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Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

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Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby BJG145 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:57 pm

This is a grumble masquerading as an impossible technical query.

I never used to sell stuff outside the UK on eBay, but recently the simplicity of opting into the "Global Shipping Program" has led me astray, and I sent an Eowave Persephone to Washington. (Something from Sleazy's collection.)

It doesn't like it there, apparently, and is protesting with a very low output signal. I'm scrabbling around for suggestions for the buyer to get it working again (it was fine when I posted it), but I can't find any schematics for it. eBay always protects the buyer, who get a full refund if they return a faulty item, while the seller gets hit with the return postage cost. I'm going back to my old ways, and never selling abroad again, unless it's a bag of concrete powder, or something that doesn't get airsick. Meanwhile I'm thinking this has got to be a simple fix for an electronics tech...? What's it gonna be...? Ageing capacitor in the output circuit that didn't like the change of climate...? *sigh*
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnos

Postby CS70 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:02 pm

No idea what it is that you sold, but if it’s electric.. 110V ?
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby BJG145 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:09 pm

...cheers, yes, I asked about the converter, they insist it's top-notch...

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2009/ ... persephone
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:15 pm

BJG145 wrote:It doesn't like it there, apparently, and is protesting with a very low output signal. I'm scrabbling around for suggestions for the buyer to get it working again (it was fine when I posted it)... What's it gonna be...? Ageing capacitor in the output circuit that didn't like the change of climate...? *sigh*

It would be very bad luck if it was a physical component failure, and the vast majority of 'does not function' reports turn out to be human cockup somewhere or other...

So I'd look to the obvious things first. The mains voltage is certainly the first thing to check, as CS70 suggests. Is it an external wall-wart power unit or something internal. Is your customer using a UK supply with a suitable step-up transformer, or maybe he's replaced it with something acquired locally? Is it the correct thing? If there are any lights on this thing, do they illuminate correctly? Does everything operate normally except the audio output level, or is the whole thing non-functional?

Another possibility is using a TRS cable to hook an unbalanced stereo output (eg, headphone output) into a mono balanced input... or simply not fully pushing the plug home at either end, or maybe plugged into the wrong socket on the instrument? All easy things to do. And is it connected to an appropriate input on something which is known to work correctly with other similar sources?

Next, are there any operational controls that could result in low or no output if miss-set?

Remote diagnosing this kind of thing is always tricky... but it's always best to start a the basics and check every assumption along the way!
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:16 pm

BJG145 wrote:...cheers, yes, I asked about the converter, they insist it's top-notch...

...but have they actually measured it and confirmed it's the correct voltage, with the appropriate power rating, and wired up correctly? As I said, check every assumption!
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby BJG145 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:03 pm

Thanks Hugh. They're sending it back. But I might revive the thread for some help getting it working again when it arrives back in Blighty.

(It's a fun gadget that I didn't get the chance to show off yet, so, I won't be too sorry.)
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby BJG145 » Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:02 am

The saga continues. Yesterday I received a notification from eBay that tracking had shown the returned item had now been delivered, so I needed to issue a refund. I checked the tracking, and it had indeed been delivered...in New Jersey.

I asked the buyer, who said that he'd received instructions from eBay to return it via their distribution centre, the same way it had travelled out, under the Global Shipping Program. So I called them just now to check if they had it. They were vague about this, but said that I needed to ask the buyer to send me a photo of it. I said this was unlikely (I didn't bother to mention that it was also pointless), but knowing how implacable these corporation processes are, agreed to jump through the hoops.

They offered some reassurance that I would be covered, though I was slightly concerned about the fate of the Persephone. When I asked if I'd get it back, they couldn't tell me. I hope it doesn't fall victim to big business.

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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:02 pm

Strewth. I'm glad I've never tried doing any international sales. :(
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby N i g e l » Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:47 pm

My international ebay sales have been by accident. I thought I posted my CD player to the Midlands but 4days later I got +ve feedback from the buyer in Australia. Another time, I messaged the buyer to see if he wanted me to drop the package off, at "his work", as the industrial estate was only 10 minutes away - he replied back that he was in Poland, the Co was just the courier.

The only bad experience Ive had was in the UK. Buyer hadnt RTFM and ordered a return with associated rant, unit "not working", 1hr after receiving the package.
I suggested he studied the manual and familiarise himself with the unit.
I heard no more from him but had to go through the hoops until the dispute timed out on his part. No apology received, so I had the rest of the 60 days to compose savory & succinct feedback.
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby BigRedX » Fri Mar 12, 2021 2:48 pm

The only time I've had a problem with international sales through eBay was when I had been unwittingly included in the (then new) Global shipping program.

My very first international sale after this was a bass guitar, that in its case, exceeded the physical dimensions for Global Shipping items (which were mentioned in the eBat T&Cs but tucked away in small print on a difficult to find page). Both myself and my buyer were refunded in full.

I immediately opted out of the local Shipping Programme for all future sales and have continued to hip large items to forge in countries without problem until the beginning of this year.

I discovered recently that the bass in question was sold for a fraction of its value on another auction site about a year later.
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby BJG145 » Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:28 pm

BJG145 wrote:The saga continues.

I think what's happened is that the buyer posted it back to me, but uploaded a tracking number for the return which only covered the US part of the delivery. When that was complete, eBay said I needed to inspect it and issue a refund, but I didn't have it.

Their customer service has actually been pretty good. I explained that it's supposedly on the way but there's no international tracking available, can we put the case on hold and see if it turns up, which they did.

Unfortunately the buyer got bored waiting and asked their bank to reverse the payment ("temporarily"). Today eBay cited this as the reason they've closed the case and released the funds to me, with no buyer refund. Not great really, because if/when it turns up, I can't see it being easy to unwind everything to the point where the buyer will be able to reclaim the not inconsiderable cost of shipping it out to the US from eBay, as is supposed to happen AFAIK. (The joy of the Global Shipping Program is that the seller only pays UK postage, while eBay charge a small fortune to the buyer for the onward journey. All good for the seller...until the buyer wants to return the item. eBay don't cover return postage and that's when the pain starts. I had to send the buyer $150 for this which I don't get back.)

I'm surprised they were able to reverse the payment at all. At the moment it's still sitting in my Paypal account while I await Persephone's homecoming, but I'm wondering if it might disappear like a mirage.

If I do get it back, I'll love it so much. I'll never part with it. I couldn't afford to try. :-|
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Re: Long-distance low-signal diagnosis

Postby BJG145 » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:30 pm

...I guess it was kind of inevitable; doesn't make it any less annoying.

Still no sign of the Persephone or any tracking information, but they've just opened a Paypal dispute to reclaim the payment. I'm pretty sure they can't win that without proof of postage. I hope.
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