Everyone who deal with technical support knows how difficult this is 🙂 We get between 100 and 150 e-mails each day with mostly RTFM questions, or problems people have when do not read the manuals (if they exist) or if they use junk cables and power supplies, but of course first thing to blame is the board for non working.
Another league are the customers with more knowledge who try to complete their own Linux uboot, kernel or distribution and do not do it properly, then blame again board for problems. Recent such issue was customer returning 20 boards with USB not working, we inspect test and see that everything is OK here, then we ask what software they run on the board and the answer is ‘my own Linux kernel and distribution’ ahaaa! and the arguments but the rest 100 boards are working well with our distribution 🙂
Well in such complex embedded Linux distribution many thing could happend, sometimes DDR memory parameters are set at the edge or some PLL works at too high frequency. Boards and processors have tolerances. In our distributions we always set everything in the safe zone, even if we had to cut a bit from the performance, but this guarantee the reliable work on ALL boards. That some percentage may work at higher clock or tighten parameters is OK but if you want to use this board in production you better play safe. As problems in field at customer are pain to handle.
So, when you read 100 emails about ‘problems’ it’s always pleasure to read e-mail from satisfied customer. We got one on July 7th with header “An unusual complaint -Because it isn’t.”
When I read the header I though ahh ok yet another I can’t do this or that email for our customer support. But later I read it completely:
Subject: An unusual complaint -Because it isn’t.
Date: Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:32:16 +0100
From: Barry McKearney
To: Support – OLIMEX Ltd <email@example.com>
Just a quick note to let you know how happy we are with the A20 Micro and LIME boards we have been using. We now have 30 boards installed at various customers with no problems whatsoever. Our first 8 (A20-Micro) units have been installed at our client and running 24×7 without failure or crash for a solid 12 months. These units have been powered on 24 hours a day(together with our own bespoke hardware and your LCD10-TS) In the 12 months, they have carried out automated QC testing of over 7 Million automotive sub-assemblies. The price/performance ratio of these things is astounding, We will certainly be using more in future.
I hope Barry will forgive me for disclosure his private e-mail to us, but it really make us feel proud with what we do 🙂 and I can’t resist to share it.
BTW our torrent server with the Linux images also runs on LIME for many months now with simple 1400mAh LiPo battery as “UPS”. We have had a lot of power main line blackouts but this simple UPS-Server configuration never failed, the usual problems with power blackout we get with rest of servers running our SVN and ERP software which runs on x86 architecture and require huge 1kW UPS to keep them up while shut-down in case of power cut. Then MOD-IO with custom firmware power them up 10 minutes after power supply mains resume. These servers perhaps also could move on ARM low power architecture, but they are legacy and no one from our IT guys dare to change something which works although not quite power efficiently 🙂