Open Panzer

Open Panzer Help & Info => News & Announcements => Topic started by: LukeZ on December 17, 2016, 11:19:18 AM

Title: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on December 17, 2016, 11:19:18 AM
December 6, 2016 -

After several years of internal development, it's time to hand this project over to the "community" - a community which maybe doesn't yet exist, but we hope will come into being soon.

It is important for you to know, that as of today there is no way for you to purchase any of our products, unless you want to build them yourself. Although we have made dozens of prototypes, assembly is simply too time-consuming and complicated to make these by hand for sale in any quantity and right now there is no manufacturer lined up for production.

The original intent was not to publicize the project until people could actually purchase the TCB - if you can't get one, what's the point? But getting a manufacturer to invest a substantial amount of money in a production run, without knowing the potential demand ahead of time, is a tough sell. Talks are ongoing with several different manufacturers but so far none have made a firm commitment, and I can't predict when or if any will.

So it is time to take the opposite approach - make the project public, let people examine and discuss the capabilities of the Open Panzer project, and let things take their course. 

Everything we design is completely open source. If you are a manufacturer and want to produce these boards, all the designs and bill of materials are freely available on our Downloads page (http://openpanzer.org/forum/index.php?page=download). Have at it! We do ask that you respect the copyright and maintain attribution.

To the tankers and hobbyists - I created this project because this is what I wished existed when I started building model tanks.  I hope you like it. Please read through the Wiki (http://openpanzer.org/wiki/doku.php) to see what we've made and start some conversations in the forums if you have questions.

Please remember that like the rest of you my time in this project is volunteered, and no one (so far!) has paid me anything. The work accomplished to date is my gift to the RC community, given freely. I will continue to invest in, advocate for, and lead development, but the future of Open Panzer belongs to you!



LukeZ
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on January 11, 2017, 11:18:16 AM
January 10, 2017 -

Great news! Hobby King (http://"http://hobbyking.com") has decided to produce and sell the TCB. This is a very generous move on their part as they are funding completely the manufacturing costs and undertaking all the financial risks. Hobby King has a long history of supporting open source projects and we're excited to be working with them!

Availability is tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2017. The final price price has not yet been announced but when we know more we'll post it here.

We are still shopping the Scout ESC around to various places but nothing definitive yet.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on January 14, 2017, 09:24:34 AM
Introductory threads have been started at the RC Universe and RC Tank Warfare forums.

RC Universe Introduction (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-tanks-369/11635636-intro-open-panzer-project-new-tank-control-board.html)

RC Tank Warfare Introduction (https://www.rctankwarfare.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=21920)
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on April 03, 2017, 10:04:53 AM
April 3, 2017

Hobby King indicated to me they are just now starting TCB production and boards are expected in the store sometime mid-May.

Sale price for the TCB has tentatively been projected between $50-$60 US per board.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on May 16, 2017, 10:48:20 AM
May 16, 2017

Hobby King has revised their schedule. They are now estimating boards to be in store early July 2017.

It would not surprise me if the schedule changes yet again, I will post here with updates as I receive them.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on July 01, 2017, 10:22:46 AM
July 1, 2017

HobbyKing indicated last week they had received stock of the TCB in the warehouse (I presume the Global warehouse). They wait now only to put the item up on their website. No idea how long that could take, they said one day but it's already been a week so perhaps a few more weeks.

Maybe we're getting closer, or maybe we're as far away as ever, hard to say!
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on July 07, 2017, 12:13:41 PM
July 7, 2017

The TCB is in stock at the Hobby King global warehouse! Not quite the same shade of purple, but the price is a steal!

Click here to be taken to the HobbyKing product page (https://hobbyking.com/en_us/catalog/product/view/id/63061).

I don't see anywhere the Tamiya Adapter Set, I've contacted Hobby King about it and will post when I get an update.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on July 11, 2017, 01:20:44 PM
Hobby King has now listed the Tamiya Adapter Set (https://hobbyking.com/en_us/tamiya-adapters-for-open-panzer-board.html) for sell as well.

These cables give plug-and-play functionality to the Tamiya turret traverse, barrel elevation, and recoil motors, as well as to the Tamiya Apple and IR emitter.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on July 17, 2017, 11:37:45 AM
HobbyKing has taken down the product from their website after issues were discovered. Here is what I posted on RCU (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-tanks-369/11635636-intro-open-panzer-project-new-tank-control-board-8.html#post12352678):

What we know so far:

I would tell you not to buy any more boards from HobbyKing but as of Sunday July 16 they have already taken down the product listing anyway...

Obviously this is incredibly frustrating to those who ordered boards as well as everyone who has waited so long to see this project gain some legs. It is definitely a disappointment and a setback.

I will keep you updated as I get more information from Hobby King, specifically what they plan to do for those who have already made a purchase.

Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on July 18, 2017, 09:56:39 AM
July 18, 2017

Hobby King has contacted me with an update:


My apologies again to those who have waited so many months for this product to become available, and to all the customers who made a purchase for the inconvenience they now face.

Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on July 30, 2017, 11:35:11 AM
As of the end of July Hobby King has still not refunded all customers for their TCB orders, and in some cases have incorrectly given back "store credit" instead of an actual cash refund as they promised.

If you ordered a TCB and have still not received a cash refund, please send me a Private Message (http://openpanzer.org/forum/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=2) with your real name and perhaps your order number, and I will follow up with Hobby King personally on your behalf.

Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on August 08, 2017, 07:31:33 PM
In regards to those seeking refunds for their defective TCBs I have made repeated requests to Hobby King for an update and why it is that they are issuing store credit instead. Here is the response I received this evening from my contact at Hobby King, Richard Mahmoud:

Quote
Luke,

We received an update from our CS team yesterday, and they have confirmed every customer that has contacted them has been given a full refund.

If you have someone approaching you regarding not been given a full refund, as advised previously provide me with their name and order number and I will check with our CS team. Also any documentation from our CS team that they have been sent advising they will only get store credit This is being handled like all other products that customers raise with us as faulty. in this situation we have given a full refund.

Richard Mahmoud

His information contradicts directly what at least half a dozen people have told me in PMs and emails. At this point I am no longer going to do Hobby King's customer service work for them. If you still have not received a CASH refund, please PM me on this forum (http://openpanzer.org/forum/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=2) or any other, and I will give you Richard's email address and you can write to him directly.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on October 05, 2017, 05:43:00 PM
Hobby King appears to have the TCB back in stock in the Global Warehouse, see here (https://hobbyking.com/en_us/catalog/product/view/id/63061).

I have received no communication from HK since earlier this summer, nor have I been sent a sample to examine. Buy at your own risk!

Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on October 20, 2017, 09:28:33 AM
October 18, 2017

Update - I've finally been able to examine a board from Hobby King. As it turns out, they are not selling new-production boards, instead they have gone back and manually replaced the incorrect components on the originals. This is obvious from a visual inspection. In talking with some other people who have recently purchased boards theirs are the same.

Although this is no what Hobby King told us they were going to do, it is certainly within their right and no doubt it made economic sense to them.

I thoroughly tested the board and all functions work correctly, including the ones related to the MOSFETs that have been replaced. So far no one else has reported problems with their fixed boards. I think the coast is clear for anyone to proceed with these boards if they are still interested.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on October 22, 2017, 03:57:01 PM
October 22, 2017

The party was too good to last! One of our users who just ordered a "new" board has received instead the same board being sold this summer (http://openpanzer.org/forum/index.php?topic=72.0), with all the same, wrong components. As listed above all the "new" boards are in fact old boards with the parts manually replaced, but apparently they have not fixed all of them and certainly haven't tested all of them. Some do seem to be functional (the one they sent me is) but there is no guarantee what you will get.

I must conclude that Hobby King can not be trusted to get this right. It is not beyond their ability but they simply do not seem to care. If you have not purchased a board yet, I would suggest you do not unless you want to take a risk. If you have purchased a board, please examine closely the MOSFETs Q1 through Q8. If any of them have the markings "23EG" on them, they are wrong and your board will not function. The image below shows which components these are.

For those that receive faulty boards, you can take your chances and request an exchange (https://support.hobbyking.com/hc/en-us/articles/202703544), or if you want a refund let me know and I will provide you the email address of my contact at Hobby King so he can deal with this directly.
Title: Re: Project Status
Post by: LukeZ on October 30, 2017, 07:15:07 PM
Source files for a new revision of the Scout ESC have been posted to the Downloads page (http://www.openpanzer.org/downloads/). The only change is replacing the now-obsolete VNH2SP30 motor driver chips with their new versions the VNH5019. For more information see this thread (http://openpanzer.org/forum/index.php?topic=74.0).