cnt
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Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:48 am

I just received two 512MB raspberry pi's that were advertised as being made in the UK by Sony but came with a "Made in China" sticker over the made in UK silk screening. I wouldn't be too bothered by this alone, but I intend to make heavy use of GPIO and all the odd numbered pins of P5 (right side looking from top) are filled with solder, which will make soldering a header in there a pain in the a**.

Any one know if there is anything I can do to get them fixed?

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:15 am

cnt wrote:I just received two 512MB raspberry pi's that were advertised as being made in the UK by Sony but came with a "Made in China" sticker over the made in UK silk screening. I wouldn't be too bothered by this alone, but I intend to make heavy use of GPIO and all the odd numbered pins of P5 (right side looking from top) are filled with solder, which will make soldering a header in there a pain in the a**.

Any one know if there is anything I can do to get them fixed?
I just received a 512MB pi from Element14 in Australia with the same issues. I also have solder splashes around the Ethernet Connector. I'll be checking mine with a magnifier before I power it up.

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:33 am

pictures pictures pictures
How To ask Questions :- http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
WARNING - some parts of this post may be erroneous YMMV

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:02 am

I've got one of those too. I was mildly disappointed about it being Made in China. But it was better for me to have one made in China now than one made in UK in a few weeks time. Mine has 3 holes filled out of the four nearest the GPIO header. The square one is still empty.

I saw a couple of other Rev2 boards at the Oxford Jam last night and they all had some solder in some of those holes too. But I didn't notice where they were made.

Rattus - I will do some photos just for you :D

On a scale of zero to disaster, it reads "mild nuisance" as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:23 am

Here you go...

It looks to me as if the robot that installed the SD card slot has cut its finger :cry:
And there's a hair on R2 :o "Make-up!!!"

You should be able to click these for full size...
Image

Image

...in case not, urls below...
http://raspi.tv/wp-content/uploads/2012 ... ering1.jpg
http://raspi.tv/wp-content/uploads/2012 ... ering2.jpg
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:58 am

The red stuff is probably glue used to hold down the socket prior to soldering. I've seen it on many photos and in fact my Made in UK board has it too.

Getting solder off multi-layered PCBs with metalized holes is rather tricky. I would use copper braid and change the tip on soldering iron to something big enough to transfer heat quickly. I'd put some flux paste on the holes prior to applying braid and heat - the flux in the braid is usually not enough and more of it helps in two ways: adds a sort of lubrication to prevent PCB mask damage (braid is metal after all) and really helps with heat transfer in the initial phase. Don't forget to remove any leftover flux with alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl), you can use cotton swabs for that.

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:21 am

cnt wrote:Sadly that is what I expect from china. But I also expected to get a board made in the UK :(
RS make all their boards in China, Farnell make MOST of their boards in the UK, but because of the demand, they are having to use some Chinese factories as well.
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:26 am

I suppose if those selling Pi's were up front about whether you'd get a UK made one or a Chinese one, they'd never be able to shift the Chinese ones.

Sounds like the Chinese factory have their wave soldering machine set a bit on the enthusiastic side.
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:36 am

pluggy wrote:I suppose if those selling Pi's were up front about whether you'd get a UK made one or a Chinese one, they'd never be able to shift the Chinese ones.

Sounds like the Chinese factory have their wave soldering machine set a bit on the enthusiastic side.
While there's still a backlog I don't think that's true. I was mildly surprised to get a Chinese one (with a yellow composite port) because I thought all the Farnell/Element14 ones were made in UK now. But a quick check of their FAQ shows that some are still made in China (confirmed by Liz and James).

I was expecting a UK made one, but it's Rev 2, 512Meg and it works - and that's all I really care about (YMMV). Perhaps the next one I get will be British made?
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:48 am

I can't help thinking that given the choice, most of the Pi's market (UK, US, western Europe and Aus) would choose the south Wales variant. The fact that they have a sticker over the 'Made in the UK' screen printing is very telling, I read it as they are all intended to be made in the UK. I haven't found any mention of where the circuit boards are made. Sony assemble the beasts, the UK factory tour starts with ready made circuit boards :

http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/2569
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:55 am

Yes, Farnell PI's are made both in the UK, and in China, the official notion being that the Chinese made ones are mainly for the eastern market. I guess that somehow some of them make it to other markets.

when wave soldering, holes that need to keep open are covered with rubber cement, or sometimes heat resistant Kapton tape. Once in a while, (parts of) the cement/tape falls off or get loose, and this is what you get when that happens.

The kapton tape is also used to cover the SD-card, which would otherwise be also exposed to a wave of solder. That, or the PCB's are placed in a holder that masks off certain parts of the PCB.

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:36 am

pluggy wrote:I can't help thinking that given the choice, most of the Pi's market (UK, US, western Europe and Aus) would choose the south Wales variant.
I totally agree. I'd prefer to support British jobs, but I don't quite make the mental jump from there to...
pluggy wrote:I suppose if those selling Pi's were up front about whether you'd get a UK made one or a Chinese one, they'd never be able to shift the Chinese ones."
:lol:

I'd prefer a British made one, but if I have to wait for it, I'll take a Chinese one - with some extra solder at no extra charge.

I'll see if I can remove it tonight - might make an interesting video. :lol:

Just had a thought. MahJongg probably will cringe, but I've got a set of very small drill bits...
Assuming I could do it accurately, just how stupid an idea would that be? Or is that a lot more risky than just getting the soldering iron out?
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:38 pm

I'm no expert but I was going to suggest a teeny weeny drill bit in a teeny weeny hobby drill with the Pi held securely. I was going to suggest this because I think industrial solder mealts at a higher temperature than domestic stuff.

Vibration from the drill could be a problem.

Don't listen to me though ask someone else.

Whatever you do your garuntee will probably be voided.

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:40 pm

pygmy_giant wrote:I'm no expert but I was going to suggest a teeny weeny drill bit in a teeny weeny hobby drill with the Pi held securely. I was going to suggest this because I think industrial solder mealts at a higher temperature than domestic stuff.

Vibration from the drill could be a problem.

Don't listen to me though ask someone else.

Whatever you do your garuntee will probably be voided.
I think I voided it with 8.4V two days ago :twisted:
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:13 pm

If you use a drill you risk drilling away the connection wire(s) to the pad, in an inner layer of the PCB.
"industrial solder" doesn't exists, maybe you mean lead-free solder, which indeed has a slightly higher melting temperature, but nothing a normal soldering iron cannot cope with.
Removing solder from through hole pads normally isn't too difficult, the exception being pads that are connected to (inner) (ground) planes, those draws so much heat away from the through hole pad that its hard to melt the solder, all the way through beyond the copper plane layer.
I prefer solder wick, and never use solder suckers, they suck! (or rather they don't) and give a big bang to the PCB each time you try using them, that is also the reason they are disallowed (forbidden) to be used on military equipment. If I don't have solder wick, (or another copper braid that I can saturate with solder flux) I gently knock the melted solder out, that works fine, and if you do it gently doesn't damage the PCB.

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:52 pm

Do not use a drill.

In many cases the through hole plating is essential to the functioning of the board and its very easy to remove it with a drill. In the old days a misfunctioning board could sometimes be repaired by filling its holes with solder. The lining of the hole would sometimes separate from the track on either side and filling the hole would remake the circuit.

Dunno about the present situation, I last bought a Pi just after the 512Mb was announced, it arrived from Farnell within the week, even with 2nd class postage. I was under the impression that the long waits were largely over.

I don't suppose those in the know, know what the chances of getting a Chinese made board from Farnell are ?
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Out of desperation, I've drilled a solder-filled hole (actually, I'm not certain it was solder) on a 4 layer board that wasn't a Raspberry Pi. I had tried solder wick but no amount of flux, new solder or solder wick would encourage the blockage to move. So I used a fine drill bit and *by hand* turned the bit till the hole was clear.

But if it's just solder then solder wick should get rid of it. If you do any amount of soldering at all, you'll benefit from having an ample supply of solder wick - it's incredibly useful.

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:55 pm

I'll try melting it first. I was thinking about "heat and blow" or "heat and shake" or "heat and poke a wire through". I do have solder wick to try, but the only flux I have is for plumbing solder and I'm not sure that's a good idea to use on a PCB. :D

I'll try it later - should be good for a giggle. :lol:
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:00 pm

Us cheapskates use solder suckers and live with the negative aspects as outlined by mahjongg....

If I were going to make connections to P5 I'd suck them and then solder headers into them. If I didn't need P5 I'd leave them blocked.
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:38 pm

pluggy wrote:Us cheapskates use solder suckers and live with the negative aspects as outlined by mahjongg....

If I were going to make connections to P5 I'd suck them and then solder headers into them. If I didn't need P5 I'd leave them blocked.
I don't need them (yet) but I do want them and I like experimenting. I was going to leave it until I wanted to use them, but since this thread started I have an overwhelming urge to solder. :lol:
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:08 pm

OK. I've just spent an hour in the workshop and I've got some good news and some bad news...

The good news is that the Pi still works.
The bad news is that I've revised my position on this and am now starting to side with cnt in the "trying to remove solder from through-hole holes is a bloomin nuisance" camp.

I got one of the three done by pushing a wire through it while heating. Another one is partially done. I did very gently use a teeny weeny drill bit on hole 1 just enlarge the wire hole I'd made. And then time ran out.

But at least the Pi still works. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be. I probably need a more powerful iron. I tried heating a wire with a blowtorch and poking it through, but the wire didn't have enough mass. Also tried heat and shake and heat and blow. Solder solidified too quickly in both cases. :cry:
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:12 pm

I normally find using a pencil tip (conical tip)

Hold board about 1cm from work surface

Heat hole from top side with pencil tip in centre of hole

When solder melted

Quick light tap against work surface does the trick
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:19 pm

techpaul wrote:I normally find using a pencil tip (conical tip)

Hold board about 1cm from work surface

Heat hole from top side with pencil tip in centre of hole

When solder melted

Quick light tap against work surface does the trick
Ooh - that sounds like a plan. :D Thanks for the tip 8-)
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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:27 pm

good luck - ive been in this situation and given up, so i'd be interested to see how you sort it out.

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Re: Made in China & poor soldering

Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:49 pm

Does nobody use solder suckers any more? That's how I get solder out of holes, admittedly not holes this small though.
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