8-Channel Bluetooth Sensor Re-design
Many folks have been asking about 8-channel Bluetooth FlexVolts. The short answer is they’re out of stock, and likely to be back in stock in roughly 6 weeks.
The long answer: In the original design for the 8-channel sensors, I tried to keep thing modular, making a 4-channel expansion that could be added to a 4-channel sensor. That modularity would allow me to place bulk orders of 4-channel sensors and expansion boards, and assemble 4-channel or 8-channel FlexVolts as they were ordered. I’ve learned, however, that the gains in modularity and flexibility are countered by the losses in assembly time and trouble shooting for defective boards (currently about 5% of the manufactured boards have an issue with at least 1 channel that has to be fixed). Now that there is enough interest in the 8-channels to support branching it into a completely separate product line, I am doing just that! A new enclosure has been picked to allow 8 channel jacks in a row. It’s a small thing, and nobody else may have been bothered by it, but I thought the stacked 8-channel was a bit crowded for inserting and removing plugs. I’m about half-way through the new PCB design right now, with hopes of finishing today and proofing by Wednesday, getting assembly quotes and ordering by Friday!
Arduino Shield Upgrades
It may be a small thing, but it’s surprisingly hard to find a decent stackable header. The standard ‘Arduino stackable headers’ from Sparkfun, Adafruit, etc. come with flimsy pins that bend if you don’t pull the shield out perfectly straight. Unacceptable. I FINALLY found, by searching Arduino forums, a supplier of higher quality headers with real pins. Hooray!
6 Channel – I’ve received a lot of interest in 6-channel Arduino shields. Arduino does have 6 analog inputs after all! It turns out it’s difficult (not impossible, but not economical either) to fit 6 channels of EMG on one Arduino UNO Shield form factor. So I’ve designed a 2-channel Shield that stacks on the 4-channel and uses the 2 remaining Analog Inputs! This design will be proofed this week, and then on to assembly quotes and ordering. Let me know if you want a 2-channel Shield (or a 4-channel + 2-channel pair), it will help me gauge how many to order!
Nothing feels more stressful than have unfulfilled orders. Knowing that somebody has paid for a FlexVolt, and is waiting, but isn’t yet able to measure muscle signals because I am still working out supply chain kinks, or just waiting for the next batch to be produced! At this point, ALL Hacker Arduino Shield orders have been fulfilled, along with all USB and ALL 4-cannel Bluetooth orders! Major milestone! What remains is the 8-channel. It’s a beast, and it takes a lot more effort to assemble and test. My original modular design is proving to be more problematic than clever, so I am re-designing, with hopes of ordering the next production batch this week, and fulfilling 8-channel orders before December. Hang in there 8-Channel Supporters!