Hi everyone. Apologies for not providing an update sooner — it’s been a crazy past three weeks, to say the least.
Some of the things that have happened since the last update:
Mass Production of Enclosures
We approved the final injection moulding samples and started mass production at the factory in China. In fact, plastics manufacturing and assembly (inserting the acrylic window into the main enclosure) will be finished by the end of this week. This is the “Good” 🙂
Our Bluetooth system-on-a-chip supplier, Nordic, announced a fairly significant (for us) silicon bug. The bug, which has no current workaround, results in excess power consumption (~860uA) when the chip is configured to wake-up on external stimuli. Unfortunately for us — that’s every product! We have the dubious fame of correlating the actual silicon block issue to the real world manifestation of this bug.
We spent ten days figuring out how to work around the bug. This was crucial as the extra power consumption dropped our simulated battery life figures to twenty five (25) days. I’m glad to tell you we have a workaround and testing and battery simulation both show that we’re right back where we need to be in terms of power consumption. Currently, a Wimoto Climate in “Sensor Mode” achieves 2.83 years of battery life in the simulation, although real-world figures will likely be a little lower due to leakage current in the battery and cold temperatures.
For those of you who are interested, here’re our real world measured power consumption figures now that we’ve switched off silicon debugging (which itself consumes ~1mA and partly masked the issue above) and loaded our firmware fix:
20 uA to 330uA
Peripheral Mode (advertising and not connected)
20 uA to 612 uA
Peripheral Mode (connected)
20 uA to 562 uA
This was the “Ugly”.
Electronics Mass Production
We finished “Design for Manufacture” (DFM) for our electronics mass production at the end of last week. This is the ‘haggling’ that goes on between a factory and a designer to lower the defect yield and enable the product to be mass production ‘friendly’. We’ve made some minor tweaks to the hardware design based on this process, such as switching to slightly large (0805) surface mount components (we had board space, and the pick’n’place robots and their human operators are less likely to spill components) and optimizing some of the layout for spacing.Our circuit boards have just started production and after that assembly of components on the circuit boards will start.
It’s been somewhat hard recently to forecast an accurate ship date due to some of the unforeseen circumstances (such as having to make a significant firmware change), trying to manage factories (if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that dealing with mass production of thousands of units of a product takes a LOT more effort than you’d think), shipping things back and forth for approvals (DHL Express takes a week from China, if you’re lucky…). But I also understand and hear our backers when they ask for such.
So, we’ve put together a reasonable (in terms of us continuing to work 6-7 days a week) and realistic project plan for ‘mass production’. I’ve tried to focus only no the tasks that are significant and pertinent to getting a usable product in your hands. It’s definitely slipped more than we’d have liked, but it’s better to be transparent and set expectations at this point.
I’m attaching our project plan as an image, but I’ll summarize here:
– We expect assembly of products to finish by December 4th.
– Around December 4th, we’ll start shipping to North America first. The rationale for this is that we have over a thousand packages to ship, so it’d be good to somehow segregate the shipments and North America allows us to gauge and deal with any issues more easily.
– We expect that all product will finish being shipped by Christmas (December 25th).
I’ve had some recent feedback from a couple of people along the lines of “can I cancel my order as you didn’t ship it on September 30th/October 31st”. I want to remind people that crowd funding is not a store front — you’re helping to bring a product to market and in exchange for your contribution you’re receiving a ‘perk’ There is a subtle but important difference between this and buying a product in that you’re along for the ride (which we very much appreciate!) come good or bad times. We’re also financially committed at this point in terms of third party fees (Indiegogo and Paypal took their fees long ago, for example), component and parts procurement, and manufacturing contracts.
Surveys and Shipping
For those of you (965) who’ve already completed your surveys, thank you! We will start emailing folk confirmations early next week and collecting shipping if that’s applicable. We have a hard deadline of making sure that everything (surveys, shipping charges, perk confirmation) is completed by November 30th at the latest, so if you haven’t had or completed a survey yet, please email email@example.com.
Those with a keen eye may have noticed we’re using USPS (United States Postal Service) to ship virtually all orders — yet we’re in Canada. Canadian orders will still go out via the good ol’ Canada Post Corporation, but Canada Post rates are unfortunately very high (despite being a government corporation, they’re mandated by legislation to be a “for profit” organization).
After much searching we discovered there’s a mailing trade agreement between Canada and the U.S. that lets us move packages with a declared value of less than US$200 across the border without taxes or duties as long as they’re pre-packaged and have U.S. postage already attached. So that’s what we’re doing. For packages greater than $200, we’re eating the additional cost of mailing from Canada. This also means that if you’re in the U.S., you will not have to pay any duties or taxes when you receive your Wimoto shipment.
Below is the mass production schedule for those who’re interested. There’s also a picture of the final pre-production version of the Wimoto (a Climate in this case) so you can see how the enclosure turned out.
As always, feel free to ask questions either here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all for your patience and support.