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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Foster Systems?
      #5999065 - 07/30/13 08:22 PM

Anyone know what their status is? I ordered quite a bit of goods from them for automation of my obs and I haven't seen anything other than my Paypal order going through. I would've expected at the very least the software license for their weather graph program...

Anyone know what their deal is? I even called during their limited support hours and got passed off to one of the main people who didn't call me back.

Chris


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5999110 - 07/30/13 08:58 PM

Quote:

Anyone know what their deal is? I even called during their limited support hours and got passed off to one of the main people who didn't call me back.

Chris




They went through a bad spell recently. It was reported that a Windows update caused them major problems with their software. At the same time their customer service went down the tube.

They are there but they are very quiet about it. Equipment is ordered and shipped with little or no contact with the purchaser, but it shows up.

It works but there appears to still be a problem if you want to use APC software to control the system.

I have the Roll of roof opener and the weather monitor. Both work fine but I am still using software from a few years ago.

It's not my idea of a good way to run a business, especially after the way it used to be.

Take a look at their forum http://fostersys.websitetoolbox.com/

From what I can see Stan is still working on the software. Updates are coming out and things are getting fixed.

I don't think you have anything to worry about but I can't blame you for being concerned. It would be good to see things at Foster's back the way they used to be. It is good equipment at a good price. My first board went bad and they sent me a replacement under warranty without any problem.


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jaddbd
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Woodbine, MD
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Lorence]
      #5999138 - 07/30/13 09:22 PM

Chris,

Same deal - I bought a roof controller from them a couple of months ago. Waited..., inquired..., no reply... then the stuff just showed up.

It works quite well with my setup. I am using it with CCD commander and an AAG Cloud Watcher. The wiring instructions that come with it are a bit cryptic (or should I say, lacking to a layman like myself). It took a bit of trial and error on my part to get it working - so if you have questions about the install, I have wiring pictures and links if you need them. Also, I have learned a couple of dos and don'ts (mostly don'ts) to watch out for.

John D


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: jaddbd]
      #5999339 - 07/31/13 12:10 AM

Is there any other options besides them? I hate to get on a sinking ship. I'm glad to hear that it all eventually shows up. It kills me to see customer service suffer... How do companies expect to make money?

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Christopher EricksonModerator
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5999463 - 07/31/13 02:58 AM

Quote:

Is there any other options besides them? I hate to get on a sinking ship. I'm glad to hear that it all eventually shows up. It kills me to see customer service suffer... How do companies expect to make money?




Small companies making complicated products always have great challenges to overcome. Goes with the territory.

I currently prefer the MaxDome-II card from Diffraction-Limited for controlling roll-offs and domes via ASCOM.

The Lesve dome controller solution is cheap and has a good rep as well.


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5999605 - 07/31/13 06:56 AM

A two-cents side comment.... I know nothing of these folks, but I run a small business (custom woodworking and carpentry) and I, too, am not good at getting back to customers, particularly when things are not going as hoped..... but there's only one of me, I can either put my time into getting things right, or put my time into talking about it.....and a stressful conversation can get me so rattled that it takes hours till I can settle down to quality work again. Do I hide? Yes, I do. Do I get the product out? Yep, every time. Do I make any money? If calamity occurs, about $1.09 an hour.....
Russ


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jaddbd
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Woodbine, MD
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5999953 - 07/31/13 12:04 PM

Quote:

Is there any other options besides them? I hate to get on a sinking ship. I'm glad to hear that it all eventually shows up. It kills me to see customer service suffer... How do companies expect to make money?




It is annoying... In my business I would be out of business pretty quick if I did that. But the actual controller card is solid and well constructed. I think you will be hard pressed to find another controller at anywhere near the price and it has worked as advertised for my setup... but I would make a backup of your current firmware and software installing updates as they come out. I think the ACP bug was introduced with the last software/firmware upgrade so people had to regress to a previous version.

JD


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: jaddbd]
      #6001324 - 08/01/13 11:26 AM

Chris,

Thanks, if I had a dome I'd consider going that route. Unfortunately, at least from what I read, it doesn't have any use for a ROR.

Roscoe,

I get that's the usual experience. Perhaps it's my lifestyle (military background) where I prefer any news over just good news. I don't care if it's going to take 3 months, but if it's beyond what I'd expect from an online retailer of goods (1-5 days to ship unless it's documented on their website as backordered) I'd expect a courtesy, 'hey this is what's going on'.

JD, I agree completely. I see it all the time and I talk about it quite a bit with our neighbors on things like electricians, plumbers, etc. They're great at their jobs and horrible business owners. I'm usually willing to wait quite a bit of time as long as you're willing to 'plan' it with me for when you can get to me. I just hate the 'I left a voice mail and you said you'd call back but didn't'. That gets me to immediately move on to someone else or learn how to do it myself.

I'll keep in mine the firmware backup... Dropbox has it's uses. I was reading about all the trouble they were having with the newest release.

And, I did end up with a shipping confirmation. It hasn't actually left, but they did finally put it in.


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Guy Noir
sage
*****

Reged: 04/27/05

Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Raginar]
      #6001426 - 08/01/13 02:29 PM

a Windows update caused them major problems ...

Helloooooo

LINNUX

UNIX

sc..w Windows ...

:-(((((


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Guy Noir]
      #6002219 - 08/01/13 10:05 PM

Guy, any idea what Windows update? I'll gladly stop updating

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Christopher EricksonModerator
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Raginar]
      #6002245 - 08/01/13 10:23 PM

Quote:

Chris,

Thanks, if I had a dome I'd consider going that route. Unfortunately, at least from what I read, it doesn't have any use for a ROR.

Roscoe,

I get that's the usual experience. Perhaps it's my lifestyle (military background) where I prefer any news over just good news. I don't care if it's going to take 3 months, but if it's beyond what I'd expect from an online retailer of goods (1-5 days to ship unless it's documented on their website as backordered) I'd expect a courtesy, 'hey this is what's going on'.

JD, I agree completely. I see it all the time and I talk about it quite a bit with our neighbors on things like electricians, plumbers, etc. They're great at their jobs and horrible business owners. I'm usually willing to wait quite a bit of time as long as you're willing to 'plan' it with me for when you can get to me. I just hate the 'I left a voice mail and you said you'd call back but didn't'. That gets me to immediately move on to someone else or learn how to do it myself.

I'll keep in mine the firmware backup... Dropbox has it's uses. I was reading about all the trouble they were having with the newest release.

And, I did end up with a shipping confirmation. It hasn't actually left, but they did finally put it in.




MaxDome-II cards work perfectly-well on roll-offs. You only need to buy one card instead of two and you flip a DIP switch on the card.

I think that the Lesve dome controller will also work on roll-offs but I would have to confirm that.


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #6002439 - 08/02/13 01:02 AM

Chris,

That's interesting. I just went off their literature and not their manual. I'll see if my Foster stuff actually ships in the next few days or start looking elsewhere.. So far I got an 'electronic shipment pending..' on my tracker .


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Foster Systems? new [Re: Raginar]
      #6006792 - 08/04/13 10:50 PM

Apparently he's been on leave. He mailed everything out. It's definitely easy to install. I will say USB to serial is not fun.

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