Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AlienBees, Flashtubes, Solder, Explosions, Customer Service

I've managed to melt 2 flashtubes from my B1600.

Not sure why or how exactly on the first one, but the second one probably melted because of speed.

Literally the legs of the flashtubes have melted right off the soldering points.

So like any good DIYer I resoldered them back together.

The first one exploded immediately.

The second one lasted a while before blowing melting solder chunks into my softbox and melting parts of the baffle and outer screen.

No I didn't use high-temp solder.

They probably exploded because when the connection isn't solid, the current has to arc over and "jump" thus causing a loud crack and in some cases small explosions.

They told me not to resolder the flashtubes. I just didn't listen :)

It's time to send in the B1600 for maintenance. Might be something wrong with this unit.

Or there might be something wrong with me :)

You know what the insane thing about all of this is? I told Joe, Kimberly, and the rest of team at Paul C. Buff and they have taken the initiative to examine these units. Even when I've told them that I'm at fault. They even sent me a $50 gift certificate for my grief. Unbelievable!

So, I misuse the products (shooting too fast), disobey direct orders (resoldering myself), blow shit up (B1600 in softbox), and get rewarded with a gift certificate. And they want to service the units on warranty?

Well, sorry Apple. PCB is now on the top of my list as far as good customer service is concerned!


  1. Charles,

    Man, you're lucky something didn't catch fire! If it's hot enough to melt off the soldering points, it's hot enough to have your own tikki stick in the middle of your studio!

  2. Not => Now (at the end)

  3. Yep PCB cust. service is the best there is. Period.

  4. Have you had a chance to play with Einstein's? I'm still playing with mine.

  5. Yes PCB customer service is unsurpassed.

    The Einsteins are nice. I have used one before. Great product! But I can't use my RadioPopper JrX with them!

  6. I am a huge fan of PCB!! They've saved my butt so many times! Overnighted a replacement strobe (a mere $10 charge!!!) when I thought one of mine was overheating and checked mine out (turns out it was my imagination).

    On the eve of warranty expiration on one of my large softboxes I called to say one of the rods broke - they gladly replaced it without any hassles.

    Another time I blew out a flashtube from overuse I guess and called frantic because I couldn't get it to pop. They calmly led me through troubleshooting and within 24 hours I had replacement bulbs.

    LOVE them!

    This is a company that believes in their product - and so I'm a