Computing > Embedded Computing

[Updated (3) 10th June] Raspberry Pi 400 - Quality Control problems?

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--- Quote from: janoc on June 05, 2021, 09:17:00 pm ---
--- Quote from: eti on June 05, 2021, 06:39:26 pm ---
--- Quote from: janoc on June 05, 2021, 11:17:47 am ---While what you are saying are certainly valid complaints, you do realize you are complaining about the "feel" and quality of a $100 computer, right?

The last time a complete computer was sold for that price, we got ZX Spectrum - and the design compromises on that are legendary. OK, not completely comparable, different era, but the point is that this is built down to a price, with cheap off-the-shelf components (like the chiclet keyboard), so that kids can bang this around for a bit and it will be cheap to replace/repair when they break it.

For a more serious use you would be better off just buying RPi3/4, stick it into a nice cooled/ventilated case and use an external instead.

That said, feel free to send your improvements to the Foundation, I am sure they will be happy (no seriously) to have them and may even incorporate the feedback into the next revision of the product. They are known to listen to their customers.

--- End quote ---

It's this kind of "ehhh, it's good enough" attitude that allows companies to  crow about the virtues of their products and how amazing they are, whilst simultaneously getting away with junk as a result  of corner-cutting, knowing that the "community" will make excuses for them until the cows come home (people become indoctrinated and institutionalised - SERIOUSLY) , because the company has endeared people to them by churning out stuff they can afford, and feel they have "no right to complain because it's cheap"  :palm: - just because something is affordable, doesn't mean it shouldn't be FIT for the purpose you bought it for. Imagine "the foundation" mentioned all these flaws in their marketing material - I supposed you'd just nod your head and smile, and happily hand over your $100, right? Wrong.

Regardless of price, a product should be FIT for the purpose for which it is produced, otherwise, why even bother making it? The fact it's cheap in PRICE just doesn't justify picking inferiior parts and chancing your arm as a company, and adopting a denialist attitude (backed up by "the community") when people raise VALID COMPLAINTS. Why are people like this, defending poor quality? Because it's a throwaway society, and they'll just buy another product, so their wasted money doesn't seem such a big loss.

Buy cheap, buy twice, but in this case there's no choice of alternative.

Your comments don't negate my observations. This thing NEEDS fixing, along with the rubber "feet" which are all but a token gesture, not being nearly grippy enough. Saying "If you don't like it don't buy it, buy a Pi 4 and..." is whitewashing over the point - THIS IS A PRODUCT, AND IT *IS* BEING SOLD, AND IT HAS FLAWS... the keyboard is appalling quality, so much so that in my teardown, a few rivets had ALREADY come off after TWO brief periods of use (and I tap the keys gently, I do not hammer them like a caveman).

Now let's see a school buying 500 of these, and allow a year to pass... let's see how well they hold up to abuse from children (that is, after all, one use case towards which these are aimed)

Lest we forget, "the foundation" being a charity does not mean they're four people working out of someone's garage, the wives bringing sandwiches and cups of tea out to them at lunchtime. This is A COMPANY who've sold many, many MILLIONS of devices worldwide - regardless of unit price, less slack should be cut than IS. People defending junk will ensure you always get junk, and the people selling it become complacent with regard to correcting the flaws, since "the community" will defend their pet to the end (indoctrination, as with all internet "communities", a few fringe outliers spend SO LONG online, knee-deep in their pet device and "the community" which surrounds it, they have trouble stepping outside and seeing the woods for the trees as a normal person would, objectively)

If something is crap, I will say so, and not pretend it ain't or justify it away.

--- End quote ---

If you have instead of writing this (which is, btw, breaking into an open door - nobody is disputing that what you have found is a problem) sent an e-mail the RPi Foundation with the explanation of what you have found and how it can be fixed, you would have done much better.

All I am saying is that if you buy a $100 computer that is meant as a toy for kids, there are going to be compromises. If this is really all you have found and bothers you on that machine, I think they could congratulate themselves, because this is an easily fixable oversight.

The USB 3 port killing 2.4GHz wifi on these machines is a much worse problem ...

--- End quote ---

~ Even if it were "a toy", and it isn't, I'd expect a toy to be built to a reasonable level of quality, and not fall apart (now imagine their reputation if it is sold as a "toy" and the keyboard isn't up to snuff - THE VERY THING which sets this product apart from their others), and it is weak and flimsy, poorly ... ahem ... "engineered", IE, BOM hammered down to the lowest possible price, and a Chinese supplier is more than happy to shift ANYTHING they can.

~ If I buy a loaf of bread for $0.50, and it has mould, I am still entitled for it to NOT have mould, and right to complain about it to the baker.

I despair when some folk will find "reasons" to defend ANYTHING, no matter what. The keyboard is naff quality, the rubber feet don't grip properly, the HDMI ports are NOT LABELLED... but aside from that it is marvellous,

Now I know what the people who complained about the Apple "butterfly" keyboard mechanism failing, must've felt like at the outset, when they were the first few to notice & complain. No one pays heed until the numbers are substantial, and later on IF AND WHEN the manufacturer OFFICIALLY acknowledges and rectifies the issue, openly and publicly (usually with self-congratulatory fanfare), the rest of the world SUDDENLY "validate" the complaint.


--- Quote from: eti on June 05, 2021, 06:39:26 pm ---It's this kind of "ehhh, it's good enough" attitude that allows companies to  crow about the virtues of their products and how amazing they are, whilst simultaneously getting away with junk as a result  of corner-cutting, knowing that the "community" will make excuses for them until the cows come home
--- End quote ---

Yep, I do think the same! The RPI is the perfect example of this wrong kind of business.

* * *

RPI-v4 with 8Gbtye of ram
However, talking about RPI, I am more concerned about the new RPI-v4 with 8Gbtye of ram: Last week I bought four units for a project and returned everything to Amazon. Why? Because I have found that each card has some design mistakes on the LDO for which it sometimes shows unpredictable behaviors. Usually when the CPU and ram under heavy load (4 cores busy, 7 Gbytes in use) the frequency throttle unit does it job preventing the chip to burn due to over-temperature, but when the temperature is cold enough to allow more transistors to operate, they try to suck more peaks of current from the LDO, and since the component is inadequate, and worse still, there is no tank, the voltage drops below the critical level and bad unpredictable things happen on the software side.

ODYSSEY Intel Celeron J4125
In the end, my colleagues decided to replaced the four RPI-v4/8GB (90 Euro) with four ODYSSEY Intel Celeron J4125/8GB (198 Euro). Each node has 4-core @ 2.0 GHz CPU that burst up to 2.7 GHz, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM, and it didn't give us any bad surprises.

* * *

Jetson XavierNX Cluster
At the moment I am working with a Jetson Cluster for four Jetson Xavier NX units. It sucks a lot of current, and it's very loud, it looks like a heater that you use in winter days, and I think I can use the phrase 'costs an arm and leg' to describe something that is considered to be extremely expensive or excessively pricey: *** 2500 USD! *** It's for a machine learning experiment, not something you can call "hobby", and there are two colleagues sharing the repository.

I love the quality of the hardware, and also the quality of they quality control: no return, no defect, every single item (including cables, LOL  :D ) in the box has its "QC-passed" sticker on it.

OK, it may sounds "silly", do you really trust a "QC-passed" sticker? Well, never seen any sticker on RPIs

* RPI-v4, no "QC-passed" sticker -> 4 of 4 returned (defective LDO)
* RPI-400, no "QC-passed" sticker -> 1 of 3 returned (defective keyboard)
* ODYSSEY Intel Celeron J4125, "QC-passed" sticker -> 0 of 4 returned
* Jetson XavierNX Cluster, "QC-passed" sticker -> 0 of 5 returned (two XavierNX nodes + backplane) and this kind of sticker, when they look something serious, it gives you that sure thing feeling that someone really checked before shipping  :-//

"It's affordable AND it's got community support - what else do you want, something which is actually designed competently? Go away, we hear complaints all the time and have to ignore most of them"

... is the general air of complacent contempt I feel from pi towers.


Only one thing surprises me here.  It seems obvious that those plastic rivets were melted down manually, since I can't imagine how to make a machine do it so non-uniformly.  At the volume these are selling it is hard to understand why they haven't automated that step.  Even partial automation such as an appropriately shaped and heated press bar to do them all at once after manually assembling the components.
Labor can't be that cheap.

I suspect that the comment about using the heatsink as a support will be incorporated somewhere along the line.  When the molds wear out or something like that.  Same thing on the port labels, though that is already solved with an RTFM comment.


--- Quote from: CatalinaWOW on June 06, 2021, 10:12:49 pm ---... Same thing on the port labels, though that is already solved with an RTFM comment.

--- End quote ---

To which I would respond: "It might help you if you RTFM about product design, testing and mfring!"

How hard is it to label two ports: [HDMI 1 (primary)]     [HDMI 2 (secondary)]
Not hard at all, in fact by embossing them, it SAVES them plastic


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