A warning to any future Winait film scanner customer

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Winait 8mm scanner which I purchased with the aim of adding videos to the Found Film site and I followed it up with a post about the problems I’ve had with it. Well, this follow up post is a warning to anyone who is considering buying one – before you do, understand the conditions under which you buy it.

The video above shows the fault condition I have with my scanner. After an indeterminate amount of time, sometimes a couple of minutes, sometimes 30 minutes or longer, the unit will crash and freeze leaving the only course of action removing the power and resetting the unit. After this has happened the digital file on the SD card is not saved so any digitizing of the film which has been recorded up to that point is lost.

This sort of fault is not unknown with microprocessor controlled equipment of course and is possibly a firmware issue that could be fixed with a software update. The real issue is how well the supplier deals with the issue and unfortunately, Winait is just about the worse company I’ve had to deal with in this respect.

In order to illustrate that, and so there isn’t a possibility of bias I’ve included the full email communication I’ve had with Winait in the text below. Basically the situation is this:

  • If you buy one of these units you have 3 days to test that it is fully working. After 3 days (according to the company) you don’t have the right to return it because you have accepted that it is perfect – bear in mind that communication with the company in China via the Amazon site can take up to two days to be received and returned. My fault didn’t show up on the first 3-inch reel I digitised but did on the second 5-inch reel – by which time the 3 days were over.
  • With my particular problem I’ve been told the issue is the SD card I’ve used, the Motor and then the film itself. As I’ve dismissed each of these the company has tried to get me to pay to have the faulty unit returned so they can assess it even though they have a picture of the fault and I’ve offered to send them a video of the failed condition.
  • Be aware that once 3 days have passed and you are deemed to have accepted it, any repairs which are not the standard repairs (and to be honest a product which has standard repairs is a bit odd) require the unit to be shipped back to China at your expense to have it repaired. The Winait company see this as an entirely reasonable action – they supply you with a faulty product and you pay up to £70 to return it to them to repair it. Note that cheaper return options are available but they don’t include insurance and I’m not sending £300 worth of scanner around the world without insurance.
  • It is down to you as the customer to diagnose the problem and tell them what part needs to be replaced – they don’t seem to know much about the product that they design and sell.

As it stands I am going to see if I can get Amazon UK to deal with this. They have an A to Z guarantee which may cover this situation but I don’t yet know until I file a claim.

I would warn anyone who is thinking about getting a machine to consider very carefully this situation.

Conversation with Winait

Me

Hi I received this unit yesterday and I’m currently digitising my second roll of film. When I first received the unit I checked the firmware issue and found it was dated March 2017. I’ve just found the unit had crashed and wouldn’t respond to any button press although the film was still running through the machine – I wonder if there is a newer version of firmware I should upgrade the machine to? Thank You Simon Hawketts

Response

hi Simon Hawketts Good day for the software by now only one edition, for the update of software will be by the end of year. this is the newest edition for hardware if have problem, pls let me known details or you can take a short video to show me thanks Regards Richard

Me

Hi Richard Thank you for your message regarding firmare. The unit I received is faulty in the following way. It starts recording a film with no problem, but at some point in the process the screen freezes and stops showing an update of the pictures being taken. Sometimes the screen has lines on and sometimes it is just blank. The reels are continuing to turn but the machine has crashed. I can turn it off by holding the on/off key, but when I turn it on again the recording is not on the card. I’ve tried different SD cards and I’ve tried the ‘Defaults’ option in the menu to restore factory default settings but it still fails. Could you advise how you can either send me a replacement or a repair option?

Response

hi Simon Hawketts Good day, according to your description 1. when the screen have line, that is the problem of sd card can not compatibility with machine well 2. for the sd card had better use brand one , and at least C6 degree card 3. first time put the sd card in machine, pls format it first before you use it 4. if still have problem, pls show me a short video when it have problem , so we can known more about the problem thanks Regards Richard

Me

Hello Richard To give you more details of my failure. As I said in my original message I’ve tried different types of SD card and I also formatted them in the scanner. Just to make sure I used another, different SD card today and again the unit crashes after about 20 minutes. I have a movie showing the crash but the Amazon site won’t let me upload it, if you can give me an email address I can send it to I will do that. I have been able to add a picture of the screen when the scanner is in its crashed state. All the cards I’ve used have been class 10 SD cards, 1 by Transcend, 1 by Ultima and 1 by Toshiba. Thanks Simon

Response

hi Simon Good day, thanks for your message i will send to technicina and let you known as soon as possible Regards Richard

Me

Hi Richard Thanks for your message. It may help to know that if I set the machine up with a 5-inch reel and then every 5 minutes stop the recording and restart it, the whole film will be digitised, producing lots of small files rather than one large file. This suggests that possibly the problem is to do with the machine not writing the output file and suffering from a memory corruption? Please let me know in the next couple of days if I should reject the unit via Amazon and order a replacement. Simon

Me

Hi, Richard, I’ve had this unit a week now with the fault I told you about. Could you tell me if you are organising a replacement to be shipped to me? Thank You Simon

Response

Dear Simon Good day for the problem acording to your description , it is the sd card problem if still can not work, we can change it for you pls send back to this address Receiver: Gao jin Address: Room A806 qiche building,zhenhua road, futian distrcit, shenzhen china zip code: 518031 phone number :+86-15817334515 pls send by post mail, which is cheap and no customs fess Regards Richard

Me

Hello Richard Could you please give me a link to an SD card which will work? I have tried multiple different types and the fault shows up with every type I have tried so I would like you to show me a card which is guaranteed to work.

At this point, after a few days, I tried to return the unit via the amazon returns option on the order but the return was rejected by Winait.

Me

I have just discovered that you have rejected my return of this faulty item. I want to know the reason for this rejection since the unit is 14 days old and faulty. I also want to point out that when it is returned I expect you to pay for the postage so could you please arrange that.

Response

hi for the return only 3days after receive it. but still in warranty free repair. and you pay ship to us. we pay ship back to you and we can help you update the scanner too

Me

That is totally unacceptable. You have supplied me with a faulty device and I told you it was faulty weeks ago. We have been in communication for the last two weeks so you can’t claim you didn’t know that it was faulty. Also, I should not have to pay to return a faulty unit

If you want, in order to save the cost of shipping the unit back, you can send me the parts to repair the unit and I will carry out the repair.

Response

for the return policy is set by company,if it is machine,i can apply it for you for the shipping cost。but need to check by technician first。 you can send back by post mail first,anyway need to check the problem first,and to make it good working。

Me

I have checked and in order to send this back to China with insurance coverage, it will cost me between £40 and £70 which is close to 20% of the cost I paid to buy the unit. I am therefore going to see if I can raise this issue with Amazon UK because it is simply not acceptable to ask a customer to pay this amount of money to return a faulty unit. 

Response

that is ok send accessories to you, pls check which part need to change

Me

I assume you mean you can send parts to fix the scanner? If that is the case I don’t know which parts are required but since the unit crashes after a few minutes scanning I would assume it is something related to the microprocessor & memory so I would assume the main PCB needs to be replaced. Can you send a new main board? 

Response

let me check with technician which part have problem,normal is the motor have problem,now we updated it. after check i will let you known later today or 

A few days later

hi, have you send video for the problem to me 
i can not find it , can you send your email to me i check it 

Followed by

hi Simon 
Good day, i got you it , there are nearly 1000 emails after back holiday 
just find it today, i had send to technician to check what is the problem,and which part need to change 
then i send accessories

Regards
RIchard

Then

hi Simon
Good day
sorry later reply
technician said , it is the problem of the motor
i can sen a updated metal motor to you 
pls check the attachment the part that for change , pls confirm it too 

Regards
Richard

Me

I don’t think the motor is the faulty part. 
The unit will carry on running after the software crash – I can’t think of any way the motor could be the problem – are you sure you asked him about the correct set of fault conditions?
On my machine, the software will crash after a small amount of time which stops the data being written to the SD card. It doesn’t mechanically fail – the film keeps turning everything else is running but the software has crashed. Could you re-check this, please?
thanks

Response

so do you mean it is the software problem, let me check with eginner whether can refresh software

Me

The problem is that the machine crashes during use – I need whichever component is causing the crash. I suspect it is probably the main pcb with the microprocessor on, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t the motor and it isn’t a question of replacing the software. 

I can send you a video of it failing if you send me an email address I can send video to. The Amazon system doesn’t let me attach videos. so I will need an email address outside this system.

Response

hi, checked with technicina again 
he said from the vidoe it is the problem of film
now two way to test it
1. pls check film you put in right way 
2. change another film to check again 
3. or put nothing on it, to check whether it can running 

Me

The problem is not the film – I’ve tried multiple different films and the unit crashes but just to confirm I tried another film this afternoon and again the unit crashes. 

So far you have suggested the problem is the SD card, the motor and now the film and it isn’t any of those.
I think you need to send me a new unit and organise to have this one shipped back to you because it doesn’t work and I can’t use it.

Response

hi, because by now we had never meet this problem, normal it is the motor problem or sd card problem. so pls send back to us to this address, we need to check first about the real problem 
Company: WINAIT TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED
Receiver: Gao jin
Address: Room A806 qiche building,zhenhua road, futian distrcit, shenzhen china
zip code: 518031
phone number :+86-15817334515

Me

I will send it back if you will reimburse the cost of shipping – I am not going to pay to return a faulty unit because I shouldn’t be out of pocket because you have supplied faulty goods.
I also asked if you could send me an email address so I could send a video of the fault condition because I believe you have only seen a picture. 

Response

hi, according to the detials that you send before, that is only can known the possible reasons,
but you said still can not solve it.
we had never meet this problem, so only can send back for repair ( now it only in warranty of free repair , you pay send back, we change and repair for you and then we pay send back to you )

it will not have big problem, normal is the accessoires problem, change it , it will be ok
you can send video to my mail: [e-mail address removed]

Me

You don’t seem to understand. I should not have to pay to return an item which is faulty – especially since the cost of sending it back, with insurance, is about 1/3 of the cost I paid to purchase it. If you are not prepared to send a new unit or pay for the return of this unit I will take this up with Amazon in the UK so they can sort it out. I will also add a review of the unit to the Amazon review system and point out to anyone considering purchasing this unit that if it is faulty they must be prepared to spend another £40 – £80 returning it to you so you can repair it.

Response

hi, the warranty only for repair free for one year.
now we ask you send back, and free repair for you, and update it for you to new generation.and we pay the cost send to you,
just ask you to pay for shipping cost that send to us. that is reasonable
(you can pay by post mail cheap shipping way)

Me

You are simply not getting it – it is not reasonable to ask to pay to return an item which you supplied which is faulty. This hasn’t gone faulty after use, it was supplied by you as faulty. I will raise this with Amazon and add my review – you are not being reasonable

 

8 Comments

  • Dai perry

    Simon if Amazon has a 90 day return like EBay/PayPal.you should ask Amazon for the claim form or go on line to require a ruling for a return payment to your account. When the money is deposited then you’ll be glad to send this back to their offices,at their expense of course.

    Reply
    • Simon Hawketts

      Hi Dai – Yes that’s what I’m planning. I’ll file a claim and hopefully amazon will rule in my favour and then I’ll basically do with it what amazon ask me to.

      Reply
  • Russ Butner

    Buyer beware, anything made in China. Sorry to hear of your scanner issue.

    Reply
    • Simon Hawketts

      Thanks, Russ – they are sending me a main PCB (well they say they are) so I’m hoping that will fix the issue.

      Reply
  • bill sherren

    Thanks for your useful review. I was seriously looking at getting this cine scanner as I have loads of old std 8mm films I and my dad made. Just a pity the only consumer type scanner is unreliable with awful support! And since I started looking at it the price has gone up £20 as well! Did you get the PCB or a satisfactory response from Amazon?

    Reply
    • Simon Hawketts

      Hi Bill – I’m waiting at the moment for a replacement PCB but I really don’t know if it will fix the unit or not. I seems incredible to me that they expect me to diagnose the problem and when I suggested they should pay to have it returned to be repaired I got a long email about how they wouldn’t make a profit it they had to pay to have faulty unit returned! To be honest, if there was any alternative I wouldn’t recommend it, but unfortunately it’s the only one available.

      Reply
  • sam smith

    This was actually quite an entertaining read (although I know it must have been beyond frustrating for you). I have been waiting for these machines for years but have not taken the plunge yet. I will cross this one off the list.

    Reply
    • simon

      Hi Sam – yes although I was getting infuriated with every reason put forward as to why they won’t fix my machine I actually found myself quite amused by some of the turns of phrase used!

      Reply

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