Poll

Should the new EEVblog custom meter be open source (firmware + schematic)

Yes
186 (69.4%)
No
10 (3.7%)
It depends
23 (8.6%)
I don't care
49 (18.3%)

Total Members Voted: 262

Author Topic: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?  (Read 32201 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« on: May 02, 2016, 11:42:19 pm »
As the title says.
This is NOT the BM235, it's the fully custom meter that is being worked on.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 11:58:14 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2016, 12:02:40 am »
The question is not clear. If you are even considering making it open source, then there is really no drawback to doing so, just publish all you have in the end.

Another question if you want to run it as an open source project accepting contributions from people. Then it becomes more of a hassle.
Alex
 

Offline bson

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 12:17:30 am »
Sure, I vote yes.  I think it adds value to it.  So, assuming it fits your business needs - do it!

It would be even cooler to open source if it were a bench instrument that can be expanded with custom acquisition boards and firmware!  For example, make multiple units potential operate in a master-slave mode to make multiple time-synchronized measurements, controlled from and stored onto a microSD card on the master.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2016, 12:21:36 am »
One thing that comes to mind, is that if it is FULLY open sourced. Others can make custom firmware for it, which may extend its functionality. E.g. Turning it into a powerful data logger, etc etc.
Because most other multimeters are closed source, it should be useful to have an open sourced one. Especially if it is of good build quality and reasonably accurate.

One (E.g. some Canons) or more cameras (even though it is NOT officially open sourced), can have custom firmware. So firmware has been made available (by the community), to give low cost cameras powerful features, such as time lapse photography etc etc.

Maybe a similar thing could happen to the multimeter, if successful.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2016, 12:22:12 am »
The question is not clear. If you are even considering making it open source, then there is really no drawback to doing so, just publish all you have in the end.

It is not just me doing this, another company is involved who is unsure of the value of open sourcing.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2016, 12:23:20 am »
It would be even cooler to open source if it were a bench instrument that can be expanded with custom acquisition boards and firmware!  For example, make multiple units potential operate in a master-slave mode to make multiple time-synchronized measurements, controlled from and stored onto a microSD card on the master.

It is not that. Handheld meter.
 

Online lukier

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2016, 12:29:40 am »
The question is not clear. If you are even considering making it open source, then there is really no drawback to doing so, just publish all you have in the end.

It is not just me doing this, another company is involved who is unsure of the value of open sourcing.

I think it would be a nice to have feature, but no a dealbreaker.

Is this company really keen on releasing open source? It would be very surprising, as I expect they used codebase they've been developing for years for a range of products, some dependencies might come from external vendor under NDA, yadda yadda.

Also, let's hope certification bodies (UL, CAT) are OK with this.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2016, 12:30:52 am »
Software, hardware or both?



     
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online Marco

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2016, 12:31:19 am »
For purpose build hardware with little to no room for software hacking schematics for repair are all that's needed really.

If it was a micro driven device it would be different.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2016, 12:34:52 am »
Also, let's hope certification bodies (UL, CAT) are OK with this.

I was thinking this as well.  Seems like a big can of worms.
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2016, 12:35:25 am »
It is not just me doing this, another company is involved who is unsure of the value of open sourcing.
I don't know how it goes for hardware, but for software, I open source all my personal projects and I see a huge value in that. If software is of any interest, then you will be getting free contributions and functionality extensions.
Alex
 

Offline Satch

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2016, 12:36:53 am »
As a newbie to the forum I don't really want to cast a vote so to speak but if it hinders the release then I would think really hard about whether it was absolutely necesaary. I haven't  been this jacked about a new piece of kit  since I was a kid daydreaming in the Heathkit  catalogue.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2016, 12:37:09 am »
For that company, open sourcing it would be a good learning experience as to the value of making at least the firmware and schematics available. I very much hesitate to purchase devices that I can't at least repair when the need arises. Conversely, I'm much more drawn to devices that can be hacked (in the true sense of the word) as well as repaired. Even if I don't have the time to do the hacking myself, there's intangible value to the possibility of doing so at any time. And it's fun seeing what others are able to accomplish. That's what open source is really about, not blantantly replicating designs for profit.

So, yes, at least make the firmware and schematics available. I'd also be interested in the rest of what goes on with an open hardware product (i.e., the process of bringing it to market, working with partners, keeping the product alive and fresh despite inevitable mass copying, etc.).
I TEA.
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2016, 12:42:15 am »
If you can get it I would say yes. ( if UL and the  manufacturer allow it)
But obviously you would need to price fairly competitively to beat the clones.

It would be good for the EEVBlog brand I think, your clients being engineers, electronic hackers, hobbyists, people with an interest in what is going on under the hood.
It would be good if people need to customise their meter for some specific purpose that they cant get with other meters.

 

Offline apelly

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 12:42:26 am »
The Chinese will copy it badly.

If you're selling it at a fair price and the quality is reasonable then you have nothing to fear. In fact, you just won over 100% of the worlds 'makers'

If you're taking the piss with the price then the Chinese clones might be a real threat. (Some. Most?) People intuit when they're getting screwed. I doubt many people will be buying them for work.

Personally, I think it'd be awesome to open source it. I don't need another meter. I doubt I'd buy one of yours if it was closed.
I'd rather a Google clue, link, or some theory than "do this" (generally)
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 12:47:51 am »
The Chinese will copy it badly.
Only if it actually adds value over most of the meters on the market.

UNI-T makes reasonable meters at a reasonable price. They are good enough for most day to day low-voltage work. There is no point in competing with that.

And you need to do a lot of marketing before volumes on this thing will become big enough to justify tooling for plastics and all that good stuff. I doubt that any Chinese vendor will be interested even if all active users of this forum make a preorder.

I think the bigger questions is, what are the main killer features? Having uCurrent built-in would be a nice one, for example.
Alex
 

Online ConKbot

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2016, 01:01:45 am »
Depends, do you want to deal with the whiny osh crowd complaining about file formats, software libraries and such?
 

Offline TheDirty

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2016, 02:03:46 am »
Tough choice and I'm not sure what a forum poll will do.  We have everything to gain from it being open source and nothing to lose.

As a manufacturer you have to juggle the benefit of extra sales with the chance of lost sales due to copies and the possibility of extra support and possible legal costs.  Having it open source may imply the manufacturer supports diy modification.
Mark Higgins
 

Offline tombi

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2016, 02:22:17 am »
Definitely open source firmware - I mean really is there any significant IP in that? On the other hand people might implement features that could be merged back into the 'official' distribution. Does it have a comms interface? Are you planning to provide Linux/Mac support? If the protocol is open somebody might do it for you!

If you are aiming for the hobbyist market, some of the HobbyKing RC hardware is a good example. It's popularity stems from it's hackability (like the Turnigy transmitters and the AfroTech ESCs, KK and MuiltiWii control boards etc).

Hardware - at least make the schematic and component placements open - think of all the broken HP/Agilent/Tektronix gear we all buy and fix because the service manuals contain full schematics.

Open sourcing doesn't imply anything in terms of warranty I think - you can write what you want in the license. Physical modification has to void warranty (for safety if nothing else)
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2016, 02:25:51 am »
Is this company really keen on releasing open source? It would be very surprising, as I expect they used codebase they've been developing for years for a range of products, some dependencies might come from external vendor under NDA, yadda yadda.

Like most companies they do not understand it and are hesitant.

Quote
Also, let's hope certification bodies (UL, CAT) are OK with this.

Interesting thought, but I can't see why they wouldn't be. They certify the meter they are given. And meters have upgradeable firmware all the time.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2016, 02:29:06 am »
If you can get it I would say yes. ( if UL and the  manufacturer allow it)
But obviously you would need to price fairly competitively to beat the clones.

Open sourcing does really enable clones, they will happen regardless.
In fact, open sourcing under a suitable license can protect the company, because it legally forces any company to that uses the code or schematic to also open source their product and improvements.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2016, 02:31:34 am »
Definitely open source firmware - I mean really is there any significant IP in that?

That's what I'm trying to convince them, that there really isn't any IP in it.
The code that talks to the chipset? Meh, every other meter makes uses the same chip and likely has their own code.
Code for the functions? Meh, every other meter maker already has their own code to do that.
Code for the Bluetooth and data logging etc, same thing.
etc
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2016, 02:32:13 am »
Depends, do you want to deal with the whiny osh crowd complaining about file formats, software libraries and such?

I'll include a big fat ASCII middle finder in the code  ;D
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2016, 02:33:57 am »
As a manufacturer you have to juggle the benefit of extra sales with the chance of lost sales due to copies

Any cloner can get the code out of even a code protected micro. PCB's can be reverse engineered in days. You can't stop them.
PCB files and CAD case files etc will not be released for that reason though.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Should The EEVblog Meter Be Open Source?
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2016, 02:35:29 am »
If you're selling it at a fair price and the quality is reasonable then you have nothing to fear. In fact, you just won over 100% of the worlds 'makers'

That's the point.
Zero open source meters on the market, so this one becomes defacto standard.

Quote
Personally, I think it'd be awesome to open source it. I don't need another meter. I doubt I'd buy one of yours if it was closed.

Good data point, thanks.
 


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