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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5799818 - 04/15/13 02:12 AM

everyone of the links to Bisque detailing the problems gives a "access denied" or page not found.

I would assume Charles had a valid link when he wrote his message. I just find it "interesting" that a support forum to resolve issues would (Apparently) delete messages that looked for help.

EDIT: IN light of the fact (see posts below) that a user account is necessary to have seen these posts, I retract my comments in the last sentence.

Edited by Tom and Beth (04/16/13 01:11 AM)


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ASTERON
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: ISRAEL
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: mmalik]
      #5799824 - 04/15/13 02:16 AM

I was considering an MX.
If three mounts leave their "famous" factory and/or QC Department with loose screws rattling within the mount shorting stuff on boards in a $9K mount this to me indicates serious QC trouble.
I also think their waranty stinks (Personal opinion, YMMV).
Time to check AP ?
I also don't think OPT should become Mount engineers, it not their Job ( It's highly commendable that they came to the rescue, but they should not have to do so - it SB's problem).
A high end product company that does not have a telephone service with someone knowledgebale on the other side of the line, sound's fishy to me to say the least. The forum thing may be useful but does not replace an honest service department- it is also strange that the people who designed and built the mount need to rely on help from users on a forum, IMHO it indicates somthing about their attitude towards their customers. There is no excuse for that kind of behaviour.

Edited by ASTERON (04/15/13 02:18 AM)


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ASTERON
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: ISRAEL
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: ASTERON]
      #5799835 - 04/15/13 02:29 AM

One more thing about warranties.
When a company gives you a "no questions asked- ship the darn thing back to us, we pay shipping and send you back a new mount at our expense" type of warranty, this to me indicates a certain degree of confidence in their product and the fact that someone sat down and calculated that on a very small percentage of faulty products they can afford to be generous to the customer without going out of bussiness.

OTOH ,a warranty that starts with "send us another $9K and ship the darn thing back to us at your expense and let's talk in a couple of months - and BTW have your lawyer call our lawyer" to me indicates lack of confidence in their own product or even worse that they expect 20% faulty products are getting shipped back that would ruin their bottom line.

But after all I'm just a paranoid potential customer - so SB probably know what they are doing

I now expect a torrent of criticism for me trying to bash the sacred SB warranty


Edited by ASTERON (04/15/13 05:20 AM)


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: ASTERON]
      #5799862 - 04/15/13 03:29 AM

Tom and Beth (and others too...)

The SB forums are restricted to registered users. Username and passwords are required.

Anyone can request approval to access the forums... (I think)... but only those with usernames and passwords can get in.


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JAT Observatory
NOT a Wimp
*****

Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: In the Primordial Soup
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: mmalik]
      #5799926 - 04/15/13 06:46 AM

My CS experience in the past with SB has been positive. I've talked to the Bisque brothers on the phone a couple of times and each time they have gone out of their way to resolve the issue. They used to have excellent CS. I hope that hasn't truly gone by the wayside.

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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #5800207 - 04/15/13 10:48 AM

I apologize for the bad links. I didn't realize at the time that they would be protected. I will say this and let it rest as this is a new week, a new day, and I am slightly less upset about the whole matter. You may argue that I didn't call the "right" company at the start of this but OPT doesn't have a service department. Although they are great guys, none of them are qualified to repair this mount. This isn't like I downloaded PHD Guiding, couldn't figure out how to get it calibrated, and then demanded to speak to Craig Stark. It also isn't the case that I bought just TheSkyX Pro from SB and couldn't figure out how to get my focuser, dome controller, and rotator to work. I'm also not the guy who intentionally plugged his 48V power supply cable into the 12V connector to see what would happen, frying his board. When I bought this mount I think I paid a significant portion of one of their engineer's salaries for the month and I just wanted some immediate one-on-one time. At least my mount is up and running now, albeit with a loaner board.

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korborh
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 01/29/11

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5800251 - 04/15/13 11:11 AM

OPT
SB

Charles, hope you get your mount fixed as new.


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Steve Bisque
Vendor - Software Bisque


Reged: 06/03/11

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #5800725 - 04/15/13 02:33 PM

Eight years ago, Software Bisque spent months trying to come up with a way that we (a small group of engineers) could service thousands of customers using our software and hardware products. After much research and debate, we determined employing forums, where our customers could post questions, maintain serial numbers, and share experiences with other customers would be the best solution. To service this number of customers, we also had to necessarily discourage direct phone technical support in favor of forums.

I have read this thread, and many others on Cloudy Nights, that question these decisions. We still do a significant amount of phone support (I have spoken directly with thousands of customers over the years) but it is decidedly more efficient, taking all customers into account, to use forum-based support.

In this particular support case, a customer with a brand new mount had a bad out-of-the-box experience. There is nothing worse that can happen with a big purchase, and I understand the frustration. Over the last 16 years we have placed nearly 2,000 robotic systems into service with about 800,000 fasteners involved. Somehow, with this particular mount, there were three screws that came out completely. We are working to determine how this happened so that it never happens again.

Our robotic systems include a pyramid of technologies that include over a million lines of software code, state of the art electronics and firmware and about 100 parts machined here in our facility. We bend over backward at every step of design, production, coding and testing to be sure we are delivering a world class product. Sometimes we fall short.

I will be at the NEAIC and NEAF this week (as I have been every year for about 15 years) if any of the participants in this thread would like to speak with me directly about their concerns.

Stephen Bisque
President, Software Bisque


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darbyvet
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Seneca Falls, New York
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: korborh]
      #5800736 - 04/15/13 02:40 PM

I have an MX and have been very happy with the service they provide.I was aware of the forum support.Most of the problems I have had were easily fixable with a quick search of the forum or answered within 24 hours.
When I had a more serious problem(of my own making) both Dan and Tom helped me with direct email support.
I own a small business and find it hard to juggle my time.You could spend all day on the phone, but then you would get nothing else done.You could hire customer service reps, but unless they were very knowledgeable they would still end up having to ask the engineer.
Which calls do you take? Calls about theskyX, or just hardware problems or configuration problems.
Would customers then complain they had to wait too long for their mount to be built because they spent too much time on the phone.
It sounds like they responded pretty quickly to the problem by direct email.
The mounts are certainly expensive and it is not unreasonable to expect some personal attention, but it doesnt bother me that I have to post something first to get their attention.
I am in no way criticizing the OP,just expressing my opinion.


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Steve Bisque
Vendor - Software Bisque


Reged: 06/03/11

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5800738 - 04/15/13 02:41 PM

Yes, anyone can participate on the Software Bisque forums even if they don't own our products. Customer interaction is prolific.

Steve


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Steve Bisque
Vendor - Software Bisque


Reged: 06/03/11

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: ASTERON]
      #5800765 - 04/15/13 02:53 PM

Quote:


OTOH ,a warranty that starts with "send us another $9K and ship the darn thing back to us at your expense and let's talk in a couple of months - and BTW have your lawyer call our lawyer" to me indicates lack of confidence in their own product or even worse that they expect 20% faulty products are getting shipped back that would ruin their bottom line.






That is a big leap from what actually occurred, and that is not our policy. 99% of the time we can resolve issues without returning the mounts. They were designed for field service and upgrades. Many have been in service for over a decade.

Steve


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: korborh]
      #5800795 - 04/15/13 03:10 PM

Quote:

everyone of the links to Bisque detailing the problems gives a "access denied" or page not found.



You do have to log into the website in order to read the support posts. Anyone can create an account on the Software Bisque website and read every single support post. You don't need to own a mount or any software in order to do that. All users may interact with each other. There's far less moderation there than there is here. With the exception of SPAM (which I've only ever seen there once), the Bisques do not delete support posts. There are no restricted post areas for logged in users. There are restricted downloads. You do need to have a registered serial number to download the software.

In my experience the Bisques prefer support interaction via their support forum so that everyone can see everything. It's all above board. They let it all hang out for all to see and benefit from. It's all searchable. Email is for truly need to be private details only. I don't think they have the resources to do one on one telephone support that benefits only the one caller and then has to then be written up by a writer and posted as a knowledge base article. If you're willing to do your homework before posting and pack useful information into your first post, the forum approach works very well. If you're passive aggressive or have a chip on your shoulder to begin with, then it may not.

Over the years Bisques' method of support has worked very well for me. I've always been able to count on them for prompt friendly help.

Disclaimer: I am a rather happy user. My current mount is a Paramount. My next mount will be a Paramount as well (just as soon as I can afford it - and then somehow sneak it past my wife).


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rat156
super member


Reged: 09/21/07

Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5801871 - 04/16/13 01:21 AM

Hi All,

As another owner of a "problematic" PMX I feel that I also should express my opinion on SB customer service.

I have mixed feelings about the Support Forums. As someone who lives in a timezone about 12 hours from SB and an expensive phone call away, phone support is not really an option. However, when I post a problem on the SBSC (support forum), I would like an answer pretty quickly, usually within the next 12 hours (as the problem usually crops up at night, this should be during normal working hours at SB), this doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Sometimes this happened, but usually from another user rather than SB. What really irks me is the sometimes glib response from someone at SB, waiting a couple of days for a response from SB, then getting a "please tell us what version of everything you are using" response is simply not good enough. It's fine to ask this, but then the response should also include other things to check for, or why previous versions have had similar faults. This leads to a long delay when you are not in the same country as SB in getting anything useful to test your mount. I don't have a Bill from OPT to assist me (though I did order my mount from them, the drive is REALLY long). This leads to feelings of being forgotten, several times I had to "bump" my posts to get action from SB. I NEVER received personal emails until I got Sarah's email from someone else in AUS and contacted her directly.

The distillation of my experience is that something that should have taken about a week of troubleshooting took about 9 months from start to finish (hopefully, I cant use my mount for another three months).

Cheers
Stuart


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Rossmon
sage
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: Marin County, CA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: Neil27]
      #5801915 - 04/16/13 02:11 AM

Wow! now that i have my 155EDF, i have taken some looks at SB and AP mounts. This thread has made it an easy decision to cross these SB folks off that small list. A vendor must never treat their customers like *BLEEP*, thats right next to the freedom of speech!
BTW, as a manager of technical support for thousands of users with millions of lines of code for many brands of computers, peripherals etc, Running multiple os's, I found that while automating many things makes sense, removing the tech support lines and personal contact is terrible form, only something an engineer of course would do., haha!

Edited by Rossmon (04/16/13 02:19 AM)


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: Rossmon]
      #5801943 - 04/16/13 02:52 AM

so why is it that there is far less complaining about AP mounts? it's probably because software wise they are far simpler..?

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mmalik
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5801982 - 04/16/13 04:22 AM

Quote:

At least my mount is up and running now, albeit with a loaner board.




To my dismay, why are you settling for a loaner board after spending $9K? Why aren't you demanding a new one with latest firmware, etc.? How do you know loaner is new or used or have the latest updates? You may be satisfied but are setting a wrong precedent in my opinion and hope you don't mind my saying.

My other dismay, Steve Bisque makes NO mention of what he is going to do for you? Is loaner board the end game?

All I mean to say is that if it were me I wouldn't be satisfied with a loaner board from a third party and would have asked for a new mount let alone a new board from the manufacturer. The remedy you describe and how Steve Bisque has framed his post (dodging the real solution to your problem) is bound to make prospective customers quite leery of SB [phone support is NOT the issue at hand, fixing broken mount in highest quality IS]. So far it has been nothing but beating around the bush kind of situation from all parties, the buyer, the retailer, and the manufacturer. Regards


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5801988 - 04/16/13 04:38 AM

I think it interesting, following the ap-gto forum as I have a 900 and 1200, that when someone posts a problem, many volunteers offer advice.

The advice may, or may not be correct.

Frequently, Roland will implore the OP to call the office and talk with xxxx or yyyy, presumeably to reach a solution to the problem more directly, than possibly following erroneous paths.

I also note that Charles is west coast, so the offer to resolve the issue at NEAF seems a bit lame.


Edited by EddWen (04/16/13 04:48 AM)


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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: EddWen]
      #5802250 - 04/16/13 10:08 AM

"In this particular support case, a customer with a brand new mount had a bad out-of-the-box experience. There is nothing worse that can happen with a big purchase, and I understand the frustration."

I thank Mr. Bisque for his response but when a customer takes the time to call your office in Golden, on their own dime, there has to be a way to triage the problem right then. Even your call taker should have enough experience to know that my issue was completely abnormal and that "Jeburnett" or "Ernie" wasn't going to be able to solve it for me.

I would thank Sarah for sending me an email yesterday explaining that you would be sending a new board and HC, apparently waiving the deposit. Although I've given my damaged board to OPT, I will strive to insure it gets returned to you, as well as my HC.

I am still enamoured with my MX. I dream of owning an MEII. But intentionally or not, you guys made it a little hard to like your company.

Edited by CharlesW (04/16/13 10:19 AM)


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Logan Tudor
member


Reged: 12/28/11

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: EddWen]
      #5802260 - 04/16/13 10:14 AM

I've read all this negative, bisque-bashing rot, along with the parallel post on SB forum. I have a different take on this...

Charles, fess up- you plugged the mains power into the MX versa plate, didn't you? Operator error. The screws story, as unlikely as it sounds, is a great story all the same. Thanks for sharing.

Sincerely, another satisfied MX user, we number in the hundreds, if not thousands, we are the silent majority and we are low maintenance users


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korborh
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 01/29/11

Re: An utterly disappointing experience new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5802297 - 04/16/13 10:36 AM

Quote:

so why is it that there is far less complaining about AP mounts? it's probably because software wise they are far simpler..?




This is a hardware problem. The AP mount can be commanded by most any software including SB.
I am a fan of simplicity in engineering when it improves end user results/efficiency and product QC. Simplicity is good and underrated IMHO.


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