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Author Topic: AL-572 - Ameritron/MFJ Quality Problems Continue On!!!  (Read 4487 times)
K4RYR
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Posts: 26




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« on: August 09, 2010, 05:04:12 PM »

Bought this amp. brand new via HRO a few weeks ago.  The amp. performs beyond my expectations, but the quality control issues and final inspection of items manufactured by Ameritron/MFJ evidently continues to be a problem.  The amplifier was well packed and double boxed.  When I took the top cover off the remove the packing around the 572 tubes I noticed that the panel meters looks sort of funny the way they were mounted, come to find out they were actually hanging partially inside the back front panel at an angle.  Upon further inspection I found that they were not mounted through the front panel and the aluminum bracket that goes across the back of the meters was actually "bent" in the middle having been forced across the back of the meters and screwed down.  In addition while in that same area I found a two position terminal strip just hanging in mid air and had never been attached to the chassis ground as intended for one of the terminal positions. I managed to fix both of these problems and inspected the amp. for any other assembly problems finding none.  Ameritron/MFJ's response to my problems was "gee were are sorry you had a problem"!!  Mr. Jue needs to get with the program and get some quality control inspectors on the job!!!  But after all that I continue to be a loyal customer of MFJ/Ameritron for some products but not all!!
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K0ZN
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Posts: 1534




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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 06:10:58 PM »


 "Some assembly is required."

  MFJ/Ameritron products are partially assembled kits!  They save money by letting the customer perform the final Quality Control checks and do
  any necessary re-work!  Your experience is actually quite common; look through the eHam product review section, you will see a number of
  similar comments/stories.

   Ameritron/MFJ stuff is OK as long as you absolutely, positively check it out CAREFULLY, especially for loose screws and nuts
   and look over solder joints carefully.

  I have three Ameritron products....and once I "finished manufacturing" them, they perform well.

  It still just baffles me why they have chosen to go the Q.C. path they have. It CAN'T raise prices much to actually, truly
  have some one look the unit over for at least major items and it would dramatically cut their warranty costs and increase
  customer satisfaction significantly. 

73,  K0ZN
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W8JI
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Posts: 9304


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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 07:47:01 PM »

Bought this amp. brand new via HRO a few weeks ago.  The amp. performs beyond my expectations, but the quality control issues and final inspection of items manufactured by Ameritron/MFJ evidently continues to be a problem.  The amplifier was well packed and double boxed.  When I took the top cover off the remove the packing around the 572 tubes I noticed that the panel meters looks sort of funny the way they were mounted, come to find out they were actually hanging partially inside the back front panel at an angle.  Upon further inspection I found that they were not mounted through the front panel and the aluminum bracket that goes across the back of the meters was actually "bent" in the middle having been forced across the back of the meters and screwed down.  In addition while in that same area I found a two position terminal strip just hanging in mid air and had never been attached to the chassis ground as intended for one of the terminal positions. I managed to fix both of these problems and inspected the amp. for any other assembly problems finding none.  Ameritron/MFJ's response to my problems was "gee were are sorry you had a problem"!!  Mr. Jue needs to get with the program and get some quality control inspectors on the job!!!  But after all that I continue to be a loyal customer of MFJ/Ameritron for some products but not all!!

The bracket actually sounds like shipping damage.

The reason it sounds like shipping damage to me is I have seen it before many times. The foam packing that overlaps the meters can get displaced in a hard front drop and push against the meter fronts and bend that bracket back out and pop the meters back out of the holes.

Since the foam is closed cell it springs back into shape and all looks well.

The terminal strip sounds like a QC issue, but not the meters being dislodged and the bracket bent. That sounds like a front drop.

73 Tom






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KH6DC
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Posts: 634




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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2010, 12:03:10 AM »

Put in a review on the link to the left "Reviews".  Some MFJ stuff do work and last and some don't requiring QC work done by the customer.  I say all of their stuff is a crapshoot.
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
W9PMZ
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Posts: 572


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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2010, 02:03:33 AM »

" I say all of their stuff is a crapshoot."

Never having played craps I suppose I should go to Vegas.  Probably would win millions.  I've purchased MFJ products over the past 32 years (starting with an inexpensive antenna tuner) and have never had any problems with "quality control".

73,

Carl - W9PMZ
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KD8MJR
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Posts: 2071




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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2010, 10:46:00 AM »

My Brothers 811 came with jingling screws inside, he found that one tube socket was not bolted down at all, the tube was actualy cocked over to one side.  Also a terminal bar was with live wires was within 1/16 of an inch from the chasis.  The missing bolts, nutts and washers for the tube socket was lying right on top of a circuit board, shorting out a buch of things.

He luckily knew Ameritron reputation so opened and inspected before plugging it in.

What surprise me is that they are not worried about some novices just plugging their amp in and possibly getting shocked and then suing them!  It would seem cheaper to just do the QC than to take a chance.
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W9PMZ
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2010, 02:59:46 PM »

"My Brothers 811 came with jingling screws inside, he found that one tube socket was not bolted down at all, the tube was actualy cocked over to one side.  Also a terminal bar was with live wires was within 1/16 of an inch from the chasis.  The missing bolts, nutts and washers for the tube socket was lying right on top of a circuit board, shorting out a buch of things."

This kind of sounds suspicious.  Per Ameritrons manual on the web:

"4. Remove the foam packing material (left side, front view) that secures the 811A tubes during
transit. Carefully unwrap the tubes. Do not dislodge the Aluminum shaft that is connected to
the rear input bandswitch wafer."

The tubes aren't installed during shipment from Ameritron.  Sound's like either embellishment or the amp was purchased second hand.

73,

Carl - W9PMZ
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K0ZN
Member

Posts: 1534




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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2010, 03:43:45 PM »

I have to agree with W9PMZ; that situation doesn't make sense. The tubes come from the factory well wrapped in foam and there may be a small bag of extra cabinet screws, etc. "Stuff" inside the cabinet is well secured, at least on the amps I have seen. Having had to deal first hand with several "Ameritron Q.C. issues", I am well aware of their frequent short comings....usually, stuff like very loose screws, some times on critical parts and a few ugly solder joints, etc. Ironically, they seem to do a good job of factory packing and protection during shipping. They obviously want the unit to get to you in good shape so you can do the final inspection and Q.C. check!! I would call their packing pretty good relative to reality. (i.e. UPS can destroy an anvil during transit, let alone delicate electronics! ) It seems to me that Ameritron should put the person in charge of packing and shipping in charge of manufacturing Quality Control !!

73,  K0ZN
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W8JI
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Posts: 9304


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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2010, 01:37:06 AM »

My Brothers 811 came with jingling screws inside, he found that one tube socket was not bolted down at all, the tube was actualy cocked over to one side.  Also a terminal bar was with live wires was within 1/16 of an inch from the chasis.  The missing bolts, nutts and washers for the tube socket was lying right on top of a circuit board, shorting out a buch of things.

He luckily knew Ameritron reputation so opened and inspected before plugging it in.

What surprise me is that they are not worried about some novices just plugging their amp in and possibly getting shocked and then suing them!  It would seem cheaper to just do the QC than to take a chance.

The amps are not shipped with tubes in place for good reason. If the tubes are in the sockets it "works" on the sockets and tubes pretty hard.

Furthermore, if the socket screws and nuts were inside laying on a circuit board inside as claimed, someone put them there. Hardware is not likely to magically migrate through the case and land inside. Probably the same fool who shipped the amp with tubes installed put the mounting hardware inside, otherwise the whole story smells a bit fishey.
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K9RLB
Member

Posts: 17




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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2010, 12:07:11 AM »

My new AL-572 has a 50ma grid current, max! Is it even possible?
How about this - 1kw output rtty mode - grid current 50ma. I put in a help ticket a week ago, no response - The amp works great - but something is just not quite right with the grid current / meter. I wish they would reply!
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K7ZSA
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2010, 09:39:33 AM »

Don't rely on MFJ's web based response to your problems.  When I called them to enquire why I hadn't heard from them regarding a unit I needed to have repaired I was informed that they have only one person who handles the web based correspondence, and that while he was on vacation there was nobody taking on that responsibility.  That revelation speaks volumes about their commitment to customer satisfaction IMHO.
K7ZSA
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It all started with a spark!
RFDOG
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2010, 01:46:11 PM »

MFJ QC is what it is, because enough customers find ways to excuse it.  Until that changes, MFJ will not change.  Just don't buy things from them.
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KH6DC
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Posts: 634




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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2010, 01:46:44 AM »

Quote
MFJ QC is what it is, because enough customers find ways to excuse it.  Until that changes, MFJ will not change.  Just don't buy things from them.

I don't anymore and haven't for about 10 years, do you? Wink

73, KH6DC
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
K4RVN
Member

Posts: 758




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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2010, 05:24:24 PM »

A different opinion.
I have had very good luck with Ameritron and MFJ recently. They sent me info on an AL 80A
so I could adjust the tuned input. They also helped me to order a resistance meter for my
MFJ 259. Both of these products have long been out of production.  The meter price was less than 10 bucks. They also mailed me a 259 schematic for free and paid the postage. How many companies would provide this help? Also I had a ticket number for help in less than 2 days. I am glad we have both companies still in business in the USA. I bought an AL 811 and a Giant watt meter from them in 2009. Had small QC issues
with the AL 811 which they addressed immediately by sending me a few missing screws.
The watt meter has no issues to date. I am well pleased with both for the prices I paid.
I wish them well and a lot of amateurs who don't have a lot of money would miss them
should they go under. I know I would.

Frank
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 07:29:33 PM by Franklin M. Cloud » Logged
W8JI
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Posts: 9304


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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2010, 07:13:59 AM »

Here is what is interesting. In this thread of about 15 posts, there have been a total of TWO actual assembly complaints. Both related to hardware issues.

There has been one response time complaint, countered by one response time positive.

There has been one favorable.

There have been at least nine meaningless posts.

Other than "PMS" hams, it looks like the biggest issues are hardware tightness and slow help. :-)

Quote
author=RFDOG link=topic=70091.msg466674#msg466674 date=1282164371]
MFJ QC is what it is, because enough customers find ways to excuse it.  Until that changes, MFJ will not change.  Just don't buy things from them.


Not buying things won't change a thing, and complaining in useless ways about nothing won't either. Meaningful information has to get back somehow to someone who can do something.

This is an age old problem with businesses. I owned Chevy's until I bought a new Monte Carlo in 1978. It has rust under paint, no detent in the shift lever, a 350 engine with a transmission design from a Vega. Until the car slipped from park into reverse and almost ran over a kid, they didn't even want to fix the transmission.

Not buying any more GM products or complaining to a serve tech didn't do a thing. Neither would bitching on Internet if it was available then.

Fortunately unlike GM there is a place to complain. You can complain to the owner of MFJ, and he actually will do something. I occasionally pass things like this along if they look legitimate.

At times though, complaints don't look like anything meaningful. Out of this entire thread there are two meaningful complaint areas. Screws and hardware and slow help. Screws and hardware can partially be shipping vibration and some error causing the hardware to not stay locked, like not enough torque or the wrong hardware.  Some, like meters pushed out and brackets bent, sounds like shipping damage.

Most however are just meaningless ranting, which dilutes the impact of real complaints.

73 Tom
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