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BlackBerry® PlayBook™

Posts: 32
Registered: ‎12-06-2011
My Device: Playbook

What I found with the USB conn - shame on you RIM

[ Edited ]

I have a playbook (the expensive 64gb), and it quit charging (and eventually died), so since it was past warranty I took apart (went online and got all the methods and tips I could). Since the PB is so well made I was a bit shocked to see the USB connector just hanging somewhat. Upon supper close inspection I could see that it had been installed poorly. The USB connector was not fully seated, had barely been soldered, so had broken away and ripped the signal pads off the PC motherboard (hence the no charging, no nothing). RIM surface mounts these also - very poorly done, as in just barely. The way they installed it just rocked itself to death with every plug insert. See the pics. This is not a case of abuse by the PB owner/me, but poor workmanship and QC by RIM - to make such a fine machine and blow it at the end. I have learned the the USB connector is not the place to be charging the PB on a daily basis - so why did not RIM include a charging cradle, they obviously knew the problem by providing in the design. The USB would have withstood for a long while had they QCed this area. Now, the real question is what are going to do about my broken PB  RIM?

[in one pic you see pads ripped off motherboard, in the other pic you see it lifted off board and not really soldered]


Forums Veteran I
Posts: 1,941
Registered: ‎11-28-2011
My Device: PlayBook 32 & 64 GB & Torch 9860

Re: What I found with the USB conn - shame on you RIM

Good Work. Now contact RIM with your findings. Obviously a cold solder joint. Sent them the pictures also. Here is the contact info:
BlackBerry Playbook Help desks:

Germany: 0800 1816530 (Gebührenfrei)
North-America: 1 877 255 2377 (Toll Free)
UK: 0808 100 7466 (Toll Free UK only)
Outside UK: +44 1753 558400
Worldwide: 1 519 888 6181
Guru I
Posts: 18,341
Registered: ‎04-01-2008
My Device: BlackBerry Z30, Z10 and Q10 w/OS; PlayBook w/OS

Re: What I found with the USB conn - shame on you RIM

I'm not sure what you expect RIM to do with a device that is over a year old, out of warranty, and now disassembled. You've gotten it this far, why not just take it to someone who is good with small electronics repair and have the USB connector replaced? With it already disassembled it couldn't cost much.

That said, I think they should have included magnetic chargers and a standard USB data cable with each device. I'm sure it comes down to cost but it would have made the device much more reliable.
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Forums Veteran I
Posts: 1,941
Registered: ‎11-28-2011
My Device: PlayBook 32 & 64 GB & Torch 9860

Re: What I found with the USB conn - shame on you RIM

Call RIM. Don't take no for an answer.
Forums Veteran I
Posts: 1,625
Registered: ‎02-28-2012
My Device: Two PB's

Re: What I found with the USB conn - shame on you RIM

[ Edited ]

Lost_at_Sea wrote:
...Obviously a cold solder joint. ...

..or torn out of its mount by being dropped with the plug in, or fatigued by being used frequently with the plug in.

Dry joints usually don't have solder clinging to both sides of the join. The solder has wetted both the location peg and the board location. The peg has come out (it isn't surface mounted it's through mounted), the solder itself has fractured leaving solder on both sides. On the connections the tracks are firmly soldered to the terminals, but the copper tracks have lifted.  The red epoxy and two soldered peg locators through the board may be too little and a weak design to hold it, but it may not be bad soldering 



Super Contributor
Posts: 417
Registered: ‎04-30-2011
My Device: PlayBook 32GB and PlayBook 16GB

Re: What I found with the USB conn - shame on you RIM

Disappointing, but things can go wrong. I think both micro plugs (USB and the HDMI) are inherently week. Interestingly the micro USB connector feels more robust on my Nokia E71, but this could be just me. To top it up RIM decided to put the BlackBerry mark on the USB connector shipped on the standard wall charger to indicate proper insertion. One would normally see a USB network mark on a USB cable connector to indicate the top of the plug when inserting it.

RIM could also etch into the glass surface HDMI and USB to indicate the connectors. I assume it would increase manufacturing cost. What I wonder is why not one of the "screen savers" added these letters. 


The bottom line? Get a magnetic charger (or a cradle) to minimize the use of the USB plug.