Chipkin Support Policy
In a perfect world
More than anything we want you to succeed. Typically, we will go the extra mile for you, but sometimes we cannot. That is why we want you to understand what kind of support we have committed to providing and where the line is drawn between our responsibilities and yours.
Without previous configuration experience, the FieldServer is not an easy product to configure. We strongly recommend purchasing configuration services, especially on your first FieldServer order to ensure a successful project - we find many customers are familiar with the one protocol and not the other. Why is configuration necessary? The addressing system in the two protocols is not similar with many variabilities between protocols.
Chipkin provides a Standard Support package, a complex support package and an hourly support rate for our clients to help them succeed in their integration. Most often, our Standard Support package is good enough to help our clients.
The Standard Support package includes the following:
- Engineering development of FieldServer config.csv based on customer-supplied points list and connection Diagram. There may be a limit on Point count.
- Backup Service. We keep records of all the resources we provide to you – configurations, firmware etc. Thus, we are able to support you through changes that might need to be made in the future and provide recovery if a device fails or is damaged. If you make changes to the configuration files, you will need to send us your final working configuration file for us to keep it in our records. We normally will keep the final one that we see.
- Free email Technical Support.
- Free 3 hours of Phone Support with Remote Desktop over 3 calls.
- First phone call: 15-20 minutes to discuss the scope and technicalities of the project with our Support Engineer.
- Later: pre-scheduled phone and/or remote desktop technical support as required, max 3 hours.
Additional consultation phone and remote desktop support can be purchased as a package or on an hourly basis required at $80/hour within our hours of operation. Our hours of operation are 9 am to 5 PM Monday through Friday Pacific Standard Time excluding BC Holidays. For after-hour, weekend and holiday support, the hourly rate is $100/hour. Speak to your sales rep for details.
The complex configuration package includes all the features of the Standard package, except that it offers 8 hours of Phone support with Remote Desktop over 5 calls.
Chipkin Support Scope
See the Support Diagram below (Page 2) for a visualization of our Support Scope which includes Chipkin Responsibilities, Customer Responsibilities and where Chipkin often provides support out of scope as experience has allowed us to know some third-party devices. Following the diagram is a written explanation of the same.
What is covered by Chipkin support? See The Blue Area on the Support Diagram
We support FieldServer devices, software, drivers, firmware and configurations, but we are only obliged to support them when purchased from Chipkin or when support is purchased from us.
- Everything to do with configuring the FieldServer device except that we expect you to provide the information we need to complete the configuration for you. Mostly this is a points list we require. Additional information such as connection settings, node ID’s, IP Addresses etc. will also need to be provided.
- Support includes – Backup Service. If you provide us with your ‘as left’ files we will back them up for you. We keep records of all the resources provided to you – configurations, firmware etc. Thus, we are able to support you through changes that might need to be made in the future and provide recovery if a device dies.
- Future Changes. If you Want to add/remove devices/points to your configuration at any time in the future
- Solve problems that arise with our gateways because of errors we have made.
- Updates to latest versions of firmware when new features are required and when feasible.
- Stand by our hardware and firmware. Provide the support that is required to execute a repair while under warranty or to resolve any issue which is covered under the warranty.
The Grey Area on the Support Diagram
From the work that we do, we often encounter third-party devices and systems. During the process, we learn a bit about how to work with them and how to access support from the manufacturer if needed. This allows us to know products that are outside our support scope. As the quality of our support and the lengths we have gone to get some projects to completion are legendary, we are willing to help with these issues outside our direct support scope. But these are third-party products and our knowledge is limited, so please do not assume we can solve all field problems or that it is our responsibility to do so. We are not able and it's not in the scope of our responsibility for support.
Our ability to provide support for third-party products we encounter, and which is out of scope is dependent on the manuals and the information you provide and the availability of our support team. We are not experts on third-party products. We know our products and know some from third-party devices. There are limits to what we can do.
What Chipkin does not do. The Yellow Area on the Support Diagram
By now you have probably guessed that Chipkin is a very obliging service-oriented company and that this policy exists because we have been abused more than once by customers whose expectations were beyond feasible.
We are outlining the scope of our responsibilities and obligations. Looking at the Support Diagram, Chipkin does not support everything that is within the yellow color area. Chipkin is not responsible:
- For anything and everything to do with the physical handling, installation, location, power, terminations, and connections.
- For programming or configuring field devices, controllers, and CMS’s/HMI’s. Many devices have user-configurable settings/programming that control communications and interoperability. Integration is not possible until the field device or controller has been set up correctly. Whilst we may have some experience with working with some devices you cannot rely on Chipkin for help with these types of tasks and you should plan your project assuming we have no expertise with the devices you are integrating. Or ask ahead.
- To gather points lists and addressing information for configuration purposes. We expect that you provide this information and that it is pertinent and accurate.
- Configure your Ethernet network or bus topology and addressing.
- To solve problems that arise from your errors, faulty equipment, erroneous information, equipment selection, installation and wiring issues.
- To provide 3rd party software tools that may be required for testing or to complete the installation. For example, Chipkin does not provide RSLinx or Lonmaker.
Except when you negotiate the scope with us in advance. We are willing to take responsibility for issues outside our normal scope, when we agree in advance. We will try and help you if we have the skills, tools, and time.
Our ability to provide support relies on you
You have a role in resolving issues. These are your responsibilities.
- 1. To provide the information and assistance we require to solve the problems. In almost all cases our support will begin with a request for you to perform a full diagnostic – a simple task executed with a few clicks on a web screen and to send that diagnostic log to us for review along with 1) A description of the desired outcome 2) A description of the problem that needs to be solved. Our support team may make this request multiple times. Screenshots are not enough.
- 2. To install the software tools required to perform support. For example – We will ask you to install the FieldServer Toolbox - a gateway discovery and monitoring tool.
- 3. To perform the testing tasks our support team requires you to execute as part of their attempt to provide support. For example. You report that a ‘Modbus write to 40001 does not work’. Our support team will expect that, if requested, you will ‘write to 40001’ as part of a test.
- 4. To schedule your time on site with us to ensure support coverage during that time. Otherwise, it’s possible all support staff are busy when you call from the site.
- 5. In some instances our support is dependent on your network being configured in such a way that the gateway has an internet connection via HTTP on Port 80. Our products support remote access without remote desktop tools.
Practicalities – How we provide support
Standard Support is provided via email and outgoing calls. For Standard Support, we do not normally accept incoming calls and we provide 3 hours of phone/remote desktop type support.
Premium support is a paid service and provides telephone and remote desktop support as well as regular support. We do not charge by the hour. Fixed fees apply.
Hourly phone and remote desktop support can be purchased as a package or on an hourly basis required at $80/hour within our hours of operation. Our hours of operation are 9 am to 5 PM Monday through Friday Pacific Standard Time except BC holidays. For after-hour and weekend support, the hourly rate is $100/hour. Speak to your sales rep for details.
Corporate and site support agreements are available if you always want premium support.
Should Chipkin elect to provide premium services for free, that does not mean that they are obliged to.
Do not assume we are available 24/7. Our hours of operation are 9 am and 5 pm pacific time except when negotiated (purchased) in advance. We also have staff on the East Coast time zone and in the ME time zone. But we cannot assure their availability.
We will help you in a real emergency outside of our business hours, when possible.
Resolution and response time. We cannot realistically make any promise about these in advance of the situation.
For the jerks out there. We have zero tolerance for the abuse of our staff. We will not provide support to abusive people. We understand stress. Abuse is something else.