Reliability of the new E series Industrial Electron


#1

I was wondering about all the different aspects that make the new E Series Electron industrial grade.
Does this mean the unresolved issues of electron 3g are resolved in the E series?
Can we expect reliability of a an industrial PLC?

Inputs are appreciated.
Thanks


#2

More definite questions might render definitive answers :wink:

Which issues have you got in mind?


#3

+1 – we’d be happy to answer questions about the E0. The main features that make it better suited for production applications are below:

  • Low profile design. The E Series has a slim, low-profile, single-sided design that is compatible with small and sleek enclosures.

  • Machine placeable. All E Series modules are packaged in SMT-compatible plastic trays, ready for placement onto your PCB via reflow or manual soldering.

  • Customizable (flash and cellular modem). Order E Series variants with external flash memory expansion and choose between 2G, 3G, and LTE M1/NB1 connectivity options.

  • Integrated SIM card. E Series modules feature an embedded SIM card that ensures a robust mechanical connection and permanently associated device hardware ID and cellular ICCID.

  • Industrial temperature range. With no plastic parts, the E Series modules can be used in applications with demanding physical environments, from -20 to +85 Celsius.

  • Flexible power source. All E Series modules can be powered with a range of dedicated, mobile, and rechargeable battery supplies.


#4

when is the 4g option expected to be ready and is particle planning to offer a breakout/carrier board ?


#5

Hi Scruff

I was thinking mainly about issues like the entire processor locking up (Solid cyan) & not needing to use a watchdog timer for reset.


#6

Solid cyan (or other complete controller freeze) is not really an issue with the hardware but in 99.9% of cases due to application code causing deadlocks.

For the remaining part watchdog timeouts are the way to go on virtually every embedded system. Hence one long standing wish of the community is to regain access to the HW watchdog feature the STM32F contollers provides but was “deactivated” in system firmware for some reason in the past.
But again, this is not a HW issue but only an issue with the system firmware.


#7

What about the asset tracker? Will we have a GPS+accelerometer(+magnetometer would be nice as well) as an expansion for the E-Series?

Best
Giordano


#8

Hi Scruff,

We had people check our application code. We took your feedback and made changes to the code. However, that did not help.

We believe the issue could be with the firmware or the hardware.
Though we are trying to use it in a commercial project, we haven’t received any support
from Particle. Therefore, we are now looking into other solutions.

I strongly believe for you guys to succeed, you need to offer great support to your early adopters. Their success would be yours too.


#9

Since this is mainly a discussion forum and Elite’s are no Particle employees I have to ask: “Have you filed an official suppor ticket for this issue with Particle?”

But you didn’t report back on that thread to get further assistance after tackling the usual suspects that were pointed out to you.
You asked the “question” June 20th and got two responses within hours, but nothing came back from your side there.
Also can you show the reworked code in the thread you linked there?


#10

@ScruffR I emailed Particle support on the 24th Aug with a link to one of our threads asking if we could have input from Particle team - as we are working on a large commercial project and need assistance.

The response from Rick was there is no definitive answer, to check the common known issues and to consider a watchdog timer (a watch dog-timer itself isn’t solving the issue).

I then Emailed back the following:

'You mention you guys can’t troubleshoot individual projects, but I would like to state this is a high profile project, with Lend Lease - one of the largest construction firms in the US. We are keen to get past the prototype stage - so please ensure that the relevant people at Particle are aware that we have technical issues that we need resolving to be able to push Particle out across their sites. Until this issues is fixed we can’t move forward with Particle.

To which I go the response that Particle aren’t able to give free support.

I then replied to that Email on the 25th of Aug asking for an estimate of how many hours Particle may need and how I can go about making the payment to Particle (which was quoted as @$200 per hour).

I still have not had a response to that support payment info request Email, that was sent on the 25th Aug.

It does seem strange that we have got a few threads open and had no direct contact or reach out from Particle. We are not tinkering around in a bedroom with little consequence, we have Particle out installed on an industrial environment and the project is about to be wrapped up in terms of using Particle if we don’t make some fast progress.

We are not saying the issue may not be related to our code or hw, we are not sure what is causing it, it’s just we have explored a number of avenues (our selves and with the help of the forum) and it has not been resolved. There seem to be one or two others also getting the cyan LED lockup.


#11

That’s where the ‘regular’ Electron comes in. The assettracker is meant for quick prototyping, not for permanent solutions. If you do want to make a commercial grade product out of it, you’d take the E-series, and add the required components to that same PCB you’re placing it on. That way it’s fully customizable to your liking.


#12

@marcuslp, thank you for this clarification - This makes things clearer for us and I guess @will may like to be looped in directly.
If you could post a link to an existing thread (since the one linked by @pari is PM) or open a new one, we can pull the respective posts out of this thread into a dedicated one for further discussion to not hijack this “E Seris” thread.


#13

@ScruffR Thanks and sure - I can grab some info together and post it to the bottom of one of the existing threads (Reliability of a device like Electron) or Email Particle directly - which ever is preferred.

I have a meeting with the developers working on this in a couple of hours so I’ll wait to catch up with them and will then try and clearly and concisely summarise what we have tried so far to fix the issue. Particle can then review and assess and get back to us or perhaps we can setup a Skype call.

No problem to remove posts from this thread (or delete thread) so as not to confuse issues or misassociate them to the E Series.

Will be in touch.


#14

@ScruffR

This is a link to one of our threads, which I have updated with some further info at the bottom:

Reliability of a device like Electron

I have also Emailed Particle support again.


#15

I wanted to clarify here that Particle provides a ton of free support, we love our community and makers!

We also offer enterprise support as a service to product creators when they’re deploying to a production environment. These paid services support a dedicated team with full time engineers and experts who do nothing but review firmware, PCBs, recommend components, and do end-to-end design work for product creators. Of course the services from that consulting team aren’t something we can offer for free, especially since their time is extremely valuable, and they’re typically booked solid working on paid designs and support for enterprises.

I hope that helps clear up any concerns about our support offerings!

If you’re making a product and you want to use the Particle Customer Success team for consulting or design review work, please reach out to us! https://www.particle.io/sales

Thanks,
David


#16

I want to echo the feedback that @dave provided. It sounds like one of the key threads that may have been dropped is the following:

I then replied to that Email on the 25th of Aug asking for an estimate of how many hours Particle may need and how I can go about making the payment to Particle (which was quoted as @$200 per hour).

I still have not had a response to that support payment info request Email, that was sent on the 25th Aug.

If you are interested in taking advantage of our paid review services, Particle should make it very easy to do so. I see that the thread you filed has now been picked up by the right individuals within the organization, which I’m glad to see. In the future, if you feel like you’re not finding the right person at Particle to talk with, feel free to ping me in the forums (@will) and I’ll make sure your feedback gets routed to the right place.


#17

Thanks for the clarification Will.

Yeah I do agree, that for those particular projects that determine they may need it, having an option to pay for an additional level of support in terms of a review is helpful to have.

It might be worth considering offering a ‘review package’ which costs ‘x’ amount or such like, for those who may be interested in that. Not sure if that’s workable but worth considering / publicising.

The info Dave has recently sent us has been very useful, we are working through making those changes.

Thanks again


#18

I see the E Series Industrial uses the same BQ24195 battery management and Lipo Charger IC as the original Electron. Some questions on that…

  1. Why did you choose the BQ24195 (a LiPo-based IC) for an industrial application when most LiPos can’t be charged safely under 0C and over 40C?

  2. Was there any thought to primary/secondary battery solution, which is pretty standard for industrial-grade products?

  3. Bonus question! - What battery solution would you suggest to be used with the new E Series?


#19

You can always add an external battery management IC for a different battery type.

If you need something that safely charges under 0C then you’re stuck with the old AGM type batteries or LTO cells where there really aren’t any good IC chips for yet.

The LiFePo4 cells still dont’ like to be charged under 0C.


#20

I can share some of our thinking around the battery management solution on the E Series.

Basically, our thought process is that Li-Po batteries are extremely common in IoT applications, and when you can use a Li-Po battery (when operating ranges are expected within 0-40C), many to most of our customers choose to use one. By providing the Li-Po charge management system, we’re accommodating one of the most frequent use cases.

In more extreme temperature environments, the E Series module can be powered by a variety of external batteries or power supplies provided by the product creator. We will release application notes for the E Series once we begin shipping evaluation kits that outline different suggested power configurations for the module.

In other words, we’ve created a shortcut for the common use case of Li-Po battery power and provided a flexible power interface for deployments in which that’s not appropriate.