We have been working for a year now on using the Electron commercially. To that end we have developed a lot of software and an appropriate Electron shield.
We were just starting to get the first beta test units out, bought a batch of 4 Electrons and they seem to have a much lower quality SIM holder than the originals we did the development on. We found we could push the SIM in and there was very little resistance to stop it when it hit the end of the holder. At this stage it jammed, the Electron is soldered hard onto the shield and the cards are almost impossible to extract. Only way is to push them right through, This creates some more damage to the holder.
- The holder is not up to standard for a commercial product. It is too light, the strap across the centre to hold the card is not substantial and any small bending of the card will result in it losing contact. There is very little travel in the contacts. The plastic frame is too light, too low at the stop end, a card can easily be pushed over it. While not a big issue on a breadboard, once the Electron is soldered down it it a real problem.If this unit is going to be commercial it has to have an upgrade of the quality of the holder.
- The position of the holder could not be a worse one for inserting/removing SIMS. It should not be hidden under the board. Also it should be a push/push holder, trying to grab the card with tweezers to extract it is a nightmare. We will initially provide a partial solution by creating a hole in the pcb under the SIM so that it can be levered out with a small pick.
Questions. We did not have this quality issue with the first units we used, the holder seemed more substantial, at least we did not find cards pushing past the end stops. Unfortunately all these initial units are soldered to mother boards so I can’t see what the holder was made of. Has there been a change in the holder for recent manufacture and has the issue been realised and corrected? Are there plans for a redesign which will put the holder in a more accessible place, ie on top of the board?
The industrial electron will have the SIM soldered on
@will can you chime in on the SIM card holder quality?
Post some pictures of the SIM holder that you are having trouble with if possible.
It shouldn’t be too hard to get the card out even if you bent the top cross metal bar down.
The new Electron will have an SMD chip SIM so you’re in luck on that front but still the current Electron should be just fine also.
Obviously I have had my eyes on other things, I was not aware that there is an industrial Electron coming. How far off availability is it? Are there any specs, I guess I could go hunting but if you have links.
Photo shows one of the latest batch. In our estimation and experience, too light on.
We will try and rectify it by supporting the cross beam with plastic and fitting an end stop. The current end stop does not work for rough hands. Delicate maybe but not our customers.
If the industrial version has a solder on SIM, whose SIM will it be? The Particle SIMS do not suit our applications in their current form and pricing.
In addition to launching an industrialized Electron with an embedded SIM for at-scale deployments, we have also changed the SIM connector on newly manufactured Electron devices to provide a snugger fit.
The industrialized Electrons will support the Particle MVNO. If you would like to negotiate at-scale data pricing, I encourage you to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about pooled pricing and data discounts for product creators.
@will Thanks for that info. Can I get some information and dimensions for the more ruggedised holder on the Electron. We are about to make a commercial batch of our motherboard and we want to make some sort of a cutout under the SIM so that it is accessible. Also provide some support to strengthen the cross member if that is necessary. We can’t proceed until we know the situation so it is vital we get those dimensions and layout. Also how do we ensure we are purchasing the ruggedised version when we want to buy it?
With the solder on SIM, will we have to use Particle or will it be possible to use other carriers? Will the SIM support SMS messaging?
@will Just chasing this one up. We are stuck at the moment not knowing how to purchase the units with more rugged SIM holder or what the dimensions are etc so we can finalise the design of the mother board. I would appreciate getting some info as soon as possible.
Anyone out there!!!
What is the story about the more substantial SIM carriers, when will boards be available with them and how do we ensure we purchase them and not the rubbish ones?
I don’t think it is possible to determine if your purchase will be those with the updated SIM holders since they are manufactured in batches. It can be tracked with their barcode but they are sold based from oldest to newest stock, so…
Sorry for the slow reply – I was on vacation last week and am catching back up!
The new SIM connector will be included on all new Electron U260 sales as of today. Here’s a photo of the new connector – on the left is the new connector, on the right is the old connector.
You can see the impact on the SIM card pretty clearly – it’s a much snugger fit. @mohit can you paste in the datasheet for the updated connector in this thread?
Thanks @will , I was beginning to think you had died. That looks more substantial, and it seems to be on the same footprint so I can proceed with our mother board.
Can you give me a part number for the new holder please. If I can source some I will replace the ones on the modules we have here
@kennethlimcp I don’t find that answer satisfactory, we know the old holder is no good for deployment in any device which leaves the workbench. You have to find a way of supplying the new one, and we have to be sure we are purchasing the new one, your problem what you do with the old ones, I would rework them, or maybe offer them at a discount to hobbyists.
Hey there @pNrie – to defend @kennethlimcp, the practice of “first in first out” is common among fulfillment centers to ensure that old inventory (with older system firmware, as an example) is not left sitting on the shelves for too long.
While the old SIM card holder is not as effective as the newer one, it is inaccurate to characterize them as defective components. At the end of the day, the Electron is a prototyping kit, not a mass production or industrialized hardware solution, and an exposed SIM card slot will never be as robust as an enclosed or soldered options. In order to provide product creators with a more robust solution for deployments at scale, we have been designing, testing, and will soon release an industrialized version of our cellular hardware that features an embedded SIM card.
So, ignoring the fact that I have two units with this substandard holder in my hand and both holders are broken after normal, professional use, not ham fisted user use, how do I ensure that my next purchase has the more durable socket? This is the #1 question. #2 question is what is the part number, manufacturer of the replacement socket and I will try and get it and repair the cards I have.