"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."
-Alexander Graham Bell
From the Tech’s Desk…
So, you’ve got an SM2 or EM3 unit that isn’t performing up to its usual level. Maybe something’s gone wrong with the electronics due to water leaks. Possibly a microphone connector was snapped apart by an errant boot heel. Or maybe, you have no idea what’s gone wrong with your recorder!
No need to panic, because that’s what our support team is here to help you with! As always, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll be able to give you instructions for shipping back your not-so-intact recorder for speedy repair.
However, it can be confusing for anyone who doesn’t often send parcels through a major courier (UPS, DHL, etc.) as how to actually pack your units away for shipping. Let’s start with the box that you’ll use to send us your recorders. Always select a nice sturdy box without damage or crumpling. Make sure that the box can handle the weight of the units that you’re going to fill it with. Also, try to use the smallest box possible for your shipment. This may seem like common sense, but a lot of money is often wasted by shipping items in a container that is too large. UPS charges a “billable weight” based on the size of your box. This means that if you’re shipping back two recorders (about 6 pounds) in a box that is 20x16x16”, then you could be charged as if your package weighed 30 pounds! Keep it small, and keep it simple.
Whenever you’re wrapping up one of our recorders for return shipping, be sure that the unit is properly protected. A double layer of bubble wrap should be fine, but we always ship our items out of the shop in three layers. This way we can be sure that the recorder is properly protected for its big trip. The weakest points of the SM2 are the microphone connectors. If these are left unguarded on the side of a box, then they will inevitably be bashed off of the unit. It’s a great idea to ensure that most of these ports aren’t directly touching one of the box’s walls. Putting the label side flush with the wall is always a safe bet. This will help your recorder avoid the possibly rough ride back to our office. Always assume the worst could happen!
After you wrap up your recorders nice and snug, then the next step is to fill the empty space in the box with some kind of cushioning material. We use bubble wrap here. It’s a really great cushion that prevents the units from rattling around inside the box during travel. Packing peanuts work fairly well, but I’ve found that you need a large number of them to keep everything in place. Also, we suggest buying packing peanuts made of corn starch. These can easily be dissolved in warm water rather than sent to the landfill. Paper is the least optimal choice, but can be used in a pinch. If you make large crumpled balls with the sheets, it does an okay job of cushioning your cargo.
As part of our commitment to the environment, you can be assured that our shipping staff will reuse and resend any clean packing material that we receive.
I hope that these tips have been useful to you. If you have any questions about returning items to us for repair, general shipping, or customs documentation, please feel free to email me at Aubrey@wildlifeacoustics.com or give me a ring at +1-978-369-5225 x508. And, again, please contact our support team at email@example.com with any repair questions.
As always, if you have a question that you would like answered here on the blog, send me an email with Tech’s Desk in the subject line.
Until we meet again: good luck and happy science!