Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by kthaddock, Jun 26, 2014.
Not too surprising to me. It would have been more appropriate had he disclosed what hardware revisions (they're printed on the bottom of the RT-N16 units) were involved, in both cases (the "blown cap" RT-N16, and the "I decided to replace the 470uF with a 680uF for the hell of it" RT-N16).
I cannot confirm/deny that "power ripple" has anything to do with the root cause. I'm not an EE guy, but to me it has nothing to do with power ripple -- it has more to do with a particular amount of voltage being used by whatever circuitry (which he doesn't disclose, e.g. is that capacitor even wired to the wifi IC?) exceeding the amount that the capacitor is spec'd for. Power ripple would have to be solved through other circuitry (probably a better inductor, or additional circuitry, or maybe even a better VRM (depends on if we're talking about AC or DC)), so I think he's just saying "power ripple" because he doesn't know what else to call it. But as I said, I'm not really an EE guy (but I know lots of folks who are that I could point to his statements...).
Regardless, I would classify that as a hardware design flaw if that is truly the root cause. If it is, Asus should (IMO) issue a recall for all RT-N16 units manufactured after some particular date (whenever they switched from 470uF to 680uF caps). If it isn't, then engaging Asus and actually talking to engineers (hard to do a lot of the time, Customer Support acts as a filter between customers and engineers 99% of the time) about the problem would be the way to go. I've personally had not-so-great experiences with Asus on such matters, especially with things like 100% reproducible bugs in software drivers (unrelated to routers).
TL;DR -- Vendors are constantly changing hardware inside of their units without disclosing to consumers what they are doing. This has been happening for the past 15+ years, but has become extremely prevalent in the past 12-13. It happens in all types of hardware, from "enterprise-grade" to consumer. Hardware quality matters, as does hiring clueful engineers. And this is why actually keeping track of things like hardware changes + disclosing hardware revision numbers/etc. on both the product and the box (so consumers don't have to open the box) is important.