QUEL White isn’t white

So an e-mail to CurrentCost HQ on Thursday 7th May 2015, got the following response back on the 8th.

We took delivery of some new plastic shell samples this week and built 5 Quels. They all seemed to work well.

The pcbs are a good fit but the colour is closer to magnolia than white so that will have to be corrected.

I don’t know what happens next but Martin seemed pleased with the progress. I’m afraid that’s all I can tell you for the moment.

So whilst it looks like there is some progress, the Quel project appears to continue to be plagued with ill fortune.
The original delivery date for Quel was of course November 2013, it’s now some 18 months late with no end in sight. Of course promises were made for those that decided to continue to back the project, will those promises be honored ?

More significant though has to be the fact that the hardware (an android based tablet) is now 18 months older.

Updates as and when we get them.

QUEL Surprise

 

 

new-8edit

So, nearly 3 months since our last update on the status of the CurrentCost QUEL that 58 people backed on https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-new-current-cost-quel  In late November CurrentCost had taken delivery of the custom PCB’s to be used in the QUEL, with them waiting on the plastic case parts.

photo 2

 

No further information was received, and requests for more details by Twitter and e-mail go unanswered. However an e-mail to support got the following response

Thank you for your recent message.

We have had a delivery of circuit boards and now we are just waiting for the plastic casings to arrive before building can commence.

So, no actual progress in the last 3 months, and no update to any of the backers of the product.

QUEL Care

Whilst Indiegogo backers wait for the arrival of their Quel’s, CurrentCost are already marketing solutions based around it.

The first is being CurrentCare, marketed with the tag line

“Now thats Quelity Care”

Here’s the blurb, and some screenshots.

Current Cost have announced its new range of Low Cost Telecare products under its new division, Current Care (www.currentcare.uk.com)
With an ageing population and limited spaces at care homes, the optimum solution of assisted living, requires a total home monitoring system.
A comprehensive range of discrete sensors send data to Current Cost’s latest Consumer Access Device called ‘The QUEL’ – this can be easily configured to alert a carer by email or SMS to any unusual behaviour patterns.
An example for Dementia sufferers could be a door opening late at night which would instantly text message the carer/relative.
Coupled with Current Cost’s utility monitoring solutions, the QUEL can also monitor temperature, energy usage and water usage, to help ensure the dependant is not only maintaining ideal room temperatures, but also not wasting gas, electricity or water with unnecessary usage.
Sensors include, occupancy, temperature, flush detection, CO/smoke alarm, door security, door sensor, CCTV, water leak/flood alarm, appliance monitoring, energy monitoring and automatic meter reading.
Launched at the Health+Care show at the Excel Exhibition Centre, London in June 2014, the Current Care solution was well received. Customers from nursing homes, care groups, local councils, and strategic partners all took a huge interest in the QUELity-Care solution, as well as other solutions from the new Current Care range.
Martin Dix, Managing Director, says “With a burgeoning population and people wanting or needing to stay in their own home longer, improving healthcare assistance, through technology is vital – we can alert primary carers to virtually any unusual activity, offering an extra layer of caring never seen before. With our rich experience in energy saving, they may even save money!”

Source: http://www.currentcare.uk.com/ , http://www.ceesquared.com/?p=166

index.1 index.2

Whilst this looks like a great application of the product, I’m sure it does nothing for those backers of the Indegogo Quel crowdfunding that has yet to materialise, see: http://go.je/1aj for more details.

Here’s the Twitter post that highlighted CurrentCare on 20th Novemeber.

 

Quel Ans ?

On the 21st August 2013, Current Cost LTD launched an indiegogo campaign to fund their latest energy management and monitoring product quel.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-new-current-cost-quel
new-8edit The Campaign closed on 21st September, reaching only 38% of the funding goal. Those that chose rewards of  to “get one of the first batches of Quels” had an estimated delivery date of November 2013. As we all know crowd funded projects are notorious for slipping delivery dates, and lack of communication to backers.

Until now here at HomeLabs we’ve had a good relationship with Currentcost, reviewing many of there products, and working to use them in various monitoring scenarios, Quel, looked exciting, and a the obvious step into the home automation arena, with the promise of support for many products in the future both from Current Cost, and other 3rd party vendors.

The first indication of any issues with Quel came in an e-mail from Current Cost MD Martin Dix on 12th Dec 2013, after the November shipping date had clearly passed.  Backers were given the following options

So, we realise the target month came and went, that doesnt fill any of us here at Current Cost with delight and we can understand how you will be quite rightly miffed. I always said if we didn’t ship you wouldn’t pay, that’s still true and for those of you fed up of waiting, I offer you an immediate no questions full refund money back right now, I’ll even offer you a 20% discount on any order from our existing range as some small recompense… and also offer a 10% discount on the Retail price of the Quel on its official release.

or

We value your support and would prefer you just stick with us a little longer, and as a bit of a sorry, we’ll refund you 10% per month of the price you paid until you receive the unit, which is realistically now targeted as mid Jan, so thats 20% you’ll be getting back anyway and I’d like to offer you a 25% discount on any other complimentary Current Cost devices that are either available now or the new ones that include temp sensors, proximity sensors etc.

Here at Homelabs we chose the later, 2 months longer really isn’t that long to wait. So January came and went, in early February we contacted Martin to ask for an update, no response came back. March arrived, and despite assurance from an Current Cost employee on twitter that an update from Martin would arrive soon, it wasn’t until the 7th of April we got word again from Current Cost, nearly 6 months after we should have received our product.

As it turns out the Current Cost office had suffered in the storms that had battered the country. Which obviously had had an impact on Quel

office

The email closed with the following statement

By now you’re thinking… well all that tree stuff is fascinating, but when do I get what I paid for? As far as I can tell these pre-production devices are performing as I would hope, so I see no reason we wont be populating PCBs by this week.. then they’ll need assembly, flashing and final testing before being shipped from DongGuan…. I’m going to say 4-5 weeks, but you know we’ve been wrong before, despite some pretty sterling efforts at this end!

On June 5th we once again e-mailed the CurrentCost office asking for an update,  some 9 weeks after the last update, and 4 weeks later than the 4-5 weeks previously offered as a new target.  Again no response. On the 18th of June,  I was able to once again get some engagement from CurrentCost an employee on Twitter, this resulted in me being sent a pre-production model.  With the assurance that the issues raised would be discussed with Martin, and that more information would be made available to backers, once again nothing arrived.

In an e-mail sent on the 11th September, contained the following

One of the final pieces that we have been waiting for is the production of the LCD and touch screen, which are due to arrive on Monday. If they work as we expect, then we’ll know the exact final production date when they arrive in the next week.

An e-mail to CurrentCost on 10th October to CurrentCost got this response

I’m waiting to hear back from Martin and will let you know as soon as he does.

Well where are we now, 2 days away from the 1 year anniversary of the original shipment date, with backers having no idea of when or if they’ll ever see the product that they backed.

UPDATE: 

On the 10th of November 2014, I got the following update from a Currentcost employee

I should have more info this week. thanks for bearing with me. PCBs arrived last week. Checking what we are waiting for now.

It’s now the 19th of November, and no further updates.

 November 20th, following the update yesterday, and some Twitter traffic, the latest is as follows

I hope to get an update out tomorrow as people are out today.

Lets see what Friday the 21st brings.

RaspberryPi B+

PiB3D

It appears that there is a new Raspberry PI model available, the PiB+.

Here’s what we know so far.

  • 4 USB 2.0 Ports (a change to the LAN9514, from the LAN9512
  • Audio and Video Combined into a single A/V Jack similar to those found on camcorders
  • External Active connectors have been moved to occupy only 2 sides of the board
  • Increase in Mounting points to 4
  • Move to a 40 Pin GPIO header

It looks like there may be some attempt to adopt the identification feature found on beablebone black capes, this note is present on the external connectivity schematic

ID_SD and ID_SC PINS:
These pins are reserved for ID EEPROM.
At boot time this I2C interface will be
interrogated to look for an EEPROM
that identifes the attached board and
allows automagic setup of the GPIOs
(and optionally, Linux drivers).
DO NOT USE these pins for anything other
than attaching an I2C ID EEPROM. Leave
unconnected if ID EEPROM not required.

Here’s some more images present elsewhere around the internet

PiBCloseUp

PiBCrop

PiBPhysical

 

Seneye Webserver

Back in April, Seneye announced that they would be producing a box to allow use of their aquarium sensor without needing a PC.

29/04/2013 After many months of successful alpha testing we are now working on the tooling and beta boards for the seneye web server SWS; however we expect at least 2 months till we have product to ship.  The SWS box will allow the seneye device to use your broad band router or switch to manage your seneye device from seneye.me. It totally removes the need for any computer in the home. Uploads will be faster, more reliable and it adds warnings for connection down (power out). There will be add-on modules available separately for Wi-Fi, Ethernet over power and eventually GSM.

If you want to be on the beta test let us know; we will add you to the list and offer you the chance to be the first to own. We will produce a limited amount of SWS for beta testing and will also ask for deposits in a few months. As a seneye beta tester you will receive a small discount on the SWS (for helping us test) and the latest firmware update for your seneye device.

Today the following picture got posted to facebook.

Tip: coming soon is the new seneye web server which is a small upload box meaning no seneye connect software will need to be downloaded for PC or Mac.

Great news for anyone not owning a PC.

RFM12B End of Life

 

Whilst investigating use of RFM22B / RFM23B as an alternative to RFM12B, I’ve discovered that all three products are End of Life, I’ve contacted HopeRF to see if there are more details available.

Currently the RFM69W is being suggested as replacement.

Why ? Well the RF chip in use in the HopeRF products the Si4431 from Silicon Labs has been similarly been EOL’d

So is there any evidence of RFM products disappearing from the channel, and the answer would appear to be yes.

See the following screen grab from RS’s website.

Continue reading RFM12B End of Life

Ciseco 3v bistable latching relay kit

So the nice guys at Ciseco sent me a couple of their latest products to try out. The bi-stable relay kit.

Here’s what you get in the kit.

So whats in the kit:

  • High quality PCB
  • 2 Resistors
  • 2 Diodes
  • 2 Transistor
  • A 3 way screw terminal
  • Bi-Stable Relay

Lets start by taking a look at the PCB.

PCB Top
PCB Bottom

As with other Ciseco products the PCB is of high quality, with a good layout. Note the separation between power section of the relay and the control circuits. This allows the relay to handle 230v although care should be taken when working with mains voltage.

Details on building the kit follow.

Continue reading Ciseco 3v bistable latching relay kit

Wireless Connectivity

When you begin to think about designing a wireless sensor, you become aware that there is more than one way to provide the wireless connectivity.

Some of the options are show above, working left to right, RFM12B, XRF, XBee series 2, XBee SMT.

If you’ve come across arduino, then the xbee2 is probably familiar, RFM12B features in JeeNode, and also nanode. XBee SMT is a variation on the existing Xbee, with XRF the new kid on the block. Although not so new, now at version 1.6

Now lets take a look at some of the features of the various wireless modules. Continue reading Wireless Connectivity