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Hardware Thread, Promethean Support in Technical; We once bought some promethean boards, decided they weren't worth the bother supporting them and bought SMART instead. We seem ...
  1. #16
    logonui's Avatar
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    We once bought some promethean boards, decided they weren't worth the bother supporting them and bought SMART instead. We seem to have far less problems with these (it was a while ago so things may have improved since then)

  2. #17

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    We Have 35 mixed serial and usb Promethean IWBs and to date the only problem that i have is one board trying constantly to install the drivers, although I have installed them through the network. I feel it could be the users profile which i have cleaned but to no avail. My next move is to get her logged into another workstation on another board but have not had the time.

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    Thanks for the comments guys, the latest batch are more "constructive" which isn't always a bad thing.

    Zerohour, I'm very aware of what happened with your systems, especially the msi problems. I know we've sent guys to look at specific hardware problems and I know that my colleague and I have been working hard to get our msi writers to change their ways. We've sent over links to everything you've said on here, logs of problems reported, we've even sent that great guide to get an msi that works on your systems. All we've been told is something along the lines of "it's an msi, it should work on systems that correctly support msi's".

    I honestly don't agree which is why I bring it up constantly with our product management, but I fear my comments are falling on deaf ears. Who is your account manager, I'd like a word with them about it.

    Logonui, I think most problems are gone now, but depends on how long ago you went the way of smart. The biggest improvement was probably the signing of the driver in v4, and the fixing of v4s bugs in 4.1.13. We still have some issues with the msi (see above) but on the whole it's fine. Our escalated cases seem to be at an all time low. Well they will be when 3.6 comes out for the mac later this month.

    bossman, interesting case there. If it's something that just happens to that user then you're going along the right path of trying a different workstation, isolating if it's the user or computer. Tech support is great, a game of isolating faults.

  4. #19

    webman's Avatar
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    We've had a few power supply issues as well but they have been dealt with by Promethean support so can't complain about that really.

    I work at the same school as Bossman, but would like to mention another issue we have had/are having. Sometimes (seemingly random) the pen control on some board becomes very erratic - ie. cursor jumping around on the spot where the pen is. Disconnecting the AC supply to the board's PSU and the USB cable from the computer, and then re-connecting these seems to rectify this but the problem sometimes returns. One board displaying this problem was replaced by Promethean and the other had it's electronics replaced. The board that was replaced had "air bubbles" on the board's rear surface which the engineer seemed to think was the cause of the problem.

    We also had an issue with installation (one engineer) at the end of the summer holidays 2007 but that was eventually sorted.

    Although Promethean support is usually very good, it is an inconvenience when things (especially whole whiteboards) have to be replaced as lessons have to be re-arranged as the engineer has to travel over 100 miles. We can't help but think that some corners have been cut in certain places to meet demand for what is a good product.

    And the pens - bring back the black!

  5. #20

    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments StuartC...this is the first real communication we have had from Promethean since October.
    The problem to do with the MSI was not so much the MSI structure (with regards to the driver), it was more to do with the splash screen that installs/configures the driver. If I could get a test version that could hide that splash window I think it would deploy okay, as when I removed the line that launches that splash, the installation would not freeze - although the driver did not work, since it is set up during that splash stage.
    The boards dropping off is the biggest issue for us. Teachers complain bitterly that when it happens they have to reboot their PC in the middle of a lesson to get the board working again! The only factor connected to this reliability issue seems to be the age of the boards. The handful of professional boards we have (a few years old now) work perfectly, but the "junior" ones (installed at the start of this academic session) drop off all the time . Are they the same board or has there been a revision in recent years?
    I will PM you our Account Manager's name, as I don't want to name names on a public forum
    I am just glad we know someone is looking into it. That has also been an issue; not just the fact we have unsolved technical problems, but that no-one at Promethean is communicating with us to even say "we are still looking into it"!

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroHour View Post
    Thanks for the comments StuartC...this is the first real communication we have had from Promethean since October.
    The problem to do with the MSI was not so much the MSI structure (with regards to the driver), it was more to do with the splash screen that installs/configures the driver. If I could get a test version that could hide that splash window I think it would deploy okay, as when I removed the line that launches that splash, the installation would not freeze - although the driver did not work, since it is set up during that splash stage.
    The boards dropping off is the biggest issue for us. Teachers complain bitterly that when it happens they have to reboot their PC in the middle of a lesson to get the board working again! The only factor connected to this reliability issue seems to be the age of the boards. The handful of professional boards we have (a few years old now) work perfectly, but the "junior" ones (installed at the start of this academic session) drop off all the time . Are they the same board or has there been a revision in recent years?
    I will PM you our Account Manager's name, as I don't want to name names on a public forum
    I am just glad we know someone is looking into it. That has also been an issue; not just the fact we have unsolved technical problems, but that no-one at Promethean is communicating with us to even say "we are still looking into it"!

    Yeah, I was looking into that splash screen too. It's an odd thing for a driver to do and if it's necessary then I can't think of too many quiet ways to do it. I'll speak to the driver guy (well, on monday now) and see if I can get him to write a version that does this quietly for you to test.

    I'd ask you to give the new Activdriver 4.1.13 a go for dropping Activboards, we really went to town on it for reliability on it's connection because a few very large sites in the USA went out of action because of the same thing. Not nearly as many people in the UK were affected, but all seems to be good at the moment.

    Webman, I think the engineer situation will improve soon. A lot more guys will be on the case so travel won't be so bad. Just feel sorry for Zerohour, he's up in Aberdeen if memory serves me right and our engineer travelled from London (!!!!) to see him.

    That jittering behaviour could be anything, would be tempted to get someone out to look at it. If I would put money on a cause (given the little information I have) I would put it down to PSU, Power Supply, Activpen, Activboard in that order. Try it without the projector mains connected, I've seen a difference between the ground on 2 mains loops cause this problem before.

    Have a good weekend all.

  7. #22

    john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    And the pens - bring back the black!
    I agree, and spoke to someone at BETT regarding, she hadn't seen a black pen ever thought it was maybe from a Presenta board or something else. But this is actually a problem for me as I actually cannot use a current style one as its painful to use.

    I have problems with my hands in that they are often numb and go numb very quick when writing, and despite what people say and think about fat pens being better for problems like mine, they are not for me, the black pen is much better for mine. So making both versions would be much better, and also I found the black ones more robust than the current style.

    Also I think the younger children would prefer a thin pen as they are often taught to use Berol Handwriting pens which are thin pens not thick ones so it would be more similar to them so may help them perhaps?

    So theres another bit of feedback for you Stu

  8. #23

    FN-GM's Avatar
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    It would be nice if you could make the pens a little more robust, they tend to get damaged easy, the smartborad don't get damaged just sometimes the tip on a few.

  9. #24

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    Ok, the facts.

    1. Promethean have supplied 3 kinds of Activpen for use with Promethean boards. The Activpen 1 2 and 3.

    2. The slim black pens you're referring to are the Activpen 1 (I have about 10 knocking around in my desk, but I do tend to inherit faulty ones).

    3. Activpen 1 and 2 had generally the same failure rates. These can easily be identified by either being really slim or both types have nibs (you can pull them out) that are about 6.5cm long. Activpen 1s were not used very often (IWBs weren't very common back then) so might have lasted longer because of that.

    4. The failures were mostly caused by cracks around the middle or the nib switch failing. In Activpen 3 the inner gubbins (technical term ) have been rotated to reduce the chance of cracking. The nib switch has also been replaced with a resistive contact. Kind of like the pad contact thing you've seen on calculator buttons after you've pulled one apart (don't tell me you've never done it).

    My advice is to try a few of the Activpen 3 pens if you believe you are having problems. All pens are covered by a 1 year warranty but we haven't sold any Activpen 1 or 2s for well over a year so there are none under warranty.

    Smart pens don't get damaged because they are technically dumb pens, you could use a stick or a rock and it wouldn't make much difference. It's a bit of a trade I think. Would you rather a rock solid pen with a board that could break that costs you £xxx to replace or would you want a rock solid board with a pen that could break that costs you £xx to replace.

    I agree though. In my opinion everyone should use a slimmer pen with the Activboard. I find it easier. The argument is that the chunkier pens make it easier for children to use. My 2 arguments against this would be, children don't use the Activboard 90% of the time, and children should get used to using normal sized pens. I'll bring this up next time I see product management, cheers for the input guys.

  10. Thanks to StuartC from:

    john (23rd January 2008)

  11. #25

    plexer's Avatar
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    On the whole we don't have too many issues with our promethean kit.

    We have somewhere around 20'ish boards installed and in use daily.

    Most teachers use their laptops to connect and apart from a couple of the very first ones installed they all use usb connection to the board with no problem.

    The biggest issue we've had is ActivStudio 2 running really slowy which is believed to be down to AV software and now we've changed it will have to check that again.

    We've had a couple of psu's go faulty but they were replaced by promethean who even sent a spare one.

    Installation wise we normally use our preferred local supplier/installer who do a fantastic job, the other year we had some promethean installers, or could just be contractors that change their t-shirts depending on who they work for and that wasn't good.

    The guys were only interested in leaving middle of the afternoon so they could drive home and one of them drilled into a bespoke desk top which resulted in promethean having to pay for the replacement.

    Ben

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    When I called it was when we upgraded to the version 3 software and had some problems. It was a very pleasant experience on the phone as the rep was very chatty and nice.

    One concern: we heard that all production will move to China now, so please don't move the call desk to Asia too! Had too many problems on the phone with the overseas Dell folk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    On the whole we don't have too many issues with our promethean kit.

    We have somewhere around 20'ish boards installed and in use daily.

    Most teachers use their laptops to connect and apart from a couple of the very first ones installed they all use usb connection to the board with no problem.

    The biggest issue we've had is ActivStudio 2 running really slowy which is believed to be down to AV software and now we've changed it will have to check that again.

    We've had a couple of psu's go faulty but they were replaced by promethean who even sent a spare one.

    Installation wise we normally use our preferred local supplier/installer who do a fantastic job, the other year we had some promethean installers, or could just be contractors that change their t-shirts depending on who they work for and that wasn't good.

    The guys were only interested in leaving middle of the afternoon so they could drive home and one of them drilled into a bespoke desk top which resulted in promethean having to pay for the replacement.

    Ben
    For slowdown caused by AV software I say that if you add the files:

    2057AS3PE.a3l
    Profilepath.ini
    Settings.ini

    in folder c:\documents and settings\%username%\my documents\Activstudio 3\ to an exclude then it should help. Obviously they are slightly different names and in a different folder for AS2 but you'll see them if you take a look.

  14. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Otter View Post
    When I called it was when we upgraded to the version 3 software and had some problems. It was a very pleasant experience on the phone as the rep was very chatty and nice.

    One concern: we heard that all production will move to China now, so please don't move the call desk to Asia too! Had too many problems on the phone with the overseas Dell folk.
    Thanks Otter. Yes all production is moving to China this year. Our guys over there have been making about 3 quarters of our stuff over the last 2 years, primarily for countries outside of the EU.

    We currently have a support center there for Asia/Pacific regions, we also have a call center in Atlanta for the Americas. The team we have offering support from Blackburn to Europe, Middle East and Africa will be staying put, and will actually be expanded. So no worries on that front.

  15. #29

    bossman's Avatar
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    Well that would explain a lot of things as the production has nearly all gone to china so will the quality control and I fear things will only get worse in my opinion.
    I worked 26 years in the rag trade when all the manufacturing of clothing went out to china and surrounding countries just for profit making. As a result M&S saw a decline in clothes sales worldwide as a result of poor quality control I do hope this will not be the same of Promethean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bossman View Post
    Well that would explain a lot of things as the production has nearly all gone to china so will the quality control and I fear things will only get worse in my opinion.
    I worked 26 years in the rag trade when all the manufacturing of clothing went out to china and surrounding countries just for profit making. As a result M&S saw a decline in clothes sales worldwide as a result of poor quality control I do hope this will not be the same of Promethean.

    and as we all know, british built cars were the best in history

    Seriously though, our China plant is already making everything for use outside of Europe, and a fair bit inside Europe too. We've not had big problems I'm aware of with anything made by China.



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