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Old headset - repair, upgrade or replace?

I have two Lightspeed headsets which have both had a lot of use (1000+ hours each).
My 10 year old Lightspeed Zulu 2 initially failed after 7 years and 2 weeks, and I paid to have it repaired (the warranty expires after 7 years).
It’s now primarily for backup and occasional use by passengers when I am not instructing.
It’s now failed again (no audio on one side) and I have been offered the options of either a repair @ $250 or upgrade of parts to Zulu 3 @ $400 (with 3 year warranty).
Unfortunately this failure coincided with the failure of my 3 year old Zulu 3, so I’m back to my original DC10-13 and really noticing the difference.
At least the Zulu 3’s can be repaired under warranty.

I’m a little concerned that active electronic equipment of this age might well be past its sell-by date anyway, and that either option might result in another failure in few years.

Any suggestions on which option I should take and/or whether afterwards I should plan to sell them and buy a brand new set?

FlyerDavidUK, PPL & IR Instructor
EGBJ, United Kingdom

As a data point: I still happily fly with a Bose-X bought in 2007. It was repaired by Bose once many years ago (IIRC a mic issue), but has been going strong ever since. Used about 1000 hours.

I find new ear muffs and a new mike foam cover does a good job

Headset life is inversely proportional to how many different people use it

I don’t know about other brands but Bose headsets fetch good prices, even old ones.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Just an update on this.

I sent off my Zulu 3 which was repaired under warranty. They replaced one complete side of the headset, replaced the worn microphone boom cover and top of head pads. It doesn’t quite look like new, but is certainly in good shape now and works properly. It took about two weeks to turnaround and I only had to pay postage to send it.

I decided just to pay for the repair of the Zulu 2 repair which had increased from $150 to $250 since I last did this 3 years ago. Also took about two weeks. Also replaced one ear plate assembly and one side of the top of head padding, mic cover. So again, looks almost like new and works properly.

The admin process is a little bit quirky for a paid repair. You have to pay for the headset repair online on the Lightspeed website, your order then goes into a “processing” state. About a day later, it updates to “on hold” and you get an email from customer support asking you to send it off to an address (in the UK for me). There is a returns number which must be prominently displayed on the package. The address isn’t in the UK Post Office database which makes it difficult to ensure it’s being sent to the right company. Best sent with tracked courier or postage. About a week after despatch, and five days after delivery, you get an email confirming it has been received and is being worked on. Then a couple of days later a further update about it being dispatched, the status changes to delivered and it turned up the next day. (I may have given the processing state names wrong in the description above.)

I felt that paying $400 to upgrade to a Zulu 3 wasn’t worth it because I don’t use this one very much, and apart from the kevlar cord I don’t know that I can really tell the difference between the two models.

I thought the service that I got, especially for the warranty, was very good and I am happy with the outcome.

With very frequent use, perhaps it is not unreasonable to expect both lifetime (5-10 years) or usage (1000+ hours) limit before a fault of some sort. It was more disappointing with the older Zulu 2 that I rarely use, but it sounds like age got to it – it is 12 years old now.

I agree with Peter that replacing the headset muffs and mic boom cover every so often is a worthwhile approach.
This is especially true in club environments where at the very least replacing hygiene parts should be done annually.

Last Edited by DavidC at 12 Jun 16:54
FlyerDavidUK, PPL & IR Instructor
EGBJ, United Kingdom
4 Posts
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