Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Monday, November 25, 2013

You get what you pay for ...

Last weekend I have hosted the fourth edition of a workshop where people build their own Prusa i3 3D printer. Trying to learn from past mistakes I attempted to cover all the basis, but unexpected things always come up. 

But what got me really angry was the poor quality of one of the boards we used. Once I realize that boards were like that, I double-checked each one, tracing back with the schematics the different pins involved in any faulty behavior observed. Re-soldering those pins did solve the issues discovered, but it was a painful and time-consuming operation, on hardware you already paid for and expected some QA on. (Well ... don't). 

This is the letter I sent to the manufacturer.


Hi,

In my last workshop I have used 10 of your RAMPS 1.4 boards. In a previous communication I reported 3 out of 10 boards showing some fault. Because of that, this time I checked all the boards in advance. What I saw was a mess: 7 out of ten showed some malfunction. I used several hours fiddling with them till I've got all sorted out. All problems were due to faulty solder work (whether it is the solder material or the work, I do not know).

What's even worse, three of these boards crap on me when people connected them during the workshop (not sure they were the three that worked ok for me during the initial test) forcing me to have to fix them on the fly. (Mechanical stress during insertion might have trigger the fault as these were already tested by me).

I find all the above totally unacceptable, and while I am not planning to use your hardware in the near future, I wanted you to know why, before I mention it to other people.

Maybe you should consider to add a new line of product of "Known to work" or "fully tested" RAMPS boards. I cannot understand how such an awful statistics are possible unless boards are not tested at all. (By testing I mean some real test. Just putting a sticker on them does not apply).

Kind regards,

Miguel Sánchez
Valencia, Spain

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