Author Topic: Kickstarter: Wirebutter  (Read 8153 times)

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Online blueskull

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2016, 07:01:42 PM »
This looks like just another load monitoring power strip, like numerous ones already being produced in China. In fact, the style of it looks like something which started its life in China. The price seems unreasonably high. A thing like this can be made pretty cheap, as long as the volume is sufficient to amortise the mouldings.

This one has 4 channels that can be metered and controlled individually. Considering the cost of 4 AFE channels and regulatory cost, the price is quite decent.
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Offline coppice

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2016, 07:03:19 PM »
This looks like just another load monitoring power strip, like numerous ones already being produced in China. In fact, the style of it looks like something which started its life in China. The price seems unreasonably high. A thing like this can be made pretty cheap, as long as the volume is sufficient to amortise the mouldings.

This one has 4 channels that can be metered and controlled individually. Considering the cost of 4 AFE channels and regulatory cost, the price is quite decent.
4 power channels can be monitored for <$1 with 0.5% accuracy. Hardly a major cost.
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2016, 07:03:22 PM »
Considering the cost of 4 AFE channels
But those things actually exist in a real world, this one is a fantasy at the moment.
Alex
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2016, 07:05:18 PM »
4 AFE channels can be monitored for <$1 with 0.5% accuracy. Hardly a major cost.
Care to elaborate?
Alex
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2016, 07:06:07 PM »
Considering the cost of 4 AFE channels
But those things actually exist in a real world, this one is a fantasy at the moment.
Why is this one a fantasy? There are a number of power strips with wireless monitoring and switching for each outlet.
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2016, 07:08:47 PM »
Why is this one a fantasy?
Because it is a KS campaign at the moment, asking for a ridiculously low amount of money. If they had a warehouse of 100000 of them, I can see a price of $50, or even $100, if their software is decent.

But at the moment they don't exist. And for them to exist at that $50 price, A LOT more people need to order. There is no "scale" in making 1000 units.
Alex
 
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Offline Kean

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2016, 07:12:14 PM »
They are just changing the inserts though, how much can that cost?

Nope, they'll also need to completely redesign all the internal stamped metal parts for the electrical contacts, and also probably have slighly different moulds for the main housings to accommodate those and the necessary isolation barriers.  Also, to me it doesn't look like there is enough depth for the European (Schuko?) pins in their render, so that is another variation.

Then they'll need to pay many times for the various country safety tests, which is significantly more than an unintentional radiator test.  Plus product liability insurance in each country they intend to sell into (They may try to bypass this for KS.)

They appear to have the electronics and software prototypes, and 3D printed samples of the housing, and think that taking it into mass production is simple - e.g. see their reply in the comments re certification.  Although they have electrical engineers on the team, it doesn't sound like they have actual experience with product manufacturing.

Why does it need BT, WiFi, Zigbee, Ethernet, and Powerline networking.  Surely you're better off having them independant for "future proofing".  Also, I'm not a fan of them using metal buttons on a mains powered device, even/especially if it is prototype.
 
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Offline coppice

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2016, 07:18:04 PM »
4 AFE channels can be monitored for <$1 with 0.5% accuracy. Hardly a major cost.
Care to elaborate?
I'm only talking about the measurement. The power supply and radio stuff would obviously cost more on top of that. There are several ways to provide 4 channels of high accuracy wide dynamic range measurement for $1. What people are currently looking for is solutions which slash that price, and there are some. Just look around the utility metering market.
 

Online hendorog

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2016, 07:20:54 PM »
They are just changing the inserts though, how much can that cost?

Nope, they'll also need to completely redesign all the internal stamped metal parts for the electrical contacts, and also probably have slighly different moulds for the main housings to accommodate those and the necessary isolation barriers.  Also, to me it doesn't look like there is enough depth for the European (Schuko?) pins in their render, so that is another variation.

Why couldn't they just use the EU version as the 'standard' base, and then make inserts for the other two options that fit the same socket?

Maybe it's cheaper to not use inserts at all and just remould the base for each country. I'm just taking the hint from the way the renders look on their site.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2016, 07:21:25 PM »
They are just changing the inserts though, how much can that cost?
Nope, they'll also need to completely redesign all the internal stamped metal parts for the electrical contacts, and also probably have slighly different moulds for the main housings to accommodate those and the necessary isolation barriers.  Also, to me it doesn't look like there is enough depth for the European (Schuko?) pins in their render, so that is another variation.
There are designs which work by just changing inserts, and fudge things around near the contacts. I'm not sure that really provides a benefit over a complete change of the moulding, though. It seems to just make things more complex.
 

Online hendorog

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2016, 07:40:24 PM »
I just took a punt on it, will see what happens... :scared:
 

Offline Kilrah

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2016, 07:43:58 PM »
Nope, they'll also need to completely redesign all the internal stamped metal parts for the electrical contacts

 

Offline Kean

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2016, 08:00:39 PM »
Nope, they'll also need to completely redesign all the internal stamped metal parts for the electrical contacts



What they're "selling" is rather different to that, but I agree there are ways to reduce the cost - it just doesn't look like they've approached it particularly well from the renders (especially Schuko).
And some of those multi-country sockets wouldn't pass approvals - they can be outright dangerous.  No idea about that one of course.
 

Offline Kean

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2017, 12:55:17 AM »
The Wirebutter campaign is about to end.. and the funding graph looks a bit suspicious.
http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/2120665567/wirebutter-smart-powerboard/#chart-daily

Three days had very large pledges of around $9k each, and one of about $7k, with very few backers on these days.
So I guess these probably correspond with the backers of the 120 and 70 packs.
Who but an insider is going to pledge at those kinds of level?
Note that it has gotten them past their goal, which they had no hope of reaching otherwise.

And they're now promising free upgrades to 6 or 8 sockets - although they don't know which yet  :-DD
 

Offline ferrix

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2017, 07:13:46 AM »
"Wirebutter" would be a good brand name for solder flux.
 
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Offline Kean

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2017, 11:38:55 AM »
Not surprising that these guys have run into certification issues.  :-DD

Backer only update from today:
Quote
Hi backers, we are continuing to work on the design elements that require further work to comply with the various compliance standards.

This work is requiring significant redesign work and so is extremely disruptive to our current plans as it is taking all of our effort to redesign the board in a way that leaves all the capability working - we have not been able to achieve this (meeting standards with all capability) when assessing the prototypes developed so far.

To give you some idea of the kind of problems we face, and how small changes in design can have such large impacts, I will outline an example of a design challenge.

Certain distances and organisation of components are required to meet certain standards. The impact of this drives changes to the design. For example, changes to the design of the PCB board can have implications for the design of the housing, which in turn may introduce issues previously overcome around the safety standards of the housing (and so on and so forth).

Thanks for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on this area of the product to ensure the capability can be safely used by backers in the future.

From that it seems pretty clear they didn't do much research on safety/EMC regulations up front.  Certification delays were originally announced back in May, the estimated shipping month.  They promised an update every 14 days in their mid June update after mentioning that there were further certification issues.  Not surprisingly have only managed two pretty trivial monthly updates since.

I'm ashamed they are fellow Aussies  :-[
Quote
Build a "working" prototype and she'll be right mate!

Just for the record, I only pledged $1 just to watch the train wreck.
 

Online hendorog

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2017, 09:00:16 PM »
Not surprising that these guys have run into certification issues.  :-DD

Backer only update from today:
Quote
Hi backers, we are continuing to work on the design elements that require further work to comply with the various compliance standards.

This work is requiring significant redesign work and so is extremely disruptive to our current plans as it is taking all of our effort to redesign the board in a way that leaves all the capability working - we have not been able to achieve this (meeting standards with all capability) when assessing the prototypes developed so far.

To give you some idea of the kind of problems we face, and how small changes in design can have such large impacts, I will outline an example of a design challenge.

Certain distances and organisation of components are required to meet certain standards. The impact of this drives changes to the design. For example, changes to the design of the PCB board can have implications for the design of the housing, which in turn may introduce issues previously overcome around the safety standards of the housing (and so on and so forth).

Thanks for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on this area of the product to ensure the capability can be safely used by backers in the future.

From that it seems pretty clear they didn't do much research on safety/EMC regulations up front.  Certification delays were originally announced back in May, the estimated shipping month.  They promised an update every 14 days in their mid June update after mentioning that there were further certification issues.  Not surprisingly have only managed two pretty trivial monthly updates since.

I'm ashamed they are fellow Aussies  :-[
Quote
Build a "working" prototype and she'll be right mate!

Just for the record, I only pledged $1 just to watch the train wreck.

Yep fair cop, you called it early on.

Will be interesting to see how it plays out in the end...
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2017, 09:37:52 PM »
Quote
To give you some idea of the kind of problems we face, and how small changes in design can have such large impacts, I will outline an example of a design challenge.

Certain distances and organisation of components are required to meet certain standards. The impact of this drives changes to the design. For example, changes to the design of the PCB board can have implications for the design of the housing, which in turn may introduce issues previously overcome around the safety standards of the housing (and so on and so forth).

Thanks for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on this area of the product to ensure the capability can be safely used by backers in the future.

From that it seems pretty clear they didn't do much research on safety/EMC regulations up front.  Certification delays were originally announced back in May, the estimated shipping month.  They promised an update every 14 days in their mid June update after mentioning that there were further certification issues.  Not surprisingly have only managed two pretty trivial monthly updates since.
Good EMC design requires some serious knowledge and understanding, but safety compliance is largely a matter of following simple rules. If they got to such a late stage in their work without following the simple safety rules, such as clearances, do you think they have even started working on EMC compliance?
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 03:52:04 AM by coppice »
 

Offline Kean

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2017, 09:50:16 PM »
Good EMC design requires some serious knowledge and understanding, but safety compliance is largely a matter of following simple rules. If they got to such a late stage in their work without following the simple safety rules, such as clearances, do you think that have even started working on EMC compliance?
Precisely!
Remember, this is not just a device dealing with mains voltages, or typical emissions, but also 3 different wireless technologies (WiFi, BT, Zigbee) and implementing/supporting a bunch of protocols.
EMC compliance is potentially needed for AU, US, EU, UK, JP, etc - many of which have slighly different rules (allowed channels, power levels, etc).
I imagine that the costs of certifying for some countries will outweigh the amount pledged from that country - so they either have to refund, skip certification and hope not to get caught out, or eat the loss in the hope of selling more.
I'd be surprised if they ever ship anything at all.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2017, 12:16:13 AM »
... EMC compliance is potentially needed for AU, US, EU, UK, JP, etc ...

UK = EU for regulatory purposes like EMC compliance, that was kind of the whole purpose of the whole EU thing, one market with one set of rules. If you can pass compliance in any one EU jurisdiction, be that the UK, Germany, Spain, whatever then that is deemed a pass for all EU jurisdictions. (Whatever happens with the whole 'brexit' mess, and remember it hasn't actually happened yet, it's highly likely that, post-brexit, UK regulations will continue to track EU regulations for things like EMC compliance that affect commonly traded goods.)
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline Kean

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2017, 12:46:31 AM »
UK = EU for regulatory purposes
Yeah, I expected as much.  I just included it because (a) brexit & (b) your wonderful plugs & sockets  >:D
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: Kickstarter: Wirebutter
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2017, 03:24:58 PM »
People think the EU should make things easy by standardising, but really it's about regulations designed to benefit vested interests. For example we now have to use brown for live and blue for neutral in house wiring, BUT there is no standard for how houses should be wired, and regulations in France and Germany require that it is done totally differently than in the UK. Meanwhile the EU has no control over the IEE, who continue to put out insanely complicated regulations for electrical installations. Then there are the Part P building regs, which basically try to turn electrical work into a 'closed shop' like gas work. (If you've ever had any gas work done in the UK, it's like asking the Freemasons to perform some secret ritual for you.)

It's a mess, and that's one of the reasons we want Brexit, is to reduce the mess. Our own bureaucrats produce enough regulatory mess on their own, thank you very much.

As for this Wirebutter thing, the overriding question is, why would I want one, and what advantage does it have? AFAICS it's a gimmick, and a costly one at that. You can buy wirelessly switched sockets in sets of three for £12 or so. UK approved too.
 


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