Assembly report: some suggestions for Radxa

I have bought a new Rock Pi 4 with a fan/power hat and an SSD and tried to assemble it myself. The result was not very good. I had to disassemble the system several times and reassemble it, and I think I managed to lose some of the screws and spacers. Also, my card writer was faulty, so I needed to disassemble the system, extract the EMC board, recopy the system image using a new card writer, and then reassemble the system. As a result, there are not enough small parts (screws, bolts, spacers, nuts) as there should be and the system that I have built is not very robust mechanically.

I have some suggestions for Radxa and some advice to anyone else who wants to try the same.

For Radxa :

  • please provide better building instructions. Take a look at Ikea’s guides that come with each self assembled table, chairs etc, and try to provide a similar level of instructions. In particular,
    • provide a photo of all the parts that come with each board. Label each type of part, by unique name and preferably serial number.
    • for each step in the build, indicate which parts are used in that step, including the name and serial number. Show where each part is to be placed in the board. Also show which way up they go.
  • provide spare parts for the assembly. This could be a separate product in your reseller’s catalogue (“Spare parts for…”) . This should include everything except the board itself such as screws, spacers, and connectors. This should be relatively cheap to provide.
  • provide advice on what to do if there are several components to be built into one system, such as the main Rock Pi board, the fan/power board, an SSD and its associated boards, and a case; in particular, which connectors should be used and the overall order of the build.

For those who are building:

  • connect up your new card with its SD card or EMC and test it (at least until it boots) before you even touch any of the spacers, screws etc.
  • if you have a case, once you have assembled the system, fit the assembled boards into the case with top and bottom off. Ensure that the HDMI socket comes through the hole in the case, and that all the USB sockets can be used. Only then attach the top and bottom of the case.
  • take photos of the initial parts (if Radxa has not put them on the website) and of the various stages of the build so you can remember what to do if you need to dissemble the system and then reassemble it.

Radxa should consider adding the previous points to the assembly documentation.

It sounds to me like you are attempting to blame the manufacturer for your failure to be careful. These things are not made for ikea customers. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then research it first. Whatever parts you dropped into the swimming pool… are on you.

Actually, what will be enough for me is:

  • a list of all the small parts for each board, preferably with Chinese original/translation. edit: I cannot find this on the website currently.
  • the address of somewhere in Shenzhen that sells these parts in one-off quantities. Please be more specific than ‘somewhere in Huaqiangbei’, the shop name and number would be good.

Then I can buy the parts myself.

@lbdroidman: Thank you for being so helpful. But I am not trying to blame anyone, as I am just trying to fix my new system.

@martin totally agree with you and having just a couple of spares and maybe a little bit more of an assembly guide.
That is constructive criticism unlike pointless criticism of some others.
The assembly is far from great on the heatsink and it uses non standard pillar sizes that if you do have a loss/breakage for any reason ordering from china is a complete pain.
Throwing in a few extra and maybe standardizing the mounts at one stage would be a really good idea.
Prob get rid of the outer cpu ridge but also add a raised cpu plain so taller mounts could be fitted, that are standard and also better accommodate screw depth.

Hopefully when the current stocks run out that heatsink might see a couple of revisions.
But a ‘Dummies’ guide to assembly would not hurt and be fairly easy to provide.

But yeah its extremely beneficial for any company to get feedback of your own opinion as from experience @jack is extremely good and quite a few community opinions have carried forward with revision.
Sure they would like to hear any feedback positive or negative.

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@stuartiannaylor Thanks for your support. Customer support, and the ability to incorporate customer feedback into new products, are crucial differentiators for building long-term success. Of course, not all customer feedback is useful, and a business needs to be wise about deciding what to accept.

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No I was being sincere that Radxa would likely be interested in your opinion from experience.
I have bought other SBC from companies I call the ‘bad fruit’ and Radxa are a million miles away from these with quality product and reactive strong community channels.
They have stock, price and timeline to contend with but we have already seen revision improvements largely based on community feedback, so no thanks needed.

Hi, Martin

I am sorry for your bad experience. I think Allnet should add the instructions on the shop. For the m2 extend board, we had an instruction.

For the PoE Hat with M2 extend board, we don’t have instruction yet.

@jack I have pulled the system apart into its boards and small parts, retrieved several small screws from the carpet, and reassembled the system using your instructions, and it seems to be working now and mechanically sound.

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