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Old 16-01-2019, 08:57   #1
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I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

My old B&G MHU failed two years ago.

Since we are circumnavigating, we wanted the best product we could find and bought a new B&G MHU with NMEA2000. It was bought when we were in the UK.

It failed when we were in Brazil. Although B&G's guarantee statement says that you can have your equipment inspected by a local distributor, they wanted the item back in the UK. Transportation cost back and forward on my account.

I had it inspected by B&G in Argentina, PCB was rotten due to ingress of moisture and they replaced it for more than 300. Reclaiming at B&G UK did not lead to refunding. Instead, they insisted on sending it back to the UK for inspection and then have a new one sent back to me in Argentina. Still at my expense!
This means they have no respect for or trust their own distributors.

The only thing I could do was apologizing to them for buying their product and that I promised never to make that mistake again. No response from B&G.

It is not nice to find a once-quality firm and product to be as foul as this, but I'm not the only one. A german boat could replace after a year and another Dutch vessel replaced the PCB every two years since they bought it.

B&G in the old days was a top brand with an indestructible reputation.

As far as I'm concerned, Navico can be under the carpet.
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Old 16-01-2019, 09:04   #2
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Romlea.
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Old 16-01-2019, 09:22   #3
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romlea View Post

It failed when we were in Brazil. Although B&G's guarantee statement says that you can have your equipment inspected by a local distributor, they wanted the item back in the UK. Transportation cost back and forward on my account.
I'm not clear why you needed to deal with B&G UK while you were in Brazil. If you were at a certified B&G service facility in Brazil, couldn't they take care of it for you?

Were you dealing with B&G in the UK or a B&G distributor?

Did you request to have the service ticket in the UK escalated internally?
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Old 16-01-2019, 10:03   #4
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

I never considered B & G to be a good company. In the 60's, at least amongst UK sailors, it stood for Broken Guages. Sadly it doesn't look as if its improved...
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Old 16-01-2019, 10:42   #5
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

I contacted B&G back in 2017 with a sales related question.

I had learned that a PLB manifacturers DSC distress signal was not picked up by the B&G V50 VHF radio for some reason, and wanted to know if the issue had since been fixed.

Manufacturer of the PLB confirmed this issue. So did an Amazon review.

If the DSC signal does not work that is of course cause for concern.

I didn't get a reply from B&G until months later, which denied that there was a problem.

Neither the reply nor the length of time it took to receive it inspired any confidence in their product support.
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Old 16-01-2019, 10:48   #6
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

I took a look at an image of a B&G masthead replacement PCB part and instantly noted that is was not protectively potted, hence would be subject to exposure to corrosion.

It is possible that the PCB has clear conformal coating, but certainly it does not have full epoxy potting. If the PCB does not have protective coating it is in essence being built to fail.

All of the PCBs that my company utilizes in power equipment used in either the lawn / garden / forestry products, and / or the electric vehicle sector have fully potted electronics so as to not allow moisture or debris to be able to come into contact. That is the norm for such industries. Our components are completely buried in epoxy, you can't see even a trace of the parts.

Yachting is a truly harsh environment for electric powered equipment.

Question for forum members: Is it common practice with electronics for yachting applications to not have truly protective coatings of all power electronics?

Reference image of a B & G masthead PCB replacement part. Retails on line for US$325.95. Expensive component.
Weblink: http://https://www.waveinn.com/nauti...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 16-01-2019, 11:35   #7
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

@ Shrew

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrew View Post
I'm not clear why you needed to deal with B&G UK while you were in Brazil. If you were at a certified B&G service facility in Brazil, couldn't they take care of it for you?

B&G UK insisted.

Were you dealing with B&G in the UK or a B&G distributor?

I posted a summary. Contacted both. Sent them pictures of windspeed in access of 500 kn. Replaced the cable, because I thought it was faulty. I emailed them all findings, as a lee. I got one ore two replies, after that no more.

Did you request to have the service ticket in the UK escalated internally?
No.
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Old 16-01-2019, 12:03   #8
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

FYI.

Reference Section 4 - Warranty Process of Navico's warranty policy:

Covers Lowrance, Simrad, B&G products.

https://navico.com/wp-content/upload...olicy-2016.pdf
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Old 17-01-2019, 10:26   #9
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanan View Post
Question for forum members: Is it common practice with electronics for yachting applications to not have truly protective coatings of all power electronics?
In my 50+ years of boating, many of them full time live-aboard, I can say that it is RARE to find potted marine electronic PCB's. Early on it was because repairs could be made at the component level, i.e., unsolder a failed capacitor and replace it. But, now with PCB's essentially being "replace and toss", there's no reason not to pot them, especially in outdoor, exposed locations. Many boards are alleged to be conformally coated, but experience says that doesn't compare to epoxy potting. I guess potting could be a heat retention issue...?
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Old 17-01-2019, 11:56   #10
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

Try A&T. They are really good and all their displays fit b&g moulds. Super amazing customer service as well. Their processors and instruments are tested really hard and it all works. Kind of like old school B&G (before being corpratised) but better
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Old 17-01-2019, 12:52   #11
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

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Originally Posted by mvmojo View Post
In my 50+ years of boating, many of them full time live-aboard, I can say that it is RARE to find potted marine electronic PCB's. Early on it was because repairs could be made at the component level, i.e., unsolder a failed capacitor and replace it. But, now with PCB's essentially being "replace and toss", there's no reason not to pot them, especially in outdoor, exposed locations. Many boards are alleged to be conformally coated, but experience says that doesn't compare to epoxy potting. I guess potting could be a heat retention issue...?
Thank you MVMOJO for your guidance.

Indeed the days of repairing versus replacing componentry has largely passed. With our company's distribution of outdoor power equipment, all of our portable electric product offering can not be realistically serviced in the field by legacy engine powered product technicians that are employees at dealers. We simply have the dealer assess which of the three components is malfunctioning, the tool, the battery or the battery charger and to provide a replacement immediately to the customer at no charge, [there being a five year warranty on all the products]. The technicians are often well skilled as to experience and training to repair internal combustion engines, but truly can't even begin to diagnose the failure of any of the components of an electric powered system, let alone attempt a repair thereof. We desire and try to require the return of all malfunctioning products back to our factory so that we can diagnose the nature of our failure, [Note if a failure occurs, we own that failure, it is not the customer's failure]. By gaining detailed knowledge of the nature of the failure we learn how to redesign, resource components, improve fabrication and assembly or better educate the end users. There are times when return to factory is not viable and the product is disposed of in the field, much to our regret. Many times the issue is mis-use or mis-treatment of the product. For example, operating the battery charger outside in the rain, instead of in a dry environment, or by breakage, by say, backing the contractor's truck over the garden tool. We find that an instant replacement product provided to a customer from dealer's inventory rarely result is the customer experiencing a "failure" again; lessons as to misuse or abuse are learned by the end user and the goodwill that timely service derives is rewarded in their referral business and their renewed business.

In the past we have utilized parylene coating applied by chemical vapor deposition for coating the massive stator of a 3 megawatt wind generator, a 40 foot diameter Printed Circuit Board. [No wire or steel in that unique stator]. The parylene coating proved to have very robust weatherization protection under extensive accelerated and abusive aging tests. The huge PCB stator was expected to last 20+ years up tower in harsh environments, as well as parylene coating of the power conversion electronics so as to provide AC grid connectivity.
Parylene coating being a slow process inside a vacuum chamber is comparatively expensive, versus say, the usual liquid acrylic coatings but parylene is much more durable and is free of voids.

Whereas, epoxy potting is very simple to accomplish, it does require specialized tooling to form the specific pots into which the boards are placed and the epoxy is poured. We find that for our high power electronics such as within the inverters, the IGBTs / MOSFETs typically require integral heat sinks to dissipate their thermal losses to the ambient environment outside of the epoxy. Heat always being the primary constraint in both the power electronics and the machines [motors / generators] especially for high power density, permanent magnet machines. I just wish that someone would come up with a material that is highly thermally conductive and not electrically conductive. For signal and logic electronics epoxy coating would seem to be a natural practice for harsh environments. I get that graphic and CPUs with their amazing miniaturization and density require active cooling and epoxy coating of those components would be problematic.

Epoxy potting also provides ruggedization as to mechanical properties as it glues all the stand up components into one solid block. Solder attachment provides the electrical continuity but only provides limited mechanical support. One can readily do a Taylor Swift song on non-potted PCBs and "Shake It Off.".

Clearly up mast components such as Mast Head Units should be ruggedized for two reasons, a harsh environment and a difficult to access location. Of course they can't be expected to survive a lightning strike.

But then the failure of a MHU is merely an inconvenience, one can always go old school and just use MK1 on the telltales; a piece of yarn tied on the shroud provides me with complete guidance as to the direction of the apparent wind at the height of the yarn, and the feel of the wind on my face, my touch on the steerage, and the effects on my boat, tell me all that I need to adjust accordingly. I rarely if ever look up at the top of mast wind indicator on even my smaller sail boats; all though I get the MHU is to provide data to a conveniently helm mounted display, but such devices don't tell me anything that I am not already have situational awareness of. I do love having navigational aid and engine metrics displayed at helms on a boat just as I do onboard when piloting an airplane and driving a vehicle.

In this instance, the B&G warranty provides explicit guidance as to the procedure and cost liabilities for the B&G product diagnosis and replacement. We find that consumers rarely if ever read the warranties or retain their warranties that the OEMs contract to. It turns out that there is only one B&G dealer in the whole of Argentina which dealer may not have been conveniently located to the OP upon arrival in country during their circumnavigation. That dealer should have been well trained by the OEM as to explaining the procedure to the customer and should have provided the customer with a printed copy of the warranty and to have explained it to the customer at the time of warranty servicing. From the start, the customer should know their rights and be able to rely on those rights being fulfilled in a prompt and professional manner. In my experience, often times dealers fail in adequately performing their contractual service commitments with the OEMs that they have relationships with and we find it often best as an OEM to intervene and just ask to speak with the customer directly and then follow up with the dealer so as to reinstruct the dealer as to what needs to be done to provide complete satisfaction to the customer.
It appears that the B&G warranty does require that the defective part be returned to the UK at the customers liability and expense, that is to say, title doesn't pass from the customer, until B&G in the UK takes custody. If the B&G product failed under warranty, I read the warranty to not require the customer to have to pay for a replacement, just to have incurred the cost of the transport of the defective good to B&G in the UK, which cost is not inmaterial when half way across the world. Under the warranty, it appears that the B&G dealer can provide replacement from their inventory if they have it in stock, and is to be provided credit or replacement for such conveyance from the stock after B&G in the UK discerns the returned defective good is covered under their warranty. I suspect that either the dealer did not act responsively or the customer did not desire to wait for such transport and warranty authorization procedure to be realized and the dealer may have sold a replacement to the customer so that the customer could install and get on with their journey, albeit likely with the expectation that if the MHU good was discerned to be defective and covered by the OEM warranty that the OEM would make good the cost of purchasing the replacement from the dealer's stock. In any case, B&G has invoked a dissatisfied customer and many a fellow cruiser has now heard of such dissatisfaction. Not the outcome either party desires.

Whereas, we find in practice it is simpler to have the dealers collate the defective components and bulk ship them from time to time, if they have more than one and for us as the OEM to just provide a restocking credit or product to the dealer for having the dealer provide an instantaneous replacement to the customer from their inventory. We also pay the dealer separately for their warranty services. Where we find the most difficulties is when we sell our products through non-servicing retailers, [e.g., The Home Depot, Lowes, Costco] because they do not take in defective goods nor diagnose or service warranties which Big Box approach to retailing is of great inconvenience to their customers, compared to a servicing dealer approach to retailing. Consumers take note: You get what you pay for and with big box retailers one does not obtain aftermarket support. One can only expect a satisfaction guarantee and refund for a return during a limited time period, say, 90 days after sale. I have found the preferred practice in dealing with customers that are either unsatisfied with their product or have a defective product, that it is easiest to either refund them, or to send them a replacement and ask them to return the defective good in the same shipping package that the replacement was sent with our company providing prepaid return shipment postage or courier labeling along with the replacement shipment. With our portable electric powered products we utilize high powered lithium batteries, if that component is deemed to be defective in anyway, we can not have the old battery returned as it is a classified as a dangerous good, then we need to have it provided special handling by either advising of how to properly dispose of it or to have a knowledgeable certified hazardous goods dealer provide proper protective packaging and hazardous goods labeling with ground only transport, and have extra transit cost incurred to provide for the rare defective battery to be returned so that we can have our engineers diagnose what the defect [or nature of abuse] was. All of our lithium powered products have consumer packaging labeled stating: Forbidden for transport aboard airplane or vessel. If we do ship products by air or sea then the goods are separately labelled as Class 9 Hazardous Goods with appropriate packaging, consignment paperwork and at considerable extra expense.
But all the hassles are to be on our account, we try to make things as easy as possible for the consumer and to make them whole and happy. The customer may be wrong in their action, in their inaction or in misperception, but we treat them as if they are right. We feel honored to have a person be a customer and hope to retain them as one. And if we end up ultimately losing a customer, we hope to have the relationship end with mutual respect and goodwill. And we hope to have learned why the customer was dissatisfied with our product or our post sale service. Being able to garner direct communication with an end use customer is a very valuable event for an OEM, often as OEMs we becomes removed from such intimate discussions and relationships because of having implaced market channel intermediaries, such as distributors and retail dealers interposed between the OEM and the end user.
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Old 17-01-2019, 13:31   #12
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

A friend installed B&G a few years back and needed some help. It turns out that there is exactly one B&G customer service rep in the U.S., so catch him in the office and wait your turn... (Sometimes other Navico reps cover for him.) Also, the chartplotter lacked features that I expected and were in my Furuno and in Raymarine units. I don't think B&G is a competitive offering...

Some alternator regulators are potted but for the most part recreational marine electronics' PCBs are either not moisture protected or have a thin clear conformal coating. The clear coating is not always very obvious. Anyway most count on a sealed case to protect and assume the PCB will never be exposed.

My Icom M802 got some salt water on a steel support for a BNC connector and that corner of the board had rust all over it. Icom service took one look and refused to touch it (it was working fine - I just sent it in for the clipping mod). It turns out the board was coated and the rust just wiped off with a little isopropyl alcohol - which is when I learned that it was coated as the coating became sticky and came off. It was easy enough to spray on more coating. The point is that the clear coating is (thankfully) quite effective at protecting PCBs, even if it is not obviously present.

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Old 17-01-2019, 14:13   #13
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

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It was easy enough to spray on more coating. The point is that the clear coating is (thankfully) quite effective at protecting PCBs, even if it is not obviously present.
Greg
What are you using for coating ?
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Old 17-01-2019, 14:25   #14
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

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In my 50+ years of boating, many of them full time live-aboard, I can say that it is RARE to find potted marine electronic PCB's. (snippage) . I guess potting could be a heat retention issue...?
BINGO! While some analog components in older system designs could be potted (mast-top wind transducer, water speed paddlewheel, e.g.), most components of digital networks cannot. Digital components use chips and regulators that generate heat, and the heat must be rejected. Heat retention is a leading cause of premature failure.
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Old 17-01-2019, 14:40   #15
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Re: I humbly apologized to B&G for buying their products.

Wow, does anybody have any thing good to say about B&G?
I have just this Wednesday past, purchased at a great expense almost every electronic instrument you can get for a cruising yacht, all B&G!
I am led to believe their product is amongst the best, afterall they sponsor and use their products in the Volvo Ocean Race, I would have considered that alone as proof of a good product. I spoke to Riley on La Vagabonde about his B&G instruments, he loves them.
My new instruments are being shipped to the shipyard as I speak. I so hope I haven't blown my savings on rubbish.
I guess time will tell!
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