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Member postings for Alistair Robertson 1

Here is a list of all the postings Alistair Robertson 1 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Extra Royal Mail Delivery Charges
28/05/2022 16:36:49

Hi, All.

I got a card through my letterbox saying I needed to pay an extra £1.50 to get a small packet delivered as "The sender didn't pay the full postage".

I paid on-line and the packet was delivered with the Post Office generated label showing the correct charge for the weight and size of the package had been paid. Next day I visited my Royal Mail delivery office and asked for an explanation of the extra charge when I was told that, yes the extra charge was wrong but it couldn't be refunded as there was no mechanism to challenge an incorrect postage issued label.

It is only £1.50 but it is MY £1.50 so I am not a very happy person!

Thread: Clunky broach
12/03/2022 16:52:40

The guide should be about the same length as from the last cutting edge to the end of the broach or at least the length of the material with a minimum of 3 cutting edges in the work.

A powered hydraulic press is best as the speed of the stroke is consistent. A hand pump is not the best.

We used these broaches in production work and we "lifed" them for 1000 units but they would do much more than that with no problems if properly lubricated with "broaching oil" the name of which escapes me now!

Thread: Smart meter
21/01/2022 14:18:49

My experience with smart meters is not positive as the meter had to be replaced in our local museum where I volunteer. The fitter came to install it and said " this meter can't work here there is no radio signal"

He contacted his manager but was told to fit it any way! Well the power company couldn't read the meter and asked us to photograph the meter screen and email it to them. This was OK for about 6 months then we were told that as they could not read the meter remotely they were going to get a company to read the meter every month at a cost of £28.50 a month added to our usually about £20 bill. A word in their ear from our local MP soon produced a letter of apology and we continue to send in photos every month.

Thread: Iphone Upgrade problem
18/01/2022 12:16:40


My good lady has bought a new but second hand Iphone from a reputable seller. She bought her last phone from the same company.

Last time we transferred the data from the old phone to the new with no problem using the Icloud process. I did the same this time and everything seemed fine. But when I tried to download a new NHS app it would not work as it said there was no Apple ID and i noticed that no Emails had been saved over.

I decided to go to an Apple shop with the two phones and the guy said "No Problem" Well 10 minutes later a frowning expert says "this will take about 30 minutes, can you please come back later" 90 minutes later I go back to a shop with 4 staff standing looking at my phones and in deep conversation. They had decided that something had gone wrong with the data transfer and the situation was terminal! The phone will work as a phone but not as a smartphone.

Has anyone else had a similar problem?

Thread: Eletronic Prescriptions
25/11/2021 10:57:57

Mike, the thing is my repeat is automatically set for the sixth of the month and cannot be changed or altered only cancelled. I cannot even alter the amounts required as I have one pill that I just take when I require it but the system is locked to the pills and amounts which are set at the initial setup.

A case of someone setting up a system they don't understand.

25/11/2021 09:40:04

I live in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and I find that some changes to the Prescription ordering procedure have gone awry. Most medications are packaged in 7, 14 or 28 day packs so they don't last for a full calendar month.

The problem is that my repeat prescription is on a calender month basis i.e. on or near the sixth of the month so the only month I get the correct amount of medication is 3 years out of 4 every February!

I have to contact the chemist to obtain the shortage and they have to phone to get the doctor to raise and sign an extra prescription which covers me for a few months until the whole cycle is repeated.

I contacted the local Health Board and tried to get an answer or maybe a solution from them but they just said that pills are packaged on a weekly basis but prescriptions are issued on a calendar basis and this cannot be changed as the issuing computer software works on a calendar cycle. They understood the problem as they have had 100's of complaints from doctors about the extra manual work involved but they cannot change the system!

Thread: Hermes. A Company in Total Confusion!
05/10/2021 16:37:30

I did not realise that Computer Active had looked in to this for me as I have had no correspondance from them since I asked for their advice. I did send them copies af all the emails and bits of paper but I just thought that as it was not directly involved with a computing problem that they did not pursue it. I will have to buy a copy and check it out but I don't think they will get any further than me.

05/10/2021 15:07:54

Thanks for all the comments.

Yes the problem is I am not their customer, the seller is, but he doesn't want to get involved as Hermes say the parcel was delivered to me in the first place.

The real problem that every reply I have got from Hermes has been different, "Your Parcel has been delivered" although the attached information showed that it hadn't!. "Your parcel is now moving through our system and will be delivered in two days, NOT! "The parcel number you have supplied is invalid? " The parcel number is not a Hermes number" although it is the number on their label! Paypal will not get involved as the parcel was delivered to me and they are not responsible for a lost return parcel!

05/10/2021 13:38:59

Hi, All.

I am having an unbelievable time with Hermes the Courier Company.

The Saga begins, i bought a cheap £20 Smartwatch to measure my daily activity as an aid to keeping or even improving my fitness.

The watch arrived and I charged it up but there was obviously something wrong as the battery went flat in about 8 hours. I contacted the seller who agreed that something wrong and sent me by email a Hermes label to attach to the parcel and take it to my local Hermes Parcelshop. This I did and I got a receipt with the Hermes return code printed upon it.

I waited about a week expecting some contact from the seller but with nothing happening I got in contact with them to be told they hadn't received the watch back. I tried to trace the parcel using the Hermes Tracking Number but the number could not be recognised. I contacted Hermes who said it was not their number even after I emailed them a copy of the label supplied by the seller emblazoned with the Hermes Logo.

They then said the label was a forgery and that the seller had used this invalid label many times. I sent the email to the seller who must have read the riot act as a couple of days later I received an apology from Hermes for being misled and the parcel was on it's way to the seller.

Well the seller never got the parcel although Hermes said he had, then sent me a tracking code that showed it was still in the Hermes system as "unreconciled" !!

I have now been in contact with four seperate Customer Assistants who all ask for full details of the problem even when everything is listed in my email to them! Any return email from me doesn't go to the original "Customer Services Person" but back into the general pool with a reply from someone who asks for full details again although the full email trail is now five pages long. The return email address listed on the Hermes Emails are now listed as "No Longer Used" and the new contact address will only work in Google Chrome which I find very strange.

I only spent £20 on the Smartwatch but it is MY £20 and I intend to pursue it as far as possible. Has anyone had similar problems and did they find a solution?

Thread: Cylinder Head Combustion Chamber Template
14/09/2021 12:25:42

The way I used to do it was by making a pattern from about 1mm aluminiun and filing it to fit in to the profile so that the top surface is level with the head surface. Drill the two holes through the valve guides. Drop the valves through the pattern and into the guides. Mark the head surface using the outside of the profile and machine/grind the chamber until the pattern is flush with the head surface. Using this method all the chambers can be very accurately ground to the final size. I found over the years that I didn't have to do any more fettling to achieve accurate matching.

I haven't flowed a head for more than 20 years but I have never got all the cast iron dust out of my hands!

Thread: Paypal payment delay
02/08/2021 13:57:16

An update on my Paypal saga is.

On contacting the original seller I find that my Paypal payment was never in his Paypal account as he cancelled and refunded almost immediately. I queried this with Paypal who agreed that the money had never gone in to his account but to prevent fraud they would now hold on to my money for 14 days and only then would I be credited by Paypal. I think that the sum involved probably triggered some safety mechanism within Paypal. I asked Paypal about this but they refused to discuss it but they quoted "Customer Confidentiality" I thought I was the customer!

01/08/2021 12:12:12

Hi All.

I always seem to be complaining but here I go again.

I ordered some equipment from a company and as it was to be a one-off purchase I decided to pay by Paypal. I paid but the company got back immediately and said the model was out of stock and would be 6 weeks until the stock came in but they said that a competitor should have one left and suggested that was the way to go. They immediately refunded my Paypal payment and I bought from the suggested source again using Paypal.

A couple of days later I checked my Paypal account and the money was not in my account so I checked the first company and the money had left their account and had gone to Paypal. On checking with Paypal they said the money would be in my account in 10 days time. I queried but was told that was standard for a refund. I asked how I got a refund from an Ebay purchase almost immediately he refused to comment other than 10 days was the normal refund time.

The value was only about £1600 but if they hold on to everybodys money for that time then they must have a good money earning stream.

Anyone else have that happen to them.

Thread: Royal Mail Tracking Numbers!
26/07/2021 16:22:55

An update on my RM issues.

OK I parcel has arrived with several different labels and stamps which I cannot decipher but appears to have been in Bristol, Burnley and Burton Latimer! (I Jest)

The valuable parcel has disappeared entirely including the tracking information which the supplier is pulling his hair out over. RM agree they took the money for the parcel but they must have issued an incorrect number which is not in their format. They are not prepared to compensate him until they can find the package and the tracking but of course they cannot find it!! This was all UK to UK destinations.

I received on Friday a small packet from China, which was delivered by RM and within 5 minutes I got an email from the seller asking if I was happy with the product. How come RM can deliver and trace a package from China but not from the UK?

23/07/2021 13:02:01

Hi, All.

Up until the last few days our Royal Mail deliveries have been excellent but over the last 12 days or so things have gone seriously wrong.

I have 8 items that I am waiting on, some from Ebay and some from other on-line retailers.

All have been supplied with Tracking Numbers but they don't work as they should.

I know RM only update when the parcel is delivered but on two of them I paid for tracking as the items are expensive but the RM system says item number cannot be found!

The sellers have tried to find the items but no joy and have offered to repay my money but one of the items I cannot get anywhere.

Anyone else got any tales to tell?

Thread: Long Term Planning or No planning!
13/05/2021 19:41:31

A local farmer friend was relaying a tale to me regarding a Fibre Broadband cable that passes along the side of several of his fields.

It began in early 2019 when he was told he would have to allow access to his fields to allow machinery to install a new Fibre Broadband cable between local villages. Broadband speed locally is very good already so he just thought it was a further upgrade.

The cable was to be carried on over 100 new wooden poles. The job started and there were no real problems and the contractors did not get in the way of his farm operations until they came to a halt about 50 meters from the farm leaving a reel of fibre cable about 1500 meters long hanging from the last pole.

He thought they wouldl be back to install the rest of the poles and complete the job but nothing happened and as the cable was in the way and he was concerned that some of the farm equipment might tangle up and damage the cable. When he contacted the company they said there was a slight delay and they would get back to him as soon as possible.

Well nothing was happening during the Pandemic but he enquired again and was told that the job was due to be re-started in 2027-28

Was that great forward planning or an almighty ****up!

Thread: Solar panels for water heating
06/04/2021 10:00:59

A house in the next street has for about 30 years had water heating solar panels.

My wife used to go in and care for the woman and on sunny days they had to run off hot water from the system as the tank was absolutely roasting, in fact boiling and the excess water was spraying from an overspill vent on to the side of the house next door.

I recently spoke to a new owner who has been there a couple of years and he says that the system is still working well and he has fitted a hot water generator that powers his garage tools and his robot mower etc. I will have a look when we are allowed to visit safely.

The system still works very well in the winter on cold sunny days and he doesn't need any backup electric heating.

I will update when I have looked in to how it all works.

Thread: Advice acquiring single phase motor for Elliott Pillar Drill
01/04/2021 15:07:33

I bought a Warco bench drill (single phase) and I wasn't very happy with the smoothness when it was running so I fitted notched belts which was a great improvement but not perfect. A new 3 phase motor and a VFD absolutely transformed the drill with almost no need to move belts about. From 55 rpm to 2500 rpm with only one belt change. I would think a VFD is the only way to go. Some suppliers are now selling drill to this spec. but they aren't cheap.

Thread: Power supply companies.
30/03/2021 12:36:31

I am afraid that some (most!) power companies have really got incredibly incompetent.

I look after our local church and our local railway museum and the problems we have had are almost beyond belief.

At the Church we got a smart meter installed and well they couldn't get a reading. They said the radio mast was too far away. 300 meters! They need to get a meter reader at £25 plus Vat every month to check the meter at our cost!! We read the meter and send it in but they bill a totally wrong amount. Reading multiplied by 10 times! Then they say we are £800 in credit but they cannot return it as they cannot get an up to date reading. Taken the previous day is not recent enough!!

At the Museum they fitted a smart meter and again they couldn't read it. May take a year to work they said (Honestly?) Billed us for £230, we checked the meter and the usage is £2.20. We sent in a photo of the meter readings and they said OH! those meter don't work correctly so your cost is £1.36

A local company is on smart meter number 4 and the electricity supplier has said it may have to be changed again as it doesn't register the correct usage.

You couldn't invent it!

Thread: Battery Packaging Teaser
25/02/2021 09:22:52

Indeed it did fox my tester as open circuit andI didn't even mark the plastic when I stuck the test probes of my Lidl tester on to the battery.

I don't know why I decided to stick it in the stopwatch as I was convinced that the battery was dead! Perhaps the fact that I had removed the old battery and left the cover off triggered a reaction to try another battery.

If I hadn't tried to fit it in the stopwatch and found it tight then it would have been placed in the dead battery box and be on it's way to the re-cycling centre.

24/02/2021 10:44:48


A neighbour has one of those "Weather Station" gadgets with an outside sensor on the window and a screen inside. It wasn't working so he fitted a couple of 2032 batteries but it still didn't work so I was called in to see what was wrong.

Well the batteries were both dead (or so I thought!) after a bit of "are these the new or old batteries etc." we established that the new Duracell batteries were indeed dead although the packet had an expiry date of 2023 and had been bought as spares when the weather station was bought.

I went home and got a couple of new batteries from my stock and the weather could be updated but I found it strange that both batteries were dud. I tried one in a stopwatch I had and I found the battery was slightly stiff to push in and remove so after very close examination I found that the battery was sealed in a very thin skin of plastic. I had to go round the periphery with a craft knife to get it off and the plastic was 0.007 mm thick.

They were in a sealed packet and there was nothing on the packet to say that the individual batteries were sealed and I have never seen any others the same.

Any one else been caught out?

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