Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

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Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 27 Sep 2009, 17:13

I've been interested in getting a Dampp Chaser system fitted to my Sauter upright, and asked the dealer from whom I purchased the piano new last year to get me a quote - that was back in April. Having received no reply I relaunched this request with them mid August, and still received no information. (Generally I've been pleased with the post delivery service with two contractual tunings being arranged by the dealer and satisfactorily performed, but with my Dampp Chaser queries I'm now beginning to think they are a bit of a waste of time).........
Months ago I went onto the Life Saver web site and detailed a list of authorised technicians, noting there was one about an hour's drive away, in fact quite close to the dealer I'd originally questioned.
Although I've got the tel. number, I've hesitated to contact the Life Saver technician directly as I'm unsure how it may affect the pianos warranty if I bypass the main dealer. I've even raised a similar query by e-mail to the manufacturer, but after several weeks have had no reply.
Knowing that in 2- 3 months time when the under-floor central heating in turned on, I will again be seeing dry conditions and hygrometer readings in the low 40's and possibly less, I want the Dampp Chaser fitted asap.
What would you recommend I now do?
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by Barrie Heaton » 27 Sep 2009, 22:18

Most if not all makes like them to be fitted contact Sauter direct if it is fitted by an aproved install by DC then Sauter should not have a problem

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by ennjaydee » 27 Sep 2009, 22:25

I suspect Sauter would need to give you an answer re warranty, in writing. Otherwise humidify the room within recommended levels and there should be no issue. I keep it above 40% and below 55% using separate humidifier and dehumidifer units with auto humidistat. Not the cheapest option but gives a very uniform environment with no localised effects.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 28 Sep 2009, 20:16

Thank you for your comments. I'll let you know how things turn out.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 04 Oct 2009, 22:36

Dear New Age

I have just spent the morning at a very interesting Bechstein shop in central France.. more on this visit in another thread (yes - I was looking at soundboards) ... however my last question to the owner of the store was about these Damp Chaser systems.. I was very surprized how negative he was about them .. in his opinion one should really keep the whole environment at the right humidity rather than just inside the piano ... and actually in my opinion this is the correct line - it is just much more difficult to keep the whole room/house at reasonable humidity in mid winter.

I was about to get this Dampp Chaser but now instead I will increase the power of my humidifier during the winter

Personally I also do not like the idea of drilling a hole through the case for the power cord...

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by D.J.Smith » 05 Oct 2009, 08:40

There is no need to drill a hole through the case.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 05 Oct 2009, 08:50

crispin wrote:Dear New Age

I have just spent the morning at a very interesting Bechstein shop in central France.. more on this visit in another thread (yes - I was looking at soundboards) ... however my last question to the owner of the store was about these Damp Chaser systems.. I was very surprized how negative he was about them .. in his opinion one should really keep the whole environment at the right humidity rather than just inside the piano ... and actually in my opinion this is the correct line - it is just much more difficult to keep the whole room/house at reasonable humidity in mid winter.

I was about to get this Dampp Chaser but now instead I will increase the power of my humidifier during the winter

Personally I also do not like the idea of drilling a hole through the case for the power cord...
Crispin,
Thanks for the feed-back.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 05 Oct 2009, 09:12

D.J.Smith wrote:There is no need to drill a hole through the case.
I believe this would generally be true, but may occasionally depend on the make and model.

On mine, there is a gap of approx 2cms from the top of the lower kickboard through which a power cord could run. However this would be a little unsightly as the cord would then hang down the side to floor level. A better solution would be to drill a small hole in the piano base board - as this would be invisible with the lower kickboard in position. In any case all this would be discussed with a Life Safer technician prior to any work being commenced.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by mdw » 05 Oct 2009, 19:50

NewAge wrote:
D.J.Smith wrote:There is no need to drill a hole through the case.
I believe this would generally be true, but may occasionally depend on the make and model.

On mine, there is a gap of approx 2cms from the top of the lower kickboard through which a power cord could run. However this would be a little unsightly as the cord would then hang down the side to floor level. A better solution would be to drill a small hole in the piano base board - as this would be invisible with the lower kickboard in position. In any case all this would be discussed with a Life Safer technician prior to any work being commenced.
The plug is moulded to the cable. Whilst its neater to cut the cable and put it out the back of the piano I would want to know what the position is re liability if anything whent wrong. I know it will be just as safe if a new plug is connected properly but you can just see who the fall guy will be if the water and electric mix goes wrong. If the customer wants to do that bit after ive gone thats fine but as a fitter I would never cut the plug off. Shame as it makes a much neater job!!!!

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 14 Oct 2009, 12:15

Dear NewAge

Did you ever get a quote for fitting a Dampp Chaser in an upright? A local fitter wants to charge 610 euros ttc - is this reasonable?

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 14 Oct 2009, 18:06

crispin wrote:Dear NewAge

Did you ever get a quote for fitting a Dampp Chaser in an upright? A local fitter wants to charge 610 euros ttc - is this reasonable?
Crispin,
Yes this is around the amount the piano dealer estimated. However I'm still awaiting to get an official quote. Will let you know asap.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 19 Oct 2009, 15:04

mdw wrote:
NewAge wrote:
D.J.Smith wrote:There is no need to drill a hole through the case.
I believe this would generally be true, but may occasionally depend on the make and model.

On mine, there is a gap of approx 2cms from the top of the lower kickboard through which a power cord could run. However this would be a little unsightly as the cord would then hang down the side to floor level. A better solution would be to drill a small hole in the piano base board - as this would be invisible with the lower kickboard in position. In any case all this would be discussed with a Life Safer technician prior to any work being commenced.
The plug is moulded to the cable. Whilst its neater to cut the cable and put it out the back of the piano I would want to know what the position is re liability if anything whent wrong. I know it will be just as safe if a new plug is connected properly but you can just see who the fall guy will be if the water and electric mix goes wrong. If the customer wants to do that bit after ive gone thats fine but as a fitter I would never cut the plug off. Shame as it makes a much neater job!!!!
I was reading recently on a sister piano forum, "on an upright, the dampp-chaser rod is installed behind the bottom board, and the cord travels up the side of the piano (on the inside) and then out the back underneath the lid, as there is usually a sufficient amount of clearance for the power cord."

I feel that this could be well be the most suitable routing on my piano (without drilling unnecessary external holes) if/when I get a suitable quote for the job.
I also learn that many pianos (across the pond) have had Piano Life Saver systems fitted without a humidistat. Does this imply that the systems were purchased & fitted on the cheap by the piano's owner, or by 'cowboy technicians? Has anyone here ever come across similar non-complete installations?
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by Barrie Heaton » 19 Oct 2009, 21:47

Feel under the key bed if there a 15mm gap then the cord and the pipe can pass if not then the bottome board will have to be cut at the top to allow the water fill tube to pass - but this can bee fitted behined the bottom door you just have to open it wen you need to fill up

the control lights pad is fitted under the keybed as well in the top treble, it has a single wire that is fitted to the control box about 1 mm thick


I have seen some very old ones that did not have an humidistat. pre 70s !

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 20 Oct 2009, 08:28

Thanks for your comments Barrie. This will definitely assist in meaningful discussions when a Life Saver technician eventually calls.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by sussexpianos » 24 Oct 2009, 13:23

I have fitted many systems, grand and upright, and I believe they are the best thing to protect a piano from humidity change/damage. They will keep the piano in tune more and my customers have been very happy with the results. It is easier to control the environment inside the piano than outside. I would not recommend cutting the plug off. If you want to use an extension lead and plug the system into that( inside the piano) then that would not void the warranty, just keep it away from the tank. You can also drill a small hole through the bottom plinth floor, better than through the soundboard.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by vernon » 24 Oct 2009, 19:05

THROUGH THE SOUND BOARD!?
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by sussexpianos » 24 Oct 2009, 22:49

sorry,bit deaf
http://www.steinway.com/technical/soundboard.shtml
moast peeple speel et th8 way
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by Bob Pierce » 26 Oct 2009, 00:08

I agree with Sussex, these systems do the job, but make sure the technician is recommended by Dampp Chaser.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 28 Oct 2009, 08:00

Bob Pierce wrote:I agree with Sussex, these systems do the job, but make sure the technician is recommended by Dampp Chaser.
In response to my letter I had an excellent very rapid reply back from the manufacturer (Sauter) saying that the piano warranty will remain unchanged as long as the installation is performed by an authorised DamppChaser technician.
Getting hold of one however is easier said than done. I've made many calls (home number, not mobile) to one who is the closest to me and keep getting an answerphone - with no reply to my message so far - could be on vacation I suppose. À suivre.........
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 28 Oct 2009, 08:44

Dear NewAge
Luckily the local Dampp Chaser installer around here - not only answers his phone but has a star given by Dampp Chaser to those who install many systems.... however I get the impression that these systems are not so popular in France ...
However - I am curious why you are installing this system ... is this to help the piano stay in tune, help with these ridges that we find on the soundboard - or - at one time you posted a photo showing that hammers were not sitting in an even line at rest - was that a humidity problem?

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by mdw » 28 Oct 2009, 09:17

As long as you follow the well written instructions any half decent tech should be able to fit they system without any problems. Like most things if you dont follow the instructions there may well be problems :D

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 28 Oct 2009, 15:42

crispin wrote:Dear NewAge
Luckily the local Dampp Chaser installer around here - not only answers his phone but has a star given by Dampp Chaser to those who install many systems.... however I get the impression that these systems are not so popular in France ...
However - I am curious why you are installing this system ... is this to help the piano stay in tune, help with these ridges that we find on the soundboard - or - at one time you posted a photo showing that hammers were not sitting in an even line at rest - was that a humidity problem?
Crispin,
I think the humidity in the living room was swinging a little too much for comfort. I want a system I can switch on and forget, and get as much stability as possible between twice yearly tunings. Last tuning was in March, and although still very playable it’s time for it’s tune-up and also for a few minor regulations.
No, I'm not worried at all about the soundboard ridges, I'm certain that's per design.

Rather than having a separate room humidifier and dehumidifier running in the winter and summer respectively , my own view is that it must be more effective to have a system inside the piano, instead of hanging underneath, and a Dampp-Chaser System should create this micro climate, and thus stabilize the moisture level, the tuning and pitch.
I’ve read that a DC system uses only uses 1/2 gallon of water every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on room conditions, and I can live with topping up the reservoir at that interval.
Also read of some horror lash-ups by cowboy installers, with 50W heater rods fitted below the keybed of uprights, and other components not ideally positioned - on grands.
I’ve also heard that a DP can pay for itself over a period of time with less frequent tunings, but that's not my concern.
Up until now whenever I’ve asked Madame to “add a drop of water”, it’s always been to dilute my pastis aperitif– will now have to re-educate her to watch for the DC blinking light, and top-up.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 28 Oct 2009, 15:50

mdw wrote:As long as you follow the well written instructions any half decent tech should be able to fit they system without any problems. Like most things if you dont follow the instructions there may well be problems :D
MDW,
You say "any half decent tech should be able to fit the system without any problem," and I would generally agree. The complete system doesn't appear especially complicated to me.
However the statement appears to imply that 'any decent tech', is not necessarily one authorised by DamppChaser. My manufacturer made it clear in writing that the warranty with remain unchanged as long as the tech is officially authorized by DamppChaser. I have a list issued by them, and am awaiting a reply from a local authorized tech.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 28 Oct 2009, 20:23

Well - today my Dampp Chaser was fitted ... it took the technician about 2 hours to fit it ... but he liked to talk (long discussions about voicing the piano etc). He says that he fits about 2 systems per month. In the end I agreed that he drills a hole through the bottom of the piano ... and he cut off the molded plug so that the hole was as small as possible. He implied that it may need to be filled every 4 days in the dryness of winter ..

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 28 Oct 2009, 20:43

crispin wrote:Well - today my Dampp Chaser was fitted ... it took the technician about 2 hours to fit it ... but he liked to talk (long discussions about voicing the piano etc). He says that he fits about 2 systems per month. In the end I agreed that he drills a hole through the bottom of the piano ... and he cut off the molded plug so that the hole was as small as possible. He implied that it may need to be filled every 4 days in the dryness of winter ..
Interesting. What accessories came with it, replacement pads, water treatment, watering can? Or were these extras?
Have sent you a PM.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 28 Oct 2009, 22:33

It came with a bottle of water treatment, a watering can and no (zero) replacement pads.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by Barrie Heaton » 29 Oct 2009, 23:36

crispin wrote:It came with a bottle of water treatment, a watering can and no (zero) replacement pads.
Replacing the pads is done by the tec - if you use the water treatment and you have soft water they last for about 18 months to 2 years but in hard water less than a year, better to change them every 6 months in hard water.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by sussexpianos » 31 Oct 2009, 17:31

I find that the technician who tunes, will also do a pad change. Cleaning the bar from deposits as well. Just remember not to turn the thing off when you go on holiday!
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by PianoGuy » 31 Oct 2009, 18:52

crispin wrote: and he cut off the molded plug so that the hole was as small as possible.
Interesting.

Qualified electrician with indemnity insurance is he?
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by Barrie Heaton » 31 Oct 2009, 20:06

PianoGuy wrote:
crispin wrote: and he cut off the molded plug so that the hole was as small as possible.
Interesting.

Qualified electrician with indemnity insurance is he?

It is going against EEc rules.

I did email DC to ask them to change the mains lead to a plug-in rather than a wired direct to the unit. They never got back to me

If a few started to request it ....... they may change it

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by D.J.Smith » 31 Oct 2009, 20:47

There is nothing in UK law that prevents anyone cutting off a moulded plug and fitting another one. The only proviso is that it is done properly.

There is a great deal of misinformation put about re the new Part P building regs, and what may still be done by an unregistered person.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 31 Oct 2009, 23:40

I must admit that I am a little confused about the problem of fitting a new plug... In France - and I assume in Britain it must be the same - I can buy a plug in any hardware store - I do not think you need to be a rocket scientist to afix this plug onto an electrical cable. In addition the Dampp Chaser - being American - does not have a ground wire ... so there are only two wires in the cable amking it easier still. If one is not allowed to fix a plug onto a cable - why can I buy a plug in the hardware store. In addition this plug is not in the piano or anywhere near this water tank so I fail to understand the problem.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by PianoGuy » 01 Nov 2009, 21:34

AFAI know in the UK (and probably the rest of the EC) it is perfectly legal for a consumer to change an electrical plug and cut off a moulded item to do so if necessary, but any tradesman doing so must be qualified with the relevant qualifications.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 01 Nov 2009, 22:51

PianoGuy wrote:AFAI know in the UK (and probably the rest of the EC) it is perfectly legal for a consumer to change an electrical plug and cut off a moulded item to do so if necessary, but any tradesman doing so must be qualified with the relevant qualifications.
Easy enough for a consumer to do for sure, but as stated by Sussexpianos in an earlier post above, I wonder how that might affect the warranty of the DC system and piano if later there was a problem.
If I eventually find that the local DC approved technician won't cut the electrical plug off for reasons of piano esthetics and/or union related restrictions, I'd add an extension lead inside and stow any excessive length accordingly - thus maintaining the DC system in it's original configuration.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 02 Nov 2009, 07:23

Let us consider what can go wrong with this system... the humidity sensor could go wrong and this Dampp Chaser system could either dry out your piano too much or make it too humid. In either case the piano manufacturer will say it is not their responsibility ... if you prove your case ... the Dampp Chaser just warrantees their Dampp Chaser system - so you can get a replacement system fitted into your ruined piano. In this scenario I believe that the cut-off - or not cut-off molded plug is besides the point.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by D.J.Smith » 02 Nov 2009, 09:30

The regulations make no distinction between a tradesman or anyone else. It is the type of work which dictates whether the person is required to be suitably qualified.

However, a tradesman's liability insurance may only cover what he is qualified to do, which is a seperate matter.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by athomik » 02 Nov 2009, 10:57

I can tell you that one big Japanese manufacturer (which in the near future may also include a well known English brand, maybe even an Austrian brand, although I don't yet know the details) would treat warranty claims on an individual basis. First, products should not be modified, which would include fitting a Dampp Chaser. However, if there is a problem which cannot be said to have been caused by the modification, the warranty would (generally) still be honoured.
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 02 Nov 2009, 11:17

athomik wrote:I can tell you that one big Japanese manufacturer (which in the near future may also include a well known English brand, maybe even an Austrian brand, although I don't yet know the details) would treat warranty claims on an individual basis. First, products should not be modified, which would include fitting a Dampp Chaser. However, if there is a problem which cannot be said to have been caused by the modification, the warranty would (generally) still be honoured.
I believe that this statement is in the right direction: I would assume that if one has a warrantee claim - something has gone wrong with the piano that one feels is caused by something in the manufacturing process.
Fitting a Dampp Chaser should at least indicate that the user is doing everything possible to stabilize the environment of the piano. Of course the Dampp Chaser can go wrong and cause problems - however in this case I am sure that you would have a hard job making the piano manufacturer to repair this damage even if the Dampp Chaser was fitted by the original reseller and agent of the piano manufacturer and even if the molded plug was still attached to the power cord. I recently fitted a Dampp Chaser and I am now monitoring the temperature and humidity inside my piano (I have a sensor that can be read out remotely). The idea is not that we want to make warrantee claims, but that we want to end up with a piano that has good tuning stability and a long life of excellent use. My gut feeling is this is also the goal of the piano manufacturer.

The after sales support offered by Bechstein convinces me that they take customer satisfaction very seriously...

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athomik
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by athomik » 02 Nov 2009, 11:47

One other point - if a warranty repair involves removal of any modification (as might be necessary when repairing a Disklavier fitted with a DC), the modification would not be re-fitted by the manufacturer (i.e. you might have to get the DC installer to refit the unit)
athomik

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D.J.Smith
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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by D.J.Smith » 02 Nov 2009, 12:48

Crispin.

I would be interested to know whether your ddamp chaser controls the humidity at the declared RH or not. Mine didn't.

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by crispin » 02 Nov 2009, 12:58

OK - I will tell you in a week or two... right now I guess that the piano was in a humid state ... the heater bar is often on (warm to the touch) and the humidity inside the piano (measured at the lower part of the piano on the opposite side to the water tank) has dropped from 58% to 55% RH during the last 4 days of operation. The technician that fitted it said that the target was 48% RH. The temperature measured at this position (maybe 25 cm below the heater bar) is very similar to the room temperature (i.e. this DC system is not cooking the piano - just gently drying it out).

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by NewAge » 02 Nov 2009, 13:56

crispin wrote:humidity inside the piano (measured at the lower part of the piano on the opposite side to the water tank) has dropped from 58% to 55% RH during the last 4 days of operation. The technician that fitted it said that the target was 48% RH.
Crispin,
It's looking good already then, as I note from the DC brochure a graph which shows RH should be controlled/maintained by the system within a band of 45-55%.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Piano Life Saver & manufacturers warranty

Post by Barrie Heaton » 02 Nov 2009, 21:26

athomik wrote:One other point - if a warranty repair involves removal of any modification (as might be necessary when repairing a Disklavier fitted with a DC), the modification would not be re-fitted by the manufacturer (i.e. you might have to get the DC installer to refit the unit)
there is a special DC unit for Disklavier and silent uprights fits to the outside of the upright on the back of the piano not as effective on the action and keys


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