ECG-DR4 Pre-Production Units - Progress Report

j1sys

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Greetings -

Want to give you the latest news on the DR4 ... 9:00pm EDT USA Friday 17 Sep 2010

After the show in North Carolina last month we came back and made a lot of small (but big) changes to the design of the DR4. Some were based on testing and experience with the DR4 prototypes and some were 'forced' upon us by a world-wide shortage of several critical components.

So we spent a week or so fine tuning the design and then ordered some PC Boards and a small pre-production assembly run. If all testing of the pre-pro units goes well this weekend we expect to place a production order next Monday or Tuesday.

The changes include:

Upgraded Master processor to a PIC32MX340F512H - this will give us even more processing power, some more Ethernet throughput, more flash for programming and web pages, and more RAM for buffering. This upgrade was forced on us because of supply issues with the PIC24H chip we have been using. It was made fairly easily due to a pin-to-pin compatibility between the two processors. We only had to change a few traces in the hardware design.

Swapped SST25VF016B flash for our AT26DF161A flash - the ATMEL flash (both old and new) are in short supply. We managed to acquire an entire reel of SST25VF016B flash and this will guarantee our supply for the rest of the year.

Changed the power supply connector from USB-B to 2.5mm x 5.5mm barrel jack - we had tried to use the USB-B as an easy standard to supply the 5VDC of regulated power. We found the quality of differing USB wall mount power supplies to be problematic. We standardized on a 2amp high quality regulated 5VDC wall mount power supply. We have acquired them in quantity for USA, EU, and Australian power plugs.

Changed the separate Qty 4 RJ45 jacks and Qty 8 indicator LEDs to a 1x4 RJ45 with two LEDs per jack one piece unit - this will be easier for manufacturing and require just one opening in the front panel for the enclosed unit.

Other minor updates include using all 2.54mm jumper blocks instead of a mix of 2mm and 2.54mm

---------

Progress:

The SMD assembled pre-pro boards arrived this morning (Friday). We assembled the needed through-hole components to build up the power and Ethernet sections and worked all day on upgrading the software to run on the PIC32. After working all day we got the TCP/IP work all finished and tested by early evening. We then rapidly brought four other boards up to the same assembly level and tested all five boards.

Tomorrow we expect to get the upgraded flash working and all of the slaves working with the master. Then test thoroughly on Sunday and ship a few out to some testers on Monday.

On Monday we will finish the CNC design for the front/rear panels of the enclosures and finalize pricing.

Monday we will open up ordering for delivery approximately 14 days later.

So, a busy month behind and a busy weekend ahead.

I'll post more information and photos tomorrow evening.

-Ed
 

j1sys

There are no rules, and those are the rules.
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Knoxville TN USA
David -

I've looked at the link and other info on the Madrix site. It does not appear that Madrix supports E1.31. They do support Art-Net II.

We will be adding Art-Net II support, as an option, in early October. We already have a working Art-Net II listener from another project. It actually is better suited to the DR4 than to the DMXRen8. Art-Net II has a practical limit of 4 universes per node unless a secondary IP address or other smoke and mirrors is added to get around the limitation.

-Ed

Also for all - here is an additional photo of the R&D table with an ECG-DR4 in the foreground hooked up to 3 Ren8s and 1 LT-6803 DMX->6803 controller. Beyond the lamp is a row of ECG-DR4s waiting for their final connectors to be installed and tested. Other photos are on our product page for the DR4
 

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neilric99

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j1sys

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Ordering Update:

I will be sending out invoices this weekend. Working on getting final touches on DR4 to be ready to ship ASAP.

I have increased the first production run quantity and have lifted the 1 unit per person limit. If you would like to upgrade to 2 units in the first order that should be OK. Please let me know by Saturday.

I also am looking at shipping a case of pre-packaged boxes to Phil in Australia via International Express Mail and then having him reship to the Aussie customers via Domestic Express satchels. The numbers are looking like approximately $30 for the 2lb boxes and $6/pound for the extra weight units (above the 2 lbs). This is below the International Priority pricing and yet will be delivered at the International Express Mail + 1-2 days speed. Would the Aussie customers please give me their feedback via email on whether I should do this? If 4-6 people agree to this I will send the invoices out with the lower freight costs. I will add this as an ordering option on the web site soon.

We may, in future, stock some units with Phil. You will still pay for the approx $30 fee to defray the costs but should then receive the units in 2 days like our USA customers.

-Ed
 

fasteddy

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j1sys said:
Ordering Update:

I will be sending out invoices this weekend. Working on getting final touches on DR4 to be ready to ship ASAP.

I have increased the first production run quantity and have lifted the 1 unit per person limit. If you would like to upgrade to 2 units in the first order that should be OK. Please let me know by Saturday.

I also am looking at shipping a case of pre-packaged boxes to Phil in Australia via International Express Mail and then having him reship to the Aussie customers via Domestic Express satchels. The numbers are looking like approximately $30 for the 2lb boxes and $6/pound for the extra weight units (above the 2 lbs). This is below the International Priority pricing and yet will be delivered at the International Express Mail + 1-2 days speed. Would the Aussie customers please give me their feedback via email on whether I should do this? If 4-6 people agree to this I will send the invoices out with the lower freight costs. I will add this as an ordering option on the web site soon.

We may, in future, stock some units with Phil. You will still pay for the approx $30 fee to defray the costs but should then receive the units in 2 days like our USA customers.

-Ed
Saving money on shipping could only be a good thing
 

SmartAlecLights

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phil, Im unable to send Ed a email message
whats the chance he'll notice this post saying i would like a dr4 an the pickit3 to go with it.
alec
 

Wombat

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I sent my email to him this afternoon and mentioned to look here cause others have answered here
 

j1sys

There are no rules, and those are the rules.
Community project designer
Joined
May 19, 2010
Messages
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Location
Knoxville TN USA
Alec et al -

I don't understand 'trouble sending Ed an email'. Is anybody having trouble sending email to j1sales@joshua1systems.com? We did switch registrars last week for our domain but have not noticed any diminishment in orders, personal email, or worst of all spam.

Alec - please try again. I will need your shipping address communicated somehow so I can prepare an invoice and send it to you for verification and payment.

Aussies - I am going to assume that all Aussie orders would like to save the money and use the Aussie Express Special that we have discussed. Thanx to Phil for agreeing to help with this re-shipping effort.

All -

I will try to get the invoices out ASAP. I am not in a great hurry to get your money. If i get it my wife will just spend it paying all the bills i've wracked up getting these projects off the ground. Shipping is still, at minimum, 1 week away.

I've had a very busy weekend re-introducing myself to my CNC equipment and have now completed the milling of prototype front and rear panels for the DR4. I have one more trick up my sleeve that is waiting on a new piece of equipment to arrive today (Monday) and will then post photos of the finished unit. Then setup the machine to do a step and repeat and make the first run in-house 8 sets at a time. Met last night with a machinist to discuss options for production quantity runs but feel that in-house production will be needed to get these first orders out.

Production is progressing steadily through it's many steps. I am doing everything humanly possible and paying all rush fees necessary to try and get them through production and headed my way this week. One bump in the road that I am trying to beat is that Oct 1 - Oct 7 is a holiday in China and some of my production facilities will be closed from Oct 1 - Oct 3. I also don't know how normal things like FedEx and DHL and outgoing customs clearance will be affected.

So, great progress, gritting my teeth and digging in my heels trying to get these units to you as soon as possible.

Photos of enclosures with panels etc to be posted tonight USA time after the new equipment arrives!!!

-Ed
 
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