Quarter Million Widgets and Counting

SparkFun has built it's 250,000 product, so we decided to show people how we test every board with pogo pins and test jigs.

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SparkFun has produced a quarter million widgets! We built our 250,000 widget sometime last week. Some people are surprised to hear that we test every single unit. Yep. On top of that, production is currently working at greater than 98% success rates. They're killing it! Beat that, Apple.

Pete Lewis has posted a new tutorial on testing with bed-of-nails and pogo pins to show the world how SparkFun does it. We didn't take this class in college, so we're really just making it up as we go along. We hope you can learn something from it!

Remember, creating a widget is just a small part of the process. Figuring out how to build it quickly and test it efficiently is over half the battle.

Comments 16 comments

  • keystoneclimber / about 13 years ago / 2

    Speaking of shocks, I hope you guys take better precautions with regards to static while doing the actual QC testing!

    • Jassper / about 13 years ago / 2

      Which begs the question, Just how common is damage due to static discharge?

    • nibbler / about 13 years ago / 1

      I'd be worried too. I mean, even a wrist strap would give me some sense of security.
      I work in an electronics factory, and we have grounded floors, grounded work benches, ESD boots/heel straps and ESD coats. When working with certain components and boards, we are required to also wear a wrist strap (in addition to everything else).

  • Hilobird / about 13 years ago / 1

    Totally fascinating. More videos like this please! You may be making it up as you go along but it keeps us from doing the same ;-)

  • St.Eligius / about 13 years ago / 1

    I would recommend dropping the music volume by 20 to 25%. It's kind of hart to hear him a few times in there.

    • philba / about 13 years ago / 1

      ditto on that. Or lose the music completely. It really doesn't add much.
      Useful video though. Maybe SFE could show a little more of how to design the pogo adapters.

      • Thanks for the feedback! I tested the video with desktop speakers on a Mac Pro and also with some cheap LabTec ELITE-825 headphones here at SparkFun, both sounded clear...however, when I went home I tried playing the video on my MacBook Pro and it clearly was more difficult to understand what Pete was saying. Next time I'll make sure to test the video on speakers with less range so that laptop users, such as myself and many others I'm sure, won't have that problem.

      • Okay, the music could come down a touch during the movie, but you guys are okay with the disco party at the end right?
        About a second tutorial... Like many SFE projects, a pogo jig involves (1) a napkin schematic, (2) putting it into eagle and laying out a board, (3) constructing the board (in this case, building the bottom layer, and combining it with the other two) and (4) writing code. Would you be interested in another tutorial that is more focused on what I do in Eagle, or the entire process?

        • aardvark-electronica / about 13 years ago / 1

          Pete, great video... I'd be interested in the entire process myself.
          Disco feva'!

  • JLArmstrong / about 13 years ago / 1

    Guys -- great job! Sparkfun is definitely fun.

  • We take the guilty employee into an empty room, interrogate them, berate them, and finally stone them for no less than three hours while they hold said tool above their head and hop from foot to foot and chant the SparkFun chant. (if they fail either the hopping or chanting they receive an extra hour of hopping AND chanting AND double stoning). SparkFun. It's a hard knock life.

  • Rock / about 13 years ago / 1

    Great info on test bed construction. What happen's to the employee that dosen't replace the tool to the correct place ?

  • Calif / about 13 years ago / 1

    Well Apple's Chinese fabricator makes widgets that are a bit more substantial than a logomatic, but no-one has ever documented their yield.

    • You're completely right. I was taking a pretty mean shot at Apple. But I did hear the yields on the Apple iPhone were pretty horrendously low - approaching 50%, but that's just rumors.

      • Jassper / about 13 years ago / 1

        They need to keep it cooler in their labs, fruit wouldn't spoil so quickly. ;)

  • CiricTech / about 13 years ago / 1

    Thank you for this, it is a great deal of very useful information. Keep up the great work and congratulation on the 250,000 devices.

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