Author Topic: More Kickstarter fraud?  (Read 8738 times)

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Offline Fid

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More Kickstarter fraud?
« on: September 27, 2015, 03:14:45 am »
Hey guys,
I came across this Kickstarter campaign and realized that it is probably fraud. Unfortunately, I don't have the means to make the public aware of this.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/janulus/trinity-portable-wind-turbine-power-station
The campaign makes claims like the turbine being able to charge an EV. I work for a company that makes EV accessories and although it would be great if true, I know the 15W generator, even at peak power, cannot charge the 12V batteries and be capable of providing at least 10A/120V to charge an EV. So I delved further and found that they also had a campaign called the TOB Cable for everything https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/janulus/tob-cable-one-cable-for-everything/description which also claims unrealistic properties I think any amateur electronics guy can identify as false. Another one, under a different kickstarter name is Sun Strap https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/skajaquoda/sun-strap-solar-charger-that-fits-any-bag?ref=nav_search and while it seems a few people have received theirs, they do not work. "Janulus" is not a registered company in Minnesota. According to the janulus.com whois, their address is 1204 11th Ave, Clarkfield, Minnesota, which is the address of a Jr. High School. Now, after three successfully funded campaigns with no products sent to backers, they are claiming to be moving to Iceland.
I think this is obvious fraud and maybe someone would be willing to calculate the approximate capabilities of the turbines? Many commenters have asked them for more specifics and they are obviously not willing to share any real-word data.
Cheers, Paul
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 03:21:03 am by Fid »
 

Offline calexanian

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2015, 01:33:45 pm »
I have some problems with this project, but more on that later.

You need to look a little closer. They have some different size options from a small portable unit for charging phones and such up to a 2.5 KW unit for home use. On the surface it appears to be a genuine attempt at starting a small wind generator company. I cant fault them for that.

Now my problem.. Their small goal did not sound reasonable to me. $50,000 is not exactly a lot of money to invest in tooling and production for a single product, let alone a whole line of varying sizes. That is more of a concern to me. Now it appears that they have gone well past their original goal, but I am still dubious of their ability to fulfill the orders in a timely manner with such low amounts of income. Apart from that nothing really stands out to me that this is a potential scam. I think they should have consulted with some others who have crowd funded this type of product first and perhaps picked some more realistic minimum funding goals. Also their kickstarter page just does not "Smell" right. without more evidence I would not go as far as to call it a fraud, but I would not invest.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 01:38:20 pm by calexanian »
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Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2015, 02:57:12 pm »
Last 3 comments from backers for the "TOB Cable: One cable for everything" project. Not too happy.

I reckon these guys running the project might help you out, if you need to make a tax loss. I can't think why you would back them otherwise.

        Michelle Tink 5 days ago
Quote
        Pretty ballsy and a little rude shoving another project at us when you are months behind on the project we backed. You should have waited until this was complete. I'm sure I will not be only current backer that won't even look at your new project.

        Vivek Venkateswar 5 days ago
Quote
        Hi,

        I haven't received my product so far? Would it ever come?

        Cheers
        Vivek

        Adam Gordon 6 days ago
Quote
        Guys, I find it very poor form to not only launch a new Kickstarter project while your backers are still waiting for a delayed product, but to use the product update notification system for that delayed product to spam your backers to get them to back your new project.

        You're not the first Kickstarter company to do this and you'll not be the last, but having been burned by every other project that's chosen to do this I can't, in good conscience, commit to anything more. It shows a severe lack of tact and discipline on your part, and completely abuses your backers' previous support. You would be wise to refrain from doing this again in the future.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 03:14:41 pm by HackedFridgeMagnet »
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2015, 03:08:08 pm »
Scroll with me for a moment.



See those devices in the bottom of this pic?
They are the same photograph, just rezised.

The first video on how to extend the blades... The thing is so flimsy it cannot sustain wind. Look at my attachment. The blades cannot sustain themselves at a 120 degree angle. (granted, maybe with centrifugal force they do, but how are they preventing oscillations?) Do you think something like that is ready for manufacturing?



And lastly, NONE of the turbines, not even the 2.5kW one, stand more than 2m above the ground. Anyone who's ever read about wind turbines knows that at this sort of height, the available wind is piss poor. The higher you go, the more wind you get. And this is critical, because the power that is generated has a cubic relation to wind flow:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine_aerodynamics#/media/File:Lee_Ranch_Wind_Speed_Frequency.svg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine_design#Power_control


Who in their right mind would then go and design turbines that stand from 1 to 3m off the ground?

This is a graph of airflow versus height

According to the source, this graph is for countryside areas, that is, relatively flat. On a suburban environment as shown, getting anything useful and reliable on the ground would be impossible in most cases, unless you're in an urban canyon that somehow concentrates a lot of airflow in one zone.
http://wind-energy.tripod.com/siting.html

In general, for wind generation, the higher you go, the more constant wind you will get. For domestic applications, smaller blades are okay, but generally, you want larger, lower RPM blades so that you don't affect birds and so that you don't get a lot of noise.

So it would not make sense at all to have a small wind turbine a bare meter off the ground.

Other concerns?

***The turbines depicted in the video move suspiciously slow given their size. You would expect a small turbine to spin very fast, but these spin at less than 60RPM. Doesn't compare to any small turbine that I have seen.

***They also claim 2.5kW is enough for a house. An air conditioning unit or heater would say otherwise.

***At a 2 year warranty, I would not conside the 1kW and 2.5kW models at all. These are supposed to compete against the 20 to 25 year warranties offered by solar panel manufacturers. When you are doing projects involving payback and other engineering economy matters, you should assume that the lifetime of a device is as short as its warranty, as a worst case scenario and as a way to protect your investment.





Thanks to the IEEE Dominican Subsection for the trip to Los Cocos eolic park. Learned hell of a lot from that.  :-+
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 03:27:08 pm by ivan747 »
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Offline Fid

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2015, 05:03:33 pm »
Thanks for the input guys.
I feel equally skeptical about the TOB cable. In the prototype drawings, you can see what seems to be a 6-step end connector, providing very insufficient contact points, especially for the claimed double charging speed (what I expect would be 1-2A@5V), while still providing HDMI, Lightning, USB-C connection. Seriously? Have they even seen the complex wiring of HDMI and Lightning?





Most of us know that the cable itself has very little to do with charge speeds. Of course there is no explanation to how that is possible.

Quote
The TOB cable is designed for fast charging meaning you can charge your phone and gadget up to twice as fast. By disabling the sync/data transfer feature your device can charge faster. TOB cable is made using heavy gauge wires that can handle the higher current.



This is especially false in the case of Apple devices, that even if USB could charge over 900mA would not allow charging due to their proprietary connector chips.
But that doesn't surprise me, these guys fooled people for a half million bucks https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sonicable-the-world-s-most-advanced-charging-cable#/story
another https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2019070583/incharge-bolt-the-smallest-keyring-cable-on-steroi/comments
^ these guys actually shipped but

Quote
I've been testing my Thin Lightning inCharge Bolt with my iPhone 6 Plus with Battery at under 50%. Tried it with various battery chargers & wall chargers.
With chargers rated for 2.0-2.4a charging, I can only get my iPhone to charge at up to ** 1.0 amp thru the inCharge Bolt. Using the original inCharge, I get BETRER results at ** 1.50 amp or so!
+Also a great 1.5a charging with Nomad Key, & popcord (also a KS).
Why does the inCharge Bolt charge at a SLOWER rate than the original? Data transfers are blocked with the Bolt, which should mean faster charging right??

and yet another https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1599478765/usb-chargedoubler-double-your-charging-speed/description

I don't understand how Kickstarter and Indiegogo can ignore these scams and have no effort in hiring experts, who are able to identify possible scams with basic industry knowledge.
They are getting themselves in a very bad position being an accessory to fraud and paying out these scammers.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 05:19:37 pm by Fid »
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2015, 06:00:23 pm »
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/technology/kickstarters-altruistic-vision-profits-as-the-means-not-the-mission.html?_r=0

According to this they are altruistic.
Probably means they are about to be sued.


These phrases spring to mind.
Quote
"There's a sucker born every minute"
Quote
"A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted"

It's a bit sad as there have been some good projects too.


« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 06:05:31 pm by HackedFridgeMagnet »
 

Offline Fid

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 06:55:10 pm »
I'm very tired after a programming binge, but I'm going to attempt to calculate the capacity, because I just realized all their claims are made in terms of number of phone charges.
Please excuse any mistakes.




"Trinity 400 has a 30000mAh battery and an iPhone 6 needs 1810mAh to be fully charged." - Trinity 400 provides 16 charges.
Since the iPhone has a nominal 3.8V battery, this means that their battery capacity is also calculated with 3.8V LiIons (probably 18650 cells). 16 charges * 1810 = approx. 30Ah.
So the 2500 model with 300Ah contains 300x 1000mAh 18650 cells. These could be connected into 48 packs for nominal 24V per pack (a 400W 24V generator is possible), decreasing the total capacity to about 48Ah.
To charge a Tesla as per presentation, we need atleast 6A@230V = 1380W (although this could be too low for the Tesla to engage charge).
An inverter will require about 68A for the 1380W load, thus providing a painstaking 42 minutes of charge or less than 1kW or about 4km range in the Tesla S.
I don't know how long it would take to charge the 48Ah/24V battery @400W since I have no idea how efficient a little turbine like that can be, but it seems to me like its going to take a darn long time to get the $5500 price tag back from mother nature...

Anyways, this is their second "Trinity turbine". The first one, obviously made of PVC pipes also is here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/skajaquoda/trinity-the-portable-wind-turbine-power-station/comments
The campaign started over a year ago, made $75 thousand and they haven't shipped one yet, now promising backers the "new version".
These three scam campaigns amount to over $275,000.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 07:21:08 pm by Fid »
 

Offline Psi

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2015, 07:40:46 pm »
Hey guys,
I came across this Kickstarter campaign and realized that it is probably fraud. Unfortunately, I don't have the means to make the public aware of this.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/janulus/trinity-portable-wind-turbine-power-station

If the goal is to take the money and run they have put in a rather large amount of effort making lots of 'fake' progress/prototypes/drawings/packaging etc. and giving the project a legit feel to non-tech people.

I don't think this one is fraudulent , it looks more like they are genuinely going to try to make this work. Weather it will or not is another question.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 07:48:45 pm by Psi »
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Offline rob77

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2015, 08:11:24 pm »
i commented on this very wind turbine project in the "dodgy crowd funding thread"...

the smallest turbine with r=30cm has a swept area of 0,28 square meters, in a 2m/s wind it will produce approx 0.55W of mechanical energy (yes half a watt)....  so make your own conclusions ;)
in 10m/s wind it would have approx 6.8W output (mechanical) so converting to electrical - it might yield enough to charge your phone.
and don't forget - at ground level the wind is slower and turbulent (rocks, plants in it's way) so the output might be even lower.

but anyways.. i think it's a highly impractical design... it will tip over and damage it's blades in no time... so you'll have to carry some equipment to anchor the turbine (much more weight than the turbine itself).
and also you might get some broken fingers/arms as a bonus... airplane propeller tips are painted with a contrast color for a reason - you can see the rotating blades as a circle with a different color.... their turbine blades are plain while - so harder to see while spinning.

it's definitely doable - with much lower outputs than they declare , but highly impractical and even dangerous...
 
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Offline VK3DRB

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2015, 11:17:39 pm »
.... Weather it will or not is another question.

Good pun or terrible spelling.

It is subject to weather of course. In many places like here, it would be as useless as an udder on a bull. Powering up an electric car with one of these devices? Maybe if you are in the mountains in a wind tunnel and your car batteries are flat and you have several weeks of survival rations on hand.
 

Offline Mechanical Menace

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2015, 11:23:28 pm »
In many places like here, it would be as useless as an udder on a bull.

Even where I am you'd get no power probably about 1 every 10 days, and we're in a brilliant place for wind power. Top of a mountain range* funnelling those north Atlantic winds and we still need storage for wind power if you want to go totally off grid.

*Well what passes for one in the UK anyway.
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Offline Fid

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2015, 09:22:45 am »
Hey guys,
I came across this Kickstarter campaign and realized that it is probably fraud. Unfortunately, I don't have the means to make the public aware of this.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/janulus/trinity-portable-wind-turbine-power-station

If the goal is to take the money and run they have put in a rather large amount of effort making lots of 'fake' progress/prototypes/drawings/packaging etc. and giving the project a legit feel to non-tech people.

I don't think this one is fraudulent , it looks more like they are genuinely going to try to make this work. Weather it will or not is another question.

I'm 99% sure they're just raking in the cash. As linked in my last post, this is their second wind turbine kickstarter, third overall and nothing has shipped.
A company that would really want to make these things would have their calculations correct. But the whole idea is pretty stupid if you ask me. If you want to be green, charge a 20Ah battery bank from solar, then head out on your trip. A wind turbine is not going to save anyone from dying in the wild, and it will charge the phone under very unlikely circumstances, provided there's actually any GSM signal in the rural areas they show. Or is it for playing Fruit Ninja? It would make tons more sense to just take one of those dynamo hand-powered chargers.

Although, if you get both the TOB cable and Trinity, maybe you can get some free energy and extremely fast charge times by just blowing on the turbine with your mouth.
Or, better yet, use it to make a very expensive fire and survive thousands of miles from civilization  ;D

i commented on this very wind turbine project in the "dodgy crowd funding thread"...

Whoops. Didn't notice there was a whole topic dedicated to this stuff. Mods feel free to move this if you like.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 09:33:18 am by Fid »
 

Offline ajb

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 10:30:43 am »
Thanks for the input guys.
I feel equally skeptical about the TOB cable. In the prototype drawings, you can see what seems to be a 6-step end connector, providing very insufficient contact points, especially for the claimed double charging speed (what I expect would be 1-2A@5V), while still providing HDMI, Lightning, USB-C connection. Seriously? Have they even seen the complex wiring of HDMI and Lightning?

Apparently there's an optical fiber in there as well.  Because an HDMI to 18Gbps fiber converter will definitely fit in an only-slightly-oversized connector shell, and a pair of them definitely won't need more than the 55mA @ 5V that the HDMI standard provides.  And I'm sure the ~2mm long connector will provide more than enough mechanical support to the fiber interface to maintain that 18Gbps link.
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 12:46:28 pm »
i commented on this very wind turbine project in the "dodgy crowd funding thread"...

the smallest turbine with r=30cm has a swept area of 0,28 square meters, in a 2m/s wind it will produce approx 0.55W of mechanical energy (yes half a watt)....  so make your own conclusions ;)
in 10m/s wind it would have approx 6.8W output (mechanical) so converting to electrical - it might yield enough to charge your phone.
and don't forget - at ground level the wind is slower and turbulent (rocks, plants in it's way) so the output might be even lower.

but anyways.. i think it's a highly impractical design... it will tip over and damage it's blades in no time... so you'll have to carry some equipment to anchor the turbine (much more weight than the turbine itself).
and also you might get some broken fingers/arms as a bonus... airplane propeller tips are painted with a contrast color for a reason - you can see the rotating blades as a circle with a different color.... their turbine blades are plain while - so harder to see while spinning.

it's definitely doable - with much lower outputs than they declare , but highly impractical and even dangerous...

I can only imagine getting 10m/s at ground level at the beach.

By the way, power output is about 10 times less than advertised and we haven't taken into account inefficiencies.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 12:51:38 pm by ivan747 »
Nothing like the smell of rosin core solder in the morning.
"Could you not use some of that crowdfunded $1.5 million to hire a graphic designer who understands perspective?" -Delta
"A soldering station I bought once had a sticker on it that said, I shit you not, 'QENUINE'." -c4757p
 

Offline nitro2k01

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 01:17:50 pm »
Weather it will or not is another question.
Don't know if that typo was intentional, but it seems appropriate for the product.
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Offline Bud

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2015, 03:53:51 pm »
Who the hell would need a wind turbine to charge an iPhone
  :-DD
Backers should have stopped right there and walk away after just seeing that picture.
 

Offline Fid

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2015, 05:30:29 pm »
 

Offline edy

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2015, 01:54:09 am »
I give credit to the industrial design of this wind-turbine.... They managed to make it fold up nicely into a cylinder to make it easy to transport, and it opens up beautifully into a little tripod and the top pops out, bends 90-degrees and allows you to fold our your blades.

The only problem is, to get the blades to fold and fit nicely into that shape, they have to be designed a certain shape. They appear to be very thin and especially at the tips where the greatest torque could be applied by the wind to turn it, and I am not certain about the aerodynamic shortcuts that had to be done to make them fit the industrial design concept of "folding into a cylinder".

So while it looks like a sleek and sexy design, I'd like to see an actual prototype performance characteristic before jumping on it. Have any test results been released? Any independently verified claims? The low funding may not be indicative of their actual funding, because they may have just used Kickstarter as an "awareness-raising" platform while they look to raise other V.C. funding.

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Offline Kilrah

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Offline mswhin63

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2015, 03:40:37 pm »
I can see another batteriser type video being created.

They have a Skarp demo video out, but clearly its a thin wire that do the cutting, probably by a curent running tru the wire and the resistance in it gives heat - not a laser..  :palm:


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/skarp/the-skarp-laser-razor-21st-century-shaving/posts/1364296

https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/assets/004/572/003/a2bda3e013ca8c957d1210f3b8f692ea_h264_high.mp4
.
 

Offline ajb

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2015, 03:02:08 am »
They have a Skarp demo video out, but clearly its a thin wire that do the cutting, probably by a curent running tru the wire and the resistance in it gives heat - not a laser..  :palm:
It's not clearly described in their pitch, but it appears that the idea is to couple the laser into an optical fiber stretched across where the blade would be, and when a hair comes into contact with the fiber the change in refractive index causes the light to escape the fiber and be absorbed by the hair.  Not sure how they avoid dumping energy into skin.  Pretty clever idea if it actually works well enough to shave with and they can make the fiber durable enough for daily shaving and cleaning.
 

Offline RayJ

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2016, 07:03:23 am »
Case closed, I believe...

I haven't seen any activity on this topic in quite a while, so I thought I would post the latest information.

Kickstarter has suspended all of the campaigns in question related to the Trinity generators.  They almost never take that action.

According to Iceland Magazine, 19 October, 2015, the brothers and possibly others were under investigation for fraud related to their wind turbine product Trinity, funded under Kickstarter. The URL for the article is: http://icelandmag.visir.is/article/icelandic-brothers-suspected-raising-350000-usd-fraudulent-kickstarter-campaigns

From Iceland Magazine, 8 February, 2016, one of the brothers, Einar Agustsson, was indicted for massive fraud and embezzlement related to the product and Kickstarter campaign.  The URL for this article is: http://icelandmag.visir.is/article/icelander-accused-engineering-fraudulent-kickstarter-campaigns-indicted-fraud-and

I would say the evidence seems to indicate that the entire project is a loss and few people, if any, will recover any of their funds.  It looks like Einar has been a very bad boy...
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: More Kickstarter fraud?
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2016, 10:01:44 am »
Quote
I came across this Kickstarter campaign and realized that it is probably fraud.

I took a quick look at it and I would say that all their claims sound true, but probably not collectively true. So it is probably not a fraud but potentially misleading.

Having said that, I think they are doing a great service: you cannot save people from their own stupidities. The best way to get people to learn is to let them make mistakes, preferably painful mistakes so they can remember those mistakes for a long time and don't make the same mistakes again, hopefully.

So the best you can do is to actually let people fall for scammers like this. It is good for them in the long run.
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