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david

F(x)tec Repairability plans for the Pro1

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There were more than 10.000 cycles, by a machine, which opened and closed the device with the same speed and force all the time, with the latest setup no parts failed. Chen said, since this test always uses the same speed and force for opening and closing, it’s not representative enough. So they hired someone who opened and closed the pro1 several hours every day by hands, and wrote down how often he did it, to get a realistic assumption on the reliability. They thought it through, very convincing, I don”t think we have to be afraid of the cable or the mechanic wearing out too quickly.

 

Is it just me, or does that not seem like a representative number of times to others too? If someone opens it once every 5 minutes, for 16 hours a day, that’s about 200 times per day. 10,000 times, in that scenario, is only 50 days of use.

 

Well I think it is to estimate a realistic number of daily opens they tried to have some register this.

 

I guess that if someone needs to use the keyboard every 5 minutes, it would be unlikely that they closed it in between. And 16h is a long time doing nothing else than interacting with the phone. I mean for my normal usage it would certainly also be interacting with apps that do not take text input for normal usage, so I will use it as a slab also.

 

That's not how I use my phone, but I could be in the minority. I get text messages or other instant messages all through the day. I keep my phone in its holster. When I get a message, I take it out, open it, reply to the message(s), close it again, and return it to the holster (or desk/table). And without any bezel on this, I'll be sure to close it every single time I'm not holding it in case it falls.

 

I do my browsing in landscape mode with the keyboard out. Email = keyboard out. I don't use a lot more apps as often as the ones that require keyboard input.

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Thanks for the information. Do you have a source link for these details? And did it mention how many open/close cycles were done before the connector wore out and, assuming they did testing with a new connector after that that lasted longer than the best cable, how many cycles did the best cable last?

 

Are you saying they will only make parts available to businesses that repair phones and not to consumers who buy phones?

 

I got these information from Liangchen at the Hands-on in Düsseldorf, so no link for that.

 

There were more than 10.000 cycles, by a machine, which opened and closed the device with the same speed and force all the time, with the latest setup no parts failed. Chen said, since this test always uses the same speed and force for opening and closing, it’s not representative enough. So they hired someone who opened and closed the pro1 several hours every day by hands, and wrote down how often he did it, to get a realistic assumption on the reliability. They thought it through, very convincing, I don”t think we have to be afraid of the cable or the mechanic wearing out too quickly.

 

No, I’m not saying that the parts will only be available to businesses. But they the distribution of the parts might be fulfilled by a 3rd party, not the f(x)tec-website/shop itself.

Last week I have received the following reply from Team F(x)Tech for a similar query:

 

” We’ve tested the Pro1 with 100k slide cycles, both by robots and a human testers. While there were issues with early prototypes, we have since then updated the flex cable and the device can comfortable go above 100k slide cycles.”

 

Considering a conservative average use of keyboard, say once every 15 mins and 12 hours usage per day, it works out 48 slides cycles per day.

 

So it should be fine for about 5-6 years. It’s not necessary that every time we pick up the phone we will use the keyboard and some short replies may be done from screen only?

 

Cheers!

 

Okay, so the 10,000 was missing a 0. That seems more reasonable. If we got by my use case, that is about 500 days, or 1.4 years. Not great, but better than less than 2 months. And they said it can go above 100K slides. Hopefully the cable will be easy to replace and the cost won't be ridiculous (I can get a whole Relay 4G phone for not much more than the price of the ribbon cable..or at least I could when the phones were able to be bought....there might not be any new supplies left now). I'm a little concerned about that connector on the PCB, since that might be difficult to source and replace. I hope they do include that in the parts that they make available.

 

And no, I do *not* use the virtual keyboard for short replies. That doesn't mean nobody does, but that's not how I use a phone with a physical keyboard.

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Please see my correspondence with them regarding spares/ repairs.

 

Me: Is it possible to ship only flex screen cables/ Keyboard/ battery to India (as per requirement), in case I can have it changed locally?

F(x)Tec: We do not currently know how the repairs process will work. To my knowledge, only our service locations will be able to fix the devices.

Me: Sending mobile to the only service locations in UK and US may not be feasible for many. Especially after the warranty (2 years). But local repair shops here can do a good job, but they will of course need the main spare parts which may be available only with you considering the limited manufacturing/ sales?

(No further reply)

 

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Please see my correspondence with them regarding spares/ repairs.

 

Me: Is it possible to ship only flex screen cables/ Keyboard/ battery to India (as per requirement), in case I can have it changed locally?

 

F(x)Tec: We do not currently know how the repairs process will work. To my knowledge, only our service locations will be able to fix the devices.

 

Me: Sending mobile to the only service locations in UK and US may not be feasible for many. Especially after the warranty (2 years). But local repair shops here can do a good job, but they will of course need the main spare parts which may be available only with you considering the limited manufacturing/ sales?

 

(No further reply)

 

Remember that we know that at the least the display is a 'standard' part from Boe (type number BF060Y8M-AJ0-7702), also used on other devices. e.g the "Elephone U Pro". It is already available on e.g. AliExpress for less than $75, here a search https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&SearchText=display+elephone+u+pro

 

We do not (yet) know what other parts are "standard". But I expect at the least the battery to be too, as I doubt there would be a reason to have a special one designed. But of course the keyboard, the PCB and the housing will be special for the Pro1. We will have to wait for the info going public - or e.g. ifixit takes one apart.

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During the warranty period, there will be no other choice than having the device replaced, if the damage was not caused by the user.

After the dust settles, maybe there will be other choices and authorized repair shops.

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During the warranty period, there will be no other choice than having the device replaced, if the damage was not caused by the user.

 

After the dust settles, maybe there will be other choices and authorized repair shops.

We should not always count on a replaced device. F(x)tec could choose to have it repaired. Or might replace with a refurbished device. It is a matter of different legislation, and what the cheapest way for them is to meet the legal requirements.

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Yes, but Chen told me that at first they have no other choice than replacing. At launch, the lack logistics and partners make other ways of handling warranty inquiries impossible. That's what I was trying to point out.

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During the warranty period, there will be no other choice than having the device replaced, if the damage was not caused by the user.

 

After the dust settles, maybe there will be other choices and authorized repair shops.

 

This maybe during the initial warranty period, till they sort out the service logistics, and not necessarily during the full warranty period of 2 years?

Right?

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A juicy picture was tweeted: https://twitter.com/chenliangchen/status/1163524008471605249

 

I mirrored the picture: here http://www.matland.be/pro1shots/pro1exploded.jpg

 

From the shape of the keyboard mat we can tell it’s an earlier prototype (credit to Noir for pointing this out).

 

Looking beautiful I do think!

 

Nice, thanks

I noticed the suction marks on the display, but again this is the old model, and I believe he somewhere wrote it will be (even) easier to get into the new one. :)

(the part next to the display is shown top down)

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I noticed the suction marks on the display, but again this is the old model, and I believe he somewhere wrote it will be (even) easier to get into the new one. :)

For what I understand from what the birds say, that little nipple on the keyboard mat (at the closest to the user side) in the older prototypes is above a screw and it was necessary to take off the keyboard mat to get to that screw whereas on the newer ones that screw is not a thing somehow (can only guess at how the final version is implemented).

 

It does look like it would be possible to make the keyboard fairly easily replaceable if one could source the whole part of the phone where the keyboard is glued to, which holds not too many other things by the looks. Similar of how I've experienced replacing the screen in some phones (Lumia 730 is a particular one) where you can buy simply most of the frame of the phone with the screen attached and then transplant the boards etc there.

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For what I understand from what the birds say, that little nipple on the keyboard mat (at the closest to the user side) in the older prototypes is above a screw and it was necessary to take off the keyboard mat to get to that screw whereas on the newer ones that screw is not a thing somehow (can only guess at how the final version is implemented).

 

It does look like it would be possible to make the keyboard fairly easily replaceable if one could source the whole part of the phone where the keyboard is glued to, which holds not too many other things by the looks. Similar of how I’ve experienced replacing the screen in some phones (Lumia 730 is a particular one) where you can buy simply most of the frame of the phone with the screen attached and then transplant the boards etc there.

 

From he looks of the German keyboard it looks like the single screw in the middle is replaced by two at the sides, that are not beneath the keyboard.

Most of the things are not that likely to get worn, so the most interesting things as spares would be

Key-mat, click-mat, the flex-cable and finally the usb-pcb

Assuming we can get the battery and display from alternative sources.

 

Note that even the 3.5mm jack seems to have it's own pcb too, so they really thought about service.

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Post by Erik-FX

for people not watching every thread. This is just what I was told earlier, but here you have it officially. Spare parts will be available for us end-users later on.

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Post by Erik-FX

 

for people not watching every thread. This is just what I was told earlier, but here you have it officially. Spare parts will be available for us end-users later on.

 

Thanks for doing that. If other repairability posts sneak into other threads, hopefully people can do what you did so that this thread will provide a single location where people can keep up-to-date on this topic.

 

In case links break later for some reason (forum change), here is the content of that post:

 

...

I have now been updated that spare parts will be available at a later point in time after launch. This, of course, is in addition to the default repair option which we have with our authorised service providers. Established service providers are a requirement by most carrier networks and retailers before they can stock products of new smartphone manufacturers.

 

We will know more about this and available parts after launch. Likely, these will only be purchasable upon request through our Helpdesk.

 

I have, however, been assured that service parts are definitely going to be available :).

 

Please disregard previous statements on spare part availability – that isn’t quite the case – spare parts are coming after launch, while service providers will be available on launch.

 

Erik

...

 

I have to believe that f(x)tec didn't create the ribbon cable, USB PCB, and other parts, other than the keyboard. I guess I could be wrong on the ribbon cable, but there wouldn't have been a reason to do so with the USB PCB. As we find the root source of the parts, it would be good to share that information so that we can purchase them through other channels if that proves more convenient, less expensive, and in the unfortunate case where the f(x)tec Helpdesk no longer exists. ;-)

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Just saw that now even aPple let people repair their devices at partly independent repair shops https://www.gsmarena.com/apple_will_finally_let_you_repair_your_outofwarranty_iphone_at_independent_shops-news-38936.php

 

Though they still need to be ‘approved’ by aPple… so the independence should be taken with a truck load of salt.

 

Note that this is still US only. I'm happy to report back if the program gets to Europe and my company tries to get a 'license'..

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…thats good question. biggest problem – as on all sliding/opening phones – will be flex cable

 

I've had 2 landscape slider phones and no failed flex cables yet...I had an N900 that died from internal flash failure, and now my Droid 4 has failing keyboard switches.

 

I did once have to replace the wires that went through the hinge of my Treo 180, that was a tough job!

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Remember that we know that at the least the display is a ‘standard’ part from Boe (type number BF060Y8M-AJ0-7702), also used on other devices. e.g the “Elephone U Pro”. It is already available on e.g. AliExpress for less than $75, here a search https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&SearchText=display+elephone+u+pro

 

I looked at a handful of these on AliExpress today. Every one of them had comments from users stating that lines started appearing on the screens after using for a period of time (1-3 months).

 

 

[attachment file=36743]

 

 

Do we have a source for this screen that might be more OEM in quality?

 

 

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I looked at a handful of these on AliExpress today. Every one of them had comments from users stating that lines started appearing on the screens after using for a period of time (1-3 months).

 

Uh, sounds bad...

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Remember that we know that at the least the display is a ‘standard’ part from Boe (type number BF060Y8M-AJ0-7702), also used on other devices. e.g the “Elephone U Pro”. It is already available on e.g. AliExpress for less than $75, here a search

 

I looked at a handful of these on AliExpress today. Every one of them had comments from users stating that lines started appearing on the screens after using for a period of time (1-3 months).

 

vertical_lines_aliexpress_screen

 

Do we have a source for this screen that might be more OEM in quality?

 

 

This could be a case of improperly installing the screen, i have made the mistake where something was in the phone pressing onto the panel of the screen from the back resulting in a very similar failure mode (with a nokia 5 in that case).

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This post is awaiting moderation.

 

edit: Did not read properly, if this happens on (nearly) all the screens those sellers ship something must be wrong tho.

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edit: Did not read properly, if this happens on (nearly) all the screens those sellers ship something must be wrong tho.

 

Guessing here, If it is something seen on multiple installations by different people there just MIGHT be something that requires extreme care or unusual operations installing the displays, and the needed instructions might not follow the displays - and/or might not have been followed by those installing the displays. Even if the displays sold are 100% OK and genuine.

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edit: Did not read properly, if this happens on (nearly) all the screens those sellers ship something must be wrong tho.

Guessing here, If it is something seen on multiple installations by different people there just MIGHT be something that requires extreme care or unusual operations installing the displays, and the needed instructions might not follow the displays – and/or might not have been followed by those installing the displays. Even if the displays sold are 100% OK and genuine.

 

I've meanwhile checked some of the aliexpress listings and it's basically here and there someone who has lines like that, sometimes right off the bat also not necessarily taking months to develop (it does seem concerningly common and not everyone may be complaining publicly). Improper handling and packaging could also be a cause, and being that it is aliexpress anything is possible: they could be rejects from the factory, fell off a truck, be cleaned up displays pulled from old phones, etc...

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