Malfunctioning FS4/Firewire port - request best route for repair at DVinfo.net

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Old September 5th, 2006, 10:31 PM   #1
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Malfunctioning FS4/Firewire port - request best route for repair

I noticed at a recent shoot that one of my FS4 HD's was acting 'flakey'. It was taking a long time to boot up (had to remove the battery sometimes), and it would not record. It also seemed to do a system reset - as the alarm/button beeping turned back on. Luckily I had a 2nd with me, which worked fine.

After taking a closer look, it appears that the 6-pin firewire DV input plug is loose. It's still intact in the unit, but I'm guessing I've got cracked solder leads in there.

What is the quickest way to contact Focus for a repair to get an RA to get this thing fixed? I remember waiting on the line when I called with my HDV issues, so I'd like to go for a direct route. I'm not sure exactly when I bought it or what the warranty is on these, but I baby these units - I'm not sure how it happened. Hopefully it's able to be covered/repaired quickly.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Shawn
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Old September 11th, 2006, 05:30 PM   #2
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I'm bumping this again...

I submitted a request for an RMA online with Focus on Friday. I still haven't heard back.

I'd like to get this unit in to be examined, so that I can get back to shooting with it.

Any suggestions Matt?
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Old September 12th, 2006, 04:26 PM   #3
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Not sure I understand $245 fee, without sending it in...

I hadn't heard back about my RMA, so I called again this afternoon and got through.

Helpful guy, but hands tied into policy.

I guess I'm curious how I can't be issued an RMA to send my unit in, because it's out of warranty - rather I need to provide a credit card prior to sending the unit in, then I can get the information to send it in, by which it runs into a $245 flat repair fee.

I've got a loose DV connection - I'm not an electrical engineer, but I'm guessing that the repair is fairly straightforward, considering how carefully I store/use the units, the unit design, etc. Perhaps it isn't, and I've cracked a board, melted a chip, whizzed on a spark plug. Either way - I guess I'd rather have a diagnosis and a price thereafter, than a price for something that could be a $10 part and a 15 minute fix. Perhaps a fair policy, perhaps an insulting one, perhaps I'm having a crummy day and I'm trying to get everything done prior to a long needed vacation...

I apologize for griping out loud - I've just been extremely frustrated with these units since purchasing the HDV upgrade, which has been very flakey, at least with my system and the attempts with the H1/Z1 cameras. However, I will often admit that these units have been excellent for use with SD footage, although I still have no idea how my DV port got loose or cracked - again, I baby this stuff...

So - I'm in a growing pain or a maturity gap, or something else- as I reflect on the loyalty of (2) MXpro DV mixers, (3) FS1's, (2) FS4's, (3) addl. extra-long batts for event recordings that required new cradles/batts for the kits ($700), HDV upgrade purchases that didn't pan out, and an FS100 that is great, except for the ocassional 'popping' sound while in DVCPRO50 P2/MXF mode on a $20K camera and/or the $20K Canopus SP rig.

I'm sure it'll all get there... I'm sure I'll be over it prior to hitting send - and even regret posting this. I'll probably even send the thing in and give you my money for the fix. Or maybe I'll just cut bait and pick up a used one and have some fun trying to operate on this one myself - although I'm told off the record that doing that could double the repair price... cake frosting.

No matter what, I appreciate having Matt on this board. He has been a great resource and route for information pertaining to upgrades, fixes, news, etc. I hope his bosses know that, cause he's kept me into their products in what has otherwise been an 'iffy' year with overall satisfaction. Things get better in time...
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Old September 12th, 2006, 09:08 PM   #4
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Hi Shawn,

Met you a few years ago at one of the local shows, sorry to hear things are not going well with the fs4.

I agree with you regarding Matt; his knowledge and support are great. When I first considered buying my fs-3 it was his quick and helpful replies that convinced me to make the purchase.

Also have an fs-4 which has given me more trouble than the fs-3 ever did. The fs-4 sometimes refuses to power on, is awkward to mount to the cam, will change recording format at random times, has a noisy fan and the buttons are too accessible and are often depressed by accident. About the time I finally get the fs-4 working the battery is dead! There are other issues but these are the most frequent and annoying. Very frustrating as the fs-3 is reliable at all times.

I don't have the amount invested that you do, I have two dte drives and a video switcher, seems there should be better support after the purchase.

Focus excels at marketing but the lack of support and overall direction of the company has persuaded me not to purchase additional products. The emails I receive from customer support are vague at best. Matt has always been a valuable resource and has even stepped in when others at focus have disappeared.

Again this is only my experience, hope others have better luck and I hope your repair is successful.
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Old September 12th, 2006, 11:39 PM   #5
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Hi George - very nice to hear from you. I hope all is well.

I've had great luck with the FS4's in SD mode - Actually, I love 'em and rely on them - but yes, I had to get used to some of things you mentioned (Fan, etc).

The HDV upgrade has been another experience - but that's been covered.

Chalk it up to a busy day... didn't mean to sound like a gripe.

I've already spent $100K+ this year - ironically (and perhaps idiodically) it is stuff like this $245 flat charge stuff that sets me off (like I said, I need a vacation - we fly soon...).

It was just reminding me of a mechanic that upsets you... Great deal for folks with serious issues though. Sony tends to do the same. It's give and take... Take care.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #6
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Hi Shawn,

Sorry to hear your troubles. We do appreciate your support of Focus products. Hopefully, tech support will get this issue sorted out for you as quickly as possible.

Thanks,

Matt
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