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RegGuheert
Posts: 6419
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Sun May 17, 2015 1:39 pm

The replacement of the first three failed Enphase M190 inverters in my system was very straightforward: Enphase sent me a new unit with a return shipping label included. I had one "roof session" to replace the failed unit, tossed the old unit into the box and slapped the adhesive label over the old one. Then I went online and scheduled a pickup by FedEx. Done!

But that apparently made too much sense. I now have a fourth inverter approved for replacement. Their support representative informed me of this fact, but he did not tell me things would be different this time.

Unfortunately, the next email I got from Enphase 10 days later confused me thoroughly, so I sent them a couple of emails asking for clarification. Nothing. So I thought I would post here to see if anyone who has had a recent replacement can fill me in on the details. Here is the email, with commentary:
Enphase Support wrote:Subject: Return Merchandise Authorization XXXXXXXX

Dear Reg Guheert,

Enphase has approved your Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) request for the "" installation (Enlighten Site ID: ). The RMA number you should reference for this transaction is XXXXXXXX.

This authorizes you to return the following serial numbered units to Enphase:
XXXXXXXXXXXX
So far, so good!
Enphase Support wrote:Please click on the following link to obtain a prepaid return shipping label.
http://returnlabel.enphaseenergy.com/rma/XXXXXXXX" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That's a change, but I can handle that.
Enphase Support wrote:An email should follow with more shipping confirmation details regarding your advanced replacement units.
This is the point at which I start to get confused. Two words cause the confusion:

"advanced" - Does that mean that they will send the new unit before I have to send the old one back or does it mean that the unit is technologically advanced when compared with the one that has failed. I know that the second definition is true, so I wonder about the first one.

"follow" - What does it follow? Does it follow this email? Or perhaps it follows me clicking the link and printing the shipping label? Or perhaps it will only follow once they receive the failed unit from me? Who knows?
Enphase Support wrote:------------------------------------------------------------------------
I guess we are moving on to the next "phase" of the email.
Enphase Support wrote:Why are you receiving this email?

Enphase Energy making some changes to the product return portion of our Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) process. Historically, Enphase has provided a prepaid return label inside the box containing the replacement unit. Enphase will now be providing an email link to a prepaid label that you can print at your convenience.
O.K. I have already gathered that much. But is that the ONLY change, or do I need to return the old unit before you will send me a new one?
Enphase Support wrote:Here are the steps to use the return label emailed to you:

1) Click on the link above to access your prepaid return shipping label.

2) Print the label.

3) Place the device(s) to be returned into a box.
"a box"? That implies to me that I do not already have a box shipped by Enphase. Or perhaps I merely have the option to ship it in advance.
Enphase Support wrote:4) Affix the label to the box.

5) Drop off at Fedex or schedule a pickup (fedex.com/pickup).

If you lose the email containing the return label link, simply email or call Customer Support and we will provide you a link to obtain a return label.
That seems clear.
Enphase Support wrote:We welcome any feedback you have about this process change. Please send us an email at service-tools@enphaseenergy.com with any feedback you have.
This is the best part of the whole email. Great! They want feedback on this new process. So I sent a facsimile of the above feedback to the provided email alias, also copying the support email address. Unfortunately, service-tools@enphaseenergy.com does not accept email from me (and, yes, I checked the spelling carefully. Of course it was correct since I copied it rather than typing it.) So I sent a second email to support explaining that their feedback alias did not work. After four business day, I have not received a reply to either email.
Enphase Support wrote:Thank You,
Enphase Customer Service
You're welcome.

So, has anyone else done an Enphase RMA via this procedure, having received this email? If so, can you please explain the ambiguous items which currently have me flummoxed? TIA!

If not, I will update this thread as I learn more...
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

User avatar
GeekEV
Posts: 1825
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:11 pm
Delivery Date: 15 Feb 2011
Leaf Number: 0308
Location: NorCal, USA

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Sun May 17, 2015 2:20 pm

You seem to be totally overthinking this one. I would interpret the "advanced replacement units" to be poor grammar, nothing more. I'm pretty sure they mean "advance replacement units" in that they are sent to you in advance of you replacing them. By "an email should follow" they mean "you will get another email at some point in the future." And the box part is merely saying you can use any box you want to, it doesn't have to be the one they send you. I'm sure the replacement will come in a box of some sort...

Let us know how it turns out.

2014 Chevy Spark EV 2LT
2013 Tesla Model S 60kWh[/url]
AV L2 EVSE + kWh meter
9.4kW Solar Array + enphase energy

QueenBee
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:14 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 2062
Location: Portland

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Sun May 17, 2015 2:48 pm

I'm with GeekEV. They clearly need to fix the email address and get on top of responding to support emails but I think the only change was that they no longer include the prepaid label in the box, you instead print it yourself. But I form this opinion only have experience with RMA processes in general not having to do with Enphase RMAs.

Regardless of if you clicked the link to print the label or sent back the failed inverter I would expect that you'll be receiving another email with tracking info for the advanced replacement inverter. Odd that it would take more than four days for that to ship though...

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 6419
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Sun May 17, 2015 3:05 pm

I agree with both of your interpretations. That's my gut-level interpretation, too.

But here's the thing: Seven days have passed since the email I posted was sent. No other email has followed. Not one announcing a new unit being shipped and none responding to either of my reply emails. So what if this interpretation is incorrect and I wait two weeks? Four weeks?

The bottom line: Their communication right now is really quite poor, as is their new method of handling their RMAs.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 6419
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Wed May 20, 2015 5:20 am

I called Enphase yesterday. The could not find either of the emails which I had sent to them last week. :(

The support person confirmed that "advanced" does mean that they will ship the new inverter before receiving the old one back.

He told me that no units shipped in the past week because of "database issues".

So far, still no email indicating it is on its way.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 6419
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Fri May 22, 2015 1:12 pm

The new inverter shipped yesterday with a scheduled arrival date of May 28. Considering I reported the failure on April 29, that's about a 1-month turn around on their part.

On top of all that, it appears they sent me one of the OLD M190s, part #M190-72-240-S12. I wonder where they got it from?

I'll take the old RMA system, thank you.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

QueenBee
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:14 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 2062
Location: Portland

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Sat May 23, 2015 3:17 pm

Ugh, that's disappointing!

billg
Posts: 195
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:57 am
Delivery Date: 05 Aug 2014
Location: DFW, TX

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Tue May 26, 2015 12:55 pm

RegGuheert wrote:The new inverter shipped yesterday with a scheduled arrival date of May 28. Considering I reported the failure on April 29, that's about a 1-month turn around on their part.

On top of all that, it appears they sent me one of the OLD M190s, part #M190-72-240-S12. I wonder where they got it from?

I'll take the old RMA system, thank you.
I also have one inverter en route with the same part number you reference above. This will make 6 replacements out of my 23.

Unfortunately, I also reported two more failures today and they are shipping replacements for them also, so that will make 8 out of 23 failures.

dan2112
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:46 pm
Delivery Date: 18 Mar 2014
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Tue May 26, 2015 2:22 pm

I have Enphase micro-inverters on my Solar array - how do you determine if one is bad?
2014 SL Leaf (Gun Metal)
HCS-40 EVSE

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 6419
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Wed May 27, 2015 3:00 am

dan2112 wrote:I have Enphase micro-inverters on my Solar array - how do you determine if one is bad?
Good question!

- First, you need to have an Enphase Envoy unit installed in your system. Nearly every Enphase system has one of these, but you certainly can build a system without one. If you do not have an Envoy, they it will be extremely difficult to find failures.
- If you have an Envoy and it is connected to the Internet, then the data from each of your inverters is uploaded to Enphase's Enlighten website. You can get to this website by clicking on the link in my signature. That will show you MY PUBLIC Enlighten data, which is interesting, but it gives very minimal ability to find failures. To see YOUR failures, you will need to login using the button in the top right of the screen. If you do not know your login credentials, then ask your installer for them.
- Once you login to your site, then click the leftmost tab entitled "View" (which should be the default). Then on the left-hand side of the page use the pull down and pick the top entry under "Energy (Wh)" entitled "Past 7 Days". You will now see each of your inverters in a light blue color with the number of kWH shown in white. If any of the inverters are instead black and display 0 kWH, then you likely have a failure.
- You may also have a failure if you have inverters which are darker than the rest and display a lower number of kWH, but this can also be caused by shading of those panels. Compare the one-week results to the lifetime results to get an idea of whether you are dealing with a failure or shading issues.

Do you know which inverters you have installed? M190s? M380s? M215? M250s? If you do not know, then if any of your inverters are visible from the ground, take a look at the unit. If it is an M190 or M380, then the entire inverter is enclosed in a metal case and therefore has a silvery color. Those are the inverters which some of us are having failures with. If, instead, your inverters have a metal plate, but the main body is black, then you have an M215 or an M250. If that is what you have, then it is extremely unlikely that you have any failures on your roof.

To give you an idea of the difference in reliability of the two types, suppose you have an Enphase array on your roof with 50 inverters, similar to my system. If you have the M190 inverters, then you can expect to have approximately one inverter fail every year. OTOH, if you have the M215 inverters, then you would expect to have one failure every 20 years. (While my M190 based system is extremely average with four failures in four years, many are far from average. Some systems have experienced no failures while others have had the equivalent of 5 or more failures each year in a 50-inverter system.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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