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Author Topic: W8JI - Is it worth buying a new Ameritron AL-80B?  (Read 22071 times)
W8JI
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« Reply #45 on: November 01, 2012, 06:11:23 PM »

Bill,

The reason I respond like I do is because I don't think you (or KE5JPP, or NN4X) can have a logical, factual, rational conversation about quality control or manufacturing issues.

I think most people understand, or have the capacity to understand, that there will always be some percentage of problems unless cost becomes unreasonable.

Further, I think most people understand or have the capacity to understand that looking at reviews, or one point in the field, does not tell what percentage of problems exist. If 10,000 of something complex requiring knowledgeable or skilled user interface are out in the field that are PERFECT in every way, there will be problems.

The matter is made worse by things that get by the testers, and by workers who don't do a diligent job 100% of the time, and by parts that are troublesome.

There is no question at all, and I said this several times, the tester was getting too slack on the 811 line. I also said I drove up there months ago, and they made some changes. There is no doubt they had a problem, and no one denies that, but the problem is not at all what you represent it to be.

The real problem I have is your irrational approach to statistics.

When I was there, we unboxed dozens of units. We found about the same percentage of units that had potential issues as field reports showed. Mostly they dealt with stranded transformer wires that were not tinned before insertion into the board, so they looked ugly. There were occasionally other connections that did look good, and we went over all of that.

One of the changes was I reworked the rear panel board to be more compatible with lead free solder. This will make it easier to solder parts with lead free solder, which does not flow through holes or out on the trace anything like leaded solder does. The new board has thermally isolated pads that will heat to full temperature faster, and while the lead free will never look as good as leaded solder, it should flow through the new pads good enough to fill both sides.

What really annoys me is how a few people, not many, get on a campaign where they actually make things up and present it like they know what they are talking about. An example is the false claim that things are not tested. They certainly are tested, but multiple things work in concert to cause more problems than there should have been.

Some of those problems are not 100% curable, and will never be curable, because the market will not bear the cost of a 100% cure. The margin already is 20% or so, and no one is going to tolerate a doubling of labor cost. Even if the QC was taken to a level where there were near zero issues, field failures would only decrease to about 3-5% because of component issues, and the most problematic components have a single source.

It's more than a little annoying to do all this work, and try to come here to help people, and to much of this extra work (including a four hour one-way drive, there and back, at my donation)  just to constantly have two or three people making things up.

Now you can pretend you understand QC, but anyone who knows how this works also understands it is impossible to use just a percentage of units from one of the smallest volume stores, or select a few bad eHam reviews out of dozens of good ones (most things you complain so much about are over 4.5 in review), and indite an overall system as terrible. You can't even, from your vantage point of seeing a percentage of units from a dealer with a small percentage of volume, have any idea what the actual percentage of problems are.

I'm sure you are 100% convinced you know everything about what goes on without visiting, or without seeing actual data. But I think most people are wise enough to realize if things were as bad as you and a few others claim, there would be a  dissatisfaction rate much higher than 1 in 10. Anyone with any common sense knows more people complain about things than keep quiet.

Read back through this, and think about this a while. If there is anything that doesn't sense, ask. Someone will explain it.
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #46 on: November 02, 2012, 03:40:43 AM »

W8JI, by attacking those who post negative comments about Ameritron's quality, you are doing more to damage MFJ/Amertitron's reputation than anyone here in these threads.  

Most reasonable people do not expect that there would be 0% quality problems, especially because of component failures and the fact that MFJ/Ameritron uses the lowest quality parts they can get away with to keep prices low.  What is not acceptable is all the equipment that goes out the door with QC problems that are immediately obvious to end users upon simple visual inspection.  There is absolutely no excuse for equipment going out the door with unconnected or un-soldered wires, components not connected or hanging loose, and obvious solder splatter across critical components.  Even the most basic and cursory visual examination at the factory by a QC person would have identified those obvious problems.  The lack or care or concern about QC problems such as those are what have earned MFJ their bad reputation, not 'lies' from a few individuals as you claim.  

But we all know that you are only one of a handful of smart people left in this world, all the rest of us are lying, deluded dummies.   Roll Eyes

Gene
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K3STX
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« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2012, 05:24:34 AM »

The lack or care or concern about QC problems such as those are what have earned MFJ their bad reputation

If their reputation is so bad why do people continue to buy their products in DROVES?

Why don't you guys agree to disagree:

1. YOU think there is horrible QC and that the amount of equipment coming out of MFJ that is defective is UNREASONABLE.

2. TOM thinks the QC is not horrible (but concedes there have been problems) and that the amount of equipment coming out of MFJ that is defective is REASONABLE.

You will never agree with him and he will never agree with you. The CONSUMER will decide how horrible MFJ is: if it is junk they won't buy it. I suspect Ameritron sells more amps to Hams than all others combined. That tells volumes.

paul
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #48 on: November 02, 2012, 05:53:02 AM »

The lack or care or concern about QC problems such as those are what have earned MFJ their bad reputation

If their reputation is so bad why do people continue to buy their products in DROVES?

Why don't you guys agree to disagree:

1. YOU think there is horrible QC and that the amount of equipment coming out of MFJ that is defective is UNREASONABLE.

2. TOM thinks the QC is not horrible (but concedes there have been problems) and that the amount of equipment coming out of MFJ that is defective is REASONABLE.

You will never agree with him and he will never agree with you. The CONSUMER will decide how horrible MFJ is: if it is junk they won't buy it. I suspect Ameritron sells more amps to Hams than all others combined. That tells volumes.

paul


You are deluded or naive if you believe this.  The consumer will still buy junk if it is cheap enough and the only game in town.  That's why US consumers have no problem buying all the Chinese junk in places like Walmart.

All its says is that a lot of Hams are cheap.  They are willing to put up with 'iffy' quality in exchange for a lower price.  Still, there is no excuse for equipment leaving the factory without wires soldered or wire hanging loose, without components installed, and with solder splashes that render the equipment inoperative.  This can be corrected without increasing costs or raising the price.  That things like this continue to happen 'tells volumes' as you say.  It tells us that MFJ just does not care about quality.  They would rather use the customer as their quality department.

You get what you pay for.

Gene
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WX7G
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« Reply #49 on: November 02, 2012, 06:20:49 AM »

Paul has summed things up succinctly.

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K9FV
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« Reply #50 on: November 03, 2012, 08:08:26 AM »

I try very hard not to get involved in these "bash MFJ" threads, but some folks just go too far. 

Paul, - well said.

Tom, I wish to say a big THANK YOU!! for all the help you've been to me and the whole group in sharing your knowledge. THANK YOU for driving up to Starkville and working with MFJ to improve QC and some issues.

73 de Ken H>
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W8JI
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« Reply #51 on: November 03, 2012, 09:07:31 AM »

I'm sorry threads get this way, but it is impossible to have reasonable, logical, factual, conversations in some instances.

Certainly everyone knows MFJ needs to do better with QC, but the claim they don't care at all or don't test anything is false. Everything is tested and inspected.

There are also different lines, in different buildings, with entirely different people, as well as externally manufactured products. 

The issue comes down to missing things the final tester, and people on the line, should not miss. They do take this issue seriously, even though there are some people that cannot offer anything except useless vitriol.
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KT0DD
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« Reply #52 on: November 03, 2012, 12:18:06 PM »

Hello, I do appreciate all the constructive input, and am going with the AL80B and having N4ATS check it out for me.

I really didn't intend to start too much of a pissing contest with this thread, and hope everyone can agree to disagree or whatever and get along.

73, Todd - KT0DD
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N4ATS
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« Reply #53 on: November 03, 2012, 02:10:34 PM »

"Certainly everyone knows MFJ needs to do better with QC, but the claim they don't care at all or don't test anything is false. Everything is tested and inspected"

Now it is...good job...
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W9PMZ
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« Reply #54 on: November 03, 2012, 02:58:53 PM »

From the very first post...
"I'm starting to get concerned that I may be opening a can of worms"
To...
"I really didn't intend to start too much of a pissing contest with this thread, and hope everyone can agree to disagree or whatever and get along."
Thanks Rodney...
ROTFLMAO
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K0CWO
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« Reply #55 on: November 03, 2012, 06:01:08 PM »

Got it in the right place now;)

FWIW, I've owned seven Ameritron amps over the last 10 years. (AL-811, AL-80A, AL-80B, AL-1200, AL-1500, ALS-600, ALS-1300)  I still own three.  With the exception of the ALS-1300 I'm fond of all of them.  I have a 22 year old AL-80A (probably not Mississippi made?) with original tube that works flawless.  I also have a five year old AL-1500 that I believe is good bang for the buck.  I have had other amplifiers.  I do not want to bash any brand but some of those have had occasional issues.  No more no less than most reputable amateur amplifiers on the market that I now and hear of.  If I was in the market for a new amp I think I would try an AL-82.  I've owned an AL-80B.  If I was in the market for a 1KW amp I would buy another AL-80B in a heartbeat.  For a person who does not want go through the trouble of getting 240 into the shack this little amp works great with a stiff 120 supply.

You guys have fun!

BJ
k0cwo


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KB8BAB
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« Reply #56 on: November 03, 2012, 06:59:05 PM »

To get back to the original post...

A+ for the AL-80B here as well, bought it used and saved some $.
Has what looks to be the original Eimac tube in it and performs just fine. Still puts out the rated power.
Mine is on 240V since the 120 line in here was not stiff enough.
Easy to tune and is forgiving to my hic-ups.....

As an added bonus, it provides reading light and heats my shack as well......LOL

73

Bart
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N4UM
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« Reply #57 on: November 04, 2012, 02:19:12 PM »

Eham equipment reviews? Let's compare apples to apples with the Ameritron AL-82 and the Ten Tec Centurion; amps that both have two 3-500Z tubes.  

The AL-82 gets a 4.8/5 in 36 reviews

The Centurion gets a 4.9/5 in 54 reviews

What can we infer from this?

You can't infer much without knowing something about the distribution of the ratings for each of the two amplifiers.  If the variability in the ratings within each of the two groups is very small, then the small difference in average ratings (4.8 vs. 4.9) night be statistically significant.  If the variability in ratings is large, the difference is probably not statistically significant.
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N4CR
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« Reply #58 on: November 04, 2012, 07:15:09 PM »

That said, it would greatly add to your credibility if you would acknowleddge that, without knowing those figures, the actual warranty statistics cannot be accurately determined.

If someone chooses to fix a device during the warranty period and doesn't engage the warranty department of the entity in question, it's not a warranty statistic.

Because there was no warranty work and no warranty parts were involved.

Warranty statistics are not all encompassing failure statistics and never have been for any manufacturer. Why would you expect it to be for this company?
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73 de N4CR, Phil

We are Coulomb of Borg. Resistance is futile. Voltage, on the other hand, has potential.
NN4X
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« Reply #59 on: November 05, 2012, 04:53:57 AM »

Ken -

I'd like to toss some kudos n the direction of N4ATS, who has put a spotlight on this issue.  Without such public pressue, I'm not convinced that MFJ would have taken any action.

73,
Steve
NN4X



I try very hard not to get involved in these "bash MFJ" threads, but some folks just go too far. 

Paul, - well said.

Tom, I wish to say a big THANK YOU!! for all the help you've been to me and the whole group in sharing your knowledge. THANK YOU for driving up to Starkville and working with MFJ to improve QC and some issues.

73 de Ken H>
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