums (can't find the thread now), they do test each mount.


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coz
sage


Reged: 08/25/10

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5794322 - 04/12/13 12:10 PM

I wouldn't doubt it. They should take his call then and sort it out!

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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: coz]
      #5794342 - 04/12/13 12:27 PM

I'm sorry but for a $9,000 mount you should absolutely be able to reach the company directly, you should not have to be reimbursed for their defective parts, you should not have to pay shipping nor any other nonsense.

They're treating you like you're a risk to them, and that is insulting.


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Footbag
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: WesC]
      #5794353 - 04/12/13 12:35 PM

Support forums are no replacement for customer service.

You could call the retailer and tell him you are considering disputing the credit card charges. Maybe he can put pressure on SB.

When you say they said "nobody could talk to you", were they busy or do they just not take customer support over the phone? Something doesn't seem right.

Edited by Footbag (04/12/13 12:37 PM)


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Binojunky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/25/10

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: Footbag]
      #5794367 - 04/12/13 12:43 PM

These things are nine grand and its belly up after a few weeks ,another reason to stick to low tech and cost stuff,DA.

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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: Binojunky]
      #5794847 - 04/12/13 04:24 PM

Have to admit that doesn't sound good at all. If you are certain everything was properly connected and nothing was accidently misconnected (if that is even possible) I'd send the whole mount in with detailed description of the issues and ask them to double check the wiring interconnects and the whole business in case there is more than one thing wrong. You are still under warranty, so have them do the thinking and the work? I wouldn't touch screw #1 just for liability reasons. You also deserve a good explanation of whatever it is that caused the issue.

If all this happens over the web I'd just demand that and ask for an RMA or whatever their system requires.


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5795169 - 04/12/13 06:20 PM

Wow...bummer. I feel for you and if it were me I would be hitting the roof.

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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5795181 - 04/12/13 06:31 PM

Quote:

I called Software Bisque this morning. I was told that no one would speak to me and I would have to post my problem on their support forum.



Thanks for bringing this up. I don't recall anyone mentioning it ever. Yes, Software Bisque does NOT have a phone support. It is the best kept secret by SB fan boys. DEMAND phone support!


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Cliff Hipsher
Pooh-Bah
***

Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: North Chesterfield, VA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5795268 - 04/12/13 07:28 PM

The lack of customer support it totally unsatisfactory. I'd send the thing back, and then have my attorney give them a call...

With that said, thanks for the post. I just crossed SB off of my list of vendors...


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korborh
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 01/29/11

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5795515 - 04/12/13 10:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

With a small firm like this I would have hoped that they tested each mount before they sent it out.




From what I've read on SB forums (can't find the thread now), they do test each mount.




Apparently not


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Whichwayisnorth
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5795542 - 04/12/13 10:44 PM

Quote:


...I set everything up, turned the mount on and I was met by a horrendous buzz coming out of one of the motor housings and it would not connect with my laptop...





Quote:

That problem degenerated into what I assume is a complete electrical failure of the mount.




If there was something wrong with the motor it could have shorted out the board.

Quote:

I called Software Bisque this morning. I was told that no one would speak to me and I would have to post my problem on their support forum.




I had no idea this was their policy! That's horrible.

Quote:

I just read their policy on warranty replacement of the control board. I pay them $300, they send me a new board and I install it. I send the old board back and they credit me $300. And I get to pay shipping both ways...




Well, if it were a certain company who shall remain nameless, the wouldn't sell you parts and require you to figure out how to send the entire mount back and keep it a month. Which policy is better I guess depends on the circumstance. One worry I have is that if the motor caused a board failure, just changing the board will not only leave you with a bad motor but the motor may fry the new board and you are back to square one.

Quote:


As I said, "An utterly disappointing experience."




I agree. I find myself more than a little disappointed namely because the PMX was on my very short list. I am now having second thoughts.




Edited by Whichwayisnorth (04/12/13 10:46 PM)


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coz
sage


Reged: 08/25/10

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #5795552 - 04/12/13 10:54 PM

I guess everything can break not a reason to fault them for that. The service is surprising here though. Hope you get a solution soon.

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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: coz]
      #5795754 - 04/13/13 01:29 AM

I have been on the phone with Bill Dean at OPT. He doesn't know me from a hole in the wall but after a short conversation he's willing to pull the control board from his prsonal mount to diagnose my problem. In anticipation of his arrival I dropped the control board tray.
I immediately noticed that three control board mounting screws were missing. Well, not exactly missing. They were jammed into some device pins that were sticking out. So I retrieved the screws and reinstalled them. I reattached the cables and powered up the mount. I guess you can only short out an electronics board in so many places before it's completely fried. I called Bill back with this new info and to his credit he is still willing to come.
If you have a Paramount, you might want to take a look at those screws.


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Neil27
super member


Reged: 12/15/08

Loc: Lincoln, England
Re: An utterly disappointing experience [Re: CharlesW]
      #5795755 - 04/13/13 01:34 AM

I understand your frustrations and having had a similar situation happen to me several years ago it has soured my experience with SB.

2 board failures within 3 months which left the mount silent for what was the longest stretch of clear skies ever known to the UK left me hopping mad, can't really blame the Bisque brothers for the weather but I can for the failures with the mount.

When I discovered the forum it was actually frightening reading about the different types and quantity of failures. OK I know they must have hundreds in the field that are working faultlessly, it just surprised me after encountering mine and thinking mine was a 'one off'!

I feel your pain Charles, but once working they track like a good 'un and I'm sure the mount will make up for the pain you are feeling now.

Good luck, Neil.


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