Nov 11, 2013

How many mistakes is enough?


Man it’s been one hell of a week.  Let me tell you a little story about how I’ve managed to experience first hand why karma is such a powerful and humbling part of this world.

So a good friend of mine was really pushing me into the iCharger 4010Duo.  He sold a pretty convincing story and from the research I had done at the time I truly believed it had all the features I was looking for.  I sold my trusty 306B’s and was ready for the purchase.  Here’s where everything took a tragic spin for the worst.  Enter mistake number one… For reasons still unknown to myself I decided to save a couple bucks and NOT purchase the charger at ProgressiveRC.  Now why the hell would I do that? I have no idea.  Call it momentary lapse of sanity, stupidity, or whatever you’d like but I saved that $25 and thought, “It’s an iCharger so it’s not like I’m going to ever have a problem with it”. I mean seriously, my previous two 306B’s had been solid and given me zero issues so I figured I’d pocket the $25, put it into finishing the charging case, and be on my merry way.

A week rolls by and the charger starts acting up.  It intermittently won’t charge over 25A without making a really weird hissing sound and throwing up an error code.  This is when the panic started to set in.  WTF?!  How can I be having a problem with this charger?  Wait…. I can’t call Progressive now.  I’ll look like a fool because they support the podcast and I didn’t buy it from them!  Head in hands I sit for a couple days.  I finally decided to come clean and call Progressive.  The tech guys were great and almost immediately knew what the problem was.  The only problem was they couldn’t warranty because I didn’t buy it from them.  I completely understood but was crushed. He mentioned all they had to do was solder in a couple capacitors to fix it.  “Well hey! I can do that!”, I thought to myself.  There I sat with the question… Do I send it to them to repair or give it a go myself?  Enter mistake number two…  After a couple more emails back and forth, $18 dollars in shipping and caps, and a total of a week later I had the actual caps in my hands and ready to solder.  Well… sort of.  These caps are the smallest things I’ve ever seen.  2mm long by 1mm wide.  That’s small!  I fire up the soldering iron, grab my magnifying light/glass, some electronics tweezers, and am ready to go for it.  WRONG!!!  The solder in the iCharger is lead free and made with some VERY high melting point solder.  SHIT!  I’m getting that defeated feeling again.  Now I’ve soldered hundreds of things but this is my first experience with lead-free solder.  A little research and I find out I simply need a more powerful iron and a roll of lead-free solder.  Enter mistake number three…  I decide than rather to quit while I’m ahead I’ll just go down and buy a new small butane soldering iron ( plenty hot enough btw), some solder, and a can of Butane.  $45 dollars and an hour later I’m back at it.  Guess what?  You know how hot you have to get an iron to melt that solder?  Well, lets just say it’s hot enough to make the exhaust that’s coming from the butane burn hot enough to burn anything that’s even remotely close to it.  This just wasn’t going to work.  I couldn’t get the iron in that tiny cramped little spot without risking damaging the board.

Three mistakes later I sat there in my hobby room defeated, crushed, no flying this weekend, and with a worthless two week old charger.  Stuff like this NEVER beats me but at that point I knew I had been weighed, measured, and been found wanting.  I knew what had really happened.  Karma happened.  I’ve got the charger all boxed up and ready to ship come Monday morning.  Not sure how long it’ll be gone or how much it will cost but at this point I don’t even care.  I’ve wasted well over double the amount that I “saved” by not buying it from a reputable source.  No question this won’t happen again.  I’ve learned a very valuable lesson out of this… customer support is EVERYTHING.