Here's a weird one.... A student of mine bought a couple Diecimilas for my class from the Make store. One worked fine but the other did nothing and was hot to the touch so I borrowed the bad one from her to see what I could do with it.
On powering it up via USB I first noticed that pin13 blinked fast 3 times so I knew the bootloader was ok. Then I noticed both RX & TX lights stayed fully illuminated. The power led was also illuminated but I noticed that the pin 13 LED was not blinking like a new board should. I went ahead and tried to get a program into the board but the COM port is not recognized. So feeling around the board I noticed the FTDI chip was sufficiently warm to the touch. Then I bumped the ICSP header and suddenly pin13 would blink on and off for awhile before going out again. If I flexed the pcb the same thing would happen: pin13 would blink on and off for a seemingly random period before going dark again. Meanwhile the RX/TX lights stay on and the longer I leave it plugged in the hotter the FTDI chip gets.
I think this one is bad. Any thoughts? The student tried contacting the Make store and was told tough luck, all sales are final.
So obviously since no one had anything to offer on this one it must really be dead. On Daniels advice, I suggested to the student that she email the editor of make and within a day or two she had an email back from a very helpful assistant to see about arranging for a return. Hopefully this one will be taken care of.
Not to start something akin to the open source debate, but I would like to know what the policy is regarding defective units? No where that I know if is this in any way spelled out. I know that in the past the boards have had a really low defect rate and Mellis has offered to exchange a defective board before but this seems to be hit or miss. (As in this case.) I also ask because a couple other students seem to have external power issues but I havent had the time to test this out yet.
It just seems to me that if a product is released to the market there should be some warranty against faulty manufacturing defects and that the creator should support a product rather than leave it up to the distributor to sort things out.
I understand there is the underlying problem of whether it is truly a defect as opposed to a problem created by the user. But all the same I think the product should be supported better.
usually it is the distributor/retailer who deals with these kinds of things... that said, the team has been pretty good about taking up the slack, replacing boards where necessary. One other thing to bear in mind is that most states and provinces have some sort of consumer law on product returns, so if you sell in California, for example, you pretty much have to offer the customer a return for defective products. So the moral of the story is shop local!
All the boards are individually tested before they're shipped from the manufacturer, but I'm sure that some of them break along the way. If you get a defective board, you should get a replacement. It sounds like we need to talk to our distributors to make sure this happens. I'll see what I can do. If you have trouble in the future, you want to send an email to team at arduino dot cc so we can deal with it directly.
I'll remember that about Make. It's pretty disappointing that they'd not support it. I hope the Arduino folks will.