Beef. Designing, testing and buying components. A multitude of temperatures.
- Backers at the Beef Supreme and Patron levels, you should’ve received a survey asking for your address — your grass-fed Texas beef will be ready for you in a couple of weeks. (If anyone else still wants to get in on this, message us. We can still get two more 10-lb packages.)
- Backers at the Upgrade level, you should’ve gotten a message regarding the Range upgrade payment.
- If you didn’t get the survey/message, please log into Kickstarter to see it, or contact us directly.
- Backers at all other levels, no survey for you yet.
Range Dial looks simple, but like most modern products, there are details all the way down. It has dozens of parts, both off-the-shelf and custom, and each has its own features that we've individually designed and/or tested, and then have to pull together from around the world into a factory.
Here’s a preview of a tweaked probe handle in the process of prototyping. In response to user feedback on the earlier wired Range, we changed the angle at which the handle clips onto a pot, so the probe is less likely to touch the side and affect the measurement.
And here are the first test parts out of the mold. There’s also an important internal improvement that you can’t see here — the handle will do a better job of strain relief, which means the cable will get less wear and tear, and last longer.
We’re facing a new schedule challenge. The potentiometer that connects Range Dial's knob to the circuitboard is a critical part. It’s made to order for us by a factory in Spain, and they’ve told us that there will be an additional 6-week delay in production (they have a lot of holidays, apparently). This is disappointing, as it will push us back to the August timeframe. We normally choose components that have alternatives, but it couldn’t be avoided in this case. It’s difficult to work around such a unique part, but we’re hoping to find a substitute that’s in stock. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, the rest of our work proceeds, and if the ship date has to be delayed, the silver lining is that we’ll have more time to improve in other areas. You see some of the fruits of our labor in the photos above. We’ve made similar progress in the invisible software side.
Our measuring circuit builds on what we’ve done in the past, but so far in testing it’s leaps and bounds better in terms of precision. We’ll cover why you should care in a future update.
I’ve been digging in the Range app’s internal plumbing to not only add support for Bluetooth, but to support multiple Ranges at once (something we didn't have to think about with the original Range since an iPhone only has one headphone jack to plug it into). Now you’ll be able to connect simultaneously to at least ten Range Dials with two probes each, and get all those readings on your iOS device. Though I can’t imagine what you’d do with 20 temperature readings at once—any ideas?
Lawn and order
We have a growing hardware development scene in Austin, and my friend John’s designed the latest product — an intelligent water timer and flowmeter rolled into one sleek package called Zilker.
Zilker makes it easy to save water by automatically watering your lawn or container garden only when the weather calls for it. Because it measures flow, you can give your plants water in inches rather than minutes, or precisely fill your pool. No water timer can do all this now, but you can change that by backing Zilker on Kickstarter.