To do a quick re-cap: Since the November blog post, we've been working through a lot of different technical challenges, as well as getting The Palette and our manufacturing facility certified.
We ran into some certification issues the first go, and now we want to dive into our most recent certification information.
In short – we have some really good news. Everything points to The Palette passing certification.
Now…. Let’s dig into what’s going on inside your Palette, what’s changed, and where everything sits.
Check out the comparison of last time’s test results (left), compared to our most recent results (right)
And now for the English translation….
In order for a product to pass emissions testing, the red line needs to be both below the blue line (industrial certification) as well as the green line (consumer certification).
Emissions measurement testing rig
We’re really proud that we’re able to get the readings above, it means The Palette has passed the certification standards to be used in a consumer’s home. We needed to make a few tweaks to your Palette to ensure it meets these international standards.
So what tweaks did we make, and what impact did they have?
First, we had an expert set of hands on our side during our testing day. We brought our EMC consultant with us to the testing grounds to make changes on the spot after we received each set of test results.
This time we decided to bring two Palettes. This allowed our team to modify one Palette while the other was being tested. Working on things in parallel allowed us to get through twice as many iterations on our test day than we were able to last time. We made dozens of different changes to help determine what was causing the high emissions in certain frequency zones.
The first hardware modification we discovered that we needed to make was the addition of a capacitor to act as a low pass filter for the Palette’s power input. You can see this new addition in the picture below:
If you’re unfamiliar, the capacitor is the small blue cylinder with the two silver wires coming out of it. Capacitors store and discharge power for a very short period of time, and help to filter out the alternating currents in this direct current line.
Next, we added two ferrites inside of The Palette. Ferrites are components that help suppress electrical emissions from wires. Basically, you add them to the wiring system, and they help lessen the electrical signals leaving them. You can see an example of the ferrites below:
Third, we grounded our electronics to The Palette’s casing. Grounding the casing helps protect The Palette from electrostatic discharges that can occur when users touch it. To do this effectively we decided to remove a small portion of the powder coating from the inside of the casing in several locations. You can see one example on the lower casing below.
We sourced multiple new power supplies, both from overseas and North American suppliers. Each one of these was tested, and we found a power supply that passed with flying colours. Over the past year we’ve been able to establish a really great network of suppliers, and received references from a few of our trusted contacts about this supplier. We’re confident they’re going to be able to supply us with quality product, at scale.
Implementing the above changes to our product is going to take some time, but our production engineer and manager is on top of it. Thankfully, there were no massive changes required, and for all intents and purposes we’re able to proceed into production without any more delay.
Now…… we rented the facility for the day, and we accomplished the above in two short hours. There are some nice to haves for certification pre-scans, so instead of calling it an early day our engineering team decided to stick around and complete a few extra pre-certification tests. This time was great to look forward to try and identify any concerns or potential problem areas with other certification standards, we’ll take some time to run you through the extra tests, as well as their outcomes.
First on deck was the Conducted Emissions test.
This test is meant to measure RF energy unintentionally emitted from the Palette when the power input is loaded with noise. This test helps manufacturers like us ensure that disturbances in your local power network will not cause The Palette to misbehave, or emit RF that could interfere with radios or other RF devices.
And the survey says….. PASS! (sorry for the Family Feud reference, it was too tempting).
Next up is the Surge Immunity test. Basically what this does is simulate lightning, as well as short circuits in the power line The Palette is connected to. This test, if passed, helps ensure that the Palette will be safe when it experiences these types of disturbances.
And the survey says….. PASS! We believe that this is likely due to the new power supply we sourced. Like we mentioned in our last update, great inputs equal great performance and a great product.
Last up is the Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) test. This test is an interesting one, you need take the drill looking apparatus (pictured below) and shock the casing of The Palette with 4000V of electricity. This is meant to simulate a static shock, and was completed on the casing of The Palette, the SD card, the screen, The Scroll Wheel, and the power input.
And the survey says….. PASS!
That’s all of the new updates relevant to certifying The Palette. We’ve made tons of progress, and things are looking really promising. For those of you who want to dig a bit deeper into what the graphs from the beginning mean, continue reading. If you’re not as interested in this stuff, feel free to skip ahead a couple paragraphs where we cover production and delivery timing, as well as what to expect in the next couple months.
Below is a bit of information on reading the graphs pictured at the beginning, a few of the earlier test results from the testing day, and an explanation of what’s going on.
Graphs and interpretation:
We were told early on that the emissions are measured at their “quasi-peak” level rather than their actual peak. The graphs with the blue, green, and red lines that we show are giving the true peak values (in red) of the electromagnetic radiation.
To get from the peak data to the quasi-peak data an operation that can be thought of as an averaging is done on the magnitude of the value at each frequency. If the peak is narrow and sharp then the quasi-peak and the true peak value are very similar. If the peak is wide and broad however then this is what is referred to as broadband noise and the quasi-peak data can be significantly lower than the true peak. The rule of thumb is that the quasi-peak data will be about 10 dBuV/m lower than the true peak. In the graphs below you can see an example of broadband noise as well as more undesirable narrow band peaks.
Large peaks of broadband noise
Sharp spikes that are not broadband noise
The data below is the final result on the right. You can see we are well below the B limit line (green). It looks like it goes above in a couple areas but that is the peak data. The quasi-peak data is safely below green and thus we passed!
And back to Mosaic…..
What does all this mean for production and delivery timing? We announced an estimated delay to the end of March in our last update a few weeks ago. This remained an estimation,as we were not positive as to what the timeline was going to be to solve our certification issues.
Now, only a few short weeks later, we’re on track to get certified. Although we have tested the areas of maximum risk, there are still plenty of other tests that will take place during the next 4-5 weeks while the product is being certified. The certification company we are working with is confident that we have done everything we can to mitigate risks. We wanted to point out this risk regardless. In terms of our timeline, as long as there are no further certification delays, we will be shipping Palettes by the end of March.
In other news, we’ve gone out and expanded our team again. We’re always looking to speak to top talent, if you’re interested in joining our team please shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re located in Toronto, and we’ve got a great group of people working on some extremely exciting technologies.
Everything accomplished for Mosaic only happens because of the wonderful people who come in every day to drive our industry forward. If you’re intelligent, driven, genuine and personable, reach out – we’d love to get to know you. We also want to take a minute to recognize all the hard work put in by our team of engineers – you’re all doing a great job.
Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks……