by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2013/02/11 07:31 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2013/02/11/10392588.aspx
There was a company.
Some would say a great company.
I wouldn't say that, though.
We'll just say it is a huge company and leave it at that.
The company is Johnson & Johnson.
They created a subsidiary to take Dean Kamen's iBOT Mobility System and bring it to the world.
Independence Technology is the subsidiary.
And the iBOT changed my life.
It brought balance to a situation robbed of balance years ago by Multiple Sclerosis.
Of course there were some challenges.
Like being considered a Class III assistive device.
The USD$26,100 price tag didn't help, either.
The fact that Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies didn't consider it to be 'medically necessary' also hindered the iBOT effort.
Current plan record: as of March 2014, Independence Technology will stop supporting the iBOT Mobility System.
We all have problems, I guess. :-(
Anyway, the NICAD battery that powers the iBOT is expected to last a year.
That's how long Independence Technology warrants it, and how long DEKA (Dean Kamen's think tank) warrants it.
So last year, when my battery started faulting ten months in, I admit I was relieved to have it replaced free of charge, saving me the $1100 charge for the replacement battery! 😁
The faulting battery was a potential fire/explosion hazard, so it is good to get it replaced, for safety reasons, too!
But now we get into trouble.
Because now the new battery (only 6 months in) is faulting.
According to Independnce Technology, this is not a warranty repair, even though it faulted just six months into its life.
I will have to pay the $1100 myself to replace the battery.
We'll see if my fight succeeds to make them take responsibility for their errant parts.
My David vs. their Goliath!
Alex Cohn on 11 Feb 2013 9:42 AM:
I wish you good luck with your quest, but actually there might be a new opportunity: the recargeable battery technology has made a very significant progress in recent years, and maybe you can find a better or/and cheaper replacement when you are not limited by the corporate policy.
Pete Baughman on 11 Feb 2013 11:15 AM:
Usually when something is replaced under warranty, the new part is warranted for the remainder of the original warranty period or X days (30 or 60 or 90), whichever is longer. 6 months is a long time, but it's probably still worth checking. It makes sense in the context of things like Hard Drives, where they may replace your failing drive with a refurbished one, but I can't imagine they would replace your battery with one that had already been returned by someone else! Still, the policy may still be the same even though it's logically inconsistent.
Tony Toews on 11 Feb 2013 11:46 AM:
Is that a standard size/voltage of NiCad battery you can buy from a battery supplier for a more reasonable price like $200 or $300?
Matthew Slyman on 15 Apr 2013 8:55 AM:
Are you sure there aren't some cheap Chinese generics out there? I recently got a free "Penesamig" battery shipped with our new hygrometer. Perhaps the Chinese will be so good as to send you a super-sized one of those?
> "The faulting battery was a potential fire/explosion hazard, so it is good to get it replaced, for safety reasons, too!"
OK... I suppose that wasn't the best idea then... Perhaps you should instead go into business in your spare time making replacement iBOT batteries, or doing iBOT lithium/ gas-turbine conversions? Would Microsoft allow those technologies in the office? No? I wonder how fuel-cell technology is getting on (which could be combined with a built-in water-cooler function!) There has to be a solution! If all else fails, try copying HP's example over Oracle/IA64! Sue them and force them to carry on supporting the iBOT! After all, this isn't just a fashion-accessory gadget, right?
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