Chatter hardware changes and delivery update

Hey everyone 👋


I hope you had some rest during the winter holidays and that you're now energized and back to your regular crunch.

Here at CircuitMess, we were hard at work to get your fifth STEM Box delivered to your door - Chatter. 


I'm happy to announce that, despite the ongoing difficulties with semiconductor sourcing and shipping, your chatters are in the finishing phase of the development and will start shipping out in about seven days. 


To get Chatters produced and delivered, we had to perform some changes to the initial prototype shown in the Kickstarter campaign in 2020.

The hardware changes were done in order to:

1. make the chatter work in the best way possible

2. make the chatter producible with the components available on the market right now

3. account for the rising costs of semiconductors. We always try to deliver the best products possible. Still, sometimes, we cannot use a component that was initially put into the prototype shown in 2020 because the prices of specific components skyrocketed. 



Here is a detailed list of changes that we've performed:

 

1. we've radically improved the esthetic and the functionality of the software.

The software now works in a way more similar to Whatsapp,  Facebook Messenger, or other messaging apps that you're used to using. 

It includes a new set of functionalities, including:

- pairing with multiple devices

- friends lists

- multiple chats with chat history 

- on-screen notifications 

- chat color customization

- user avatar customization 

- fancy gif animations and a complete UI overhaul 

- a set of unique memes that we've designed 














2. we've switched from a single-core processor to a dual-core CPU.

At first, we wanted to pull this off with a single-core processor (ESP8266).

We've figured out that we cannot make everything work with the amount of RAM and FLASH esp8266 had, so we had to switch to his bigger brother - ESP32.


The left silverly thingy is the CPU

3. we changed the wireless communication module 

The one on the prototype was not working well enough. We've switched to a LoRa (long-range radio) module called Ra-01. This one has a metallic shield and is less prone to interference and errors; it just worked better for us. 

 

4. The screen is landscape instead of portrait

It turns out people liked it better when the display was in landscape orientation.  

5. USB-C 

Everyone's using it, so we've put it on your chatters as well. 



6. The buzzer is bigger and a bit louder now.

 

7. We've made Chatter smaller. It fits in your palm better now, and we can also fit both of them in a box that isn't super big.



8. we've switched from Li-Po to AAA alkaline batteries.

I know, I know, but we couldn't produce the chatters and still cover all the costs due to the stronger processor and the rising component prices. 

You'll get six pieces of AAA batteries in your package.





9. The Antena is smaller 

From our tests, we've figured out that the size of the external antenna affected the range minimally on our design. 

We've reduced the size of the antenna to make the device more portable and to account for the higher production costs while still not crippling the functionality of the device. 



10. we've added a keyboard sticker

We were not satisfied with the readability of the key markings printed on the circuit board, so we've switched to vinyl stickers that you can apply if you don't remember what typing on a phone in 2006 looked like.  



Bonus:

We've radically improved our quality control process by designing a new series of test jigs that test the circuit boards when they come out of the production process. 



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Stay tuned for more info soon.

 

You'll soon start receiving your tracking numbers.

 

As always, thank you for your support and keep making 👋

 

- Albert and the team