Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 8, 2013.

Update #13

Production Issues Resolved | Revised Delivery Schedule

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78 likes

Dear Backers,  

As is now more than obvious, we are behind schedule. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding while we continue to resolve some problems and start producing light bulbs at a fast pace once again. Here is a recap of what has happened since May: 

We produced our first set of light bulbs, over 1000 pieces, and started shipping these out in June. Production was starting to go smoothly and although we were a month late with the first batch, we were hoping to ramp up production so that we could deliver the rest of the batches on time or early. However, a few weeks after the first set of light bulbs went out, we received a few reports of light bulbs that died soon after being received. We asked the Kickstarter backers to return the bulbs and we spent some time analyzing and identifying the cause of failure. In the meantime, we paused production. We discovered a problem with the controller IC behavior and we implemented a workaround that fixed the issue. Although this issue didn't affect a large percentage of bulbs. 

So about August time, we gave the go-ahead for the second, much bigger, batch of production. Thousands of bulbs were ordered. About a month later after bulbs were emerging from the pipeline and started their burn-in testing phase, again we noticed that bulbs were failing. This time, the rate of failure seemed higher. We continued burn-in to gauge a longer term estimate of the failure rate. 2 - 3 weeks on burn-in and bulbs were still failing. We couldn't ship these bulbs knowing that they might not last all that long out in the field. Therefore, we halted the production again. 

The clear symptom was that in a failed bulb we always found that one of the LEDs had failed and broke the current flow to the rest of the LEDs. No other failed components were found. We first looked closely at the power supply. Although the current to the LEDs is regulated very tightly to prevent any flickering of light, we saw that there is an overshoot of current at the time the bulb is turned on. We thought that this may be the culprit: a surge that overloads the LEDs and causes one to fail. We implemented a soft start feature so that current is ramped up more slowly with zero overshoot upon power up. We produced about 100 bulbs with the soft start to check if the problem was solved. However, the failure rate was not improved and we were still stuck and it was already October. 

The next course of action was to look at the LEDs in detail. These types of LEDs are made on a mass scale and the methods are tried and true, or so we thought. We spent a solid week just looking at failed LEDs under a microscope. We set up several tests to isolate the problem. This is where science and well controlled experimental technique was essential. To make this story short, we discovered that the cavity inside the LED that contains silicone was slightly under filled. This caused an air void near one of the gold wires. The gold wire electrically connects the LED die to the package housing so that the light producing chip can get power. During operation, the light bulb heats up and the silicone inside the LED expands, causing pressure onto one side of the gold wire. Because of the air void, there is no counter pressure to keep the gold wire in place, and it bends on a microscopic scale. Upon repeated thermal cycling, the gold wire is bent back and forth until failure. With great sadness, we declared the approximately 150,000 LEDs plus the hundreds of light bulbs that we produced unusable. It was like being in the middle of a graveyard of LEDs and Nanoleaf bulbs. Yes, saddening, that is all to be said. 

Having identified the problem, we asked for some changes to production in order to drastically improve the reliability of the LEDs. There were three changes that we made that are aimed to strengthen the region of the site of failure dramatically. We did another small production of LEDs, enough for about 60 bulbs and these bulbs have been in burn-in testing for about a week now and so far zero bulbs have failed, whereas before, bulbs started failing after only two days of burn-in. As you might guess, we are extremely happy to see this result. We actually do expect some non-zero failure rate. Like with any product on the market, each part has a certain failure probability and thus a perfectly reliable product is impossible to make. We hope you can see from our story that we care very much about the quality of our Nanoleaf bulbs and we will continue to study points of failure in order to improve long term reliability to the best it can be. 

So, we hope that this Kickstarter update will be taken on a very positive note. We have already asked the facility to start production of new LEDs with our changes. There are a lot of LEDs to be re-made and this will take a bit of time. Production will start this week. The printed circuit boards are already made and ready to go and just waiting for new LEDs. We have a revised production schedule as follows: 

Revised Production Schedule
Revised Production Schedule

Please note that shipping time is approximately 3 - 4 weeks depending on the destination. 

We are quite embarrassed and sorry that we have had to delay these bulbs several times now. We want to get these Nanoleaf bulbs out to the backers desperately. We have been pushing all the production people to bump priorities and get things moving as fast as possible. Thanks so much for your support and patience. 

Sincerely, 

The Nanoleaf Team 

www.thenanoleaf.com 

follow us on twitter @thenanoleaf 

like us on fb: facebook.com/thenanoleaf 

follow us on instagram @nanoleaf

Frank Castor, Steve Caplin, and 76 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Lynn Kurtz on December 23

      It's now almost two months since the last update. Are you meeting the new schedule you posted? I do appreciate the updates thus far on the issues you've run across and as a Quality Manager, I'm glad to see the care given to quality. After 10 months of waiting, I do find myself a little disillusioned at all the delays. I am beginning to wonder if I'll ever see the bulb I paid for or if the money will have evaporated covering all the production problems.

    2. Missing_small

      Creator Philipp von Grudzinski on December 18

      Wohoo... got mine today. What a Beauty ;-)

    3. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Saad Chaaban on December 18

      since it's been a while, any updates yet?

    4. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Alexey Tyurenkov on December 8

      Want some news. It's been a long time.

    5. Snip.small

      Creator Aline Tran on December 2

      Thank you for the hard work and commitment to quality. Standing in the graveyard was heart breaking for me to read. All the best to all of you working so hard during this time of year.

    6. Jk_220_2.small

      Creator Kinjop on November 18

      Thank you for the detailed update and all the efforts you put in quality !

    7. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Arnold Karpoff on November 18

      It is now NOV. and I have not seen my nano100W bulb. When can I expect ir?

    8. Qymjo.small

      Creator Todd Vu on November 5

      Just curious, how much money have you guys lost due to faulty bulbs?

    9. Missing_small

      Creator corporate3-6 on November 3

      Hey guys,

      Just read the update. I am a electronics guy working as an LED lighting designer and work with LED's and control circuitry every day. I have to say your update was very interesting from my perspective, thank you for going into such detail - great read!

      I also have the unfortunate experience of having shipped product into the field only to experience a high failure rate, and know the "oh $h!t" feeling that goes along with lots of unhappy customers.

      I want my Nanolight, but I want it working - so however long it takes you guys to sort through the issues is OK with me. The only thing I would say is please keep us updated and I think as long as you are as up-front and honest as you have been so far and in this update, most of us are happy to be along for the ride.

      P.S. I hope you don't have to foot the bill for the bad batch of LED's! If nothing else, you should force the manufacturer to reimburse you on all the ones that have silicone fill problems. That is a very obvious design flaw and any LED with underfilled silicone would fail - totally their fault and they should eat the cost of that mistake.

    10. Planetarynetworks-massive.small

      Creator Tyris on November 1

      SCIENCE!

      It's great that you're working so hard to resolve these issues, instead of shrugging it of with an "eh, caveat calcitrareincipiator"

    11. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Suresh K. Volam on November 1

      Hope it will go smooth this time without any more issues. Best of luck!

    12. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Adrian Heck on October 30

      Couldn't agree more with the rest here!
      I think everyone is 1000-times more happy to receive a working bulb than one that breaks down after just a couple of hours!

      Thanks for the update!

    13. Auto%20bn.small

      Creator Carlos Cordero on October 29

      Guys, you are trying to push the boundaries of technology these things happen. It is fantastic that you are investigating these issues relentlessly and with total commitment to quality. I really appreciate the detail provided in the update. You are not the first quality committed innovators who have stopped a product mid production or mid design and said, "This is not good enough. Let's re do it." A certain Steve something or other from a company named after some vegetable or fruit comes to mind. ;)

      Keep up the good work. I thing after this is over you should write a case study about this issue. I for one would love to read the details and learn more about the testing regime, the sort of conversations that went on, the implications, etc.

    14. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator David McConnell on October 28

      I just have to say that I am disappointed at the delay, but I do appreciate your commitment to quality. Keep up the good work. I am still looking forward to receiving my bulb and maybe even getting more as soon as production allows. Thanks fro the detailed update!

    15. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Michael Wang on October 28

      thanks for the update, looking forward to getting my lamp at the end of next month!

    16. Missing_small

      Creator Matthew L on October 28

      Great update and nice failure analysis, I was getting worried until I saw this, way to keep us updated! Thanks

    17. Ted-face.small

      Creator Ted Phillips on October 28

      Thanks for sharing your journey with us, guys! Like any startup, there are some bumps along the way. I appreciate the frequent updates and the transparency you bring to the project.

      I'm looking forward to seeing the final result of your hard work!

    18. Hal-9000.small

      Creator pseud0nym0us on October 28

      Proud of you guys. Putting quality first. It's good you all have this figured out. Sounds like rocket science just getting it down to a science. =P

    19. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Ketil K on October 28

      I love your frequent communications and really enjoy reading your updates about how you do things. I don't really care how long time it takes, but really hope you are able to make this a viable business so you can continue innovate the light bulb market. Or any other market if you choose to try something different later.

    20. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Margaret Palmer on October 28

      Way to go guys! We had faith in the idea and you are now coming through with the much anticipated results!! Congratulations to you all!

    21. Missing_small

      Creator Yotoen on October 28

      I am very pleased by the news in updated #13. I am not at all upset that the process has taken so long. If anything I am convinced that my money was well spent and that the end product will be something that I can use with pride for a very long time. Thank you for all your hard work.

    22. Kaji.small

      Creator Mikko Leskinen on October 28

      Thanks for the update. I'm happy that root cause of problem was found. Keep up good work!

    23. 375388_10100721554011878_670550738_n.small

      Creator Eden Brandeis on October 28

      Great job focusing on quality and digging deep for the root cause!

    24. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Jimhead on October 28

      Amazing work!
      Maybe you could sell the "bad" bulbs at a heavy discount where the dangers are clearly stated, as a way to refund your effort?

    25. Missing_small

      Creator Michal Todorovic on October 28

      Love the detail in the update. When I backed this project, it was more that I wanted the product to exist rather than getting my one bulb "on time". It's frustrating that the current LEDs on the market are no more efficient than CFLs, and I was excited to see a company attack that. Looking forward to buying more NanoLeafs once you guys resolve production issues and have shipped the Kickstarter bulbs.

    26. Missing_small

      Creator Jonathan on October 28

      On each of the Kickstarter projects I back I keep in mind I am a backer, not a customer. I really appreciate the ones that give me insight to the technical challenges, the start-up processes and problems, and the human responses of attention with intention to make it happen.

    27. Image-269559-full.small

      Creator Frank Talbot on October 28

      Thanks for the update, exactly what I was hoping for.

    28. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Eric R. Liscinsky on October 28

      Guys, Like the others I applaud your candor, and tenacity to resolving the issues. Getting a "True" product was, and is, my original goal. So by all means carry on. I'm confident that the final product will be more than worth any additional wait.

      "Light the World with Less Energy"

    29. Missing_small

      Creator Clinton M on October 28

      Like most, I prefer quality over deadlines. Spiffing update, sorry to hear about all the life limited bulbs. Sound like you're going to have a solid product in the end. Only concern would be series vs parallel. Not keen on one faulty component ruining my awesome light.

    30. Missing_small

      Creator Sonia Koval on October 28

      I've had 3bulbs going for several hours a day (maybe 2 or 3 on/off switchings a day) just fine for a couple of months now and am very happy with them. They'll be working even harder & longer as winter comes and the days get shorter.

    31. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Mark Nicoll on October 28

      No worries!
      I've still got candles and oil for the lamp. As others have said, we are partners and applaud your efforts to as Mike Homes would say: make it right!

    32. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Patrick Thurmond on October 28

      Honestly, I want to say thank you for your continued transparency and open communication. I realize that getting things going can be a nightmare. But just this openness and frequent communication is enough to keep me patient and fully understanding. You are setting a really awesome and high bar for how to handle one of these campaigns and I would be plenty willing to contribute to future campaigns, even given the delays. Keep up the good work and keep doing things the way you are doing them and we will keep standing by you through this!

    33. Missing_small

      Creator Edith Torbay on October 28

      Thanks for the update. My fingers and toes are crossed for you. Don't worry: very few wonderful new things come to fruition without a few blips along the way. My money went to help you with start up...this is still start up! So all is good. take the time you need; we'll still be here.

    34. Monkeyav.small

      Creator AGN1964 on October 28

      Thanks for the update!

    35. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Dale Weingartner on October 28

      Thank you for the update. I am glad you are dedicated in providing a good product and stand by your word. I hope that you didn't lose money on all the defective led's and that that company will replace them at no cost to you. Good luck and continue your honesty and testing!

    36. Gelb_patch.small

      Creator Colonel Skills on October 28

      This sort of transparency, this sort of detailed update, this sort of information in general, is such a far step above how most unfortunately delayed kickstarts tend to respond.

      Bravo for being clear and giving this report. Exceptionally well done.

    37. Camel200x200.small

      Creator Sameera Leola on October 28

      We're backing your start up, not your production run! Think of like this, "Those who can't do, Kickstarter".
      Thank you for the update!

    38. Missing_small

      Creator Pat Tallman on October 28

      Thanks for the update. I agree with many of my fellow backers, we are here to help you succeed. Please keep us posted. I do find the problems and solutions fascinating. You are doing good work! Keep it up!

    39. Qymjo.small

      Creator Todd Vu on October 28

      A much needed update, thanks for letting us know.

    40. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Adam Fatka on October 28

      I am happy to hear the update. The delay is par for the course and I'm glad the issue seems to have been resolved. Good luck with the new LEDs, I am super excited to receive my nanoleaf in the coming months!

    41. Missing_small

      Creator Fragga - Judicator of the Obsidian Order on October 28

      dont worry i expect kickstarter project to fail in their estemated delivery times ^^ I am more worried about your money ... i hope you dont have to pay for the faulty leds ..... but since you designed them its not a production problem or?

    42. Missing_small

      Creator Terry Poole on October 28

      I would rather a delayed good product any day. .....dont be upset or embarrassed as your dedication to this project and your honesty speak volumes on your character.

      The delay was not your fault.

      Cheers guys. Keep up the good work!

    43. Meanddoo.small

      Creator Charles Murray on October 28

      I know different people will have different perspectives, but for my two cents: when I back a KS project, I prefer to think not that I am ordering a product, but that I am partnering with a project.
      This is a worthy project and naturally there is a learning curve on many aspects, including the reliability of components from certain manufacturers. I don't regard this delay as particularly upsetting - it's not as if there are parts of my house in darkness awaiting the arrival of these bulbs - and I do appreciate gaining insight into how the project is progressing, good or bad. Thanks for the update.

    44. Kraftwurm%20at%20orgazmik%20small.small

      Creator Kraftwurm on October 28

      Thanks for this update. It actually was an interesting read for a software guy like me.. :)
      The delay is not a problem for me at all. Still looking forward for my NanoLeaf.
      Greetings from Switzerland!

    45. Missing_small

      Creator Richard Paur on October 28

      Glad to see that you are taking the time and care to build a quality product. I received one of the early bulbs from you and it has been running 24/7 in a windowless area in my underground house ever since I got it last May. Seems to be just as bright as the day it was first turned on. Note that this bulb doesn't cycle on/off; at the low power consumption I just leave it on continuously.
      Best of luck.

    46. Missing_small

      Creator Robert hirsch on October 28

      Great update. I'm glad to see you behave so positively with regard to the inevitable pitfalls with regard to product development. Even happier that it doesn't just happen to me! Keep up the great work.

      Question: obviously Christmas tree lights have changed for the better by getting the lights to be in parallel. Is the reason the LEDs are in series to reduce hardware so you don't have to transform the 120v down to something smaller? Or is the overall efficiency better by keeping them in series?

    47. Missing_small

      Creator Robert hirsch on October 28

      Great update. I'm glad to see you behave so positively with regard to the inevitable pitfalls with regard to product development. Even happier that it doesn't just happen to me! Keep up the great work.

      Question: obviously Christmas tree lights have changed for the better by getting the lights to be in parallel. Is the reason the LEDs are in series to reduce hardware so you don't have to transform the 120v down to something smaller? Or is the overall efficiency better by keeping them in series?

    48. Missing_small

      Creator Olivier "Frog" Grandhenry on October 28

      Thx for update #13. No hurry on my side, so take your time to do things right ! I prefer "rescheduled" quality than "on time" crap ;-). Cheers from Belgium !

    49. Eric_sketch_color.small

      Creator Eric Fortin on October 28

      well thats a good update. youre already mohths late now, it doesnt matter anymore, take the time you need to make this a commercial success. good luck.

    50. Dscf0011.small

      Creator Ran on October 28

      Sorry to hear about this production issue. I received my bulb already, but I've actually never installed it... so I don't even know if mine has an issue or not.

      Thanks for the update!

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