We're Very Sorry: P40 Switch Issue
There is nothing more demoralizing than discovering a problem with a flagship product (the P40 track switch) which has not only gone into production but has been shipped to countless customers. Adding to the frustration is the fact that the discovered problem was already identified and was one of the reasons we had to delay final production.
All we can say is that we are very sorry for the error. We are still investigating the root cause and the extent of the issue; suffice to say, whatever happens we will fix it and offer a remedy to customers which are affected. As of writing this, it appears that the problem does not affect all P40 switches which have been shipped.
What is the Issue?
An incorrect version of tiebar component was installed on some P40 switches. The tiebar is the sliding component which moves the two switch rails.
How can I tell if my P40 is affected?
An inconclusive test is simply to feel how smoothly the tiebar can be moved. Affected P40 switches will have noticeably more resistance to movement. Also, you may see the switch rails slightly deflect vertically depending on the position of the tiebar.
The conclusive test involves minor disassembly of one switch rail to expose the version of tiebar installed. The correct tiebar has two slot-shaped holes that attach to the switch rails. The wrong tiebar has two round shaped holes. The diagram below shows the difference between each tiebar:
How do I inspect the tiebar?
To conclusively reveal the tiebar version, follow this procedure:
What happens next?
All fulfillment of P40 pre-orders which have not been shipped will be paused until we receive the correct components for substitution. Our team in Hong Kong is actively preparing to ship Fx Bricks Canada replacement components. We will substitute the correct tiebars and resume pre-order fulfillment continuously. Fortunately, the replacement process is not complicated nor time consuming and we should be able to resume fulfillment in less than 2 weeks.
What if I have an affected P40 switch?
If you have received a P40 switch and have confirmed that the incorrect tiebar has been installed, please choose one of the following options:
1. Return affected units for a full refund.
2. Fill out this form and we will ship out replacement tiebars plus a bonus element of S8 straight track (as compensation) per affected switch. A detailed replacement guide will be available very soon from our website describing how to substitute the tiebar. Fortunately, the P40 switch was designed to be serviceable by the end-user and the replacement process does not require any special tools beyond a LEGO brick separator.
We'll be honest and say that we hope most of you pick option 2. This will save both you and us in terms of time and expense on two-way shipping. Also, it is fastest way we can remedy the problem and get everyone's P40 switch back to optimal form. The bonus S8 track element is a small token of apology and is the least we can do for your inconvenience.
Can I just leave an affected P40 as it is?
Yes. Even with the incorrect tiebar, the P40 switch does function as intended and the running characteristics of rolling stock through the switch appear to be unaffected.
If you want to leave your P40 switch as is or have some other reason for not wanting to perform the tiebar substitution, that is ok. We would prefer you seek a remedy, but understand otherwise. However, if you still wish to leave it as is, we will think of an appropriate compensation for you nonetheless. Likely we will offer very generous store credit against future purchases or some other compensation--we just need to figure this out.
Please contact us if you choose this option instead.
Why did this happen?
We are still investigating the root cause of how this happened. Our preliminary investigation suggests that the first production batch of P40 switches (received Oct 18) were NOT affected, but likely all of the P40 switches from the second batch (received Oct 31) are affected.
The complexity of orchestrating the manufacturing and distribution of products like the P40 switch cannot be overstated. There are many vendors, service providers and brokers in the chain of supply and manufacturing. The opportunity for error only increases when the complexity and size of a particular product grows.
Luckily, we have a great team at Fx Bricks and we have good working relationships with our manufacturing partners. We need to learn from these mistakes and hopefully become less vulnerable to these types of problems occurring again.
Rest assured we will fix the problem and hopefully regain your trust and confidence. We are always grateful for the amazing support and kind words from our customers. It provides us with the confidence and motivation to do what we do and the ambition to do more!