Over the last three years or so I’ve suffered from technology failures and feel rather betrayed. I’ve listed the Top 5.
Case 1 – Sky+ HD boxes
I think that technology first betrayed me when I had one of the original Sky+ HD boxes. The power supply used cheap electrolytic capacitors that would go bad after a year or so. I resorted to replacing the 15 electrolytic capacitors in the power supply module; this fixed the problem but it showed me that high-tech companies were not averse to taking short-cuts. I always believe in using quality products so I felt much betrayed. Anyway, I’ve upgraded to the new Sky+ 1TB boxes and these have been bullet-proof so far.
Case 2 – SlingBoxes
I had the original SlingBox in the UK. This stopped working after a couple of years. I then bought the newer HD version of the SlingBox; this also stopped working after a couple of years. A quick research indicated that SlingBox had been using cheap electrolytic capacitors that went bad after a year or two. I’ve been burned twice now by SlingBoxes, and I now avoid SlingBox/SlingMedia products.
Case 3 – Logitech Harmony remote controls
The first Logitech Harmony remote control I had was the Harmony 885. This was a great unit but after a couple of years the buttons became increasingly unresponsive to such an extent that it was frustrating to use. I took the chance with Logitech again and bought a Harmony 900 to replace the Harmony 885. The Harmony 900 has been great except that I noticed after about a year that it wasn’t really holding its charge anymore. I opened the unit and found that the Lithium Ion battery was swollen; a sure sign that the battery needed replacing! Researching online I discovered that the original batteries with the blue sticker had an unacceptably short lifetime and were no longer being used. The newer batteries with the white label appear to be far superior and do not seem to suffer with the same short lifetimes; I’ll soon find out as I have one on order. I just hope that the old battery doesn’t explode in the meantime!
Case 4 – Billion BiPAC7800N wi-fi ADSL router
This was a great unit and I really appreciated the ability to set the noise-margin for the ADSL downlink. The unit was about three years and I began experiencing constant ADSL connection failures, perhaps about three or four a day. Again, a quick research indicated that the unit used cheap components that would reach end-of-life quite quickly. I gave Billion another chance and bought the BiPAC 7800VDOX. It’s only been about a week, but the 7800VDOX has been stellar so far with not a single dropped connection.
Case 5 – GoPro HD HERO2
I kept hearing a rattling noise on my GoPro recordings and originally thought that the noise originated from my mountain bike. But after much work to quieten the bike, I kep hearing the noise. I soon discovered that the rattle was being generated from within the GoPro unit. This internal rattle is well known and I found a fix that required opening the unit and installing some padding underneath a button to stop it rattling. That worked a treat, but I was very disappointed that GoPro was shipping this product with a known defect.
The other disappointment was that the curve lens on the GoPro housing resulted in a rubbish image when underwater. A flat lens is the answer and there were several Third Parties who offered flat-lens housings or conversion kits, but it was only last year that GoPro began offering housings with flat lenses but they do look like a kludge, an afterthought. The newer GoPro HERO3 comes with the flat lens as standard that looks more integrated so GoPro have apparently been listening.
My conclusion is that these companies have set low standards or have poor quality controls. I feel betrayed by them as they are certainly not the bottom-end of their markets but, instead, foster the perception that they make quality products. As a result, I no longer trust technology companies.
I think that these are all the cases I can talk about right now. I have a couple that are on-going and I need to see what the final outcome will be.
Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013