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Forums > Technical Discussion > aerotech no longer repairing equitment

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feeb


feeb

member
Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:So i have three aerotech programmable juggling balls. part of the reason i got them (other than the fact they LOOK amazing obviously) is because i was really quite turned on by the idea of getting the batteries, casings and whatever replaced and mended if i needed too, NOW i find out that if my aerotechs break, they are broken and unless i want a super duper usb operated mega ball, i can no longer have ma aerotechs...

i am gutted, i doubt there is anyone else who will have the technology to change the batteries or whatever in these ones, and i really like them... i dont want super complicated balls that do millions of colours, i just want my balls, blue and green

has anyone any info that might console my broken heart? confused


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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:Yeah it sucks - I have 7 proballs, which cost me over 500 and not one of them works. I called them about 8-9 months ago and they informed me that they have thrown away the mould so they can't repair them even if they wanted to.

I've been using some much cheaper balls recently - 20 each, rechargeable. They look pretty good, even if they're only 1 colour per ball, and if they break, 20 isn't going to break the finances for a replacement!

You might also want to look at programaballs, I was speaking to the guy who makes them at the BJC and not only do they look awesome, but the only way hes managed to break one is to drive his 4x4 over it.


Working hard to be a wandering hippie layabout. Ten years down, five to go!

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:i think it shows quite a lot of contempt for old customers, people have shelled out cash for products that are no longer supported.

awful situation to be in, someone inventive will surely work out how to sort stuff n replace batteries im guessing


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:I doubt it TBH, the problem is that the shell needs replacing on each repair, and if you were going to spend the 1000s on a mould, I'd imagine you'd just create your own balls rather than fixing someone elses. I'm now left with a set of 7 really expensive excerballs haha

Working hard to be a wandering hippie layabout. Ten years down, five to go!

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:i never realised that, sounds like pretty short-sighted design

"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:That, as far as I understand it, is the main problem with all types of glowballs - its hard to make the electronics easily accessible, while still having a solid shell which can stand upto the inevitable abuse.

My feeling is that its going to be very difficult to make a decent-sized ball (the programaballs are on the small side) which won't break after a certain amount of (ab)use, so you'd be better buying more economically priced balls and just replace them as you go. Even with aerotechs free repairs you'd be spending around 10 shipping on each repair anyway.


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*HyperLight
BRONZE Member since Dec 2003

*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]

Total posts: 1174
Posted:At the risk of supporting competitors and being burned by the angry mob, I think you need to think about the other side of the story...

Making something that is robust enough to survive the kind of punishment we put our toys through is not an easy task. Supporting product lines costs money and although they cost you a lot of money, supporting them forever will eventually sink a business. I know Aerotech's are renowned for being a tad unreliable (at least their older gear), but it's cost them a lot of cash to replace them.

I spoke to the guys behind 'techs and they said that one of their biggest problems was that people would send stuff back to them which looked like it had been through a trash-compactor. Whether that was down to excessive abuse or poor design / materials is anyone's guess though...

Aerotech are just about to bring out the new ultimate balls so it makes sense that they would stop supporting the older products. Personally, I think the answer is to suggest fixing them regardless for a year or two and beyond that, repairs would be done at cost price or something. That way older products are still supported for those people who are willing to pay a little.

Try and think about it from their point of view a little and remember, just about nothing in life is free wink


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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted: Written by :*HyperLight



Making something that is robust enough to survive the kind of punishment we put our toys through is not an easy task. Supporting product lines costs money and although they cost you a lot of money, supporting them forever will eventually sink a business. I know Aerotech's are renowned for being a tad unreliable (at least their older gear), but it's cost them a lot of cash to replace them.



I spoke to the guys behind 'techs and they said that one of their biggest problems was that people would send stuff back to them which looked like it had been through a trash-compactor. Whether that was down to excessive abuse or poor design / materials is anyone's guess though...



Aerotech are just about to bring out the new ultimate balls so it makes sense that they would stop supporting the older products. Personally, I think the answer is to suggest fixing them regardless for a year or two and beyond that, repairs would be done at cost price or something. That way older products are still supported for those people who are willing to pay a little.





i can understand all that.



but personally i think that if a user cant replace something like a battery, its going to cause problems long-term.



and if you are offering products for a fair whack of money, you can understand some people not wanting to have to upgrade to the ultimates range (although personally i would if i had old 'tech stuff)



i understand the difficulties in making equipment tough enough to survive the abuse we give out.



its one of the main reasons why im happier to wait longer for hypers, cos id rather you took your time and got them absolutely right as oppose to rushing things and having more problems further down the line.



and yes its fair enough if its costing them to charge for repairs, but to completely be beyond even doing this is quite harsh


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:I totally understand the problems Aero must have had with the number of balls to be repaired and the difficulties involved. I never at any point felt I'd been 'ripped off' or anything. It just got very frustrating that I constantly had balls away for repair (it was averaging 40 days from sending the ball back to receiving the repaired one), and believe me, I did look after them, but it got to the point that I had 7 while only needing 5 for a routine simply to make sure I had enough at any one time.

By contrast, with a cheaper ball I can have a replacement with me 3-4 days later, the initial outlay was a fraction of the cost, and I don't need to worry so much when some mashed person at a rave wants a go.

Admittedly it does mean shelling out 20 for replacements occasionally, and I don't get the fancy features, but it does make life simpler.

I'll check out the ultimates when they are released, but I'll be having a good chat to Aero first about improvements to a) batteries and b) speed of repair.


Working hard to be a wandering hippie layabout. Ten years down, five to go!

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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:i think my biggest problem with the whole thing, is that i am not in the market for *ultimates* i'm far more a stand on a hill and make trippy lights girl, the reason i LOVE my aerotechs are because i can use them for contact juggling, poi, juggling, they look good and they are tappable. I am a spontanious juggler, not so much a routine performer... So there is no upgrade for me, perhaps if they produced a three colour jobbie, that would be cool.



also when i bought my aerotech products, they were no longer selling or making the globalls, but yet they still fixed them, is it so hard to have an adaptable design?



tbh i think aerotech are burning bridges by creating something so high tech and so based around routines, that the laman doesnt get a look in, and at the end of the day the minority is where you are going to get your margin from...



and yesh i think its terrible customer service myself. Even if they made sure repair costs was a profitable situation (think sony) they would be giving us an option.



As it is, i will have to wait for someone to invent something just like the proball that i can use in its steed.... gutted

EDITED_BY: feeb (1209384785)


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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:p.s, call me a silly hippy but i would rather pay out to get something repaired than fill my world with more plastic, i have enough balls hanging round as it is!

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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:Right well i just gave Aerotech a call, wanted an answer to it all really and see where they stand, They have lost alot of money on their projects by the sounds of things, lots of companies are making identical products for next to nothing (i would like to meet these companies!!) and they have found they can only fill a very select, very expensive nieche in the market... Not very good luck for us street jugglers out there anymore.







he simply reccomended that when mine break, i should find a cheaper manufacturer to replace them



i honestly feel like crying



the new Ultimates (balls) are going to be 200 - 250 EACH, and only programmable by computer (so no tapping)



which basically puts them way out of my league...



I understand what he said, i can see why... he has built and lost an empire due to cheap asia copies of his product and that must be hard. i hope they do really well with their new batch and i am only sorry i can no longer support them



does anyone know alternatives that are as good and possibly repairable?

EDITED_BY: feeb (1209386332)


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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:i know some ppl that have got rid of the tech stuff and bought K8 cos it was more reliable apparently

"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted: Written by :simta


i know some ppl that have got rid of the tech stuff and bought K8 cos it was more reliable apparently



yeah i had a look at those, nice colours but really big, 75mm the guy at oddballs told me... thats massive, i love my aerotech 65mm

god its going to take a long time before i find something so suited to me. i cant believe it, i wanted to keep them forever


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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:Woah... 200-250? When I spoke to them a few months back they were aiming for 100-150 with a tap sensor for starting the routine. So basically I'm looking at 1000 to perform my ball routine + a charger + taking my laptop wherever I'm performing (middle of a field in the drizzle?) + maybe a spare or 2 for when they break. Ouch

You could try programme-a-balls, 6 colours, loads of options for strobes etc, practically indestructable. A little small for my taste but next time I get a full set of glowballs I'll be going for them.


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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:those look like they would be really good, if it werent for the programming system.

never thought id find a system that seems even more complicated than the 'tech tap system


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:They really aren't that difficult, no more so than the aeros in any case. I liked the fact you can setup a sequence and save it in the ball to load later.

And at 40 a ball I'm not complaining haha


Working hard to be a wandering hippie layabout. Ten years down, five to go!

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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:they are the best i have seen... other than the aeros... thank you so much for the link!

35 a ball plus charger is really very good, says nothing about repair and replacing batteries though

has anyone used these?? they look very very nice...


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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:theres alot more to remember

yes being able to save sequences is a good thing, but surely that isnt something that should be a revelation

the price is good tho


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted: Written by :willworkforfoodjnr


Woah... 200-250? When I spoke to them a few months back they were aiming for 100-150 with a tap sensor for starting the routine. So basically I'm looking at 1000 to perform my ball routine + a charger + taking my laptop wherever I'm performing (middle of a field in the drizzle?) + maybe a spare or 2 for when they break. Ouch
.



yeah i was shocked, i spoke to the guy for a while though and he explained to me that performers are happy with the price because they are getting paid to perform, and are sick of having every street performer walking around with the same equiptment. Also if they make them cheaper, asia companies will just reproduce them even cheaper, so the idea is to have them SO hightec and SO expensive that its only viable for them, the creators to create them

its very sad what the world is coming too. Aerotech lost money designing the best of the best because everyone and his brother have decided to forsake them for cheap imports.

Sounds like they have just gone one step beyond made their own neiche in a tiny market

such a shame


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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Total posts: 5688
Posted:That's the the point really.
Ultimates are for hard-core (or pretty minted) performers only. They're not meant for festival spinning or your weekly spin meet... There's plenty of other pretty glow toys for that kind of thing, most at substantially lower prices.

For a big corporate gig - I could earn enough for a set of ultimate-poi in one night. After that, you've got an edge when it comes to other performer's glow toys so you can charge a bit more/get more gigs.

The only thing I think is sucky, is that they're no longer repairing the old stuff at cost. I fully accept they can't repair all the old stuff for free, but it's harsh not to offer repairs at all, even charging people - I think the glo-balls are an exception as from what's been said above, they sound pretty hard and expensive to fix. The poi/staffs/clubs are slightly more accessible.

K8 look equally as good as the old 'techs used to, and have pretty good durabilty too (aside from the staffs I gather).

Concentrate's sticks are nice (though personally I'd say about 20-40 over what they should cost).


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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:yeah but they have lost LOADS of money, and with that they have lost factories, moulds, workers and all the stuff that they have worked for. by the sounds of it, its a small business now, less over heads, less products for a higher price.

as i said K8s are way too big for my liking, i cant contact with them so they are not a viable replacement, am liking this programmaballs, its kind of opened my eyes to other things of such a good quality existing, just hope my proballs last until next summer...


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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:My advice about the programme-a-balls would be to contact him through his site, I know he was confident enough about their quality that he had me throw one straight at the floor to show how durable they are. I've no idea about the returns policy though.

Yeah, I've heard good things about the K8 stuff, only seen the devilstick in action but it looked the business. 75mm does seem a bit big for 4+ balls though. Maybe I need 7 P-a-balls and 3 K8s haha.

And yup Durbs, the concentrate staves are amazing - I think the price is alright to be honest, although I'm using mine for doubles spin stuff - I can't see them being too great for contact as they flex a bit and the grip doesn't seem all that grippy. I'd prefer these to the old pro-staffs anyway


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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:i have been in contact with the guy from Programmaballs And He Was Lovely. hes more than happy to answer any questions and although the balls arent repairable, they are very tough and the batteries are very good quality... plus he said he didnt mind rigging up my exisiting solar charger to fit those balls on

happy happy, joy joy!


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Brian:-)
BRONZE Member since Jun 2004

Brian:-)

stranger
Location: London, United Kingdom

Total posts: 37
Posted:Hi, I am "The guy from Programme-a-balls"
I would like to comment on some of the above.
Built into my balls is a charging circuit that ensures that the batteries are charged following their manufacturers specification. They specify that their batteries life is 1000 cycles. If you can run them down fully and charge them every day they should be good for 3 years. If on the other hand you charge them once a week or less they will last longer.
I have made every effort to make these balls fit for use. I have not found a way of breaking them short of driving my 4x4 over them. I regularly bounce them on concrete and tarmac to demonstrate their resilience. I have been using the same set of balls for over a year and the skins are showing no signs of damage.
As for complicated programming, I have tried to make it as easy as possible. There is a choice of seven colours. The ball displays the available colours and you chose as many or as few as you want by tilting the ball upside down while the colour is displayed. It then displays the seven speeds that the colours will change. When you see the one you want you select it in the same way. Can it get easier? Admittedly you have to remember a bit more for saving and retrieving your favourite sequences but it is not difficult.

Brian.


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Geeza
GOLD Member since May 2006

Geeza

addict
Location: Leeds, United Kingdom

Total posts: 694
Posted:Hi Brian,

How heavy are these Programme-a-balls? Also how bright are they in contrast to something like Flowpoi duo?
Flowpoi duo are 65 inc shipping and probably 70 after import duties. So about the same price as 2 programme-a-balls (without charger)

Thanks


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feeb


feeb

member
Location: Salisbury

Total posts: 72
Posted:hey Geeza, there was another thread (Other Toys section) about glowballs and all the sizes, pros and cons, weights and stuff were in there, maybe have a look :->

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Brian:-)
BRONZE Member since Jun 2004

Brian:-)

stranger
Location: London, United Kingdom

Total posts: 37
Posted:I have given Aerotech a couple of weeks for their chance to offer to do something to make amends. As they have not, I am going to make a trade in offer from www.Programme-a-balls.co.uk Check the web site for details.

I apologise to Home of Poi if it is against their rules to mention this here. I did Email you several days before I sent my first reply asking if it was OK for me to comment about my balls on this thread but I got no reply.

Brian.


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feeb


feeb

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Location: Salisbury

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Posted:WOW brian!!! thank you so much!!! OMG how exciting!!!

how long will you need the aerotechs for until we recieve the new ones??

Also can we send our solar chargers in at the same time??? i would be happpy to pay extra and i am sure others will who have bought them and would like to continue having the freedom they give...


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Brian:-)
BRONZE Member since Jun 2004

Brian:-)

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Total posts: 37
Posted:I can send Programme-a-balls out same day depending on payment. I can comment more about the solar charger when I have seen one.

Brian.


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