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Project update 6 of 10
As you may have already noticed, the campaign was a huge success! Our goal was achieved after the first week, but was absolutely smashed at 250% by the end! Thank you all so, so much for supporting this project. It really means a lot to the whole CircuitSetup team - mainly me.
Now the fun begins! Or, it’s been going on for weeks now, but we get to actually buy everything needed to assemble the product beyond small batches and prototypes. We’ve already purchased some larger items, like the boxes for the single meter kits, and the transformers. Details are being worked out with PCBWay on assembly and QA. Software is being fine tuned. The design for the printable boxes are being checked.
There are a lot of little details! For example, how do you program almost 200 ESP32 dev modules without doing one at a time? Luckily Espressif provides a program to flash up to 8 at a time. For this quantity they’ll all be flashed in no time! There was one small issue though. Getting the ESP’s into bootloader mode wasn’t working automatically. The fix? Add a capacitor across EN and GND. That is what the green perf boards are doing in the picture below. Putting every one into bootloader mode manually would not have been fun!
Another thing is getting it so everything fits together. Some of the connectors used on the energy meter kit are special order. Unfortunately, a lot of pin headers do not come in 19 pin configurations. The ones that we ordered actually go on the underside of the PCB to connect the ESP32 to everything.
The prototype that you see in the pictures was all hand soldered together. This isn’t practical to do for a lot of meters. Nor would you be able to easily swap out the ESP32 if you wanted to, or maybe add another sensor.
Once assembled the holes in the case have to match up with the meter and ESP32 for CT connections, the AC transformer, and USB (if you want to hook it up to your computer). For this a jig was 3d printed to accurately and consistently drill the holes in each box.
Stay tuned for more updates, and thanks again for your support!