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Why do vendors continue to do this....?

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#1 pyrasanth

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 10:32 AM

Some vendors are liberal with the essential facts that we need to know.

 

I will not mention the vendor concerned but I am pretty annoyed with what I found out.

 

I ordered a new guide camera which is based around the 290M3 sensor. The vendors website offers a glowing review of the camera and a test report as seen in an edition of Astronomy Now which again came out glowing- so nothing wrong in my research about ordering the camera. It comes with its own suite of software- which I presume was used for testing on that review- and I initially tested the camera with that software on my bench & it worked as expected. However I use the SkyX pro & since there is no native driver for the camera I have to rely on ASCOM.

 

I configured the Camera for SkyX using the ASCOM driver and because I was testing in daylight on a small refractor I did a fast image capture at 1/500 second and obtained an image. I repeated and got a black screen. I thought well this is probably an issue with the speed so took the camera into a live field test. I managed to get star field images at a reasonable 4 second exposure and indeed multiple image capture works provided the speed of exposure is not too fast. I then tried a sub frame on the same 1x1 bin and got a black screen. I then tried another sub frame & got a black image with 2 diagonal lines bisecting the captured frame. I tried a third time and got the lines and long stretched smeared stars. In these circumstances the camera does not work as a guide camera in the SkyX.

 

I telephoned the vendor support only to be told that this is a known problem with the SkyX and they blamed the SDK. But.......hang on.....I'm using an ASCOM driver which is supposed to be fairly ubiquitous. So I retested in Maxim DL using the same ASCOM driver and got the black screen.....I did not repeat all the tests as I'm pretty sure that it's a driver and will present same issues.

 

I've rejected the camera as not being fit for my purpose. Perhaps the camera works great with the supplied custom software but most people on the forum require the need for flexibility in their products and this is really bad to be locked into one solution whilst some vendor arranges a software rewrite at their leisure with my money going into their research. 

 

Do vendors think that we don't use our products with multiple software packages and if they pull a flanker we won't find out?

 

What is even more annoying is that the vendor has not offered the collection of the camera. I have to send it back at my expense and their terms and conditions state up to 30 days for a refund. So they use my cash to support their badly engineered products and all of us can make that sucking noise...........

 

So my question again. Why do vendors do this.....but I know one thing I wont buy from them again. I hate vendors who are liberal with the truth especially when they use the customer as a bank.


Edited by pyrasanth, 21 October 2019 - 10:38 AM.

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#2 Traveler

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 10:50 AM

Because they think they can...but i don't think you will buy another time something from them...so in the end, there will be a fix.

 

In general i hate buying electronic things….because of these kind of issues.


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#3 cytan299

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 10:54 AM

Hi pyra,

  

Unfortunately, your experience is not isolated, it also happens in other industries as well. My example is not from astro, but from industry: I have spent more than $10k on multiple occasions on products that are supposedly gamma, but *I* had to beta test and *fix* their software for them. These are well-known manufacturers (not Mom and Pop shops) where their engineering department push stuff out the door that kinda sorta works but doesn't really. So not only do I pay $$$ to them, I actually am "working" for them for free by fixing their cr*p.

 

I don't believe it's right, but this problem is ubiquitous across the board from hardware manufacturers (who supply software to run their hardware) and software manufacturers (RTOS vendors) who claim their libraries work, but not really.

 

YMMV

 

cytan


Edited by cytan299, 21 October 2019 - 10:56 AM.

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#4 scopewizard

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 11:18 AM

The camera worked with other software using the manufacturer's driver.

Based on your comment the ASCOM driver was faulty using it in SkyX pro.

ASCOM driver also failed in Maxim DL.

It seems to me the ASCOM driver is at fault here and needs to be updated.

The vendor is not responsible for ASCOM or SkyX pro software for their cameras.


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#5 Hugh Peck

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 11:30 AM

 It comes with its own suite of software- which I presume was used for testing on that review- and I initially tested the camera with that software on my bench & it worked as expected

 

I don't understand the problem. You say it works as advertised then complain because it doesn't work with 3rd party software. What's wrong with this picture? That's like people who buy software that only works with Windows, and is stated as such in the info, and then complain because it doesn't work with MAC. I've seen this. The problem isn't with the vendor or the camera.


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#6 pyrasanth

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 11:41 AM

The camera works with the software authored by the vendor- it is not a COTS package but bespoke for their range of cameras. It is offered with an ASCOM driver which one would expect to work on the ASCOM platform and the camera was bought on that basis- forget the vendor self authored platform it is of no interest to me. My post was very carefully constructed to point out that ASCOM is a standard across the industry that sets an expectation for cross platform compatibility. I would be naive not to expect a few issues like occasional crashes or such like but to have no operation under the ASCOM platform that is a bit much.

 

I checked for the availability of the ASCOM driver before ordering at least thinking I would have some operation but alas none. I think my gripe is valid since all my other ASCOM driven cameras work as expected with other packages and if the vendor offers ASCOM they have a responsibility to get the package certified & working.



#7 pyrasanth

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 11:43 AM

I don't understand the problem. You say it works as advertised then complain because it doesn't work with 3rd party software. What's wrong with this picture? That's like people who buy software that only works with Windows, and is stated as such in the info, and then complain because it doesn't work with MAC. I've seen this. The problem isn't with the vendor or the camera.

See my post 6- that explains the problem better. The camera only seems to work in the vendor Bespoke software. I would not have bought the camera if there was no mention of ASCOM compatibility which is the difficulty I'm seeing.


Edited by pyrasanth, 21 October 2019 - 11:43 AM.


#8 pyrasanth

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 11:45 AM

The camera worked with other software using the manufacturer's driver.

Based on your comment the ASCOM driver was faulty using it in SkyX pro.

ASCOM driver also failed in Maxim DL.

It seems to me the ASCOM driver is at fault here and needs to be updated.

The vendor is not responsible for ASCOM or SkyX pro software for their cameras.If a vendor offer

The only software the camera seemed to work with was there own which the vendor authored. I did not say any other software- I saw the camera working in nothing else but their own package- locking me into a solution that I can't use.

 

If a vendor offers an ASCOM driver then surely it has been tested with the intention of using it in the ASCOM platform?- sorry but I'm not understanding your logic on this point.


Edited by pyrasanth, 21 October 2019 - 11:56 AM.

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#9 25585

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 12:03 PM

Products given for media review, may well be influenced by cheque book journalism or editing, & provider cherry-picking rather than a sample anonymously purchased off a shelf. 


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#10 mich_al

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 12:36 PM

In my working life I received numerous devises & SDK's really not ready for prime time a situation that needs to be covered in development estimates.  One vendor of a very complex devise that did not yet function as designed promised endlessly to make it work right and finally did just as I replaced it in the design as the development was nearing the danger zone.  I returned it for a refund.  In following years they sometimes called me with their latest gizmos which I never tried.  During one such visit I had had enough and reminded him of the near disaster he was party to and thanked him for the ongoing calls that kept me reminded of the disaster so as never to make the mistake of doing business with them again.


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#11 OldManSky

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 03:45 PM

ASCOM is indeed a standard...but not all software used within that standard (ASCOM drivers and ASCOM endpoints, such as those in astro control packages) work with the standard.

So the fault may indeed by in the vendor's ASCOM driver.

Or it may be in the ASCOM implementation in TheSky and MaximDL.

 

Both "failures" are far too common.


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#12 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 04:05 PM

I spent a good part of my working life finding bugs, fixing, and testing vendor software that was "not ready for prime time" when it was pushed out the door.  Some of them; I should have been on their payroll.   It think that's just "the way it is", unfortunately.



#13 pyrasanth

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 04:12 PM

The only way to encourage OEM's to enforce quality standards is not to put up with shoddy product. If it does not work as advertised send it back and hit them where it really hurts in their pockets.


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#14 pyrasanth

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 04:26 PM

I spent a good part of my working life finding bugs, fixing, and testing vendor software that was "not ready for prime time" when it was pushed out the door.  Some of them; I should have been on their payroll.   It think that's just "the way it is", unfortunately.

The only reason for the "way it is" is because we repeatedly let "them" get away with it- as I said earlier what really hurts is sending the goods back under the cooling off period- they then have loads of time to look at the heaps of equipment not working and do something about the issues.



#15 cytan299

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 06:10 AM

The only way to encourage OEM's to enforce quality standards is not to put up with shoddy product. If it does not work as advertised send it back and hit them where it really hurts in their pockets.

Unfortunately, if they are the only game in town, or one of two. And all of them are just as bad. You're basically at their mercy :(

 

cytan


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#16 mich_al

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:49 AM

Unfortunately, if they are the only game in town, or one of two. And all of them are just as bad. You're basically at their mercy frown.gif

 

cytan

If that where the case then I would do without.  Always have been and always will be one who 'rubs their nose in it'.  If the consuming (voting) public where to 'get mad as hell and not take it anymore' vendors would have to come around, but I KNOW that will never happen wide scale.



#17 pyrasanth

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 08:40 AM

I've rejected the camera under the cooling off web period- more like I needed to cool off. The whole experience is maddening as I have to pay to return the goods as well as all the time lost in testing when I could have better used the time to image.

 

There is a cost to all the poo we have to put up with and its a price the vendor is not paying.

 

I've said previously- make a stand- don't put up with shoddy goods & device drivers that are flaky- send the goods back & hit the OEM's where it hurts- in their pocket.



#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 12:19 PM

My two cents:

 

Without specifics, it difficult to understand what actually is going on. This is really an issue with one vendor and while other vendors may have similar issues, generalizing this issue serves no real purpose.

 

It's possible that if this thread were initiated with the intent of resolving the problem, a solution could  have been found.. This is what Cloudy Nights does best. 

 

From the Announcemts Forum:  How To Constructively Discuss Vendor Issues:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-vendor-issues/

 

Jon


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#19 Pauls72

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 01:28 PM

ASCOM has a set of standards for program call's to it and device drivers responses.

Some software application writers and some hardware drivers writers will stretch the rules, bend the rules or not implement some features not covered by ASCOM. When they do things like stretch or bend the rules for one device or program , it may cause problems with a different manufacturers device or software.

 

If you look at the large number of device and large number of software programs that support ASCOM, it is nearly impossible for any hardware manufacturer to test more than a few applications. Or for that matter for an application programmer to test more than a few hardware configurations.

 

However when you do encounter a problem and report it, the two manufacturers should work together to resolve the problem and not just point fingers.

 

Note: There can be an addition problem here. Sometimes the so called device manufacturer is nothing more that a vendor. They buy the product from a third party manufacturer, with drivers,  and then the third party slaps the vendors name on it.


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#20 pyrasanth

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 02:18 PM

My two cents:

 

Without specifics, it difficult to understand what actually is going on. This is really an issue with one vendor and while other vendors may have similar issues, generalizing this issue serves no real purpose.

 

It's possible that if this thread were initiated with the intent of resolving the problem, a solution could  have been found.. This is what Cloudy Nights does best. 

 

From the Announcemts Forum:  How To Constructively Discuss Vendor Issues:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-vendor-issues/

 

Jon

Just for the record so we are quite clear. If I wanted to sort the issue then possibly I was prepared to wait a few months, waste loads of my time & become an unpaid test volunteer. However, the intent of the thread was to use a specific example of what is happening in our industry and the poo most of us have to put up with. I'm not in the business of buying product that does not work and spending months resolving issues that should have been sorted before releasing goods to the marketplace. Please stop playing devils advocate- it does you no good and remember it was my money on the line & not yours.

 

I was very careful not to name & shame- I have no intention to point out a specific vendor only to show that the practice I'm indicating is far too prevalent in our industry & perhaps others.

 

We put up with the situation because, and don't take this the wrong way, people are prepared to give vendor OEM's too much latitude with an army of unpaid beta testers- sorry I don't subscribe to that model.


Edited by pyrasanth, 24 October 2019 - 02:18 PM.


#21 StrStrck

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 02:57 PM

I understand your frustration. I’d recommend always searching out multiple reviews on any gadget you get. Like buying a new car or TV, “look at all the bells and whistles”, but I’d never fully trust the factory or dealer to point out weaknesses in their own product. 


Edited by StrStrck, 24 October 2019 - 02:58 PM.

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#22 sg6

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 02:59 PM

Can understand your problem but I suspect it comes down to word(ing/s).

Compatable with ASCOM, will not mean it is 100% fully tested against all aspects of ASCOM.

Vendors you will find have to print the blurb that the manufacturers give them.

 

Never take what the blurb says as completely true, that is what they would like the item to be.

I never take anything the vendor or retailer says as the complete truth. Usually I just treat it as technical information. And even then may be a bit exaggerated.

 

Classic here was Skywatcher said "2 inch focuser for the attachment of a DSLR".

Sounds just what people wanted, buy scope, add DSLR, go get images.

Problem was the DSLR could never be placed at the prime focus. So you could attach a DSLR you just could not make use of it when attached.

 

Is there a subset of ASCOM functions that the camera has to work with in order to be declared compatable?

 

There is one retailer here who I have noticed that if they do not sell the item there is generally a reason for it. Can find that out of a range of say 6 scopes, they only list 5. The not listed one is often the one that has problems.


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#23 pyrasanth

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 03:07 PM

Sadly many vendors have three words missing from their blurb "open, transparent & honest" very rare to find a vendor that understands how those words fit together.

 

I'm far from naive & I don't expect perfection however the camera did not have even basic ASCOM functionality through two main stream products that I tested it with. I know that if an ASCOM product does not work with these two stalwarts then you can pretty much guess there will be problems with anything else it is tested on.



#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 03:10 PM

We put up with the situation because, and don't take this the wrong way, people are prepared to give vendor OEM's too much latitude with an army of unpaid beta testers- sorry I don't subscribe to that model.

 

 

It's quite possible that had you addressed your issues here, someone here would have already dealt with the issue or have understood a simple error you were making. It happens all the time. Cloudy Nights is an amazing resource and there are members here with incredible knowledge and experience who are willing to help.

 

You just might have been surprised.

 

Jon


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#25 pyrasanth

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 03:25 PM

It's quite possible that had you addressed your issues here, someone here would have already dealt with the issue or have understood a simple error you were making. It happens all the time. Cloudy Nights is an amazing resource and there are members here with incredible knowledge and experience who are willing to help.

 

You just might have been surprised.

 

Jon

Perhaps but when when I telephoned the vendor tec support and he spills the beans about compatibility issues......wonder why that was not on the web site before I ordered..........that just about finished all I was going to do with that device.




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