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Re: Need HDMI Board

The HDMI board in one of my R972's has failed. Sherwood/Inkel has no more. Does anyone have a working used board they can sell me? Please reply ASAP by email to bd (at) busdepot (dotcom). Thanks.
Is there any working HDMI at all? HDMI port 1 is on a different board from the other 3. I have had ports 2-4 fail on me twice but HDMI port 1 still works.
 

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Sherwood Screws All R972 Owners

I posted earlier about needing an R972 board. Having done some more research, I have learned some information that is bad news for all R972 owners. Sherwood has decided to completely discontinue all parts and labor support of the R972, even for those still under warranty.

I have been going around and around with Sherwood about this for months and have now exhausted all avenues. If you are an R972 owner, here's where you stand...

Sherwood closed its California offices in December. They also closed their service department and fired all their techs. Until a few weeks ago they had provided no evidence of this to customers. Their phone system was still functional, directing callers to service and sales departments that had been abandoned 9 months earlier (with those extensions going to voicemail). After I started digging around, they finally shut down the phone lines, and for a while the website as well. (It now appears to be back up.)

Sherwood is now selling their products through an independent U.S. distributor. While that distributor does have a service department, Etron (a.k.a. Inkel, Sherwood's Korean parent company) has made a policy decision not to service or support R972's in any way whatsoever. This includes units that are still under warranty. Furthermore Inkel has no replacement parts for R972's and no plans to source any more.

I discovered this when the HDMI board failed for the third time in one of my four R972's (this one was out of warranty). I opened the unit and discovered that the last time Sherwood replaced the HDMI board (under warranty) the bench tech had literally glued it to the motherboard with huge gobs of glue, making it impossible for me to remove it (and possibly causing the latest failure, since some of the glue had dripped and melted on the sockets). After failing to reach Sherwood in California for months, I became suspicious that there was "nobody home" and finally reached Gary Graning, who works for Sherwood/Inkel and whose email signature identifies him as the President of Sherwood. I received this emailed reply from him:

"I am sorry to say that parts for the R-972 are not available. I have checked back and received reporting from our parent company in Korea and several parts manufacturers. There are no parts and no repair available for the R-972 at this time. Our new and current service department technicians do not have facility to service this receiver. We apologize for the unavailability of the parts necessary to service your receiver. Unfortunately repair on this model is now at a dead-stop. The sales and service life of this receiver has run it's course."

I subsequently called him for clarification. He told me that Inkel had discontinued the R972 because it was a "trouble prone model," They have no more parts for it either in the U.S. or Korea, no plans to source more parts, no intention of training any U.S. techs to service the unit, and will not be supporting it in any way whatsoever, in or out of warranty. I expressed my shock given that as recently as 9 months ago the units were for sale new via Accessories4Less, who had bought them directly from Sherwood America with three year warranties, and that the R972 is still listed on the SherwoodUSA website as a current product. It is unreasonable for a manufacturer to sell a product with a 3 year warranty and promote it on their website, and just 9 months later declare it "end of life" and refuse to service or support it in any way. But Mr. Graning reiterated by phone that this is exactly what Inkel has done.

Mr. Graning was nice enough to provide me with service and parts manuals for the unit in PDF form in case I could find someone to fix it locally. However, with no parts supply these are of limited value.

I then contacted American Music & Sound, who is distributing some new Sherwood product in the U.S. They are an independent importer not affiliated with Sherwood. I have to say that they were incredibly responsive and sympathetic, and I would feel very confident about buying other products that they represent. But ultimately they could do little to help me. I sent them my R972 and they managed to unglue my board. Then they spent an entire day weeding through all of the parts that they'd bought from Sherwood's California facility when it closed, hoping to find me a working HDMI board. Alas they found only one semi-working HDMI board (which still has one input out), but they did install that one and are sending the unit back to me. They didn't charge me a cent, even though they spent all day on it and had no responsibility for this mess. I asked them if they could simply repair the HDMI board, since it is the biggest failure item. They looked into it and determined that the chip on the board that generally fails is proprietary and must be programmed by Inkel in Korea. Even if they could get the chip, Inkel would have to program it in Korea and is unwilling to do so. They also confirmed what Mr. Graning had told me - that they will be receiving no parts or assistance from Inkel for the R972 and can do absolutely nothing to support it. Therefore they will not be accepting any R972's for service in or out of warranty. They were extremely apologetic but their hands are tied. Inkel has left their new U.S. distributor "high and dry" just as they have left us R972 owners "high and dry."

I then spoke to Accessories4Less, who sold most of the R972's at retail. He was not aware of what Sherwood/Inkel had done, and was shocked when I told him. He said he has heard of cheap off-brand companies (the kind that sell $9.99 DVD players) pulling a stunt like this, but never a "reputable" brand like Sherwood. He said that of 1000 or so R972's made, he sold 500 of them over the last couple of years. When Sherwood sold them to him they represented them as having 3 year warranties and never remotely indicated that they would not be serviced or supported. Unfortunately, he also has no recourse or ability to resolve the problem either, as he has no units or parts and was not the issuer of the warranty. He suggested that the easiest solution would probably be for Inkel to set up an exchange program for the HDMI boards. A few boards could be sent to Korea for repair (new chip and programming). When a customer needs a board, a repaired one would be provided and his defective board sent back to Korea to be repaired and restocked for the next customer, and so on. I have one spare non-working board, and I gather American Music & Sound has a few, so that could certainly be done if Inkel chose to.

It was on his suggestion that I am posting this information here. He said he thinks the only recourse for R972 owners is either through public pressure on Sherwood/Inkel, or perhaps through legal channels if there happens to be an attorney on the forums interested in pursuing it. Given that these units are "trouble prone" by Sherwood's own admission (and confirmed by failure reports on this forum), it is likely as an R972 owner this will affect you sooner or later - both in terms of the non-repairability of your unit if/when it fails, and its resale value should you choose to sell it.

Now you know as much as I do.
 

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Thanks for that information, I have 1 working HDMI connection on my 971 (HDMI1) and I use a HDMI switch with it and that actually works very well. If that one port goes bad the unit will probably be relegated to 2 channel stereo in my bedroom. :sad:
 

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I hope sherwood never plans on brining new product into the states as they will never get any money from me after pulling this stunt.
 

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I hope sherwood never plans on brining new product into the states as they will never get any money from me after pulling this stunt.
Check out the product line on their website - mostly soundbars and low-powered stereo or 5.1 AVRs with basic features. Unless you shop for AVRs at Radio Shack or Overstock.com, which are references that came up on Google, Sherwood is effectively a dead brand.
 

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Discussion Starter #906
Honestly, this does not surprise me one bit. But given what many of us payed for one ($500 at Accessories4less) cant really complain. Still one of the nicest sounding receivers thanks to Trinnov.
 

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I hope sherwood never plans on brining new product into the states as they will never get any money from me after pulling this stunt.
They are undoubtedly burning bridges. Apparently they have dropped their high-end Newcastle line and figure people buying $150 surround sound receivers won't be picky. Perhaps they're right, if they plan to sell solely on price forever, but it seems shortsighted. The brand has existed in the U.S. for 60 years and now they are squandering that reputation in order to save, what, a few thousand bucks in claims? Five or ten years from now they may want to make another go at it in earnest (or even sell the brand name) and will regret that they destroyed its reputation in order to save pennies.

What I don't get is why their new U.S. distributor got in bed with them. American Music & Sound is a well regarded company that represents quality brands like Arcam, Canton, Kurzweil, Fostex, Beyer Dynamic, and Wharfdale. What they are doing representing a company that seems to be focused on peddling low-end audio gear and screwing their existing customer base is beyond me. It would seem that all this can do is drag their reputation through the mud by association. Maybe they didn't realize the kind of people they were dealing with, because they seem to be stand-up guys who otherwise represent legitimate companies.

Decades ago I worked for an outfit called Tech Hifi, which was a large mid to high end audio chain. Back in the 70's they had franchised their name to a Philadelphia operator, thinking they would never expand to that market themselves. The franchisee went bankrupt and closed abruptly; customers who had left deposits, or had personal property in the service department, never saw their money or equipment again. Nearly a decade later, Tech Hifi decided to expand into the Philadelphia market and invested a lot of money opening several locations. They had no idea how long people's memories are. I worked in the corporate stores and we were deluged with calls from customers who were screwed over ten years earlier by the franchisee, telling us in no uncertain terms that over their dead bodies would they ever patronize a Tech Hifi location again. Others who did come in recalled having heard of the previous debacle (or were reminded of it by our competitors) and were distrustful of our return policies and warranties. Three years later Tech Hifi abandoned the market. When you screw people over they tend to have long memories, and they tend to tell people about it.

The better question is, what if anything can or should be done now?
 

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Honestly, this does not surprise me one bit. But given what many of us payed for one ($500 at Accessories4less) cant really complain. Still one of the nicest sounding receivers thanks to Trinnov.
Sonically, you're absolutely right (thanks to Trinnov, not Sherwood). But if the unit becomes worthless after 1-2 years for lack of parts, $500- $600 is a lot money to pay to "lease" the use of a surround sound receiver (even a good one) for a year or two. Most receivers last a decade or longer and can be repaired if they don't. Typically they are retired for upgrade reasons, not due to chronic failure and lack of parts.

How many people would have paid $500-$600 for this receiver if Sherwood had disclosed at time of purchase that it was a "trouble prone unit" (their words) that was sold strictly as-is and could never be repaired (even for a price) if it broke even a year later? A few, certainly, but not nearly as many.

This is not a bankruptcy situation where the company has no choice. Inkel is alive and well and even wants to continue profiting off of the U.S. market through new distributors. That is the issue, not whether Trinnov is a great technology (which is unquestionably is). Reputable (or ethical) companies simply don't do this.
 

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Discussion Starter #909
HDMI boards are very sensitive to static and heat. Sherwood is not the only company that is having issues. Even Onkyo, Denon and Pioneer have had failures. With receivers getting more and more complicated failure is becoming more an issue. I just dont understand why all of these issues happen to other people who own the same receivers I have that are said to be so prone to failure however I never have issues. The Onkyo 805 that I own was said to burst into flames, have HDMI board failures and other issues but it too has never given me an issue in the 7 years Ive had it now.
 

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HDMI boards are very sensitive to static and heat. Sherwood is not the only company that is having issues. Even Onkyo, Denon and Pioneer have had failures. With receivers getting more and more complicated failure is becoming more an issue. I just dont understand why all of these issues happen to other people who own the same receivers I have that are said to be so prone to failure however I never have issues. The Onkyo 805 that I own was said to burst into flames, have HDMI board failures and other issues but it too has never given me an issue in the 7 years Ive had it now.
Interesting that you mention the Onkyo 805, I have had one of these for 7 years as well and never had an issue with it. No bursting into flames, no display failure, no HDMI issues. I have the first receiver I ever purchased from back in the late 80's and that is still working just fine but I have had the HDMI board on my 972 fail twice...
 

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Thanks for the post on the "end of life" statement for the 972.. I recently called as well only to find all of the personnel I had spoken with were now gone.. Jeff left a while ago and Eugene was still a familiar name and a great tech.. I was just getting ready to buy a new "A" stock 972 when I saw this post. As much as I'd dearly love to pick it up, it would become nothing more than a paper weight without any support and something went wrong. I'm not quite sure how they can get away with that legally.. Someone should be responsible for at least the period of the warranty one would think.

I guess I'll remain on my 865, and Sherwood Newcastle HDMI/Component Switcher.. Not as elegant, no Trinnov, but working.. With HDMI boards being problematic, I just can't justify "renting" one only to fall in love with Trinnov and then not have it at some point.. Sad to see a series of great sounding receivers being treated so poorly... :-(

Jay S.
 

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Wow! Just crazy that a company can get away with business practices like this. I hope they get slapped with a class action lawsuit.
 

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Jay I have had mine now for 3 1/2 years. It has performed flawlessly. Luck of the draw I guess? Where did you see the "A" stock for sale. I have been thinking about buying a 2nd R-972.
 

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I think most failures have been infant mortality. Most of the time I have found electronics either die shortly after plugging them in <4months or they last a very long time..

Mine has been working fine, it was just time to move on as I was looking for something with Dirac and could not cough up enough for the Datasat ...... that is the only reason mine is up for sale.

Jay I have had mine now for 3 1/2 years. It has performed flawlessly. Luck of the draw I guess? Where did you see the "A" stock for sale. I have been thinking about buying a 2nd R-972.
 

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I think most failures have been infant mortality. Most of the time I have found electronics either die shortly after plugging them in <4months or they last a very long time..

Mine has been working fine, it was just time to move on as I was looking for something with Dirac and could not cough up enough for the Datasat ...... that is the only reason mine is up for sale.
So, how much are you selling it for? Is it a "A", or "refurb"?
 

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I think most failures have been infant mortality. Most of the time I have found electronics either die shortly after plugging them in <4months or they last a very long time..

Mine has been working fine, it was just time to move on as I was looking for something with Dirac and could not cough up enough for the Datasat ...... that is the only reason mine is up for sale.
I tend to agree with you on that for most electronics but it was certainly not the case for me and my 972. My HDMI board failed after over a year, was repaired and failed again.
 

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Wow! Just crazy that a company can get away with business practices like this. I hope they get slapped with a class action lawsuit.
I wondered the same thing when they kept kicking the can down the road until my warranty was up. I do not own a R-972, but Sherwood pulled some questionable stuff when handling my warranty.

I payed to have my receiver sent to them 4 times while under warranty, and it is still broke.
 

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It's a cryin' shame that these receivers have such performance issues when it come to reliability because when they are working and calibrated correctly they produce such a magnificent sound-field that far exceeds any other receiver I have ever had in my HT. Mine will quit working with any digital input in anywhere from two to three weeks. It has happened numerous times with it in all types of environments. Sometimes it can be corrected with a hard rest but eventually it will not accept any input that goes through Trinnov. Then I store it for a while, pull it out of the closet, fall in love with Trinnov all over again, then a few weeks later I'm shoving it back into the closet. :dontknow: :coocoo:
 

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Discussion Starter #920
It's too bad some are having issues with the R972. I wish there was a way to understand why a small amount of people have issues where many do not. My R972 has been flawless other than the usual known bugs. I use it almost every day.

Just out of curiosity the individuals who are having issues, where did you get them from?
 
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