Author Topic: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)  (Read 60493 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AlanS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 98
  • Country: au
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #175 on: November 26, 2019, 08:55:11 pm »
Don't stress about the guy going missing. There are mongrels everywhere - I hope he got nothing from you.  :box:

I'd suggest that you keep the updates happening (on the Crowd Funding page). Some of the stuff you have been talking about with jbb may be a good starting point - he drinks, so he can't be all bad. The updates will show that this is a product for the future and not a dead end.

What other modules are you looking at - other than power supplies? A self contained generator/meter for complete frequency responses - or other module combinations for designer/maker small production runs would keep interest going.

And then there are your early birds. It appears that as most of your clients want "one with the lot" and are prepared to pay for it. You have 80-odd potential product ambassadors who should promote the unit in order to ensure that they get theirs. Best of luck.

 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix

Offline AlanS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 98
  • Country: au
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #176 on: November 26, 2019, 09:01:49 pm »
One more thought. How about a demo of a computer controlled test scenario/s where information is fed back to the operator for decision making?

I used a H24005 to test some Chinese vibration motors to destruction before I committed to buy more. I'm not aware of any other power supply family that can do the work of the products in the Envox family AT THEIR PRICE POINT.
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #177 on: November 27, 2019, 08:24:26 am »
Don't stress about the guy going missing. There are mongrels everywhere - I hope he got nothing from you.  :box:

I'd suggest that you keep the updates happening (on the Crowd Funding page). Some of the stuff you have been talking about with jbb may be a good starting point - he drinks, so he can't be all bad. The updates will show that this is a product for the future and not a dead end.

Project/product is all but dead! The first update should be ready in 2-3 days and it covers in more details data logging that can be start with one (two :)) clicks. Logged data can be displayed immediately during a logging and when logging is finished. It is also possible to transfer logged data now to PC with one click action! Taking screenshots, and SD card file manager will be also presented in the first update.

We're also preparing presentation of MicroPython scripting, which is, I believe, another unique feature of the device in its price category (if anyone at all has the ability to run Python scripts directly on the device, not its PC control application). As first scripts example I'd like to make a diode tester and simple transistor curve tracer. Therefore your suggestions about curve tracer "feature set" is welcome. I have a basic understanding what is needed to draw U-I plot, but still if someone knows where to find a sort of flow diagram that would be nice.

What other modules are you looking at - other than power supplies? A self contained generator/meter for complete frequency responses - or other module combinations for designer/maker small production runs would keep interest going.

If we put aside 2Q and 4Q power modules, then DC power analyzer is high on the priority list (mentioned also here). Simple multi-line/channel digital and analog I/O board could be added rather quickly as a good showcase for potential builders of the other modules. I'm also interesting in building a simple Bode plotter that will require signal generator and decent A/D stage.

And then there are your early birds. It appears that as most of your clients want "one with the lot" and are prepared to pay for it. You have 80-odd potential product ambassadors who should promote the unit in order to ensure that they get theirs. Best of luck.

That's right and I want to thank you for your support. I do believe that other backers also will find a time to spread a word about BB3.

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #178 on: November 27, 2019, 08:28:41 am »
One more thought. How about a demo of a computer controlled test scenario/s where information is fed back to the operator for decision making?

I used a H24005 to test some Chinese vibration motors to destruction before I committed to buy more. I'm not aware of any other power supply family that can do the work of the products in the Envox family AT THEIR PRICE POINT.

Huh, that is something that I need badly: a "use case" how EEZ PSU helps one in everyday work and what is not easily achievable with basic PSU. May I contact you via PM for more details? That could be a great story for the next newsletter!

Offline AlanS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 98
  • Country: au
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #179 on: November 28, 2019, 07:56:25 am »
Of course!
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix

Offline Ranayna

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 400
  • Country: de
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #180 on: November 28, 2019, 10:57:07 am »
I have had quite some time now to think around your project. I was not sure where to post this, but I think it fits a bit better here than in the announcement post.

The points I am going to outline all are related to the mechanical design. I am also aware that, for the running campaign, not much (if anything) can be changed. Also, I am referencing the open box picture on Crowdsupply.

  • 1. The wiring harness.
    Is the harness routed as it is in the picture, or is that pic more of a showcase of the harness? I would be afraid if the harness could be pinched between the divider and the lid when something heavy is placed on top of the BB3. I would prefer the harness to be routed through the divider. Also, a minor point, looking at the lowest module, it seems that the harness is a tad too short, flexing the board.
  • 2. The Aux Power Board.
    Actually my biggest critique of the design. By the looks of it, I would have to open the BB3 to unplug it. Would it not make much more sense to have a power jack on the back panel and run wires to the AUX board, instead of having that deeply recessed power jack? In the process I would also make the fuse accessible without opening the box
  • 3. The Ethernet port.
    I have read you explaining somewhere here that the ethernet port is where it is, mainly for routing issues. I get that, looking at the gerbers, moving the port to the other side may be a major issue. One suggestion that should be possible without major changes: Use a "top loading" RJ45 jack. Maybe even keep the LED indicators on the front panel. Then use a small patch cord with a clip-in coupling to route the network to the back of the unit.
  • 4. The backplane.
    Last point, and the biggest. I'm sure you have explained it somewhere: Why not an actual, well, backplane?
    That would of course be a major change. Something that would require a re-spin of almost everything. But the ability of changing modules without opening the box would be a major benefit in my opinion, especially once more modules become available. And I'm sure a backplane could be designed to allow enough airflow.
    But of course proper backplane connectors are expensive, and additional mechanical features like guide rails and stable mounting of the backplane would also increase cost.

Nothing of this will be stopping my pledge (which I may still upgrade). Some of these (the harness, Aux board and maybe the network) will be things that I will try to implement with the kit.
I just wanted to present my ideas. I'm sure you had good reasons to design the BB3 as you did.
Maybe some of that can be used for an eventual BB4 ;)


   
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #181 on: November 28, 2019, 11:43:57 am »
Thanks for your feedback and support!

I have had quite some time now to think around your project. I was not sure where to post this, but I think it fits a bit better here than in the announcement post.

The points I am going to outline all are related to the mechanical design. I am also aware that, for the running campaign, not much (if anything) can be changed. Also, I am referencing the open box picture on Crowdsupply.

1. The wiring harness.
Is the harness routed as it is in the picture, or is that pic more of a showcase of the harness? I would be afraid if the harness could be pinched between the divider and the lid when something heavy is placed on top of the BB3. I would prefer the harness to be routed through the divider. Also, a minor point, looking at the lowest module, it seems that the harness is a tad too short, flexing the board.

Wiring to the modules are little too short, final version will be longer. I probably didn't fully understand this, but I see no way that the cables inside could be compromised by placing anything on top of BB3. Mean Well modules are mounted on the top cover (from "below"), and cables according to the modules stand between Mean Well modules and the back panel. Care should be taken to ensure that the cables are inserted under the fan.

2. The Aux Power Board.
Actually my biggest critique of the design. By the looks of it, I would have to open the BB3 to unplug it. Would it not make much more sense to have a power jack on the back panel and run wires to the AUX board, instead of having that deeply recessed power jack? In the process I would also make the fuse accessible without opening the box

If your major concern is fuse replacement, then here we go:



3. The Ethernet port.
I have read you explaining somewhere here that the ethernet port is where it is, mainly for routing issues. I get that, looking at the gerbers, moving the port to the other side may be a major issue. One suggestion that should be possible without major changes: Use a "top loading" RJ45 jack. Maybe even keep the LED indicators on the front panel. Then use a small patch cord with a clip-in coupling to route the network to the back of the unit.

Okay, it looks like some people really have a problem with this heretical approach and some don't :)
It looks like this to me, and so far I have had no problem working with it:



Yes, one option would be to place the RJ-45 on the opposite side of the PCB (where the LDO is now), add an extra patch cable and open a hole in the back panel.

4. The backplane.
Last point, and the biggest. I'm sure you have explained it somewhere: Why not an actual, well, backplane?
That would of course be a major change. Something that would require a re-spin of almost everything. But the ability of changing modules without opening the box would be a major benefit in my opinion, especially once more modules become available. And I'm sure a backplane could be designed to allow enough airflow.
But of course proper backplane connectors are expensive, and additional mechanical features like guide rails and stable mounting of the backplane would also increase cost.

Nothing of this will be stopping my pledge (which I may still upgrade). Some of these (the harness, Aux board and maybe the network) will be things that I will try to implement with the kit.
I just wanted to present my ideas. I'm sure you had good reasons to design the BB3 as you did.
Maybe some of that can be used for an eventual BB4 ;) 

Yes, this could be done in another way, i.e. how classic multi module enclosure where each module must be the same size. This has the advantage you already mentioned: if someone has more than three modules and wants to exchange them, they will need to remove 4 more screws. The current principle is just like with a PC, but everything happens on the front and not the back side and the modules can be of different sizes.

Offline Ranayna

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 400
  • Country: de
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #182 on: November 28, 2019, 12:17:53 pm »
Thanks for the reply :)

I have only looked at the pictures on the crowdsupply page.

1. It was not visible on the top-down open box shot that the Meanwell units are higher than the divider, and if I have understood you correctly, are somewhat used as structural element. That of course eliminates possible pinching. Also I would never have thought that the modules are mounted on the top cover. Interesting concept.

2. Similar here. The picture of the populated AUX-PS board shows the soldered power connector, looking as if the power cable would have to be routed to the inside. It seems you are already doing something similar to what I described  :-+

3. That looks workable. I was not aware that the feet create a gap that large.

4. I was not aware that you could swap modules while only having access to the front.  :-+  See point 1 why I though that this was not possible ;). I can see the flexibility advantage of having less limitations for the board size.
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #183 on: November 28, 2019, 12:27:02 pm »
4. I was not aware that you could swap modules while only having access to the front.  :-+  See point 1 why I though that this was not possible ;). I can see the flexibility advantage of having less limitations for the board size.

I think I need to clarify this: "everything is happening on the front and not the back side": this does not mean that the modules can be pulled out in the front, but that the PC concept is inverted: just as with a PC the cover should be removed for accessing PC cards (that are on the back side), is the same with BB3 to access modules (that are on the front side). Sorry for confusion.


Offline mcdanlj

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 30
  • Country: us
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #184 on: November 30, 2019, 11:27:26 pm »
When I first saw the BB3, I assumed that the backplane was in back and the modules could be pulled out and swapped without taking the case apart. It seemed like a reasonable assumption for modular lab equipment. Can you highlight reasons you chose to put the backplane on the bottom instead of against the back? Easier airflow for cooling?
 

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #185 on: December 01, 2019, 09:27:57 am »
Yes, easier airflow for cooling is one of the reason. With backplane on the rear you have to put cooling fan on top or below modules. That adds at least 2 extra centimeters in height.
There are two other reasons: the ability to insert modules of different lengths and the ability to extend the backplane with new connectors (for additional functions and higher speeds) while maintaining backward compatibility.

Offline jbb

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 915
  • Country: nz
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #186 on: December 01, 2019, 06:33:26 pm »
Also, if a card can be pulled out the front then people want hot (power-on) swapping, which can open several cans of worms.

The space for custom extra backplane is nice, too.
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix, AlanS

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
MicroPython on EEZ BB3
« Reply #187 on: December 08, 2019, 12:54:52 pm »
The MicroPython is coming on BB3, here is few screenshots, and more stuff is coming soon :)



Scripts folder:



Debug console (output):




 
The following users thanked this post: s8548a, AlanS, Andrew McNamara, mcdanlj

Offline AlanS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 98
  • Country: au
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #188 on: December 09, 2019, 02:12:53 am »
Does this mean that a "Test Automation" script, written on the computer, can be sent to the BB3 where the direction/options for the test itself can be controlled by an operator from the front panel of the BB3? Can the results be sent back auto-magically to the computer (Test Manager)?

For example:

A battery charging test script:
  * The script is started
  * The script asks the operator for battery type
  * The script sets up the BB3 with appropriate limits and safeguards
  * The script asks for the time length of test or test start/stop times (or other condition)
  * The script draws data from the BB3 for analysis
  * The script allows the operator to terminate the test from the front panel
 

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #189 on: December 09, 2019, 07:00:44 am »
Yes, that is one of the possible scenario. Currently auto-magical transfer of data has to be initiated by selecting the data file and click upload, but we'll add more magic to skip that step :-/O
 
The following users thanked this post: mcdanlj

Offline Andrew McNamara

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 69
  • Country: au
Safe to use DCP405 for battery charging?
« Reply #190 on: December 14, 2019, 03:29:01 am »
Is the DCP405 safe to use for battery charging (specifically, if the mains fails)?
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #191 on: December 14, 2019, 04:09:49 pm »
Thanks for asking that, I'll include that in one of the next video where various protections will be presented. Battery can remain connected regardless of blackouts and no extra diode connected in series is required as in case of many other PSU.
 
The following users thanked this post: AlanS, Andrew McNamara, mcdanlj

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
MQTT on EEZ BB3
« Reply #192 on: December 15, 2019, 10:29:05 am »
I'd like to present you a screenshot of first MQTT implementation on the BB3. It shows monitoring of output voltage and current on first two channels.
The MQTT connectivity makes BB3 an IoT client that can coexists with "fellow" IoT devices that it could power.
This first example is accomplished by setting MQTT broker on CloudMQTT and MQTT Explorer is used to make connection.



Now, we have to add possibility to receive all messages that appears in event log (e.g. protections tripped, channel fault, fan fault, etc.). I believe that could be a great feature for new modules that comes like multi channel data logging and I/O. Your inputs, ideas, comments are welcome as usual!

Offline danielbriggs

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Country: gb
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #193 on: December 16, 2019, 10:58:56 pm »
Hi Denis,
I enjoyed seeing the update you posted to the CrowdSupply page today explaining the power output coupling / tracking; something you mentioned in the original listing and one of the main reasons I joined in, but nice to see the detailed video explanation  :-+

My questions:
1. I've backed the Early Bird 2x Channel + extra DCM220 module for 4x channels... however say I wanted more channels, maybe the same again:
What options, if any, are there for tracking between multiple units? I obviously don't want to combine voltages/currents in any combination between 2x BB3's, but is it possible to turn all outputs on and off of both BB3's from one unit? Can I safely combine multiple BB3's to have one single common GND? [Say set each unit to common GND mode, and link both units with a lead?]
Many of my projects have many voltage rails, so looking for a good solution. [e.g. typically use simultaneously up to: -24V, +24V, +3.3V, +5V, +2.5V, +6.0V, +7.5V +12V], often less.
Are there any other clever features that you can think of having multiple BB3's "talk" to each other, to provide a nice scaleable solution?

2. Could a BB3 be configured with 3x DCP405 (Full) or is it limited to 2x - any other caveats running 3x DCP405 modules?

3. How future proof is the BB3 chassis? I see you made the H24005, which I'm unfamiliar with, but how long is the BB3 likely to stick around, or will there likely be a new chassis in a year or two?

4. Do you have a timeline on any new modules // roadmap?


Keep up the excellent work! I really hope you make the 100% target; the level of detail you've put in to this is really excellent.
All the best,
Dan
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 11:06:37 pm by danielbriggs »
 

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #194 on: December 17, 2019, 10:24:41 am »
1. I've backed the Early Bird 2x Channel + extra DCM220 module for 4x channels... however say I wanted more channels, maybe the same again:
What options, if any, are there for tracking between multiple units? I obviously don't want to combine voltages/currents in any combination between 2x BB3's, but is it possible to turn all outputs on and off of both BB3's from one unit? Can I safely combine multiple BB3's to have one single common GND? [Say set each unit to common GND mode, and link both units with a lead?]
Many of my projects have many voltage rails, so looking for a good solution. [e.g. typically use simultaneously up to: -24V, +24V, +3.3V, +5V, +2.5V, +6.0V, +7.5V +12V], often less.
Are there any other clever features that you can think of having multiple BB3's "talk" to each other, to provide a nice scaleable solution?

Tracking between multiple units could be accomplished from "outside" i.e. using EEZ Studio with little help of JS or by using MQTT client (we are finishing MQTT support). Anyway, we'll be more then happy to assist anyone who come with such request, that means who bought more then one BB3 unit :)
Idea is also to add into future chassis without TFT console that could house e.g. 6-7 units that do not require AC/DC converters (i.e. data loggers, I/O, switch matrix, signal generator, etc.). In that case we have to think about some "inter-chassis" communication.

2. Could a BB3 be configured with 3x DCP405 (Full) or is it limited to 2x - any other caveats running 3x DCP405 modules?

Yes, the third module could be also DCP405. Only limitation is couplings. It cannot be combined in series, parallel or as "split rails".

3. How future proof is the BB3 chassis? I see you made the H24005, which I'm unfamiliar with, but how long is the BB3 likely to stick around, or will there likely be a new chassis in a year or two?

There is two major reason why I've decided to move from H24005 to BB3: 1) limited modularity and 2) we've reached Arduino Due limits. It's conceived to last for a while and can be upgraded with new functionality. Currently, I can only think of new chassis as one mentioned above ("expansion unit"). That possibly will introduce changes on rear panel, but "real panel upgrade" could be a part of the deal in that case. Idea is to try to establish production after crowdfunding campaign.

4. Do you have a timeline on any new modules // roadmap?

There is not strict timeline but I'd do my best to complete at least two new modules in 2020: 1) 2Q DC power module with two current ranges suitable for powering and monitoring consumption of battery powered devices, and 2) simple data-logger (that "simple" is not necessary too simple :).
Please note that we are nothing even closer to smallest T&M corporation you ever heard of, and everything lasts much more time. During 2020 I'll probably need to spend more time on promotion and marketing that could seriously affect speed of development. Things is currently as it is, I don't like to inflate an illusion about something that we are not or make empty promises, but try to deliver as much as possible, aware of our limitations (our means Martin's and mine).

Keep up the excellent work! I really hope you make the 100% target; the level of detail you've put in to this is really excellent.
All the best,
Dan

Thanks Dan for your support, maybe we can make it happen.
 
The following users thanked this post: danielbriggs, AlanS, mcdanlj

Offline danielbriggs

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Country: gb
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #195 on: December 17, 2019, 02:44:14 pm »
Thanks Denis for the detailed reply; all sounds really promising.

What does the digital I/O on the front panel currently do?
Would it be easy enough to allow the units to trigger each others "outputs enable / disable" from the state of the digital IO?

If this is, then I'd almost certainly be up to backing a 2nd unit. [Not pressuring you, just would be personally useful to me if I can turn on 6-8 outputs at once].

All the best,
Dan
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix, AlanS

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #196 on: December 17, 2019, 02:47:38 pm »
Thanks for mentioning I/O ports on the front panel. There is a serial port exposed, and you can use it as trigger in/trigger out: in essence everything is already there for simple multi-chassis communication!

Offline danielbriggs

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Country: gb
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #197 on: December 17, 2019, 02:50:02 pm »
Excellent! Is any of this triggering currently implemented in the firmware?
If not, is there any chance it will be when the units are shipping?
 

Offline prasimix

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
  • Country: hr
    • EEZ
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #198 on: December 17, 2019, 02:53:06 pm »
Yes, triggering is already supported, if we need more "magic" we'll add it  :-/O

Offline danielbriggs

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Country: gb
Re: EEZ Bench Box 3 (BB3)
« Reply #199 on: December 18, 2019, 11:37:45 pm »
Yes, triggering is already supported, if we need more "magic" we'll add it  :-/O

Perfect - just backed a 2nd unit  :-DMM
 
The following users thanked this post: prasimix, AlanS, mcdanlj


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf