In late November I posted a question re:
3 Panasonic Univeral Chargers (EY0230 7.2-15.6V) Croak.
I've got three of these puppies and 6 batteries they charge,
for the two Panasonic Cordless Drills I have - and need to
After figuring out that there was no Reset Button on the
chargers and no externall access to a fuse, I hoped that
there was an internal fuse that could be replaced.
The next diagnostic step would be to open up the charger
and look for a fuse - or Reset Button.
The plastic case is held together with four screws - which
happened to be a special "star - with nipple" type - not a
more standard philips head or even a square drive head.
Panasonic apparently doesn't want you getting into their
charger for some reason.
But that's OK - I've got a fairly complete set of tips
- including a range of "star - with hole" tips.
Clever (or devious) Panasonic seems to have foreseen
this possibility - so - the they made the diameter of the
hole through which the screw is placed just barely larger
that the screw head that must go in it. AND - they made
the hole deeper than the "star with hole" tip can fit in
and have enough outside the hole to be able to turn it.
THAT meant that even though I HAVE the right "star with
hole" tip - I can't use it because the "hex drive" head
the tips fit into - has an outside diameter BIGGER than
the diameter of the hole it, and the "star with hole" tip,
must fit into.
SO - in early December I find that there is only ONE Panasonic
Service Center within 50 miles of me. Fortunately, it's only
a half mile from home. Things are looking up!
Unfortunately - this Authorized Service Center also is the
authorized service center - for EVERY PHREAKIN' electronic
device - from Braum electric razors to commercial kitchen
appliances - AND - every vacuum cleaner manufacturer
- on the PLANET! Did I mention that they also SELL just
about every small kitchen appliance - and kitchen accessories?
Now my hope was that THEY would have a tool that would
remove the "special screws" holding the case together -
AND - that I could BUY one - AND replacement parts if
needed and available - since I've got THREE of these chargers.
Great - they have the "special screw driver" - so THEY can
get into the plastic case. BUT - they CAN'T sell ME one -
because they're "not allowed to". Only Authorized Panasonic
Service Centers are authorized to have the "special screw
OH JOY! Only THEY can open the plastic case - and THEY
apparently have only ONE service tech - AND - THEY service
EVERYTHING - EVERY small appliance maker makes - AND
we're now in The Christmas Rush.
Did I mention that their only service tech had been out for
four days - with The Flu? That's right, it's also The Flu
Season. So it's Ho-Ho-Ho - Sneeze -Sniffle and - Barf!
And THAT means that anything that came in BEFORE I
brought in my charger - and battery - are at LEAST four
days ahead of me. I found this out after waiting a week
before calling to see if my charger had been even looked
So I wait ANOTHER WEEK - and stop in to see how things
are going - they're only a half mile away - remember?
"I'm sorry - the paperwork got separated from the charger
and the charger got separated from the battery - so the
tech didn't know what to do with either of them - so - nothing
has been done on/with them. I have put things all together
and it's all back in the tech area waiting for the tech to get
to them. Check back in a couple of days."
I wait THREE days, just to cut the tech some slack, and
stop in AGAIN. And now we're close to Christmas - and
there's a line of Fellow Sufferers ahead of me. And
this place apparently just got a delivery of small kitchen
appliances AND vacuum cleaners - the NEW Dyson Ball
model - along with fifteen or twenty Commercial Espresso
Machines - the BIG ones. Did I mention that they don't
seem to have a storage room - because all this STUFF
is stacked up on just about every square foot of floor
space - except for a narrow aisle from the door to the
counter? That means 8 or 10 people are stacked up
in a small space - and it seems everyone is holding some
medium sized thing that needs repair or servicing - and
when one turns - even slightly - the whole line has to
shift to make some room.
OH - and the being "served" has a Braun electric shaver
- the one with the "wet self cleaning" feature and he has
PLENTY of questions.
"Rather than use Braun's EXPENSIVE "head cleaner" - can
I just use alcohol?" Oh - I see. Alcohol will destroy some
of the parts in the "head". Well - is there another - less
expensive "head cleaner solution" I CAN use? No? Well
can I get a discount on the Braun "special head cleaning
solution" - if I buy - TWO!? No? Well what if I buy THREE?
Oh - there is NO discount - at ALL?
So you're telling me the ENTIRE "head assembly" now must
be replaced - just because I used alcohol on it? And you
mean to tell me that the replacement "head assembly"
PLUS labor - is going to cost me almost as much as a new
one? And I HAVE to use - and therefore repeatedly BUY
the Expensive Head Cleaner Solution?
Hell - I'll just go a buy another electric shaver!
You got any DEALS on this model?
This guy has wasted EVERYONE's time - AND - now the
person behind the counter - who this time happens to
be the owner - is just a wee bit pissed.
About 30 minutes after walking in the door to this
Service Center I finally am at the counter where
I'm told - by the owner - who is pissed even more
because half the people who HAD been in front of
me had eventually been told that "we can't get a
power cord for that unit because it's been discontinued
for so long" or "I wish I could help you - but that's the
only manufacturer we're not authorized for" or had
to listen to "You mean to tell me that it's gonna take
two weeks - just to get the parts - that MIGHT fix
this thing?". He's not a happy man - and is struggling
to remain barely remain civil with me. Seems he's
aware that I've been in several times - and am not
"thrilled" with the service I've received so far - his
office being close to the counter - with its door always
To his credit - and much appreciated - he assured me
that he'd get together with his now recovering from
the flu tech and the tech would call me the next day.
True to his word, this morning the Tech calls me.
"I THINK the problem is a blown fuse (Inside the case
that I can't get into - because it requires a "special
screw driver" - that they have - but I CAN'T have)
but I can't be sure until I replace the fuse - and the
fuse - with labor - is $37.62 - including tax. And I'll
have to order the fuse - so it'll be about a week - or
more. This may not FIX the problem - but I won't know
THAT 'til the fuse has been replaced." (can you say
"Signed Blank Check" boys and girls?).
I ask "You've got TWO of my chargers AND a battery
pack. So is the $37.62 for TWO fuses and ALL the
(this guy DOES NOT want to tell me the price of a fuse
for this thing - since I'm guessing it's maybe a buck
-at the most)
"I've got THREE of these chargers that all
stopped working - so you better order THREE fuses.
Oh - just tape the cases together and put the "special
screws" in an envelope for me". And a copy of the
schematic? Could I BUY a copy?"
With a little luck, god willin' and the crick don't rise,
there's only a few more GOTCHA's to go - before
I either have working chargers or know that I need
to buy JUST new chargers - which I suspect will
be impossible - because they're probably only
available as a "set" - the "battery AND charger"
set - which costs about 10% less than buying a new
Drill and Batteries and Charger set.
I hope you got a Been There - Done That comiserating
chuckle out of this Tale of Woe. I'm trying to see
the humour in the situation - but there's a fine line
between a chuckle and hysterical laughter.
Think I'll go out to the shop - and look at the parts that
need some holes - that I need my cordless drillS to
drill. And yes - I do have a drill press - which I can't
use for this application - and yes - I do have one of those
Egg Beater hand drills - a nice old Miller Falls - with a
real Rosewood Handle - that the top threads off of so
I can get to the full set of drill bits stored inside - which
I picked up at an estate sale. And yes - that will work -
sort of (I've tried).
So there you have it, a Cautionary Tale / Tale of Woe
AND - a Drive By Neener.