Power Supply Design Flaw
#1
Thumbs Down 
I just received a new 14 inch Pinebook and find on many counts it is as good or better than I had expected. But one area that doesn't pass muster is the power supply. First, the 5V connector on the wall-wart cable is fragile. Mine was broken on arrival and failed entirely the second day - the design of this connector is an invitation to failure. Pine Support consists of telling me to order another supply.

I tried find a replacement. The only bricks that supply 5V at enough current are almost as expensive as the Pinebook, with no guarantee they would work with the computer. As for a replacement for the connector is hard to find.

As an engineer who has worked on the design of electronic products I can readily understand needing to keep Pinbook costs contained and internal power dissipation down, but a 19V SMP regulator wouldn't have dumped any more heat inside the box than a 5V and there are a lot of external power supplies made for various laptop and notebook hardware that would have been just as effective and just as cheap. It is a long established truism that power should be transmitted at high voltages and stepped down at the application -- 5V in was simply a bad mistake born of tunnel vision from the SBC Pine64.

Returning to the support part of this post, replacing a DOA supply should be standard policy.
#2
(08-13-2017, 01:15 PM)Siliconserf Wrote: <snip>
It is a long established truism that power should be transmitted at high voltages and stepped down at the application -- 5V in was simply a bad mistake born of tunnel vision from the SBC Pine64.


I must agree.  My SBC(s) are 12v systems (stepped down and filtered) including my supply for the pinebook.  You can easily get the correct supply from the Pine Store.  Also, you can get a 1m or 2m usb cable with the correct (quality) plug ;  I use the cable with my 12v-->5v CPT and passive filter design.
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#3
(08-13-2017, 01:46 PM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:
(08-13-2017, 01:15 PM)Siliconserf Wrote: <snip>
It is a long established truism that power should be transmitted at high voltages and stepped down at the application -- 5V in was simply a bad mistake born of tunnel vision from the SBC Pine64.


I must agree.  My SBC(s) are 12v systems (stepped down and filtered) including my supply for the pinebook.  You can easily get the correct supply from the Pine Store.  Also, you can get a 1m or 2m usb cable with the correct (quality) plug ;  I use the cable with my 12v-->5v CPT and passive filter design.

Hmm. The non-USB end plug appears the same poorly designed hardware with red, instead of black, strain relief molding. If I have to order, I'll get that cable simply because I don't like being tied to that very proprietary wall wart, though it still leaves me at the mercy of that fragile plug. I would like better if it were easy to hack one of the Pinebook's USB ports to jump 5V in to the power connector. Carrying a compact 4 port USB hub would make up for the loss of one USB connector, and replacing a worn USB cable is much more convenient. At least opening up the Pinebook is pretty straight forward.
#4
The real question is, why the "jack plug". Why not an (mini/micro) USB port for charging? The whole world is charging devices with 5V and USB.
#5
I am satisfied with jack plug, because I found the spare USB cable at home that perfectly fits to Pinebook plug and I may charge it from my desktop monitor, for example and also it is more convenient to carry it when travelling.
#6
What if you forget your cable?

With micro-USB cables are pretty much everywhere that you can borrow.
#7
(08-14-2017, 07:52 AM)daid Wrote: What if you forget your cable?

With micro-USB cables are pretty much everywhere that you can borrow.

Then nothing, I don't charge :Smile Of course, standard micro USB would be fine, but this barrel connector is not a big problem.
#8
(08-14-2017, 07:52 AM)daid Wrote: What if you forget your cable?

With micro-USB cables are pretty much everywhere that you can borrow.

Because micro-USB  cables vary greatly  in quality. Some are unable to carry sufficient current to actually make it viable for charging. People don't know the difference which is a cause of problems and complaining on the forums. A barrel jack does away with this particular problem ... 

See some of the early Pine64 threads with topics such as 'why doesn't it boot?' and 'it doesn't work': Id say that 75% of those topics stem from inadequate PSUs (people trying to power the board from a phone charger) or inadequate cables.
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#9
Except that you can buy an USB-A to the jack cable straight from the Pine64 website. So that "bad PSU" problem will still happen.

I have first hand experience with bad USB cables for charging. But some charge is better then nothing.
#10
(08-14-2017, 08:59 AM)daid Wrote: Except that you can buy an USB-A to the jack cable straight from the Pine64 website. So that "bad PSU" problem will still happen.

I have first hand experience with bad USB cables for charging. But some charge is better then nothing.

at least the AWG of that USB-A -> jack cable is adequate ... but sure.
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter




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