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What happened to microchip customer service!

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large_ghostman

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I have had pickit 3's replaced free of charge, all were because of a driver issue with win7 64 bit computers. They replaced them swiftly and at no cost.
All I had to do was goto the account support page and fill a ticket in, a new device would arrive within 24 hours.

A couple of years ago I upgraded to a ICD 3, I havnt used it much as I dont like the RJ11 cable and sockets, I also used silicon labs chips more. I decided to have a go with a pic 24, I plug in my ICD 3 and discover its died, the power light comes on but thats it.

So I spend HOURS on the support site trying to submit a ticket, I got no where! It wouldnt take a target device part number. Then eventually I found a link on the site for people with PK3 or ICD3 problems, I follow the link and find a form to fill in, its just like the old support form.

Only this time when you enter your ICD3 serial number it whirs around and finally tells you........... Your Device is out of warranty, we will be charging you $50 to fix your hardly used ICD3.

I dont use all the features of the ICD3, Things like software break points I find useless, many times it skids over the stop point. So I am faced with paying $50 upfront, then postage to get it fixed or replaced. It just dosnt seem worth it, I can get a PK3 for the same money. What surprised me is I was told by MC when I got the ICD3, it was guaranteed for life! Looks like they are going down hill. I might save up for a PK3 or More likely stop using pics and go with sil labs, the parts are all smd or smaller, but the customer service is like MC's was.

I just feel conned, that suddenly a life warranty turns out to be 3 years.
 

large_ghostman

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Yeah it was common knowledge, I am sure there are threads here on it as well.

The ICD3 was considered a pro tool, it was well known they would replace without question. They have done this twice with PK3's with no issue and no cost! I got the replacements within 24 hours. Both time the devices were out of warranty, they sent the new ones, I then sent back the broken ones.

The ICD3 is supposed to be a production tool, this one hasnt been used much, they sent an email saying, They will send a payment link soon. Then after I have paid they will send a new device within 5 days!! Appalling if this was for a company.

On the new site I cant access the old support tickets, this is a shame as the life time thing was on the support reply.
 

large_ghostman

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http://www.microchip.com/mplab/emulator-and-debugger-accessories

That kind of puts the nail in the coffin for me, looks like they have gone down the special header route for ICD. Bit of a mickey take requiring a upto £40 'header' so you can use the ICD3 to debug in circuit. Nice little side line for them ;).

Why exactly would anyone buy the ICD3 these days? I cant see any advantage now over the PK3, in fact I see disadvantages using the ICD3 like having to buy expensive headers for in circuit debug. Also looks like alot of bugs in the MPLAB releases for the ICD3, maybe they are going to phase it out.
 

large_ghostman

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So where are the PK3 's you had ? .... PK3 PIC24 MPLABX XC16 the ace team !
My last PK3 died because of the old win7 driver problem, in a nutshell if you switched from pic 18 to say pic 24, the driver had to be changed each time, it would download from the web every time. But with intel based win7 64 bits it would brick them. Microchip offered me a ICD3 with the cost of the PK3 discounted, or I could have another PK3 free, I chose to upgrade to the ICD3.

The PK3 they didnt want returned, but its well and truly bricked.
 

granddad

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Hi LG, Been using PK3 ( two ) with win7 (32 and 64) with PIC18, 16, 24 and dsPIC33 4 Years or so , never had a brick , "download what from the web ?" It has to load the AP for a different device , and usually gives a connection failed a couple of times , but eventually plays ball.... still got the blighter ?
 

large_ghostman

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I still have it, they gave me the firmware to reburn the chip but it was dead as a dodo. With mine it never gave the failed to connect message, some systems apparently (like mine) would just say connecting forever.... After a couple of hours you disconnect and its dead. There was some posts on MC forum a while back on it and MC offered to replace these.

It was a specific driver that was by microsoft, it had something to do with certain processors from intell and win 7 64 bit. I dont remember all the details now, I will look for the thread on here and MC, I remember having alot of contact with MC over it. They were great at the time.
 

granddad

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Ok a little different I'm running an old 2.4g AMD Sempron , you have the FW, how did you try to flash the PK3 internal PIC device ? ( had to do this with PK2 once not a 3 )
 

large_ghostman

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Ok a little different I'm running an old 2.4g AMD Sempron , you have the FW, how did you try to flash the PK3 internal PIC device ? ( had to do this with PK2 once not a 3 )
flashing it is a nightmare!

You take it apart and on the board is a tiny, and I mean really tiny header. You have to solder very thin wires or pins into these holes, I then used a junebug (I think) to actually flash the software. Somewhere on MC forum is a long long thread on the whole painful episode.

Looking back through this forum, there is a number of threads that state the ICD3 is replaced without charge and comes with a lifetime warranty. Then again any company selling ICD RJ11 sockets going into a normal pin header for ICSP programming, and charging £12 for it is a rip off.
 

granddad

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Yes I see the small line of holes , are they not the 6 standard ICSP pins ? I need to look at the PK3 schematic, How about changing its device...

Edit ... J2 on the the PIC24...
PK3sch.jpg
 
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large_ghostman

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Yes the small holes are connected to the chip in the PK3. I could change the chip but no idea if that will fix it, MC have a pdf on USB drivers written after the problems became apparent. My main issue is the ICD3 was a life time warranty, it used to be all over their website and indeed on here. It cost alot of money, for $50 I can get 4 pickit 3 clones!

Apart from cost the ICD3 actually offers little advantage over the PK3, complex break points (they are not that great ) and software break points that dont work all the time. So many really good chip vendors with better products that are cheaper, I havnt heard back from microchip after pointing out it was supposed to be lifetime guarantee. So I have switched the project over to sil labs.
 

large_ghostman

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Well they got me by the gollies, looks like I need the pic for this project, havnt used one for ages. So I might grumble and get a PK3 clone. I said ages ago I was concerned when MC brought Atmel that the customer service would suffer.
 

large_ghostman

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Well an update.

Someone in MC decided to email me, they explained that the life warranty had always been a myth, in fact they simply recycled returned devices. It is a rather long explanation and not important. But the upshot is they decided to wave the fee. So maybe Microchip still has some of the best CS in the industry.
 
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