Motobrain Update

April 24, 2014 in 8 Channel PDU by Joshua Oster-Morris

I’ve been busy working on the supply chain for parts and manufacturing. I’ve been party to countless calls and emails with vendors all over the globe. Things are progressing but it is slow going. While my intention is to have these manufactured in the USA, I’ve found that it is pretty darn unaffordable to do in small quantities. I thought I would start out having a local CM (contract manufacturer) build me 100 units to test out all the process and get me some product to start shipping to prospective customers. The numbers I was getting were pretty unrealistic for that small quantity so I bit the bullet and asked a Chinese vendor to assemble the 100 sample boards for me. I should have samples of those within 4 weeks with the rest coming a few weeks later. I am optimistic but recognize that much can go wrong. Assuming they are good, I’ll do the casting myself to start. The casting is pretty time consuming and tedious though, even for the CMs. I have some guys looking into an automated over mold injection rig for casting Motobrain. I think in volume that will be more affordable. I’m working out the ROI on that now.

I have a guy working on figuring out if it is possible to get a “Made in the USA” mark. The chips on the board come from all over the world and I cannot really affect that. I would very much like to have that on my product but it may not be possible. I should know that in a few weeks.

In other news, I spent the last few hours playing with my Android compiler. I already have got some rather basic communication happening. I think Android will be reasonably painless to implement. Unfortunately Verizon isn’t updating my phone so it won’t be compatible. I’m going to need a new phone to take advantage of this for my personal Motobrain installs. In practice it has not been a big annoyance to only fart around with the Motobrain in my garage where I have my iPad available to interface with it. Still, it would be nice to be able to play with it while on the road so I can take advantage of the telemetry in case I need to solve some kind of electrical problem roadside. Motobrain is really valuable there because it is like having a multimeter built into your vehicle which reports directly to you phone.

Finally, the new automated test jig in is the mail. With it, I should be able to test all 100 of those Motobrain boards coming from China in a couple hours.


Motobrain Update

April 9, 2014 in 8 Channel PDU by Joshua Oster-Morris

Latest Motobrain being assembled:


Latest Motobrain Finished


Motobrain comes out of a new mold

April 5, 2014 in 8 Channel PDU by Joshua Oster-Morris

This prototype isn’t perfect but I will fill the void and try again on Monday with a bit more vacuum. The texture of the final casting is very cool, it feels velvety. I wonder that huge amount of new surface area (the velvet) will improve its ability to radiate heat?

At this point I am just spinning my wheels while I wait on manufacturing quotes. I met with a bunch of factories (all in the USA) on the 27th and we are working our way through the quoting process to get these built by people who are better at every single production step than I am (thankfully). It is funny how being an engineer who works in abstract ideas really doesn’t translate to being good at any tangible skills. Oh well, at least I can do abstract pretty well.

I am about halfway through the design of the quality system which will provide me and the manufacturer with assurances that the device functions as expected BEFORE it is potted. At that point I expect the manufacturer to warranty the device for defects so both the factory and I will have a lot of input on the quality system since they have a lot to lose if it is bad.

I have to admit, I am really excited about this unit. It is just shy of perfect.


Casting success

April 1, 2014 in 8 Channel PDU by Joshua Oster-Morris

After a few attempts I’ve figured out how cast Motobrains without introducing voids. In brief, the solution is to put the resin is VERY SLOWLY with the mold at an angle (just like everyone told me to).


These are examples of failed attempts.