gpio-hell
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Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 8:26 am

Hi,
tl;dr - how to verify authenticity of PI3?

Long time RasPI fan an user but to date only used A+, zeros and a 2B+.
I just found an offer from Arrow.com in USA where they were offering a free Raspi 3b with free worldwide Fedex for minumum $20 spend which obviously seemed ridiculous to pass up.

Anyway the I got my Pi3 delivered from Reno USA to the UK in just a few days, boxed in packaging from RS/Allied Electronics and on the box states Made in the UK and all seems fine except that the quality control of the board itself seems to have been skipped... There is flux residue on the underside, the edges are completely rough and unfinished, looking like it was just snapped away from a sheet of boards along a perforated seam. Then LAN connector is at a 5degree angle from the board with the pins on one side only just making it to the other side of the board. These are just obvious visual defects... it powers up, but I am yet to test it properly.

I've hear from friends who took up the same offer and it seems to be the same story, but we are all new to Pi3 so have no idea if this is par for the course...

Is there such a thing as a b-grade PI? is Arrow giving away stuff that it couldn't sell? actually some of my friends bought a Pi3 at the minimum spend and got a second free one, both with the same QC issues. Could these be fake/clone? What can I look up for on the board for mark of authenticity? Is there a way to tell where the board was actually manufactured? are there any benchmarks that can be run to verify everything is in order?

I haven't found anybody else online talking about the same issues, so I wonder if this is normal or what?

Cheers

jamesh
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 8:39 am

All Pi's are the same, no such thing as B grade AFAIK. There are also no fakes around.

I'll flag this post up to the people who need to know.

In the meantime, flux residue is not uncommon, and in fact the PCB's are populated in a 2x3 (IIRC) block and then snapped off, I guess the rough part is where the snap off happens. The LAN connector is a definite issue though.
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 8:45 am

Please provide high resolution photos of all views of the board to

g[email protected]

Thanks

Gordon
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gpio-hell
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 9:00 am

Thanks. I took a closer look at other boards for comparison, not easy as most are encased in use, but the edges are smoothed. The Pi3 has frayed fibres protruding where it was snapped along the perforation, you can still see that perforation on both long edges.
I found the Made in UK on the silk screen at the far edge, does that mean it should have been produced in wales?
I will be making pictures.

Cheers

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RaTTuS
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 9:14 am

post the CPU and revision info also to gordon
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gpio-hell
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 10:00 am

RaTTuS wrote:post the CPU and revision info also to gordon
I assume you mean the text printed on the main chip, or do you mean something extracted via the OS?

Heater
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 11:05 am

Interesting.

As you got the things from Allied/RS there is no way they are fakes.

Besides, as far as I know it's impossible to make fakes, nobody can get hold of the SoCs except the official producers.

It is possible there are some not so perfect Pi coming off the production line sometimes and getting piled up in a "reject" bin. Perhaps Allied decided to give them away for free rather than dispose of them in the land fill. Which sounds quite a reasonable idea to me.

We need some high res photos from you.
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 11:09 am

gpio-hell wrote:Could these be fake/clone? What can I look up for on the board for mark of authenticity? Is there a way to tell where the board was actually manufactured? are there any benchmarks that can be run to verify everything is in order?
If the Pi boots then it is likely everything is in order. It is almost certainly not a clone or fake; Arrow are a reputable business and a clone would be almost impossible to create. To reassure yourself you could compare your board to photographs on the internet. The country of manufacture should be at the top left as here or silk-screened on the board -

http://raspi.tv/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Pi3_1500.jpg

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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 11:31 am

Heater wrote:Interesting.

As you got the things from Allied/RS there is no way they are fakes.

Besides, as far as I know it's impossible to make fakes, nobody can get hold of the SoCs except the official producers.

It is possible there are some not so perfect Pi coming off the production line sometimes and getting piled up in a "reject" bin. Perhaps Allied decided to give them away for free rather than dispose of them in the land fill. Which sounds quite a reasonable idea to me.

We need some high res photos from you.
Sure, it's a freebie, but as I mentioned (long post I know) I have friends who bought Pi3 from Arrow and got a second free.. all had the same "quality" which had us all wondering if the offer was too good to be true, although it seems I'm the only one with the jaunty angled LAN port... I've emailed some pictures to Gordon as requested, too big to attach here.

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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 11:38 am

you can stuff the images on imgur.com and post the results of cat /proc/cpuinfo for us all to marvel at ...
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gpio-hell
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 11:42 am

hippy wrote:Arrow are a reputable business and a clone would be almost impossible to create. To reassure yourself you could compare your board to photographs on the internet. The country of manufacture should be at the top left as here or silk-screened on the board -

http://raspi.tv/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Pi3_1500.jpg
I am aware of Arrow which is why I didn't hesitate to order from across the globe.

Yes, it is printed Made in the UK
Several components are different from the one you picture though. Ribbon connectors, USB, even the CPU has different numbering. I mean it it still shows BCM2837R1FBG, but the rest is different, is that just batch numbering? I don't know but that's why I ask.

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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 12:04 pm

Heater wrote: It is possible there are some not so perfect Pi coming off the production line sometimes and getting piled up in a "reject" bin. Perhaps Allied decided to give them away for free rather than dispose of them in the land fill. Which sounds quite a reasonable idea to me.
Nope. We don't do that AFAIK. The Pi either passes or fails the production line testing. Rejects don't actually work, so are never passed on. Actually the reject rate is pretty low, well below industry standards.

Not sure what Applied do if they get returns that are proven to work.
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 12:40 pm

gpio-hell wrote:Ribbon connectors, USB, even the CPU has different numbering. I mean it it still shows BCM2837R1FBG, but the rest is different, is that just batch numbering? I don't know but that's why I ask.
Yes; that is almost certainly batch numbering and similar. Components used on the boards will all be equivalent and as good as each other but may vary in colour etc over time and depending on which production line they come from.

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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 1:00 pm

jamesh,
Nope. We don't do that AFAIK
It's that "AFAIK" that is the interesting part.

I would find it extremely odd that rejects are getting distributed, even if it is just cosmetic faults.

Still, if the opening posters claims are substantiated then that is what must have happened.

We need those high res pictures.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

gpio-hell
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 1:21 pm

Heater wrote:jamesh,
Nope. We don't do that AFAIK
It's that "AFAIK" that is the interesting part.

I would find it extremely odd that rejects are getting distributed, even if it is just cosmetic faults.

Still, if the opening posters claims are substantiated then that is what must have happened.

We need those high res pictures.
Eh? what do you mean with "claims" and "substantiated"?
I'm simply asking if there is a way to verify, because to me the Pi3 I have is not up to the standards I have seen on previous models.
Perhaps this picture makes is easier for you to believe my "claims"
http://imgur.com/iwMxCrA

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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 1:47 pm

Sorry, gpio-hell, I did not mean to imply that you were lying to us.

Thing is, as jamesh says, the Rapberry Pi quality control is famously very good and it's defect rate very low. In fact your post is the first time I recall anyone bringing up issues with defective or sub par Pi.

There is a saying to the effect that extra ordinary claims require extra ordinary evidence. Hence the call by myself and others for the pictures. Thank you for that.

What you show there is rather strange. Definitely not normal.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 1:51 pm

Heater wrote:jamesh,
Nope. We don't do that AFAIK
It's that "AFAIK" that is the interesting part.
It means As Far As I Know, which isn't that interesting.
Heater wrote:jamesh,
I would find it extremely odd that rejects are getting distributed, even if it is just cosmetic faults.

Still, if the opening posters claims are substantiated then that is what must have happened.

We need those high res pictures.
No, you really don't need those high res pictures, because really, it isn't anything to do with you. WE need the pictures so we can tell if its a production line issue. I seriously doubt it is as this is the one and only post about it.

This board apparently works, therefor isn't a reject. It does have a jaunty angle on the RJ45 though, but it will have passed testing, including the camera test i.e. a picture of the board to make sure everything is in the right place. This particular error I don't think would be detected by the camera test because the connector is in the right place, just slightly askance.
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Re: Fake Pi3 or just very dubious quality?

Tue May 23, 2017 5:17 pm

The RJ-45 jack is wave-soldered which means it was either not inserted properly or got pushed up by the wave. Either of these causes not getting picked up points to a potential process control issue - a component not properly seated, especially one that has mechanical alignment criticality (think how the case would fit around it) is a QC fail.

@gpio-hell
If you haven't already done so, can you please also forward the serial number from /proc/cpuinfo to Gordon's email address above. I'm locking the thread as we will continue this via email/PM.
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