richfiles

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  1. Actually, a little notch cut into the edge of the slip ring, with the photo interrupter on the edge of the slip ring would be perfect for that purpose! Good idea!
  2. You'll need to make a disc that that long shaft attaches to on both ends. You'll actually need to split the shaft so you can have one cross though sideways in the middle. Both shafts, the end attached to the motor, and the one attached to your bearing housing, will be firmly secured to the disc. That mechanism will rotate the disc then, in relation to your image, vertically. The slip rings on the top bearing housing will then feed wired into the edge of the disc, at the top, and those wires will then feed to a controller for a motor inside the ball (and to any sensors in the ball, such as a home position sensor). The motor inside the ball needs to have a fat coming out both the front and rear, or you need to gear it to a shaft beside it. You'll wanna create bearing housings that hold that shaft 90° though the plate. The ball, which is split into two halves, will fit onto each of the ends of that shaft. The only thing left for you to do then, is attach the entire c-frame onto one more slipping and motor in the back. That provides 3 axes, and everything you need to make a 3D printed navball. I highly recommend having home position sensors for each axis. You can very easily calibrate the ball in software every single time it makes a full spin then. You won't even need a very powerful controller to do it. In software, it's as simple as setting the real ball location value to whatever value conforms to the physical location of the tab that interrupts your photo interrupter. Here's how someone did it as a speed readout for a lathe. For your 3D printed parts, you just need a simple tab sticking out, vs a slot, and that tab only needs to pass through a photo interruptor once per turn of the axis, to mark a "home" or index position every time it goes around. You have to accommodate the width of the tab and the sensor as well... Each direction will have a slightly different "home" position. Those motors are 4096 steps per revolution, so your tab will take up several steps in wdith, even if it'd very narrow, but the edges will always be very reliable points to calibrate off of. Say, if it's going clockwise, and the sensor is interrupted, maybe that means the ball's index is 12° before the axis is aligned for 0°, so it looks at the real ball position value, and seed it says 343°, it would then update that to 348°, and let the software eliminate the drift between real ball position and the value the game is sending. Let's also say that in the other direction, the photo interrupter triggers 5° positive of 0°, so if the real ball position variable reads 355° moving counter clockwise, then the software would reset the real ball position to 5°. and let the code do it's thing and adjust the ball to then match the values sent over the data packet from KSP. You could have an error allowance, where, say it won't trigger calibration unless the ball is more than 4 steps + or - of the expected values. This would prevent small switching errors when the sensor sits at the edge of triggering and not triggering, to prevent the ball from misbehaving when idle at the home positions. Hopefully that makes some sense.
  3. That looks good! If I may recommend, try to find something called a pogo pin. You'll need a few for the each electrical contact on the assembly you printed, and a few for the point on the c frame where it pivots in the back to provide for roll (looks like you have not printed that yet, or if there are mounts of some kind, they are not visible. For a slip ring, you want round tipped versions. Quick disclaimer, I know the guy that runs this business. He actually hosts my website, but he ships internationally, and specializes in hobbyist customers like us. I didn't even go to his site directly, I just saw it as one of the top few hits on a google search for "round tip pogo pin" and decided to click it since I knew it. Okay, so disclaimers out of the way, These things are awesome for contact with a slip ring style PC board, and you can get them from a variety of suppliers. I should warn you, that even on Apollo, there are two spring contacts per ring, to ensure a good connection. Unlike a linear bit of spring, pogo pins won't require a groove to track the ring correctly. They won't drift left or right, and it'll contact directly below the hole you 3D print for it. The spring inside pushes the pin into constant contact with the PC board ring. Internally, they work like this:
  4. I rarely ever send Kerbals on solo missions... No Kerbal should have to die alone
  5. That's fair. If humans were in a Kerbal capsule doing the tricks it could do, you'd have an omelette in your skull! Actually, the fact that you have the rate meters is good. Using the rate meters alone, it's possible to pull oneself out of a wild spin, with enough time, fuel, and concentration. It is the one thing my FDAI regrettably does not have. The temptation to just buy three thin edgewise meters has been... high... But my instrument panel has strict space limitations, and I just don't think I have room to even try it. I've considered making a set of rate meters as my only digital LED bar meter, using these tiny puppies: These are routinely available on ebay, and i've actually seen a part like this in person on a very high end bit of test equipment (it was a $14000 digital phase angle volt meter. That was such a fine grained LED bar graph!) They are available in red or green, and I'm 100% certain I COULD fit these in the limited space I have available. The only problem I have is the cost. These tiny LED bar graph displays are only 5 mm long, with just 5 segments, and I've only ever seen them come from Ukraine. Individually, they're quite cheap, but once you add up the cost of enough to line up, it adds up.
  6. Great news! I have a 3 day weekend, I got the Master Sword in Zelda, and my Digi-Key parts order arrived! Bad news... Sudden apartment inspections, so my free weekend is suddenly scrubbing counters and mopping and vacuuming floors... We had 4 weeks notice for an inspection that's now 2 weeks away, and i've been tidying up a little bit at a time... Ugh... Wednesday, they told us Monday would be another early inspection. Want the place all shiny and chrome clean! That shouldn't have been an issue, just an inconvenience, save for the fact that I got a cold from hell... A real phlegm phlinger... To top off my bad news... I forgot to order single inline square pin female header sockets. My round pin machined SIP sockets are great for component assembly and such, but won't fit a sturdy square pin header. D'oh! I've got all the parts to build the character select circuitry (to select the character generated by the character decode circuitry), but I don't have the parts to plug them into each other! /)_- As a positive benefit of all this cleanup, I decided to have another go at removing the stubborn fader control (my throttle lever to be) from the old video effects board. Just it and the trackball were all that hadn't been gutted. I wanted to put the enclosure in my storage room, out of the way. As it so happens, I FINALLY got the steel pin that the handle mounts to off the lever, meaning I could FINALLY pull it through the metal slot in the enclosure! Man, it took a pipe wrench to get enough leverage to finally pop the adhesive they glued that pin with! Yikes! At least I got ONE thing done for the controller, this weekend... I also finally got a look at the part number for that track ball. It's an LQ200M-192-50, which is a quadrature trackball (no control circuitry, just raw quadrature output). Runs on 5v, and has CMOS/TTL compatible encoder outputs. I've actually got no use for it, but at least I know the pinouts for it now... Even found the datasheet online.
  7. That's a pretty slow FDAI, okay for big craft, but will forever be lagging for a moment, every single time you touch controls while maneuvering a small lander or capsule though. I have no idea if the stepper is capable of coarse steps, and if so, if it'd be possible to drive faster. In all honesty, if you wanna double the speed, get some gears. a 2:1 ratio between the stepper and what it's driving will double the speed. It might even be easier to build it too. Remember, one of the steppers, and ideally two of the steppers (for weight balance) need to be inside the ball, for it to work! Here's an old pic from Page 7 that I did to kinda explain what's going on inside a navball, physically. If you wanna use gears, then instead of having the motors directly drive stuff, you have a gear on the motor drive a gear on the axis. The motor would then be slightly off to the side then. You CAN have the pitch motor be on the outside, if the motor is sticking off the end of the C mount, but then you have to have enough room for it to not hit anything, and it imbalances the ball. If you use steppers, then you need at least an index sensor. That can be as simple as a phototransistor and LED with a tab that passes between them once per revolution. When the ball powers up, it will have to spin every axis till it hits the sensor, so it knows where the ball is. If you are good with programming, you might be able to use a camera to "see" the ball position. You'd need something like a Raspberry Pi with the camera accessory and more software skills than I'll ever have to do that. I'd recommend just clicking on that link to page 7, since there was a discussion on ideas for home made navballs way back then. You might get ideas! Good luck! Almost forgot! As for the confusion on 3 vs 4 gimbal systems, and gimbal lock... Understand that there are no motors on the axes of a 3 gimbal gyroscope system. It just has sensors. There's one motor that spins the weighted wheel for the gyroscope, but the gyroscope tries to hold stable while the ship moves around it. As the ship maneuvers, the spinning wheel of the gyroscope stays in the same attitude, and the gimbals rotate to allow the sensors to detect the difference between the ship attitude, and the gyroscope attitude. If two of the gimbals align with each other, then you lose the ability to tell the two axes apart, cause the ship can move and the gimbals can move in pairs and the gyroscope stays still, and the system loses track of the relative difference in attitude. All navballs are three gimbal motorized systems. A motor and sensor drives each separate axis of the ball to the exact location it needs to be... It's not free-spinning like the gyroscope gimbals. Every axis could line up perfectly, but since motors drive it, nothing can drift out of alignment, and you can't have two axes moving together when they shouldn't. A 4 axis gyroscope gimbal system has one extra gimbal that is motorized. That motorized gimbal forces the opposite gimbal to lock to it (kinda-ish), preventing it from locking with any of the other axes. It's literally the difference between a car, a shopping cart, and a bike... The cart (3 gimbal gyro) can roll wherever it pleases, if you let go of it on a hill (pretend the hill is your gimbal lock), you're gonna lose control of it. The car (3 gimbal motorized) is easily controlled, regardless of if you are on a flat or a hill, cause everything is controlled by the driver, accelerator, brakes, steering... Nothing is free-wheeling on a car, you are in complete control. A bike (4 gimbal gyro) can freewheel down a hill, but you still have manual steering to guide it so you don't lose control.
  8. For Kerbal Space Program, you won't ever suffer gimbal lock, as it's a condition only limited to the sensor/gyroscope system. Since the navball is driven (motorized), it'll never fall into lock, as it's not a passive system. The only reason to include a "gimbal lock" region on the ball, is if you wish to mimic it from the Apollo craft. It won't hold any meaning in terms of function though. I'd have considered letting go of one of my security camera pan and rotate assemblies, with slip rings. Had I not bought a real FDAI, I'd have used them as my base structure.
  9. The Gimbal of the Apollo craft were a three gimbal system, and there was a position where the gyros could position themselves where two axes of the sensor assembly were reading the same positions... Long story short, is if they let the craft orient itself into the area of the gimbal lock, the AGC could loose track of real attitude, and they'd have to bring the craft out of gimbal lock, and then recalibrate the AGC by triangulating on known celestial objects (typically stars). it was a major inconvenience, and dangerous if it happened near a burn, as entering the real attitude using star sighting took time. Basically, if two gimbals line up on the same axis, and the vessel moves, the gimbal assembly stops rolling, cause the vessel is now can spin against the two lined axes, without spinning the sensor attached tot he system. It causes the control system to lose track of the real position of the vessel, since the gyroscope and the vessel fall out of alignment. There are no concentric rings near the poles of the ball, cause the "poles" of the ball represented the gyro position that was at risk of gimbal lock. The vessel can actually be adjusted to represent other attitudes in relation to the ball. The ORDEAL system is what made the ball behave similar to KSP, where it is in reference to the horizon, vs tracking raw attitude. There might also be limitations due to the fact that the printing becomes more concentrated at the poles. My ball is set up to work more like the KSB ball is, with strict North, South, East, and West. The Apollo ball had numerical divisions, and they could take those values relative to the craft attitude and their place in their orbit or transfer. More or less. You only need the three internal axes in the ball to represent the 3 axes on the ball surface, but for the gyroscopes, it's critical to either avoid gimbal lock, or add a fourth gimbal a fourth gimbal only works because the fourth (outer) gimbal is powered, and forced to rotate 90° from the sensed position of the axis of the innermost gimbal. This physically prevents the lock condition, but makes for a more complex system. Kerbals "presumably" have a 4 gimbal system. Interestingly enough, the Mercury capsules used a four gimbal system. Apollo only used a three gimbal system for the weight savings (getting to the moon requires shaving every gram available, to reduce the fuel needed). The limitations were considered as part of the mission, and the computer, capsule, and astronauts together could always reorient the vessel and reset the attitude if required. ... Oh, 3D printing your pieces? I'm thinking of maybe buying a Tronix or an Anet soon.
  10. Again, retailers like Gamestop have stated the Switch launch was solid. recent numbers are suggesting that about 1.5 million units have been moved so far. It's true that Nintendo pushed production. Rumor has it, at the expense of the NES Classic Mini. I... don't know if they'd even share the same facilities, so that's pure speculation. It does mean it has a solid first week user base. As for the specs, there is NO CPU/GPU hardware in the Dock. The Dock provides nothing more than a USB-C to HDMI interface, a USB 2/3 hub (3.0 will be enabled with a firmware update), and more power... Literally electrical power. The mobile unit's Tegra processor under clocks the GPU when in mobile mode to save battery power. Since the LCD is only 720p, the Tegra has fewer pixels to drive, vs 1080p. 720p is only 44% of the pixels of 1080p. The four core ARM CPU of the switch clocks in at 1020 MHz, and runs full speed docked and undocked, to maintain equal background processes, AI, etc, regardless of mode. LPDDR4 memory speeds can optionally under clock from 1600 MHz to 1333 Mhz in portable mode, but some games can opt to run full speed. The major under clock that occurs, however, is the GPU. the standard GPU is 256 CUDA cores running at 786 Mhz. When undocked, the minimum clock speed can be set to only 307 MHz... Thing is, this is within 5% of the ratio of 1080p to 720p. 1080p is 2073600 pixels and 720p is 921600 pixels. 720p is 44% the pixels of 1080p. 307 MHz is 39% of 786 MHz. Basically... the under clock makes complete sense. It's only a 5% difference is processing capacity between docked and undocked! resolution GPU clock pixels 720p 307.2 MHz 921600 1080p 786 MHz 2073600 percent -- 39% 44% Let me repeat... It's a 5% difference in GPU performance between docked and undocked, despite the massive under clock, thanks to the difference in resolution. You might see a considerable performance gain (FPS) running docked on a 720p TV, but how many people even still run a 720p TV these days. Being a hardware guy, power usage goes up at a non linear rate... You don't get double processing power for double the electrical power. by under clocking, you save an incredibly decent amount of energy, so if you are going from 1080p to 720p, you can get an exceptional savings on battery draw by underclocking the GPU. Remember, the CPU remains the same clock speed, so as to not compromise the AI and underlying program execution. RAM speed is selectable based on application, as is under control by the devs. Now, this is 100% speculation, but one of the Nintendo patents shows a system that is obviously the Switch being docked into an HMD for VR and AR applications, Google Gear style. Presumably, if the HMD has it's own onboard battery power, Nintendo could theoretically run the Switch with sufficiently extra electrical power to run it at docked GPU speeds (786 MHz GPU / 1600 MHz RAM), allowing exceptional frame rates on the 720p LCD. For VR, framerate is king. The unit altrady comes with a pair of detatchable hand held motion controllers with both analog sticks and buttons. furthermore, the HD Rumble has a leg up on Occulus, Vive, and PS VR, as it provides high enough fidelity of tactile response to say, count the number of balls rolling around inside a virtual box, as demonstrated by one of the mini games featured in their party title "1-2-Switch". I'm not sure how their high fidelity haptic response actually works, but if I were betting, I'd presume linear actuation on multiple axes. Nintendo has used a 1 axis linear actuator before for mobile rumble for a metroid game, using a rumble pack that plugged into the Gameboy Advance slot of DS/DS Lite systems.All I know, is I'd buy a Nintendo VR/AR HMD. It should also be stated that the ARM processors used in the Switch are RISC processors, so they are a bit more code efficient than say, and x64 based chipset. Nintendo (and in fact most consoles) have used RISC processors since the says of the N64. The exceptions have been the Xbox and the PS4 and Xbox One. When coding for fixed hardware, there tend to be benefits from a RISC architecture, in terms of coding efficiency. I don't know if the GPU speeds are restricted to only 786 or 307 MHz, or if there are scalable options between. If there are more scalable speed options, that could offer devs some flexibility, but I don't think that's yet known.
  11. Have you considered mounting a set of bars to the handles of the faders, to actually create crosshairs for the grid? That might look pretty sweet! LOVE the idea you're implementing with the faders!
  12. I've ordered a tempered glass screen protector for mine. I've not put any scratches in mine, and it's been in and out of the dock countless times. Of course, I'm also very gentle putting it in and taking it out, making sure to line it up carefully... Damn it Nintendo... That sounds horrible!
  13. So, two thoughts for the day... First, 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild' is AWESOME!!! The new Nintendo Switch is AWESOME! I'm awestruck that this level of graphics is even possible in a hand held these days. Now I'm kinda wondering if KSP will be ported tot he Switch. The Wii U version was canceled, but only cause the system failed to sell sufficiently. The Switch is fresh and new! It still has the potential to be a winner, and the initial sales numbers are excellent! Quite frankly, the Switch is quickly proving to be my favorite system. I have a PS4 and a new 3DS, and I already know given the choice, I'll buy titles for the Switch. The portability actually is kinda cool. I think a lot of people think of it as a handheld that hooks to a TV, but It honestly feels more like a console you can take on the go, to me. I really can't even explain it... I feel like it leans more console than handheld. To me, that's good. I can honestly say that I'd never really consider spending money on KSP on the PS4 to be really worth it for me. Why? I have it on my computer. I actually could see getting it for the switch as being reasonable, given the portability! Not only that, but since the Switch has keyboard support, why not hide full keyboard support in the game, along with the regular console controls! So then, my second thought of the day revolves my translational hand control. I have a Fairchild Channel F joystick that I plan to use for RCS control. It's a digital controller, but it's actually a genuine 4 axis controller... up and down, left and right, in and out, and rotate CW and CCW. I got the controller from ebay, only cause I remembered the unique controller, thanks to my owning a Channel F as a kid. It's about as close as any controller ever got to the real translation controls on the Apollo and Shuttle vessels. I have no intention of modding the controller... I just want to make an opening where it can insert through, and then have a soft clamping mechanism to secure it. It'll plug in to a DIN-9 socket on the inside of the panel. That lets me preserve a vintage video game artifact, while still making use of it. My actual second thought though, relates to where I am going to mount this. I'd assumed that I was going to find some manner of tiny corner of free space on the instrument panel to mount this. After all, I'd reduced my meter count to 4 meters, now that I have so many double meters, vs the old single meters. It occurs to me that there's really no obligation for the THC to actually be mounted INSIDE the panel at all... It does have a 9-pin D-sub connector, after all! I could honestly mount it ANYWHERE in the desk, and it would work! Potential mounting points are just under or beside the left side of the control panel surface, or where my concept drawing currently shows the CRT box. The CRT box isn't happening anytime soon, and probably won't even fit there, so that space would be reasonable to utilize. It's actually very similar to the location of the THC on the Space Shuttle, so I'm more than cool with that. I can simply mount the clamps to the outside of the control panel, and have a cutout int he desk to make space for the controller to pass through. One of these days, when i get more time, I'll try to update the concept art. In the meanwhile, I have a Digikey order to place for some parts.
  14. I worked at a Gamestop from 2009 to 2015 as a side job (for the discount, LOL). My main job from 2000 to 2012 had been in manufacturing and repair, and from 2012 to present, as a side job as well, to my current main job of lab work. When I was at Gamstop, I saw anywhere from several dozen to hundreds of discs come through each day. It was the Xbox 360s that had the absolute highest prevalence of ring scratches and hardware failures. Their discs were just simply noticeably lighter and thinner than Wii, PS2 or PS3 discs were. (we were astounded by the exceptional durability of the PS3, and Blu Ray discs in general). On the 360, ring scratches were very common, and were usually caused by disc wobble when the unit encountered vibration. The wobbling thin disc would come into contact with parts of the drive mechanism chassis. The Wii causing ring scratches was more rare, but not unheard of. it happened. The most common mechanical problem we saw in the Wii was the result of an attempt at trying to force a disc in while one was already in place. The Wii had these small metal fingers that flipped in place to cover the drive slot, preventing you from inserting a disc when one is already in the machine. If those fingers were bent, they could make contact with the disc, sometime when it's spinning. The Wii loading mechanism also had a lot of thin stamped steel parts with a wide range of motion, to make it's slot loading mechanism compatible with the smaller Gamecube discs. It's much more likely that one of those long thin metal parts got slightly warped. If one of those long parts were bent just a little closer to the disc, any small vibration could cause the disc to contact such a bent part. Sadly, either the employees who serviced your Wii were not properly skilled in the repair, or another, more subtle mechanical fault was in play here. It sounds like you had a unit with a genuine fault, but it also seems like a rare or hard to diagnose fault. Though it was against Gamestop policy to offer any form of repairs, I personally DID offer repair services on the side. The fingers thing... That almost always resulted in discs not inserting or ejecting, or it kept the disc from spinning at all. It would require an amazing degree of force to get the fingers under the disc surface, which makes me think you had another problem, like bent disc guides, or something similar. Usually the fingers would only touch the edge of the disc, when bent. That's why I'm certain you had a different problem, and it just wasn't being found and fixed properly. That is most definitely unfortunate. None of my Wii discs have any scratches at all. This is also why I'd like to point out that the reactions to the Switch faults are more than overexagerated... Your experience tainted your view of the Wii, of Nintendo, in general... You're convinced Wiis were highly prone to ring scratches, and you're vocal about it, even years after the fact... At Gamestop, we had hundreds of games come in and go out the door each day. Of that generation, PS3 was most reliable, then Wii, then 360 at the bottom. That was just our numbers. Most 360 discs had ring scratches and cracks at the spindle hole. Wii discs most often came in with child induced mishandling damage, random scratches (as opposed to ring scratches), and cracks. PS3 discs... Well... I was two years into that job before I needed two hands to count defective PS3 discs. That's not a joke. I remember all the employees at the store once asking a guy who came in with the first bad PS3 disc we ever saw, how it happened, like it was gonna be some epic tale of a soldier falling in battle, or something! As for the screen scratches, well, it's unfortunate, but the explanation is rather simple... I too would have loved to see a glass screen cover vs a plastic one, but Nintendo knows kids will use this, and wanted the safer option. If a kid drops it, it might scratch the plastic panel, but it won't shatter. If you drop your glass covered phone, I'm sure you know it's possible for it to shatter. Nintendo just didn't want a device a kid could drop, then cut themselves on trying to keep using it. As a side note (**warning: rant incoming**), a LOT of the electronic UN-reliability in the past decade is the direct result of the very UN-fortunate switch to lead-free solder. Lead-free solder is bad for electronics, bad for manufacturers, bad for consumers... and yes, bad for the environment! Yeah, yeah, environmentalists would probably wanna hang me by my "radially mounted RCS tanks" for saying the facts... but the electronics market and lead usage were WAY different in the days when the RoHS (Restriction on Hazardous Substances) initiative was originally conceived and when it was put into place, vs now. RoHS was put into place by bureaucrats who are more likely to understand "green buzzwords" rather than legitimate technical and scientific evidence and research. There are those who say it was done as an appeasement to the almighty color green and to boost the Euro. That last one is pure speculation, but the facts are as follows... The largest consumer of lead in the electronic industry, is the lead-acid battery. There is already (and has been for years) an established recycling program in place that recycles the majority of bad lead acid batteries. These are the batteries used mostly in cars and trucks. Any place that sells lead acid batteries will take them as well. There's even a monetary incentive to recycle, as if you bring in your old battery, you typically get a discount or refund of the sale price of the new battery. Truth is, controlling lead waste in battery manufacturing is... Already well established. The second largest consumer of lead in the electronics industry is (or should I say was) the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)... Easily 2 pounds (nearly a kilogram) of lead was used in the average TV tube. So then... Where are all the CRTs? Truth is, LCDs replaced the technology. CRTs are obsolete, done, finished! No more CRTs are being manufactured, and as such, as long as old CRTs are properly recycled, that entire segment of lead usage is no longer even a factor. The remaining 2% of lead usage (against CRTs and Lead Acid batteries) was in solder. If the idea of reducing lead in waste was such a big deal, they certainly never even considered actually reducing e-waste overall... Lead-free solder has several flaws. Unlike lead based solder, it forms "tin whiskers", tiny crystalline like growths of tin that jut out of the solder like needles. As these crystals grow, they can short out electronics. While still debated, some believe the Toyota uncontrolled acceleration incidents from several years back may have been caused by tin whiskers in the throttle position sensor assembly. Lead-free solder is also more brittle, and requires a much higher melting point than leaded solder. The result is that as circuit boards are heated to higher temperatures (to melt the lead-free solder), they and their components expand more, due to increased thermal expansion. Because the lead free solder is more brittle than leaded solder, and it solidifies while the part is hotter, and thus more expanded thermally, once the temperatures are back down to normal temps, the parts are all left under mechanical stresses due to the thermal contraction. So with lead-free solder, you get parts that have more brittle joints, under more mechanical tension... Every time you turn on or turn off a device, it heats up and cool down. That causes the device to subtlety expand and contract, due to the rate of thermal expansion. Try bending a paperclip back and forth sometime. Though you can never just pull a paperclip apart by hand with just brute force, you can easily break it in two by flexing it at the same point, over and over. Eventually, this happens to your electronic devices, and they break. It's made even worse by the fact that BGA (Ball Grid Array) chips really started to see heavy use at the same period of time that the industry made the switch to lead-free solder. BGA parts are notoriously difficult to repair without specialized tools, and have an exceptionally large number of solder points over the majority of the underside of the chip's surface. It's a literal recipe for thermal stress fractures of the solder... Or worse, the silicon! Since the lead-free solder is hard, but brittle, those mechanical stresses can fracture the silicon as well. Leaded solder is more ductile, and will give more when mechanically stressed. This serves to prevent not only the solder from cracking, but also the part it's attached to, in the case of BGA chips, especially when there are contacts on silicon (such as with a "flip chip" style package). The BGA switch, and overall the switch to tinier and tinier components also means the tin whisker threat is even more prevalent than ever before. All the stories you hear about people "fixing" their Xbox 360s and PS3s with RRoD and YLoD failures... it's all bull. The ovens these people use are quite simply NOT HOT ENOUGH to re-flow the solder. What's generally happening, is they are forcing a massive thermal expansion that may anneal the solder, relieving some of the mechanical stresses, reseating cracked solder joints (or worse, cracked silicon), and causing enough flexion to crack tin whiskers away. An ultrasonic bath will likely clear away all tin whiskers, and the debris left when they break off, and leave the board temporarily operable again. If a chip is indeed intact, and the fault lies in cracked BGA balls, then a proper re-balling is suggested as the fix. If the chips are not re-balled, or the crack is in the silicon, or if the solder is generating tin whiskers... The fix is only guaranteed to be temporary... Back up your data and replace the device at that point. It's a lost cause. If I had the option... I'd pay a premium to buy my consumer devices made with LEADED solder. The irony, is leaded solder is significantly cheaper than lead-free solder as well! I'd still pay a premium, even knowing that. I'd know my devices would last decades, instead of years. It's why I can still turn on my old 1965 SCM Cogito 240SR (that's a mouthful ) calculator I have in my vintage electronics collection, or the 1976 Hewlett Packard HP 9825 computer I own... It's why my Apple IIe and my Commodore 128 and my Twentieth Anniversary Mac all still work... But I worry if my Xbox 360 or my PS3 will up and die on my any moment. I have another two PS3's that came from friend sand family... Both are dead. My Acer A500 Android tablet is dead. I just had to send my 3.5 year old motherboard in for repairs, cause forbid a $212 motherboard actually last more than a couple years. That's the price we pay for some hippy environmentalist to feel smug. They think they're doing the world good by getting rid of lead from landfills... They don't even realize that metallic lead is insoluble in water, and that only lead oxide gets into the water table or is soluble in organic matter. Old canned foods with soldered lids (from WAY back int he old days) were contaminated because hot molten lead could chemically react with the contents of the can during the soldering process. Basically, contamination at the cannery. Lead paint was a threat due to the use of fine lead oxide, which became airborne and was breathed, or settled as dust, and was consumed by children who then put their fingers in their mouths. Lead in gasoline was a risk because it was aerosolized in exhaust. Metallic lead, in solder is actually incredibly stable. We wouldn't have used it in electronics for over a century if it wasn't! Except electronics are supposed to be recycled anyway! We already eliminated CRT manufacturing, and the lead-acid battery industry was a pioneer in recycling! It was a worldwide effort that cost billions of dollars, and just WRECKED the reliability of the devices we use! The only thing lead-free solder has ever done for the environment is make things worse by creating a massive UP-tick in the generation of e-waste. Proper recycling can deal with the e-waste problem, and making more devices fail prematurely, at the cost of the consumer's hard earned money, is a load of garbage. All manufactured electronic devices have failure rates... Nothing gets out 100% good. Sometimes failure rates are higher at launch, but that's typically due to working out bugs in a new process. Generally, things quickly settle, once the initial units are out, and everyone's had time to evaluate if any new bugs popped up. Aside from some people managing to scratch their screens and Nintendo opting for a grade of LCD that permits a couple dead pixels (really Nintendo? Leave those for the cheap Chinese tablets), I'd say their launch looks exceptionally solid! Meanwhile, manufacturers the world over have a harder time making their devices last, and the prevalance of online video and social media in the last decade has made it easier for people to voice their opinions. Because the loudest opinions are the voices of those who feel wronged... It's people with RARE faulty systems that make the most vocal statements. In reality, the Switch launch does not appear to have had any more or fewer faulty units than any typical launch... It's just easier to hear the voices of those who got a bum system.
  15. No, there were four launch titles as cartridges, and either 7 or 9 downloadable (I can't recall), but there was also overlap with the carts. I've had no problems with the switch. "Widespread" problems are not actually widespread. People who have problems are vocal. All consoles have always had a small percentage of units that fail. PS2 had drive mechanism problems. PS3s had the yellow light of death, and the Xbox 360 was notorious for it's red ring of death. The thing is, this is usually a very small percent, and covered by warranty. People with problems and youtube channels quickly cry "disaster", and it gets views. Chances are that less than 1-2% of units had any problems. That's just manufacturing. Buying a new device can sometimes result int he initial batch having a higher failure rate, but usually only by a couple percent. My buddy's Switch is problem free too. It is true the screen is plastic, not glass, and can be scratched. I've never scratched mine putting it into the dock, and a screen protector can save that from happening. I am simply careful not to slam it into the dock at odd angles. I'm glad I didn't wait. I have a Wii U, but I went for the smoother, higher res Zelda experience, plus the investment in the future of Nintendo. Zelda for Wii U is still a top tier game, and nearly on par with the Switch version... It was ported from the Wii U after all. I'd seriously suggest considering one later on. It'd make a great purchase at the end of the year, if nintendo packs a game that interests you in with it.