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I know they said it had been "over loaded" but more likely, and we see this more than one would suspect, was a high resistance connection.

If a connection on the back of the switch was loose, dirty or had incorrect lug stacking it is possible to create enough heat to physically melt the switch. You can do this without ever being close to the max continuous or max intermittent rating of the switch & without actually "over-loading" it...
 

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I have lots of Perko stuff on my boat. Recently I had an on/off battery switch go bad after 3 years. It was not a financial issue, the thing costs about $40, but it was inconvenient and perplexing as to why it would fail so soon. All it controls is the power to a V-Berth battery that runs a deck washdown pump, and the switch is rated for >300 amps.


Anyway, at the urging of an electrician friend I boxed it up and returned it to Perko for analysis. I kind of was expecting they would thank me and possibly replace the failed switch - after all it was a $40 part and I had gone to the trouble and expense of returning it to them. I received no reply, and then 2 months later they returned the failed part with a one line letter from "Gail Mally - Inside Sails."



I was shocked. I hadn't asked for a free replacement, in fact I had already bought a new one, but I expected more from their customer service than a "blame the customer" one line reply.

I will keep my Perko strainers and lights, and I'll keep the replacement on Perko off switch I bought to replace the one that failed, but when it is time to replace these items in the future I will definitely choose a competitor (Groco, Blue Sea, Marinco, etc.)

I just wanted to see if anyone else has had this kind of experience, and report on my customer service dissatisfaction with Perko. Please, no electrical advice needed. I can think of 100 reasons a switch might fail prematurely. That is not the point. This is just poor customer service by a marine company.
I have reread this a few times and read others responses. Clearly by you own admission you had expectations they would “thank you and replace the switch”. Clearly they looked at what you sent them and analyzed it and stated it was overloaded to the point of failure.

You could look at it two ways. 1- it was a defective switch or 2 - their analysis is correct and it was overloaded. You chose to look at your explanation as correct and completely ignore what their experts said. Have you even looked into that there may be an issue with your system which caused the failure.

To say you were “shocked” at their response does make sense as it was you who put the expectations on them. You were shocked they didn’t agree with you. Shocked that they responded to you in a professional way. Shocked that they “ blamed the customer” even though there professionals though it was operator area. I guess they should have lied to you. I guess you expect that they should say the customer is right.....even though they aren’t. But that wasn’t enough.

You felt it necessary to go on a public forum really trying to show them up hoping to enlist others to support your cause and act like you and not use this company. All because they didn’t agree with you and give you a free switch.

This points out one of the negative issues I see concerning social media. You intended on using it essentially to “ out” Perko and get your way, by having others boycott them. You couldn’t get it one way....so now you want to extract revenge.

It’s refreshing to see others didn’t swallow Hook line and sinker the scenario and have asked questions.

I for one have quite a number of Perko products on my boat and quite frankly feel their quality control is better than most. I had an issue with a Perko bow light and the company was very forthcoming and replaced it no charge. Their customer service was excellent. It was in fact defective.

I will continue to use Perko as an alternative company to equipment I buy and advise others to take COMPLAINTS on the internet with a grain of salt.
 
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I have reread this a few times and read others responses. Clearly by you own admission you had expectations they would “thank you and replace the switch”. Clearly they looked at what you sent them and analyzed it and stated it was overloaded
Wow Chef,
You have a lot of time on your hands. Go sailing friend.
 

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Lol....I do plenty of sailing. We just passed the 2400 nm mark helped by our 3 week trip to Long Island which was a 800 nm round trip.

Normally you posts are right on. In this case we just have to disagree. That’s why there is many ice cream flavors🎃🎃
 
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Seems to me instead of a pissing war it’s time for some independent forensics. Take the d-mn thing to a skilled boat electrician (mainesail you around?). Have them look at it. There’s only two possibilities. The device was faulty and arced internally or was of extremely high resistance due to a defect in construction. Or the thing arced due to high resistance from poor installation or corrosion. The pattern of the melting and perhaps some deconstruction of the device should tell the story.
It is what it is. This discussion isn’t telling you or me what it is. A third astute unbiased third party could tell us. If you choose not to pursue this course of action there’s nothing further to be gained by the heat without light of this thread. You are good guys. There’s some learning that could be done from getting a forensic opinion. Please let us know the result.
 

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We are all friends here. Point taken. Sorry if I was a little obtuse
I lust after that 43 Shannon. One of my favorite boats
 
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28 replies to get from exasperation to lust....
:)
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Take the d-mn thing to a skilled boat electrician (mainesail you around?). Have them look at it. There’s only two possibilities. T...
I would like to know the real cause, and am perplexed that my 30 AMP fuse in the circuit hasn't blown, but really, again, that isn't the issue. This post is feedback on customer service - Having someone explain the issue by examining it as suggested is what I hoped to get from Perko. My complaint is that they didn't do that. It took 2 months to look at it, no phone call, no real explanation or help with diagnosis of what Gail says is my problem, and then having them box up and ship the failed part back with their one line sentence. Apple wouldn't handle a complaint this way, and they are Apple.

Chef2Sail, re social media: One of the things social media allows is the ability to discuss customer service issues. Years ago you had no real avenue to do that - no way to share your experience, and now you do. I don't go out of my way to complain, and when I am making decisions I always read and evaluate the feedback of others, good and bad. Personally I make sure to balance my own reviews and feedback and when I give negative feedback, as with Gail Mally and Perko, I do it after thinking whether it is appropriate. If others think Perko's handling of the situation was perfectly appropriate, that is fine too. I didn't lie or make up things, I just relayed my experience.

If anyone wants my positive feedback on Raritan, Defender, National Sail Supply, Rolly Tasker, Schaeffer, Wichard, New England Ropes.... please let me know. Take good and bad feedback that I give with a grain of salt - it's just one person's opinion, but I believe feedback is a good thing.

Happy sailing today. Cheers everybody!
 

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No one is suggesting you’re lying pamlico, nor saying your wrong, per se. It’s all speculation on our part. We can not digest their reaction, without knowing exactly how you sent it to them, what note was included, or what was said between you. If you even intimated they should consider replacing it, their note makes more sense in context. Still not the best handling, but I certainly wouldn’t boycott them over it.

In a vacuum, it sound’s bad. But you posted it, because you feel it was bad. Maybe it’s exactly as you describe. Maybe their side of the story would change opinions.

That’s all.
 

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A battery switch like that is two terminals and a spring-loaded bar that switches between them, almost every problem with battery equipment is the terminals, connectors, the wire or combination of any of the above.

P, You could have provided photos of the damage. Who installed the switch?
And I think you said three years its been in, is that the last time any of the battery terminals in your boat where checked? What is the electrician friend's place in all, this did he burn it out?

customer coddling service is a thing of the past, that went out with the baby boomer perception that "Sears" will replace anyting no questions asked"

The customer is no longer always right.

I provided the PDF, wonder if anybody actually read it. The warranty is basically no warranty, free of defect from the factory.

People like me in contracting business most of their lives are painfully aware that warranty and guarantees are not "law" there are a good faith option.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
P, You could have provided photos of the damage. Who installed the switch?
And I think you said three years its been in, is that the last time any of the battery terminals in your boat where checked? What is the electrician friend's place in all, this did he burn it out?

.
Thank you so much for all of the electrical advice. Please read my last post. Thanks
 

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A battery switch like that is two terminals and a spring-loaded bar that switches between them, almost every problem with battery equipment is the terminals, connectors, the wire or combination of any of the above.

P, You could have provided photos of the damage. Who installed the switch?
And I think you said three years its been in, is that the last time any of the battery terminals in your boat where checked? What is the electrician friend's place in all, this did he burn it out?

customer coddling service is a thing of the past, that went out with the baby boomer perception that "Sears" will replace anyting no questions asked"

The customer is no longer always right.

I provided the PDF, wonder if anybody actually read it. The warranty is basically no warranty, free of defect from the factory.

People like me in contracting business most of their lives are painfully aware that warranty and guarantees are not "law" there are a good faith option.
Seems pretty standard, they warranted only defects in manufacturing not improper installation or maintenance.

The OP stated that the switch was rated in excess of 300 amps, while technically true for the one he pictured it is actually only rated for 250 amps continuous and 360 amps for 5 minutes, intermittent, per PERKO's website and specs listed there. This could mean two things one occasionally it will work at 360 amps for 5 minutes, probably not IMO, or more likely it will work at 360 amps for up to 5 minutes if the draw is intermittent, in other words not continuous and is given a chance to cool down. I would never claim a switch was rated for its max intermittent current, I personally would only say the switch was rated for 250 Amps max not the 360 amps. Now if the OP was using the Heavy Duty ones they are rated at 450 amps continuous and 1200 intermittent, but they do not mach the picture provided.

Lots of manufacturers do this try returning a desktop motherboard with an Intel socket in it after a CPU was installed for a bent pins... No manufacturer takes them back after a cpu was installed that I know of.
 

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I'm sorry, but I'd be a lot more concerned with why a 300 amp switch failed on a circuit that has only a deck wash pump on it, than a response you weren't pleased with, especially since it had some pretty important information for you.
As Sandero noted “Faulty connections can get mighty hot.”

The operative, and correct, word in that sentence is FAULTY.

Dear Mr. XXXX:
I am returning the switch as-is. The switch was overloaded and melted the terminal
Sincerely,
PERKO, Inc.
Gail Mally-Inside Sales Department
The reply is simply putting the blame back on the owner by claiming there was an overload. It seems most folks here recognize that most likely source of the heat was a bad connection. In short Sandero’s response was much more on point than Perko’s.

If not told Perko should have asked about the load. If the load was as low as stated then this is clearly a FAULTY product and one that could start a fire.

I guess one could argue that the “fault” may have been either in the switch (Perko problem) or the connection (Owner problem). But then it would have been nice for Perko to say what they though the problem part was, or say they could not tell.

But then one could argue that the connection material (Holt, nut,washed) was provided by Perko and installed properly.

This is a case of understanding the problem but not the issue. Muddled thinking, which seems to be a human specialty.

Or maybe not, it’s a LEGAL response not admitting any liability but pointing back at the customer.

It’s unlikely there is anything to be done about it, but it still stinks.

FWIW I have issues with RayMarine and especially their tiller pilots. That’s my own little hobby horse about poor product and customer relations.
 

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I would like to know the real cause, and am perplexed that my 30 AMP fuse in the circuit hasn't blown, but really, again, that isn't the issue.
A high resistance connection can create enough heat to burn an entire marina and never trip a fuse or breaker. This happens more than should in "twist-lock" shore power circuits. You could be passing 20A through a termination that, due to condition, can really only handle 1A and create some really, really high heat, enough to melt the switch.

Here is a very high amperage Class T fuse holder melted due to incorrect lug stacking which resulted in high resistance. The fuse never tripped because the largest load was nowhere near the fuse or fuse blocks rating but the terminals were stacked so as to create some serious resistance and heat. Not the fault of the fuse holder but rather the terminations and incorrect stacking of them that lead to the high resistance.


Here is a situation where a DIY tried to crimp a terminal designed for multi-conductor wire, to solid conductor land grade wire, on a hot 120V feed. It created high resistance and began to melt the terminal and physically discolor the terminal it got so hot. The main breaker, 30A, never tripped, as this boat could not draw more than 16A. This is not the fault of the terminal, you just don't crimp solid conductor wire..


Here's a 50A rated shore cord from a boat that could barely pull half the circuit breakers 50A rating. This is caused by a high resistance connection creating immense heat that would have never tripped the breaker.


Here's a Scotchlok that had high resistance, and began to melt, at amperage's well below the circuits 10A circuit breaker rating.


And here a DIY tried to crimp this alternator wire with pliers. The wire to terminal junction created enough heat to begin physically melting the diode isolator at well below its amperage rating. That wire was also red.... Focus on the color of the actual terminal... All this heat developed at amperage's well below the isolators rating.
 

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As I would expect, mainesail has this covered.

The OP was expecting a response like I got from Simrad. When I reached out to them, that I was hoping for a repair of my Tiller Pilot that I took full ownership for having broken (accidentally stepped on it, and it broke the ram on it), after having had it only for 3 weeks. I was hoping they could repair and charge me the part/time to replace. They instead sent me a new unit.

I don't really disagree with how Perko handled the transaction, I do believe the letter could have been a bit more "fluffy" to smooth things over. You see you sent them an electrical part, that was obviously failed, and obviously overheated. We don't know what else was in the letter to them other than you were displeased that it "failed."

As a precautionary thing, I also would have ONLY analyzed the part, and sent it back to you with the likely cause. You see, the resulting part could have burned your boat down and by sending a replacement part, they might very well be taking ownership of the failure. Most business won't do that for reasons that may seem obvious.

For the record, I will only own a simrad tiller pilot now. I had 2 Raymarine Tiller Pilots prior to this one, and while they seem more "modern" of equipment and I did have to deal with their CS. They weren't nearly as customer focused as Simrad.
 

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Maine Sail is doing what Perko should have done. Looked at the part and noted where the failure occurred. It could have been the contacts, or the connection. They might have been able to tell or not. But a note saying all we can tell is that there was a high resistance creating heat, it would be good to review how to make solid electrical connections, would have been in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
A high resistance connection can create enough heat to burn an entire marina and never trip a fuse or breaker. This happens more than should in "twist-lock" shore power circuits. You could be passing 20A through a termination that, due to condition, can really only handle 1A and create some really, really high heat, enough to melt the switch.

Here is a very h...
That is a great post MaineSail...much appreciated and very informative.
 
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