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Old 13-06-2013, 09:31   #1
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Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

When I purchased the electronics package for Delfin in 2006, we opted for all Simrad because of their commercial reputation. Last year, our dealer happened to mention to me that Simrad was no longer supporting the CR44 radar. Didn't sound good, but mine still worked, so what, me worry? Well it went toes up last week and in conversation with my dealer I found that the life expectancy of these units was not so good, as I certainly had just proved. He said they had 3 other units that had also died and Simrad's response was 'tough luck.'

The 4' open array was manufactured for Simrad by Koden so in conversation with Si-Tex/Koden I found that with a new cable, I could use the array with a new Si-Tex or Koden monitor. That was good news, but the person I spoke with at Si-Tex gave me some insight into this issue, which he said started when he worked for Simrad. He indicated that when Simrad decided to discontinue this model because of problems, they found it most cost effective to simply order up, in this person's words "two dumpsters into which we were directed to dispose of ALL spare parts." He thought this decision was crazy, especially since they had a great many units still under warranty and were blithely disposing of the means of servicing those units.

So I guess the lesson is, beware what brand of electronics you buy. Based on this experience, I'd rather go back to the era of sounding lines than ever buy a Simrad product again. Caveat Emptor.
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Old 13-06-2013, 16:14   #2
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

Are you saying that no authorized Simrad dealer will fix your radar, or supply replacements parts? Have you actually asked Simrad about getting it fixed?
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Old 13-06-2013, 16:29   #3
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

2006 to 2013, is, what, seven years? That's a long time in electronics. And there's a probability that the model in question had been on the market a few years already before you got it at a special price. Raymarine, Furuno, Garmin are pretty much the same. They are constantly cranking out new product, trying to keep ahead of the competition for the latest "hot" features. They hold the older stuff for a while, calling it "legacy" systems, then they trash the spares. At least, now, with the NMEA 2000 stuff you stand a slightly better chance with mix and match of different components. Whatever your next system is (besides a sounding lead and log line) you are going to see the systems get out of date. So pick what works for you, and enjoy the hell out of it, because not enough of it gets sold to justify keeping the parts on the shelf forever. I still have customers who complain they can't get parts for their Raytheon Pathfinders. Still, if you find a system that meets your needs, most likely it will still be working ten years from now, when the rest of us will have the chips imbedded in our foreheads. Personally I'm a big fan of modern electronics, but I don't expect them to go beyond a decade, AT MOST.
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Old 13-06-2013, 16:31   #4
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Are you saying that no authorized Simrad dealer will fix your radar, or supply replacements parts? Have you actually asked Simrad about getting it fixed?
No, no Simrad dealer will or can fix it because they threw away all parts rather than take the minimal steps necessary to protect their customers. If you ask Simrad to fix a CR44 purchased in 2006 (like mine), they will tell you that the unit is obsolete and can't be repaired. This is what they told my dealer, and what they will tell you if you ask them.

When my dealer originally told me was that Simrad wouldn't fix these units when they died it made no sense to me, but now does since apparently they can't. They don't have any of the parts because they tossed them.
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Old 13-06-2013, 16:34   #5
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

I just googled the manual for your unit. It was written in February 2004. I rest my case.
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Old 13-06-2013, 16:36   #6
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

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Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
2006 to 2013, is, what, seven years? That's a long time in electronics. And there's a probability that the model in question had been on the market a few years already before you got it at a special price. Raymarine, Furuno, Garmin are pretty much the same. They are constantly cranking out new product, trying to keep ahead of the competition for the latest "hot" features. They hold the older stuff for a while, calling it "legacy" systems, then they trash the spares. At least, now, with the NMEA 2000 stuff you stand a slightly better chance with mix and match of different components. Whatever your next system is (besides a sounding lead and log line) you are going to see the systems get out of date. So pick what works for you, and enjoy the hell out of it, because not enough of it gets sold to justify keeping the parts on the shelf forever. I still have customers who complain they can't get parts for their Raytheon Pathfinders. Still, if you find a system that meets your needs, most likely it will still be working ten years from now, when the rest of us will have the chips imbedded in our foreheads. Personally I'm a big fan of modern electronics, but I don't expect them to go beyond a decade, AT MOST.
You can still get a 20 year old Furuno repaired. Customer support for products sold is different from evolving products. I accept that technology moves on, but however you slice it, leaving all purchasers of a product hanging simply because they find it cheaper than to provide support is reprehensible. Incidentally, they made this decision in 2010, and it affected me and even those people with units they had just sold that were still under warranty.
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Old 13-06-2013, 17:15   #7
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

Delfin, it's sad. But then, the last several years have not been kind to marine electronics (or other) companies. Raymarine looked like it would bite the dust for a while. Commercial equipment usually is available for longer periods. Maybe you should try those units next time. Be prepared to pay for it, however.
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Old 13-06-2013, 17:16   #8
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

Ive been in the electronics business a long time, Its a tricky position when to declare a product , end of life ( ie no further spares). Its not uncommon to dump or crush spares at that point, primary because authorised repair centres cannot now repair such products

Some companies run longer life cycles then others, some products are problematic and get "deleted" sooner. However most manufacturers do give customers some form of upgrade path at a discount.

Have you actually corresponded with SIMRAD/Navico
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Old 13-06-2013, 17:19   #9
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

Quote:
Still, if you find a system that meets your needs, most likely it will still be working ten years from now, when the rest of us will have the chips imbedded in our foreheads. Personally I'm a big fan of modern electronics, but I don't expect them to go beyond a decade, AT MOST.
I think you like me , are just watching too many episodes of Doctor Who, Th erise of the cybermen

Its a fact that modern electronics are more capable, greater MTBFs, lower power and cheaper. The products however maybe be designed with poorer quality parts. But constract a leisure radar today as a percentage of teh average industrial wage and then do teh same 20 years ago!!!

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Old 13-06-2013, 17:42   #10
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

Not sure what the problem is but in general I have found that sometimes when a company says it cant be fixed its because they either just dont want to or cant be bothered.
I would take it to a small boutique electronics repair shop and see what they say. I agree that the unit is out of its warrantee period but its a shame when things less than ten years old cant be fixed. Would your local car mechanic say ya 2006 ford is to old to be fixed?
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Old 13-06-2013, 17:47   #11
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

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Not sure what the problem is but in general I have found that sometimes when a company says it cant be fixed its because they either just dont want to or cant be bothered.
companys dont do ' cant be bothered' they do cost/return. Supporting products is a very expensive operation, increasing its difficult to repair modern devices to the standard of their production. A lot of systems are now board or module level repair.

Not defending the situation, but manufacturers just work the numbers

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Old 13-06-2013, 18:03   #12
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Ive been in the electronics business a long time, Its a tricky position when to declare a product , end of life ( ie no further spares). Its not uncommon to dump or crush spares at that point, primary because authorised repair centres cannot now repair such products

Some companies run longer life cycles then others, some products are problematic and get "deleted" sooner. However most manufacturers do give customers some form of upgrade path at a discount.

Have you actually corresponded with SIMRAD/Navico
Yes, the dealer has communicated with Simrad and they are unable to provide service. I didn't understand why not until I spoke with the former Simrad employee. The unit I purchased was a commercial unit, and I did expect and did pay more for it. What I didn't expect was for Simrad 4 years later to pretend they never made the darn thing.

For others in a similar situation, and there are quite a few, the Si-Tex T900 and T2000 series or any Koden monitor will work with any Koden arrays up to 4 kw. 6 kw and above require the T2000 series Si-Tex. Koden makes the arrays for Simrad, who just sticks their decal on it. A different cable is needed as Simrad made their own custom cable, but other than that its plug and play.
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Old 13-06-2013, 18:05   #13
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

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Originally Posted by Melani View Post
Not sure what the problem is but in general I have found that sometimes when a company says it cant be fixed its because they either just dont want to or cant be bothered.
I would take it to a small boutique electronics repair shop and see what they say. I agree that the unit is out of its warrantee period but its a shame when things less than ten years old cant be fixed. Would your local car mechanic say ya 2006 ford is to old to be fixed?
Derek
In this case, the reason Simrad says they can't repair it is because they have no parts to do the repair. Whether one could cobble together a solution from off the shelf parts is possible, I suppose, and I will ask the dealer what they think. Because the failure rate of these units is so high, I suspect taking this approach may be papering over a hole in the wall.
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Old 13-06-2013, 18:22   #14
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

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I just googled the manual for your unit. It was written in February 2004. I rest my case.
Simrad was selling this unit in 2010 and when they started selling it is irrelevant. Also in 2010 they decided to hose everyone who bought one by eliminating any ability for anyone to ever repair one. At that time, they must have known they had problems with the unit because so many have failed. Not quite sure what your case is. If it is that electronics evolves quickly, fine, but that has nothing to do with this situation.
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Old 13-06-2013, 18:27   #15
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Re: Simrad CR44 Radar - Worst customer service ever?

Sounds like Raymarine, though they have other negative issues besides not supporting product.

Just to amplify the OP's point, we are not talking about inexpensive consumer electronics, cell phones, or game boxes.
We are talking about SAFETY equipment. It doesn't matter if the manufacturer wants to sell new models with new features, they need to support the product for a full length life cycle. We aren't talking about one or two hundred dollar items, these things go well into the thousands.

I'm wondering if the customer abandonment by Simrad is a reflection on all of the Navico family brands? Should concerned customers also avoid Lowrance and B&G?

I wonder if Navico recently acquired on of the affected brands.
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