Posts

21 Jul 2015 - Blog: Controlling your Roku with a voice interface (via Amazon Echo)

Amazon Echo is the Siri for your home. Named "Alexa", she sits in your living room and listens for her name followed by a command. As a new device, her default functionality is limited to managing todo and shopping lists, playing music on Pandora or TuneIn radio, and controlling a few of the Phillips Hue and Belkin WeMo smart lights and devices.

The power and value of the Amazon Echo is not, however, from it's default functionality. Amazon has recently opened the Echo up for developers through the Alexa Skills Kit. Using this, anyone can add their own functionality to Alexa, allowing you to control anything with your voice alone.

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19 May 2015 - Reflowster is now available from Mint Tek in Ireland!

Reflowster is teaming up with Mint Tek Circuits to make purchasing Reflowsters in Europe easier. Mint Tek will be selling Reflowsters on their web store which will avoid prohibitive international shipping costs and delays.

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14 May 2015 - The Reflowster setup video is now live!

This video covers installing the thermocouple, connecting Reflowster, and configuring your first reflow.

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11 May 2015 - Blog: The internet of things and the ESP8266

Connecting to the internet is often an extremely powerful way to extend or control your projects. For a long time, there simply weren’t any very good options for doing this without either breaking the bank or reinventing the wheel. Makers everywhere rejoice; that time has come to an end.

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09 Apr 2015 - Preorders have all shipped and Reflowster is now available!

Phew, I've just gotten back from the Post Office dropping off the last of the preorders! Thanks again to everyone who preordered, your support was extremely helpful in getting our production underway. As you may have noticed, the preorder batch took a little bit longer than we expected. There were a few contributing factors to this delay, not the least of which is the fact that there was a slightly longer than expected lead time on some of the parts in our Bill of Materials.

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28 Jan 2015 - Blog: Powering your Electronics Project Part II

In part one, we covered some basic ways to quickly and easily power your electronics project. In this section, we'll cover some more advanced methods for powering a project that may not be practical to breadboard out. Instead, you'll probably incorporate these when designing a PCB or moving toward finalizing a project.

Take care when implementing these methods and be sure to double check your wiring before connecting power as some of them can fail somewhat spectacularly. In particular, when testing your own AC power supply, I'd advise taking precautions such as an isolated power supply or at least a easy way to quickly cut power from a safe distance. (For example, using an outlet that is controlled by a switch can make testing an AC power supply much safer and significantly easier.)

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14 Jan 2015 - Blog: Writing your first EAGLE ULP script

When working with EAGLE, you'll fairly often find yourself repeating a series of steps for different projects or parts. In some cases, this might be a few steps that are performed fairly often that could be shortened to a single step or perhaps a large number of steps that even once or twice can take a significant amount of time.

EAGLE's User Language Programs or ULPs are a powerful way of turning these repeated processes into a single EAGLE command. If you've never worked with ULPs before, you've come to the right place. I'll be giving a quick overview and a "Hello World" example to help you get started in the realm of enhancing EAGLE through ULPs.

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18 Dec 2014 - Blog: Powering your Electronics Project Part I

Powering a hobby project can often be a project in itself. Most digital circuits require a power supply capable of providing 3 to 6 volts DC. Your projects may have requirements beyond the voltage and power such as portability, or very low power consumption. As a hobbyist, it is extremely helpful to have a variety of power supplies in your repertoire so that you can quickly and easily spin up projects with a diverse set of requirements.

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30 Nov 2014 - Pre-order Reflowster Today!

At long last, Reflowster is ready for preorder. We'll be gathering up a production run with an estimated ship date of February or March 2015. Since we've manufactured all previous Reflowsters by hand in California, this next batch preorder is going toward filling out a full production run with a factory overseas.

Visit our store to order your Reflowster today!

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06 Nov 2014 - Shipping Update

The last month has been pretty crazy for us, both of independently ended up moving during the latter half of October. One of us into a storage unit for travel and the other of us, across the country. As such, our time dedicated to Reflowster has had a slight dip and that has slowed us down a little getting these final few waves done.

Despite this, we've been continuing to assemble Reflowsters, and as of this past Tuesday, every single Kickstarter edition Reflowster is fully assembled and tested! The last batch of domestically bound Reflowsters is sitting in a stack waiting to be picked up by USPS as I write this.

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01 Oct 2014 - First batch of Reflowsters is officially shipped!

After a few rounds of assembly, we finally took a break to box up some of the Reflowsters and send them on their way. Today we shipped 15 special edition Reflowsters complete with their extras. (The toaster ovens and extension cords are not yet shipped and will arrive separately)

The first batch of Reflowsters boxed up and ready to go in the back of my car

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22 Sep 2014 - Assembly underway

This past month we've had our noses to the grindstone assembling Reflowsters. There have unfortunately been a few minor setbacks, but fortunately most of these were identified and accounted for early in the process. Ultimately these issues resulted in us having to go back over the circuit boards by hand after we've completed the reflow process in order to get the boards passing our tests.

We gathered a group of volunteers to help us with the assembly process at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View

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20 Aug 2014 - Volunteers needed for Beta Testing!

Our firmware is pretty decent at this point, so we're looking for some volunteers who might want to receive their Reflowster early and help us look for bugs in the code, improve the user guide, and generally help us out with any insights or ideas you might have.

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05 Aug 2014 - Ten Reflowsters

Hey guys and gals,

About a week ago we crossed a major threshold. Previously we had been building prototypes one at a time, each a little different from the last, each with it's own quirks etc. Last week however we built 10 identical Reflwosters all from the same parts, with the same firmware, on a miniature assembly line. They all work, and have been performing exactly as they should. The design is now done, we're happy with it, and we placed the order for 200+ Reflowster PCBs just today.

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19 Jul 2014 - Enclosures arrived, a new PCB revision, and more

The cases have arrived and our circuit board fits perfectly. Here is the box of ABS enclosures that showed up on my doorstep the other day. A large box of Reflowster cases arrived in the mail today!

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23 Jun 2014 - Parts are ordered in quantity and we're closing down on our final design

Hello all,

It's been a busy month, so we wanted to let you know what's been happening. Basically we've been testing everything to make sure it works, putting some finishing touches on the design, and buying all the parts we need to build all your Reflowsters. Let's start off with a progress picture: Arrayed in a row, here are a number of our different revisions of Reflowster starting with a breadboard and ending in May

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27 May 2014 - Preliminary FCC Testing and Form-factor Update

Hello everybody, it's been one month since we finished our Kickstarter campaign and we want to show off our progress! Let's get right to it. A boxed up and working unit using the new design

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13 May 2014 - Initial Prototype Assembly Complete!

All of the PCBs and parts arrived earlier last week and we started the first assembly of the new version of Reflowster. As expected, the first assembly revealed a few minor bugs in the circuit board but nothing that we weren't able to easily update for the next version and install minor work-arounds to remedy. Soldering some wires onto the new version of the Reflowster PCB

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30 Apr 2014 - Reflowster is funded!

Thanks to all of our backers for making our Kickstarter campaign such a huge success. In just 28 days, we managed to reach $15,674, almost 157% of our original goal with a grand total of 192 backers. Not only did we get our funding, we've gotten valuable feedback from our backers throughout the campaign and ended the campaign with a significantly redesigned vision for Reflowster.

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28 Apr 2014 - The Final Countdown!

With a little more than two days left in our campaign, we'd like to tie up a few loose ends.

First and foremost, we'd like to thank all of our backers for your wonderful support and extend a slightly shameless plug to have you once again share our Kickstarter with your friends and communities that may be interested in owning a Reflowster.

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25 Apr 2014 - Working Hard

In our last couple updates we've been talking about changing Reflowster's design a bit to make it more usable and to hopefully make it universally compatible with voltages all over the world. With your help, we've brainstormed a couple ways to make this all come together. The two PCBs you see below are two different prototype designs, both of which we think have promise. We just sent the designs out to our friends at SeeedStudio to get them manufactured. Ordering two different designs at the same time allows us to test out new ideas and find problems twice as fast.

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19 Apr 2014 - We've hit our goal!

Thanks to the support of this community, we just crossed the $10,000 threshold with time to spare.  It looks like Reflowster is going to be a reality.  

We're cooking up a couple bonus features that we hope to add to Reflowster as well, and we'll announce those as they mature. Stay tuned!

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15 Apr 2014 - What kind of toaster works with Reflowster?

Reflowster may not work perfectly with every toaster oven, but we've found that smaller, cheaper ovens typically work great because they allow for faster changes in temperature. Most simple toaster ovens without digital controls will work. In particular, a toaster that can be stuck in the "on" position is required. This state needs to persist through a power cycle. Most toasters do this by turning the timer knob backwards.

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15 Apr 2014 - Affordable custom PCBs for DIY

Reflowster is great for soldering parts to a PCB, but where do you get the PCB itself? You can etch your own board using caustic chemicals, but we've found that it's easy to buy high quality custom PCB boards without breaking the bank.

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14 Apr 2014 - Considering the possibility of international compatibility

It’s been a busy week here for us and while we don’t have anything set in stone to update you on, we have been considering some interesting options.

As you probably know, our original design ran using a fixed linear power supply and would only support 120V AC. We’re currently in the process of investigating changing our power supply to a switching power supply that will support both 120V and 240V. This will not affect our backers in the US, but our international backers may find this to be crucial to their backing decision. If we end up making the switch for the final version, Reflowster will be compatible with international voltages.

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10 Apr 2014 - International shipping and alternative enclosure

International Shipping

We've added a new backing level! We've had a number of people interested in having Reflowster shipped to Canada. We've done our due diligence and figured out exactly what it will take and have added a new option for shipping around the world.

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09 Apr 2014 - Reflowster Performance

We've had some questions about what kind of performance you can expect from your Reflowster. There's a lot of experimentation left to do, but take at look at this plot that we collected yesterday. This chart shows the temperature inside the oven through a reflow soldering run

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04 Apr 2014 - Multicolor Status LED

One of the features that our prototype of Reflowster boasts is a WS2812 Neopixel status LED. For those of you unfamiliar, the neopixel is a RGB LED with a built in control mechanism that allows you set a full range of colors as the status.

The status LED works like a charm! We've whipped up a simple demo of the LED changing colors and blinking for you to see but we haven't quite decided how we want the LED to behave in the base Reflowster firmware yet.

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03 Apr 2014 - 32% backed in 24 hours

Wow! We were pretty sure that you guys would like Reflowster, but we had no idea that we'd make so much progress on our funding goal so quickly! A huge thank you to all of our backers for your contributions.

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02 Apr 2014 - Kickstarter Launch

Our Kickstarter Logo campaign is now live!

After a month and some change of preparation, we've finally launched our Kickstarter campaign! Be sure to watch our video on Kickstarter and support us on our Kickstarter campaign page

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