Surveillance Repair Company On Brands and Products That Fail

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Jul 06, 2016

Jonathan Pine, CEO of DVR repair company Renova provided details  about which brands of DVR's/NVR's and cameras are most commonly sent in to his company for repair.

We provide an analysis of his services and where it makes sense for integrators to repair vs. replace failed equipment.

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Comments (20)

Thanks for the informative article. I've often wondered who typically uses this type of service and why. Much cheaper to repair over replacing if budgets are tight. I'm going to assume this is typically done for items out of warranty as I would be concerned about voiding a warranted item.

Yes, I think this is primarily beneficial for an out of warranty device vs. something that you could get repaired under warranty by the manufacturer.

"Despite being noted as a failure prone camera, Renova does not get a lot of business from Arecont cameras"

I remember Arecont having some pretty inexpensive repair rates for their own repair services, so maybe that is why it is low. Another reason may be the same as ours- single lens Arecont cameras that have failed out of warranty we've been phasing out with other brands instead of replacing with another Arecont. That leaves the multsensor models, which are a small percentage of cameras.

Renova's services make great sense, especially the shorter turn around time for video components out of warranty.

Short Circuit Electronics in Missouri is a strong competitor and also does refurbish service for alarm panels & some components, and includes re-installation for many chain retail clients. These companies fill a void that makes sense for end users and integrators alike especially given the tight budgets during the sluggish economies we all are enduring.

Jack, thanks. I added a link to them in your comment.

Anyone else with any other repair firm recommendations, please share.

Since Clinton Electronics was mentioned in this article, I feel the need to comment.

1. We do not authorize any outside repair company to repair our products (In warranty or out of warranty).

2. We have never once talked to Renova nor have they ever contacted us about repairing Clinton Electronics product.

3. We offer a 3-year warranty on all of our products with 1st-year advance replacement. When the product is beyond the warranty period, we will still repair our products for a small fee. We do this as a service to our customers and do not see it as a "money-making opportunity." Our typical repair fee is less than $150 and is never higher than that for a DVR.

4. Our DVRs use Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and any type of repair to an SMT circuit board is typically not recommended. I don't know what Renova's process is for repairing our DVRs nor do I know about Renova's claim that our DVRs have a "wide variety of failures." We simply do not see it, and Renova has never graced us with their feedback or even bothered to contact us.

5. We have less than a 3% percent failure rate on all Clinton DVRs and most of the time the failure is Hard drive related. Take out Hard drive related failures and our failure rate is about 1%.

In conclusion, We have nothing to hide. I am not even posting as an Undisclosed Manufacturer like most manufacturers who comment on this site do. If anyone has a question on Clinton Electronics product or would like to discuss further, they can comment or contact me directly.

Brian Karas, same goes for you too. Next time, please reach out to me. I have never questioned the integrity of IPVM, and I am an avid reader. I am happy to help out or comment when I can.

But I do think that in the best interest of all IPVM readers - it's only fair to reach out those who are being criticized for their comment to present both sides of the story.

Dan - thanks for your comment, and I apologize for not contacting you earlier. I will reach out to Renova and see what their response is.

Dan -

I removed the section about Clinton electronics. I spoke with the owner of Renova just now to get more clarification on this. While he did reiterate that he had a low opinion of Clinton product, he clarified that he has only repaired monitors from Clinton and not DVRs as was previously stated in the article.

He also says that he had a conversation ~3 years ago with your son in law about doing repairs for your products and that you shot the idea down.

Jonathan may add additional commentary to this.

Brian, I am extremely frustrated and upset by what appears to be an attempt to create contention. I was only just introduced to your publication, and it has many good articles and discussions. I saw none that took this tonality, the likes of which are typically encountered in comments on Facebook. Please do not take what I say out of context again. And Mr. Clinton's son was professional, pleasant, and eager to drive the success of his company. To say Mr. Clinton "shot the idea down" is again, contentious. Please stop. Thankyou.

In respectful response to Mr. Clinton who makes some very valid points: We have only repaired 3 different Clinton Electronics devices over the last 3 years – and they were monitors. We do not see any Clinton product coming in from the major integrators, nor the super-regionals. This could be either because of their three year warranty, or because our customers happen to simply not use a lot of the Clinton Electronics products. I would not know unless I received those products in for repair or my customers indicated that they have many in the field

It would be unfair to judge the robustness and longevity of any manufacturer's products without performing a statistically valid study over a long period of time. "Mean time to failure" is extremely difficult to predict. And there are companies that specialize in determining such. Renova does not.

Outside of the Security Industry, we specialize in component/board level repair for OEM's such as NCR, Xerox and many others. We collect the detailed repair data, analyze it and provide it to the OEM's so that they can effect engineering changes, drive efficiencies, be proactive in relation to field service, etc. It has been harder to develop such relationships in the Security Industry as it is a much younger industry and the technology is newer and more rapidly developing from both the hardware and software standpoint. Furthermore, much of the product has simply 'not been out there' long enough to require repair. We do, however, happily repair directly for several OEM's in the Security Industry.

I approached Clinton Electronics about three years ago to see my company could become an authorized repair center for Clinton Electronics and was actually visited by an executive from Clinton. At the time there was no interest expressed. I would not be surprised if Mr. Clinton does not remember this, as I never had the pleasure of speaking to him directly -- and would welcome such an opportunity.

I would never be foolish enough to state that either Clinton's or any manufacturer’s products are the "worst made"-- and from what I have seen at trade shows, Mr. Clinton's technology is pretty state-of-the-art. The writer of this article was mistaken.

But Mr. Karas was correct in writing that the degree of difficulty in repair varies widely from OEM to OEM and changes over time as they use different contract manufacturers. Renova has to spend countless hours in studying an OEM's products, often having to perform reverse engineering prior and developing a repair methodology specific to a product. We then continuously refine our repair methodology as we gather detailed repair data over time. Some products are extremely difficult to repair, others not.

We have specialized in commercial rather than residential security equipment, as the MSRP justifies the hour(s) a product might require to repair it to the OEM (and our customers') standards.

Renova has repaired perhaps one million circuit boards over the last 18 years at component level, often performing BGA replacements. A very large proportion of these have been SMT. The average time to troubleshoot a circuit board and repair it properly may take as much as several hours. Therefore, the replacement cost of the circuit board must be high enough to justify the cost of repair. This is only encountered in high end commercial security equipment.

I apologize to Mr. Clinton if anything I stated while speaking to the writer would have been interpreted as "worst manufactured." This is simply not true - to my knowledge and experience.

Jonathan -

In our initial phone conversation when I asked you about what you felt were some of the worst/most prone to repair products you specifically mentioned Clinton Electronics and lumped them in with what you described as “all the Chinese shit” (I quoted that statement specifically in my notes). Later in the conversation when we were discussing product quality in the industry you again referred to Clinton and called them “the worst built”.

After seeing Dan’s comment here I called you again to get additional details on why you felt so strongly about Clinton, I told you that Dan had commented disagreeing with your assessment of Clinton Electronics and you took the same position again, dismissing Clinton and saying “his shit is all junk”. When I pressed you for more specific details you then told me you had repaired “only 3 models of Clinton product, all being monitors”. I emailed you Dan’s quote, and this article, and after that you began to back off from your position significantly.

As our previous coverage of Clinton shows, we have no strong opinion of them either way. They were included in the article only because you mentioned them twice in our initial conversation, both times with a highly negative opinion.

That noted, since you now have expressed a different opinion, we have adjusted our coverage (including removing that text from the report) to reflect your current position.

I have never questioned the integrity of IPVM

Since you passively aggressively questioned our integrity, let me respond.

This person offered his opinion on his overall experiences with Clinton and other products. He is entitled to his opinion and you are welcome to share yours. If there are specific, well defined technical questions to address, we certainly reach out to manufacturers but if it is just overall experience and someone else opinion, we do not.

I checked with Brian that the discussion with the subject on Clinton was specifically about DVRs. If the subject now wants to change his mind because you have publicly criticized him, we will certainly reflect that but we accurately reported this person's opinion at the time he provided it to us.

Hi John,

My comment is was not made in a passive aggressive manner and I apologize if its was read that way. It's not a jab at IPVM and I do not question your Integrity.

I understand that this is an opinion piece and Jonathan Pine from Renova is certainly entitled to his opinion just as I am entitled to my own opinion and IPVM theirs.

I just wanted to make sure the statements on Clinton product are based on factual information. As it turns out

I do not question the Integrity of IPVM and have not had any reason to do so. In fact I think Brian showed a lot of integrity by reaching back out to Renova for clarification.

Thanks for responding.

Hello all. I felt compelled to chime in based on my experience with Clinton Electronics over the past 10 years. I have sold/installed hundreds if not thousands of Clinton analog cameras and monitors. I can say I have no experience with the recorders. I really never had any loyalty to analog camera manufacturers. I can tell you that my primary PC monitor is a Clinton 26" that I purchased in 2006 and STILL WORKS like a champ. The mini dome cameras are of exceptional quality and reliability especially at the price point. For analog camera replacement I would pick Clinton over pretty much any other analog camera manufacturer. Picture quality is great and always has been. Their customer service is fantastic. Mr. Clinton, keep up the good work!

I have to somewhat agree with Dan... in all fairness, why weren't the manufactures contacted for follow up comments to the articles? Also, why not list what the true issues are? If indeed it's hard drives, well we all know that an entirely separate issue depending on which brand is selected and used in the DVR.

He needs to do more research before he makes claims about what ANY dealer does with ANY brand of equipment when it presumably 'fails'. I can assure you from straight on experience that every dealer does not 'toss out' every Hikvision product.

On the other hand perhaps one should consider the size of the size of the HikVision repair department compared to the 100's of thousands of cameras they sell yearly.

Does Renova repair Bosch DVR's? Every single one of the Bosch DVRs we have installed has failed. In the last four years, we have been replacing them with Hikvision with much success. If it's possible to have them repaired we might consider it. I have a police station that needs a couple repaired.

John, yes we do, and you would be welcome to contact me.

Most of Renova's Bosch repairs have been cameras. Very few, if even any, Bosch DVR's have been received over the past few years. Perhaps a few of the encoders, the X16XF-E. If you would like to send a few in for repair, there is no risk-- as there is no charge if the units cannot be repaired. If you email the model numbers, Renova can supply a budgetary repair price. Renova normally provides a 90 day warranty on the repair, however, if would be interesting to know your experience in how long repairs have endured in the field - or are you speaking of units that were never repaired by passed the warranty period? As we repair so many other manufacturers DVR's, we do not think it would provide a major challenge -- but we would not know until we receive them.

Just stumbled on this article from 2016. Since that time, security equipment repairs have grown by about 25% per year and seem to be continuing. We repair for 4 out of the top 7 SDM 100, regional and smaller integrators, department of homeland security, veterans affairs, municipalities, correctional facilities, banks, and self maintaining enterprises -- about 150 different customers. Last year (2017) our customers saved about $7Million by repairing rather than replacing out-of-warranty equipment. We anticipate $10Million in savings this year. We now repair about 1,600 different models of cameras, dvr/nvr, and access control from 60+ manufacturers.

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