How it feels to deliver a product
Hello Spark friends,
Many of you have received your rewards by now; we hope you're enjoying them! And don't worry, those of you who haven't; they're on their way and coming soon. We're still shipping, so don't worry if you haven't gotten a tracking number yet!
The last week has felt like the Kickstarter campaign all over again; the activity on our forums has exploded, with people sharing awesome projects and others seeking help with issues. The feedback has been extraordinarily helpful as we learn what we're doing well and what still needs some work.
Keep the feedback coming! The whole team is here to help you through set up and to learn more about the features you'd like us to add. If you run into any problems with set up, here's a few resources to help:
We're continuing to see some awesome tools and libraries built by the community. Here's a few goodies to add to the list:
SPARK API HELPER: http://jflasher.github.io/spark-helper/
TWEET FROM A SPARK CORE: https://github.com/SaraJo/spark-tweets
Keep 'em coming! We're loving the contributions and we're eager to share with the rest of the community.
Battery Shield issues
Unfortunately we have some bad news to share for our backers who got Battery Shields. Yesterday we uncovered a flaw that causes them to behave inconsistently, and we are recalling them to the factory to be reworked.
I know this comes as a disappointment, but we'll do our best to make it right. This mistake is without question our fault, and we're going to get it resolved as fast as possible, and with as little impact to you as we can manage.
The current plan is that the battery shields will be removed from the distributor, but the rest of your rewards will be shipped out regardless. This way the delay on the battery shields won't cause the rest of your rewards to be held up. At this point you'll have two options:
1) Select a different shield (Relay Shield, Shield Shield, or JTAG Shield) as a replacement, which will be sent out quickly.
2) Wait for the Battery Shields to be fixed and returned to the distributor, which might take another 2-3 weeks.
We will follow up in the next couple of days with a personal email to each of the backers who ordered a Battery Shield. Keep your eyes out for this email, as it will have the information you need to make your selection.
A few hundred battery shields have already been shipped out. If you receive a battery shield with your other rewards, don't worry - we'll still send you a replacement. Just hold onto it or, if you want, you can fix it yourself; we'll post the fix on the forums. It's a simple fix if you're handy with a soldering iron.
So what happened? The Battery Shield has a battery management circuit that maintains a constant output voltage from the battery. If the voltage drops outside an acceptable range, the battery management circuit shuts off the power to protect your circuit from erratic behavior caused by low voltages.
Unfortunately the circuit was set incorrectly so that this voltage protection is too sensitive, and shuts off frequently. This happens once the battery has been discharged, so our manufacturing tests did not catch the issue.
Luckily the issue can be fixed by removing a couple of components. This makes it a good candidate for rework, which is why we're sending the shields back to the factory to be fixed.
New features and bug fixes coming soon!
Thanks for all the feedback you've sent via the forums, email, twitter, etc. The input you give us determines what we'll do next. Here are some of the things we've added to our backlog based on your feedback:
- Better support for libraries, including community-generated libraries
- A mechanism to control the RGB LED
- More ways to control power consumption through sleep levels
- Wrapping some of our messy tools for local development in a cleaner command line interface
- Better troubleshooting information based on LED colors
- Making "Smart Config" more robust on different types of networks (have to work with Texas Instruments on this one, but we've collected great feedback)
- Simplifying set-up over USB, especially for Windows (signed drivers)
Not all of this will get done right away but it's all on our minds now, thanks to your input!
Thanks again for all your support; good luck with your projects, and please share them with us so we can share them with the world!
- Zach and the Spark team