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Are the HelpDesk staff not trained to really help?

Hugo Landolfi
Hugo Landolfi Member ✭✭
edited March 15 in Maestro
Hi, I have a problem with my Maestro. When trying to update and it stays permanently in the "waiting for internet" phase for several hours (+12). I have filled a helpdesk ticket three days ago but they give me generic and obvious answers that do not help to solve the problem. Ticket 64662. Is there someone who can really help me solve my problem and is qualified to do so.

Thanks in advance, Hugo Landolfi

Comments

  • RFord
    RFord Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 15

    My experience with the Help Desk staff has been very positive...over 8 years I have always received professional assistance. You need to trust the process...posting here will not get your Maestro repaired any faster.

  • Hugo Landolfi
    Hugo Landolfi Member ✭✭
    I have just received a reply (****?):

    Hugo,

    I wish I had some better news. We have seen this behavior with about a dozen Maestros. In all cases, the issue has been a hardware problem with the display (a tablet) and the only way to fix it is by replacing the display.

    I know that shipping from Argentina to the US and back can be expensive and there can be issues with Customs. I was a project manager for a telecom project in Argentina back in 2006.

    There are a few options. We can sell you a replacement tablet with the SmartSDR / FlexRadio image already installed on it so you can install it yourself. The cost for the tablet is $125 plus shipping.

    Or you can send the Maestro to the US and we will replace it for the cost of the tablet and the labor to install it. Generally, that takes about 2 hours at $125/hr to disassemble, prepare, and install the tablet, reassemble, and perform a complete set of diagnostics on the MAestro to ensure it is working properly.

    If either of these options is something you want to do, let me know so I can get started on it.
  • Hugo Landolfi
    Hugo Landolfi Member ✭✭
    My response:

    Tim, Is the problem a manufacturing defect of the tablet?

    I fail to understand how this can be a problem when the Maestro worked perfectly well JUST UNTIL THE TIME I decided to upgrade.

    I have no way to rationally link the hardware problem to the upgrade process.

    Anyway, in all honesty, none of the options offered is ideal for me, given the high cost of shipping the Maestro to the USA and back to Argentina. To this must be added the repair costs.

    If you send me the new tablet, do I have to open the Maestro and install it?

    Can't you send me a Maestro C for free or at a great discount to justify all the hassle that those of us who rely on your equipment but live in countries where you don't have support can go through?

    My radio station will then be inoperative for several weeks.

    I look forward to hearing from you, Hugo
  • Hugo Landolfi
    Hugo Landolfi Member ✭✭
    edited March 15
    Great lesson learned here: Don't buy Flex if you don't live in the USA or in a country where they don't have official technical support. Otherwise, pray that nothing happens to your equipment. Flex does not have a support policy that fits cases like mine.
  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator


    The same can be said for any ham equipment that does not have factory service in your part of the world.

    The first option Flex is offering is a good deal and less than the cost of having the Maestro sent in for repair if you lived in the U.S.

    Dave wo2x

  • Hugo Landolfi
    Hugo Landolfi Member ✭✭
    I understand that David, but the problem with my equipment, and I have just corroborated it with two different technicians in my country, involves a defect in the FlexRadio software.

    If the defect is the supplier's, they are obviously not going to acknowledge it, which implies, as I think it does in this case, a serious problem of business ethics.

    The software problem is denied, the equipment is reported to be out of warranty, and the user pays for the manufacturer's mistakes.

    Regrettable behavior for a company.
  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    Dave is correct. The first option offered is your best option. Maestro's or anything electronic, don't last forever. If you or a friend can install the new tablet, you can be back running in no time. If you have access to a Windows pc, you can operate your Flex just fine until you get the replacement tablet and install it in the Maestro enclosure.

    Personally, I would accept the replacement tablet and when it arrives, either install it myself. Or get someone who is able to disassemble and reassemble the Maestro for me. It is unreasonable to expect Flex Radio or any company, to send you a new Maestro for free because yours failed. Especially if it is long out of warranty.

    James

    WD5GWY

  • Hugo Landolfi
    Hugo Landolfi Member ✭✭
    I agree with you James, but that's not the point. The point is that I am paying for an inherent defect in the product.

    That implies a serious flaw in business ethics and a remarkable disregard for the customer, especially for a customer from the other side of the world who has chosen to trust Flex. Big mistake!
  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 15

    What "inherent " defect are you referring to? I have owned a Maestro and later, a Flex 6600M that uses the same tablet in the front panel as the older Maestros. In fact,my 6600M ( one of the first shipped in 2018) is at Flex Radio for a problem that is most likely the beginning of a failure of the tablet in the front panel. My radio is long out of warranty. So I expect if it turns out the front panel tablet is failing,I will have to pay for a replacement. I am fine with that as I didn't have any expectations of everything lasting for many years. In fact, if I found the cost of replacement too expensive, my radio will still work fine with the internal tablet disconnected. But, I like radios with knobs. So, I will pay the cost of replacement and a complete checkup just for the additional peace of mind knowing that, other then something I do incorrectly, my 6600M should last me many more years.

    Honestly, I don't understand ( other than economically) why you think you should not have to pay for replacement of the Maestro's tablet or even expect Flex Radio to give you a new, Maestro C.

    There is no "inherent " defect in the Maestro or the M model radios front panels, that I am aware of. I do wish Flex Radio had not used a tablet module for the Maestro and M model radios front panel simply because it becomes harder to replace them as the original manufacturer ( in my case,and probably yours, Dell ) phases out computers and tablets over time making ease of replacement more problematic depending on how integrated the tablet is ( in the case of the M model radios) into the overall system.

    If you really like the Maestro, and either can do the replacement yourself or have someone else who can do it for you, then I would, again, suggest you accept Flex Radio's offer to sell you a replacement tablet and ship it to you. Otherwise, your cheapest option is to use a computer connected to your network/radio and operate your radio from SmartSDR on your computer.

    Good luck on whatever you decide to do.

    James

    WD5GWY

  • Hugo Landolfi
    Hugo Landolfi Member ✭✭
    edited March 15
    By "inherent" I mean that the defect is a defect in the Flex software that, for some reason, affected the operation of the Maestro during installation.

    If the defect is inherent in the product, whoever produced the product should be responsible. That is my understanding of good business ethics. But maybe I'm thinking in an ideal world that doesn't exist.

    Anyway, I have accepted the option of having the tablet sent to me and paying for it.
  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 15

    Man that's a good deal for a new already set up Tablet. They are very easy to install back into the Maestro case.

    I am sure if you don't have the extended warrantee you are on your own just like any other thing you buy no matter where you are in the world the Manufacture relinquishes any Responsibility at the end of the Warrantee period.

    "Inherent" could also be the issues with the underlying OS MS Windows that caused the problem otherwise a LOT more Maestro's would be crashing.

    Flex commitment to having the needed Parts and in your case the Dell Tablet that the older Maestro's use is amazing to me that they would offer it at such a low price.

  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    Hugo, I think you made the right choice given the circumstances. I did have a problem last year that required me to send my 6600M back to Flex Radio to be reimaged. It was a rare condition that occurred with Windows the OS, in the front panel ( same as in the Maestro) . In my case, when I would try to do an update, the radio itself would update just fine. But, the update would fail with the front panel. I found that I could roll back to the previous version of the firmware for the radio and it would work just fine. I just could not get the front panel to take a later version of SmartSDR for the front panel. Shortly after I got my radio back, a special firmware update was released that fixed the problem that prevented the front panel from updating. There were only a few people that reported the same problem after I had. The firmware fix cleared the issue up for those that used the new firmware. And a couple of others, like me,sent their radios in for reimaging. As far as I remember, no Maestros were effected by the problem I experienced with my 6600M.

    Given the price for the replacement tablet Flex Radio is sending you, I imagine that it is the price they paid for the tablet. I doubt they are making any money off of it.

    Let me say one other thing. If every time a device failed because of a software defect, which shows up years afterwards, and the manufacturer had to replace it free of charge, then prices for the radios and accessories we all use and enjoy, would be so high that no one could afford to purchase them. There really is not a way that any company can anticipate a problem like you have experienced and be able, financially, to replace devices long out of warranty. That Flex Radio has supplied themselves with replacement tablets for long term support says a lot about their commitment to their customers. Try that with Apple and their iPhone. They will happily sell you a new phone instead of repairing or giving you a new phone.

    Good luck getting your Maestro back up and.

    James

    WD5GWY

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Thanks for all the comments. We have support in the US and Germany but we have thousands and thousands of radios (and Maestros) all over the world. Hugo, South America is always a difficult place to do business in for so many reasons.

    Let me share a support issue this week from Apple, a company who has world wide presence in every country.

    • Yesterday, my iPhone 13 Pro, 3 months out of warranty, flat out crashed while on a phone call.
    • All it would do is try to boot, and reboot and reboot and reboot
    • 2 hours on the phone with Apple Support trying to reload the OS - no joy
    • Trip to the Apple Store (lucky me, it is 15 minutes away)
    • Another hour of their top tech trying to recover it, no joy.
    • Zero value for a trade in. As they said, with a smile, it was ready for recycling

    $1499 + 13% HST in tax later, I walked out with a new iPhone 15 Pro. (Canadian $$) I didn't like it, but I just **** it up and pulled out the credit card.

    This is the first iPhone I have had fail like this ever and I have been using them since they came out in about 2007.

    Sadly, this sort of thing happens regardless of the product.

  • AA1SS
    AA1SS Member ✭✭

    My wife had an Iphone that did the same thing. I found on the internet somewhere that there was a certain sequence of buttons you held and pushed and **** it came back to life

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Yea, there is that. I was well past that. :)

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