Sunday, June 18, 2006

A cautionary tale from Louis

With Father's Day approaching it thought it appropriate to buy myself a JR 9X II. Phoned around, average price varies between R4800 and R5000. Some joker even quoted me R5600. An out-of town crowd quoted R4350 and since I was going in that direction for business I popped in and collected the set. Beforehand I was assured that it is the synthesized type, latest software, not soon to be replaced by JR and ultimately blessed by the local sangoma. Since these people place regular advertisements in SAMAA News I had no suspicion in my heart at all. Besides, hobbyists are usually decent honest people.

On reaching home and studying the manual I discovered that the synthesized receiver was replaced by a crystal-based PCM unit. JK Products confirmed that the set was indeed shipped with a synthesized receiver and if the hobbyshop replaced it with a crystal-based unit "it is out of our control". On inquiring at the hobbyshop I was told that this is the reason for the good price. I acknowledged the fact that the box was opened and shown to me in the shop but what do I know about synthesized TX and Rx units? Besides, I wrongly relied on the said hobbyshop to serve me with good advice.

In the end I paid in an additional R150, drove the 200km roundtrip from Jhb and paid R13.60 in toll fees to upgrade the crystal-based RX to a synthesized Rx. True, I am at fault for not thoroughly inspecting the set but the hobbyshop left a bitter taste in my mouth - even the spec sheet in the manual referred to the synthesized Rx. I felt cheated in the end since a local shop quoted me R4500.

Bottomline: not all hobbyshops are evil seekers of evasive profits but be careful - check the servo types, Tx & Rx battery capacities, switch and receiver thoroughly. Even check the box (packaging) for dents. Don't let the momentous occasion of looking at the set for the first time blind you like it did me. Be assertive because some unscrupulous hobbyshops will swop out components in your set for lesser units.

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