March 4th, 2012, 23:21 Posted By: wraggster
Sorry for the late newspost - I was totally worn out after the production start on Thursday and Friday so I really needed a weekend to relax.
Had to catch up some sleep as well.
Well, yes, as you've seen in Link's video: It has finally happened. The mass production run has started
Is everything going fast and smooth?
Well, not yet. But that would've been unusual (not only for the Pandora, but also for other devices )
With the first units built, you always go a bit slower as you need to test everything and see if you get any issues on the PCBs that would require the machine to be tweaked.
While assembling the first 40 units, we were also trying to optimize the position of the L and R buttons, so that we don't need to scratch or pad the plastic each time.
This took a while, but with the 30 units Link built today, only one R-Button needed a bit of optimizing, however, most of the L-Buttons were still sitting a bit too high so needed a little cut with the blade.
We'll change this in the machine program, so in the end they'll work as good as the R-Buttons
So far, 180 PCBs have been produced, 80 have been assembled, fully tested and are ready to ship. While this sounds like a lot, the theoretical output of the machine is 250 per day (8 hour shift), but mass productions should start at a slower pace to be sure evrrything works.
Only 3 of those refused to bootup at all, while about 8 have a non-working left nub, so it seems there's some part that needs an optimized placement in the machine program as well.
Everything else was working fine on these PCBs, and the other ones can be fixed.
So with 3 non-booting ones, we are currently at a failure rate of 4%, which is pretty nice for the beginning of a mass production (failure rate goes down the more units you produce).
It should be noted that those 3 were all among the first 15 produced
The new stickers for the battery compartment should arrive tomorrow, all the AC Adaptors should also arrive within this week (scheduled to be in Germany tomorrow), so I'm currently preparing the invoices and eMails for the preorderers.
There's another surprise for you which I'm waiting for... hopefully, it'll be at my place within the next days as well, otherwise, I'll start shipping out Pandoras anyways (it's not mandatory).
Regarding mass production, there is one thing left to be solved:
The OMAP is a real beast to populate. With a pitch of 0,4mm and different tolerances regarding PCB production standards (in this case, the solder mask as well as the metal stencil layer), it takes a bit of work to get everything go smoothly.
Currently, quite a few of the bare PCBs couldn't be used, as some pads didn't have solder paste on after going through the machine.
Instead of just ignoring that issue and populating the PCBs anyways (we've had something like that with a different company already...), GC decided to find a proper solution and are now heavily working on this.
10 panels with bare PCBs have gotten their solder mask tolerances measured, so that a new metal stencil layer can be produced based on these values (to find the absolute middle).
If we're lucky, then this will work out and all PCBs can be populated without any risk. We'll get that stencil layer on Wednesday.
GC also has other solutions ready in case the offsets of the solder mask are too high.
While they won't be running at full speed (so... slower than 250 a day ), they will probably be faster than I can ship them out at the beginning, as I've got so much work to catch up with!
It really kicks ass how helpful GC is and how they successfully try to prevent producing non-working boards and finding solutions fast and quick.
They're totally dedicated to what they're doing, and that's awesome. We're totally on the right way
I'll try to find the time to setup the upgrade-info-page tomorrow and let you know how grab your Pandora a bit faster (only classic preorderers )
For more information and downloads, click here!
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