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How NOT to package a VNA and S-paramter test set

Question asked by drkirkby on Sep 13, 2012
Latest reply on Sep 18, 2012 by drkirkby
This is an example of one of the perils of buying used test equipment. 

I bought a 8753A vector network analyser and 85046A S-parameter test set from seller orzel-enterprises on eBay. The attached picture shows the inadequately sized box they were packed in, as I remove some of the packaging. After their journey from the USA to the UK, one handle of the VNA is smashed off, the other is bent. One handle of the S-paramter test set is bent. One of the BNC connectors on the rear of the VNA is damaged, as there was too little protection at the bottom of the VNA. Both sides of the VNA are bent a little. 

The seller, who prior to this sale had 100% feedback on over 400 transactions on eBay, initially said he would refund the cost of the instrument ($2750), but expected me to pay shipping charges both ways, which would have meant it cost me about $800 to get nothing at all. After some heated arguments, we agreed he would refund me $700 and I'd repair it. 

Initially I thought this would not power up, which is what I told the seller. Later however, after agreeing the $700 refund, I discovered this will power up if I hold my  finger on the power button. The power switch is not latching properly, so as soon as one removes ones finger, the power is lost. Due to what appears to be a damaged screw, I have as yet been unable to remove the top cover to inspect the inside. But I have not given it much attention. 

I don't know how much packaing is necessary to put on something like this. According to the UPS web site, articles should have a minimum of 2" of padding, though I think 2" is realy insufficient for something weighing around 50 lbs. 

One thing I have learned from this is to read the feedback carefully and see if the seller ships items similar to what you are buying. In this case, on  closer inspection, I found most of his sales had been for small items like APC-7 to N adapters, and similar sized things. He had never shipped a large piece of test equipment. 

I recently bought an Agilent CertiPrime N9923A FieldFox Handheld RF Vector Network Analyzer from eBay (sold directly by Agilent). I expect that will be better packaged, although I don't expect to get it for a few weeks.