January Update: Portable power station compatibility & production challanges
Hi backers and friends
Portable power station compatibility improvements
Last update we posted about the troubles troubles we've had regarding the MPPT tracking algorithms found in some portable power stations - leading to low charging power.
We are very stoked to say that it seems like we've been able to solve it these challenges. Now our converter works with all of the 4 power stations we have on hand. Making a wind turbine appear as a virtual solar panel has been way more challenging that we initially conceived.
This is one of the key technologies needed to make portable wind turbines accessable to many (also non-technical) users.
For now we will have a positive list of compatible portable power stations. We will most likely make a user-confirmed positive list as well - the risk of ruining your power station is low, but it's hard for us to verify that the power delivery is optimal. Our strategy here is not completely finalised and it will depend on user feedback. Unfortunately it's not viable for us to buy all conceivable portable power stations.
We've posted a video here, on how it works. So check it out on how to connect the electronics.
As for as untested power stations we estimate that 80% of other stations will work as well. We'll continue to purchase new stations and continue testing and increase the known compatibility. We'll try and keep you posted on the development.
Here's a picture inputting 440W into the Ecoflow Delta 2 Pro. ....We still have spare capacity in the ground converter if/when a boost button for the wind turbine exist, giving you a little more UMMMFFF ;)
Status: Delivering turbines
We have to this dated deliver 6 turbines ~8% of kickstarter deliveries.
January has been filled with other competing tasks and we faced production issues.
If you are a backer, and you have a normal battery-system (lead-acid, Li-ion) or one of the following power stations Jackery P1000 Pro, Ecoflow Delta 2 or bluetti powerOak EB150/240, then we would definitely like to hear from you!
Also if you have a power-station that's not on our list and want to help verify the compatibility - let us know. Thanks!
We are currently battling some productions optimizations issues and quality control.
We've been hit by a few minor set-back that we have revised our processes on:
- Stepper board encoder failure. 2 turbines in our most recent batch have a suffered defect stepper encoders after +48 hours into tests. We suspect our soldering process to be the problem, and we'll have our PCB manufacturer solder these components as well.
- We saw ground-anchor failure at our test-site. Causes by a really wet january. It's been the wettest January in recorded history in Denmark.
We've upgraded our setup with some custom anchoring, and some stacked anchoring for testing that as well. Fixing broken turbines is more than doubling the work time for a single turbine. Lessons learned.
- Glue joint sanding quality control issues. We've had trouble with two batches of blades, that needed re-sanding of the glue process. We are making a jig for sanding and proper instructions for working ensure quality. Again; reworking blades and setting up QA takes time.
- 3D print filament quality. We've had a batch of bad filament that was out of specification causing parts that was 50% weaker than anticipated. We identified this a bit late and had to rework a few turbines.
- Most recently we had a tower/pitch oscillations on one test turbine that eventually lead to the loss of one guy line. Normally this should have been stopped by our tubing monitoring system. We'll investigate further on it. Should be solvable with a firmware upgrade.
We'll continue improving and some of these problems need verification on the solutions.
Biting over too much?
Admittedly - We might have bitten over a bit too much. BUT we still feel like it's something we can manage.
Thanks you so much for keeping patience and support for us - we'll continue working on a top-notch product that will be the absolute best currently available for whats its made for: portability and power production in average wind speeds! Not gale-winds like most others.
Solving all the technical issues has been tough! We're - as you know - fighting one problem at a time. It's long hours and a long grind to very complicated product.
Our software is much more complicated than the mechanical system and on top of that we have 3 custom PCB designs that must all communicate and operate in all conditions with different set-ups.
Making something that will perform well, easy to use and still reasonably durable has taken a lot longer than we anticipated.
We're very good a sprinting fast, and doing pivots in our day-to-day operations. Something that we can do because we have the skillset to make everything ourselves. The main problems is all the unknown unknowns and time. Time is always a concern and we're prioritising the most urgent matters to get Wind Catchers out.
Fundraising, why now, and does it cause delays for you?
We recently had a backer concerned about loosing focus on delivering wind catchers. We are fundraising now because we need the funding. We're +1Y delayed, and even though we're taking out minimal salaries we've stretched our budgets a lot. Unfortunately we can't work and deliver your turbines without food on the table and houses to stay in.
If we only focused on getting Wind Catchers to you, we would be at very great risk of running completely out of funding by the end of delivering, and forced to close the company before we have even build it up.
It's not what anyone wants: We want to continue the support for your units, and bring more updates etc. This is why we're using some effort - you could almost say spare-time - to work on fundraising so we can scale our production, and also bring our technology to even larger turbines in the future.
We know that from the outside it might look like we're not focused on the mission, but we are pushing as hard as we can, without risking dropping everything just before the finish line. It's is in a way to ensure that each and everyone will get their unit, and to ensure that we can be here to help you with support in the future as well!
Update to guides, etc.
We've started doing some initial guides on how to set wind catcher up, connect everything, and we'll also start doing some of the service manuals on how to look out for the turbine. Take a look on our website on the how-to-section.
It's still very much a a work in progress. But we'd love to hear if it's understandable enough, or if you have some good ideas on how to improve on it.
More competition for portable wind - yay
We're seeing more interest in the portable Wind. It's great to see we're not the only ones pursuing this, it means on some level that the idea must be good ;)
Jackery has released some computer graphics on a turbine that they might be working on. It looks absolutely stunning, but we still think we will have the upper hand in terms of power output :D
It will be exiting with the performance and the price. Check it out here.
That's all for now. Thank you for reading along
Comment here or on kickstarter.
PS. have a few turbine ready for shipment. Reach your if want your turbine now and have time test your system soon.
Kind & Windy Regards
The KiteX Team
Joey Lowe on
I’m a backer and have a bluetti.
Lynn Rambo-Jones on
I am not a person who is a techie. I have continued to support this project on faith. I wanted a power source for my family cabin on a lake in the Minnesota woods. And it is hard to see with one step forward and 2 steps back. This is apparently unavoidable. Keep working, but it would be helpful if any of your less sophisticated supporters were given info they could use regarding projected timelines etc.
Alex zoghlin on
I have a couple of Ecoflow Delta 2’s I use in a Solar array. It’s been interesting watching the progress. Frankly, I think you may have overstated how far along you were when you started the Kickstarter campaign. I do appreciate the honesty and transparency, and am looking forward to a product I know will be much better than the Chinese products out there with fake specifications.
Brian Martin on
I’m willing to wait as I’d like to have 48v output for my off-grid cabin. My current small 12v system set-up is doing fine with the Renogy 400w of solar and 400ah of LifePO4 batteries. I can be patient. Take care of your family, yourselves and growing company.
Chris from KiteX here.
As our comment section under these posts don’t allow for individual replies i’ll try and put everything in this on.
Cool! If you’re interested in testing it out for us, it would mean a lot. I could get you one of the next turbines we’re ready to ship out.
@Dwight Sloan. Sounds good! It should work too with those units we’re quite confident, but of course needs verification, so that would be super! I’ll look into getting the correct connector ordered for a shipment of one of the next turbines as well.
@Brian – Thanks for the patience. We’ll look into getting a 48V version – it’s still a little while yet. We’ll ofc keep you posted on it, and write about it in these blogs.
@Alex – Hi Alex, thanks for the feedback. Yes, we did definitely were very far away from the kickstarter. There were issues that arose during our testing that meant that the first iteration on the turbine was simply not good enough – seen from how easy and safe it was to use. We did choose to pursue a better product rather than delivering some that was not good, and moving on to a version 2, and just screwing the backers that would have version 1. So thanks for sticking with us. <3
@Lynn – Definitely its hard, I’d like to look at is as 1 step backwards and two steps forward though. Anyways I agree – it’s like a little slap in the face when we need to go backwards and re-design and remake stuff. It’s difficult creating something this complex with our small team, but we’ll push through.
We did try with the timelines, but we don’t think it’s really helpful – as we apparently are not good enough at keeping them, so they’re not really worth much – other than being a stress-factor. Instead we just like to talk about the challenges, how we aim at solving issues, and how far our progress is.
Thanks for all your comments.
Sorry the reply took so long, I’ve tried to see if there was something that could be done regarding individual answers, and also regarding notifications – (we don’t get notified by the comments here).