Month: July 2013

Now we’re talking!

We’re nearing the final bend now, and it’s hugely exciting to be at this point! Yesterday the production line fired up and produced the first full batch of C-Samples and here they come!

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To get to this point, is incredibly exciting and I’m hugely grateful to everyone in our team who’ve been here with me in China, and the team at home for continuing to refine the hardware and the app at home.

Marc in particular has had a huge month spending all of it between Shanghai (over seeing manufacture of the control boards) and here in Shenzhen doing anything and everything required to support the production team at the factory and get the bulbs working perfectly.

And boy do they work well! This for me is the most fun part, taking them back and testing them in the hotel and having all the parts working seamlessly together. This is the part I look forward to sharing most, so stay tuned on this one!

The next big step for us is the certification process, CE, UL and we sent the control board away for FCC (wireless) certification today! In total this process will take (3-6 weeks) then the moment they’re approved we hit go on the production run and then off they go to you.

One thing we’ve done that will expedite this too is pre-purchased all the necessary components so that as soon as certification is passed we can hit go, as opposed to then ordering them all after certification. So, for us right now, amongst the excitement and jubilation at having a small batch in our hands it’s still in fingers crossed and over to the certification bodies to do their thing!

That being said, I’m absolutely chuffed to be at this point and incredibly grateful to all you folks for bringing this to life, being part of it all, and encouraging us along the way!

I could go on for hours about these past two weeks and all the steps involved to get to this point! We’ve been busy redesigning power supplies countless times; working on our GU10 downlight version and tooling; staying up till 4am each morning talking to the app guys at home as they push through one last iteration (I gave them a reprieve from my June 30 deadline by a few weeks while we run through certification); doing end of line testing and making sure each and every unit meets our quality control spec but I think the end-result is what we’re all looking forward to, and that end result is going to rock! So much so, I’m wearing this hat, and I’m still smiling.

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C-Samples off the line!

Hi folks, it’s been a busy four weeks since we’ve posted, with the team spread across the world and everyone working their buts off but we have some good news to share. The first units are off the line.

We don’t yet have the full 500 as we’re taking one last look at the power supply and had to re-order a small batch of the RGB LED’s from our supplier as these first one’s weren’t up the standards we required, so whilst this is a bit annoying, we aren’t prepared to compromise for a few days gain. As a result I pushed back my trip to to Shenzhen, as my role kicks in when the production line starts.

However Marc (LIFX lead engineer) is on the ground there now overseeing end-of-line testing; mass production of the control boards (Our order of 25,000 WiFi chips and MCU’s arrived in our control board assembly facility ready for the production run) and working on the power-supply.

Marc’s also spending a lot of time perfecting the diffuser which can make a big difference to final lumen output and of course the light diffusion around a room. The end result is a poly carbonate which accentuates the colors and smooths out the whites we which feel suits the bulb perfectly. It will improve again from this point (and looks a lot better in person!) but here’s a quick demonstration on video.

So whilst the hardware is still in that arm wrestle phase we described previously overall we’re really happy with the progress.

While Marc’s in Shenzhen, I’m in the US working on partnerships. Our goal for LIFX is to not only deliver the best product, but that will work with an eco-system of other devices you love 😉 We’re talking to some amazing brands about how LIFX can work seamlessly with them, and we have a lot more that we plan to meet and talk with over the next few months.

None of this would be possible without the fantastic support of the firmware guys, our app team at home, our partners such as ThingSquare and our CTO Daniel May who’s worked tirelessly on our API over the past weeks which is being tested this week.

Whilst the hardware is what most of us are interested and the most visible part of the progress, the software and firmware has probably been more work.

A key part of this, is of course the app, and this has also been a major focus over the past few weeks. Ben, Nathan, Mike and Adam are all putting in the extra miles to make it continually better and are submitting to the app store on June 30, and Google Play soon after. As it’s 90% complete, in the next update we’ll able to show you the full version and how it works (possibly using App.io) and of course you’ll be able to download it soon!

So a lot of progress is being made and everything’s converging well, but of course the arm wrestle continues as this phase is definitely the hardest part of a manufacturing run.  We really appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement and we’ll keep sharing news as it comes to hand.

I’m now back in Shenzhen next week and will update soon after with news about first 500 units, certification and tooling up for the GU10!