ITead PCB Woes

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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby arupbsk » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:19 am

Does it mean 100% e-test = they do 100% e-test on all boards but the results are not cared.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby arhi » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:26 am

:D

Donno what to think. boards that came from SEEED that were marked with tape / stripe on the side had tool markings on the smd pads and the other ones (50%) didn't. The PCB's that came from ITead (100% E-test) had no markings at all (no stripe on the side, no markings on the smd pads). Maybe the ITead has their own etesting equipment so the factory is not testing boards and ITead is testing them all but they test them with some "blunt" probes maybe? Or maybe test is "visual" (camera comparing traces with gerber?)
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby royco » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:51 pm

Same here.

2 out of 12 PCBs from Itead have open traces.

Last order from Seeedstudio the pads on the PCBs lift off easily on fine pitched ICs when doing solder drag. Replaced with boards from local board house and everything was aok.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby sqkybeaver » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:00 pm

i had a few pads lift up on the Linux board, luck-fully this is not a problem as they were unused pins.

i have a feeling that better the copper could be bonded a little better.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby EiNSTeiN » Thu May 10, 2012 9:54 am

TL;DR: DON'T use ITead.

My experience is a whole lot different with ITead, and I feel like I should share it since we are on the subject. I ordered their 4 layers 10x10cm boards at the end of december 2011. In mid January, I still had not received them so I tracked the package with the provided code. To my surprise the package had been returned to the sender, even though I had never recieved a notice that the package was available for pickup. Here in Canada, there is usually at least TWO notices left in a person's mailbox when a package can't be delivered to them.

I believe they somehow messed up my address while transcribing it on the package, and I did triple check on their website and the address I provided is correct. I could also be that they forgot the postal code, given that some countries don't even have postal codes I can understand how they could have forgot. Anyway, I will probably never find out how this happened.

The part that I am really angry about is that a whole FIVE MONTHS after I placed my order, and after repeated attempts to get refunded or have the boards re-made, they still claim that I must wait until the boards get back and they re-ship it. By ANY standards, this is not an acceptable way to treat customers. Their website claims that after 30 days they will refund or re-make the boards if they have not arrived, but trust me, that's bullshit, as most of their advertising seems to be.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby krish2487 » Thu May 10, 2012 11:28 am

Hello.

I d like to post my experience with PCB and the PCB service i use.
I give my PCBs at a place called Cosmic Engineering works.

I believe i did post about this in a previous post where Ian asked "which PCB service do you use"

the question of e-test did not come up then.

For any quantity above 100 the company itself provides a "BBT" i.e bare board test for free of cost.
I RARELY have had a board that had the BBT sticker on it and failed in the open/short test.
(In fact i have not had one failed board that passed the BBT test, nor ones that were NOT BBT tested that i took from them).

The cost :
20 $ for NRE steup costs.
and about 2C per sq cm for a run of 50 boards and gets lesser as the quantity increases.

Agreed, they are limited to 2 layers and 8/8 spec but they are thorough at what they do.
Of course my hobby PCBs are again home etched and i am talking about professional work here.

But then again it is immaterial for the PCB manufacturer whether it is for hobby or profession and the quantity has no bearing on the cost involved.

Regarding the cost of the service 99C for a 5x5 cm.

I feel that the cost should not be a direct bearing on our expectation on the quality of pcbs.
Just because we are paying less, i would not want to be offered any inferior quality.
I d rather pay a little higher and be assured of peace of mind and quality than be penny-wise, pound-foolish with the PCBs.
It is simply not worth it.

It is obvious in the pictures above that we are able to see an open trace, how about a multiple layer board (4/6/8/16) where the inner layers are not visible and we have an open or short.
( small chance of a hobbyist going for > 2 layer board but think from the volume work that itead studio does for others)

Some one has to take it up seriously with the PCB fabrication services.

I'd be wrong at the design end rather than pull my hair out for improper fabrication.

Dont get me wrong here but DP, sparkfun, seeedstudio all are professionals. Iteadstudio does not offer services as a favour to any of them. No reason why any of us who use their services should settle for any less quality than outside. I'd rather they developed an alternate pcb services vendor.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby krish2487 » Thu May 10, 2012 11:38 am

PS : While we are on the subject

I can happily run a test batch for DP and the users here if you guys are willing to experiment with them.

say a batch of 50 or so.

The SM is available only in green.
their capabilities are 8/8 double sided with 0.6 mm vias.
and the cost is 2C per sq cm with a lead time of 3 weeks for D/S and 10 days for S/S.

i d happy to ship them across if anyone wants to try them out...
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby ian » Thu May 10, 2012 12:50 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll keep it in mind.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby oliver » Sat May 12, 2012 6:52 am

I've also noticed, that the prototype page of itead looks ridiculous similar to seeed's fusion service page.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby arhi » Sat May 12, 2012 10:39 am

@oliver, they use same factory so they have similar offer, nothing new there

@krish2487, your experience is nothing new with dealing with PRC suppliers, ITead is nothing special there. I add it as a "cost of doing business with them" so when you compare cost with "local" supplier and PRC supplier you do not compare only the bare cost but the full price. They all go with high volume low profit margin in order to keep business going. Usually are understaffed (as labor is not that cheap in PRC as it used to be) and that of course leads to - they are always super busy. They usually use external company to do the shipping and handling so usually all main land China companies use a Hong Kong company to do that for them.

Two serious problems they encounter is
- due to large amount of work and low staffing they have hard time keeping track of all shipments
- due to large amount of clients they have a lot of clients trying to screw them over (actually they fear it more then it really happens)
- due to LONG time between shipment and arrival (they ship from main land to HK, then from HK to you, depending on the part of the World it takes 2 to 7 weeks for a parcel to arrive!!!) clients often complain that they didn't receive or that they received invalid parts and want refund / resend ... and since the parts are in 99% cases just late they have to "ignore" you in order to give it enough time to arrive.

Now, what you experienced is a classic glitch in the system
- for whatever reason the parcel was returned to PRC (wrong address, damaged address, drunken post official .. irrelevant)
- package arrived back to HK to the shipping and handling agency - not to PRC company you were dealing with (ITead in this case)
- after normal 3 weeks you started to worry
- after max 7 weeks you knew something was wrong
- after another few they were still convinced the parcel is just late
- then you got pissed and they called HK agency to find parcel there sitting

I dealt with PRC companies a lot, when they come to a period when this is happening they are in the very "bad position" as they are not making enough money to hire a person to do all the tracking and handling of this type of situations and on the other hand the volume of sales is big enough to have this type of issues happening often. It gets solved usually fast (the period usually last 5-6 months) by hiring and improving staffing.

So, it's not that I in any way defend ITead, it's just that when you order stuff from a small PRC company you have to include in the cost of your project
- long delays (initial delay + possible extended delays)
- parts that are not 100% in spec
- custom fees

My local PCB manufacturer is 10+ times more expensive then ITead/SEEED pcb offer, I still use it from time to time - or to be more precise - every time I need to know exactly when the PCB's are going to be available and to be 100% sure they are tested and properly made to spec. So I use ITead/SEEED in 90% and local one in 5% (and 5% I make myself).. worse that happened so far with those two is that I got few non working "100% e-tested" boards from a batch of 10 (ITead) and that I waited 2.5 months for parcel to arrive (seeed) ... I find that to be a win-win situation .. of course if I was doing a job with a deadline and was waiting 2.5 months for something to arrive, would probably have gray hair now but ..as I say, you put that in a cost and decide if you want to use that or some other way of acquiring your material
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby krish2487 » Sat May 12, 2012 12:09 pm

@arhi

actually i did not face that problem with Seedstudio or iTead..
:-)

Einstein did..

agreed. professionally the volume makes the quality improve.

but look at this from this way with more and more individuals like ian, you and scores other who collaborate on wonderful projects like BP or OLS.
They are by no means a prototype runs even in small batches.
even 50 is a volume, so to speak.

i am not advocating any specific vendor or so..

i am just stating that slowly even hobbyists are moving into a small volume production runs..
if our outlook towards SW/FW can become more and more professional with each cycle then why cant our HW be upto the standards...
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby arhi » Sat May 12, 2012 3:41 pm

krish2487 wrote:@arhi
actually i did not face that problem with Seedstudio or iTead..


end of the week so I'm some ~50 hours behind on my sleep schedule :( ..

krish2487 wrote:i am just stating that slowly even hobbyists are moving into a small volume production runs..


It's actually different from mine point of view. When I had more room in my house I was making pcb's myself. Now I'm pressed for time and space so I send them to China to be made there.. If I worked with electronics for money the ITead/SEEED's pcb manufacturing would be completely useless to me (as is for 99% of my friends) as waiting a month for pcb is just too expensive, especially when you can make a 2 side photo booth for 30eur that expose your pcb in under 5 minutes, and photo sensitive pcb's, etchant, fixer in many local stores. I can make a 6/6 pcb at home without too much trouble in under an hour and 10/10 in under 10 minutes (two sided) for insignificant amount of money. The problem with non metalized holes for a single pcb is non relevant really as if you work with smd components you only have few vias you need to take care about and that is simple to solve.. With average 5-8 pcb variants from start to finish of the product waiting a month for them to get from prc compared to 10 minutes at home does not really makes sense.... I use PRC ONLY because I do electronics in my very limited free time so I start few interesting projects (interesting to me), send pcb's to China, and then work on my "work" that is in no way related to electronics, and then when pcb's arrive I work on those projects in my spare time .. if something triggers my interest in the meantime, I send more pcb's to be manufactured and work on other projects until they arrive ... that's great for "I do this for fun" but .. since a laser printer cost ~200$, press'n'peal / white / green foil cost few bucks, even just magazine paper ... you can get setup for toner transfer pcb making (10/10 without a problem with this method) for under $250 and that includes laser printer, foils, acids, blank pcb's .. if you add 50 more you can go with light and down to 6/6 ... even without using proper film prints and printing laser on tracing paper you can get 8/8 with some experience...
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby oliver » Sat May 12, 2012 4:59 pm

arhi wrote:@oliver, they use same factory so they have similar offer, nothing new there

even so, their webpage is nearly a 1:1 copy. Not just the same information, but layout, textual contents etc.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby Alex » Wed May 30, 2012 12:40 am

Hi,

Sorry for such late reply about this issue, we work as mad man these 2 months for the new iMallstore, so I forget to reply this post, now the imall has finished and online, I can spend some time to give you a detailed reply about it.
1 - As show in the image, boards are not be tested.
2 - We DO did 100% e-test for all orders.

At first, the PCB factory do the 50% e-test, and when we get the board, we do the rest 50%. But now, the factory provide the 100% e-test for all order - not just us, but also seeed. Now all the "e-test" process is done by factory, and all boards we got ,should be a e-tested one.

How do Greeeg get the non-tested boards? We have contacted with factory on February, but the factory can not give us the detailed reply - because these boards was made near before Chinese New Year, and in that period, there are many orders but labor shortage and staff mobility, the factory said there should be some negligence to cause the non-tested issue, but they can not find out who did this because there should half of the workers changed after the China New Year holiday. The factory is willing to re-do it again with e-tested.

This statement that "they not do the e-test to save the cost" is not right. For prototyping, 100% e-tested or non-tested, even the 50% e-test, they are the same price for us. Just for small batches , like 200-500pcs, the factory will charge the test fee. For prototyping, just 10 pcs, factory now doesn't charge any test fee.

Anyway, I think it should be our our responsibility and we should responsible for this. But it's a issue of management and process, not about integrity. We guarantee the 100% e-tested , so we request the factory to do so. But there should be something that out of our control, like maybe some negligence and errors, we will try our best to handle it, and hope your understanding.

We have made more than Ten thousand prototype orders out, and there could be some error, like missing e-tested, hard to Welding because of the pad oxidation .etc, but it just be a few part of all, we will try to avoid, but this is difficult to avoid all. So , when you meet this trouble, just feel free to contact us directly ,and we will deal with these issues.

Maybe we could start a poll about how many people meet the non-etested problem , 1/100 or 1/10000? then we can get more data to talk with the factory for their test process.
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Re: ITead PCB Woes

Postby ian » Wed May 30, 2012 8:51 am

Thanks for the followup Alex.

It's interesting to know that the factory switched to 100% etest, I noticed that a while ago too.
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