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🔁 Repeatability of Quality is Essential

Important Notice for Early Supporters:

We are still in the process of sending out invoices. If you have not received one yet and placed an order in November or December of 2019, do not worry, the process is half automated and half manual. This was intended so that we could review each shipping invoice before sending them out to ensure they are correct.

Here’s the update in brief:

  • PCB fabrication company not meeting our standards
  • Are you or do you know a Windows Driver Developer?
  • What’s next?

Welcome to the latest update in which we will take you along on our journey here in Shenzhen as we continue to move forward in completing and manufacturing the long-awaited Pocket P.C. Thanks as always for your continued support and encouragement!

We know you have been anxious to get the latest information on the status of the development and completion of Pocket P.C. This has been a challenging time in the electronics industry with significant supply chain and shipping problems. By being here in China, we have been able to face these issues directly and find ways to continue toward production despite the delays, component price increases and scarcity and other hurdles.

Pocket P.C. Production Update:

We were expecting to produce the final production samples two weeks ago. When our mass production (M.P.) factory went to perform a final inventory check, they found that 18 resistor and capacitor reels were missing. (Some of those reels cost over $200.00 USD each.) The factory we used in February did not return these reels after we had the last batch produced.

Sourcing some of these parts took some extra time because they were for tuning the WiFi antenna and of an extremely high tolerance. Our usual vendors did not have these components but, fortunately, we found the exact ones we need.

Our M.P. factory received the replacement parts we sent and prepared for production by doing one final quality check. In doing so, they found discrepancies in the PCB solder mask between the previous PCBs and these new ones. Through experience we learned that just because a factory did good work in the past does not mean they will continue to produce at that level. We, however, are always vigilant when it comes to quality control.

In the following pictures, you can see some of the discrepancies between the latest PCB on the right and the PCB previously produced by the same factory in February on the left.

At first, the factory which produced the PCBs stated that they would rework the PCBs by applying a new solder mask over the existing one. This was unacceptable to us and we told them they had to produce new PCBs for us at no additional charge. That’s where the trouble began.

They sent us “revised” manufacturing files to review before producing the new PCBs but the files were almost the identical to the previous version. They would have produced new boards with the same problems again! Frustrated, we demanded a refund and, of course, will never use them again.

We are now working with our main manufacturer which promises to meet our quality demands and work very quickly to produce our final samples. The new lead time on new PCB fabrication is 3 weeks from now with assembly to start promptly after completion.

Are you or do you know a Windows Driver Developer?

You can’t have great hardware without great software and we sure have some amazing software to share with you that we have been developing for the past few years. We are ready to open up access to beta testers but there is one thing holding us back. We need a signed Windows WinUSB driver. If you have been through the process of creating a signed driver package and submitting it to Microsoft for inclusion into their driver database, we would love to hear from you. Please reply to this email if you can provide any guidance or advice on creating driver packages or if you are or know of someone who is a software development consultant who can create a signed Windows driver. Thanks!

What’s next?

The events of the past few weeks added a month to our production timeline. Had the quality of the PCB fabricator not been poor and had they returned all our components then we would have production samples in our hands right now.

We really appreciate your patience while we go through the final stages of product development. We can’t wait to ship Pocket P.C. to you and get it in your hands. We really look forward to seeing and hearing about what you do with yours!

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