Different levels of reliability between development and production boards


#1

I know this may seem obvious to many out there, but I am really not understanding the different levels of reliability between the development boards (photon, boron, etc) and the production boards (e series and the new b series).

I am asking primarily in terms of reliability (longevity, resistance to heat/vibration, likelihood to still be purring along in 10 yrs, etc).

Just to be clear, I’m not asking in terms of other concerns like guaranteed availability of large qty for manufacturing in a products lifecycle. Or, ease/flexibility of integrating into a product’s circuit board. Those are certainly concerns, just not what I am driving at in this question.

In terms of reliability is it reasonable to expect a boron to hold up in a production environment where temperatures aren’t extreme? This is assuming it was inserted into something like this: https://store.ncd.io/product/screw-terminal-breakout-board-for-particle-photon-or-particle-electron/, which avoids use of any DuPont wiring or breadboards.

thanks in advance


#2

For the most part, components on the development boards and mass-production boards are of similar grade. We don’t have an automotive grade E Series module, for example. However, there are some differences. The E Series module has a MFF2 SMD SIM vs. the 2FF plastic nano SIM card on the Electron. This makes it much less susceptible to vibration, corrosion of the SIM card pads, etc… It also allows for a wider temperature range, which is limited by the plastic SIM card on the Electron.

For the Boron, which has both a MFF2 SMD SIM and a normal empty 2FF SIM card socket, that in particular is probably not an issue.

In terms of durability, the solder-down modules (P1, E Series) certainly are the most vibration-resistant.

Even in a carrier board, the pin-based modules (Electron, Boron) could work loose. However, we have customers who have deployed a large number of these in locations that vibrate, and it is possible to keep the device secure. (Soldering down a pin-based module eliminates the vibration problem but is not recommended, in general.)

The M.2 SoM (B402) is somewhere in the middle. Because there a hold-down screw, it’s quite secure. We’ve done extensive tests of shaking the thing in various orientations and it passed. The main advantage is the module is swappable (like the pin-based versions) but it’s nearly as rugged as the solder-down modules. Downside is that you have more components to place on your carrier board (USB, status LED, reset and mode buttons, PMIC, and fuel gauge).

vibration

While we currently have no plans to end-of-life the Photon, Electron, or Boron, the mass production modules (P1, E Series, B Series) will be kept around longer. In other words, when devices do reach the end-of-life, the prototyping modules in the series will be stopped far before the mass-production modules.


#3

Thanks for the reply. Definitely informative. So it sounds like you’ve already had customers that have deployed large amounts of the development boards into a production environment?

And that there’s good reason to expect that a Boron would hold up to many years of continual use (5+)? (Granted, if the securing of it can be figured out).

When you talk about end of life expectancy. Do you think the Boron will be produced 5 years from now? 7 or even 10 years?