Report: #156809

Complaint Review: Signal Forge - Austin Texas

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: austin Texas
  • Signal Forge signalforge.com Austin, Texas U.S.A.

Signal Forge Ripoff signal generator - sf800 Austin Texas

*Author of original report: Update: Problem solved. It was an error.

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Once I received my SF800, I was disappointed with the cheap metal box that would bend under the slightest pressure from my hands or the weight of a thick book and the cheap silk-screen printing on the front plate. I also found it annoying that I wouldn't be able to put this unit in any permanent place on my workbench because the power switch is on the back of the box! Also, before I could even hook it up, I had to run to radio shack to buy an rs-232 cable that apparently isn't included. Oh, and if you have a newer computer or laptop that doesn't even have rs-232 ports, forget it !!
After I settled down after my bad 'open box experience', I hooked it up to a scope, and optimistically saw what seemed to be what was described - a inexpensive signal solution. But, the old adage was again taught to me, "you get what you pay for". However, for this unit I think it should be priced around $50 for that adage to be accurate.

I hooked the unit up with a cable (again had to purchase) to my board, and typed in the values needed for the 100MHz frequency, quickly verified the freq and amplitude with a scope, and started my development / debug. I quickly noticed that my system would crash every time I breathed the wrong way, or just looked at it wrong. I sat and debugged my problem for almost 2 days when I finally got the nerve to borrow an agilent signal generator. Bingo. Everything worked great. So, borrowing a spectrum analyzer this time, I looked at my source clock from the SF800 and to be fair, terminated it with 50 Ohms just as unit wants. What I saw, Jitter Very bad jitter and harmonics all over the place, and 'horrible' phase distortion, (not to mention the unwanted amplitude modulation). I checked and rechecked my setting and finally I went to the web site and reviewed the specs again. "Best in class jitter performance". What? I called them up and after having to leave them messages 3 times, I finally got a response 2 days latter. A guy named Steve Robalino told me that the spec was describing the main source clock (aka: the TCXO 30MHz internal clock), and after it gets multiplied, this jitter gets multiplied too. So, I figured after 2.5 ppm gets multiplied (30 MHz x ~3.3 = 100MHz), this should give me a jitter of about 250 Hz at 100MHz. Normally, this would be acceptable, but what I was seeing was a jitter bandwidth of about plus and minus 60 KHz (total of 120KHz). I told him this was very unacceptable. His comment to me was, "I'm sorry you feel this way, but we have developed this instrument to industry expected standards, and your application obviously exceeded this level of expectation". After a lengthy discussion about why he thought 1200ppm was a 'normal' expectation, I figured out that Steve was just jerking me around, and clearly knew of the low quality of the instrument and was trying to talk me into just 'going away'. It was at that point I asked for my money back and again, going through a (heated this time) discussion, I went ahead an paid the %15 percent restocking fee, which I now understand is there main source of income.

This SF800 wouldn't even be a good audio generator because the spec says 0 Hz to 800 well, I found that you'd be lucky to get anything less than a 80 KHz sine wave as the internal DC blocking capacitors are creating a filter.

I find it hard to believe that someone, knowing of the problems with the tools, continue to cheat people. It's my interpretation that their main source of income is the hope that someone won't be knowledgeable enough to find flaws in there instruments, and either doesn't return it, or does return it and pays the restocking fee. Stay away from these people!

austin, Texas

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/12/2005 02:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/signal-forge/austin-texas/signal-forge-ripoff-signal-generator-sf800-austin-texas-156809. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Author of original report

Update: Problem solved. It was an error.

AUTHOR: Lynn - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Upon sending the box back to the company, I quickly got a phone call and was told that a ghastly error had been made. It seems as though there distributor accidentally sent an early stage prototype of there product to me that was clearly not intended to be sold. To make up for my dissatisfaction and at no charge, they sent me the correct product. I can tell you there was a big difference in product quality. It did measure up to my expectations. Jitter, along with all the other unfavorable characteristics were no longer a problem. I am now pleased with it and the way the company treated this error made by that third party was well played. I will surely buy from these people again as I have other test stations to populate. I wish all companies could measure up to these people.
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