• Report: #923472

Complaint Review: Retro-Solutions

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  • Submitted: Mon, August 06, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, January 17, 2013

  • Reported By: Electronics Pro — Reeders Pennsylvania United States of America
Retro-Solutions
61 Arrow Road, Unit #9 Internet United States of America

Retro-Solutions Todd Strong Lifetime warranty That Does NOT Exist!! Internet

*Consumer Comment: What joke

*Author of original report: Retro-Solutions has a A rating with the BBB??

*Author of original report: 55 watt competitors ballast at half the price works fine

*Consumer Comment: Retro-solutions LLC is a RIP-OFF!

*UPDATE Employee: What Delusion and Fiction Can not Fix

*Author of original report: Great Photography, have you heard of Video!!

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: comment

*Author of original report: Todd Strongs' Illusional World and Excuses!

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: The Whole Story...

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 I purchased my 55 Watt HID Kit at a cost of $177.00 on 4/19/2011 and installed it per the instructions included (There is only 1 way you can install this kit). I have had only the Passengers side Ballast fail twice in this time. Upon returning the first ballast to Retro-Solutions I was told there was corrosion on the power leads contacts and my failure to use Dielectric Grease is one of the causes of the Ballasts failure. NOTE: That dielectric grease is not included in the install kit or mentioned on Retro-Solutions website or installation instructions. From my stand point dielectric grease at a cost of $5.00 per tube is Retro-Solutions responsibility to provide with the kit or Retro-Solutions is responsible for the failure. Even using dielectric grease is not the answer as it does not last forever and a water tight boot to cover the connection should be provided.
The next reason for the ballast failure according to Retro-Solutions is the ballast is"LOCKED OUT"? A technology term Retro-Solutions uses to cover up the same problems all HID kits have which is a failing igniter. Retro-Solutions claims to have a special protection circuit to prevent the ballast from being damaged by erratic voltages but, with both of my ballast failures the smell of burn't circuitry emanated out of both ballasts meaning Retro-Solutions protection circuit protected nothing . Secondly rather than UNLOCKING the "LOCKED OUT" ballast and returning the ballast to you, Retro-Solutions sends you an Invoice for $29.00 for a replacement ballast not for repair of your "LOCKED OUT" ballast? 
When I questioned Todd Strong of Retro-Solutions about these issues I was told they would ship me a replacement ballast as a courtesy but, I needed to fix my cars electrical problem?
My Chrysler does have an Electrical Problem it requires a Can Bus Ballast which is something Retro-Solutions seems to know nothing about. Short of that my Factory Navigation, 2 LCDS and 6 disc DVD all work without problems and factually are much more sensitive to Electrical issues than an AC Ballast will be.
My second ballast has still not be replaced under Retro-Solutions advertised Lifetime Warrant and I have been without it for 4 weeks now!!!
So I will advise all people looking to purchase an HID Kit from Retro-Soultions to look somewhere else and be sure you are purchasing an HID kit that is correct for your vehicles electrical system.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/06/2012 10:12 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Retro-Solutions/internet/Retro-Solutions-Todd-Strong-Lifetime-warranty-That-Does-NOT-Exist-Internet-923472. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

What joke

AUTHOR: Brondon - ()

Youre a total scam dude face it you have zero integrity and are a misserable human being and a down right thief. Your "its the consumers fault" story is old. You have no business working in any industry that handles money. You dont care about the customer you only care about their wallet. You deserve to be put in jail for stealing from so many people. Theif!

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#2 Author of original report

Retro-Solutions has a A rating with the BBB??

AUTHOR: Electronics Pro - (United States of America)

Now how is that possible? 5 Complaints, well, you can make that 6 now and Todd plug you company name in and scroll thru the results, I think you will be surprised that there are LOT's of consumers complaining about your defective over priced crap!! All with different vehicles and the same results. I guess you are right, none of us know how to plug and play an HID kit!!
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#3 Author of original report

55 watt competitors ballast at half the price works fine

AUTHOR: Electronics Pro - (United States of America)

You are so full of your own s**t, follow the instructions use dielectric grease not included and not mentioned in any of the instructions. Ship the kit with all the necessary supplies to do the install with the instructions. Protection circuit that only resets when sent back to you and than you get to charge me for shipping and another ballast.

Do not tell me it is an installation problem it has been documented by me and numerous other consumers that your make believe protection circuit is a hoax, It is most likely a  time engineered failing component to enable you to sell more ballasts.

To date same car 55watt ballast half the price of yours 1 year warranty from them and it is still working over a year now. On a Can Bus system which does not exist, so come out to NJ and I will let you hook up a wire you believe is not a Canbus system on my Chrysler or Ford and see if it works for you and what kind of damage it creates by ignoring what you say does not exist!

Why don't you do the world a favor and stand behind what you sell or close your doors. Your lifetime warranty is a joke, your excuses are an insult to the average mans intelligence and your customer service is non existent. I hope you can sleep well at night knowing you took my money and now my ballast and screwed me completely. I hope one day I get enough consumer complaints to make it worth my time to take your rip off a** to court and make you pay up and close your doors for false advertising, fraud and deceit!! 
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#4 Consumer Comment

Retro-solutions LLC is a RIP-OFF!

AUTHOR: Ripped off - (United States of America)

I also paid too much for an HID kit from retro-solutions being mis-lead by their "guarantee". There is no guarantee here!! The kit supplied from retro- solutions is the same as the $40 kits on Ebay.

I sent one ballast back after doing all the diagnostics as required on their site. On my truck thier ballast went out in less than 4 months. I know it was the ballast because I checked both bulbs on the good, working, ballast and both bulbs worked. I swapped out ballasts and the ballast wouldnt work where the good one did. 


When I sent the faulty ballast in, I was notified by email that water had gotten into the boot where a connection was made and that the warranty would NOT be honored because I did not use die- electric grease and that this grease is cheap and is so cheap it is found on the counters of auto parts stores. 

If it is so cheap, then grease these things prior to sending them out!! Also, this boot and connection is supplied by retro- solutions in the kit! Retro soultions takes a cheap $40 chinese HID kit and repackages it as an american company and re-sells for 4x profit!

There was a serious attempt by retro solutions to find anything wrong I did to NOT honor their warranty. There should be a no questions asked, no hassle warranty. Instead I was given the run around on possible causes of ballast being faulty, including me not using a wiring harness, and me not supplying them a make and model of my truck at ordering. I told them during the ordering process it was NOT asked for it and if it was so important, to have the ordering system adjusted to make that information a required field.

I later recieved an email telling me my ballast is working and that it was ALWAYS working and that I am to send them $20 for shipping it back to me. They were holding my ballast HOSTAGE! I was also told if I did not buy a wiring harness from them that they would not honor their warranty due to some "ballast lock out". I swear they made that term up. I told them both ballasts were working fine without any wiring harness and that one is STILL working fine without one.

I paid the ransom and and now have the ballast back- working fine WITHOUT a wiring harness. Do NOT do business with retro solutions. The life time warranty is just bait and their reasoning to charge you more for cheap HID kits. 
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#5 UPDATE Employee

What Delusion and Fiction Can not Fix

AUTHOR: Retro-Solutions - (United States of America)

Figured an alternate reality of some kind would be the subject of any rebuttal made, despite proof positive that your assumptions and claims were absolutely incorrect.

"Now you sent these Video Clips which I am still laughing about and really must take me and the general population for fools. Why was there 4 or 5 video clips and not 1 continuous video? You stopped the video to do what? Change the connections, change the marked ballasts, fix the
ballast that I sent you, who knows you have thousands of Ballasts and none with serialized Circuit boards or parts on them."
For one thing, different tests, not that you would really understand we suppose. Also to clearly show the serialization to prove to you that your previous claim before and now after that we are somehow creating a false whatever because the manufacturer will not provide replacement for you outside of warranty based on their being no manufacturing defects present in the equipment you have claimed under warranty.

"What is even better is that since my last post that your competitors ballast was plugged into your wiring harness, relay, light bulb and the same car you claim is defective and functions flawlessly!! Better yet and half the price!!"
Not to mention lower output than rated most likely, and thus does not use the same input power. Likely we have probably wised up a bit since last time and hopefully taken to heart or at least head that the instructions, advice, and recommendations given to you on numerous occasion were for nothing more that your benefit. Hopefully so before you end up with more expensive damage on the vehicle side of things.

"I just hope that your future customers read this so they know what they are or are not getting. Besides the fact you still claim there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast! "
For a self proclaimed electrical engineer and expert at many things automotive electrical related, and other claims... after having the reality of this explained to you since there was clearly no understanding of what it really was, there is still this delusion.  People say the Holocaust never happened, but that doesn't make it true no matter what claim you make about it, especially when proof shows evidence otherwise. Maybe it would be better to follow product instructions, follow vendor and manufacturer recommendation, directions, and advice rather than conjure up fictional reality, insult, make racial slurs, and threaten the vendor over the telephone when things go badly just as instructions indicate will occur as a result!
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#6 Author of original report

Great Photography, have you heard of Video!!

AUTHOR: Electronics Pro - (United States of America)

Now you sent these Video Clips which I am still laughing about and really must take me and the general population for fools. Why was there 4 or 5 video clips and not 1 continuous video? You stopped the video to do what? Change the connections, change the marked ballasts, fix the ballast that I sent you, who knows you have thousands of Ballasts and none with serialized Circuit boards or parts on them. What is even better is that since my last post that your competitors ballast was plugged into your wiring harness, relay, light bulb and the same car you claim is defective and functions flawlessly!! Better yet and half the price!! 

I just hope that your future customers read this so they know what they are or are not getting. Besides the fact you still claim there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast! 
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#7 REBUTTAL Owner of company

comment

AUTHOR: Retro-Solutions - (United States of America)


Well Mr. Villano, as you will see by the photos and videos below, that you previously disregarded having us provide to you as proof directly, the igniter you claim to be "defective" or "fried" is in fine working condition. Your "factual proof" as you previously referred to your opinion is within shown to be non-existent. It is not as you claim it to be based purely on nothing more than your personal belief, opinion does not equal fact. Your belief that somehow from the get go, when trying to help you avoid further issues was us playing a blame game with you is about the most ridiculous thing ever. What would be the point of even spending the time trying to advise you regarding the installation steps not completed, and concerns surrounding those, as a matter of blame for a part already supplied to you at our cost in courtesy? If that is what we were all about, frankly we would have had nothing to do with you even prior to the wild accusations, threats of violence, profanity etc. The thing is, we gave you advanced warning of what to do, what to look out for, what to correct and the consequences of what would happen otherwise... and when nothing was done, and what you were told would happen happened, suddenly you have a disbelief and we are out to get you.

Your account of the whole story conveniently left out your use of threats, profane language, and ever changing claim and accusations, and the fact that not once did you follow our indications for corrections. NEVER did we force you to do ANYTHING... come on now. Want to throw some other fictional victimization claim in there while we are at is? Now's the time!

Let's do a point by point here,
"If the adjoining connector to the ballast is corroded as well so why is Retro-Solutions not supplying a replacement connector ( with a max cost of $5.00) or once again the dielectric grease you keep saying is the issue? Seems like a simple fix or resolution rather than stating I am not following the instructions because if I did not follow the instructions the lights would not work at all. A light bulb is either on or off there is no in betweens so if it works for 6 months than it must be installed correctly or if we are discussing the Driver Side ballast still works for a year plus!"
The connection would never have ended up that way if the instructions were followed to begin with. The wiring harness is not covered under warranty past 30 days for one thing and not for environmental damage because instructions were not followed in the first place. However, if you had actually asked us nicely we would have helped you out with that... would have been a far better solution than combating us at every step. Surely calling up and threatening the person on the other end of the phone probably was not the best way to have us help you, not that you ever allowed us to. If you asked for dielectric because you did not have any (hard to believe after owning auto-electrick after 20 yrs.... not that we can find anything about that booming business), didn't know what it is, or where to get it we could have helped you out there too. Instead you wanted to challenge anything and everything we advised. As the wiring connections on the vehicle exterior go unprotected or not established correctly, those make what is called resistance. Resistance causes a drop in supply voltage.... and because a ballast that powers the HID bulb has a minimum requirement for operation at each stage of operation, the lower the voltage, the higher the current draw. Also, the lower the voltage the less efficient the ballast operation is, again meaning a higher current draw for lacking efficiency. Higher current operation and lower efficiency mean more heat generated. Heat is the enemy of electrical components. Then again, you already know this from your course studies.

"6 months ago only a replacement ballast was received from Retro-Solutions, no grease , no connector, no further instructions. So what is Retro-Solutions really sending that will fix the issue? Nothing because the issue lies in the ballast which was factually burn't and admitted did show signs of corrosion at the connection points. Retro-Solutions did not return the original ballast stating you cleaned the connections or supplied the miracle cure dielectric grease. Retro-Solutions shipped a NEW Ballast! WHY? Because the original ballast was destroyed and not protected by the miracle Protection Circuit."
Further instructions were provided to you via email, to which you responded by disagreement with the advice it contained and what to do to avoid it happening again. Funny that you also claimed to us in an accusation that your received the same inspection summary both times you sent a ballast for inspection. Which is it? The same summary or no contact at all, pick one for the sake of saying that your story is not fictional, because it can not be both at the same time. In truth you were advised one on one in reply to a direct email the first time around. This most recent time our returns sent you a direct summary of inspection because of the notes on your account regarding your behavior in threatening staff with physical harm and being argumentative with any advice or instruction. Now its hillarious to see that you expected the return of the ballast that was sent in with corroded contacts, surely you know you never would have found that exceptable and would have threatened us in some way for such an act. The connections were in fact cleaned, so we could test the ballast you know... as its kind of difficult to test its functional state otherwise without greater effort. You wanted the locked ballast returned instead? Surely someone as cool as cucumber like yourself would have enjoyed that! No, instead we gave you a replacement at our cost with the steps to take to avoid it happening again... shame on us. So to you this is another igniter failure then? You do understand if the igniter failed, the cost to us to replace that for you would have been virtually zero and there would be no advice to go along with that to prevent it from happening, right?

"The idea behind you special Protection Circuit is the protect the components from being damaged and in both cases did not as you are still trying to sell me a replacement ballast. Retro-solutions is afraid the Truth will come out as there is no Protection Circuit and what is failing is the Igniter like 100's of other HID kit manufacturers."
Oops, seems we are misunderstanding the purpose of protection here. Its not to protect the ballast (inexpensive by comparison) but the host vehicle. Over temperature protection, polarity protection, instant hot re-strike, etc., those systems are in place for the equipment. Again, in the igniter swap we performed you will clearly see the igniter works just fine.

"Furthermore when I requested Retro-Solutions to send me the Inspection Report more excuses were given and since the Circuit Boards are not serialized in this application even sending an Inspection  report would be questionable."
We did provide you with the inspection summary, twice, since you claimed after 3 weeks that we had not contacted you when in fact it was sent the very next day. Your board is serialized, as you see below, conveniently your serial number is right next to the igniter in the particular generation. The only thing questionable here is why not use our advice instead of making up reasons not to.

"Here we go again with the Instructions scenario, well obviously I have read the instructions and at last view Retro-Solutions does not mention anything about dielectric grease still. Once again there is only 1 way to install the kit when it is a 55 watt High Low kit requiring relayed power from the battery. If you try to deviate from the install you will be forced to modify/extend the connectors or harness to do so."
Apparently you are not following the instructions sent with all your order confirmation emails, etc. Let's even assume that you did not receive instruction.... we advised you on what to do after the first time you ran into troubles, all you did was argue why not to follow the advice and instructions. And this statement right here should also be a clue to you that your understanding of "canbus" systems is also very flawed.

"Retro-Solutions once again still has not provided any proof of the failure of the ballast as requested and I have NEVER DENIED further proof of what the diagnosis was. Did I block there email?? No I did not. I pictured the ballast prior to sending it in and my inspection and pictures show NO corrosion on the contacts and the smell of burn't components contrary to Retro-Solutions manufactures findings."
We asked you if you wanted proof several times, to which you stated it did not matter what we showed you. Frankly, it takes time to show you this if you really want to think we have been pulling you leg for the last year and a half, so if you tell us it doesn't matter to you then we're not going to take the time to do it just for our fun. We also told you how it is tested for such in inspection/testing. Well now you can see for yourself whether you care to or not. Your email was blocked though after fair warning regarding your language and behavior. You can't see a scent, so not sure how a photo would show this and there are no burnt components. You never shared any said photo with us, but hopefully you have one documenting the serial number on the case to compare with the igniter swap below. There is not a lot of corrosion on the contacts that were left unprotected, but its unfortunately just in the right spot where a little bit can really matter. If you really have a photo and not making that up as well, you can compare. You honestly should check things out because it did not come from the ballast, so its from something else entirely if there is any truth to that smell.

"Corrosion on the contacts is an easy fix when the manufacture designs there items to be installed in under hood conditions and obviously Retro-Solutions or there manufacturer does not. No boot, no grease, no water/weather proof connections are provided, lack of o-rings on all connection points. What do you think the end result will be? Even the ballast casing is not water/weather proof."
Now its just time start making things up again! There are seals, but seals are not 100% reliable all the time. They also cause a bigger problem if water is forced in past them, a seal is dirty, cut, torn, etc. and leaks it can trap water or moisture in. Sometimes people take them off, we've even seen seals used as covers on screw threads for who knows what purpose, but that is not where they are supposed to be! Although seals are provided on the connection that initially caused you trouble, you can see this now obviously is the case and why the dielectric is called for. There are boots and seals and instructions on how to protect all the connections appropriately... but you do have to use them. The ballasts are internally potted, encapsulating all the internal components as you can see below as well.

"The illusion Retro-Solutions has the boots, and water tight connections fail is unrealistic and just another excuse in regards to there lack of knowledge and further design flaws. In all reality any connection will fail eventually and dielectric grease will fail too. But with the millions of cars on the road today all with electrical connections 10 times more sensitive to stray voltage or corrosion all manage to last how many years or miles on a car without these issues. On many cars aren't computer installed in the engine bay or like the Chrysler Mini Vans the Transmission computers on the lower corner of the transmission at puddle height!! Seems to me the truth here speaks for itself. Just like how the Drivers Side Ballast which is still installed under the same conditions has not failed. This is proof positive not blind luck that the Installation is correct, the dielectric grease or corrosion is not the answer, that the is a manufacturers flaw in the design and not the vehicle, installer, instructions, etc are not to blame!"
... and auto manufacturers use dielectric grease on exterior connections, well now why would they do that? The grease on the bulb connections... dielectric. Grease on the spark plugs and boots... dielectric. Funny thing is, we have yet in nine years to see dielectric grease fail, when its used it does a great job doing EXACTLY WHAT IT IS PURPOSELY DESIGNED FOR! But again, its a defective igniter right? So when its shown to work when transplanted into another ballast with an unlocked control board its still us BS'ing you? OR MAYBE your blind luck is that without following our advice, without replacing the harness, the plug, the seal even, or just using the dielectric we told you to use would be the reason for relapse of trouble on the same issue side again?

"A Contractor to Electrical Engineer? Maybe you should read my resume in full before you think you know something about me. I guess you failed to read the part of Owner Auto-Electricks for 20 years a Million dollar aftermarket Electronics Company or the Associates Degree in Industrial Electronics  that appears and can be verified on my resume too. I am sorry did you not mention that you send the failed components back to the manufacturer for diagnosis? So what real world credentials do you have to offer Todd Strong other than being a reseller of some generic HID Kit most likely from China? Seeing here that you do not even do the diagnosis I doubt by any means you could even install an Auto alarm or have a clue what Can Bus technology is. And to further say that there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast kit or that Can Bus is really just some over inflated new marketing scheme just proves my point as your lack of knowledge in the industry amazes me."
For one, don't care about your credentials or lack thereof, its moot. For another, for such a great company we can not find any record, or any business filings at all. We never told you we did not inspect and test the item here directly. You can buy an auto alarm at Walmart, that hardly makes anyone a specialist in anything, especially one who doesn't follow directions for an HID installation after being told what happens when you don't! We know what canbus technology is, however you do not have any idea what it really means in as much regarding HID as will be explained below. Canbus, which the misinterpretation of what we meant as it being a buzzword for HID vendors, by the very misunderstanding of what was meant by this shows a clear lacking of understanding. It was not to say that auto manufacturers are not using control are network systems in vehicles, but that "canbus" ballasts are not what you think they are. After all, where is the communication connection between the ballast and vehicle? What is truly amazing is lack of that understanding from a self-proclaimed expert.

"When ordering from Retro-Solutions do you not require the Year Make and Model of my vehicle? Retro-Solutions factually does and asked me again after the first ballast failure."
You indicated 'other' on your order, is there a point here? No matter what we told you at anytime, it was not heeded, or you thought we were trying to get money out of you or something. If we told you x,y,z was needed for your vehicle you wouldn't have done it anyway!

"Now when using a Non Can Bus ballast on a Can Bus vehicle the ballast will try to fire the igniter multiple times as the ballast will not recognize the bulb is lit and you will notice the light blink on and off very quickly. Quicker than a strobe light would blink. Does anyone think that that firing an igniter multiple times in a vehicle with any type of electrical system is  not going to result in electrical issues? The battery of the car will have to suppress the large Voltage and Current Surges and that is if it can handle all Voltage and Amperage spikes. So where is the left over stray voltage or current going? To the capacitors, chips, circuits, light bulbs and sub systems in the car most likely the ones with the largest demand or closest to the over voltage condition. Now can you explain why Retro-Solutions states there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast I gather than there is no such thing as a Capacitor which is also used on many older non Can Bus applications to resolve the igniter multiple ignition issue."
Uh oh, guess we are a little bit confused here about CAN bus! In reality, any vehicle built and sold in the US since what, 1995 or so is technically CAN bus or "canbus" for the buzzword usage there. Whenever OBD was mandated pretty put the requirement in there. Somewhere along the way it got synonymous with lighting systems that regulate voltage in certain ways or where sensors are integrated in for monitoring load.
A ballast's igniter function would not be directly controlled by network communication on "canbus" vehicle. The igniter will attempt ignition 3x or whatever the ballast topology and control allows for, per attempt at ignition. The control area network (CAN), meaning data from a sensor somewhere will not determine what the ballast's igniter circuit is going to do. Where is it communicating with the ballast controls or sensor in the ballast for that to happen? Recognizing the bulb is lit, many ballasts do not even do this, let alone it having anything to do with the CAN on the vehicle. The simplest control from would be x ignition strikes over y time, and then the takeover/ramp-up events occur as clock work. Of course the agreeable more proper way would be to do x ignition over y time followed by takeover/ramp-up while z potential exists from breakdown voltage across the cathodes in the bulb... which for any ballast that is capable of more than passive operation so to speak would undoubtedly operate. This is always going to be controlled by internal software and power supply, not the vehicle.
First, let's make this easier to understand by breaking it down into the two parts that most people, including yourself, are calling "canbus." Some vehicles will regulate voltage to a halogen bulb head lamp circuit by modulating the duty cycle via pulse width modulation (PWM). Why you ask, because it allows for running a consistent apparent voltage and thus current draw on the circuit. It also means the halogen bulb's filament sees less current across it with the same performance as if steady current was flowing across it, the result being a better lifespan of the filament. The PWM is like having an on/off switch that automatically flips on/off at a very fast rate adjusted to the voltage level of the electrical system (battery + alternator charge). HID ballasts require steady current supply to properly function, such that on PWM systems they may flicker uncontrollably, not function at all, or run at a lower level of output cooking themselves to toast or suffer damage in other forms as well. In this instance, all a "canbus" ballast does is uses an internal capacitance and inductance to cope. The problem that comes with that is it won't work on all PWM systems because of other integrated systems and when you have a ballast that needs a constant current supply where one is constantly switching on/off it becomes rather bulimic. It has to draw more current in the less time it is available, which for the intended purpose of connection directly to a vehicle's factory wiring its a bad idea. Do you want to test the limits of the factory lighting system design on any vehicle that way? In such vehicles the proper way around that is using a relayed wiring harness to pull current off the battery and make the relay (low current requirement) compliant to the PWM system on the vehicle side.  That "canbus" ballast is not tied into any bus network communicating with the vehicle.
The other system referred to as "canbus" in lay terms are vehicles with bulb out indicators. Such vehicles will have detection of the load on the circuit or circuits, here you can use "canbus", such that if the load is too (or too high in some) it performs another function. The purpose being that halogen bulb filaments break at failure and no current flows through them anymore. That output function could be a simple idiot light on the dash indicating a bulb is out, a running message indicating exactly which bulb is out, or even shutting the circuit down. For HID the problem here is some people do not care for the lamp out indication, or the lack of any useable light output because the vehicle has shut the circuit down. The most aggravating aspect being the constant on/off flick while the vehicle sends a signal to 'check' the bulb/load and shuts off with the false result. What a "canbus" ballast here would be is nothing more than a ballast with a draw within range of the required load IF connected the the vehicle's wiring directly, generally meaning a purposely higher draw current or inefficient power source design on a 35w ballast. That's not communicating with the vehicle's network directly, the ballast is not tied in via any bus transmitting data from one microcontroller to another.
AGAIN, moot point. You are not tied into the vehicle's factory lighting system wiring directly. So PWM and non-existant bulb out indicators are not too much concern here, and not the cause of your troubles. Your power supply is dependent on the relayed wiring harness installed with the kit, that was left vulnerable to environmental damages, confirmed to have just that, and then nothing done in correction as advised. In reality, PWM systems, bulb out indicator systems, and systems that use both and more are all retrofitted successfully with the proper relay wiring and integrated components. No need for a 'canbus' ballast that may or may not work or put the vehicle at risk, and even then where a relayed wiring harness is needed the 'canbus' function wouldn't even be utilized at all since its on a completely separate circuit from the vehicle's controls. That should have been the thought process where you stop and go "hey," maybe I don't know what this 'canbus' stuff is all about if you had any familiarity with it at all.

"The real truth is that the Can Bus does exist and that Todd Strong and Retro-Solutions really know nothing about HID, Electronics or even cars. They are just middle man repeating what there supplier states to the customer. That explains 2 to 3 weeks turn around time for diagnosis and the inability to repair and return what you send in. After all what good is a protection Circuit that does not protect the ballast from being damaged."
Right, got us there. We know nothing about HID at all, electronics, or vehicles. That is why your 'defective' igniter works and you know all about 'canbus.' That would explain the reason you were sent an inspection/test summary the very next day when we received your ballast in for such. Seems the constant denial of anything we tell you is where all the time goes. Again, not what we asked for, but until the profanity and behavior took a turn for the worst we entertained your questions, accusations, etc.


"Do yourself a favor research before you buy anything from Retro-Solutions!! When a company states there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast that company should really should not be trusted to sell Snow to Eskimos let alone HID kits to anyone.

Signed the Electrical Engineer turned Contractor because anybody can build a house, water park, multi million dollar department store right?? Go on Todd Strong you can say it, they all know truth here!!!"
Just a word to the wise, the word Eskimo may be found offense to some native North American cultures, and I would NEVER think any less of ANYONE doing ANY job. My personal level of respect of another individual doesn't change regardless if they are an aerospace propulsion engineer or flipping burgers at a fast food joint. However there seems to be a nerve there, when the intention was more to debunk a ficticious claims in assumptions regarding operation. I would apologize though as you did lose a level of respect with your threats, language, and behavior some time ago.

Test for IC function and subsequent lock-out repeated, 700mA -  800mA draw @12vdc for <1s:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/ballastserial.avi
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/locktest.avi

Your ballast submission, showing the serial number that would correspond with your photo after testing and into deconstruction for igniter swap:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/1.jpg

Internally, as encapsulating potting compound is intact serving for water-proofing, vibration protection and thermal conductance. Notice none has been liquified by high temperature as would result with a "fried" component:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/2.jpg

Flip side, potting material removed to show no components on this layer, no "fry" marks, etc.:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/3.jpg

Deconstruction continues, matching serial of case:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/4.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/5.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/6.jpg

Igniter and bottom board marked with "V" for Villano
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/7.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/8.jpg

Board serial under igniter partially in this generation, match to following:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/9.jpg

Board serial and marked igniter removed:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/10.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/11.jpg

New ballast out of stock, deconstructed:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/12.jpg

Igniter removed from new ballast, marked "NV" for Not Villano
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/13.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/14.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/15.jpg

Igniter claimed "defective and fried" transplanted to unlocked/new ballast board:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/16.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/17.jpg
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/18.jpg

The result:
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/igniterswap1.avi
http://www.retro-solutions.com/avillano/igniterswap2.avi


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#8 Author of original report

Todd Strongs' Illusional World and Excuses!

AUTHOR: Electronics Pro - (United States of America)

Actually Mr Villano did tell the whole story, exact same story and was forced to respond to Retro-Soluttions laundry list of excuses of why I need to purchase a replacement ballast. But on the internet I am not the only one speaking up about Retro-Solutions product failures, blame games, manufactures defect and failing to honor the Lifetime Warranty. A Lifetime Warranty for a component failure, mainly the igniter, is factual and proof that Retro-Solutions is ignoring/excusing the defect or blaming the vehicle, the installation, etc.  as the cause. If the adjoining connector to the ballast is corroded as well so why is Retro-Solutions not supplying a replacement connector ( with a max cost of $5.00) or once again the dielectric grease you keep saying is the issue? Seems like a simple fix or resolution rather than stating I am not following the instructions because if I did not follow the instructions the lights would not work at all. A light bulb is either on or off there is no in betweens so if it works for 6 months than it must be installed correctly or if we are discussing the Driver Side ballast still works for a year plus!

6 months ago only a replacement ballast was received from Retro-Solutions, no grease , no connector, no further instructions. So what is Retro-Solutions really sending that will fix the issue? Nothing because the issue lies in the ballast which was factually burn't and admitted did show signs of corrosion at the connection points. Retro-Solutions did not return the original ballast stating you cleaned the connections or supplied the miracle cure dielectric grease. Retro-Solutions shipped a NEW Ballast! WHY? Because the original ballast was destroyed and not protected by the miracle Protection Circuit.

The idea behind you special Protection Circuit is the protect the components from being damaged and in both cases did not as you are still trying to sell me a replacement ballast. Retro-solutions is afraid the Truth will come out as there is no Protection Circuit and what is failing is the Igniter like 100's of other HID kit manufacturers. Furthermore when I requested Retro-Solutions to send me the Inspection Report more excuses were given and since the Circuit Boards are not serialized in this application even sending an Inspection  report would be questionable. My response is I will swap the current working ballast to the passengers side of my vehicle in hopes it will fail in 6 months and than have it inspected by a 3rd party to diagnose the failure and prove Retro-Solutions really has no protection circuit and no product different than anyone else is offering. Just an over inflated price and lot's of excuses!

Here we go again with the Instructions scenario, well obviously I have read the instructions and at last view Retro-Solutions does not mention anything about dielectric grease still. Once again there is only 1 way to install the kit when it is a 55 watt High Low kit requiring relayed power from the battery. If you try to deviate from the install you will be forced to modify/extend the connectors or harness to do so.

Retro-Solutions once again still has not provided any proof of the failure of the ballast as requested and I have NEVER DENIED further proof of what the diagnosis was. Did I block there email?? No I did not. I pictured the ballast prior to sending it in and my inspection and pictures show NO corrosion on the contacts and the smell of burn't components contrary to Retro-Solutions manufactures findings. Maybe they have my ballast confused with another ballast as per the email response they are very busy with service related issues?

Corrosion on the contacts is an easy fix when the manufacture designs there items to be installed in under hood conditions and obviously Retro-Solutions or there manufacturer does not. No boot, no grease, no water/weather proof connections are provided, lack of o-rings on all connection points. What do you think the end result will be? Even the ballast casing is not water/weather proof.

The illusion Retro-Solutions has the boots, and water tight connections fail is unrealistic and just another excuse in regards to there lack of knowledge and further design flaws. In all reality any connection will fail eventually and dielectric grease will fail too. But with the millions of cars on the road today all with electrical connections 10 times more sensitive to stray voltage or corrosion all manage to last how many years or miles on a car without these issues. On many cars aren't computer installed in the engine bay or like the Chrysler Mini Vans the Transmission computers on the lower corner of the transmission at puddle height!! Seems to me the truth here speaks for itself. Just like how the Drivers Side Ballast which is still installed under the same conditions has not failed. This is proof positive not blind luck that the Installation is correct, the dielectric grease or corrosion is not the answer, that the is a manufacturers flaw in the design and not the vehicle, installer, instructions, etc are not to blame!

A Contractor to Electrical Engineer? Maybe you should read my resume in full before you think you know something about me. I guess you failed to read the part of Owner Auto-Electricks for 20 years a Million dollar aftermarket Electronics Company or the Associates Degree in Industrial Electronics  that appears and can be verified on my resume too. I am sorry did you not mention that you send the failed components back to the manufacturer for diagnosis? So what real world credentials do you have to offer Todd Strong other than being a reseller of some generic HID Kit most likely from China? Seeing here that you do not even do the daignosis I doubt by any means you could even install an Auto alarm or have a clue what Can Bus technology is. And to further say that there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast kit or that Can Bus is really just some over inflated new marketing scheme just proves my point as your lack of knowledge in the industry amazes me.

When ordering from Retro-Solutions do you not require the Year Make and Model of my vehicle? Retro-Solutions factually does and asked me again after the first ballast failure. 

Now when using a Non Can Bus ballast on a Can Bus vehicle the ballast will try to fire the igniter multiple times as the ballast will not recognize the bulb is lit and you will notice the light blink on and off very quickly. Quicker than a strobe light would blink. Does anyone think that that firing an igniter multiple times in a vehicle with any type of electrical system is  not going to result in electrical issues? The battery of the car will have to suppress the large Voltage and Current Surges and that is if it can handle all Voltage and Amperage spikes. So where is the left over stray voltage or current going? To the capacitors, chips, circuits, light bulbs and sub systems in the car most likely the ones with the largest demand or closest to the over voltage condition. Now can you explain why Retro-Solutions states there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast I gather than there is no such thing as a Capacitor which is also used on many older non Can Bus applications to resolve the igniter multiple ignition issue. 

The real truth is that the Can Bus does exist and that Todd Strong and Retro-Solutions really know nothing about HID, Electronics or even cars. They are just middle man repeating what there supplier states to the customer. That explains 2 to 3 weeks turn around time for diagnosis and the inability to repair and return what you send in. After all what good is a protection Circuit that does not protect the ballast from being damaged.

Do yourself a favor research before you buy anything from Retro-Solutions!! When a company states there is no such thing as a Can Bus Ballast that company should really should not be trusted to sell Snow to Eskimos let alone HID kits to anyone. 

Signed the Electrical Engineer turned Contractor because anybody can build a house, water park, multi million dollar department store right?? Go on Todd Strong you can say it, they all know truth here!!!

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#9 REBUTTAL Owner of company

The Whole Story...

AUTHOR: Retro-Solutions - (United States of America)

Mr. Villano here is unfortunately not telling the complete story and conveniently and purposely leaving out details. He's obviously upset that we can not reasonably force the manufacturer to replace an item outside warranty, which apparently he has forgotten or does not realize would also be the preferred situation for us as well, as IF he had a valid claim the manufacturer provides replacement at virtually no cost on his behalf. If he had a valid warranty claim it could have been easily and quickly processed, unfortunately he has instead failed to follow instructions or investigate any points of concern that were addressed the first time the very same issue occurred.

1) Mr. Villano was advised over 1 yr. ago for the very same issue that the hardware he sent in under a claimed warranty was not present with any defects of manufacturing that would be under warranty coverage. He was advised the unit was "locked", what that was in case he failed to read through documentation prior to purchase, and was advised on what to look for as well as
proper installation steps (some obviously not completed by the condition of the unit sent in for inspection/testing). At that time a one-time courtesy replacement was provided, meaning we supplied a new unit at our cost along with the means to prevent the safety system engagement and damage from occurring again. Even though dielectric grease as required in instructions was not used, and even though corrosion was present on electrical contacts (likely due to the opposing connection not replaced as advised previously), we did not indicate to him this was the need for the safety system to engage directly. It MAY be a
contributing cause, however there are other vehicle exterior connections required that we would also assume have not been prepared and protected accordingly as well that are equally as likely to be causes.

2) Mr. Villano by his own admission has NOT followed the installation instructions as he now claims, nor after advised with the previous inspection and courtesy replacement. He goes back and forth between claiming it wasn't required per instructions or that it was not supplied to him, or that he simply disagrees with its use due to fictional physiochemical properties that do not
exist. We do not understand why the story keeps changing here, we do not believe that Mr. Villano has ever read the instructions he was provided with on several occasions, and after the specific points be addressed directly in conversations he replied to over a year ago regarding the first occurrence. 

3) Mr. Villano then kept making up new versions of his claim on the second unit, such as no corrosion being present from unprotected contacts and we were making things up in inspection. We offered to provide photographs for proof, he declined and then moved to a new claim that previously was never mentioned, that he "smelled" electrical smoke, and there was
therefore a "burnt" component within the unit.  Again we confirmed the results of testing indicating that was not possible, offered photographs for proof to show no "burnt" components in the unit, and again he declined stating it did not matter and a new claim. He then claimed the igniter unit was defective and that was why it wasn't really working. We offered again, to provide proof of this claim not holding up either, for which again he declined stating it does not matter.

4) At this time we indicated to Mr. Villano that we would provide to him in the extreme situation on non-belief that we once again provide to him a free replacement unit as a courtesy to mitigate the situation if he agreed to follow installation instructions, realize we are only want to help him avoid the issue again by proper installation, and that if he does not do so that we would no longer be able to offer any replacements to him outside of warranty coverage.  Mr. Villano refused the courtesy replacement

5) Mr. Villano become extremely belligerent and started making wild accusations regarding what he purchased was not x,y and z.... when x, y, and z were never indicated to him, made available, or were misapplied buzzwords often used by vendors or similar equipment that we do not use nor claim. He also stated that the equipment was damaging his vehicle, however was unable to ever indicate in what way that his vehicle was being "damaged" and then resorted to profanity and further wild accusations and threats.

6) Simple facts exist, one being if you do not follow instructions, and the refusal to install according to those would be reason for
the manufacturer to void any warranty claim even IF there was a valid claim. Overlooking that matter, when being notified of why something is, how to avoid it from recurring, and doing nothing as advised pretty much paves the road for imminent
disaster. We basically told Mr. Villano on no uncertain terms about a year ago if installation was not corrected that the same issue would occur again, and ultimately he did nothing.

7) Water tight boots can fail, they can get dirty, cut, etc.  They are not 100% fail safe. That is the requirement for use of the dielectric indicated in instructions. Other contacts and connections do not have such mating connectors and are otherwise exposed to elements if not protected accordingly per instructions. Furthermore the corrosion that resulted from the failure to use it the first time around would also be present on the wiring side of contact, which was recommended for replacement or certainly would be a problem on any new unit in the old units place, was consequently never replaced.
 
8) There is no such thing as a canbus ballast, this is a buzzword used by other vendors. Surely the customer here that seemingly suddenly took a career change from a construction contractor to a claimed industrial electrical engineer would know why that is. Even if such a ballast existed, the wiring system setup involved would not allow such a fictional component to
operate as he claims it needs to. We do not offer canbus ballasts for good reason, never have, never claimed to however we are well known for systems that work on vehicle operating systems commonly referred to correctly and incorrectly as canbus. Nor did Mr. Villano ever communicate with us prior to purchase about the needs of his vehicle specifically, which albeit is a moot
point in his application. Does not apply.

9) As far as his advisement to others to purchase a kit correct for the vehicles electrical system we can not agree more. Someone might want to take a few minutes to follow their own advice. However wed add that its also just as important to use the instructions, advice, and help of the vendor/producer/ or manufacturer of ANY product to avoid any unneeded problems from occurring!
 
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