Author Topic: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter  (Read 36741 times)

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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #125 on: December 06, 2017, 12:48:44 pm »
  On the same note, what happens if/when there is a hardware change, and there are potentially different board revisions, with regards to firmware updates.  Will updates need to be board revision specific?
If that's done right, any new rev will have a way for the FW to determine the hardware version ( maybe just an eeprom value for HW version, written at cal /test time), and adapt accordingly - having multiple FW versions for different hardware would be a nightmare to administer, and any rev is unlikely to need so many differences that run-time adaptation isn't feasible.
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Online Fungus

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #126 on: December 06, 2017, 12:51:05 pm »
I'm not familiar with the limitations of BLE

Think "1980s modems". Single-digit kBits/sec.

Edit: I meant single-digit kBytes/sec.

maybe instead of downloading the whole, log, some way of browsing it over BLE might be useful  as you are often looking for particular events or at a particular time.
Most likely you'd give up after a few minutes and just pull the damn card out.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 02:01:39 pm by Fungus »
 

Online Fungus

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #127 on: December 06, 2017, 12:54:50 pm »
It takes less than 20 seconds to remove the holster, undo two screws (metal threaded insert), remove the battery cover and take out the SD card.
Yes, I timed it.

Maybe a video showing this (plus a photo of what the meter looks on a bench like with the door left off for easy access).

What's the rated lifetime of an SD card connector (number of insertions)?

(and will joe make a machine to test that..)
 

Offline electronic_eel

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #128 on: December 06, 2017, 01:05:25 pm »
(and will joe make a machine to test that..)
Joe is busy developing a machine to test the VA function of the meter with 121 GW  ^-^
 

Offline nidlaX

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #129 on: December 06, 2017, 01:20:11 pm »


I'm not familiar with the limitations of BLE

Think "1980s modems". Single-digit kBits/sec.
Are you exaggerating or actually quoting some design specification? SiLabs states tested transfer rates up to 8 kBytes/s using the minimum connection interval and maximum packet size. That should allow smaller logs to be transferred within a few seconds, certainly a useful feature to have.

https://www.silabs.com/community/wireless/bluetooth/knowledge-base.entry.html/2015/08/06/throughput_with_blue-Wybp
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #130 on: December 06, 2017, 01:32:59 pm »
(and will joe make a machine to test that..)
Joe is busy developing a machine to test the VA function of the meter with 121 GW  ^-^
I had made two different videos showing how the VA function worked on the prototype / pre-production meter.  It had a few problems that prevented me from running it at line levels but I assume all of this has been corrected with the released version.   

Looking at a few different connectors from various brands, it seems 10K cycles min is fairly common.  Most of the meters I have now been looking at would have a worn out rotary switch long before this would fail.  My concern with it would be mechanical stress on the solder joints but maybe they have improved the support.  Time will tell how well it holds up. 
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Online Fungus

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #131 on: December 06, 2017, 02:00:13 pm »
I'm not familiar with the limitations of BLE

Think "1980s modems". Single-digit kBits/sec.
Are you exaggerating or actually quoting some design specification? SiLabs states tested transfer rates up to 8 kBytes/s using the minimum connection interval and maximum packet size.

Ooops! Brain fart, I meant kBytes.

But yeah, not fast, nowhere near ordinary Bluetooth.

That should allow smaller logs to be transferred within a few seconds, certainly a useful feature to have.
Maybe a future firmware feature?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 02:04:23 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline nidlaX

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #132 on: December 06, 2017, 03:23:03 pm »
I'm not familiar with the limitations of BLE

Think "1980s modems". Single-digit kBits/sec.
Are you exaggerating or actually quoting some design specification? SiLabs states tested transfer rates up to 8 kBytes/s using the minimum connection interval and maximum packet size.

Ooops! Brain fart, I meant kBytes.

But yeah, not fast, nowhere near ordinary Bluetooth.

That should allow smaller logs to be transferred within a few seconds, certainly a useful feature to have.
Maybe a future firmware feature?
Not only that, but the update rate on the app should be able to match the update rate of the meter. Future firmware update indeed.
 

Offline NickS

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #133 on: December 06, 2017, 06:21:34 pm »
I have the source code and can compile if needed (have not tried it).

I am a little confused by this, if it's got a "Hackable ST ARM Cortex M3 processor" but no firmware source code, is it really any different from most other equipment out there?
It's not great if we literately have to hack it to make changes. (decompile, figure out the mess, inject new instructions, etc...)

I see this as a great meter that is customisable for more niche applications, particularly with the SD and Bluetooth it has a range of possibilities that aren't possible with most other things.
But if those functions aren't tweakable without lots of mucking around then it gets very difficult.

The community could write replacement firmware of course however that would be a lot of duplicated work and I'd be concerned about safeguards not being in place, potentially causing damage to the meter with the wrong combination of registers and also the calibration data not being usable.
 
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Offline savageautomate

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #134 on: December 06, 2017, 07:46:43 pm »
Quote
Dave/David - what is the transfer rate for log data over Bluetooth ?
About once a second as you see in the video.

This appears to be a pretty common data sampling rate for many handheld meters that I have worked with recently (via BLE, serial, USB) that are not specialized data logging meters.  In fact many meters don't provide any configurable rate, they just broadcast the current reading about once per second when connected.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 07:51:33 pm by savageautomate »
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #135 on: December 06, 2017, 08:57:19 pm »
You may well not be doing it all the time, but on the occasions you do need it, it's quite likely you will be doing multiple logging sessions, looking at results, doing another session etc., so having to swap the card could be a bit of a pain.  Apart from safety, is there any ergonomic downside to running ith the cover off  ? Are the screws self-tap or in inserts ?
I'm not familiar with the limitations of BLE - maybe instead of downloading the whole, log, some way of browsing it over BLE might be useful  as you are often looking for particular events or at a particular time.

He said metal-threaded inserts. If they are not captive, probably worth putting some small o-rings or similar on them so they don't get lost.
Downloading logs over BLE is certainly possible, just going to be a lot of effort firmware wise. I have a months worth of data logged here thats 16MB. So a day would be much less than 500kB. At 5-10kB/s transfer rate (possible with android but not IOS), it would take ~1min to transfer.

If you are doing multiple sessions, probably worth purchasing another tool (or trying the wifi SD posted, that  was a good idea). But certainly there is a small market opportunity here for dave or the manufacturer to replace the BLE module with an ESP32 (was discussed before), and maybe a dot matrix display, cost could double.

I've asked that a few times in various threads and I saw other's asking similar questions during the live feed.  For what ever the reason, they have gone unanswered.  Personally, I am not sure why it was brought up in the first place if discussing it was off limits.   With as many meters being released, I'm sure there will be countless reviews of it.  If there are problems with the hardware, I'm sure you will start hearing about them over the next several months.

On amp-hour he said the hardware change was a "nice to have" and nothing to do with a design problem.

I am a little confused by this, if it's got a "Hackable ST ARM Cortex M3 processor" but no firmware source code, is it really any different from most other equipment out there?
It's not great if we literately have to hack it to make changes. (decompile, figure out the mess, inject new instructions, etc...)

I see this as a great meter that is customisable for more niche applications, particularly with the SD and Bluetooth it has a range of possibilities that aren't possible with most other things.
But if those functions aren't tweakable without lots of mucking around then it gets very difficult.

The community could write replacement firmware of course however that would be a lot of duplicated work and I'd be concerned about safeguards not being in place, potentially causing damage to the meter with the wrong combination of registers and also the calibration data not being usable.

Most lower end meters use a ROM based micro or something not easily programmable. So its a bit better than that.
About the decompiling, that would only be possible if the manufacturer did not enable write protection.
Dave/manuf could be convinced to release the format of the calibration data, if an external EEPROM has been used. If they are using something internal to the micro thats a bit trickier.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 09:06:57 pm by thm_w »
 

Online PA0PBZ

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #136 on: December 06, 2017, 09:31:12 pm »
About the decompiling, that would only be possible if the manufacturer did not enable write protection.

All we need is a firmware update to solve that, and of course hope that it's not encrypted.
Keyboard error: Press F1 to continue.
 
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Offline G0MJW

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #137 on: December 06, 2017, 10:27:06 pm »
FWIW, my prediction is Dave sells 1842 DMMs in the Kickstarter campaign.
He already sold 1268 in 22 hours. IMO it will be at least 5k.

Nope, not a chance. I'll be surprised if it even gets to 2k.
I have blown my wad on marketing, unless I want to keep hammering it, but that will only pick up the stragglers.

I have been away for work - just looked £253,045 pledged by 1606 backers with 7 days to go - that's a lot.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #138 on: December 06, 2017, 10:35:27 pm »
How accessible is it ? I thought it was behind the screwed-down fuse cover.

It is.
It takes less than 20 seconds to remove the holster, undo two screws (metal threaded insert), remove the battery cover and take out the SD card.
Yes, I timed it.
Hardly a chore for anyone who wants to do occasional data logging. And as I said, faster than dicking around with Bluetooth BLE and a ridiculously slow data rate.

If you are doing data logging all the time, I'd recommend buying a proper data logger with the convenient interface of your choice.
You may well not be doing it all the time, but on the occasions you do need it, it's quite likely you will be doing multiple logging sessions, looking at results, doing another session etc., so having to swap the card could be a bit of a pain.  Apart from safety, is there any ergonomic downside to running ith the cover off  ? Are the screws self-tap or in inserts ?
I'm not familiar with the limitations of BLE - maybe instead of downloading the whole, log, some way of browsing it over BLE might be useful  as you are often looking for particular events or at a particular time.

I said the screws are metal threaded inserts, two of them.
You can run it with the case closed but screws undone (they are captive so won't fall out), and holster off if you want to whip it in and out all the time. No ergonomic issue apart from not having the holster.
 

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #139 on: December 06, 2017, 10:38:32 pm »
Dave
On the Amp Hour you mention you wanted to make a last minute hardware change (albeit fairly minor), but was faced with the fact that 2000 boards had already been printed, and a cost that could not be absorbed.  For this reason you were going to hold back, and maybe amend the board in a subsequent board spin.  Are you planning to do this between the first Dec batch, and the April batch, using the delay as a chance to make the change?  On the same note, what happens if/when there is a hardware change, and there are potentially different board revisions, with regards to firmware updates.  Will updates need to be board revision specific?

I've asked that a few times in various threads and I saw other's asking similar questions during the live feed.  For what ever the reason, they have gone unanswered.  Personally, I am not sure why it was brought up in the first place if discussing it was off limits.

I did not see those comments in the live thread.
Not trying to hide anything, I just thought of a feature we could maybe add at the last minute but it was too far gone. No big deal.
 

Offline nidlaX

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #140 on: December 06, 2017, 10:43:47 pm »


You may well not be doing it all the time, but on the occasions you do need it, it's quite likely you will be doing multiple logging sessions, looking at results, doing another session etc., so having to swap the card could be a bit of a pain.  Apart from safety, is there any ergonomic downside to running ith the cover off  ? Are the screws self-tap or in inserts ?
I'm not familiar with the limitations of BLE - maybe instead of downloading the whole, log, some way of browsing it over BLE might be useful  as you are often looking for particular events or at a particular time.

He said metal-threaded inserts. If they are not captive, probably worth putting some small o-rings or similar on them so they don't get lost.
Downloading logs over BLE is certainly possible, just going to be a lot of effort firmware wise. I have a months worth of data logged here thats 16MB. So a day would be much less than 500kB. At 5-10kB/s transfer rate (possible with android but not IOS), it would take ~1min to transfer.

If you are doing multiple sessions, probably worth purchasing another tool (or trying the wifi SD posted, that  was a good idea). But certainly there is a small market opportunity here for dave or the manufacturer to replace the BLE module with an ESP32 (was discussed before), and maybe a dot matrix display, cost could double.
With an STM32, you should be able to compress the log file before transfer, further reducing file size.

I would definitely back an upgraded version with graphical display and an ESP32 onboard, even if it meant battery life taking a hit and cost going up.
 

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #141 on: December 06, 2017, 10:56:56 pm »
I have the source code and can compile if needed (have not tried it).

I am a little confused by this, if it's got a "Hackable ST ARM Cortex M3 processor" but no firmware source code, is it really any different from most other equipment out there?
It's not great if we literately have to hack it to make changes. (decompile, figure out the mess, inject new instructions, etc...)

Well, I guess you aren't wrong. What was meant by that term is that there is a header inside to do this, and the schematic is open.

Quote
The community could write replacement firmware of course however that would be a lot of duplicated work and I'd be concerned about safeguards not being in place, potentially causing damage to the meter with the wrong combination of registers and also the calibration data not being usable.

I'll talk to them and see what we can release.
 

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #142 on: December 06, 2017, 10:58:16 pm »
This appears to be a pretty common data sampling rate for many handheld meters that I have worked with recently (via BLE, serial, USB) that are not specialized data logging meters.  In fact many meters don't provide any configurable rate, they just broadcast the current reading about once per second when connected.

That's basically how it works. We have not looked into the source code for the actual date rate or how the timing is implemented.
 

Offline Kire Pûdsje

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #143 on: December 06, 2017, 11:35:45 pm »
I have the source code and can compile if needed (have not tried it).

I am a little confused by this, if it's got a "Hackable ST ARM Cortex M3 processor" but no firmware source code, is it really any different from most other equipment out there?
It's not great if we literately have to hack it to make changes. (decompile, figure out the mess, inject new instructions, etc...)

Well, I guess you aren't wrong. What was meant by that term is that there is a header inside to do this, and the schematic is open.

Quote
The community could write replacement firmware of course however that would be a lot of duplicated work and I'd be concerned about safeguards not being in place, potentially causing damage to the meter with the wrong combination of registers and also the calibration data not being usable.

I'll talk to them and see what we can release.
I can think of two main reasons for not releasing.
1: commercial/IP reasons.
2: compliance issues with FCC part 15 & RED.
If it is the second, and your supplier has no problems with it, then somebody could always 'accidentally misplace' files on a server ;-). This way from a compliance point of view the manufacturer can still maintain that the product does not officiallly support 'alternative' firmwares.
 

Offline Scottjd

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #144 on: December 06, 2017, 11:55:40 pm »
I don’t think it matter if you don’t have an andriod phone that supports BLE at all.
Andriod was late to release BLE stacks, so you have to have andriod 4.3 or higher from what I was reading.
And the chipset that supports it also, I think this is 4.0.
Unlike iOS Apple devices that have supported Bluetooth BLE for a much longer time.
So I own 4 andriod devices, 2 phones, 2 tablets. And a common problem with andriod is the cellular or phone manufacturer is responsible for the andriod updates. Well 3 of these 4 I own are Samsung, and I just checked them all despite 2 of them having the proper Bluetooth hardware Samsung never released the version of andriod for BLE to work correctly. They are all running 4.2.? or lower and won’t support the BLE blutooth stack.

A lot of people with older andriod phones might be surprised when they can’t conect to the phone they own or update andriod (without needing to root it) to work with the hardware that supports it built into the phone they already own.  They will probably blame the meter, so be ready for this.

Usually their is a reason people develop the app for iOS first, and port it to andriod then windows. Because you can see the true ability of the Bluetooth device with the proper drivers and support for BLE on Apple devices. And I think (but I don’t code myself) that most libraries used in the apple development environment are usually all compatible with compiling it into andriod for an easy port of the app.

So at this point, I have no way to test the blutooth function on the meter at all unless the iOS app is released soon.
Can we get an update on the Apple iOS app so the blutooth can be used even on my oldest iPhone 4s with the meter?
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Offline thm_w

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #145 on: December 07, 2017, 12:15:47 am »
I don’t think it matter if you don’t have an andriod phone that supports BLE at all.
Andriod was late to release BLE stacks, so you have to have andriod 4.3 or higher from what I was reading.
And the chipset that supports it also, I think this is 4.0.
Unlike iOS Apple devices that have supported Bluetooth BLE for a much longer time.
So I own 4 andriod devices, 2 phones, 2 tablets. And a common problem with andriod is the cellular or phone manufacturer is responsible for the andriod updates. Well 3 of these 4 I own are Samsung, and I just checked them all despite 2 of them having the proper Bluetooth hardware Samsung never released the version of andriod for BLE to work correctly. They are all running 4.2.? or lower and won’t support the BLE blutooth stack.

A lot of people with older andriod phones might be surprised when they can’t conect to the phone they own or update andriod (without needing to root it) to work with the hardware that supports it built into the phone they already own.  They will probably blame the meter, so be ready for this.

You are talking about Galaxy S4, a four year old phone right? It is possible for you to upgrade the firmware yourself to 5.0.1 (released by samsung) or later but it WILL take effort on your part: https://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s4

Good point though for other people to watch out.
 

Online amspire

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #146 on: December 07, 2017, 12:18:25 am »
As far as open source goes, I am happy that the firmware can be upgraded, I am happy trusting Dave and UEI to get the meter running solidly, and I think it is great the Bluetooth App is fully open source.

If I am thinking about how to conveniently get extra functionality or flexibility from the meter, I probably can do more with an Android App then by modifying the multimeter code.

For example, if I had a calibrated 10V standard reference and 10 experimental references I am testing, I could use an Android App to switch the meter between the 10 tested references, measure the voltage difference between the standard voltage and the current device-under-test to 1uV. If I had to have more than 1 reading/sec, I could later correlate the Bluetooth captured data and the microSD logged data using time stamps. Hopefully logging and Bluetooth can run at the same time.

Is there going to be a document defining the available Bluetooth commands? For example, can we get the DC component, the AC component, multimeter temperature and multimeter time for a reading concurrently?

If the Bluetooth is once per second and the meter is faster - say 10 times per second - is the Bluetooth output the average of those 10 readings?

Really great job!

Richard.
 

Offline nidlaX

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #147 on: December 07, 2017, 12:27:20 am »


As far as open source goes, I am happy that the firmware can be upgraded, I am happy trusting Dave and UEI to get the meter running solidly, and I think it is great the Bluetooth App is fully open source.

If I am thinking about how to conveniently get extra functionality or flexibility from the meter, I probably can do more with an Android App then by modifying the multimeter code.

For example, if I had a calibrated 10V standard reference and 10 experimental references I am testing, I could use an Android App to switch the meter between the 10 tested references, measure the voltage difference between the standard voltage and the current device-under-test to 1uV. If I had to have more than 1 reading/sec, I could later correlate the Bluetooth captured data and the microSD logged data using time stamps. Hopefully logging and Bluetooth can run at the same time.

Is there going to be a document defining the available Bluetooth commands? For example, can we get the DC component, the AC component, multimeter temperature and multimeter time for a reading concurrently?

If the Bluetooth is once per second and the meter is faster - say 10 times per second - is the Bluetooth output the average of those 10 readings?

Really great job!

Richard.
As mentioned in the Kickstarter, the Bluetooth protocol is fully documented, not sure if it's published on Dave2's GitLab yet.

Regarding the update rate, they should ideally add configurable transmission intervals. Not sure what UEi would have against doing that.

In fact, it would be quite nice to have the ability to configure all multimeter options using a text file on the SD card.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #148 on: December 07, 2017, 12:27:31 am »

I can think of two main reasons for not releasing.
1: commercial/IP reasons.
2: compliance issues with FCC part 15 & RED.
Another possible :
3: not wanting to reveal poorly written code
Quote
If it is the second, and your supplier has no problems with it, then somebody could always 'accidentally misplace' files on a server ;-). This way from a compliance point of view the manufacturer can still maintain that the product does not officiallly support 'alternative' firmwares.
Seems unlikely that firmware on a product like this could  affect EMC performance, and radio stuff is all in the BLE module so that shouldn't be an issue.
Are there any parts  of the IEC test equipment standards that can be affected by software (e.g. showing wrong results/ failing to show overvoltage conditions)?

I think it was discussed a while ago but before FW was finished - it would be useful if the bootloader gave some clear indication that "non-stock" firmware was loaded. Did this get implemented?

Even if not released officially I'd be surprised if it didn't get reversed by someone anyway...
 
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Online amspire

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: 121GW Multimeter on Kickstarter
« Reply #149 on: December 07, 2017, 01:10:22 am »


...
Is there going to be a document defining the available Bluetooth commands? For example, can we get the DC component, the AC component, multimeter temperature and multimeter time for a reading concurrently?

...
As mentioned in the Kickstarter, the Bluetooth protocol is fully documented, not sure if it's published on Dave2's GitLab yet.

Regarding the update rate, they should ideally add configurable transmission intervals. Not sure what UEi would have against doing that.

In fact, it would be quite nice to have the ability to configure all multimeter options using a text file on the SD card.
Thanks Mike. I could not see the Bluetooth documentation on this github page:

https://github.com/EEVblog/EEVblog-121GW

I guess you need the free version of Xamarin as well.  https://www.xamarin.com

I am guessing we will see a number of interesting 121GW Apps from various people, and the good thing is that none of them have to mess up the factory firmware in the multimeter. You can have 50 different Apps for the multimeter at the same time, but you can only have one firmware installed at a time.

We will just have to see if the Bluetooth implementation in the meter is powerful or minimalistic.


 


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