Product changes and delivery date update
For the past two months, the entire team has been very busy working on the Batmobile,
The ongoing worldwide logistics and semiconductor crisis remains our main fun-generators.
We had to perform some product changes and tweaks; thus, here’s a detailed update on what’s happening.
Batmobile’s controller changes (stronger CPU for the same price)
The initial BatController design ran on an ESP8266 module (single-core CPU with WiFi).
We had to replace it with a stronger CPU - the ESP32.
Unfortunately, during the development of the final firmware version, we concluded that we couldn’t cram all of the software caboodles while still maintaining satisfactory performance.
The initial prototype on Kickstarter didn’t have all of the controller’s software features we had planned, and it was running fine.
Initially, the plan was to include extra software features by doing software optimizations.
It turns out things are not working out the way we planned, and, unfortunately, the device was operating with too much lag after all of the added changes and optimizations.
Therefore, we’ve concluded that the only proper way forward is to swap the ESP8266 for a stronger CPU - a dual-core ESP32.
We’ve already gotten the controller's new version, and the performance is superb.
What’s not superb is that this will raise the overall cost of goods for the device by 7%, but we’ll cover that since making a good product is our #1 priority.
Just a short comparison - ESP8266 vs. ESP32:
- ESP32: a dual-core processor that runs at 160MHz to 240MHz, whereas the ESP8266 is a single-core processor that runs at 80MHz.
- The ESP32 includes an extra CPU core, faster Wi-Fi, more GPIOs, and supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth low energy
Inventor’s Pack modules
Another change we had to make was to replace the magnetic connectors on the Inventor’s pack modules with nonmagnetic ones.
Unfortunately, due to the component shortage, our supplier gave us a three months+ lead time for the magnetic connectors, which would result in an unacceptable production delay.
We had to make the difficult decision of replacing the connectors with a different non-magnetic model.
However, this change will not affect the module's functionality and will provide you with a fun and exciting learning experience.
This is what the new modules look like:
Overall progress so far
I’m happy to announce that we’ve gotten the final approval for Batmobile’s packaging from Warner.
The boxes are currently being manufactured and we’ll receive them on October 17th.
We’ve settled for a slightly more futuristic box design compared to the initial one shown in the Kickstarter campaign:
Other notable milestones include:
- We’ve ordered 60% of the electronic and mechanical components needed to build the Batmobile, and we’ll receive them by mid-October. The rest of of the components will be ordered by October 12th, and we’re planning to have everything in our warehouse by the end of October
- We’ve managed to source all of the Li-Po batteries for the Batmobile and the controller, which proved to be a tricky task due to the shortages
- We’ve received all of the Bat-merch, such as t-shirts, keychains, etc.:
What happens next
We have to finalize the following tasks before shipping the product to your addresses:
- Order the final PCBs (planned for October 15th)
- Finalize and polish the firmware (planned for late November)
- Print out all of the boxes and purchase the rest of the electronic components (by October 15th)
- Assemble and test the circuit boards and have them delivered to you before Christmas.
The Batmobile’s final casing had to be slightly changed due to a few final requests from Warner:
Covid lockdowns in China and supply chain issues
These are the two main issues we’re facing now that have been messing with our plans for the past year.
The current economic and logistical situation has not made things easy for us. Constant shipping delays and lockdowns in China have made our development process longer and more challenging than anticipated.
New estimated shipping date - end of November / beginning of December
Unfortunately, the shipping date was pushed to the end of November and the beginning of December for all orders.
I understand the situation isn’t ideal with constant delivery pushbacks.
Rest assured that we’re doing everything we can to deliver a truly fantastic product.
I am also aware a lot of you are counting on this as a Christmas gift, and I will do everything in my power to get your Batmobiles delivered to you before Christmas.
We expect to have all the components needed to begin production of the Batmobile by the end of the month, giving us enough time to start shipping the first boxes at the end of November.
We take delays seriously and will continue to work hard to deliver the product to all of you as soon as possible.
Please note that we have paused all of our other projects to deliver the best possible version of Batmobile as soon as possible and that delivering this to your chimneys before Christmas is our #1 priority.
To keep all of you informed, we will make sure to post updates more frequently.
Thank you all for sticking with us and helping us make this amazing project happen.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message - I read and reply to all of the messages I get.
- Albert and the rest of the CM team