Some great news!
These past weeks have been crazy! we are completely blown away with all the support we have received from you so far and we have to say we didn’t imagine how big this project was going to get. That has got us working really hard, and trying to make Astro an even better product than we actually planned.
Originally, we were using a motor that had to be modified to give the precision and torque needed. This was okay for the 300-500 Astros we were expecting to make, but now we have over 1600 pre orders! This is a big challenge, but it is also an opportunity to make something much better. All this support actually gives us the chance to make improvements, and we decided to focus on the motor. We got several samples the last few weeks, and last friday we finally got the perfect one! It’s a stepper motor that has the same angular resolution, but much more torque and way better energy performance. We have been testing since we got them and the results are great!
Astro will now be able to hold a much bigger load of equipment; we need to finish the new prototype with the new motor to determine the exact number, but it is definitely going to be a lot more, this motor is really strong!
And that’s not all of it, we had been getting lots of comments about an external power source and we were considering it, but portability is very important for us. We spent some time looking into different alternatives, and this cool new motor gave us the answer. With its super efficient energy management, Astro will have a much longer battery life.
WIth our old motor we reported a battery life of around 15 hours using our test settings (3 hours, 120 degrees, 3 second interval) With our new motor, we get more than 100 hours using those same settings. That’s more than 30 three-hour time lapses! The motor practically doesn’t consume energy between shots, this means that the bigger the interval, the longer the battery life. We think this is a much more elegant solution than external power, and we are really excited with the possibilities!
The downside is that this decision will affect our maximum speed. Even though Astro is a timelapse device, some of our backers showed interest in using it for video. With the new motor, the speed is close to 6 degrees/second, instead of 30. This was a difficult decision for us, but due to the results we are obtaining, we are confident this is the best way to go. We would be happy to hear what you think, in the end this is about making the best product possible for everyone and we are working hard to do that.
We have another announcement: we decided to limit our first production run to 2000 units, this way we can focus on keeping our deadlines under control. The rewards will appear as “sold out” when we reach 2000 pre-orders. Once the campaign is over, Astro will not be available for pre-order until the full Kickstarter production is delivered.
Thank you for making all this possible!