Refund?

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Mr_Fixit
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Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:49 am

Refund?

Post by Mr_Fixit » Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:21 pm

I am in the process of writing reviews on the Chipkit product lines for several publications. In this review, I am going to discuss the current state of the product line, and the support being provided. This article is going to try to be positive, but there are a large number of painful truths to be told here:

1) 36.36% of the product works. No information provided as to when more functionality will be provided. ChipKit Library Status
2) Support questions tend to go unanswered or simply ignored on the Chipkit site, and also when you contact Digilent directly.
3) Advertisement states that this system is 100% compatible with the Arduino family, code, and most of the shields. Considering the first point above, this is completely false and misleading.

With all that said, I now have a last question: How do I get a refund for this paperweight? (Uno32)

ron.dunn
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:59 am

Re: Refund?

Post by ron.dunn » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:28 am

Interesting post. I share some of your concerns, but my result isn't as dire as yours.

I'm very unhappy with the lack of official support in the forum. I've received great diagnostic advice from a couple of users, I've muddled through a few problems, I've helped some others do the same, but getting the developers to comment on problems is like getting blood from a stone.

How hard can it be, for example, to provide a reference to the atan2() function, and/or a pointer to its source code? (self-interest here)

I do agree that marketing (or reviewers?) have run away with the truth. Everyone who worked on this platform *knows* that it is only partly compatible. Look at the recent discussion on the String class for evidence that deliberately non-compatible decisions have been made; as well as technically incompatible libraries. This perception needs to be corrected ASAP.

These problems aside, I'm quite happy with the board I purchased. It does work, my project didn't have dependencies on missing libraries, and is now running way faster than it ever did on Arduino.

My path from here, though, is probably to commit to Pic32 rather than to Max32. What I mean is that, given the support and library problems, I'm likely to convert any dependencies to true PIC code rather than using the Arduino compatibility layer.

I'm also likely to convert to the UBW32 board, but that is because its form factor is more easily converted to a production installation than a header-based interface like that shared between Max32 and Arduino. If I'd stayed with the Arduino platform, I'd probably have moved production to something like Teensy++ for similar reasons. Bonus ... EmbeddedMan (the UBW32) designer ... is actively supporting his product.

As I said in an earlier thread, a new product community can only be developed with active and enthusiastic support from its developers. Unless we start to see that, combined with some more accurate marketing, I'm afraid chipKit will die.

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svofski
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Re: Refund?

Post by svofski » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:30 am

I'm such a happy camper, never having touched this entire Arduino mumbo jumbo, and I'm never going to. For me they're great boards to play with PIC32, the existing Arduino libraries are just a nice little bonus where you can peek around for code pieces. And there's a bootloader.

You could look at this from a positive angle, you're getting a chance to learn for real how the things work, what makes them tick, take a red pill.

Toley
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:26 pm

Re: Refund?

Post by Toley » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:06 am

I'm also very disapointed by the "so called" 100% arduino compatibility. Even if we all know that PIC32 core is more powerfull than AVR 8 bits, the actual results are very deceiving. Like Mr_Fixit said 36% of an Arduino is not an Arduino!

The real challenge are the key library like SD card FAT file system, TCPIP and USB host. I really think developpers have underrated the software part of the project and release hardware only for business reasons.

Personnally I'm willing to wait 1 or 2 months to see where the project is going, but at the end if the promises are not delivered be sure that the AVR enthusiam will blast the product and someone will have to carry the blame.

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Mr_Fixit
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Re: Refund?

Post by Mr_Fixit » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:43 am

In all reality, my needs are very simple. I need to control a single servo, and need to communicate with several I2C devices, and one serial device. Other than that, I only really require C++ as a programming language, a chunk of processing power, and I am an extremely happy camper. What I do not need is the hassle of debugging someone else's platform. I worked with Gumstix before. Love the platform, but programming it requires being mired in endless depths of cross-compiler and linux issues.

I dont want to deal with issues. Just write code for my project. I am sure many other users here are nodding their heads on that one. That is why we all chose Arduino, and got suckered into Digilent..... :evil:

Working in the medical device community, I understand far too well the importance of making a product that WORKS and is reliable. Providing customer support is absolutely vital as well. You are very correct in that the community provides no end of support, I thank all those wonderful people who help every day. Digilent.... I want my money back. You have a lot to learn about quality assurance and customer service.

Andy123
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:03 pm

Re: Refund?

Post by Andy123 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:30 pm

Another vote for false advertising.

I understand that there is no way to reach 100% Arduino compatability, but at least I would expect basic examples and demos to work.

None of the examples except "blinking LED" will compile without errors.

While I really like design as development platform for PIC32, but claims that it is fully compatable with Arduino are false!

WestfW
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 12:17 am

Re: Refund?

Post by WestfW » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:26 pm

None of the examples except "blinking LED" will compile without errors.
They do for me. In fact, In a quick random sampling of about a dozen of the included examples, I couldn't find ANY that didn't compile. Perhaps you have an install problem?

Sleepwalker
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:05 pm

Re: Refund?

Post by Sleepwalker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:59 pm

Kind of glad I found this post, having listened to some of the experiences, I may hold off purchasing the Max32 until this has progressed further. I understand it's a new board and new software, so I'm not criticising that part of it, but I was planning to buy the board with the specific intention of building a particular project (well a few, but one important one) and so similar to MrFixit, I wanted something that was relatively bug-free and to have all (or at least almost all) of the Arduino software's features. It does specially say that it's "Compatible with existing Arduino code examples, reference materials and other resources", so I made my decision based on that. If I was just buying it just to play around with, then it wouldn't be too much of an issue, but I have a specific task that I have to do and I don't want to be spending days/weeks trying to sort out whether a problem is with my code or the compiler being wonky - I'm sure there will be quite enough of my own bugs, I don't need more! ;) Likewise I may need a library that hasn't been sorted yet. Developer support is also a big factor for the same reasons and I have noticed that Brian is very active with the UBW32, though it probably suits my present needs a bit less than a Max32.

I very nearly went with (and still may) Pinguino pinguino.cc (sorry can't put URL, the site complains I look like a spammer!) but Max32 looked a bit nicer for me and I was under the impression (based on the advertising statements) that the software was much further along than it currently is. Has anybody here tried Pinguino? Any comments, good or bad or comparisons?

Again, this is not a criticism of the Chipkit setup or concept, it's more that it has been marketed as something that it currently isn't (and I base this on Chipkits own list, not just the posts in this thread). I really hope that they keep the development going and get it up to spec soon, it looks like it has great potential.

.

Andy123
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:03 pm

Re: Refund?

Post by Andy123 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:37 pm

WestfW wrote:
None of the examples except "blinking LED" will compile without errors.
They do for me. In fact, In a quick random sampling of about a dozen of the included examples, I couldn't find ANY that didn't compile. Perhaps you have an install problem?
Install? not sure what you mean? - Just download and unzip the file... and folder structure is there.
Try to compile any Ethernet W5100 samples or DOGM128 library.
Both will not complile without major changes

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Mr_Fixit
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Re: Refund?

Post by Mr_Fixit » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:23 pm

Andy123 wrote:
WestfW wrote:
None of the examples except "blinking LED" will compile without errors.
They do for me. In fact, In a quick random sampling of about a dozen of the included examples, I couldn't find ANY that didn't compile. Perhaps you have an install problem?
Install? not sure what you mean? - Just download and unzip the file... and folder structure is there.
Try to compile any Ethernet W5100 samples or DOGM128 library.
Both will not complile without major changes
Absolutely correct. There are no complexities, install processes, or configurations that could be screwed up. Andy is correct. Most the stuff does not work at all. I2C works only partially, but many of the other features are toast.

At this stage, I am seriously wondering if Digilent is actually supporting this product at all. It has been well over a month since any form of a software update from them. :o

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