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View Full Version : Pebble Smart Watch Waterproofing Makes Repairs Impossible as Low-Energy Bluetooth Support Questioned




MacRumors
Mar 13, 2013, 09:24 AM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/13/pebble-smart-watch-waterproofing-makes-repairs-impossible/)


iFixit has done a teardown of the Pebble smart watch (http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Pebble+Teardown/13319/1?singlePage) and declared it unrepairable due to the amount of adhesive used to waterproof the device. iFixit could only manage to disassemble the watch by breaking the e-ink screen.

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/03/pebble-innards-800x521.jpeg
The innards of the Pebble are unsurprisingly very simple, with the multicontroller unit, three-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth radio all contained on a single board alongside other support components.

One surprise noted in the teardown is that the Bluetooth radio does not appear to conform to the 4.0 low-energy protocol (BLE) claimed in its specs. The Panasonic PAN1316 (http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/electronic-components/rf-modules/bluetooth/pan1326-1316.aspx) RF module used in the Pebble is supposed to contain Texas Instruments' CC2564 Bluetooth controller, which supports BLE, but iFixit found a CC2560A chip that does not support BLE inside the package. Pebble had previously noted that it was using a chip that would support BLE but that it would not ship with support enabled, promising that it would be added via a software update at a later date.

The good news for Pebble owners is that opening it is unlikely to be necessary: the battery is expected to last for ten years, and the watch strap can be replaced without opening the watch.

Update 9:26 AM: iFixit has updated its article and Pebble has posted on Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/pebble/comments/1a7yu1/pebble_most_definitely_has_bluetooth_le_support/) to confirm that BLE support is indeed possible.Many chip vendors make silicon consistent between product lines but simply flash different firmware to enable features. Our chips were labeled CC2560 because TI asked us if we wouldn't mind using them with CC2564 firmware to speed up our order. Pebble most definitely has Bluetooth LE support, though it has not yet been enabled in our operating system.

Article Link: Pebble Smart Watch Waterproofing Makes Repairs Impossible as Low-Energy Bluetooth Support Questioned (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/13/pebble-smart-watch-waterproofing-makes-repairs-impossible/)



canadianpj
Mar 13, 2013, 09:31 AM
Shame they wont be able to sell videos and parts on how to repair it now.

troop231
Mar 13, 2013, 09:32 AM
Not surprising, such a small device calls for smaller, integrated parts.

notjustjay
Mar 13, 2013, 09:43 AM
Watches are pretty much disposable-when-broken items anyway. Who fixes a watch anymore, if it's not a Rolex or some other expensive heirloom style piece?

Spock
Mar 13, 2013, 09:46 AM
It's guts look good, if only they worked, my Pebble lasted 3 days before the screen got all messed up to the point you can't read it.

NightCastle
Mar 13, 2013, 09:56 AM
It's guts look good, if only they worked, my Pebble lasted 3 days before the screen got all messed up to the point you can't read it.

Really? I was part of the Kickstarter and haven't gotten mine yet. Were you one of the early adopters? Might you show a picture?

Spock
Mar 13, 2013, 10:00 AM
Really? I was part of the Kickstarter and haven't gotten mine yet. Were you one of the early adopters? Might you show a picture?

I was one of the first few thousand, I'm at work now but I will post a picture later. I'm not the only one with the problem, the Pebble forums are filled with the same deal.

danielsan26
Mar 13, 2013, 10:07 AM
I was an early adopter, and my screen looks pristine. My watch goes about 4 days between charges. Really no complaints, except for fixes which are supposed to come through firmware updates (disable vibration, etc.).

gkpm
Mar 13, 2013, 10:08 AM
What the hell? No BLE? Are they using counterfeit PAN1316 modules? (Maybe relabelled PAN1315s)

Not good news for third party app support.

firewood
Mar 13, 2013, 10:23 AM
No BTLE? That may be false advertising. Some early customers (developers?) are going to want their money back.

mazz0
Mar 13, 2013, 10:33 AM
What the hell? No BLE? Are they using counterfeit PAN1316 modules? (Maybe relabelled PAN1315s)

Not good news for third party app support.

No BTLE? That may be false advertising. Some early customers (developers?) are going to want their money back.

I assume the fact that they said it wouldn't be enabled on launch is because the chip doesn't support it as standard, but will be able to with a software upgrade.

spazzcat
Mar 13, 2013, 10:39 AM
This was posted on Reddit, so I guess we should get some answers soon?

TeamPebble [team pebble] 15 points 1 hour ago (16|1)
Thanks for the heads-up. I've already passed this along to Eric and the Engineers so they can look into it, but it's 730am in PDT right now.

Mike MA
Mar 13, 2013, 11:02 AM
Sooner or later iFixit won't anything to fix anymore.

samcraig
Mar 13, 2013, 11:07 AM
As per Engadget:

Update: Well, we've finally heard back from Pebble and it seems the watch does have support for Bluetooth Low Energy. The confusion comes from the fact that, although the TI controller inside is label as a CC2560 (which lacks support for BLE) it actually carries the same firmware as the CC2564 which does support the protocol through Panasonic's RF module.

OtherJesus
Mar 13, 2013, 11:19 AM
Please stop posting anything to do with ifix.
I know I'm just one person, but I do have the ability to get my rumors elsewhere.

Brian Y
Mar 13, 2013, 11:33 AM
Seriously, iFixit need to go die.

They just bash stuff that they can't sell price-inflated Chinese copy parts for. They're as much a reviewer as I am.

jsw
Mar 13, 2013, 11:53 AM
When my orange Pebble finally arrives - probably about a month after Apple ships the 2nd gen iWatch, based on current rates - I'll have had time to adjust to the fact that I can't crack it open to fix the things inside that would likely cost me about as much as a new Pebble to buy.

I'll... I'll be ok. I will. I'll find the strength.

sza
Mar 13, 2013, 11:55 AM
I am wondering even it is not water-proof without the glue, are you still able to fix the circuit?

macaddict06
Mar 13, 2013, 12:09 PM
Seriously, iFixit need to go die.

They just bash stuff that they can't sell price-inflated Chinese copy parts for. They're as much a reviewer as I am.

THIS JUST IN:
iFixit rates all other watches as "virtually unrepairable" to the common consumer due to extremely small, intricate parts.

iFixit, go worry about laptops and things people actually give a 5H!7 about repairing.

JAT
Mar 13, 2013, 12:11 PM
Seriously, iFixit need to go die.

They just bash stuff that they can't sell price-inflated Chinese copy parts for. They're as much a reviewer as I am.
Maybe you are misunderstanding what they do. They are not "reviewing" products, and they are not aiming their comments at most people.

DavidLeblond
Mar 13, 2013, 12:34 PM
I would rather my watch be waterproof than easily repairable.

TeamMojo
Mar 13, 2013, 12:37 PM
Wherein iFixit continues their war against some nebulous evil that is our alleged right to be able to repair everything.

Maybe if they make some more nifty hipster Soviet-era graphics with manifestos, the world will suddenly sacrifice cost and manufacturability just to cater to iFixit.

Kaibelf
Mar 13, 2013, 12:50 PM
Does Macrumors have a partnership with iFixit? It seems like we're all supposed to care about this, but no one, and I mean NO ONE I know has ever opted to do a self-repair on a modern Apple product when it's still covered by Applecare. Also, was anyone on the planet REALLY interested in tearing open a Pebble watch to fix it, when it could easily be replaced by the manufacturer? This isn't the Industrial Revolution still. Companies do things like refunds, warranties, and repairs. It's quite amazing. That brings me back to my original question - WHY is everything iFixit says posted here, and what's the compelling reader interest?

kinderdm
Mar 13, 2013, 02:22 PM
So much bashing against ifixit. While I agree that in this case there is no reasonable expectation of repairability this is more than just a watch and does warrant the consideration. I don't think not being very repairable is a fault of the watch but more just a statement about it. I can agree with the core priciples of the site though. All things being equal it should be easier than harder to open up a device if you feel up to it. Using a proprietary screw when a small philips is only a tactic to try and increase sales of new devices when things go wrong. And in a case like this, a low repairability score is actually a boon for ifixit, guess who gets to sell that screw driver that fits that proprietary screw.

rdlink
Mar 13, 2013, 06:14 PM
So much bashing against ifixit. While I agree that in this case there is no reasonable expectation of repairability this is more than just a watch and does warrant the consideration. I don't think not being very repairable is a fault of the watch but more just a statement about it. I can agree with the core priciples of the site though. All things being equal it should be easier than harder to open up a device if you feel up to it. Using a proprietary screw when a small philips is only a tactic to try and increase sales of new devices when things go wrong. And in a case like this, a low repairability score is actually a boon for ifixit, guess who gets to sell that screw driver that fits that proprietary screw.

I'm sorry, but anyone who would look at a Pentalobe screw and say to themselves, "I give up. Not even going to try to fix it." really shouldn't be trying to crack open a device, anyway.

I love iFixit's statement: "Pebble employs tons of adhesive to keep water—and tinkerers—out. Add in a bezel around the screen, and it's impossible to separate the cases without compromising the display."

No, how about the adhesive keeps the water out? Geez. What a bunch of tools. No pun intended.

Spock
Mar 13, 2013, 07:00 PM
Here is a pic of my defective screen, I'm hoping that it is just a software problem that can be fixed with an update.

harry*333
Mar 13, 2013, 08:27 PM
I love iFixit's statement: "Pebble employs tons of adhesive to keep water—and tinkerers—out. Add in a bezel around the screen, and it's impossible to separate the cases without compromising the display."

No, how about the adhesive keeps the water out? Geez. What a bunch of tools. No pun intended.

So they aren't allowed to include a little humor in their write-ups?

I personally really like iFixit. They provide the most detailed and well written guides, many of which I have used. Granted I was working on older devices, and no one is likely going to be repairing their latest gen devices. Nevertheless, my favorite thing iFixit provides are their teardowns. Even if I'm never going to be taking apart my new iPhone, I'm still very curious to see what's all inside and how it's designed and put together. So to all you haters out there, I don't know what your problem is with iFixit, but no need to bash a company that provides quality information and is arguably the best at it.

suneun
Mar 13, 2013, 08:58 PM
Years ago I replaced the casing around the keyboard of my iBook. A couple years ago I replaced the hard drive in my iMac. Not everyone gets AppleCare and some people like fixing their own computers. I also find tear downs interesting. I appreciate the occasional ifixit article.

GekkePrutser
Mar 14, 2013, 05:13 AM
It's guts look good, if only they worked, my Pebble lasted 3 days before the screen got all messed up to the point you can't read it.

Yeah that seems to be a recurring issue, I had the same on my Pebble in the first few hours.. But in my case it actually improved and it's completely gone now.. They have said (on their old forums) that it is a hardware issue. Eric himself said this but I can't find the post back now that they have redesigned their forums.

I'm not happy with their support though, I was advised on facebook to log a support request in the app, and I never heard anything back even though it's 3 weeks ago now. But I won't press the matter because the issue is gone.

By the way here's a picture of mine before it mysteriously fixed itself:

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/xByi6CagQ7N1xQ8ptKJdoT4I/full.jpg

Also an early adopter by the way, I backed the project on day 1, and because I ordered a black one it was shipped in the second (international) batch.