Monday, July 28, 2008

Rock Band Drum Kits & Warranties

Rock Band (video game)Image via WikipediaHere's something I found out today, that some of you Rock Band owners may not be aware of.

EA has extended the default 60-day warranty on the Rock Band hardware.

I quick search of the web will bring you many links to complaints about the drum kit failing. An indication of a failing drum kit would be hits on the pads that don't consistently register as hits.

When we first got the drum kit earlier in the year, I dismissed many of my missed notes as bad timing on my part. I had heard of faulty drum kits, but since we were beyond the 60-day warranty, I just accepted it. I could still get a fairly good percentage on songs, so it didn't take away much from the enjoyment I got from the game.

It seems that the kit in question is one with "EL" in the serial number underneath the pads. They later fixed the problem with a second series that has "QM" in the serial number. You can find information about the serial numbers at various sites on the web, but this one has pictures to help you determine which one you have.

A friend at work, who recently got Rock Band, said he was pretty sure his kit was faulty and not registering all hits on the red (snare) pad. Since he was still within the 60-day warranty, he looked into getting it replaced.

He discovered that EA states on their support web site that they will continue to make "exceptions" to the 60-day warranty until October 1st, 2008. By "exceptions", I mean no questions asked. No proof of purchase required. No asking for the date of purchase. Nothing. Just fill out the RMA request, provide a credit card number for a $125 "hold charge", and they send you replacement pads along with a pre-paid shipping label to send the old kit back to them. Once they receive the old kit within 28 days, the will remove the $125 hold.

This was good news to me.

This evening a ran a few tests of our drum kit. I switched to practice mode and chose The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again". I picked the part in the song where there is no instrument playing required and set it to 50% speed to lengthen the passage. I hit each pad repeatedly, with a steady beat. Sure enough, not all the hits on the red "snare" pad registered. The other pads seemed to work OK.

Is it any surprise, or coincidence, that both my friend's drum kit and mine are both the EL series?

I went to http://support.ea.com/rockband, answered a few questions and then filled out the RMA request. Sure enough, no proof of purchase was requested. Unfortunately for us Canadians, the only option is to use a credit card for the $125 hold. U.S. residents have the option of requesting the pre-paid packing to ship the old kit back first, and then receive the replacement.

I would expect that EA will send the QM series as a replacement, or the newer "SL" series which is apparently just as good as the QM. We'll see how it all plays out.

Coincidentally, while I was testing our drum kit this evening, my nephew called me to say that he just bought the drum kit and was having problems. Whenever he hit the red and yellow pad at the same time, the red wouldn't register. I told him to try the same tests that I did, and also check for the serial number.

He called back to tell me that the red pad was definitely a problem, and his serial number has "EL" in it. I told him he could try exchanging it at EB Games, or he could try an RMA through EA.

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