“DEIF tech support is second to none,” says satisfied US marine electrical engineer

When Jerry Tidwell of J&A Marine Electric started using the DEIF PPM 300 for pleasure boats, he got a flexible and time-saving solution – but most of all, he got knowledgeable and responsive customer support which he describes as “worth its weight in gold.”

There’s no denying it: Marine electrical systems can be very complex. Even experienced and skilled engineers sometimes need qualified and timely tech support to design, install, and upgrade vessel control equipment.

One such skilled marine engineer is Jerry Tidwell. He has worked with marine electrical applications for more than 20 years and has seen his share of problems along the way – and in some cases, he has witnessed how the people tasked with solving those problems were simply left to their own devices by the hardware manufacturers.

“I have seen many, many issues with other controllers and systems where vessels had issues with brownouts, even blackouts, and were not getting any support,” he says. “Even the techs on site were not getting support from their home office. I have run into issues with companies where you have to start a ticket first, and there’s only one guy at the company who works on stuff like this and can help you.”

Bad service prompts hunt for new supplier

Jerry Tidwell is the owner of J&A Marine Electric which is headquartered in Everett, part of the Seattle metropolitan area in Pacific north-western USA. Over the past couple of decades, the company has established itself as the go-to experts for all electrical needs on pleasure boats and other vessels.

J&A Marine Electric typically works on privately owned yachts in the 120 to 200 foot range; luxury vessels fitted with a wide range of electrical onboard equipment whose owners emphatically do not want to lose power at sea. Despite this end-customer requirement for uninterrupted power, Jerry Tidwell was not getting the customer support he needed from another controller manufacturer which prompted him to look for another solution.

“I was using a competing controller brand for years but was not satisfied with the customer service I received,” he says. “I then did a simple Google search on ‘marine generator controllers.’ I had heard about DEIF before and knew about their meters but never knew the company also offered marine controllers. I got in touch, and we started our first project a couple of years ago. And that went so seamlessly that I was like, ‘I’ll never go back’.”

Jerry Tidwell

DEIF: a different level of support

J&A Marine Electric started using the DEIF PPM 300 controller and found it very useful. But what really drew Jerry Tidwell to the company was the fact that DEIF support was on a completely different level than what he was used to.

“On my first project, we had an unusual issue,” he says. “But within 15 minutes I was able to get hold of tech support in Europe, even on a holiday weekend, and was able to figure out the issue. We solved it, and I was able to learn something from tech support, which helps me in a whole line of things.”

Jerry Tidwell praises the general timeliness and speed of DEIF’s support offering. On one occasion, when a plug was missing from a shipment, he texted DEIF in the US, and the missing part was in the mail the very next day. On another occasion, there was an issue with customs clearance which DEIF handled to his satisfaction.

“The customer service and the willingness to work with customers is amazing all the way around,” he says.

Flexible PPM 300 saves time

The PPM 300 has proven to be a flexible and time-saving device for J&A Marine Electric. Even with large alarm and monitoring systems, information can easily be integrated with the controller using Modbus PCP without any extra equipment or adapters. The extensive documentation and the built-in features of the controller have allowed Jerry Tidwell to reduce commissioning time significantly: On his very first project with a PPM 300, he had set aside two weeks for commissioning but was done in one day. In his view, the PPM 300 also gets points for its flexibility.

“I am able to use the same controllers for a smaller system with one 35 kW genset and one shore power connection as I do with systems that have two 99 kW gensets, one 65 kW genset, and two shore power connections,” he says. “I just change the quantity of each product when I order. There is a common misconception that DEIF equipment only works on cargo ships, cruise ships, and larger ‘working’ type vessels. I am telling my customers that this is not the case.”

DEIF PPM 300 controllers installed by J&A Marine Electric on a 106’ long-range luxury cruiser
DEIF PPM 300 controllers installed by J&A Marine Electric on a 106’ long-range luxury cruiser

“I cannot think of one bad thing to say about DEIF”

In addition to PPM 300 controllers, J&A Marine Electric use AGI advanced graphical interfaces. Despite the advantages of the devices, however, it is the stellar tech support that really has Jerry Tidwell rooting for DEIF.

“The tech support is second to none, and you just don’t get that nowadays,” he concludes. “It’s very knowledgeable and responsive and that is worth its weight in gold in this industry. I cannot think of one bad thing to say about DEIF. The guys really seem to keep a tight ship there. I love the personal touch; everyone cares on a personal level to deliver great customer service. I cannot stress this point enough!”

J&A Marine Electric

Founded: 2018

Headquarters: Everett, Washington state, USA

Activities: Marine electrical installation, mainly on pleasure boats

Employees: 2

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