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An on-the-go, high-res DAC and headphone amp that plugs into your computer's USB port.  Your videos, music, & games will rule!
An on-the-go, high-res DAC and headphone amp that plugs into your computer's USB port. Your videos, music, & games will rule!
2,146 backers pledged $303,061 to help bring this project to life.

USB Connector Update

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Our production team has been working hard with our vendors to figure out exactly how to fix the issue with the sagging USB connectors. Here’s what we’ve determined:

First, the USB connector should have gone through the reflow oven for less time and at a lower temperature than it did. This is a mistake that our vendor made. The process should have been to assemble all SMT parts onto the board and put that assembly through the reflow oven. Then the through-hole parts should have been installed and put through the reflow oven at a lower temperature and a shorter time. This is not what happened.

Now, the trouble we have is that we can’t simply replace the USB connectors on all the boards that have been assembled because it is impossible to regulate how much left-over solder will stay on each board. If we were to do it that way, there would be a wide variation of impedances in the batch. Therefore, we have to scrap the whole first batch. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a complete answer on how much this will delay the production schedule. Because we have to scrap so many assembled units, we have to purchase replacement parts which requires a lead time from each vendor. We’re still waiting on two vendors to tell us how much lead time they need to get us the parts. We think we’ll know all part lead times early next week. We’ll keep you posted on that.

We are very sorry for this delay. Thank you so much for your patience.

Geek Out Colors

There are still a few of you who never filled out the BackerKit survey. The lockdown date for selecting add-ons and color choices has long past (November 22). For those of you who didn’t specify a color of your Geek Out, we have decided to fulfill your order in Silver. All of the enclosures are completely build and anodized, so we’re locked in.

All my best,

Gavin

Chin Yung Yaw, Myles Cook, and 5 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Creator Frederick Fields on January 21, 2014

      @Thomas Grisham.

      I am guessing this is your first rodeo...Delays happen quite often with crowd funded projects. Considering they had working units at CES and were ready to ship on time I don't think LH Labs is a flight risk with your money.

      It is often the case that crowd funded projects get delayed. It's been around a week since the problem surfaced. It would prove difficult to give revised shipping dates with a any type of accuracy without first having a fix for the USB connector problem.

      Give them a reasonable amount of time to find a solution and workout a new timeline for shipping.

    2. Creator Thomas Grisham on January 18, 2014

      Just the same, I'm very disappointed. Most companies don't take your money, then make you wait many months, and then make you wait more months. In light of the fact that we don't even know a revised ship date, I think a refund should be an option.

    3. Creator James Phillips on January 18, 2014

      Sorry to hear about your production problems Gavin! I have tangental experience with PCB/electronics production and know that the slightest problem in any of the numerous steps in the process can spell doom for the entire batch run. Spent months trying to root-cause random reboots/freezing on an embedded system that ended up being due to a few too many microns of copper on a batch of PCBs. I feel your pain :D

      A technical note about your description of the problem: through-hole parts (such as the USB port) usually go through a 'solder wave' machine after the SMT line. Literally a flowing wave of solder that the PCB passes through while sitting on a mask, with only the through-hole areas of the board exposed. This creates a strong anchor for the part (if done correctly ;)

      The more you know!

    4. Creator Wei Huang on January 18, 2014

      Keep up the good work, I'm glad you guys found the problem before actual shipments went to the backers! :-D

    5. Creator Type35 on January 18, 2014

      I understand everyone would like to get a hold of "defective" units if they are going to be scrapped but you have to think of the hidden extra costs LH Labs is likely to incur. First, the defective units will have to be handled separately for warranty. Second, some of them will end-up being resold (even if they are clearly marked defective) and the subsequent owners are unlikely to know about the production issue. Think of the potential hit to LH Labs brand name. A few hundred defective units in the market place can very well sink a small company like LH Labs (the word spreads out too quickly on forums and blogs). They have no other choice than scrap these units for good. I just hope their manufacturing contract is tight enough so that their vendor will eat the cost of manufacturing as well as parts replacement. Clearly, the vendor tried to take a shortcut to maximize capacity for its reflow oven (soldering USB connectors is not rocket science). There are lessons to be learned from LH Labs too: you don't launch full scale production at once, you ramp it up and you do heavy internal QC on the first production units as well as random sampling on the first thousand units. In any case, I'm glad LH Labs is committed to deliver 100% functional units even if it means waiting longer.

    6. Creator Eric Bartel on January 18, 2014

      I'd love to get a few of the discards as well!!!

    7. Creator Thierry JEAN-AMANS on January 18, 2014

      I agree with Leonard@TM. Just put a defective (properly marked/scratched to avoid reselling, of course) together with the good one. A lot of us would love to try a repair, even if this implies a slight increase in the shipping cost.

    8. Creator Leonard@TM on January 18, 2014

      BTW, it is not unusual to put SMT parts & through-hole parts in two different assembly steps.
      Better to have detail QA tests on the second batches (with "proper" assembly procedures).
      I would wait a bit more time for a flawless unit.

    9. Creator Leonard@TM on January 18, 2014

      count me in too. Just ship both "defective" & "production" units in same package. It shouldn't increase too much in weight.

    10. Creator Stephen Oakman on January 18, 2014

      Same here with me. I would happily pay for shipping and more for some of this batch.

    11. Creator Mark Renouf on January 18, 2014

      +1

      I'd happily take a "defective" unit and replace the USB connector by hand.

    12. Creator Russell Lau on January 18, 2014

      same sentients as Tony! don throw it away! Would like to at least try a bit of it

    13. Creator Tony on January 18, 2014

      Hey Gavin, it seems kind of like an awfully large waste to throw out 8 thousand units, even on the environment alone. The units are fully functional too. Would a suggestion of giving the option for kickstarter people to pay for shipping of the 'defunct' ones and receive them anyway. If there going in the garbage anyway, I'm sure a few people would like to get a few uses out of them at least. Myself included.

    14. Creator Tony on January 18, 2014

      Hey Gavin, it seems kind of like an awfully large waste to throw out 8 thousand units, even on the environment alone. The units are fully functional too. Would a suggestion of giving the option for kickstarter people to pay for shipping of the 'defunct' ones and receive them anyway. If there going in the garbage anyway, I'm sure a few people would like to get a few uses out of them at least. Myself included.

    15. Creator Jonathan Loh on January 18, 2014

      Hi Gavin, are my extra units accepted in my order? I have emailed you many times but did not a concrete yes.

    16. Creator Blindman2k on January 17, 2014

      I would love to get my hand on some of the discarded units.

    17. Creator Trogdor on January 17, 2014

      This is not my area of expertise but can you not use epoxy to stiffen the USB connection assembly? Again, not my area but just asking...that is what I would try if I were to get my hands on one of the first batch .... hint....hint.... :)

    18. Creator Chin Yung Yaw on January 17, 2014

      Thanks for the update, Gavin. I understand making the decision to scrap the first batch of production was not an easy one. As much as I wish to get my hands/ears on the Geek, I don't mind to wait a little longer. Thanks for the updates.

      I have filled up the backers kit but I'm not sure how to select the colours combination in the backers kit. So I have sent you an email to specify the colour selection I wanted. Hope you receive it.

      All the best and hope the problem will be solved soon. Appreciate the whole team effort.

    19. Creator Myles Cook on January 17, 2014

      Thanks for keeping us in the loop Gavin, I'm sure it'll be worth the wait to get it right :)