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General update

Hi reader,

This is the longest gap in posting yet, sorry. I’ll be blunt – I burned out in 2018 and I haven’t really recovered. I’ve generally tried to keep a professional veneer on this blog – sorry to mix personal and business stuff. But when you’re a one person business it’s sort of inevitable.

Since launching the Mooshimeter in 2015 I’ve also had a flourishing career in engineering contracting, but was burning the candle at both ends keeping the product supported and delivering prototypes to clients. Why not just focus on the Mooshimeter? Well, in the early days, I needed more money to fund more manufacturing runs. There was no profit from the original crowdfunding, as anything over the material costs was absorbed in the costs of tooling, testing, and shipping. But contracting also used the skills that I think I’m actually good at – design and engineering. As the Mooshimeter matured, it required more of the skills I’m weak on – logistics, correspondence, management. As the Mooshimeter production process got more mature, the whole operation started playing to my weaknesses.

So I was splitting my time between designing new products for other companies and manufacturing my own, and in 2018 it just got overwhelming. To get decent production costs I was manufacturing in batches of 1k units. As stock dwindled, I was faced with increased costs of production and shipping uncertainty (many parts of the Mooshimeter come from China and the trade war was ramping up), as well as increased competition since there were many more bluetooth multimeters available than when I launched in 2015. Meanwhile, my contracting role was getting increasingly high-pressure: I was writing firmware and providing EE support for one of the electric scooter rental companies that were entering the market then, and the scooter wars were reaching peak intensity. So I put manufacturing on hold. Since then I’ve been providing necessary updates to the apps as iOS/Android updates require them, but not actively developing the meter.

But there’s new movement on the Mooshimeter front: in 2019 I started working with a company in the automotive niche who wanted to adapt the meter to add new capabilities to their platform. Our cooperation also means I should be able to restart manufacturing original Mooshimeters in the next few months. I can’t give a precise date because of COVID-19 and how it is wreaking havoc on supply chains and product facilities around the world, but I will update you here when the picture becomes more clear.

As for me, I’ve been on lockdown in San Francisco since early March, finishing a contract from a lab bench in my apartment. Like many engineer/maker types I’ve also been trying to help out manufacturing protective equipment, since we don’t seem to have a working public health system. I developed a technique I’m happy with for making breathing masks with a heat sealer and have been trying to share it. I’ve been distributing masks ad-hoc in my neighborhood, to workers at my grocery store, etc. (I seal them in bags and sterilize them before distribution). I like this style of mask much more than a surgical mask or form-fitting mask because I find form fitting masks have a smothering effect when pushing on your nose and mouth, whereas these duckbill style masks seal well around the perimeter but give room to breath in the middle. I’ve been working with the group Created for Crisis on this design.

That’s all for now, I’ll try to get back in the habit of writing here. I hope you’re well, thanks for reading.

6 Responses to “General update”

  1. Mike May 30, 2020 at 7:27 pm #

    Thanks for letting us know, I was late to the party, listening to old episodes of the amp hour with your interview, and worried I’d never get my hands on one. The fact that you still kept the app functional after sales ended gives me some confidence in the product long term. Stay safe.

  2. Seth June 1, 2020 at 4:22 pm #

    Thanks for the update, James! I still have my Mooshimeter; it’s one of my favorite tools. Please keep us updated on your situation, I’m sure things will get easier.

  3. Randy Armour June 1, 2020 at 8:35 pm #

    James,

    It is good to hear the Mooshimeter project has a chance to be resurrected. Can’t remember the exact purchase date, but have revision 12/2016. One day I found some corrosion around one of the negative battery terminals and SD card holder. Originally thought it may be due to the battery clip issue reported in September of 2016. However, my unit has the keystone battery clips vs. older MPD clips. Apparently, the corrosion damaged some components, as the meter now only exhibits a solid led when batteries are inserted. I hoped to purchase a replacement, but found notices of no stock, or discontinued product. In your post above you mention a possible restart of manufacturing on the original Mooshimeter. Will it be the same hardware sold previously, or a revised design as mentioned in this blog post on March of 2018? https://moosh.im/2018/02/defrosting-the-blog-kelvin-dropper/

    Either way, it is good to hear a product might soon be back on the market. I only used my meter a few times before an unfortunate circumstance, but often miss those somewhat unique features (like data logging) the Mooshimeter offers.

    Randy

  4. Emile schons June 13, 2020 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi James,

    I came across the mooshimeter years ago. Today I decided to finally buy a Bluetooth Multimeter, after some market research it became clear, that I would like to have a Mooshimeter, because you still seem the only one on the market with a FOSS App, that can measure current above 1A and voltage above 60V.

    I would even be more impressed if you would release the schematic as open hardware. This could further relief you from the manufacturing stress, as we can start manufacturing on our own. I am sure we find a way to finance your hard work and push it even further with the community.

    Thx a lot for your update :)

    • Justin June 19, 2020 at 1:08 am #

      Hi James, don’t listen to Emile, obviously. You got a good potential partnership with the while label approach and chance to capitalize on a great product. keep at it.

  5. Duane June 15, 2020 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi James. Good to see your post. You did a fantastic job designing and producing the mooshimeter. And I see on GitHub that you still make small updates to the apps. Sounds like your other engineering jobs were very time consuming. I see where the “Industry’s first compact 2 channel graphing multimeter” is planned to be available as the Curien N2-Neuron sometime in August 2020. Looks like the mooshimeter to me. So maybe this is the automotive partnership you mentioned. All good news, hopefully. Wishing you the very best and stay healthy. —- Duane

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