Tuesday, July 2, 2013

PCBs Arrive! Also, what is a Beta test?


The PCB’s arrived today. Six of them! So I have five I can ruin. I generally have good luck with PCB’s but I suspect this time I will not be so fortunate. I’ll mess up a few reflows before I get the IC’s soldered. Basically my first attempt will be just the Balun, nRF51422, and the crystals. I can sort the rest by soldering iron. It’ll be a lot of work, but I don’t want to ruin so many parts unnecessarily.

Here is something that has blown my mind. I’m basically still on track. I’ve got about 2 weeks to assemble and tune the PCB trace antenna and finish the enclosure design. . I am actually getting better estimating timelines it seems.


Really this is going to spill over to the build 5 – 10. Why? Well it’s simple -- I don’t have the strain gauges. I have three for the left sensor, but zero for the right (and I need 2 strain gauge rossettes for the right arm). I have lots of test beams to work with though, so continuing development won’t be a problem.

So here is a picture of where it will sit on the arm.


And now with chain rings.


There was a comment in my previous post asking what is my goal of all this. I’m going to explain this in a few days. The question asks “as I have alluded, I am a little confused as to where you are going with your economic and sales model." While I did a basic explanation, I think it’s time to spend some time presenting my long term goals with this – including major commitment points (including financial commitments), and potential exits (and reasons why I would exit). I’m going to spend the next few days pulling this together, so keep tuned. I’m aiming at Thursday or Friday post.

Beta Tests

I understand that I’ve confused several followers on several points. Some people who emailed me about beta involvement have offered money, or hardware. I can’t stress enough that I am not accepting money or hardware for the beta. I will be loaning the hardware to beta testers and will eventually reclaim it.

To clarify first off. An alpha test is where it’s been debugged by the developers and any other people who have been directly involved with the product development. A Beta test involves people who have generally considered an end user, they may be tech savvy or early adopters, who test and are willing to accept, work around, and report bugs and issues. They work with the developer to be fix problems and ensure the product is what consumers expect.

I still have to alpha test the V4 once it’s built. This should get it ready for beta, however the beta units will have to be built up so this will take a few weeks. I’ve compiled a list of people, their bike hardware, etc and I will be working to get things ready for them in the coming months.

The circuit board and strain gauges will be enclosed and able to deal with some light weather, but no major testing (such as IPX67) will have been conducted. The people who are local can have their units installed by myself, or a local bike shop if they prefer. Any non-local beta testers will have the crank shipped to them in original SRAM (or FSA potentially for BB30 / 386) packaging. Duration or testing is expected to be about about a month. Once the test is over I’ll pay for return shipping or for local testers I’ll replace the users original cranks. I’m mainly looking for verbal feedback, but files recorded via head units could be emailed to me which will aid in my development. I’ll be following up throughout the entire test. Probably weekly at pre determined times or via email.

Simple, right?


  1. Hey Keith:

    "Any non-local beta testers..." does this mean you might expand your network of beta testers, or does non-local still mean up to Toronto?

    1. Non-local is likely to be global. I've had some requests worldwide, and because of their support I want to try and support them as best I can. This is still not 100% decided. Drop me a line at kwakeham@gmail.com for more details. I believe you said you're in Calgary. This could be workable.

  2. Fantastic.

    They look great.
    Good work on being on time. Your time line seemed to be reasonable, so its good to hear your still on track.

    1. Testing reflow oven right now. So far so good. :)