A significant part of our business is service calls out to a customer’s site, who either in over their head or who has too many fires to put out at once. We have some standard rules about service calls, you must have a “known good backup” (see here), you must actually have a problem requiring a service engineer (bad wiring doesn’t count, and will specifically not be worked on) and you can’t have had a third party repair on a drive or motor you want us to look at. We don’t clean up other people’s problems, we don’t do repairs in the field and we try not to send someone out in order to tell you that you need to send a component in for repair and then hand you a bill.

However, at some times, it gets to the point we have to be explicit about this. On a recent Saturday, I get a call from a company who starts off the conversation by saying they have taken two DKR drives and pulled boards out of both to try to get one running. They don’t know if the drives are identical, and they know the “donor drive” was already not working. This is mostly akin to trying to pull parts from a junk car in a junk yard based on the fact it is the same color as yours. They are having other problems with their system (color me shocked considering this level of repair), and want to know if the Frankendrive may be part of the problem. Considering they have no clue what they have done, that is kind like asking what the meaning of life is, but since the drive they are explicitly having a problem with is not the Frankendrive, it is a low order probability. I tell them this, tell them what they need to do for troubleshooting, am informed they have no money and they go off to try to do something to get the system running.  I get a call back in about two hours (this is on a Saturday, they have never done business with us before and they have explicitly said they don’t have any intention of spending any money with us) asking if I can check board serial numbers on the internal components they have swapped. Since Indramat does not support field repairs, third party repairs or end users diving into their own drives, this is a non-starter. I offer them repair service for the drive and they ask about field service.

This is where I have to get tough. Field Service isn’t cheap, they will not work on drives in the field, and they will not work on third party repaired or Frankendrives, because we have no idea how it will respond to instructions. Until they are ready to send in the drive for repair, there is nothing we can do for them.

Time to move on with my Saturday. You can’t save them all…