V1 RF Board Pics

jperaino24

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I guess this is why they say not to buy a new car the first year of a major revision. Wait a year until the bugs are worked out. Well don't buy a new Radar Detector the first six months after it comes out. Wait until the bugs are worked out. I am sure that in a year from now the G2 boards will have stabilized and a new batch of boards will be in production. The only unfortunate thing that I see in this whole situation is that MV chose to sell the early G2's with a pre-production board. I would say that Rev F is the first real production board. So, to all of us Rev C early adopters, if the workmanship doesn't bother you, enjoy. If the workmanship makes you uncomfortable, return or sell it. I have a G2, an R7, and a 360c. Any one of the 3 works for me.
 

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By next year??? I'll suggest that they might have already addressed the problem for upcoming sales. :)
 
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springer1981

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Disclaimer: I am not intending this to be an in depth end all assessment of the board or the pictures. These are strictly my observations when I look at the pictures and try to assess what I see. I am looking at it from an assembly and manufacturing point of view. I am not assessing the design in any way. I am not a Microwave RF engineer. I do have an extensive background in PC board assembly and manufacturing. I have been a mil-spec certified solderer. I have very good soldering skills. I have an electronics background that goes way back as well. I've worked as a repair tech, done quality control, engineering tech, designed and manufactured an electronic ignition system still on the market today. Someone else may look at the pictures and see completely different things than I. After looking at these pictures you can go back and look over the originals again and see if they look different to you now.


Picture 1
The circle in the upper corner show what look like a defect in the PC board manufacture. You can see the hole is oblong however I don't see that causing any functional issues.

The other circle looks like a questionable solder connection however it could just be the picture.

I think what is most likely being pointed out is the residue left on the circuit board. It looks like flux from the soldering process. There are many types of Flux. There is Activated flux which usually requires a chemical solution to wash off. There is water soluble flux that washes away with hot water. There's also no clean flux that you just leave on the board after soldering. There are different types of flux depending on the type of solder and material being soldered. Silver solder, lead solder, hi tin solder, etc.

The residue you see here (red arrows) looks like the board was washed but not rinsed. Basically just spreading the flux around.
1.jpg


Picture 2
Here you can see a surface mount resister hand soldered between 2 pins. The soldering job is not the best but should function. Someone else posted a picture of a later Rev Board showing the same area, I added that picture to the bottom right corner for comparison.
This is an example of a fix or modification that is later incorporated into a new design.
2.jpg


Picture 3
The circled capacitor seems like an after thought (fix or modification) the way it is soldered on the board. It looks to be soldered on top of another capacitor but it is hard to tell from the picture. I would guess it looks that way because it is a larger size and seems to be sharing the same pad. I noticed it is the same on the later rev board as well. Picture in lower right corner is the later rev board. It might be by design.

The device with 4 legs is hard to tell from the picture if it is problem with soldering or just the picture. The other device right below it looks like it was hand soldered. But again is hard to tell for certain. If it was, It might have been replaced or added after the build.
3.jpg


Picture 4
It looks to me like the LED was soldered on with an excessive amount of solder. The flux also wasn't cleaned from the board. The flux not being cleaned isn't necessarily a problem is it is a no clean type of flux. The amount of solder also isn't a likely future problem but isn't good soldering skills.
4.jpg


Picture 5
The part in this picture looks like it was added or replaced after the fact. You can see the flux all around it but no other parts have flux around them. Obviously added later. The black stuff on the solder joint looks like burnt flux. Some flux does this. In some instances it could be oxidation the flux removed from the part. Flux chemically cleans the connection points and allow the solder to flow and stay shiny. From a functional point the black stuff probably isn't an issue. Overall I wouldn't solder anything like that and send it out without cleaning it. A pretty solder joint is usually a better solder joint but that doesn't mean this is bad. More on that at the end of this post.
5.jpg


Picture 6
Here we see a capacitor that is clearly offset. This looks like an assembly issue. The pad may not have had the solder paste properly applied. In this case (pure speculation on my part) it probably didn't have any solder on the right side. When it is sent threw the oven and the solder melts, if there is no solder on one side the part turn like you see here. When there is solder on both sides it "wets" both side and auto centers the part. The way you can tell this is what likely occurred is the left side solder is untouched what is expected as a result. So all they had to do was add the missing solder to the right side.

Either this was found during inspection, after assembly and fixed, or it was found during test and fixed. My guess is during test because an assembly shop would likely have straightened the cap first then soldered the other side and it would look better. A tech would just add solder and see it work and be less concerned with the overall looks. An assembly shop likely would have cleaned the flux off as well.
6.jpg


Picture 7
All the red arrows point to what look like dull or tarnished solder joints. I am assuming that is the reason for this picture. There are several reasons this can happen. It's hard to guess exactly why but it is probably flux related.
7.jpg


A clean shiny solder joint is ideal. It should not have excessive solder, it should have a nice fillet from the part to the board. Oxidized or corroded solder joints tend to keep oxidizing and corroding and after time can go bad. That time depends on what is causing it and how active it is. Might be 1 year, might be 30.

A "Cold" solder joint is particularly bad. A cold solder joint occurs when the solder is still hot and molten and the part moves while the solder cools and solidifies. A cold solder joint is likely to fracture or corrode prematurely. Through-hole technology is more susceptible because the parts can easily move in place while soldering. Through-hole is when the part has a lead that is placed threw a hole in the PC board and then is soldered in. Surface mount technology is less susceptible to this because the parts are less likely to move in the soldering process.
 

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Okay, so I just had a chance to take mine apart. I've got a Rev C as well, but it looks much better than the one @Jon at Radenso looked at in the OP. Here's a look at the teardown photos in full res so you can zoom in and take a closer look.

Bottom of V1:

A7302496 V1 bottom.jpg


V1 with top removed:

A7302497 Top of case removed.jpg


Bottom of V1:

A7302498 Bottom of detector.jpg


Top view of V1 and horn:

A7302499 Top of detector and horn.jpg


Top view of V1 with horn removed:

A7302501 Horn removed.jpg


Bottom of horn with 24-pin connector sticking out from RF PCB inside the horn:

A7302502 Bottom of horn with 24 pin connector.jpg


RF PCB inside of horn:

A7302504 Internal PCB in horn.jpg


Closer look at the RF PCB:

A7302506 Internal board 1.jpg


Other side of the board:

A7302507 Internal board 2.jpg


Inside of horn casing:

A7302505 Inside of horn.jpg

and the V1 components laid out:

A7302512 V1 Gen2 parts 1.jpg

A7302513 V1 Gen2 parts 2.jpg
 

Jon at Radenso

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Okay, so I just had a chance to take mine apart. I've got a Rev C as well, but it looks much better than the one @Jon at Radenso looked at in the OP. Here's a look at the teardown photos in full res so you can zoom in and take a closer look.

Bottom of V1:

View attachment 146579

V1 with top removed:

View attachment 146580

Bottom of V1:

View attachment 146581

Top view of V1 and horn:

View attachment 146582

Top view of V1 with horn removed:

View attachment 146583

Bottom of horn with 24-pin connector sticking out from RF PCB inside the horn:

View attachment 146584

RF PCB inside of horn:

View attachment 146585

Closer look at the RF PCB:

View attachment 146586

Other side of the board:

View attachment 146587

Inside of horn casing:

View attachment 146588
and the V1 components laid out:

View attachment 146589
View attachment 146590
You have a later revision RF board. My RF board is also rev. C.
 

BagNDrag

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Okay, so I just had a chance to take mine apart. I've got a Rev C as well, but it looks much better than the one @Jon at Radenso looked at in the OP. Here's a look at the teardown photos in full res so you can zoom in and take a closer look.
Thanks @Vortex - Is this the one you sent back for the power issue? I received mine back a few days ago and it has the Rev F board in it. I'm beginning to think maybe they just swap the bottom plate off the one you send back (with the s/n etc.) and put it on a new detector. The only thing mine appeared to have in common with my last one was the bottom plate. 🤷‍♂️

-Mark
 

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Interesting that you have a Rev E RF board.
 

Vortex

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Ah good eye. Yeah my RF board is a Rev E.

Thanks @Vortex - Is this the one you sent back for the power issue? I received mine back a few days ago and it has the Rev F board in it.
It is, yeah. This is my repaired V1. I didn't do teardown photos of it before sending it in.
 

Kennyc56

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Okay, so I just had a chance to take mine apart. I've got a Rev C as well, but it looks much better than the one @Jon at Radenso looked at in the OP. Here's a look at the teardown photos in full res so you can zoom in and take a closer look.

Bottom of V1:

View attachment 146579

V1 with top removed:

View attachment 146580

Bottom of V1:

View attachment 146581

Top view of V1 and horn:

View attachment 146582

Top view of V1 with horn removed:

View attachment 146583

Bottom of horn with 24-pin connector sticking out from RF PCB inside the horn:

View attachment 146584

RF PCB inside of horn:

View attachment 146585

Closer look at the RF PCB:

View attachment 146586

Other side of the board:

View attachment 146587

Inside of horn casing:

View attachment 146588
and the V1 components laid out:

View attachment 146589
View attachment 146590
Call me crazy, but everything inside of yours looks like a work of art! Thanks for showing us these pictures!
 

Vortex

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I wanna do a quick comparison with @Jon at Radenso's photos, and I'm gonna look at @springer1981's explanation from this post and crop similar photos.

1) The lighting is different in my photo, but things definitely do look cleaner on my board.

1.jpg


2) The cap in my board is attached like @SquirrelMaster's. Curiously, it also looks like that component labeled K is shifted over to the right more on my board compared to where it is in Jon's.

2.jpg


3) I'm not sure what the orange components are that are rotated at an angle, but mine are like that too so I guess this is by design, even if it looks a little weird.

3.jpg


4) The soldering looks pretty similar for the rear laser diode. It doesn't look like there's as much shiny flux, but that may just be the lighting again.

4.jpg


5) The soldering job on mine does look cleaner.

5.jpg


6) I don't have the same issue with the offset capacitor.

6.jpg


7) The soldering on my board looks much cleaner again.

7.jpg


So there's definitely some differences in build quality between detectors. I'm not sure why, but hopefully they're getting things buttoned down moving forward.
 

thefrog1394

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I wouldn't be surprised if Mike V did a personal review of Vortex's unit before sending it back given his YouTube followers. I'll be curious to see some other users repaired boards as well as new (presumably Rev E) RF boards on units ordered today.
Post automatically merged:

I also have a theory on the poor RF board soldering quality and am curious whether this makes any sense to folks like @springer1981 with experience in electronics manufacturing.

Mike V is notoriously suspicious of third parties (he doesn't have any beta testers for this reason). The CPU board looks far more professionally manufactured/assembled than the RF board. The RF board is where the "secret sauce" is. Maybe V1 has technicians hand-assembling the RF boards in-house as a way to prevent a third party board assembler from stealing the design and selling knockoffs on Alibaba?
 
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aim4squirrels

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You have a later revision RF board. My RF board is also rev. C.
Hey Jon,

I might have missed it, but did you ever figure out what caused the v1G2 you put the call out for to fail and were you able to repair it and return it to it's owner?
 

Jon at Radenso

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Hey Jon,

I might have missed it, but did you ever figure out what caused the v1G2 you put the call out for to fail and were you able to repair it and return it to it's owner?
Once we determined that the CPU was not responsive it became not worth our time to troubleshoot further (doing that meant pulling an engineer off of Theia) so I just swapped the entire board for the customer and sent it back working.
 

springer1981

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I also have a theory on the poor RF board soldering quality and am curious whether this makes any sense to folks like @springer1981 with experience in electronics manufacturing.

Mike V is notoriously suspicious of third parties (he doesn't have any beta testers for this reason). The CPU board looks far more professionally manufactured/assembled than the RF board. The RF board is where the "secret sauce" is. Maybe V1 has technicians hand-assembling the RF boards in-house as a way to prevent a third party board assembler from stealing the design and selling knockoffs on Alibaba?
I don't think it would make sense to try to have techs build it in house. You need a fairly elaborate setup to hand build the RF board in the pictures. I have hand built many SMT (surface mount technology) boards by hand in a prototype shop. It requires stainless steel solder screens, assemblers with an extreme attention to detail, reflow ovens, cleaning equipment and more. Unless he does a lot of prototyping I don't see it as something they would likely do. An automated assemble shop is going to have pick and place machines with camera QC and alignment. They are going to set up a machine and have 25 or 250 or whatever you want done in short time. I also don't think the RF board is the "secret sauce". The RF board in extremely simplistic terms is just and antenna and receiver. The "secret sauce" as you put it, is what you do with the information after. I in no way mean to trivialize the RF boards importance and design but I don't think it is a trade secret. Anyone could buy one and take it apart, as above, and reproduce the board. The CPU and programming might be a little harder.

Besides that, as mentioned earlier in the thread, most technicians soldering is like a bull in a china cabinet.
 

Bloovy One

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I wonder if there are parts that are intentionally added after they arrive at VR. The boards could be manufactured somewhere but are not completed. VR might then add a few components that complete the circuits. (Maybe the boards don't make sense without these missing components in some sort of way.)
 

springer1981

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I wonder if there are parts that are intentionally added after they arrive at VR. The boards could be manufactured somewhere but are not completed. VR might then add a few components that complete the circuits. (Maybe the boards don't make sense without these missing components in some sort of way.)
I've seen a lot of ways to protect circuit design over the years. If they intentionally leave parts off it would most likely be because of some tuning aspect.

I used to build a board that after completely assembled and QC'd several times to insure parts are correct, we would take sand paper and sand all the writing off the IC's so you did know what they were. That was a pretty good method to protect circuitry.
 

odiddy

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Okay, so I just had a chance to take mine apart. I've got a Rev C as well, but it looks much better than the one @Jon at Radenso looked at in the OP. Here's a look at the teardown photos in full res so you can zoom in and take a closer look.

man, those are some great pics. I just hope he doesn't cast you out for opening it up. I feel like you are the only solid link back to the dude - we'd be lost without ya bud.
 

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man, those are some great pics. I just hope he doesn't cast you out for opening it up. I feel like you are the only solid link back to the dude - we'd be lost without ya bud.
haha I thought about that. I've always figured that engineers appreciating the internals of their electronics are like car guys popping their car's hood and admiring their engines. :) I wanted to wait until after I finished all my long range testing and everything first before taking it apart, just in case I accidentally zap something with static electricity or whatever.
 

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I wouldn't be surprised if Mike V did a personal review of Vortex's unit before sending it back given his YouTube followers. I'll be curious to see some other users repaired boards as well as new (presumably Rev E) RF boards on units ordered today.
Post automatically merged:

I also have a theory on the poor RF board soldering quality and am curious whether this makes any sense to folks like @springer1981 with experience in electronics manufacturing.

Mike V is notoriously suspicious of third parties (he doesn't have any beta testers for this reason). The CPU board looks far more professionally manufactured/assembled than the RF board. The RF board is where the "secret sauce" is. Maybe V1 has technicians hand-assembling the RF boards in-house as a way to prevent a third party board assembler from stealing the design and selling knockoffs on Alibaba?
He would definitely be suspicious of some “third party“ RDF members. Beyond that, you assume too much.
 

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