Monday, November 21, 2022

assaulted by battery

The nearly four-week saga of our nonfunctioning garage door opener is over.

It was back in the last week of October that this automated device, which we'd had installed three years ago to replace a rattling old one, started to beep, persistently and annoyingly.

Step 1. Find message on the wall-mounted control that says the battery needs to be replaced.

Step 2. Fail to find a manual.

Step 3. Online queries reveal where the battery is to be found in the device.

Step 4. Remove the battery. This is no pocket-sized 9-volt or D-cell. No, it's a huge honking four-inch cube of a lead battery which must weigh at least 30 pounds. Two metal tabs stick out of the top, around which slip plastic cuffs at the ends of wires that come out of the battery compartment, and therein lies the rub. At least removing it causes the beeping to stop.

Step 5. Phone various door installers in hopes they will sell me a battery. They don't keep them in stock.

Step 6. Fail to find batteries listed in the manufacturer's online parts catalog.

Step 7. Phone the manufacturer. Uninformed fellow there can't tell me which kind of battery I have, as the model number on the battery isn't the parts number in their catalog, but he does tell me where on the website to find the right box to fill in the word "battery."

Step 8. Order what looks like a likely battery. It arrives in 2 days. Alas, wrong kind of connector, wires with plastic cuffs on this part instead of the other part.

Step 9. Phone up the manufacturer again. Better-informed fellow tells me how to ship the wrong battery back (I haven't yet learned if I'm getting a refund), a little saga of its own because FedEx, even though they shipped the thing to me, is afraid of batteries; manufacturer fellow also confirms that some other battery in their catalog is the right one, which I couldn't tell because the photo on the web site doesn't show the tabs. But he also tells me the same battery may be had for less expense at Home Depot.

Taking this advice is a mistake that costs me nearly three weeks.

Step 10. Visit Home Depot, only to find they don't have the batteries in stock. They have to be shipped to the store. Actually they don't have the same battery but one listed as "compatible" with it. I should have stopped there, but I order it. This is a Monday. It's supposed to arrive on Wednesday of the following week.

Step 11. On the Thursday, having had no word, I phone the store. A voice-activated message tree takes me to the wrong department, but the guy there is willing to look up my order. It's arrived but has to be "prepared," he says. How long will that take? For that, he has to transfer me to the right department, whose person declares that no, the battery has not arrived, no further explanation available.

Step 12. Phone Home Depot corporate customer service. They find a notification that it had arrived the previous week! But they can't reach anyone at the store to explain this, so they offer to re-order the battery at no extra cost. I roll my eyes at this but agree. (After this call I get an automated satisfaction survey. I was pretty satisfied with this person, but fortunately there's a question about whether you would shop at Home Depot again and I gave the strongest NO available.)

Step 13. Wait another week for the re-order. This time the battery arrives and I drive to Home Depot to pick it up. And when opened it ... has little plastic cuffs sticking out of the top. Doesn't fit onto the cuffs on my machine's wires. Not "compatible."

Step 14. Back to the manufacturer's web site. Order what the second guy had told me was the right battery. It arrives in 3 days. It has tabs. They fit in the plastic cuffs. Stuff the heavy battery back in the compartment, wait a day for it to charge (as advised by the web site instructions). Door now opens. Success.

So next time the battery fails - which may be in only another three years, because this model has lots of online reviews complaining about its short lifespan - I can hop from step 4 directly to step 14 and skip all the others.

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