Oh dear! What a mess!
I am sorry… I was away over the weekend so I just got to see this today.
So first up front, we are as disappointed as you that this kind of fix needed to be applied. As has already been pointed out this fix has not been present on the previous board spins we made, the so called EVT and PVT models since these additional components do not affect functionality in any way. Or to put it in other words, if your would take off these parts the main board would continue to work just fine - and that’s what we tested for during development, we tested functionality and stability. Does everything work as expected? Even when we stress test it? And it did.
But there is more to it than just function, we also e.g. have to comply to regulations, like FCC and CE concerning EM interference and a lot of other things that are not related to functionality.
We also talked about another problem before and that is time. Due to the global shortage of parts we really got into trouble concerning time. If there is just a single component missing you can not make the main board, end of story. So you have to wait. This caused a lot of delays compared to the original production plan. And this also meant that the usual sequential development process had to be squeezed together and we had to do things in parallel in order to avoid even further delays. This of course incurred some risk, e.g. that findings from one “branch” might not make it into the other in time.
And that’s exactly what happened here. Please take into account that depending on load it takes four weeks or more to make a production run of such main boards. If you need to change things it takes even a lot longer. Since we were already super late we took the risk and pulled production of PCBs in front of the time line to get a step ahead. Since we tested the EVT and PVT boards thoroughly for function we were pretty sure that we should be pretty fine with them.
Well, sadly on the last mile some issue popped up - not a functional issue, but an issue with the voltage regulators (that’s the area where this fix is applied) that needed to get addressed. Since the boards had already been made and populated there was no other way than to do it this way.
Again, we are also not happy about this and the next spin of PCBs will have this included.
I can assure to you that this fix is totally safe. There is no risk in any way that this will reduce life time or limit functionality. Not at all.
Admittedly the fix does not look very pretty but this is mostly due to the position on the PCB, there was no other way to place these additional parts differently. We do double and triple check the rework spot during assembly to make sure the solder joints are as good as possible given the place / situation.
Again, I am sorry for the stir up this has caused. I hope you can now understand what happened, that we are aware of it and that this will of course also be improved over time.