Saturday, July 24, 2021

It's now 2 weeks since I first started to call for tech support, and still nada....


Air conditioners are relatively simple mechanical devices. A pump compresses a refrigerant (Freon was once the most common one used), passes it through a nozzle which cools a refrigerant that is then passed through a radiator to cool the air in a room. (I hope I got the process correct here.) Waste heat from the warmed refrigerant is passed through an external radiator to the outside of the building. With the exception of the refrigerant being changed over the years to protect the environment, the principle used in today's machines is the same as that used several generations ago.

What has changed is the electronic circuitry controlling the units.   It has grown much more complex, so that it can maintain a constant temperature as desired, turn the machine on and off at selected times without operator intervention, and conserve energy which was wasted in older air conditioner design.  In the case of my two new air conditioners, the manufacturer has implemented a Wi-Fi interface, so that one can control the unit from one's own cell phone.  By today's standards, this is not rocket science.  But it is something that Friedrich as gotten wrong.  Both of my units have faulty Wi-Fi connectivity which has not yet been corrected by a manufacturer supplied firmware update.  

As of the time this entry was written, all I have is a case number and some nice words from tech support.  No fix has yet been shipped. And I expect that the manufacturer does not care much about quality control, as it rushed to send these units to distributors (and on to retail customers) before it verified that the product was ready to ship.

So here is the second letter I sent to the CEO of Friedrich:

Dear Mr. Campbell,

This is the second time I’ve taken the time to write you due to support issues I’ve had with my Friedrich Wallmaster Air Conditioner.  Unfortunately, when my second new unit arrived, it has the same Wi-Fi issue as the first unit – I cannot use the Friedrich Connect app on my phone to control either AC unit.

On Friday (7/9), I was able to reach the same polite gentleman who assisted me on the prior Tuesday (7/6).  This fellow told me that he was a little backed up, and that he couldn’t get the case number established that day – but he gave me one (20536) on Friday.  However, he wasn’t able to send me the firmware update at that time to allow me to get my Wi-Fi connectivity problem fixed. 

On Saturday (7/10), my second AC was delivered and installed in my bedroom. I then tried to connect my phone with it to no avail.  When I checked the unit’s firmware, it was at the same level as its sibling in the living room, thus explaining why it also had connectivity problems.

Case number:  20536

Living Room Unit: Bedroom Unit:
Model: WCT16A30A Model: WCT12A10A
Firmware: 1.02 Firmware: 1.02

As of today, I have not received the help I need to get the Wi-Fi functions of my Wallmaster units working properly. The last time I was in contact with this person at tech support, he noted that it would take 3 days to receive a tracking number. There was no mention on when I would receive the fix that I need to use all the features of my air conditioner. When I contacted him again on Tuesday (7/20), he still had no idea when I could get my AC’s Wi-Fi fixed.

I would appreciate any and all help you (or your office) can give me to get this issue resolved promptly.

So far, I have had no success with Friedrich.  Soon, I plan to let the people who sold me my air conditioners know what is going on so that they can be aware of potential problems in the units they sell.  Additionally, since they have more influence as distributors than I have as a customer, maybe they can get the word out to the people at Friedrich who can get things done.  Who knows?

I only wonder when I'll have this issue resolved....



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

An impromptu dinner with Vicki, plus some vacation plans


Both Vicki and I enjoy Greek food.  So Vicki decided to treat me for dinner at the new Greek restaurant in town.  Since this would be a last minute decision for me, as I expected to be very tired after work, I had to provide for doing two things.  First, I'd have to call Friedrich to check up on the status on my AC service call.  And then, I'd have to change into something comfortable and pretty for going outside in this weather. (I dress more warmly for work, as the AC is cranked up to counter the heat coming from the computers and imaging equipment found at every desk.)

I met Vicki at 7, and we decided to eat at an outside table.  (Inside tables were all taken.)  We talked about many things, including our former loves.  (She'll always wonder about one road not taken. And I'll always wonder if a former love really knew what she wanted when she met me.)  One thing we both agreed on is that I was lucky to only have had a "minor flesh wound" caused by my former love - things would have been much worse had we been living together or had been married when her real personality finally came out in an argument.  But enough on that topic - she'll never admit that I had valid points in our dispute, and it would be pointless to argue with someone resistant to acknowledging alternate points of view.

- - - - - -

Lately, I've been looking at future cruise trips.  All of these involve cruises to/in Hawaii.  The first of these vacations is the shortest (10 days), yet the most expensive.

This is a 7 day cruise out of Honolulu, coupled with a 3 day tour of its island's (Oahu) most popular tourist attractions.  It is only offered by one cruise line (NCL), as it is on the only American owned, staffed, flagged, and built ship operating at the present time.  I won't go into the reasons why most ships fly "flags of convenience" here. But this route is the only regularly scheduled route restricted to American flagged ships, and why it is the most expensive option on my list at roughly $6,000 for a solo traveler. (It was priced less before the pandemic, but post-pandemic prices have zoomed upward due to reduced capacity and pent up demand.)  Couple this trip with airfare, excursions, taxes, port fees and gratuities, and I could be spending $9,000 for a trip I could have once taken for under $6,000.  Right now, there is one important advantage to this cruise - all passengers must be vaccinated for Covid-19 before taking this trip.

Next on the list is a 15 night cruise out of Los Angeles.  This is on Princess, and has a much shorter time in Hawaii than the first cruise due to its foreign flagged ship.

Do I really want to spend more time on a ship and see less of Hawaii to save a few bucks?  I could cut down the money I spend to roughly $5,000 - and I can afford that with little trouble.  However, some of Princess's cruises allow unvaccinated passengers on board, and I don't want to deal with the hassles these passengers may present.

Second to last might be the longest cruise of the choices on my list - 18 days.  I'd be flying in and out of Vancouver, and then cruising to Hawaii on Holland America,

This might be the best option, as it allows for an overnight in Honolulu before the trip back to Vancouver.  Next to sailing on a ship that is based in Hawaii, this provides the most time in Hawaii that I can find at a reasonable price - in the $6,500 range for the vacation. 

Lastly, there is the most interesting option, a cruise that combines 2 bucket list trips into one: Alaska and Hawaii, leaving from Vancouver, BC and ending in Honolulu, HI.

I'd like to visit Skagway again, as well as seeing Juneau and Glacier Bay for the first time.  But do I want to pack for both summer and late fall / early winter weather?  Then, there is the extra factor that I would be leaving from a foreign port, and that I would want to travel in Marian Mode as much as possible.  Do I want to put up with these hassles? This could be a $7,500 trip without any extra plans. But there is an option for this trip that I haven't mentioned.  I could take the train to Seattle, spend a couple of days there, then another train to Vancouver, and spend a day there before the cruise.  I expect that this will add another $2,500 or so to the cost of this vacation.

Which option would you choose, and why?  Since I prefer to travel as Marian, I'd like to hear what you have to say....




PS: I have 3 travel guides for places I'll never have the chance to visit:

  1. Molvania
  2. San Sombrero
  3. Phaic Tan

I wonder what you might have heard about these places.  Would you visit them, just for the unreal experience?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

It's been a week since my first service call.


Since I don't have much news to report from the home front, I might as well talk about my air conditioner saga for a little while longer....

As, you, my readers know, I bought 2 air conditioners on a staggered schedule.  The first AC was delivered several weeks ago, but came with a firmware flaw which prevents me from using the Wi-Fi link to control the device from my cell phone.  This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to talk with a nice service representative, and he got the process of getting updated firmware in motion.  Today, I called to see what's up, and I spoke with him again.

Hopefully, by this time next week, I'll have two fully functional air conditioners being controlled from either my iPad or my Android phone.

- - - - - -

I may have mentioned that I am replacing a semi-functional AC in my bedroom.  Yes, it works, but I can't rely on it.  So I'm spending the extra $1,000 to be sure that I have a working air conditioner that will last me several years.  How do I know it is doing something?  First, I've seen physical evidence that some cooling is going on: when I had the air filter touching the "cool-air radiator", I found that there was some ice on the filter.  Second, I'm seeing an occasional water droplet drain from the air conditioner when I look at my unit from the outside.

Will I get my $1,000 worth when the new bedroom AC comes?  I hope so.




PS: The bedroom AC unit was installed on Saturday, and it feels like it's cooling off the room much better than the old one.  Additionally, it has the same Wi-Fi issues as the one in the living room.

Was she dead or alive? Inquiring minds wanted to know.

  I hadn't seen Pat in months, and I haven't been able to reach her by voice or text.  Given that she's 84 years old, I figured ...