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Zissou
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Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

Have what until today was a perfectly functioning Cinenova 5.
Well I have had an issue, not a small one, and am very upset with Earthquake's response. We had the system on playing a movie as background noise when I heard a loud POP and a strange noise I'd never heard before. I glanced back at the amp and saw flames shooting from the top of the amp about a foot and a half to two feet in the air. Needless to say I ran to the amp and shut it down but it had already blown the wall plug breakers. The smell of an acrid electrical fire filled the air and I stood there stunned for a few moments. When lucidity kicked in I started wonder what else it had taken out, my speakers or pre/pro perhaps?
I also started thinking I'd better call Earthquake but first we wanted to take the top off and see what damage had been caused. Luckily it looked like most channels were intact, no fuses had blown(???) and the 20 amp circuit breaker had not shut down. The huge capacitor on the channel that had literally "fried" was scarred black and had a hole and crack blown in it. I called Earthquake and "luckily" the manager was in. After explaining my issue he immediately starting talking to me in a mocking tone of voice explaining he's never heard of this happening. I replied that I could care less if it hadn't happened before it had happened NOW! I explained that I lived in Canada and when I had purchased the amp the previous owner had phoned Earthquake and arranged for the unit to be covered. He started laughing and said that's impossible as we only cover the original owner. Now I know this to be false as I have recommended and probably sold more of these units than most dealers have and I know that warranties are transferrable as all the amps I had recommended to friends and colleagues had gone through this procedure. He then started to get rude and said well it doesn't matter as we do not cover any warranties in Canada. His voice started to raise and unfortunately instead of taking a deep breath I got angry as well and he hung up on me.
So much for good or even reasonable service. At this point being angry I decided to check deeper and see what damage had been done. This next bit attests to the superb build of these amps. I pulled the fuse from the literally "blown" channel and unhooked the two power wires running to it and damned if I didn't get 4 channels working perfectly. This after having flames shooting out of the top of the amp. At this point thinking my wife might do a better job, having a cooler head than I at this point, she called back and no they will not cover this under their ten year warranty so we're stuck for now. On one hand the sound is sublime, on the other hand since the unit is on 24/7 I do not know what would have happened had we not been home. There are curtains as room treatment fairly close to the amp and they easily could have caught on fire. To say I was alarmed and upset when I called might be an understatement but to have the manager, and he says he's been there 20 years, treat this so lightly and in such a condescending manner has shocked me and this happened 5 hours ago. I do intend to post my experiences on every board I'm a member on because clearly this could be a dangerous issue and the way I was treated by the company has me sick to my stomach. I have probably recommended and sourced a dozen of these amps for people and I always talk highly of their sound quality, that still exists, and of the integrity of the company. When I first purchased mine and it replaced a Krell I was so excited I called the company and talked for half an hour to one of the engineers about all manner of music and sound. Clearly his friendly demeanor was an anomaly at Earthquake.
I am upset, angry and a little shaken up right now. I was expecting great service and instead I was derided and made to feel like an idiot. I hardly expect any resolution from them at this point but if they do I will update this posts. Until then I would be wary of purchasing what really is an amazing product.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

Forgive me, but, I know little or nothing about this company. Can you contact their parent company, or a North American distributor? Something in writing might be given more weight. Maybe Earthquake might take things more seriously hearing from a distributor or dealer. I also wonder if a call to the Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission in the States might get their attention if you're absolutely sure that Earthquake is not keeping up their end of the bargain regarding the warranty. The BBB and FTC are agencies that any company will have to take seriously.

Zissou
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Re: Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

We just received another report of the same issue, fire from the top and abusive service from them.

We have just received the most ignorant, rude and libellous email from the manager of the company (Abraham) and frankly we are stunned by his words. My wife is in tears and truthfully I am completely in shock right now. I cannot believe any one in a customer driven industry would write what he just did to us.

Zissou
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Re: Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

Thanks Jeff but they're a privately owned company. Now have 3 reports of this unit catching fire.

Ray D50
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Joined: Jun 14 2012 - 5:56pm
Another fire

I own two 3-channel amplifiers and I had one channel burst into flame while we slept, our dog woke us up. I was just blown away when I walked into the room and seeing one of my units burning. Earthquake wants $350 plus shipping to replace the channel. Not sure what I will do at this point. Do I want to continue living with these potential fire hazards? 

josephsahyoun
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Joined: Mar 8 2013 - 4:36am
OUT OF WARRANTY update and TUNE UP

Dear Ray,

This is Earthquake replying here about your posting. I am sorry that you had a problem with our amplifier.  As you were informed when you have contacted Earthquake the amplifier was out of warranty. The amplifier that you have now was manufactured 16 years ago and therefore it is out of warranty.

Let me first take a moment and talk about safety first. The failure that you had was attributed to storage capacitor in the power supply section. In the 3 channel model, we used high quality capacitor that were rated some 20% over rail. Much higher than industry standard. The capacitor maker was Sunkyoung Korea. They are the same supplier for Samsung, Hyundai, even the US.Army. These capacitor hold very high current each is 10,000 mf. I believe that Zissou ( above post) had a similar failure. Capacitors are like human WE ALL DIE.

 When a capacitor die, they release harmless smoke that actually smell like burnt oil. These capacitors are used in washer, dryer, tv etc.. ALL OF WHICH ARE UL APPROVE BUT STILL WILL DIE ONEDAY.

While we did not hear of many field failures, 4 to 5 worldwide ( thousands of unit sold).  Earthquake put together a service plan ( TUNE UP) that MAKES US NO MONEY AT ALL. This service plan takes an old unit like what you have, and what zissou have, and tune it up to be a mean machine that is up to today’s Cinenova performance.

Here are the procedures

Remove all capacitors and upgrade them from 10,000 mf  80 volts to twice the capacitance at 100 Volt DC. This cost us $ wholesale price per piece $50 US per block

The tune up also include a hush circuit, ½ hour per block part cost is not significant.

Check each and every Toshiba output device current delivery, replace anyone that doesn’t pass inspection.

I estimate that our cost is well above $350 ( please note that the 350 was not for repairing the amplifier rather for updating it to today’s standard units). If you think that is unfair well this is a business. This service update the unit to today standard.

Again,

I am totally sorry for your opinion in our company. We do try hard to take care our audiophile brothers. If you are still interested in updating your unit, let me know.

Thanks

Joseph Sahyoun

800-576-7944

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