Warrantees / repairs:
Buying a robot can be a significant investment, so going
through the exercise of checking that the warrantee is worth the paper it's
written on, is well worthwhile. There are 3 mains costs associated with
repairs or replacement of parts of the robot:
- Handling and repairs
- Shipping costs of both the faulty part (if required)
and the replacement.
If you have any concerns about warrantees at all, you must
make sure the supplier is reputable, and will still likely be around within
the next few year when you may need to make a claim. Even beyond the
warrantee period, you should make sure replacement part and/or repair
facilities will be available.
Now suppliers can make you all the promises in the world,
but until you actually make a claim, you won't know if they'll honour their
promises, and more importantly, whether they'll do it in a timely and
professional manner. Try and get some feedback from users that have actually
made a claim, as this is far more useful than what's actually written in the
warrantee paperwork! The larger and better known suppliers tend to worry a
lot more about their reputation, so there is further incentive for them to
do the right thing by customers to retain their good name. So don't try and
save a few extra dollars by going through an unknown supplier... it's not
worth the risk and worries for an investment this size...
On a more positive note, the quality of robots has
improved on the years, and more importantly, most are designed with repairs
in mind, so that repairs can often be carried out by the user, simply by
replacing the faulty part once identified. A reputable supplier will help
you identify which part is likely to be faulty, and will tell you how you
can replace it yourself, as it's in no-one's interest to have to ship the
whole robot back to the supplier.
A warrantee period of at least 1 year is reasonable and
should be expected. Anything longer than that is a bonus, and availability
of parts becomes more important. It's reasonable to expect a lifetime of at
least 5 years out of a robot, so this is the time period you need to look at
for parts availability. Most robot parts are actually quite simply and low
cost, so have to pay a few small costs to maintain the robot is not a big
Manufacturers may bring out new models all the time, but
unless theu continue to support parts for the old models, you are risking
getting stuck with a robot that cannot be repaired. Remember that warrantees
and the availability of parts is a real cost to manufacturers/suppliers, so
you should expect to pay a little extra for this support.
Manufacturer/suppliers that do not factor in costs of warrantee and parts,
and discount just for a quick sale, may not be around for very long... If
they go under, they'll still have you money, and you'll end up with a robot
that is no longer supported or can be repaired.
To be honest, most robots need very little maintenance, so
this is not such a big issue. Keeping the floor clean can be quite helpful,
as this keeps the balls free of dust as they fall on the floor, stopping the
dust from getting into the robot.
The throwing wheels are probably the main items that need
a regular clean, which can usually be done quite easily with a damp cloth.
Most robots can quite easily be opened up, so that a quick
clean with the vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from inside is relatively
easy as well.
Continue on to
Choosing a table tennis Robot