HydraConnect, once a popular niche maker of integrator-friendly HDMI and HDBaseT switches, went dark around August 2015. The founders of the original company (HydraConnect LLC) are embroiled in a lawsuit with the successor company (HydraConnect Sales), which has put business on hold.
Meanwhile, CE Pro is hearing from dealers with dead HydraConnect products and no support.
This week, a dealer who is trying to get money back from the company asked, “Do you have other dealers experiencing faulty product? We have had nothing but horrible experience with this company.”
We referred him to another dealer who had written to us last November: “This has been going on since July 27th when we received his first unit DOA no power or nothing and then it went south from there kept telling us replacements were back ordered then he got hit with the Judges orders closing his doors.”
The dealer estimates he has $15,000 in non-functioning products and “at least $5,000 in labor putting in new equipment at a discount to make my clients happy.”
Thankfully, a white knight has arrived to resurrect some of the bad products – at least the ones with faulty HDBaseT boards, which seems to be the key problem with the HydraConnect switches.
Zektor, also a popular niche provider of high-performance switches, is creating a replacement for defective HDBaseT boards, designed to fit HydraConnect chassis currently in the field.
“Our new board will fit all models that used the HDBT output and fit into the exact physical opening in their chassis with no modifications,” says Zektor CEO Jeff Haynes.
Because this fix isn’t intended to be a money-maker for Zektor, the company opted for “the fastest way to help prior Hydra dealers that are in trouble now with the least amount of cost impact to Zektor,” Haynes says.
The result is a mechanical board that brings the HDMI outputs to the rear of the chassis with local HDMI outputs instead of HDBaseT. The integrator will remove the chassis from the rack, remove the HydraConnect HDBT output module and replace it with the Zektor HDMI output card.
“From there, the integrator can choose any brand of HDBT extender kit,” Haynes says. “We certainly hope that they choose ours.”
After reinstalling the chassis, the unit should operate as it did with the original HydraConnect configuration, according to Haynes.
“There will obviously be a bit more cabling and power connections at the rack, but it does provide life to units that are failing in the field,” he says.
The replacement module is expected to be available in mid-March, and additional information should be available in the coming week.
Pricing for the 4x HDMI output module will be $129 each when the dealer purchases Zektor extenders, or $179 each without Zektor accessories.
Haynes says Zektor is producing 50 HDMI output cards to start. He is asking dealers to report how many units they might need, in case Zektor needs to raise the production volume to 100.
“We put the effort and expense into doing this goodwill gesture for HydraConnect dealers in hopes of earning their future business,” Haynes says.
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