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Practical Sailor, October 15, 2001 Where Credit is Due
To Xantrex/Statpower, Arlington, WA
and Lamplighter Marine Electronics, Dania, FL
Last July, while my Hylas 49 was in the yard for a water
maker installation, the transient voltage (MOV) protection
circuitry of the on-Board PROSine 2.5 kw inverter/charger
was literally fried by 250 volts of incoming electricity.
The problem was traced to a wiring fault in the dockside
power outlet. Before its ultimate cremation, the PROSines
MOV circuit did exactly what is was designed to do-prevent
the high voltage surge from damaging other downstream
circuits and components.
Lamplighter Maine, the original installer of the inverter,
notified Xantrex/Statepower of the inverters fate. Xantrex
responded immediately, shipping Lamplighter and entire brand
new replacement inverter at no charge. Lamplighter removed
the old unit and installed the replacement inverter, also at
no cost to me. Everything was good as new within a few days.
By my best estimate the retail value of the goods and
services provided free to me by these two companies is well
in excess of $2,000. Given that neither company had any
responsibility for the damage to the original unit, I was
truly amazed by their level of response. Such total
dedication to customer support and satisfaction is
exemplary, to say the least.
...Where Credit is Due
Practical Sailor-October 2001
Wow! Again they exceeded my expectations!
S/V Yellow Rose
When we bought our Hylas 49 "Galatea
of Lune", in 2000 we spent several weeks thinking very
carefully about the right company to supply and install the
electronics. We spoke to several companies and got two
detailed quotes, but in the end had no hesitation in going
with Dave LaLonde at Lamplighter Marine. The price was
competitive but the main reason for the decision was the
personal attention and service that we thought we would get
when compared to larger outfits. We could not have been more
right! An installation of this size and complexity begins
with the quality of advice about systems and components.
Dave's thorough and intimate knowledge of the alternatives,
practical experience of sailboat electronics and his
excellent relationship with the manufacturers, made the
planning and design a dream. He tactfully steered us away
from grandiose excess that we would have subsequently
regretted (even though more profitable for him) but insisted
that we didn't cut corners or make false economies. He
patiently talked us through the inevitable changes of mind
and was always available personally to deal with the finer
details. The work was completed well within schedule and was
of a very high quality. Everything was thorough, neat and
seamanlike. Nothing had to be re-done. There were never any
gaps between Dave and his staff - everyone was thoroughly
familiar with what was being asked of them. Nor (uniquely in
my experience) were there any conflicts with the other
tradesmen who were working on the boat at Summerfield. Above
all one had the impression of a small, highly motivated and
professional team who put customer satisfaction ahead of
everything else. Sea trials were thorough and exhaustive but
the most startling aspect of working with Lamplighter Marine
is their quite amazing after sales service. An e-mail
enquiring about a malfunction or the performance of
equipment (often equipment installed by Queen Long or
relating to electrical systems generally rather than
electronics) is met with an instant, helpful and very
detailed response. We left Florida for the Bahamas and the
Caribbean early in 2001. Subsequently we have been through
the Panama Canal and across the Pacific to New Zealand and
are now en-route to Thailand via Micronesia, the Philippines
and Singapore. In logging 20,000 miles we have had
relatively few problems with any of the equipment (mainly
Raytheon) but when we have, a phone call or e-mail to Dave
LaLonde has brought an immediate and reassuring response.
When items have failed replacements have been forthcoming
under warranty immediately - and always with Lamplighter
ensuring that their customer was treated well by the
supplier. Thus we have had, completely free of charge, an
RN300 GPS and not one but two replacement R80 CRC radars in
four years. On the difficult passage from New Zealand to
Fiji last month we lost the autohelm and all the electronics
600 miles from land at 2am on a very dark and stormy night
with 35 knot winds and 5 metre seas. My Iridium call to Dave
out of hours at his home number brought calm as he quietly
and confidently talked me through the fix (the Seatalk and
power cables to a remote instrument in an especially wet
area of the boat had shorted). The comfort being certain
that the person who knows the installation most intimately
will always be there to help and at once is of inestimable
value. Remember that the incident I have described (and
there have been others not too dissimilar) took place nearly
four years after the original installation - if there was a
Galatea golden globe for exceptional service it would go,
absolutely without a second's hesitation, to Lamplighter
Marine. Appointing them was quite simply the best decision
in the purchase of this boat that I have made. If any
prospective Hylas owner would like to contact me personally
I would be very glad to amplify my view and suggest
electronic systems that we have found most valuable. Please
do so at firstname.lastname@example.org David Martin sv Galatea of Lune
Vanuabalavu, The Lau Group, Fiji
sv Galatea of Lune-Hylas 49
Email from Wally to Barbara and Bob
cc: to Lamplighter Marine 1/12/01
I usually make it a practice never, but never, recommend any
boat yard, a product, name brand, ect. In this instance,
though, I am making and exception to my rule. Before we left
Ft. Lauderdale, FL last year we had Lamplighter Marine of
Ft. Lauderdale do extensive electrical work and work on our
electronics. They came when they were supposed to and did
the job in a professional manner and were reasonable priced.
I was very impressed with everything they did. More
importantly however, has been the "service after the sale".
While cruising around the Caribbean we, naturally, have had
some breakdowns and I can say that these people at
Lamplighter Marine went way over and beyond the call of duty
to see that we got taken care of and underway with a minimal
amount of hassle.
The most recent example is when our battery charger went
down while in Grenada. We thought we would be out of luck
until we returned to Trinidad. I contracted Dave LaLonde and
Lamplighter Marine and he contracted the factory and did all
of the research to find a dealer in Grenada, then did all of
the calling and organizing between the dealer, and the
factory to get a new battery charger installed in my boat.
Most vendors would have said "I'm sorry, but there is
nothing I can do unless you bring the boat back to Ft.
I have no hesitation to recommend the people at Lamplighter
Marine. Their phone number is 561-588-9176.
Email from David Martin to HYOA
Your note gives me the opportunity to say publicly how
grateful I am for your continued support and advice.
The decision to go to you for all our electronics, the
inverter and sundry other bits and pieces was, apart from
the decision to buy the boat in the first place, one of the
best I've made.
It is now nearly two years since the work was completed (to
a very high standard) and still I get support just whenever
I need it by return e-mail- and this is especially
appreciated when things go wrong (as they have) in the far
flung reaches of the western Caribbean. Your expertise,
knowledge and friendly advice is invaluable - you are a
permanent member of Galatea's crew. Any new Hylas owner
would be crazy not to have you fit their boat out for them.
It is good to have you aboard in every sense.
Galeatea H49 #32
Letter from Neville G. Williams to Jim
Scott @ Xantrex cc: Lamplighter 11/21/04
One frequently has cause to complain about poor customer
service. However, it is a pleasure to report outstanding
service from Dave, at Lamplighter Marine, Inc. in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida. We were in transit through the area,
and his prompt, competent and pleasant service to our
malfunctioning Heart 2500, enabled us to continue our
journey with barley a pause. Your company can certainly be
proud of its Fort Lauderdale support service.
Neville G. Williams
15 Feb 2011
We are back in business! Willard
ordered a virtually identical solar panel controller (ProStar)
from the Nanny Cay Budget Marine on Tortola, installed it
yesterday, and everything is working as it should.
Interestingly, the PS-30 that we originally installed had a
readout window that showed the charge being taken on. The
new one does not have that readout window. In addition, we
spent 3.3 ‘boat units’ for new house batteries, LifeLine
AGMs, as the former four where the set that originally came
with the boat 10 years ago. So for Valentine’s Day we kitted
out Stardust’s electronics system with what seem to be
proper ‘care & feeding’ replacements for a yacht well-used
and well-loved. We thank you so much for always providing
the answers our questions and give aide when we need it.
Every season that we are on this beautiful yacht (starting
our 10th year), we thank you, silently and out loud for your
incredible attention to detail & professionalism as we open
the blue-topped box (document box provided by Lamplighter)
and find most of the answers/instructions/support that we
could ever want regarding our electronics. All Willard has
to do is open the front panels of the Nav station, and the
neatness & organization of the space is heart-lifting. God
bless you Dave, and your carefully selected crew. So if your
ears are burning, in a good way, between January & June it
could most likely be us singing your praises. Now about the
work load… You said to Willard something to the effect that
you could sleep when your pushing up daisies (my words not
yours). HEY!!! Grab that lovely wife of yours, take a
doggone break for a week, and come to Stardust one of these
winters for cat’s sake!!! OK, I’ve said my piece. We would
love to have you come. Don’t know if you could adapt to the
languid pace given your normal rpms but we could give it a
try. We send you and Suzanne our warmest best wishes for a
happy, healthy 2011. Please take good care of yourselves.
Also please give our sincerest best to Pablo and the rest.
Gratefully, affectionately, sincerely, Gail (Minerva) and
Willard (Captain Salty)
Gail & Willard Welch
Stardust says "Thanks" for 10 years of
Thank you card from Jim Melvin, 2/9/01
Thanks again for taking care of the SSB installation for
Beaucastel. As usual, it was a pleasure. While it seems that
your business continues to boom, if I could ever be of
assistance by way of being a "reference customer", I would
be happy to do so.
Email from Pablo Vitaver to HYOA
I want to add my own comments to recent feedback on
Lamplighter Marine in Ft. Lauderdale posted on this list.
Those praises were well deserved. These people stand alone
on responsiveness and dedication, they are unparalleled with
anything I experienced. Dave and Pablo (the other Pablo)
will give you his cell phone and they will assist you at any
time you are in trouble. They helped me this way, they
answered, talked with me and would not hung up until they
were sure the problem was solved. Don't tell them, but their
prices as measured against the service received, and what
the competition does, are dirt cheap. I feel guilty when I
pay their bills. They also provide complete documentation
and a diagram of the job they did. This is essential when
need to service in distant lands, so whoever is called to
work onboard (including us) does not have to 'reverse
engineer', tear the boat apart to find wires, or guess what
is it that the electronic guys did. I know, because that
nightmare scenario recently happened to me, on work done (or
'not done') by another local vendor. You can expect to read
more about this. I think that recognition for excellent
service is due and should incentivate others to emulate
them. Pablo Alegria.
Subject: Fine Service
From: Jim Burns
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 09:50:59 -0700
Recently I placed a call to your offices regarding a
potential problem we'd experienced with a Hart Interface
while cruising in the Bahamas. The reception on the phone
was very positive (I must admit that I don't recall the
woman's name) so I sent a message to the boat owner
recommending Lamplighter Marine.
When the boat arrived in Florida from the Bahamas they
brought the unit into Lamplighter and learned...thanks to
Pablo...that the unit was functioning properly and the
problem was with a generator we'd been using.
The boat owner was so pleased with the experience at
Lamplighter that he has recommended your business to several
other boat owners via e-mail messages.
Your clientele continues to grow thanks to the way you