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Can Oculus give us some clarity on the cause of Right Headphone problem and how to avoid it?

phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
Art3mis
edited August 2017 in General
To start with I want to commend Oculus for providing RMAs for some people with this issue who are outside of their warranty period. This is excellent customer service and a great way to keep brand loyalty and trust in the Rift as a whole. I feel bad for those you have denied though for whatever reasons you have. It is pretty unfair that apparently through no fault of their own their Rift audio has died without any chance of repair or an option to buy a replacement ribbon cable to attempt repair themselves.

Can Oculus give us some information about why this is happening to some users?

Is it a fault with some Rifts during manufacturing or are the users doing something that increases the chance of this internal ribbon cable tearing?

Is there anything we can do to avoid this happening to us?

Should we be avoiding stretching the headband springs too much?

This is pretty critical because Oculus still have no paid spare parts or repair service. If we inadvertently break our Rifts through normal use when out of warranty we are shit out of luck and have to buy a brand new headset or switch to an external set of headphones. Unless of course your support staff decide to provide an RMA outside of warranty which appears to be about a 50/50 chance from the 36 posts I read.

I did some searching on this topic on both reddit and these forums and found about 36 posts on the topic since June 2016. 16 of these posts occurred in the last 3 months so it appears to be something that is getting worse with time. If this happens to more and more people when out of warranty this is going to be a large PR problem. That said 36 posts of the however many tens/hundreds of thousands of Rifts out there is quite small in the big scheme of things too. Having a way to fix it ourselves by buying a part if out of warranty would be great for piece of mind though.

Do you have any plans for spare parts service?

Some clarity on the issue would be great to be sure we treat our expensive excellent VR device with the care it deserves.

Possible causes
I'm wondering if the underlying cause is the tension springs in the headband itself somehow catching on this internal ribbon cable causing it to tear. Maybe repeated stretching of the headband springs over time causes the ribbon cable to move into a position where it can tear inside the headstrap?

Springs here
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Oculus+Rift+CV1+Teardown/60612#s126787

Springs in action as this person stretches the tension springs to put it on
https://j.gifs.com/AnBwW3.gif

If this is known to cause the problem could Oculus let us know so we stop doing it as much. I'd much prefer to avoid doing whatever it is that can cause this ribbon cable to tear than run the risk of it happening when I get out of warranty.

Some pics of the torn ribbon cable from various posts
https://forums.oculus.com/community/discussion/comment/525398/#Comment_525398

https://forums.oculus.com/community/discussion/comment/531518#Comment_531518


CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
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Comments

  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    edited August 2017
    Based on the two posts above here are the points that appear to be where the problem occurs






    Original images sourced from iFixit Teardown
    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Oculus+Rift+CV1+Teardown/60612

    Modified images here incase the Oculus forums shrink the pictures down too much.
    http://imgur.com/a/fJboz

    If anyone has a dead Rift I'd love to see some close ups of these two areas.

    Where do they connect to the mainboard?

    Are they one long ribbon cable or is it in a few parts with junctions across the entire headstrap?

    Also what does the ribbon cable do at these possible fracture points while flexing the tension springs?

    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • flexy123flexy123 Posts: 776 Poster of the Week
    Great you bring this up, but personally I don't think that Oculus would either directly or indirectly admit that such a flaw even exist(ed).
    As likely most others who had this happening, I didn't do anything "special" to my Rift and neither is my head unusually big or something which would stretch the band beyond "normal". Just normal use of Rift really.
    Whether the ribbon tears on the indicated location...I don't know. I have seen pictures where the cable broke right where the connector is, near a small board in the Rift.
  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    edited August 2017
    Yeah I'm guessing they will remain completely silent on the matter publicly as well. My main concern is the obvious rise in these complaints in the last 3 months. I'm hopeful that it is only something that will end up affecting a small percentage of users and not something that will affect everyone eventually.

    If there is something we as users are doing which might increase the chance of happening I think it would benefit both Oculus and the consumer to know to avoid a particular action with the Rift. The less Rifts ending up with this problem the better for both users and Oculus.

    Without a doubt Oculus would know what is causing this issue by now. Whether or not they have managed to resolve it in the design or production line who knows. Less than a month ago I know of one user who had to RMA a new Rift that exhibited this same issue only after a week of use. So it still happens with new Rifts.

    As a victim of this issue can I ask did you put on the Rift by fully extending the tension springs as shown in the this gif?
    https://j.gifs.com/AnBwW3.gif

    I never fully extend the tension springs when putting on the Rift. I just slide it on my head with minimal flex on the springs.

    Regardless of how widespread the issue is I still think it is completely unacceptable that there are no user paid repair options or spare parts available almost one and a half years after launch. I've been banging on about it for over a year and many are likely sick of it. I can guarantee though if a minor hardware problem arose with someone's Rift and they had a the choice of buying a replacement part or buying whole new Rift + accessories the choice would be pretty simple. Problem is that choice doesn't exist yet.

    Sure Oculus might not want to officially support a spare parts service but how hard would it be too leak spare parts to a 3rd party. The market might not be profitable but it would give some peace of mind to Rift owners knowing that if something goes wrong out of warranty they can possibly fix it as opposed to buying a whole new headset.



    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • Percy1983Percy1983 Posts: 1,374
    Wintermute
    I think this is a 'common' fault with ribbon cables as such, seen it happen in laptops and nintendo DS/3DS consoles.

    Ribbon cables are always a weak point but are generally needed, wear and tear is the answer unfortunately.
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  • flexy123flexy123 Posts: 776 Poster of the Week

    As a victim of this issue can I ask did you put on the Rift by fully extending the tension springs as shown in the this gif?
    https://j.gifs.com/AnBwW3.gif

    Definitely not. Normally there shouldn't be a reason to extend them that much anyway.
  • SharpfishSharpfish Posts: 1,275 Poster of the Week
    good thread, prob get no official reply sadly, but I do admit I'm a bit nervous about this happening to my rift (even though I baby it). 
    EX DK2, EX VIVE, EX PSVR, Currently RIFT CV1 | VR developer
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  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    edited August 2017
    I've seen Oculus support saying to most users that experience this issue to just remove the headphone and clean/blow on the contacts then reattach the headset. This works for some people apparently.

    Do people think there is actually a problem with grease or something on the contacts or is this action just moving the ribbon cable around so it connects again? Ribbon cables are pretty delicate so I would think it is pretty hard to wiggle one back into a connection. Maybe a fleck of dirt is getting in between the contacts and this clears that out.

    One other thing that occurred to me. Of the people who are being rejected for RMA they are being told to just use an external headset.

    The problem could possibly be more than just missing audio though. This ribbon cable appears to also feed the tracking LEDs on the rear of the headset.

    I'd be keen for anyone who experiences the missing audio issue to look at their Rift while it is on through a phone camera. As some tears could be only minor there will likely be a few users who will only be missing audio.

    Do the tracking lights work on the front and back?




    Image from (https://ifixit-pwa.appspot.com/guide/60612)


    I get Oculus don't want to sell spare parts but I'd love to see this ribbon cable appear on ebay from some "mysterious" seller. Even at $50 it would be well worth it to breathe life back into some Rifts.

    Edit: Also I have some more images of torn ribbon cables and a potato drawing of the shape of this cable as it leaves the headset. http://imgur.com/a/fJboz


    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • keem85keem85 Posts: 23
    Brain Burst
    I have the exact same issue. Oculus turned down warranty return, because I opened it up to check it. I have a teared ribbon cable.. Are there any hopes of finding these ribbon cables somewhere?
  • danr12danr12 Posts: 6
    NerveGear
    any hope of a repair for this rght headphone not working ? Oculus says because this is a rma unit my warranty is based on orig purchase date.But it took 30 days to get the rma auth. Received new unit and work fine until rht spkr not working support says they can't help.



  • tlsmikeytlsmikey Posts: 1
    NerveGear
    Had the same problem in mine after around six months and sent it in for an RMA.  The unit was sent and is being processed, but its been unbearably slow so far.  I'm not sure why the support of these units is so slow in diagnosis and warranty replacement.  It's a known issue that seems to affect quite a few people and I would think that the speed could be improved dramatically to improve satisfaction.  

    Hopefully mine gets a warranty replacement soon.  It's been there since Friday and i'm told it's being looked at.  I'll report back on the status.

  • AgterboschAgterbosch Posts: 389
    Nexus 6
    Ive opened up many many laptops tablets and phones in my lifetime, and also had a broken right earpiece, but if it really is at the ribbon cable that is the problem, then it won't be the ribbon cable that breaks unfortunately (which wouldve been a cheap and easy replacement to make), but it would be the connector on the board, usually with a flipthingy that holds it in place or the cable snaps onto the connector, these things are stuck on the board, so the only viable way to fix it ourselves would be to replace that entire board it is connected to, which drives the speaker I guess.
    Oculus is probably gonna have that part heavily patented, and I doubt they will release that part or the schematics for it cuz of warranty and such, because releasing that part only would kinda come across as admitting there is a problem, which as everyone knows, is something business people don't like doing, even if the technical people there might

  • ThmoasThmoas Posts: 202
    Nexus 6
    The ribbon gets teared because of the sliding mechanism. Thats my guess.

    On the right side my sliding mechanism has a block at a certain point. I think that is where the friction on the ribbon happens. I try to avoid pushing through when I feek this "block".
  • flexy123flexy123 Posts: 776 Poster of the Week
    edited October 2017
    It's known what causes it, what's happening is that the internal ribbon cable breaks.  Most of the time it breaks somewhere "in the middle", sometimes near/at the connector. It breaks because the sliding mechanism bends the ribbon when you slide it out.

    Prevention:  Never pull out the sliding part entirely and adjust it that way that it cannot slide all the way out.

    There was a very good video of some guy somewhere where it was exactly shown what's happening, can't find it right now.

    PS My experience with Oculus support, so far, is excellent. For another issue I sent in my unit, and the response and them sending back a replacement after it was received in NL couldn't possibly get ANY faster. (Scheduled delivery by UPS on Tuesday). (Basically, it arrived on Friday noonish in the distribution center in NL, and dispatched early Tuesday).
  • AgterboschAgterbosch Posts: 389
    Nexus 6
    If it's the ribbon cable itself then it should be easy enough for some chinese manufacturer to make some

  • AQfumesAQfumes Posts: 108
    Art3mis
    Yep I accidentally rip mine apart sometime back last March, and I’ve been using Bluetooth headphones ever since. I reported it to Oculus support but since I admitted it was my fault due to my hat getting snagged on the head strap, my warranty would not cover the damage. I understand that’s how warranties work though, so no love lost on the Oculus support side. 

    I was just hoping support could shed some info on how to replace it cause I would pay to have it fixed. Support replied there wasn’t any solution yet on how to repair and I should keep my eye on the forum incase one should ever arise from Oculus. 

    I plan on on buying a new Rift next month anyways, but I would love to get this one repaired some day. 





  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    edited October 2017
    AQfumes said:
    Yep I accidentally rip mine apart sometime back last March.


    Ouch you would have definitely lost rear tracking sensors there. Hopefully they do get a paid repair/replacement/spare parts service sorted soon so you can fix it. I've been banging on about it for over 14 months since back when they were telling people whose cats had chewed their HMD cable "Sorry buy another Rift". They have started offering them as spare parts now thank god but they still need to get their after warranty user paid support sorted.

    You look like the perfect candidate for getting a close up pic of that cable. I've been trying to see how many traces there are on the cable. Can you take some close up pics of each end of the break?

     I'm particularly interested in some idea of how many traces there are like the ones I highlighted here in green.

    https://imgur.com/14mSxDe
    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • hoezyhoezy Posts: 2
    NerveGear
    my ribbon cable broke completely in half. the audio and tracking sensors arent working anymore (the lights on the back won't go on). i don't care about the audio though but i don't experience any tracking issues also. is it because i use 4 camera's? 
  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    I've been banging on about this being an issue for so long I suppose I brought it on myself. My right headphone just stopped working. :)

    I was playing Elite Dangerous at the time so there was really not much activity going on when it failed. I tried swapping the headphones. Loosening and tightening the headphone screw but nope. It's dead.

    I can however get the right headphone to start working if extend the strap to just the right position. 1mm forward/back it stops. Sadly this sweet spot is not when the headset is resting on my face.

    I sincerely hope this is not an issue that will impact everyone at some point. My headset doesn't really get a lot of use. Maybe 4-10 hours a week tops since launch.

    It would be nice if Oculus could let people know if there was a way for us toavoid having this happen to us. Even tell us we're "holding wrong" would be better than having this sort of failure.

    Time to contact support. 

    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • RedRizlaRedRizla Posts: 3,588 Poster of the Week
    I don't think using a ribbon cable on something that is constantly been moved was such a good idea. Especially when there is no repair for it. Couldn't they have just used something like a cable plugged into the side of the headset and had a replacement cable you could order? 
  • Rob_In_PhoenixRob_In_Phoenix Posts: 142
    Art3mis
    This bothers me quite a bit that the whole headset can be rendered useless from the failure of a 5 cent part.  These things cost hundreds of dollars and when one cheap little part fails, there's nothing we can do?

    It's a shame a perfectly good headset is reduced to a paperweight if this happens.

    I've never had any issue with my headset at all so far, but it makes me uncomfortable to know my number may come up at any time.
  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    edited January 28
    This bothers me quite a bit that the whole headset can be rendered useless from the failure of a 5 cent part.  These things cost hundreds of dollars and when one cheap little part fails, there's nothing we can do?
    Yes it is a concern. More of a concern those who have this failure outside of warranty due to no
    • Paid spare parts service
    • Paid repair/replacement service 
     For those deemed outside of warranty the current solution offered by Oculus support of "Buy a new headset + touch + sensors" is a very poor way to treat loyal early adopters.

    At a minimum they should be offering these customers the option to pay to replace just the headset at a reasonable cost neutral price to Oculus. Pretty sure already have a headset only SKU as I recall seeing other users post images of them a while ago when they get RMAs.

    It's a shame a perfectly good headset is reduced to a paperweight if this happens.

      In before we see people/support saying "Use an external set of headphones" The problem is deeper than that when this ribbon cable fails completely you lose the rear tracking LEDs. Once the tear starts it will end up tearing completely over time with repeated flexing of this cable. 

    External headphones are NOT a solution.

    I've never had any issue with my headset at all so far, but it makes me uncomfortable to know my number may come up at any time.

    I treated my headset with great care and it happened to me too. I specifically avoided flexing those side straps because I knew this problem could arise. I rarely played high intensity experiences with me flailing around like a madman.

    Prior to it happening to me I thought that maybe this was something that will possibly only happen to a small number of users. My number came up though and I'm a little more worried for others now. If this is an inevitable failure for all headsets this is going to be a major problem for Oculus.

     I've been documenting threads on this issue for over a year now and currently have a list of 52 63 threads with users posting about this. Of those 52 63 threads there are multiple users posting reporting to have had the same problem. While still not too common it is definitely large enough to be a problem that I would hope Oculus has addressed internally with a design/manufacturing change even if they don't plan on publicly acknowledging it.

     I'm currently on the first level of Oculus support and was asked to

    1. re-seat the the USB and both ends of the HDMI to the headset - Didn't resolve the issue
    2. swapped headphones - fault stayed on the right hand side
    3. take photos attached of either end of cable - all looks good I haven't plugged or unplugged the cables for months (until this and above tests)
    4. collect support logs and attach to support ticket

    Edit: I updated my list of users posting about this issue and found an additional 11 from the last few months on reddit/oculus forums (up from 52) . I have sent this list to support.
    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    edited February 3

    I've put together an unscientific survey to see if we can get some idea of how widespread this issue is. It also allows people without the issue to let their voice be heard as well. I encourage all users to fill it out.


    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15DWS5lVTzBGwrgs-kmewo9m7AjrWoSuZrNaX7yeXA8U


    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • Rob_In_PhoenixRob_In_Phoenix Posts: 142
    Art3mis

    I've put together an unscientific survey to see if we can get some idea of how widespread this issue is. It also allows people without the issue to let their voice be heard as well. I encourage all users to fill it out.


    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15DWS5lVTzBGwrgs-kmewo9m7AjrWoSuZrNaX7yeXA8U



    Done.
  • wasyl00wasyl00 Posts: 30
    Brain Burst
    edited February 12
    I’m on my 3rd Rift, yes 3rd! Two previous ones died becuse of the right headphone issue. First one after about 7 months, second after about 11 and I was super careful with the second. Kudos to Oculus for no problem quick replacements and thank gods for 2 year warranty. 

    As I’m approaching the end of warranty period I was getting more and more stressed about inevitable, sound loss (yes, after 1st replacement I was hoping for construction improvements of this relatively wide-spread issue - but nope, second died too!) So this time I decided to mod slightly right spring arm with a bit of electrical tape. 

    What I did was, I fixed the arm in locked postion. The key is to fix it in the position it normally sits on you face and only use the left arm’s spring mechanism to put it on/off. You may need another person to help you with the tape while you’re wearing the Rift. There is no cable in the left arm so there’s no problem. So far its really good, its not loose as you would think. I hope that eliminating the movement of the right arm completely will solve this
    damn problem. 

    This will not work if you have more than one user, obviously. 

    Pic:

  • Rob_In_PhoenixRob_In_Phoenix Posts: 142
    Art3mis
    edited February 13
    Hmmm, Interesting idea.  I wonder if I should try this with mine.  I've had my headset for about 15 months.
  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    There is a lesser version of this mod for those who still like demo to others. This was an idea from reddit user geebee666.

    Ref: https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/7v5d2a/preventive_audio_cable_failure_measure/


    This method is similar to what wasyl00 posted however the tape only stops the right arm from moving further into the headset slide mechanism than it needs to. You still have the ability to extend it outward to fit the headset to new users.

    Not as bulletproof a solution as wasyl00 by totally immobilising the slide completely but a better option as it does restrict the motion somewhat.

    I really wish Oculus would fix this with a design change. I'm guessing they have done the maths behind the scenes and worked out it is cheaper to offer replacements to users than it is to publicly acknowledge the issue by making a design change. :( If all Rifts end up like this the Rift brand is going to cop a beating from the public backlash if they are told "buy a new headset"

    Based on the survey I posted earlier people seem to expect these things to last at least 3-5 years before failing. Still a small sample set but in time we will get more results.





    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
  • wasyl00wasyl00 Posts: 30
    Brain Burst
    edited February 13

    There is a lesser version of this mod...

    Yes this was actually my inspiration. Its a better solution than standard as it should limit some of the movement and also absorb that return impact of the spring, extending life of flex cable in the process (its all about fatigue prevention IMO).

    If you check this reddit thread there is even my comment about permament fix. ;) 

    I hope I will ride my modded rift until gen 2. 

  • riddick.nobodyriddick.nobody Posts: 1
    NerveGear
    Out of curiosity,
    Would it not be possible to prevent this by hot gluing or epoxy down the ribbon to the board so it cannot be pulled on at the connection?  you could still remove the cable but would require some razor work, might be worth while mod.
  • wasyl00wasyl00 Posts: 30
    Brain Burst
    The problem is that we don’t even know exactly where the break point is and if it is even in the same spot for everybody. Is it a plug or one of the bends? Not enough data, I guess. Due to the warranty I did not mess around with mine but I read that even opening the damn thing is extremely difficult and even harder to fix without replacement parts. 

    I think if someone figured this out it would be a one hell of a business idea with all of these faulty out of warranty headsets around that oculus doesn’t want to fix. 
  • phoenixdigitalphoenixdigital Posts: 119
    Art3mis
    Yeah I don't think glue would protect it as the break happens further up in some instances. While some of the pics I in my research show the break closer to the main board others show it elsewhere. I suspect the problem is inside the spring loading extender itself and the way the ribbon cable wraps around the internals.

    See this video which shows the failure of one cable inside the mechanism.


    Then my potato drawing of how I think the cable routes inside the spring mechanism. 

    https://imgur.com/jfJvk1M

    The middle black line is the fixed part of the spring mechanism attached to the headset. Then the lowest black line is the movable part of the spring mechanism. From the video the failure appears to happen at that last bend in the ribbon cable. The bend rolls up and down the length of the ribbon cable as the mechanism moves.

    I've been trying to find a good piece of software to make a animated gif showing how that part works since I would not be game pulling apart my Rift to video it directly.



    CPU: i5 6600K (not overclocked), GPU: EVGA GTX980Ti (not overclocked), motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, USB Card 1: Inatek 7 Port, USB Card 2: Inatek 4 Port
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