back to article Boffin dreams up smart battery gizmo for Raspberry Pi fiddlers

Raspberry Pi-packing makers who are devising mobile projects or seeking to set up stationary Pi-based devices that operate beyond the reach of the mains will get a big jolt of help next May if a new doohickey wins sufficient backing on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. MoPi is a T-shaped board that drops onto the tiny computer’s …

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Where's the incentive

I think this kickstarter idea would do much better if a percentage of future profits after taking a project to market were reserved for the backers. At the moment I back something and get a token bit of whatever in return and they get all the profits. Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where a bank manager is trying to get his head around the idea of giving money to charity.

As an investment I'd back this, as it is, I'm no philanthopist.

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Happy

Re: Where's the incentive

"Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where a bank manager is trying to get his head around the idea of giving money to charity."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUhb0XII93I

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where's the incentive

The incentive is you get the item you want at a small discount over the final product.

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Re: Where's the incentive @AC

Which bit of "get a token bit of whatever in return" didn't you understand. Paying to get a discount? That's not an incentive. You wouldn't take a money off coupon into a store then offer to pay to be allowed to use it.

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Re: Where's the incentive

>"Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where a bank manager is trying to get

>his head around the idea of giving money to charity."

>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUhb0XII93I

Reminds me of Jobs' approach to Apple's charitable giving upon his return.

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Re: Where's the incentive @AC

Umm.. that is kind of exactly what you do with a money off token.

You pay the asking price, less the face value discount on the token.

Have you considered burying your money in the garden to see if a money tree grows? You don't seem to have quite mastered the concept of retail yet. Might be a bit early to start thinking of investing in stuff.

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Facepalm

Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

Comprehension not your strong point is it?

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

Chris, I could ask much the same thing of you... You contribute £x to the project, which in return, gets you a product that will retail for £x+£y. You have therefore saved £y over buying the product retail when it goes on sale.

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

Callam, first of all you don't know what this thing will retail for, I would guess about 20GBP at the most, more than twenty and people will just use a battery pack and voltage regulator. In which case the only winners will be the 18/19 GBP early birds Now unless I'm making a donation to charity I want to see some return on an investment and with these kickstarter projects all the return goes to the developers.

I think my premise is valid, there would be a lot more interest if a percentage of the profits were split amongst the backers. That way you'd get your little triinket and a proportionate share of some future profit.

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

Nope.. I comprehend just fine.

You are the one who seems unsure of how a money off voucher works.

Perhaps I need to make it simpler.

Imagine you get a 10% off voucher through the letter box..

It's for a product you already buy.. yay..

So.. You go to the shop, and you pick out the product.

Then you go to the checkout,and you pay for the product, and present the voucher.

The cashier then charges you 10% less than they would without the voucher, but you still have to pay the remaining 90% for the product.

If this is too hard, then you have no chance with understanding kick starter.

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

Which bit of this is too difficult for you "then offer to pay to be allowed to use it"?

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Headmaster

Re: Where's the incentive

this kickstarter idea would do much better if a percentage of future profits after taking a project to market were reserved for the backers. At the moment I back something and get a token bit of whatever in return and they get all the profits.

Kickstarter is specifically NOT for investing - in fact the official rules expressly forbid what you suggest[1]. It is a crowd-funding service that lets you effectively pre-order a product that does not yet exist. The idea is to help the creator bankroll the initial production run, and in exchange for doing so they generally give you a discount from the "retail price" or some sort of bonus.

[1] From: https://www.kickstarter.com/help/guidelines/

Creators cannot offer equity or financial incentives (ownership, share of profits, repayment/loans, cash-value equivalents, etc).

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

So pay the man his 90% and damn his eyes. This isn't an investment, it's an advance order by another name.

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

hi folks

I'm not sure I follow all the comments about pricing, but I'll try and give some background in case that helps...

We're building a little gizmo that (we hope) does something useful, and via Kickstarter you can get it cheaper and earlier than the retail version (and participate in its development). There is little or no profit involved -- we're looking for backers so that we can order in bulk (components get cheaper), get resources for comprehensive final testing, and get feedback for the design and so on.

There's a markup in the price on Kickstarter to cover the site fees and payment transaction charges, but this markup is much lower than a typical retail markup, which can be as high as 50%. So the early bird price will be around a third cheaper than retail, and the non-early bird prices will still be cheaper than the eventual high street price.

No big mystery, I think.

HTH, best

Hamish Cunningham

http://pi.gate.ac.uk/

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

None of it. But I'm not the one whining about money off vouchers requiring payment to use.

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

Don't worry Hamish.. We get it. Well.. Most of us anyway.

Good luck with the board. Hope you reach your target.

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Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

>None of it

Sounds like the penny has dropped and you're making a valiant attmpt to pretend you knew what you were talking about.

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Re: Where's the incentive

User McUser, hence my premise that allowing such would be better.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

You seem to be suggesting you cannot get that manufactured for much less than £10? For a small PCB, an efficient but common SOT223 regulator, the cheapest most frugal processor with an ADC you can find and some passives. Your schematic is way too fuzzy to get full specifics but that seems really quite expensive.

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Re: Where's the incentive

For campaigns like this you are not backing or investing anything you are just pre-ordering something which will only happen if enough others pre-order.

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Re: Where's the incentive

@Chris W: Kickstarter is a place to place advance orders to buy good or services from companies that don't have the startup capital to launch without a confirmed userbase.

What you seem to want is a way to invest in a company and obtain a percentage of ownership. That's called a stock market. There even exist "venture" stock markets specifically for what you are talking about.. For example, The TSX Venture Exchange.

Kickstarter is a means for entrepreneurs to minimise the risk of starting a venture by distributing that risk amongst interested potential customers, each of whom put in a small amount and eventually receive a product or service in return. It is nothing like a venture exchange, nor was it intended to be. It is a separate service.

If you want a venture exchange, go purchase shares from companies listed on a venture exchange.

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Happy

Re: Where's the incentive

""Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where a bank manager is trying to get his head around the idea of giving money to charity.""

"Here at Slater Nazi we're quite keen on getting into orphans."

A much more innocent time.

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Re: Where's the incentive

Trevor, I do understand what kickstarter is about, I merely put forward the suggestion that IF they did allow some sort of investment then in my mind it would be better, and I'll add especially for smaller investors who can't find 50,000, others disagree, that's fine, it was merely a suggestion. No doubt there is a legal minefield as to why they can't. And please don't try to talk down to me, it doesn't become you. I'm fully aware what the stock market is but my preference is for the FOREX, want any tips, just ask.

Hamish, The next step up from early bird is 24 GBP and you say "non-early bird prices will still be cheaper than the eventual high street price". That implies the retail price is going to be over 24 GBP. Do you expect people to pay more for your product than the price of a basic PI? What will be the expected retail price? You must have some idea or you wouldn't be able to make your claim.

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Re: Where's the incentive

Chris W you are demanding that kickstarter be something that it explicitly is not, was never intended to be, nor has any rational reason to be whilst ignoring that the thing you desire already exists elsewhere. Basically you are whining on the internet because a popular service chose a model you don't like and (shock, horror) millions of people around the world were down with that.

When called on it by multiple people you basically went full douchecanoe all over these forums. After all that you want me to treat you like you're some sort of knowledge-bearing savant?

The fuck, what?

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Re: Where's the incentive

I'm not demanding anything nor am I desiring anything.When has a suggestion or opinion ever been a demand or desire. Please tell me what I have demanded.

As for whining, have I derided the existing model? Again, tell me what I have written that would give you such an impression.

I think you need to take a step back and actually read what I have written. An opinion on how I think a project could get more backers is just that. It does not mean I demand it, nor does it mean I desire it and it certainly doesn't mean I disagree with how things work at the moment.

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Holmes

Re: Where's the incentive

I'm not demanding anything nor am I desiring anything.When has a suggestion or opinion ever been a demand or desire. Please tell me what I have demanded.

In which case the only winners will be the 18/19 GBP early birds Now unless I'm making a donation to charity I want to see some return on an investment and with these kickstarter projects all the return goes to the developers.

You're clearly desiring being able to get a return on your "investment", and by stating you won't be backing them under the Kickstarter conditions, expressing a disagreement with their chosen funding model.

Judging from several reactions, I'm not alone in reading this as a desire, if not demand, that Things Be Different.

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Re: Where's the incentive

Stoneshop, yes that is a desire, it is a desire that IF I were to invest in something I would want to see a return it is not a desire that kickstart change it's model nor does it mean I disagree with their model.

Saying I think a model which allows investment would get more backers is an opinion that is all, disagree with my opinion if you like, and obviously you and many others do, but don't try to tell me that by expressing that opinion I am demanding or desiring that they change. As Trevor has so eloquently pointed out there are other avenues for investment.

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Re: Where's the incentive

Opinions are like assholes: everyone's got one. But christ man, what the hell have you been eating? *hurrrk*

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Re: Where's the incentive

Trevor, is that the best response you can come up with? Avoid the questions and throw insults, I expected more from a contributor to this excellent resource.

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Re: Where's the incentive

You haven't asked questions. You shat an "opinion" - that appears to me to be far more of a demand than anything else - followed by a stream of vitriol at anyone who told you your opinion was unwarranted, undesired and unhelpful.

So yeah, you know what, the best I got for is "dude, your opinion has been roundly rejected and based on how you've handled that you're coming across as the sort of fellow I wouldn't want to have beers with."

You have a lot of "I want" with bloody little "and here's why you should too." You're all stick and no carrot. I don't see a reason why I shouldn't call you on that. Writer, not writer...if you're wrong on the internet then expect the rest of the internet to appear out of a portal and beat you to death with a rubber chicken. It's kind of the way the internet is.

Kickstarter is one thing.

You are "of the opinion" that it should be another.

People say "no, it shouldn't"

You say "should too!"

I say "hey, there's this other thing over here that's exactly what you are talking about, but it's not Kickstarter."

You respond with "my opinion is valid, damn you!"

Yep. This conversation sure was just dripping with class until I arrived. Kickstarter is what is is and people like it that way. There are alternatives, ranging from Indiegogo to the TSX Venture. There's no rational reason that in the face of that diversity it would change or even should change. You seem averse to looking for alternatives. You're just being a hater.

So, if you're being a hater, why should I spare you the rod? You lot wouldn't give me a half a breath before you started in with the knives, it seems to me that turnabout is fair play.

Just...let it go. Even if you believe ardently and eternally that you're in the right on this, nobody else does. You're preaching to an audience you can't convert and you're just making yourself look the fool in doing so.

So yeah. Opinions are like assholes. Everyone's got one. And in this context, yours just happens to be the one that's smelling up the joint. Sorry man, but that's the way it is.

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Re: Where's the incentive

Questions? You accused me of two things so I'll ask you to explain again in case you failed to read the first time but heaven forbid you should be writing your comments without reading what has gone before.

>>>>>

I'm not demanding anything nor am I desiring anything.When has a suggestion or opinion ever been a demand or desire. Please tell me what I have demanded.

As for whining, have I derided the existing model? Again, tell me what I have written that would give you such an impression.

<<<<<

I put forward an opinion. I have not said it should be like that, see the question above because you've made that accusatrion before. And no one has actually said outright it is bad idea, no doubt now I've said that some will but now I've put the thought in their head it's to be expected. There have been some positive and negative votes to my OP.

All I've read are people saying, kickstart doesn't work like that, they don't allow that, it's not in their T&Cs, some plonker telling me how coupons work, then you jump on the band wagon without an original thought in your head and follow the other sheeple and add in a petualant rant for free. I repeat not one person has given an argument against what I suggested they just told me how things work at the moment, I know that already. How progress occurs when there is so much resistance to a simple suggestion heaven only knows.

I'm not saying I'm right and unlike you I don't mind people who have opposing views I just haven't seen any yet.

Anybody would think I suggested Linux would be a better product if it were controlled commercially.

And now for the good bit. You can carry on with your insinuations all by your lonesome, I expect it is the normal state for your activites. That is my last word on this subject. I will read further replies for amusement.

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Re: Where's the incentive

You spent the top of this thread banging on about wanting an "incentive" to buy things and woe to all that paying money and receiving a physical object in exchange for that money was "inadequate" incentive. No, you want a percentage of the man's profits as well as the physical trinket!

Who the fuck do you think you are, Carl Icahn?

Then you jump straight to bullshit like "Comprehension not your strong point is it?" and get your panties in a bunch when someone calls you out for being a douchecanoe.

What you haven't grokked at all from this thread is that the people here see no reason to change Kickstarter to meet your whims. This is because you have provided to reason they consider valid. Your argument-fu was just not remotely strong enough.

This isn't because we don't think that the model you propose is a bad model, it is because it exists elsewhere and thus there is no reason to change Kickstarter. Kickstarter is what it is is and it has no logical reason to alter itself to be like another option just because you prefer the model of another option.

Let me try to put this into perspective. If a bunch of people are standing around a Smartcar saying "gee willickers, this really meets my exact needs, I think this is great" and you trip onto the scene and exclaim that it would be better with a big-block V8, a full bed for cargo and the ability to haul 3 tonnes then they are going to tell you "go buy a truck, ass clown" and go back to talking about their Smartcar.

Now most trolls, missio accomplished, would go off and terrorize kindergartners or some such. Nope, you hang around and say the Smartcar lovers "don't understand" and "they haven't given you a good reason that the Smartcar shouldn't have a big-block V8, a full cargo bed and the ability to haul 3 tonnes. You deride them as sheeple and say that they are preventing innovation by refusing to recognize how much better the Smartcar would be if it would only evolve to be exactly like you describe.

Thus begins the circular logic.

"Dude. Go to ford and buy a fucking truck. There's no rational reason for Smart to build a pickup. Lots of people build pickups. Smart makes Smartcars. A niche they creates and do well in."

"You don't understand! They could do so much better if they sold a Smartcar, but with a big-block V8, a full cargo bed and the ability to haul 3 tonnes!"

"Dude. Go to ford and buy a fucking truck. There's no rational reason for Smart to build a pickup. Lots of people build pickups. Smart makes Smartcars. A niche they creates and do well in."

"You don't understand! They could do so much better if they sold a Smartcar, but with a big-block V8, a full cargo bed and the ability to haul 3 tonnes!"...

Ad infinitum. So while I do so enjoy being stuck in the Typhon Expanse getting blown up every time the Bozeman saunters through the portal, I'm glad you've chose to decompress the shuttle bay as there are many other places to be.

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Re: Where's the incentive

Pot kettle black Mr Pott, I am struggling here to understand how your intervention in this is much more than trolling in of itself.

I don't read the OP as demanding anything, merely offering the opinion there might be better and dare I say it fairer ways such fundraising could be done. From a purely altruistic POV, I truly appreciate the (perceived) inspiration for Kickstarter and similar. It's a nice idea to help someone get something off the ground that they may otherwise find difficult to do because they do not have the credit, the history or charm to raise those funds elsewhere in a more conventional manner. This particular project is a good example I think of one that is close to those ideals and so are many others. I think open source/hardware project are more suitable still as others can then take what was created and run with it, moving manufacturing closer to home, making it better, all good stuff that helps innovation.

My issue with the concept comes with established companies and individuals using these platform to raise funding for projects that essentially mean they can embark on risky ventures with no risk to themselves at all. In many cases they would have no problem doing this stuff themselves and in many others the need for capital is frankly illusional. In manufacturing there are all sorts of deals you can strike on pricing that do not require you to spend huge sums of up front cash or quire large stocks. These projects I think raise moral questions, why are we prepared to give other people money for them to turn into profit for themselves? Even if we don't get a return should we not at least make it so when/if the project is a success they give it back.

Should such platforms have greater regulation and indeed clearer and greater responsibilities as to how they operate.

Should people who solicit funds in this way be obliged to be more open about how they are spending our money.

Frankly I don't care if some of these alternative platforms exist already in some form, Kickstarter is the one everyone is using. Kickstarter gets all the press and many of the rewards are token at best, maybe it should have tiers and types of project that fund and deliver differently.

Without serious questions like these, I fail to see how its anything other than exploitative capitalism at its cynical worst.

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Re: Where's the incentive

@ Humpty McNumpty oh, no, I was totally trolling the dude. 100%. He'd been douching it up so hard by the time I got to the thread that I decided to poop on him. I never claimed to be holier than the others who dwell here. I'm just a little more self aware. Thus when I'm being a jackass it's usually on purpose.

He didn't just offer his opinion, he went after anyone who disagreed with him, and completely ignored the fact that there already exist alternatives that do what he wants. I see him as demanding Kickstarter change because he isn't satisfied with the existence of alternatives: he wants his view imposed on the market leader, because it's the market leader.

And because, apparently, he's channeling Carl Icahn.

Under that circumstance I feel zero remorse about trolling his ASCII. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. A++++++++ would troll again.

As for your concerns: Kickstarter has all sorts of rules and regulations to prevent "exploitative capitalism at it's worst." It is vicious about scams and cracks down on them hard. Frankly, that's why a lot of the other services sprung up: to get around Kickstarter's more restrictive rules and enforcement.

Is Kickstarter perfect? No. But I honestly don't think that government regulation will help here. I'm usually down with my socialist brethren, but in this case A) there's no evidence that the model is broken B) there's no evidence that Kickstarter isn't capable of self regulation and C) there's a hell of a lot of evidence that if any government tries to "regulate" this industry it will get a lot worse in a hell of a hurry.

You ask the following question: "why are we prepared to give other people money for them to turn into profit for themselves?"

The answer - quite simply - is "because if we don't then the thing we want to happen or be built won't happen or be built."

Kickstarter exists to fund projects and products that in all likelihood would never happen otherwise. It's naive to say that this is some sort of magic hand of the free market making a moral decision about who should or should not survive. Anti-competitive measures exist in the form of artificial barriers to entry raised though everything from regulation to vertical integration that prevents startups from being bootstrapped in any number of industries.

Let's try a small hypothetical scenario:

I really would like a glowing plant. In fact, I want a glowing plant quite a lot.

Now along comes a scientist that says he has the skill to make me a glowing plant, but not the startup capital to make it work. He needs a Big Pile Of Money if he is going to make glowing plants. Making just one is only slightly less expensive than making several thousand, so he decides that if he is going to do this, he's going to make a business out of it. Fair enough. I can respect that.

So he turns to Kickstarter. He says that if he meets his goal then he will be able to sell anyone a bag of glowing plant seeds for $50. He figures he needs $65,000 or this isn't getting off the ground. He offers various things to funders from a free plant to a vase made out of old lightbulbs to the grand prize of having their name spelled out in the DNA of the glowing plant for the person who ponies up $10,000.

If I fund the project to the tune of $40, I get a bag of glowing plant seeds when they're ready. That's $10 off from the sticker price I would pay if I never took part in the project at all. That sounds like a fair deal, so i could do that.

Instead, I choose to give him $500. Why? I really want that glowing plant. He needs to make it to $65,000 this is how much I can spare. Did I mention I want a glowing plant?

I am helping him fund his business and in return I will be getting something I desire: a glowing plant. There is no rational reason for me to expect to own a portion of his company. There was never an expectation that I would own a part of that company and I paid my money in full knowledge that all I was getting was a bag of glowing plant seeds.

That's all i wanted. I'd have paid more than $500 if I'd had it to pay.

I don't know if you've ever started a business. I have. It's expensive. Far more so than just the raw costs of materials. If you have a moral objection to people making a profit then I don't understand how you function in our society. Businesses make profit. It's how our whole society works.

I - one of the most socialist commenters on El Reg - don't have a problem with these folks making a profit. They make me a glowing plant, they get profit. Win, win.

The market will determine if the cost is fair. If the cost is not fair people won't pay it. Nothing on Kickstarter is a natural monopoly or a good you just can't live without. Thus nobody is forced to buy anything: they are paying only if they feel the price is fair.

Because of that I don't think regulation is rational or warranted. I also don't think it's warranted to think Kickstarter should change it's model or try to become "all funding things to all people" just because it has name recognition. That's like suggesting that Coca Cola should sell coffee because they have name recognition and you like coffee.

Of course, you know, there is a way to decide this. Go start an Indigogo to raise enough money to lobby Kickstarter to change it's business practices. Let the market decide if your idea is fair and worth the money.

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Re: Where's the incentive

Well I will freely admit my scepticism is heavily coloured by my own scrooge like tendencies. I do follow the odd project that interests me but have as yet never backed one. If I were to I wouldn't back at any level that did not either get me the product or a kit to make it, this is in no small part influenced by the fact I don't consider myself to have the spare income to gamble. I am probably happier than some to wait for the market to produce something on its own rather than fund the now now now. A prime example being 3D printing, Kickstarter is full of these, I consider them all too expensive and too primitive, so I will wait. We've seen what happened with conventional printing I am gambling on that happening again, I simply choose not to do so with money.

Starting a business can indeed cost a lot of money, it does depend how you do it, what you are doing and what your plans are. I work in one small business and grew up in another I am well aware of the money and sacrifices that go into making them happen. Neither of them went out with a begging bowl to get started.

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Re: Where's the incentive

"Neither of them went out with a begging bowl to get started."

Which again brings this back to "your objections are moral, rather than rational or logical." Which is pretty much what the other guy's problem was. Objections based on feels, not base don anything he could actually coalesce into a practical argument.

Kickstarter is representative of a new morality tied to an evolving culture. I believe the issue to hand is a sense of "get off my goddamned lawn" combined with a vague disgruntlement and a denial of getting old.

The beauty of Kickstarter is that there's no requirement to put money in. It's all voluntary. So if you are pinching pennies, then you simply wait to see what proves itself, which is also a valid way of approaching life.

Sir, this old thing happens to us all. Now, about my lawn...

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If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

> a pair of LEDs to give a visual indication

That would be a visual indication to whom, exactly?

I'm a great fan of flashing lights on computer boards (the microprocessor equivalent of Hello World) and I recognise that in the world of Pi, they are a massive sales feature. But you have to ask: if a board is going to be run off batteries, possibly even built into an enclosure, what is the point of some LEDs - once you've debuggered everything? Given their power consumption, it would be nice if they could be pulled off the board, or just given the SNIP.

If the developer is looking for some extra features, if the on-Pi thingy doesn't already do this, I'd suggest having an ADC measuring the state of charge and use that to talk to a serial: RS232, SPI or I2C interface (as the Pi doesn't have any analog capability of its own) to inform the board what is going on. In fact, breaking out a few 10-12 bit analog inputs and having them interface to the Pi would make this a winner: even without all the battery stuff.

As it is, there are already other (yes folks: there are other single board computers) SBCs that can directly plug in a LiPo without the need for an extra board. Some are even open-source hardware.

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Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

A pulsed (flashing) led on the battery board draws so little power that it can run on a single AA for over a year. This is 30-year old technology and techniques - and a pulsing led is more attention getting than a steady state one.

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Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

Remember how long all those Pink Floyd albums were blinking away in HMV...

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Happy

Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

I must have changed the battery in my copy of Pulse about 4 times now.....

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Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

Now *that's* a fanboy admission if there ever was one, changing the battery in your gimmick record sleeve. That micturates from a mighty height on anyone buying the latest iPhone/'droid every year. Top marks.

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Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

hi,

The LEDs are good for applications whenever you can see the thing (e.g. under the lid of a Pibow case), and as someone else mentionned they take very little power.

We do have an ADC measuring charge already :-) and we pass that data to the Pi via a 3-bit value on GPIO. This is enough for basic operation, but as we add more features it gets a little tight, and we also want to allow configuration on the Pi itself -- so we need to pass data back to the board. Your suggestion of I2C looks like the best option for this -- thanks for the confirmation.

Re. other LiPos and so on, yes, there are lots -- none that I know of tell the Pi when the battery is low and needs to shut down, but no doubt they'll come :-)

Thanks for your interest!

h

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Holmes

Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

"That would be a visual indication to whom, exactly?"

Given that the point of this device is to indicate to the user that a battery pack is going low so they can then add a new battery pack before removing the failing one for recharging/battery replacement, then I suspect, though am not certain, that the intended audience for the flashing LED might be the user.

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Facepalm

Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ...

> a pair of LEDs to give a visual indication

That would be a visual indication to whom, exactly?

To the photo transistor you hooked up to a GPIO pin of another RasPi; of course you can't rely on the battery-powered one to send out a distress signal when its power source is failing.

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Thumb Up

Re: If a battery fails when there is no-one to see it ... (@ NoOneInParticular)

Mine lasted two years. Sometime in the future, when I'm really bored, I plan to replace the batteries, just for the hell of it. I'll probably become the owner of the only copy of the album that still blinks.

Muhahahahaaa!

Edit: I just read FunkyEric's comment. Another ruined plan, then. :-)

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Charging

OK so it seems like a perfectly worthwhile project in concept, but the hardware itself is hardly rocket science. Unless I am missing seems to be a glaring omission, why is there no charging circuit built onto the same PCB? With that it really could flex its muscles as a UPS with solar power/wall wart running your Pi and excess power going to your battery. The parts are quite ordinary, it would be very easy to get pretty good pricing on most of it even with quite low volumes, indeed most it is probably part of a manufacturers stock. It should be pretty cheap certainly way less than £18.

I share the Kickstarter critique, I get the impression many backers of projects have not bothered to read what a project is contracted to do with your money. Backing is not an investment, the only thing a project is obliged to provide a backer with is whatever reward they sign up for. Backing a project does not get you a discount, it gets you whatever they choose to offer, which might be "Thanks". A fully funded project need never actually produce the product to take your money, technically if your chosen reward was this product you can ask for your money back, but Kickstarter won't help you. The Kickstarter rules specifically state you can't use it as a pre-order system, which is a rule they quite blatantly ignore because that seems to be precisely how most projects use it.

A version of Kickstarter that did make your backing an investment would be interesting, I think however there are probably significant legal hurdles to such a process as it would imply the trading of shares.

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FAIL

Re: Charging

Not having a charging circuit is a big oversight. There is already a product very similar to this called "UPiS" (http://www.pimodules.com/) which costs a tad more at £40ish but includes a LiPO battery with it and takes care of charging as well as being able to perform time-triggered shutdowns & reboots.

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Re: Charging

The UPiS looks good for servers but I see one weakness compared to this project and that is lack of access to the GPIO.

A charging circuit would have been a nice but irrelevant for the mission of the board; installation/usage away from a constant power source (and using GPIO-based sensors for some purpose) and making the batteries hot-swappable somewhat negates the charging circuit since you can pull the dead pack, take it back and charge the batteries while the second pack keeps running.

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Re: Charging

Thanks for the input...

I answered most of these points over on the kickstarter... See update 2

Re. rocket science I actually prefer rocket salad :-)

Have a good one

H

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Curious as to why a SEPIC wasn't chosen...

...Dramatically widened the source of power. OK a bit bigger, but if the Chinese folks can do it on e-bay for a few quid...And the lack of charger is unfortunate. I'm planning my own version using a SEPIC, charger(s) 'cos I want mine sitting in the forest, guzzling whatever power I can throw at it, and any battery technology I've got to hand. Yeah, it won't be small, but as the case (cctv case) has to be weatherproof...batteries, electronics, air-pi equivalent, not such a problem

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