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Yours to open -- but not yours to repair?


#1

My FP2 core module is broken almost for sure, so I wanted to get a new one.
Now support tells me it won’t be sold in the shop. The only way to get one from Fairphone directly is to send the phone in for repair, at a minimum of 223 € if the core is replaced.
While I don’t mind the price, I find it ridiculous they don’t sell it to you to repair yourself.
They counterfeit their own idea. This policy reminds me of companies like Apple:
“If there’s a problem, turn in the device, and we’re gonna fix it using some magic no one outside the company could do or even understand.” The friendly support person even apologized for this situation, but could not do anything about it.
BTW: I know perfectly well that vireo has it for 275 €, but they have the whole FP2 for 399€ now – my budget has limits, too. So I am afraid FP will soon loose a customer to some other Lineage-friendly Hardware manufacturer.

Martin


#2

I really understand your frustration.
On the other hand, I understand FP as well.

They obviously want to know/learn what’s going wrong with the phone, if something breaks. If it’s the core-module, there are so many possible failures, that they need the part to check it out.
If they can not lay their hands on this part, they have less chances to enhance the design and learn for future phones. And they understandably have to check the connections to all the other modules as well.
Therefore, to be honest, I not only understand their policy, I am even- to the good of all FP customers - in support of it.
(And if someone really wants to get a core-module, there still is vireo, as you already mentioned; and it was more than 300,- Euros when the FP2 still cost more than 500,- Euro.)

And, as an afterthought and further possibility, if something else is wrong and the core-module does not need to be replaced, buying the core module really would be a waste of money and even more frustration. (I have no idea, how llikely that scenario is, of course.)


#3

I must add that the core module is the base of the phone* on which all other modules are mounted. So it’s not really a “module”, more of a “phone”.

*: it’s basically the motherboard, CPU, WiFi and Bluetooth chip and SIM connector. So if any of these component is failing, @BertG is right saying they need the whole thing back to investigate. You just help them make the next generation better!


#5

This part of your post I find too extreme. You’re comparing a company like Apple who actively fights the right to repair, doesn’t offer spare parts to customers and generally designs their products so you can’t even open the case and exchange the battery without tools, with a company like Fairphone who lets you repair most of the phone yourself and offers spare parts and repair instructions - just not the core module.

Basically you’re accusing the company with best repairability of the same practices like one of the worst just because in your case you’re hitting the one limit there is.
I can understand your wish to do even more, but your conclusion is way off in my opinion.


#6

I need to agree @Ingo and @Matthieu in this case.
But there is another reason in my eyes why FP is not shipping the core module. This module is the core of the phone which holds all other modules. It is not save against ESD as all other modules are, cause they are save in a housing.
A lot of electronics die as a result of electrostatic discharge. A discharge of only 15V (and you just start feeling a discharge when its over 60V) destroys a PCB with digital TTL voltage level (5V). And the power supply of a modern circuit board of a cell phone is even lower.

“Many electronic components, especially microchips, can be damaged by ESD. Sensitive components need to be protected during and after manufacture, during shipping and device assembly, and in the finished device. Grounding is especially important for effective ESD control. It should be clearly defined, and regularly evaluated.”
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostatic_discharge


#7

I know of course of the importance of grounding, but there are so much electronic devices being shipped each and every day (e.g. memory chips, ssds, graphic cards, mainboards).
And vireo manages to ship this module and they themselfes get it from Fairphone.
As I see it, if that really was the problem, it could easyly be overcome by special packaging.

Well, I am posting this. as one might get the impression, that it is dangerous to open the FP, laying bare the core module. And I really don’t think, that this is a problem in general.


#8

OK, I have provoked a dispute here, and first of all, thanks for your replies.

Basically you’re accusing the company with best repairability of the same
practices like one of the worst
My wording certainly kind of oversemphasizes the case. FP is not Apple, and this is really, really important. My intention was not to insult anyone, but rather stress the point of perceived absurdity here: You have the most modular pocket computer ever built – and the manufacturer won’t sell the main module as a regular spare part. I am in tech support myself (network), and I very well know the kind of decision where have to guide even your experienced users just because the majority gets it wrong. Is this the case with the FP main module? Hardly, IMHO. Sure, you should have some practice in electronic devices, know about ESD and so on. But FP has lowered this threshold to an afternoon of training, remember?

The least I would expect from the makers is a clear statement of their motivation not to follow their own idea in this point. Does someone have it, without the need to speculate?
It has also become clear to myself that I want a certain value for my money (much as Apple customers do, but the values differ): I want the freedom to exchange every single part myself, and have a regular supply. May this sounds a bit irrational, but the same thing brought me to GNU/Linux 25 years ago, and I haven’t regretted that step a single moment.


#9

@BertG and @martinpauly
I understand your way of thinking and I do have pretty much the same thoughts.
But with my knowledge of electronics I would handle it the same way.
Some background information:
The company I work for is producing industrial electronics. The complexity to operate a fully ESD protected manufacturing is enormous. Every single employee has to be instructed every year about the hazard of ESD to electronic components. There are production zones of different levels where no employee without ESD secure clothing and shoes are allowed. Every piece of electronics handled outside the ESD rule needs to be scraped.
So, also in view of sustainability, it is needful to care about ESD. Otherwise it will have an affect on your device.

I will implement that and give everybody an overview of the effects of ESD to a circuit board with the soldering workshop on the #EFCT19