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Author Topic: Nagra £500 Li-Ion battery exposed as ripoff containing £22 in battery parts  (Read 6192 times)

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Offline hi and lo

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxZDzXv4fnM

Wow, this is truly a dick move, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the era of Sony Memory Sticks. Considering it's the same company that now offers the 'totally not rebranded' Lino recorder from China, I guess I'm not surprised.

Offline goodcooker

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I watched this up to the point where he takes the 6 X 18650 LiIon batteries out. Those things are 4 or 5 bucks each...maybe. Sad but no different than people paying $400 dollars for a DPA ORTF mount that's made out of rubber.
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Offline Sebastian

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My favorite part is when he discovers the sponge. ;)
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Offline barrettphisher

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Sponge worthy?
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Offline Fried Chicken Boy

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^  NOT!  ;)

I was actually compelled to watch the whole 14+ minute video.  Amazing gear or not, and even taking R&D into account, Nagra's got some balls.  As Markus Fuller remarked at one point in the video (~13:43), "And they haven't even got the decency to wear a balaclava when they rob you."

Offline voltronic

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It's being discussed at GS also - see replies from #15 onwards.  I don't think I agree with the justifications for the cost being given there.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-possibilities-acoustic-music-location-recording/947941-nagra-v-li-ion-batteries.html
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Offline capnhook

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I have a CPAP battery that has 8 X 18650 LiIon batteries inside of it, and I only paid $250 US.... :-X :o

I got a better deal...... ::) :facepalm:

The medical device industry is ripping people off the same way NAGRA is, but their sales volume is much greater.  Gub'mint just gave the industry a sales tax exclusion, too.
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Offline John Willett

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I don't see it as a rip-off at all.

Nagra designed a battery pack that was an integral part of the recorder - the R&D of the recorder with battery box was not inexpensive and only sell in relatively small quantities.

Most of the cost of the battery box is in the R&D and manufacture of the box itself and not in the battery pack.

Nothing wrong in having the foam in the box in the space where the second battery pack goes in the high capacity version - though the price difference between the two boxes is rather high if the only difference is the second battery pack.

The video only considered the raw cost of the batteries and made no allowance for the thermo detector and accompanying PCB; nor the manufacturing costs of putting all the components tigether and making them into an integral pack.

I would have thought that Nagra would either sell the battery packs if a battery box died, or, do a refurbish service on the box and replace the battery.

It was rather silly of someone just to buy a new box without asking Nagra if they could refurbish the existing one.

One could query Nagra's decision to make a special box at a high cost, rather than using standard "video" battery packs like AETA and Sound Devices (the high capacity pack for the AETA 4MinX is a standard Sony type and costs £80 in the UK).  Though, I guess, that Nagra wanted to keep the long term integrity of the recorder and be able to re-battery a pack with different batteries should anything be discontinued - if a specific "video" type of battery goes out of production then any equipment using one would quickly be unuseable.

I am sure that Nagra would have the battery boxes at a much lower price were it economic to do so.

Offline ilduclo

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I am sure that Nagra would have the battery boxes at a much lower price were it economic to do so.

 :crazy:

Offline voltronic

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I don't see it as a rip-off at all.

Nagra designed a battery pack that was an integral part of the recorder - the R&D of the recorder with battery box was not inexpensive and only sell in relatively small quantities.

Most of the cost of the battery box is in the R&D and manufacture of the box itself and not in the battery pack.

Nothing wrong in having the foam in the box in the space where the second battery pack goes in the high capacity version - though the price difference between the two boxes is rather high if the only difference is the second battery pack.

The video only considered the raw cost of the batteries and made no allowance for the thermo detector and accompanying PCB; nor the manufacturing costs of putting all the components tigether and making them into an integral pack.

I would have thought that Nagra would either sell the battery packs if a battery box died, or, do a refurbish service on the box and replace the battery.

It was rather silly of someone just to buy a new box without asking Nagra if they could refurbish the existing one.

One could query Nagra's decision to make a special box at a high cost, rather than using standard "video" battery packs like AETA and Sound Devices (the high capacity pack for the AETA 4MinX is a standard Sony type and costs £80 in the UK).  Though, I guess, that Nagra wanted to keep the long term integrity of the recorder and be able to re-battery a pack with different batteries should anything be discontinued - if a specific "video" type of battery goes out of production then any equipment using one would quickly be unuseable.

I am sure that Nagra would have the battery boxes at a much lower price were it economic to do so.


While you raise a number of good points, I have to disagree with the last statement.  Even taking into account all the factors you described, I think they could sell these batteries for far less.  Nagra is simply employing a "whatever the market will bear" pricing, much like the shockingly overpriced shockmounts and stereo bars sold by Schoeps and DPA, among others.  The market for these products is rather well-heeled, and the pricing of their accessories reflect that.  A Nagra VI costs nearly $10,000 so the folks at Nagra may rightly assume that the price of these batteries would be no big deal for their customers.  This is like the multi-thousand-dollar service prices on high-end sports cars - it's an easy profit because of the exclusivity of the product and the nature of the customer who isn't going to complain.

All that said, business is business, and if you can get people to buy your product at the price you're asking, then good for you, I guess.
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Offline voltronic

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Thread on JWSound including a written response from Nagra, and the original video maker's response to their response:
http://jwsoundgroup.net/index.php?/topic/27111-inside-a-nagra-battery/
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Offline John Willett

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Thread on JWSound including a written response from Nagra, and the original video maker's response to their response:
http://jwsoundgroup.net/index.php?/topic/27111-inside-a-nagra-battery/

Watched most of it.

His original video was full of half-truths and taking no account of the R&D and manufacturing a product in small qualtities.

His follow-up video compared Nagra to Apple and Samsung - what! - Apple and Samsung sell at least a million of their products per one single Nagra.  You can't compare what a company does in bulk manufacture to a small company producing what is, in effect, a bespoke product.

He also complained that the battery pack was not on the website - silly - I know of hardly *any* company that put service items on the website.  You normally contact the manufacturer if a product needs repair/service and go from there.

All he needed to do was to contact Nagra and they would have given him the price for replacing the battery pack and a service check of the box to make sure that all was working perfectly.

Nagra are certainly *not* ripping anyone off - it just costs that amount to produce such a product.

That is exactly why Sound Devices and AETA went for generic Sony type video batteries that are readily available and cost a lot less.

Nagra wanted their recorder to be future-proof, so went for a bespoke battery pack that, unfortunately, is not cheap.

But Nagra *do* do a re-battery service for a pack and you do *not* have to buy a new complete battery box if an internalbattery pack fails - they will even upgrade a standard pack to a high capacity one if asked.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 09:46:25 AM by John Willett »

Offline voltronic

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Since learning that Nagra will in fact just charge you to replace the cell pack, I've changed my tune on this a bit.  I agree that the video maker was a bit lazy in not calling or emailing his Nagra dealer to investigate the cell pack replacement, and he just assumed it wasn't an option and you have to buy a whole new pack.
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Offline goodcooker

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Thread on JWSound including a written response from Nagra, and the original video maker's response to their response:
http://jwsoundgroup.net/index.php?/topic/27111-inside-a-nagra-battery/

Watched most of it.

His original video was full of half-truths and taking no account of the R&D and manufacturing a product in small qualtities.

His follow-up video compared Nagra to Apple and Samsung - what! - Apple and Samsung sell at least a million of their products per one single Nagra.  You can't compare what a company does in bulk manufacture to a small company producing what is, in effect, a bespoke product.

He also complained that the battery pack was not on the website - silly - I know of hardly *any* company that put service items on the website.  You normally contact the manufacturer if a product needs repair/service and go from there.

All he needed to do was to contact Nagra and they would have given him the price for replacing the battery pack and a service check of the box to make sure that all was working perfectly.

Nagra are certainly *not* ripping anyone off - it just costs that amount to produce such a product.

That is exactly why Sound Devices and AETA went for generic Sony type video batteries that are readily available and cost a lot less.

Nagra wanted their recorder to be future-proof, so went for a bespoke battery pack that, unfortunately, is not cheap.

But Nagra *do* do a re-battery service for a pack and yo do *not* have to buy a new complete battery box if an internalbattery pack fails - they will even upgrade a standard pack to a high capacity one if asked.

The price of this battery is completely ridiculous.

I don't agree at all that the price tag is justified by the cost of R&D and manufacturing. They are simply going with a couple of different marketing strategies employed by other companies as well. One is charging what the market will bear. If you have a $10K recorder then a $500 battery doesn't seem so bad.

The other is exclusivity - they have an expensive niche product and they don't want compatibility with other products. They want their customers to come back to them for accessories even if they are outlandishly over priced.

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Offline kleiner Rainer

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sigh...

how I love those forum experts...

as a design engineer, I have to estimate how much our products will cost. I will give it a try:

£500 minus 20% VAT -> £417 (£83 for her majesty)
Dealer/distributor markup of another 25% ->  abt. £333 left.
Dunno if there is an import tax from Switzerland to UK for electronics - 3% sounds reasonable:
£323 left.

The housing looks high quality and has a complicated form. I would estimate the tooling cost (mold and stamping parts) at 50000 Euro, especially if swiss made. My employer makes molds for diecast and plastics, so I know something about that.

The circuit boards look high quality, the charging circuit and the distribution board would set you back about 20 Euro complete with wiring.

Design cost for electronics including layout and EMC/compliance testing 25000 Euro minimum. Testing charging circuits takes lots of time and money - you will wear out many battery packs in the process.

The battery pack is made by Hy-Line, a well known german Distributor/manufacturer with a swiss sales office.

http://www.hy-line.de/en/product/li-ion-akku-technology/

I would estimate that the battery pack complete with protection board and all necessary certifications (air transport certification to IATA standards anyone?) costs 50 to 60 Euro.

Now lets guesstimate how many battery packs are made: if they sell 1000 per year (which seems high to me), this would give 5000 in 5 years. NRE costs divided by this gives 15 Euro design cost per piece. If the bean counters want to recoup the NRE cost in two years, or if they sell only 2000, design costs would go up to 37,5 Euro per piece...

And those are only the hardware costs. Now you have to assemble it. There is no 100% yield - plan for rework cost and rejects. After assembly, you should test it for proper function. You need test equipment and fixtures. Quality management is not free - ISO9000 anyone? Then there are regulations that you must comply with - CE, FCC, UL, CSA to name a few. Managing all this paperwork takes time, and time is money, as we all know.

Packaging is not free either. A colleague at work does nothing but packaging design - mostly drop tests to parcel service standards to ensure that our products get to the customer working and in one piece  ::)

There must be someone who writes the product documentation, and some other people who translate it into other languages. Don´t forget the service documentation.

Then there are RohS/WEEE fees for future recycling (you need a registration in every EU country where you plan to sell it - its not free of course).

Put aside spares for warranty claims and repair, and store them safely and in a way that you can find them. Each square foot of warehouse floor space costs money. Do not forget to recycle unused battery packs if they sit on the shelf for longer than 2 years - most LiIon cells are EOL then.

I am very sure that I forgot some other costs - especially the hidden costs that come with laws and regulations apart from EMC, safety CE and RohS/WEEE. The statistical office sends paperwork to be filled in, the tax office, the chamber of commerce, the board of trade... Anyone dealt with customs lately?

And then Nagra Kudelski should earn a little bit with their products - so they can design new products and pay income tax for their profit. Or do you work for the love of it?


So my advice - think iceberg when guesstimating cost of manufacture. Its easy to claim a ripoff if you are not knowledgeable...

Greetings,

Rainer


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