Sept 20, 2015
Firstly, I need to apologize for the length of this update. It’s been a while and it gets a little technical so that I can somehow express the difficulty of the issues we have tackled and nervously are ready to bless. I’ll end it with an email I sent just this morning to a backer that was looking for a refund (the 3rd overall) with some threatening undertones.
Wow, what are the issues and how long can it take to find and test them?
We still have battery life issues. We are shooting for 18 months, we hope to get 12 months. We still don’t understand why it is not 24 months.
We made 4 significant changes in this area related to the process of determining and checking for airflow but we believe there is more to the issue and it’s the big reason we haven’t shipped. This is the ‘nervous’ I mentioned above and it’s just our nature to try ‘one more thing’ as it consumes our thoughts. We probably should be happy with 12 months but we promised 18 or better.
In doing this testing, we found a slight drift in our airspeed data as the battery voltage was reduced. Because we determine airspeed to .1 MPH, ‘slight’ ends up being significant.
We took way too much time on this one because we had software fix done pretty early but again as it is our nature, we decided to take the electronics down to bare-bones to see what was going on. The battery power is regulated so a lower voltage battery should make no difference. We know we are dealing with an anomaly of the regulator. This potentially was a big issues in that it caused a HIGHER airspeed reading and a clogged filter alert may never occur in some cases.
My HVAC system was a new Trane system and I have been using a FW for almost 2 years. Aside from some small issues, I get really good results. I changed out the blower motor to a ‘basic’ A/C (Alternating Current) motor that is in a majority of homes (I’m guessing).
The speed of an A/C motor (or any motor) is a function of voltage. In a regulated DC system like the Trane, that speed will be very consistent because it is controlled with feedback. On a basic system, the A/C voltage supplied by your power company will change by 10% and hence the motor speed will change. I don’t know if this has bitten us yet but in testing, it would have. Since making the motor change, our day to day airspeed check varies more than it did previously.
When we first started all this we had all kinds of algorithms related to the data we gathered from our sensor. We still have those but what we have found (and continue to find) is we need to have similar algorithms at the HVAC level to handle a wide range of installations. for example, After 20 days we detect a clogged filter, instead of alarming as we did before, we check it again in a day, if the result says there is no alarm, then we continue to check but in a ‘verify alarm state’. This state could last for up to 5 days. This should eliminate any concern from a varying power source.
Whew, too much to consume and that’s we don’t do too many technical updates. I’ve simplified some of the issues and the testing to make sure this stuff works.
We want to get this stuff done as much as you all want your product and we keep setting our goals a week or 2 away and can never seem to meet those. We are going to shoot for mid Oct. to resume shipping.
So we have had a total of 3 people asking for refunds and many more asking for an update. Hopefully I have given you enough of an update to let you know our pain.
I recently informed one of the backers that we are not issuing refunds. I won’t post their response but here is my response to their response:
Do what you have to do.
I’m obviously different from you in that I have lost significant money on other projects I bought into and I don’t see things from your point of view. I realize that I am an early adopter and the risk goes up. Would you rather I delivered something that didn’t work for you? I’m sure you bought many products that sit around and do nothing and in retrospect you wish you hadn’t.
The difference in the companies I invested in is that they finally ended their run.
We are not quitting. Yes, I admit we are very late. I have a pet peeve about those things I buy that sit around and do nothing. Sometimes I’m pissed at the company but most of the time I am pissed at myself.
That’s the driving reason why we want to get it working perfectly and I believe one of the ‘half baked’ promises I made was ‘not being a product that sat in a drawer somewhere’.
I’ve used FW for almost 2 years in my home with just minor issues. I recently down-graded my A/C blower unit to re-create issues that are causing us headaches. We’ve made the commitment.
When Mike and I are ready to put our tails between our legs, I’ll contact everyone to let them know and we’ll still deliver a product that is useful as we have put in several tools that help us check the status of our HVAC airflow.