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Raspberry Pi Production Delayed By Factory's Assembly Flub

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the any-color-you-want-as-long-as-it's-magnet dept.

Education 132

nk497 writes "The first shipment of Raspberry Pi devices has been delayed, after the factory manufacturing the cheap educational computer used non-magnetic jacks instead of ones with integrated magnetics. The problem is already nearly fixed, but new jacks need to be sourced for subsequent shipments, so those could be delayed slightly. 'It's inevitable, isn't it — you're freewheeling along perfectly happily and then you get a puncture,' said spokeswoman Liz Upton, apologizing for the delay."

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132 comments

But I.... (-1)

rullywowr (1831632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287327)

want mine nowwwwwwwww!

oh yeah..First!

Sorry for the delay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287335)

This was the first post, but my ISP used copper wires instead of fiber optic. So sorry!

Why the magnetics? (4, Interesting)

tecker (793737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287359)

Can someone explain to me what advantage a magnetic 8P/8C connector has over a non magnetic one? I have no idea where this would be used. My cables have that little lock tab not a magnet. Does it not need the little tab anymore (that always breaks off)?

Re:Why the magnetics? (4, Informative)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287399)

I had the exact same thought and googled magnetic jacks:

Molex Magnetic Modular Jacks incorporate wire-wound components (magnetics) in standard RJ45 jacks. These integrated magnetics, resistors and/or capacitors filter common-mode noise to provide signal integrity, protect PHY chips, provide DC isolation and offer low-mode conversion.

I'm assuming that's the case here, and the magnets are providing filtering (given the cable's got a predominantly plastic and copper end it's not going to do much to hold it in place).

Re:Why the magnetics? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287417)

I'm assuming that's the case here, and the magnets are providing filtering (given the cable's got a predominantly plastic and copper end it's not going to do much to hold it in place).

They're not magnets. They're tiny transformers and inductors that magnetically couple the signals while providing 1.5 kV DC isolation and some filtering against common-mode disturbances.

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287485)

Ah yes, that makes much more sense. Magnetics isn't a term I knew.

Re:Why the magnetics? (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290343)

isolation transfomers.

had they said that, yeah, you want that in ethernet. products that omit that (popcorn hour, cough cough) have ruined NICs and bad performance for noise.

in audio (spdif) you also want pulse transformers. same idea.

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288913)

They're not magnets. They're tiny transformers and inductors that magnetically couple the signals while providing 1.5 kV DC isolation and some filtering against common-mode disturbances.

Ahhh! ELECTRO-Magnetics. I wonder why that got left off.

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39291389)

Semantics

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287401)

Conditions the signal, like the little donuts on monitor cables.

Re:Why the magnetics? (2)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287861)

For those cables, I think that would be a Ferrite Bead [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288061)

You are right - I probably chose a poor example since the donuts aren't magnets. Still, like the cable ferrites, the magnets in the connectors condition the signal off-board to free up space.

Re:Why the magnetics? (5, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287407)

As I stated in the other, non-annointed article and posted here [slashdot.org] , the magnetics are actually tiny transformers used to convert from differential to single-ended signals and to isolate. Additionally center taps can be used for PoE.

"The magnetics in question aren't to hold the connector in like those in a Mac power cord, but rather the tiny transformers that are required for Ethernet differential signal isolation/transformation."

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

tecker (793737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287451)

AH! Had not considered the magnetics to be an isolation thing. Thanks Maud'Dave. Hopefully other will see this (or your other post). If I could post and mod I would rate this up.

I feel a bit foolish now.

Re:Why the magnetics? - parent is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287875)

>convert from differential to single-ended signals

Actually the signals are still differential. Take a look at the datasheet of any Ethernet magnets before commenting.
They were there to isolate, impedance match (if necessarily) and common mode filtering.

Re:Why the magnetics? - parent is wrong (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288275)

I have, thank you, and the transformer can be used to do exactly what I said as well as for pure isolation with the resultant signals retaining their differential status. Please consider that there are other Ethernet circuits than the one(s) you're familiar with before making general statements. Some really do need single-ended signals into the PHY.

Re:Why the magnetics? - parent is wrong (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289217)

And finally also to remove DC components, many PHYs have a constant DC component on their output lines because it's easier to vary the output currents while keeping it in the same direction than it is to change the direction of a current while maintaining smoothness.

Re:Why the magnetics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287409)

Magnetics doesn't refer to the connector itself, but the isolating transformers that are typically part of the Ethernet jack. Some parts depend on external transformers (and are typically cheaper), but all sorts of fun might happen if you run it without the isolation.

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287415)

TFA claims without the magnetic connector the jack simply won't work. Perhaps the non-magnetic kind needs to be used differently in order to work.

Re:Why the magnetics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287543)

Back in the olden days the non magnetic jacks used a separate larger transformer for isolation.

Re:Why the magnetics? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287683)

Still reasonably common. I don't have exact figures or anything; but you'll still quite often see those distinctively chunky, rectangular passives placed in neat rows just slightly behind the ethernet jacks on devices where space constraints aren't a huge issue. They essentially double the board footprint of the jack, so I assume that they've been stamped out in laptops, classier switches where density counts, and the like; but cheapie switches, home router boxes, NICs of indifferent quality, and so forth are still using them. Sometimes even pin-through-hole DIPs, no less, not even surface mount...

They do tend to have all the magnetics for at least one port, often two or four, crammed into one package, I don't think I've ever encountered discrete ones on anything remotely recent; but magnetics separate from jacks are still around.

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

aramosfet (1824288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287749)

All Ethernet interfaces must have magnetics. Having the magnetics in connector saves board space. Otherwise you would need a separate module between the Ethernet PHY chip and the connector.

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288413)

Does it not need the little tab anymore (that always breaks off)?

That's someothing that's always bugged me. Of course you're going to need mini or submini jacks in a very small device like a transistor radio or an iPod, but I could never figure out why they didn't use RCA jacks in PCs. Not that RCA jacks don't sometimes fail. Heck, they could have used 1/4 inch jacks in PCs, I've yet to see one of those fail, even in a heavily used environment like a guitar amplifier.

Re:Why the magnetics? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289241)

Are you tripping? That's a very nice ramble about various flavours of TRS jacks, but has nothing to do with the RJ-45 jacks everyone else is talking about...

And I thought all the fools posting on a tech site while they don't know what "magnetics" means in the context of ethernet were bad.

Re:Why the magnetics? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290075)

The big problem with RCA jacks is that they are not keyed. You can insert any RCA jack into any RCA Jill. Sometimes that's not an issue, others, well, good designers know that it's best not to let end users think much.

Re:Why the magnetics? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39290673)

My cables have that little lock tab not a magnet.

So your entire network is down? You should unplug that broken network card then.

We are also confused. Plastic tab?!? The only plastic tab involved is on the OUTSIDE of the connector, and has absolutely nothing to do with the electrical characteristics caused by these magnetic coils and chokes... Which I must add your jacks DO have, be it inside the jack or on the circuit board the jacks mount to.

Ethernet can't function without them.

Your comment is closer to saying "My wall outlets most certainly do not have 'voltage' in them, they only have two metal prongs! With those prongs, why do you need voltage to hold the plug in? "

Learn a little something about technology before posting to a technology related website.

Magnetics (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287381)

From the Raspi forums :

"It doesn’t mean no network connection at all on all devices, but this board has been designed for a magnetic jack. The magnetic bits mean better signal integrity, better filtering and shorter transmission distances for data."

"Magnetics refers to the presence of transformers and chokes which are used to isolate the Ethernet wires from the RaspPi’s power supply. and each other and probably to reduce high-frequency noise. Without them you would effectively tie the RX and TX signals together and probably turn the entire network into an aerial for Radio 2 reception."

Re:Magnetics (1)

vanquished (983173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287425)

"Without them you would effectively tie the RX and TX signals together and probably turn the entire network into an aerial for Radio 2 reception."

I have no idea what this means. How is this possible?

Re:Magnetics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287539)

It's a joke.

Re:Magnetics (1, Troll)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287737)

I have no idea what this means. How is this possible?

I guess because you didn't study properly at school... ;-)

"Without them you would effectively tie the RX and TX signals together and probably turn the entire network into an aerial for Radio 2 reception."

I disagree with the first part of this. Ethernet works off differential signals and the transformer does a good job of removing the common mode signals (non differential) coming down the wire. Without the magnetics the common mode signals (such as DC, mains interference, Radio 2 transmissions) picked up by a potentially long ethernet lead will turn up at the input to the ethernet phy (receiver) chip. This may or may not be enough to stop it from working depending on the interference received. The lack of correct voltage biasing (also done via the magnetics) will very likely stop it from working though. Even so the RX and TX won't be shorted.

Re:Magnetics (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287741)

Its a joke. I think the fault makes the whole ethernet cable into, effectively, a dangling wire, and the only use of a dangling wire is as an aerial. Possibly connecting tx and rx makes it into a loop of sorts, and thus a loop antenna.

Re:Magnetics (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288113)

Without the intervening transformer, the TX- and RX- lines would be tied together at ground on the device. In the diagram below, the differential RX+/- and TX+/- signals are turned into single-ended RX and TX by the transformers. Removing the transformers connects RX- and TX- to ground, which is a Bad Thing(tm).

RX+_____3 E_______RX
              3 E
              3 E
RX-_____3 E_____GND

TX+_____3 E_______TX
              3 E
              3 E
TX-_____3 E_____GND

Re:Magnetics (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289039)

Radio 2: UK radio station broadcasting crap music for housewives.

Re:Magnetics (1)

anon208 (2410460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290431)

I wish I could mod this up.

Re:Magnetics (1)

Dave Whiteside (2055370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288321)

At least the forums are holding up now with new hardware ;-p

Re:Magnetics (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289435)

They also crucially provide center taps to provide a path for DC currents from the transmitter to ground and to give the receive signal the correct common mode level. Also because of the aforementioned center taps the pinouts of a jack with integrated magnetics will almost certainly differer from a plain jack.

http://www.smsc.com/media/Downloads_Public/lan9000/9512_sch.pdf [smsc.com]

(that is a reference design for the lan chip the Pi guys are using)

So without the correct magnetics things are unlikely to work at all.

Before anyone makes any silly comments... (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287383)

The magnetics in question aren't to hold the connector in like those in a Mac power cord, but rather the tiny transformers [molex.com] that are required for Ethernet differential signal isolation/transformation.

Re:Before anyone makes any silly comments... (2)

eclectro (227083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288495)

It would have been more informative to call the internal circuitry "filters" rather than "magnetics," which is conceptually more accurate.

That said, this has to be great advertising for Molex.

Re:Before anyone makes any silly comments... (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288789)

They're not just filters, they're transformers that (as a result of their inductance and capacitance characteristics) also act as filters. I chose molex simply because they were first on the search and seemed informative.

They've been called 'magnetics' in this context for quite a while - I guess it's a bit of an industry standard. They also have cute terms like PHY and MAC.

Re:Before anyone makes any silly comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289185)

Magnetics is the correct industry term for transformers, inductors, etc.

So much for opensource hardware taking off... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287483)

They can't even get simple manufacturing techniques down....

Re:So much for opensource hardware taking off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288287)

It's what happens when you have too many chiefs and no indians...

Re:So much for opensource hardware taking off... (3, Informative)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288491)

Actually, no. This is what happens when you outsource manufacturing to vendors in countries like China where it is common practice for them to quietly substitute parts between the reference design stage and when the device hits production. Sometimes, you get lucky and they even tell you in advance that they're doing this and you have a chance to evaluate impact on the design. Most times, they simply do it and pocket the difference in cost while hoping not to get caught.

Re:So much for opensource hardware taking off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288811)

Especially those pesky safety/redundancy and over-engineered components.

That said, the Raspberry Pi guys did a pretty good job explaining why they pretty much had to outsource to meet their goals.

Re:So much for opensource hardware taking off... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290389)

This is also what happens when you talk about whatever fuckup occurred on the dark end of your super-fancy-don't-look-too-closely-contemporary-JIT-outsourced-supply-chain...

Consumer electronics widgets are constantly having their ship dates quietly revised, usually with a terse announcement from some PR flack that 'Release of Widget Foo has been moved from late Q1 to mid Q2'. Or they just go up for pre-order and take longer than initially promised to ship. Annoying; but hardly unusual.

In this specific case, I'm a bit surprised that they didn't have somebody plug one into their laptop and then wonder why the NIC wasn't working slightly earlier in the process; but so it goes.

Re:So much for opensource hardware taking off... (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39292133)

In this specific case, I'm a bit surprised that they didn't have somebody plug one into their laptop and then wonder why the NIC wasn't working slightly earlier in the process; but so it goes.

Reading through the forums, it sounds like they were sent early test boards which contained the correct connector before the full run. Sounds to me like the "accident" happened between the test run boards being signed off on and the full run.

open sores/linux FAILS again! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287549)

ha ha.

first linux itself flopped in the market so badly adobe even stopped making a flash plugin

then the "OLPC" flopped big time

Apple is once again destroying android with the new iPad

and here the latest linux hype machine "raspberry pi" is proven to be worthless as well

can you open sores losers do ANYTHING right?

Sigh. (-1, Offtopic)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287751)

And so the descent into a clone of the OpenPandora project continues...

How wrong I was! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287797)

Just when you think you are not getting your /. daily dose of Rasperry Pi.

Re:How wrong I was! (3, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287951)

I can understand this critisism as I've had it many times over many different periods of "omg, not another <whatever> story".

But I'm way too damned excited over the Rasperry Pi to care! Kinda fun being on the other side of things for a change :D

Seems reasonable enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287891)

I think many people, me included, have been expecting something like this to happen. As said in the article, this is a relatively minor bump in the road that was practically inevitable and they seem to be handling it as well as could be expected.

I suspect they’ll get a bit of flack over the “4 day” thing... however they would have gotten a lot of flack if they came out with some information that turned out to be incorrect. I guess they could have come out saying “there is a minor problem and we are investigating”... but we aren’t talking credit card leaks here, and a few days to figure out what exactly happened seems fair enough to me.

I certainly don't think this is time to start panicing and referencing OpenPandora.

Re:Seems reasonable enough (4, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288073)

Someone in China (the same guys that did the mistake in the first place, which most mentions have assumed to be a deliberate cost-saving measure rather than a true accident) has to receive those units back, hand-unsolder 10,000 connectors and hand-solder 10,000 correct connectors back into place before then packaging them up and sending them back to the UK.

Where, still, as far as we know, there's been no tests of functionality other than networking (i.e. they haven't seen if similar issues affect the other ports like the display, etc.). And then someone has to test a good portion of them again before sending them onto the suppliers.

Meanwhile, they have to source a supply of 100,000's of the proper connectors for future runs, which they are just starting now. And hope that the network WAS the only problem.

In effect, they did no actual testing of the actual device functionality ("it'll all just work if the factory did their job") until the entire first batch was opened in the UK. The testing in the manufacturing facility was purely electronic and COMPLETELY missed this problem (surprise, surprise). And immediately upon opening them here, they spotted a problem, which took FOUR DAYS to isolate (and was isolated only because they were baffled and broke one of the connectors open and happened to spot the difference) and now it all has to be sent back for more work.

That's a mite more than a "minor bump". Not irreconcilable, but certainly not a bump. More like a hard jolt with metal grinding. I sincerely hope it doesn't turn into another OP, but given that we've gone from "No preorders" to well, pre-orders, and a full launch to, well, we'll tell you when we have a working device in the same country as our distributors, the slippery slope has certainly started. Of course they can recover the situation. The question is, what other mistakes have they made in their supply chain of making 10,000 bare PCB's with components (something that happens thousand-fold times every day).

Re:Seems reasonable enough (4, Informative)

Dave Whiteside (2055370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289425)

Quotesdfrom the forum
''Jamesh is right – they sent us test units which *did* have the right part on before they moved to a larger batch. "

Re:Seems reasonable enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289535)

> In effect, they did no actual testing of the actual device functionality ("it'll all just work if the factory did their job")
No, incorrect. You are making unsubstantiated assumptions.

The product may have worked perfectly in the factory test stand -- the magnetics at the mating switch would have provided the isolation, and it's certainly possible that at a short cable length (e.g. less than 3m/10ft) LAN interface operation tested OK. Transformer coupling is not the *only* way that ethernet works -- capacitive coupling is used all of the time in embedded/low-cost applications. Moreover, modern PHY devices have a lot of leeway in RX equalization. So, it is entirely possible that the product worked in the test stand with a short LAN segment to the test apparatus.

Re:Seems reasonable enough (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289713)

Actually, no. Read the forums there. They tested ONLY the electronics (i.e. that the caps etc. were the correct value, the right current was on port X, etc.). They did not test network functionality. They NEVER plugged it into a network box.

And what sort of test regime is it if you only test with a short LAN segment without checking, e.g. signal strength, expect cable loss, etc.? That's exactly my point.

Re:Seems reasonable enough (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289919)

Clearly they are a bunch of chimps .

Re:Seems reasonable enough (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39292697)

I hate to stereotype, but this is quite typical for China. You need to watch them closely or they will cut corners whenever possible.

Re:Seems reasonable enough (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288409)

I'd have bet on supply problems.
Always innovating, geekphone, and other manufacturers other than pandora had similar problems.

A new company might overlook some details ending up in delays, the factories might be giving priority to big clients and go out of their way to not displease them, or maybe open hardware running open software is the #1 enemy for the modern models of marketing which rely on planned obsolescence.
We ought to look whether startup hardware companies selling cheap closed stuff go on without problems selling their toys or suffer similar inconvenients.

Re:Seems reasonable enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288963)

No problem there. The hardware isn't open source ("licensed manufacturing"), the firmware isn't open source ("binary blob") and the graphics driver isn't open source ("binary module"). The people behind the project are Broadcom employees and the SoC is a Broadcom chip, what did you expect?

Re:Seems reasonable enough (1)

bsane (148894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290365)

bah! Replying to remove mis-moderation...

So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287929)

...and they could have built them at multiple Western factories, encouraging the revival of a local electronics industry rather than cementing dependence on the Far East. Once economy of scale kicked in, the price would have gone down anyway. I'd have happily sponsored any opportunity to decrease the chronic (and now quite severe) unemployment in Britain since it decided that an advanced country can operate without building anything on its own, relying on the ability to exploit less developed countries.

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288305)

Well, the good news with everything being manufactured in the Far East is that wait a few hundred years and the Morlocks will be so far away they won't be able to eat the Eloi.

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288339)

Blame the extortionate tariff on importing components versus the lack of tariff on finished goods for production being outsourced. Here's a direct petition on the matter: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/27158 [direct.gov.uk] -- that is the direct reason manufacture is being outsourced. From what I understand of the Foundation's statements on the matter no economy of scale could overcome the cost of the tariff because the bill of materials cost would be too high to be profitable at the desired price point as a result.

And I don't see any cost increase. Model As are $25 before tax and shipping. Model Bs are $35 before tax and shipping. That has never changed.

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288679)

Thers is no such tarriff. No-one can find it on the books. The Foundation has evaded providing information on how they came to believe this.

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288723)

Perhaps you would be interested to find out what the tariff actually is? Or perhaps your definition of "extortionate" isn't the same as mine. Hint: the upper limit across the various electronics tariffs, last I checked, was 14%. Broadcom does not deserve the blind trust geeks seem to be awarding it over this Raspberry Pi project: even though some of the characters may be familiar, we're a long way from the days of the BBC B where a bunch of bright uni students got together with academic entrepreneurs.

It is, of course, quite absurd to charge on components but not on finished computers. A tariff should be a function of rights imbalance and amount of work involved. So a relatively free nation would not be subject to significant tariff, whereas a nation like China would be subject to a high tariff, the tariff increasing for completed products as more work was done under conditions not acceptable to the consumer nation. I cannot think of a better way to get developing countries to improve their citizens' fortunes. Can you?

import tariffs? Pah! (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289791)

No, the main reason it's not financially sensible to manufacture mass-appeal items in the UK is that the unemployment benefits are higher than chinese assembly workers' wages. You can't get native brits to take on menial work as they can get more money for being unemployed than, for example, picking vegetable or jobs that other stoop labour industries can afford to pay.

If these boards were to be assembled in the UK the costs of doing so (setting aside component costs and amortised developemnt costs) would make each board massively more expensive.

Re:import tariffs? Pah! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39290335)

I didn't realise the Daily Mail had a Slashdot representative.

1) What is your evidence that £65/week is "higher", cost-adjusted, than the wage at, say, Foxconn? (I choose Foxconn, even though its wages are above average, because Apple,Dell,etc. confirm that it's possible to enjoy a large income and produce reasonable output while indirectly paying Foxconn wages.)

2) JSA ("unemployment benefits") has been conditional on taking an available job for decades now. If people are on JSA it's because there is no job available which an employer wants to give to them. I'm sure the Daily Mail finds every exception to this, where people have turned down a job and not been sanctioned for up to 26 weeks, but that reflects neither rule nor practice;

3) Before Thatcher began slashing the welfare state and when employment and unemployment protections were better, we had a far more impressive consumer manufacturing base.

4) Think about how long it takes to assemble a Raspberry Pi as part of an assembly line. Work out how much labour is involved and how much it would cost at minimum wage in the UK. You will probably find a ~30% increase in costs. Remove transportation costs, tariffs, administration etc. (although import tariffs are less than Broadcom alleged) and you'll find that the gap is much lower.

5) We don't have the sort of scale of consumer manufacturing that allows a running start, i.e. it would take longer to produce initial batches. Again, Thatcher chose to withdraw from government sponsorship of manufacturing as China increased it, with governments preferring instead to invest in paper-exchange.

6) A single factory will do less work because we tend not to give people 12 hour shifts, 6-7 days a week. This is moral. This means employing more factories until British manufacturing is required to build at the sort of pace that brings routine 24/7 operation in multiple shifts.

7) I'm entirely sure I'm from a more privileged background than you, and went to a school in the times of apartheid South Africa where the parents of boys owned plantations and had a goodly supply of people "picking vegetable". There are two ways of profitably farming where trade is global: (i) enslavement; (ii) efficiency. They had the former. You appear to want the former. Guess what slaves always do in the end?

What we need is efficient local farming, infrastructure sponsored by government if necessary according as output rather than EU subsidies for non-production, just as we need efficient local manufacturing. This is why China is about to earn its place as largest economy on the planet: a vision for the country rather than merely for the greedy owners running it.

Re:import tariffs? Pah! (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39291755)

I didn't realise the Daily Mail ....

Yawn! - and so completely wrong

1) What is your evidence that £65/week is "higher", cost-adjusted, than the wage at, say, Foxconn?

Didn't you think to do any research - anything at all, even a simple Google search, before spouting off.

A junior level worker in Shenzhen, China, will receive 1,800 yuan a month, according to Reuters, citing a statement by the Taiwan-based company. Monthly pay may rise to 2,200 yuan if the worker passes a technical examination. That puts the monthly pay at between $285 to $350,

That works out at about £2,600 p.a. for the top rate. Compare that with your own figure of £65/week or £3,380 for an unemployed brit.

As for all the rest of your uninformed rant: TLDR, since the first sentence was so wrong, there was no point.

Re:import tariffs? Pah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39292351)

As for all the rest of your uninformed rant: TLDR, since the first sentence was so wrong, there was no point.

Why do Daily Mail readers have such trouble with argument, attention span and detail? To begin:

cost-adjusted

If you think that overheads alone on one employee - who may also receive subsidised meals etc. - add up to less than ~£700, then you've never actually run a business and you're just another armchair Tea Bagger stuck in the '80s. One educated employee at Foxconn is more expensive than someone on the dole in the UK, receives comparable pay, yet someone on the dole in the UK copes with a comparatively huge cost of living.

There are two significant differences:

(1) Hours - China expects people to work like it's 1850 in Britain, taking advantage of the fact that when one man burns out, two can take his place. Every empire can enjoy at least several decades of glory riding the back of slaves. But we know from, well, every Western country, what happens in the end;

(2) Government priorities - China's government, expressed through its own activity and its investment, taxation, infrastructure and planning, aims for its country to (i) produce goods; (ii) consume debt. Our prosperity and near full employment through the '60s was the result of similar policy. The Tory handling of Britain around the oil crisis led to the reversal of (ii) (many people blame Labour because it was the Labour government of the late '70s which had to deal with the consequences - just as people today will blame Cameron for Blair/Brown). Then Thatcher reversed (i). This made and continues to make the middle-men to the producers very rich, but with nothing to offer to its own people or the world, Britain is gradually sold off, fades and dies.

In the medium term, (2) matters. the reason Foxconn is in China and not in Britain is not because China is really cheap but because China as a nation supports manufacturing. From an economic PoV, (1) matters in the long term; from a humanitarian PoV, (1) matters always. So there is the balance to be struck between (1) and (2). Germany's been a lot better at striking the balance than Britain, which is why it has finally achieved its century ambition and taken the reins of Europe.

Re:import tariffs? Pah! (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39292637)

No, the main reason it's not financially sensible to manufacture mass-appeal items in the UK is that the unemployment benefits are higher than chinese assembly workers' wages.

That probably has a lot to do with the cost of keeping workers alive and healthy and fit for work here in the UK being higher than Chinese assembly workers' wages. It's kind of impossible to get workers for less than the cost of feeding and housing them.

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288441)

I'd certainly pay more for these things.. but their entire goal here is to make these as cheap as possible.

They also posted a pretty damn good explanation as to why they had to outsource.

I do hope they recover from this (and I suspect they will.. it's not OpenPandora yet..) and take some hard won lessons about testing and assumptions.

I also feel forry for the poor guys down in China who have to hand unsolder/resolder 10,000 of these suckers.

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289129)

their entire goal here is to make these as cheap as possible

Then they're not doing a good job of it. My smart phone has an ARM11 CPU, a capacitive touchscreen, WLAN, GSM, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth, compass, accelerometer, etc. It cost less shipped (contract-free) than the Raspberry Pi, and it comes with a case, a lithium battery and a USB charger and cable. For the Raspberry Pi, these are all extra. And the phone is a commercial product that doesn't get the tax breaks of a "charity".

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290345)

What phone do you have that costs under $25?

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39291255)

The Raspberry Pi costs $35, plus shipping, plus taxes. You end up paying more than 40 EUR for it. My phone was cheaper.

In a year the Raspberry Pi will look properly dated.

Re:So, delayed anyway. 20-30% increase in cost... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39291767)

Once again what phone was this? I take your inability to answer such a simple question as a sign that you are lying. So good day.

Fucking magnets. (5, Funny)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288019)

How do they work?

Re:Fucking magnets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288221)

Cut one in half and see for yourself ;p

Re:Fucking magnets. (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39291279)

By attracting balls of steel.

Bye Bye Raspberry Pi (4, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288085)

Bye Bye, my Raspberry Pi,
I thought that I might buy you,
but the warehouse was dry,
those good old boys say just wait one more month,
but you keep running into delays,
yeah, you keep running into delays.

Re:Bye Bye Raspberry Pi (1)

Bog Standard (743863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289017)

At least I now have a reason as to why Farnell pushed my date back from April to mid May. All they did was inform me of the date and not provide a reason for the delay.

Re:Bye Bye Raspberry Pi (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289325)

Did you see the other recent post? There was a mistaken mass email by Farnell about pushing back orders.

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288261)

Who wants that piece of proprietary crap anyway?

Maybe... (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288285)

Maybe they were using the wrong kind of tyres.

Eternal shame (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288311)

I was going to make a joke about suicide due to the shame of making this mistake, but then I remembered that this is a Chinese factory. DON'T KILL YOURSELF!

Re:Eternal shame (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288651)

Shame.. or having to hand desolder/resolder 10,000 of these damn things.

Serves them right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288333)

They advertise the hell out of their product, then they predictably can't deliver, then they silence any and all criticism on their forum (because not being all positive is "bad attitude", and they don't allow that), then another disaster strikes. I guess it's called karma.

If you order now, you're going to get a delivery estimate about 3 months from now. Their mailing list had more than 100000 subscribers, and Liz Banhammer has the audacity to claim surprise when demand exceeds the initial 10000 batch.

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39291375)

Agreed, it was a predictable clusterF$%k from the start. I suspect this "hiccup" was planned and the 10000 batch was never made. They waited till they had 100K orders so they could meet their price point. The problem is it seems to be lie to cover up a lie a lot of times.

The FAQ on RS Components site seems to indicate they never had 5000 units like the foundation said they did:

Q - Do you actually have any Raspberry Pi in stock? And how do we order them? I can only get a Register Your Interest page?

A - Along with the other supplier of Raspberry Pi, we are expecting our first shipment of boards towards the end of March.

RS Components [rs-online.com]

The story at launch from the Pi guys was they were in stock and were shipping as early as March 12.

And the fact you can be banned for simply stating a "contrary" viewpoint tells me enough about them.

And one more thing while I'm on a rant... how can they produce them for $35 when the cheapest ARM clones and even the Arduino's are $30. It makes no sense even if they have a deal on the CPU's.

For once, this fits! (1)

Prod_Deity (686460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288343)

Fucking magnets! How do they work?

Re:For once, this fits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288569)

they don't, magnetic fields never do work.

How's that cheap Chinese production looking now? (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288591)

Still good value?

What about when the returns start flooding in because a 1 cent component failed when a 2 cent one might have soldiered on? Budgeted for handling that?

I know these guys are amateurs, but do they really need to keep demonstrating it?

Re:How's that cheap Chinese production looking now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289681)

Still looks pretty viable to us.

- Every electronics company

Re:How's that cheap Chinese production looking now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289747)

yes, amateurs. JUST LIKE Apple, Dell, HP... The only difference is that they are letting us know every step of the way what's going on.

FFS, EVERYTHING is made in china. The cost difference is not (entirely) the fabrication costs, it's that they would have been paying taxes on EVERY COMPONENT. Making it in china they don't pay any taxes on the thing AT ALL. In addition, even WITH the delay from both this and the crystal, the time to spin up production in the UK would have ment a longer timeframe to making them avalible.

So yes, it's still a good value.

Re:How's that cheap Chinese production looking now (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289853)

Why do you assume that the same mistake - or one like it - would NOT have been made if the boards were assembled in the west? Since western wage rates are so much higher than chinese ones if this error had been made in a british or american plant it would probably be cheaper to simply crush the whole batch and start again,

Then instead of a 1 month delay, you'd be waiting 6 months - or never, since the RPi foundation would have gone bust as it was banking on the sales of these units.

Re:How's that cheap Chinese production looking now (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290211)

This sort of thing is precisely why the standard Slashdot rant of "all they did was put x, y and z together, this isn't innovating!" is so much silliness. It's not easy to mass produce things. It takes planning and more planning. It takes money and more money than you planned on because some small aspect of Murphy's law is going to pop up and rip your balls off.

It's why the Motorola Xooms of the world come with stupid little missing bits and even why our fearless denizen of perfection, Apple, still screws first releases up 99 times out of a 100.

Production electronics is not building a Heathkit in your bedroom.

Re:How's that cheap Chinese production looking now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39290633)

The release has been a cluster frak:

  • Delayed since November with promises of we'll ship next month
  • Promises of preferred status for early orders thrown out the window with the next point
  • Switch from shipping the unit themselves to 'licensing' the technology to two UK companies
  • One of the company's only ships to businesses and said screw you to 5000 people after they got confirmations. (That has been rescinded but their shipping dates got pushed back at least month since the companies got the first batch)
  • BTW: both UK companies said we'll take back orders but we will not tell you there will be about a $15 Shipping and Taxes until we charge credit card (my $25 bare bones machine just went up 60% in cost)
  • ...and now further delays

I have said it before: They should have stuck with the original plan and got the original shipment out and THEN license the technology to other companies. That why I'm not ordering for at a few more weeks until they get their crap together.

I wonder... (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290029)

How many people are killing themselves trying to keep up production with the demand for Raspberry Pi.

Re:I wonder... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290455)

Based on the amount of complaining about supply issues, apparently not enough.

Hard to tell? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290351)

From TFA:

It's actually very hard to tell unless you look at the insides of the part,

Ohmmeter?

Re:Hard to tell? (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39292747)

Yep, that should do the job. Certainly a lot easier to get hold of than an X-Ray machine...

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