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Smartphone Compatibility, Integrated Alarm, Full-Featured App, Nearly Indestructible Body. Protecting Your Bike has Never Been Better.
Smartphone Compatibility, Integrated Alarm, Full-Featured App, Nearly Indestructible Body. Protecting Your Bike has Never Been Better.
2,912 backers pledged $400,166 to help bring this project to life.

Noke U-lock Update

Posted by FŪZ Designs (Creator)
84 likes

Hello everyone. Sorry for the long delay on updates. The Noke team have launched several products on Kickstarter and for the most part, they’ve gone very smoothly. The Noke U-lock is an exception. It seems that just about every part has required a redesign at some point along the way. Each time we’ve identified an issue and taken the time to fix it, another issue has materialized we couldn’t see before.  

Since the last update, we’ve had two of these. I’m going to explain those issues and their fixes below, but before I do that, I’d like to address some business concerns I’ve seen as I review comments.

First, Noke isn’t going anywhere. We’ve just signed some significant deals that ensure Noke is going to be on solid financial ground for years to come. We had to tighten our belts significantly over the past several months and it’s made things difficult for us. This is fairly normal with startups. What isn’t obvious is how to message things like this to backers.

Do you tell backers how tight things are and possibly scare them or do you keep your head down and figure out the best business decisions you can make to keep the lights on? I don’t know the best answer to this. Share too much and you might needlessly alarm somebody. Share too little and people get angry at poor communication.

I think both reactions from backers are fair. There have been numerous campaigns that ran out of money before delivering. Frankly, we’ve spent more developing this product than we raised. The good news is we’ve found other sources of capital to bridge the gap. With these funds, we’ve hired additional staff. I’m heading to China in a couple weeks and we are going to push this project to the finish line. 

  • Is the time it’s taken us to get here too long? Yes.
  • Do I get angry when people get frustrated at us for taking too long? No.
  • Was I ever worried about how we were going to have the resources to make it to the finish line? Yes, a few months ago.
  • Am I worried now? No. 
  • Have we ever refused a refund? No. If we’ve reached your limits of patience, just send an email to support@noke.com requesting a refund and we will gladly refund your money. Because too much time has passed since Kickstarter charged your cards, we can’t push the money back to your cards directly. Instead, we can send you a Paypal credit that you can spend anywhere or we can mail you a check. Sorry, I wish we could push it back to your card, but we can’t do it after a few months. 
  • Do we appreciate your support and encouragement through this? YES. 

Thanks so much. I’m going to add one more thought before getting to the details of the most recent delay. I think most Kickstarter campaigns have the very best of intentions. I think most truly have a sense of what it’s going to cost to deliver their products assuming everything goes well. They probably even build in a buffer. What is most difficult to estimate and what decimates the funds raised on a Kickstarter campaign is time. A delay means an extra month or two or perhaps years of salaries while not generating any additional sales. Eventually, if the company can’t raise money from an investor, they run out of money before delivering the product. One could argue it was a bad team, bad planning, or bad luck. In some cases, it’s a combination of a couple factors. 

Either way, I don’t think most campaigns set out to cause their backers pain. When they don’t have other products to generate revenue to support their operations, or an investor to help them get to the next level, delays just kill them as they burn through cash supporting their team and sending money to factories to fix the issues that caused the delays in the first place. I can speak from experience, it’s a very tough spot in which to be but I’m glad Noke clawed its way out. 

OK, enough of that. I just wanted to explain Noke has been fortunate to have other revenue sources that could keep the lights on as we pushed through these issues, and we’ve recently had some developments that will ensure we won’t have to worry about money any longer. Those developments ensure that we will be around for a very long time. I’m glad we didn’t have to be another footnote in Kickstarter statistics and I’m glad we have more personnel and financial resources to devote to this project.

So, on to the next questions, why the delay and when can I expect my lock? The answer to the first question is the end cap, waterproofing, and a capacitor. The end cap is this piece here. 

End Cap
End Cap

You put this on the end of the body of the U-lock after you’ve inserted the battery. If you look closely, you’ll see it also has a waterproofing seal. To hold the end cap on, we rely on friction. We didn’t want to rely on a screw to hold it in place and make replacing a battery any more cumbersome than necessary. Getting the friction just right has been far more difficult than it should have been and making tweaks to the part is precarious because modifying the tooling too much can damage the tool. We feel like we’ve got it nailed.

Here’s what I mentioned earlier about one issue fixed exposing another issue. If you look at the circuit board closely, you’ll see three copper dots. Those copper dots correspond with three pogo pins (like springs) on the internal circuit board. When the end cap is pushed in, there are three electrical connections happening. One is to send the ground from the back of the battery to the internal circuit board and the other two are for the internal circuit board to send power out to the speaker for the alarm.

Those connections need to be solid for everything to work properly. However, because the end cap was loose on some of our samples, we attributed odd behavior to the assumption that those connections weren’t perfect and it would be resolved when they we perfected. Well, now that the connections are solid, we still noticed rare but noticeable issues with the performance of the lock’s electrical system. As it turns out, while the battery should have plenty of power to turn the servo, flash the light, and beep at the same time (which is what happens each time you open and close the lock) there are instances where the current drawn from the battery would overwhelm it and cause the main circuit board to have too little power causing it to shut down and restart.

As you can imagine, this causes unexpected behavior. Is there a solution? Yes. Adding a simple capacitor to the main board will fix this problem. Our padlocks have all had one to prevent this but we shouldn’t have needed it with the large battery in the U-lock, but alas, we do. This part has been added to the board and we are in the process of making several more samples to hopefully confirm there is finally not another unforeseen issue.

For those of you unfamiliar with capacitors, they are like small batteries that store energy and are able to give that energy back out very quickly. They also help smooth out power delivery in electrical systems. They are used all over the pace. I recently had to replace one on my home air conditioner. A camera flash is another example of how a capacitor might be used. The large battery in the camera has significant capacity but may not be able to give out a quick burst fast enough to make the flash work. So, a capacitor is added to the circuit board. The battery charges the capacitor in a second or two and it’s just waiting for you to press the shutter. Once the shutter is pressed, the capacitor gives out the burst of energy in a fraction of a second and then it starts recharging itself from the battery (this is what can cause you to need to wait a second or two between camera flashes). 

Anyway, adding a capacitor to our board eliminated the odd behavior and we haven’t had any issues since. I want to say we are all set, but I’m unwilling to do that until we have twenty perfect samples that we put on our bikes, ride around in the rain, and rattle them around one last time. I’m headed to the factory in just under two weeks to oversee this step and hope to report back good news. Assuming good news, production will start shortly after that. 

If you’re still reading this, I want to reiterate our gratitude to you for hanging in there with us. I hope my discussion of business and financial issues weren’t off-putting. Most would tell me it was too much information. But, when long periods of time go by between updates, I think you have a right to know why we were reluctant to say more than we did. When things are uncertain, it’s hard to know the best way to message things so sometimes it’s easier not to send the message at all. I’m certainly not saying that’s a good policy. I’m simply explaining why updates have been few and far between. This will change. 

Now that our business is on solid footing, the product is not far behind. In case it’s not obvious, we are excited about where things are right now. Thanks again for your support. 

Thank you, 

The Noke Team    

Leonardo Vida, Neal Preece, and 82 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Mark Hogie Hogendobler on

      You promised up an update when you were at the factory in China on August 21st. That was almost a month ago. Slow boat home?

    2. Missing avatar

      Brittany Knoerzer on

      Will there be an updated survey sent our for shipping and order details? I can't even remember what shipping address I put down as it was 2 years ago.

      Thanks!

    3. Missing avatar

      David Karlsson on

      So, over a month since you promised more frequent updates. Any updates? ;)

    4. FŪZ Designs 5-time creator on

      @Glenn Gardner, Thank you for the feedback! We have decided on the "Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA" battery. This battery is also meant for outdoor use with a long life so I'm sure they're comparable.

    5. Glenn Gardner on

      Have you finalized the manufacturer or chemistry of the battery? If not, I'd like to recommend Saft and their liSoCl2 batteries. We use them heavily for long life outdoor applications and get factory pricing at smaller quantities than you'd have here.

    6. FŪZ Designs 5-time creator on

      @Jonathan Markman, Thank you for the feedback. We’re glad that you’re able to stick it out until the end and get your U-Lock. Delivery itself will happen in 2017, however the “when” is what will be determined. As my CEO said in a previous comment: “Regarding the timing, assuming I like what I see at the factory, we should be shipping within two months. I'll write another update while I'm at the factory to firm up the timeline. I'll be at the factory the week of the 21st.” Hope this helps!



      @Dan OBrien, Thank you for the positive feedback! Always great to hear both sides of the spectrum especially from others that understand some of the struggles that may be faced and how difficult those struggles may be. We had only the interest of our backers in mind and that’s not something that will ever change.



      @Hans Allis, Thank you for being a part of the U-Lock and it’s creation. Without you, we wouldn’t be here getting ready for this product to ship. Don’t hesitate to ask us for any information as well. Thank you.

      
@Roger & Valerie Skulsky, sorry for the delay! We were extremely optimistic before but now I believe we have a lot of the U-Lock set in stone and this thorough update was needed and came at the right time. No need to wonder anymore! It’s almost here!

      
@Lars, You’re very welcome. We’re pretty good at solving issues here at Noke and we don’t think this piece is going to be anything out of the ordinary. Thank you also for the feedback on the update. I know that you’ve personally commented here a few times and voiced your concerns so hearing it from some regular backers that the timeline was up to par gives up some confidence. We’re glad you still have confidence in us. Thank you.



      @Jeffrey P., We’re glad you did! We would never want to let down our backers and and glad that we kept your faith. We’re excited to get this lock to you, as I’m sure you’re excited to receive it. Thank you!



      @Sean Daugherty, “a simple “we are still here” is sometimes all it takes…” We couldn’t agree more with this statement. Over the course of the last two years we’ve seen a number of Kickstarter campaigns fail and backers left out of the dark so we apologize if this is how it felt. We are still here, we’ll be here for a while, and we’re excited to provide to you the idea that you backed. Thank you.



      @Michael Tyndall, Thanks for the feedback! We’re glad you enjoyed the update and we’ll take any luck we can get! Hopefully we won’t need it. Thank you!

      @jonathan Ponce, We can understand the appreciate for any type of information wether bad or good. Luckily this update is extremely good and will lay to rest some of the previous fears surrounding Noke. Thanks for sticking around! 



      @Johannes Rietschel, It would be nice if things you’ve planed and expected go according to plan but as you said it, nothing goes according to plan. Glad to see other business owners on Kickstarter providing support and feedback to us. Thank you so much!

@Jack Liao, Not a problem! We think this type of update was much overdue and we’re glad it is being accepted within this campaign, we were a little nervous about some of the reactions we would get. We appreciate you as a backer, thank you.



      @Aaron Vinall, We definitely see the light and the end of this tunnel. It’s been a long journey but after two years we appreciate you and all others who are staying till the end to see this through. Positive feedback helps push us forward so thank you!

      

@Bernardo Van De Schepop, thank you for the feedback. Our CEO wanted to try a new update and just lay it all out, we’re glad to see that it’s being well accepted by almost everyone. Thank you!

      

@Andrew Green, We’ll hang in here, and be here for quite some time as well! transparency is key if you want to have backers trust you so we completely agree with this statement. Thank you for the insight!

      @Warwick Shaw, Not a problem, it was our CEO’s pleasure to write it up and give some much needed information. We’re equally excited to see the tests and hope everything goes through smoothly. Thank you!

      

@Karlheinz Agsteiner, It will be delivered by 2017, hopefully before Christmas though! You may want to keep it on your “must have soon” list because it’s extremely close to being shipped. Thank you!



      @Lauren Tomasello, We thought some would definitely enjoy the mechanics and get a real understanding of what it takes to fix some of these unforeseen issues. We hope it was eye opening and also appreciate your kind words and feedback. Thank you!



      @Shannon McVee, Thank you so much for helping us launch or dream and provide something to you! Kickstarter is great and the U-Lock will be another reason to support companies. Thank you!



      @Derek Wall, The answer to this question unfortunately isn’t too direct and the update provides a sense timeline, but doesn’t touch on exactly when. The U-Lock will ship before 2017 ends. Thank you for being patient and understanding!



      @Johan Soderstrom, We love that it’s being so well received and is exactly what people may have not been expecting from the average creator but having it be exactly what you’re looking for is uplifting. In regards to shipping it will ship before 2017 is over and hopefully within the next two months. Our CEO is headed to China on the 21st and after this date I’ll have a lot more info. Thank you!



      @Patrick, Glad to hear your padlock is still working great for you! It seems that backers who already have our Padlock are more than happy to wait and understand the delays, glad you’re a part of them. We’ll keep working on the items and we appreciate your positivity, thank you!



      @Wooblet, we agree that the truth is always the best. We feel as though we’ve been pretty good with transparency and keeping it honest, unfortunately some unforeseen circumstances made it seem like we may have been inconsistent but luckily moving forward we don’t need to worry too much about unforeseen issues creating a delay. Thank you.

    7. Missing avatar

      Wooblet on

      Thank you for the update and for the honesty. The truth is always best. I will still wait for my lock, you all keep working hard and show us what you got.

    8. Patrick on

      Waw! Great update!
      I always have been confident as I am a Noke padlock user!
      Keep working hard for great items, we "back" you! ;-)

    9. Johan Söderström on

      Great update!
      This is just what I'm looking for as in updates; your latest obstacle and how you hope to resolve it. I agree you should not have disclosed anything about your financial problems a few months ago but doing it now is great and I appreciate your transparency in this.
      Please continue to post updates when you find new issues and when you find out how to fix them.

      I understand you cannot put a fixed date on delivery for a product which are a moving target anymore than you can predict the weather a month in advance. Many people (who haven't been involved in similar projects and situations) believe it's just to plan ahead. Personally I would prefer to have a fixed date for the next update though. Something to look forward to.

      Also, congratulations on finding funding!
      Looking forward to the next update

    10. Missing avatar

      Derek Wall on

      So I read this several times and you did not answer all the questions you posed. I think you gave a lot of info on what's going on and how you plan to fix it. However, what most of us are concerned with is the when do we get the product in our hands.

      We want the best product possible and appreciate you making sure it is. Just give us the when portion of the question you said you were going to answer. As a group we have been more than patient with this coming up on the 2 year mark of expected delivery.

    11. Missing avatar

      Shannon McVee on

      Personally I invest through Kickstarter for the satisfaction of helping a company launch their product/Dream. Hearing the success and challenges is what makes kickstarter great and a rewarding process. Please keep the updates coming and thank you

    12. Missing avatar

      Lauren Tomasello on

      Great update. I really enjoyed that bit about the capacitor. I'm an electronics student and just spent a while on the theory of decoupling/bulk capacitors and reading this gave some nice 'practical application' context! It'll probably help me remember what I learned :)

      Anyways like others have said, I think a lot of people understand that Kickstarter is an investment to help an idea come to fruition, not just a way to preorder something, and delays often happen, complications occur, but all we want is for you to be able to proceed with your project to your own satisfaction. That said I am very happy when these things do arrive !! Good luck !

    13. Missing avatar

      Karlheinz Agsteiner on

      Good luck!
      By now my lock has turned from "something I must have soon" to "some day I'll get an unexpected christmas present from Noke :-). As long as you deliver it in the end I'm fine and hope that things go more smoothly for you in the coming weeks.

    14. Warwick Shaw
      Superbacker
      on

      Thank you for the update and your perseverance, I look forward to your success and hope you can give us more news after your trial of 60 pogo pins!!

    15. Andrew Green on

      Great feedback. Appreciate the transparency and detail. Hang in there because I am!

    16. Missing avatar

      omar I on

      That was a long email and i came here just to tell that i actually read it all. It was little necessary because besides this one product from Noke. its important to know where the company is heading. as it seems they managed to find themselves new funding. so little good news there. Best of wishes to those fellows with production and then future support for the products.
      also these guys are going over the board and refunding still so long after collecting. thats serious dedication.
      For me it was never about getting money back. I invested in the product so would always request for product even if its demo or beta version.
      thats the whole point of kickstarter. we are investing in whats not on market.
      anyways looking forward to when ever we receive this lock.
      thanks for keep us updated.

    17. Bernardo van de Schepop on

      THAT very lengthy, detailed and complete update was more than needed.

      I wish you all the luck finishing the project.

    18. Aaron Vinall on

      Hang in there guys. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

      Thanks for keeping us updated.

    19. Missing avatar

      Jack Liao on

      Thanks for the update! Very much needed

    20. Johannes Rietschel on

      Thank you for the update and the great communication ! Well put. I run a business too, and unfortunately, the unforseen is the regular case, things can be planned but almost nothing goes according to plan.
      Keep up the good work and wish you good luck to nail it now !

      Johannes

    21. Jonathan Ponce on

      Thank you for the update. I truly appreciate you providing information whether it is positive or negative. At least we know it is one or the other as opposed to providing no information wherein we are left wondering (or worse making false assumptions and jumping to conclusions). Keep up the effort and good work. I'm definitely sticking around to see the ending. :-)

    22. Missing avatar

      michael tyndall on

      Thank you for the detailed update - you can't be better than honest
      Good luck with the 'perfect 20'

    23. FŪZ Designs 5-time creator on

      Thanks for the supportive comments. It means a lot to us. Regarding the timing, assuming I like what I see at the factory, we should be shipping within two months. I'll write another update while I'm at the factory to firm up the timeline. I'll be at the factory the week of the 21st.

    24. Missing avatar

      sean daugherty on

      Any communication is better than no communication. I am less worried about my money and more worried about what is going on. It really gives the Kick Starter community bad vibes when we don't receive any kind of communication for months on end, a simple "we are still here" is sometimes all it takes...

    25. Jeffrey P.
      Superbacker
      on

      I've always had faith in your team getting this project done. I know one day I will receive a great lock. I'm glad you have a little breathing room now. Keep up the good work.

    26. Lars on

      Thanks for a good update. Fingers crossed it all works out with the last piece of the puzzle.

      Also, I think you did the right call regarding when to do the update. You waited until you found a good solution, which I'm sure would have saved a lot of unnecessary concerns.

    27. Roger & Valerie Skulsky on

      Whew! We were beginning to wonder ... thanks for the update. Better late than never!

    28. Missing avatar

      Hans Allis on

      Thanks for sharing this much.

    29. Missing avatar

      Dan OBrien on

      Thank you and congratulations. It's not easy to do what you are doing. I found your message to be sincere and informative. Building a company and a brand can be like tightrope walking in a storm. I can imagine the internal conflict on what to share and what to hold close. I think you've done well.

    30. Jonathan Markman on

      Thanks for the update, guys. I, for one, am willing to keep waiting because I am excited about this product. I just wish that we were getting updates like this every month instead of every two and a half months.

      Also, you raised two questions ("why the delay and when can I expect my lock?") you only answered one of those questions (the delay). You hinted at a timeline for manufacturing, but didn't really give us an estimate. An estimate not met is better than no estimate at all. If all goes smoothly with this round, when do you expect backers to receive their locks?