snipertyler
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Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:43 am

Topic says it all but to restate:
Has anyone actually "worn out" a Rpi?

I'm curious if the Rpi itself has worn out and if overclock was used, and what kind of timeframe you had. Months? Years?
If you've had one since the beginning and on full overclock and it's still running great, I'd like to see that too.

How long peripherals took to wear out too would be interesting (such as sd cards)

Sorry If this question exists, (could not find one with search)

Edit: I seemed to phrased my question naively, I suppose a better way to ask would be, what points of failure have you had after what period of time. mishandling really shouldn't count.
Last edited by snipertyler on Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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alexeames
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:24 am

The only damage I've had on my Pis has been self-inflicted. 2 dropped ones suffered broken SD slot, one "screwdriver accident" killed the spi ports and another one the network/USB chip died when I connected a USB HDD (without its own PSU). None are complete 'write-offs' though. The SD slots were repaired and all four still usable (the one with dead USB/LAN chip being the least useful).
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:31 am

The estimate life of the SOC not overclocked is about 40 years.

Overclocked, about 30.


These are semi-official Brcm figures ,that are calculated in the standard industry way of sticking the chips in an oven.

As for the other parts, dunno, but SD cards are the weakest point.
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:07 am

jamesh wrote: ...
As for the other parts, dunno, but SD cards are the weakest point.
+1 with the additional note that I've suffered two SDHC card slot "mechanical failures", subsequently repaired**, with the Pi's still working. My "B1" Pi, c.Sept. 2012, which is used for the wiki from which my "Pi webpages" are exported, has been in regular, but not continuous, use with the same SDHC card and memory stick (on which the wiki is stored/run from) for ~2 years now.
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:27 am

jamesh wrote:The estimate life of the SOC not overclocked is about 40 years.
Hi
Documentation of this number would be a nice to have. Do you know if it's available?
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:33 am

JamesH saying it is about as good as your going to get
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:31 am

This is a funny thread, of course, since the question as stated is unanswerable - due to the fact that no one has had a Pi for 30 (or 40) years yet, so no one can say that it has actually "worn out". So, effectively, anyone who responds to this thread (including me) is running afoul of the sentiment expressed in my signature block.

Having said all that, there are two failure modes that can occur (that are other than being "worn out"):
  • 1) Being mishandled/damaged. Most of the posts so far have been in this vein. I consider this entirely off-topic.
    2) Being "temporarily" worn-out. This doesn't happen with most consumer goods - where once they are worn out, they're done for. But it does happen with computers. Case in point: My recent adventure with over-clocking, where for a period of time, the unit booted OK, but could not mount the rootfs (*any* rootfs). That problem mysteriously went away after the unit was left alone for a few hours "to rest up."
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:11 am

"Worn out" is open to misinterpretation.

When my Volvo V70 R-design has done x00k it's "worn out" because various surfaces rubbing together have become damaged - material has been removed from each. That's a fairly well understood process, and so the life of a car can be designed-in at manufacture.
My Vulcan V-bomber will be "worn out" after a certain point, because of metal-fatigue, also a (now) well understood process, with a known time-scale.
Even my desk lamp, be it tungsten filament or fluorescent, fails in a predictable manner after known usage.

Electronics tends not to fail in the same way.
Heat cycling can stress it mechanically, and ion migration due to heat and voltage can cause it to fail, but things such as cosmic ray damage are just unpredictable.
So although it can follow a bathtub curve, and a mean time before failure can be calculated, there's always going to be a large spread in the actual time of failure.

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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:44 pm

During development of the SoC, it underwent a LOT of tests designed to work out the possible lifetime of the chip. AIUI these tests are done at different voltages and clock to determine the best voltage and clock speed for the end user.

The tests involve baking in an accurately controlled oven to simulate the lifetime of the chip (amongst other tests), and determined that the optimum clock speed is 700Mhz, at whatever voltage we run at by default. This gives a lifetime of about 40 years. Overclocking reduces that, estimates to 30 years. I believe the extra heat caused by the overclock is what reduces the lifetime.

Note, I am not an expert on this - Gert is though, and he may be able to add more information.
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:19 pm

Worn out? Things mechanical, with moving parts, wear out, and yes some electronics can deteriorate, for example flash cells can, due to the way charge is stored and released in them. But normal modern VLSI electronics will last a lifetime, or at least a few decades.

But you can damage a PI, by overvolting it, or its I/O's. And you can damage/wear out the few mechanical parts the PI has, like the card holder, and the connectors. And mechanical shocks can damage the single crystal a B+ uses.

But that is about it.

Very high (> 85 degrees Celcius) temperatures can shorten the life expectancy, some percentage points, but as the life expectancy of modern VLSI electronics is counted in decades, that too has a limited effect. Unless you do really crazy things with it, and I don't mean just overclocking it.

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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:36 pm

At nanoscale silicon levels (as used in modern consumer VLSI chips), there are a significant number of effects that limit the lifespan of integrated circuits based on these technologies.

When manufactured, wafers are doped in a multi-step process that basically involves diffusing dopant atoms through the top few nanometres of silicon. Ion implantation is also used in some steps to precision-dope certain areas of silicon.

Oxide layers are also deposited. These typically form the gates of the FETs on the wafer substrate.

Conductive wires are also laid on top of the silicon matrix - the interconnect.

The interconnect can be degraded through electromigration.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromigration

The oxide layers can be degraded through electron tunnelling. Electrons end up trapped in the oxide layer causing a field bias that renders the transistor useless.

High temperatures and voltages can cause dopant to migrate.

All of these effects are intensely accelerated through higher temperature and higher voltages - which is why chips are tested at the absolute maximum of both in order to provide an ultimate worst-case MTTF. This MTTF is extrapolated down to nominal voltages and temperatures to give the "quoted lifespan" of the IC.
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Re: Have you worn out your Rpi?

Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:50 pm

True, gate oxide breakdown is an important effect, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-depe ... _breakdown but under normal circumstances these effect do not have as big an influence on lifespan as compared to what effects memory wear has on flash cells:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory#Memory_wear and SoC's like the one in the PI normally still have at least a lifespan of several decades, while flash (like that used in an SD-card) can fail in months under certain circumstances.

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