45 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2020 11:18 PM by waleedelmughrabi

    re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit

    rscasny

      This one puzzles me. I only received 19 applications for this roadtest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit

       

      I'm not sure why I received a low level of interest.

       

      Any Idea why?

        • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
          michaelkellett

          One reason I can think of is that the Bluetooth module is paired with the support board which is based on an 8051 processor.

          This isn't exactly mainstream.

          8051s were OK in their day and the Silabs ones are quite quick (for an 8051) but they not in the same league as modern ARM based parts like ST's STM32Gxx or STM32Lxx (or even SIlabs' ARM based parts.)

           

          MK

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
          • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
            shabaz

            BLE is a great problem-solver, and this kit seems ideal for those wanting to use BLE in an easy way.

            Maybe people didn't understand, that this kit contains a module that has a simplified connection (UART) that can be connected to (say) existing microcontrollers, to extend a design into something that is BLE-capable. The module even looks hand-solderable.

            As well as new products, it has great applications to retrofit BLE into products - e.g. if a customer now wants to have configurability via a PC or mobile. Can't stand products with awkward button-press combinations to configure them... I have a speaker/mic for my PC/phone, this should be a trivial product, but it is so complicated to remember the button-press combinations (and how long to press buttons for), I had to write and print an instruction sheet and stick it to the back of it..

            6 of 6 people found this helpful
            • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
              lui_gough

              I suspect one of the reasons is that with any of these sorts of development boards, for people who may not be familiar with the toolchain, APIs and IDE used by a given company's products, it can be a rather steep learning curve that takes quite a bit of time. Depending on the value of the product to their needs, this time investment might not be justified, especially if they have a lot of other things going on - e.g. for academics such as myself, it's basically the middle of grant application season (amongst other distractions). After the amount of head-scratching I did for the last BLE-board I reviewed (Cypress EZ-BT Mesh), I'm not sure I'm quite the right person to take on the challenge either ...

               

              - Gough

              5 of 5 people found this helpful
              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                easyejl

                I had pondered it, but already had/have too much else going on. I also couldn't come up with a really specific cool testing/usage scenario that would be something I'd want to make anyway, which sort of is my requirement to apply. If I don't have something i'd want to build for myself using it anyway, it's a bit more likely I won't put the time I need into it being thorough.

                4 of 4 people found this helpful
                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                  14rhb

                  I ponder for you this question....

                   

                  I saw this appear for roadtesting and thought about applying. Straight away that sounds a bit undecided doesn't it?

                   

                  The reason I had reservations is eluded to by lui_gough regarding the steep learning curve. I've roadtested a few boards now and it can be quite random whether the experience is a fun, learning activity with a great outcome or something filled with trouble and plenty of investigation and nights of worry, finally ending in an embarrassing write up. Obviously I'd expect this Silicon Labs to be the former case . It is that uncertainty, even after reading the great promotional videos and literature whilst preparing an application, that has made me sit on the fence for this roadtest. Whilst sitting on the fence I ended up doing the Maxim MAX32650-EVKIT which has turned out to be a great bit of fun (roadtest report to follow soon).

                   

                  Sometimes if someone from the company is available on E14 they could be on standby to say 'hello' and answer questions on the roadtest page prior to applications being submitted, I recall this does sometime happen, and appears to be greatly appreciated. In this case I could have asked about the required IDE and drivers. They could also be there should that initial critical install fail once the roadtest has been received; usually the forums are great also IMO but someone on E14 might just help. As the roadtest closing date looms they would be able to drum up additional interest if necessary by posting interesting information about their product? Another approach on some items that you suspect will be less uptake on would be to ask the sponsot to run a webinar prior to show off the unit and take questions. It could form a good basis for who to choose?

                   

                  Obviously some roadtest products attract hundreds of applications and there is no need for the online mentor, but some might just benefit IMO.

                  5 of 5 people found this helpful
                  • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                    neuromodulator

                    I was interested in the EFM8, but not so much in the bluetooth module. Since I'm currently short in time, and the price of the board is low, I decided to buy one instead (a laser bee), and learn how to program these at my own pace.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                      clem57

                      I speak for myself, but other folks may chime in as they wish. For me it is an ROI problem here.

                      1. Does it spark MY interest. In this case it did for the use case described by shabaz. But does it meet other criteria
                      2. For the product costs, does it fit? I try not to work with a RT that is too expensive or too low cost. Why would I invest too much time when I can just buy and use as I wish. On the other hand if expensive can I justify enough time to such an expensive equipment
                      3. Do I have a unique idea or proposition? This product may have interesting use cases, but I could not see/do them.
                      4. Time available? Not enough since I am in a RT that will be heavy time usage. I Could not commit even with a help from Randy! It would not be fair to the vendo

                       

                      So even when #1 looks good, the other items have trumped my hand and I must sit this one out.

                      Thanks Randy for asking!

                      Clem

                      • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                        thebluephoenix

                        I think majorly it was because -

                        - its based on 8051, which many might consider antique. Well, they are ignoring the fact that silicon labs has made it so much more faster, i can't wait to test it.

                        - its low cost, so no one wants a timeline to follow when they can buy it and learn at their own pace. But then the point of roadtests is to help others learn, and learn in the process. Not just learn alone.

                        - its documentation and use is not widespread, and it can prove to be challenging. That's something that'll make this roadtest intersting for me. Hence i applied for it.

                         

                        And I am glad that i did. The space invaders demo that comes with the board just made me nostalgic and happy at the same time!

                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                          rscasny

                          I want to thank everyone who participated in this discussion. Your input is helpful. While my job is to recommend products for roadtesting and assist our sponsors in understanding the program, I sometimes heed some help in seeing the big picture. So, thank you.

                           

                          I have one last kit to roadtest. I would like to use it. Since enrollment for the roadtest is closed, I think a better approach would be to offer it to a member who would be interested in using it to build a project. If you or anyone you know would be interested, leave a comment, or message me at rscasny

                           

                          Thank you for participating in the element14 community.

                           

                          Randal Scasny

                          RoadTest Program Manager

                          5 of 5 people found this helpful
                          • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                            colporteur

                            I just finished watching the latest episode of Picard so I feel like using a space analogy.

                             

                            If this RoadTest were a moon, it is currently not orbiting the planet (i.e. technology) I am delving into.

                            As shabaz alluded to in his post doesn't plug into or interface with technology I am currently playing with. It would require a major mental shift, to shelve what I am working on to take up the project.

                             

                            I think it also came at a bad time because of competing RoadTest that do fall into my technology road house.

                             

                            I did read it and do some brain storming but couldn't find the time to commit. To fully understand it would have take some additional time to develop.

                              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                kas.lewis

                                Hello,

                                 

                                I wanted to add my two cents even though I've been missing in action for long while now.

                                 

                                Speaking for myself and I think it has been brought up before is the issue of return on investment (ROI). For a kit like this the ROI is very now, but that not the whole issue. I have spent hours on small kits like this to ensure I give the best possible review. I often deal with the company behind the review to resolve issue and help give a better explanation of the product and its issues. I did this recently with the NXP motor Controller I reviewed.

                                 

                                For me the real issue comes with the lack of acknowledgment and progression with a kit like this. When I first started doing roadtests I was happy to just get selected with the idea that I would eventually graduate to bigger better and more interesting kits and even equipment. The concept of show what you can do and then you will be rewarded was how thought of this whole endeavor. This is not to say learning is not part of the adventure, but that learning bigger and more complex products would be in store after showing you can learn and review the smaller ones.

                                 

                                This never really happened. I've applied to a number of the larger more interesting roadtests but never seem to come out on top. Instead I see people selected that seem to only apply to these larger more complex and valuable roadtests winning. The idea then became, why give so much to a community that seems to only reward those that only enter for the good stuff and not those that put in a lot of efforts for the smaller stuff and are willing to start from the bottom. It was the same reason I disliked the "top member" concept, there are a lot of people that contribute here and help out but it seems there was an inner circle that you could not get into even with a  lot of dedication if someone on top felt you were not worthy.

                                 

                                In short, I stopped applying because I felt in some ways like the sucker taking the easy to get stuff and working twice as hard to get a decent review only to be passed over when it came to the more advanced and somewhat interesting gear.

                                 

                                That's my 2 cents

                                Kas

                                4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                  • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                    station240

                                    Yes it's an ongoing problem, which no one seems interested in actually fixing.

                                    A big reason people have for not entering a roadtest is not having the equipment needed to test it.

                                    Randal knows this from a poll he ran recently, yet nothing has changed.

                                    The Tektronix gear isn't going to anyone who actually needs it.

                                     

                                    Hey @rscasny how about some Roadtests the 'Top Members' cannot enter/comment on ?

                                    Try it as an experiment, see if more people show interest.

                                      • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                        colporteur

                                        I'm sorry I disagree.

                                         

                                        To eliminate the top members from entering is a disservice to the vendors that provides products to evaluate. Those top members have earned their place. The quality and quantity of output is impressive. Restricting them from competing not only hurts the vendor but me also. I want to learn and maybe someday earn the privilege of the title of top member.

                                         

                                        It is unfortunate that choosing to entering the competition arena is based on the chance of success. I can't accept not applying because others are to good. I don't see an reason to level the RoadTest playing field because it is already level.

                                        1 of 2 people found this helpful
                                          • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                            station240

                                            colporteur  wrote:

                                            Those top members have earned their place. The quality and quantity of output is impressive.

                                             

                                            I don't see an reason to level the RoadTest playing field because it is already level.

                                            I've no doubt other members could produce an impressive quality and quantity of Roadtest reviews if they had to near automatic approval "Top Members" get around here.

                                            Go look at 'in progress' and completed roadtests, see who actually got the kit, and how long they have been on this website.

                                             

                                            There is always a limited amount of kit, lets say it's 4, if two Top Members immediately state they want this (which happens a lot around here), then we know it's now 100% harder for others to get to try it.

                                             

                                            I suggest SOME Roadtests for those who aren't 'Top Members' and they all throw a major dummy spit. Too used to getting anything they ask for huh ?

                                             

                                            Anyway all your talk about Top members "earned their place" "privilege" and "title" makes you sound like a major snob, Whatever it's your choice, I just don't see it as a desirable human trait.

                                              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                rscasny

                                                Paul,

                                                 

                                                I appreciate your participating in the discussion. But let's keep it professional and avoid calling people names.

                                                 

                                                People are chosen based upon their application, as well as their participation in the community. I have said this time and again.

                                                 

                                                The issue is many, many people send me applications that are incomplete, don't have a test procedure, or give me little indication that they can actually test the product. I get plenty of applications that are insincere.

                                                 

                                                Top members are generally not the primary reason I recommend someone to the sponsor. But I will say many of the top members write very detailed, information and compelling applications (or proposals, if you will). It's a competitive program. We do not hide that fact.

                                                 

                                                I generally read all the applications up to 3 times. There is no automated screening. I feel if you have spent the time writing an application, you deserve my time in reading it.

                                                 

                                                Often times, I have selected new people or new members who have not participated much. When one is selected, I send them an notification email. They never respond to me. Just happened in another roadtest. Would you send someone a $5000 piece of test equipment if they did not bother to respond to your email? The answer is self-evident.

                                                 

                                                When I need a roadtester because somone has not responded to me, I post a message saying I need another roadtester. Often times a member who frequently participates on the community responds to me.

                                                 

                                                I'd encourage you to apply, write a good application, and you have as much chance in being selected as an official roadtester as anyone.

                                                 

                                                Conversely, if one does receive the kit, and does not complete the review, that individual will no longer be able to participate in the program going forward. And that list unfortunately has grown recently.

                                                 

                                                Sincerely,

                                                 

                                                Randall Scasny

                                                Roadtest Program Manager

                                                9 of 9 people found this helpful
                                                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                  colporteur

                                                  rscasny response to your post caused me to take a second read. I had to laugh when I think I discovered what Randell took exception to. Of all the things I have been labelled, snob would be flattering, if it were but true. The words that you attribute to being a snob, can also carry a connotation of respect. The site respects the work of top members, it doesn't cow to them.

                                                   

                                                  My post in this community, for the most part, come from a point of respect. The moderator has but once, called me to task on a post. I could blame it on a drunkin tirade but that would only be an excuse. The comments were crass and irreverent. I take those words as a badge of honor because I have earned them. After reviewing my posted comments, I chose to remove them rather than water them down. I offended someone and rather than defend the offence it was much easier to take them down and move on.

                                                   

                                                  If you follow a few of the top members in this community, you may accumulate some knowledge, that may lead to the understanding of why they are top members.  Earning something. Developing a reputation. Working hard to be the best in your field or fields, doesn't make you privileged. Basking in your success doesn't make you titled. Leveraging your expertise to gather wealth is not always wrong. If we don't take time to celebrate our success, then what is in it.

                                                   

                                                  I have posted questions and have thrown topics in a forum for discussion, that has garnered a top members response. I may not have liked their answer but they did respond to me.  Those responses have always been respectful. That is an characteristic of this site that few other public forums have. The elite, the top members, the privilege as you feel they are, treating others, especially below their station, with respect.

                                                   

                                                  I accept there is a frustration in the community regarding RoadTests Review. I have tried to help with commentary and suggestion to remove that impediment. Competition, reward and return on investment is the RoadTest triad Randell juggles, in what appears to be on a daily basis. I have advised him the resources invested in the RoadTest whining, may have reach a point of diminishing return. Randell is altruistic. To his credit, continues to listen, monitor and respond if it has the potential to improve the program. Randell, in my opinion is one of those top members. Imagine, an individual that works for our benefit being a top member. Who would think such a thing as privileged.

                                                  • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                    hlipka

                                                    The road test program is no a charity. If you think so, then this is a misconception which you need to correct for yourself. The road tests are a marketing instrument for E14, Farnell and the road test sponsors (the equipment manufacturers). Its intended as a win-win situation: you deliver something of value (a high-quality review and valuable feedback) to the manufacturer (cheaper that it would be otherwise), and in turn can keep the item for free instead of paying for it. There is no 'someone who needs it' part in there, and there never will.

                                                    OTOH I think that there is a class of items where the odds are skewed to certain members, which is why certain names seem to appear more often. When we are talking about high-end gear, which might be more specialized (who needs a spectrum analyzer every day?) or indeed needs some special equipment to review it properly, the number of potential road testers shrink quite a lot. And the resulting member are more likely to already own something similar - otherwise, where would they get the experience from to review it properly? (In addition, for items with a high price tag the sponsor surely want to make sure to get a high-quality review, so the selection is skewed towards members which already have proven that they can deliver one. And I think just doing that several times, and being active in the community too, makes you a top member...).

                                                    From the perspective of E14 and the sponsors, this is how you run such a program. From the perspective of someone applying for a RT because you really could use the item to be tested, I would hate it, because it really reduces your odds. You really need to put some work into the process - do contests, do smaller RTs to prove what you can do, seek active feedback. This is the only way to work yourself upwards. Its not for everybody - there are people who like doing this (and I'm always wondering how the top members are able to invest so much time in their hobby, and into E14).

                                                    1 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                      • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                        shabaz

                                                        hlipka  wrote:

                                                         

                                                        I'm always wondering how the top members are able to invest so much time

                                                        This only works if things are efficient - I like to build stuff and experiment, but also try to solve technical problems... and it's a total waste of time when you lead someone down a path with suggestions to get them where they want to be, and it turns out there's no sensible resolution at all - actually, they just wanted a whinge at TMs.

                                                        • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                          lui_gough

                                                          hlipka  wrote:

                                                           

                                                          Its not for everybody - there are people who like doing this (and I'm always wondering how the top members are able to invest so much time in their hobby, and into E14).

                                                          I'd have to say (and I'm not proud of it) that time is limited and a number of sacrifices have been made to pursue my interests. For one, I have practically no social "life" as such, no relationships to speak of (something I'm hoping to change) ... and my health has probably been slightly neglected in the late nights staying up to try something out, stress induced from having things fall apart at the last moment, occasional international time-zone clash for a conference call and marathon sprints to the finish. It can be a chore - sore fingers from typing things up, tired eyes ... but I do it because I enjoy doing it ... and I enjoy learning and experiencing new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking.

                                                           

                                                          It is lucky that my interests have some relevance and overlap with my work, which means that it is easier to justify the time investment as a career investment as well sometimes. But even someone like me needs to take a break - effective as of next week, I'm on a one month hiatus as I travel overseas (for better or for worse) ...

                                                           

                                                          - Gough

                                                          4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                                    • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                      clem57

                                                      Sorry, I do not get this comment in relation to the question at hand? The topic is the following:

                                                       

                                                      Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit

                                                       

                                                      More to the point, I am in this group and do not have the experience to apply. But if I wasn't busy all ready,

                                                      I do believe this would have made a good alternative choice.

                                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                      • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                        kas.lewis

                                                        station240

                                                         

                                                        I'm not sure how your comment relates to mine. I in no way suggested removing top members from applying.

                                                         

                                                        What I did recommend was looking at making things feel less clique and having people apply to ALL levels of roatest. When you see members winning big ticket roadtests but which have a good ROI, ($4000+ for a few hours work) yet rarely applying to small items ($20 for many hours) it leaves members dishartend.

                                                         

                                                        When I first started I understood from the community and from the original admins that you need to prove yourself with the small items first. But here I see to much of the items with a good ROI going to the same people without them doing low ROI roadtests. I will says it also not encouraging when a member has won 2 or more of the same equipment that they clearly already had. And yes I know this is not how to build your lab, its a product review but it's nice to see some real comradery and decency from those members who do step back when they know they could do a great review but feel others could benefit from the roadtest being presented.

                                                         

                                                        Kas

                                                          • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                            lui_gough

                                                            RoadTest applications are purely voluntary - if you want a shot in it, you enter. If you don't, that's fine too.

                                                             

                                                            Doing a few lower-value RoadTests is a way to build up credibility and a portfolio, but I don't see why one would continue along that path unless it was something they were interested in. Even if you've taken the time to apply and are awarded the RoadTest, you could always decline if you don't feel like it's worth the time. Nobody's forcing anyone to do a low-value (to them) RoadTest, likewise, nobody is claiming that in exchange for high-value RoadTests, one must continually complete low-value RoadTests. Some RoadTests have very few applicants as a result, and this reflects the lack of appeal to a wider audience, but it has always been the case that you should only apply to a RoadTest if you are interested and have an idea of how you would test a given item.

                                                             

                                                            As for big ticket items, I'm glad you think that it only takes a "few hours" work to spin up a review of a complex instrument which might require everything in the manner of creating visual assets, bespoke connection adapters, procuring niche parts, designing test circuits, running tests/validation in different scenarios, co-coordinating other equipment, repeating experiments when things don't work out, coming to grips with manufacturer's software/firmware, plenty of data analysis and in all probability, results in the discovery of functionality issues that requires many back-and-forth contacts with the manufacturer. Sure, the "low-value" item requires "many" (as you put it) hours ... I know some definitely do, but most of the less-valuable items also perform fewer functions and shouldn't require as much in the way of testing. None of my past five reviews have needed any less than 120 hours of my time ... some closer to 180+ hours, but for the most part, this is something I enjoy which is why I put my all into it.

                                                             

                                                            To write a credible and useful review requires some level of experience. Would you trust a review of an item from someone who has never used one before and has nothing to compare it with? The sponsors are involved in the selection (as far as I'm aware, they have the final say) and it is likely that at least some of them are aiming for a comparison review, where someone with experience is comparing their product with a competitor's product, so they can communicate insights that the company could not themselves credibly say. If your proposal doesn't offer more of what the sponsor wants, then I can't say you have a good chance. There is definitely value in having members have more than one model of a given sort of device especially for providing the possibility to do a comparison review.

                                                             

                                                            Nothing is a given in the RoadTest program - it's not a program to "build your lab", it is a side effect that might happen but is not something anyone should be counting on. As the sponsor has the final say, I'd argue that the selection is performed on merit of applications in terms of value provided to them. It's unlikely they know who you are, and it's unlikely they're making choices deliberately to discourage RoadTesters ...

                                                             

                                                            - Gough

                                                            3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                                              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                kas.lewis

                                                                and for all you said you might be 100% correct, but what you have written is exactly why the community wont grow. When enough people feel sidelined eventually your reviews and feedback loses its diversity. Companies realize they are building a product for one guy in a lab that no one in the real world wants cares about.

                                                                 

                                                                You can run your one man show, and keep defending it as you always do, and your superiority complex doesn't help the community either, but in the end there is no diversity, there will be loss of interest and eventually the walls along with the rest of the house will come crashing down

                                                                 

                                                                Kas

                                                                  • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                    michaelkellett

                                                                    I think some of your responses to Gough are, to put it mildly, somewhat intemperate.

                                                                     

                                                                    You can disagree with him (and me) without being rude.

                                                                     

                                                                    Actually I think Gough's post is pretty much spot on - to do a decent review of a serious bit of equipment takes a lot of effort and requires experience both in reviewing and engineering.

                                                                     

                                                                    I've rather given up on applying for road tests because I don't like the terms and conditions, and also because the value for money aspect to the reviewer is between marginal and negative - take the current "big ticket" road test of the Keithley Source meter - three weeks (120 hours) spent on doing a comprehensive review would be charged to a customer at between £4k and £8k (not a quote - kind of a UK contracting average) - the instrument costs £4700 but for a business can be offset against tax, so it costs about £3500 in real money (and I might get a discount), so even at the lowest commercial rates it's cheaper just to buy one and get on with work. Only if you have no work or do it for non commercial reasons does it make sense to put the effort in.

                                                                     

                                                                    I'm grateful to road testers like Gough (and others) who do a professional job and whom I've found to be friendly and supportive when asked for more information or clarification.

                                                                     

                                                                    MK

                                                                    5 of 5 people found this helpful
                                                                    • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                      colporteur

                                                                      Your perceptions are necessarily reality.

                                                                      I to take exception to your comments that appear to be personal and targeted at Gough.

                                                                      My acknowledgement to MK for his response to your post.

                                                                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                  shabaz

                                                                  People (including non-TMs and TMs) all offered help if you wanted it, to write applications.

                                                                  Here are some recent RoadTests:

                                                                   

                                                                  Weller Solder Station - Five units, all non-TM roadtesters

                                                                  Digilent OpenLogger - Five units, four non-TMs

                                                                  Project14 RF Project - Four top prizes (Spectrum analyzer and portable 'scopes) - all non-TMs.

                                                                   

                                                                  TM status does not make as much difference in the way you think it does. Non-TMs can deliver just as good or better reviews anyway. I'm fairly sure there's a few questions in the RoadTest applications specifically for the aim (it seems to me) to seek out non-technical-equipment-related qualities like reliability etc.

                                                                   

                                                                  This specific BLE roadtest may or may not be interesting to you, but many of us have done several BLE-related roadtests or other wireless tech, and worked around equipment limitations, it's sometimes possible to find ways to test indirectly. Semiconductor manufacturers used sunshine from the window, needle dials and mirrors on the wall when they couldn't get access to high-end multimeters. BLE just requires a PC pretty much.. at least for a significant chunk of the interesting parts of BLE.

                                                                  Even if BLE is not relevant to your immediate work, maybe it's useful to learn at some stage. I've mentioned elsewhere that I got a (decent) job offer purely as a result of an element14 BLE project, although I didn't take it in the end. It's an in-demand topic.

                                                                   

                                                                  I like at least exploring, or applying to niche RoadTests when they appear, because if it results in something useful, then that's great, and even if it doesn't, it could result in a bit of info that may turn out useful to solve an unexpected problem in the future. I understand that's not an approach for everyone - everyone is different.

                                                                  4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                                                    • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                      station240

                                                                      shabaz  wrote:

                                                                       

                                                                      People (including non-TMs and TMs) all offered help if you wanted it, to write applications.

                                                                      Here are some recent RoadTests:

                                                                       

                                                                      Weller Solder Station - Five units, all non-TM roadtesters

                                                                      Digilent OpenLogger - Five units, four non-TMs

                                                                      Project14 RF Project - Four top prizes (Spectrum analyzer and portable 'scopes) - all non-TMs.

                                                                      Weller Soldering Station -, not much interest to me, someone else can have it.

                                                                      Digilent OpenLogger - want to roadtest this, but wasn't a good time

                                                                      Project14 RF Project - Did enter this and all the other open contests around the same time, got absolutely nothing.

                                                                       

                                                                      Here is the sort of kit I want to roadtest.

                                                                      Infineon Gate Driver with Truly Differential Input

                                                                      Couldn't apply as I don't have the Oscilloscope needed to evaluate it, there is not point asking for help with writing applications, when I can't test the kit anyway.

                                                                        • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                          shabaz

                                                                          Come on - it's less than $100 to pick up an oscilloscope, used. I bought a new USB one for just over £100 GBP.

                                                                          Prior to that, I had a 60 MHz cathode ray 'scope. I gave that away to an element14 colleague.

                                                                          If there's the slightest bit of professionalism, you'll make an effort to acquire your own test gear.

                                                                            • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                              station240

                                                                              There is NO used test equipment in Australia, EEVBlog knows that also.

                                                                              Any cheap new stuff would be direct from China, of unknown calibration, and delayed anyway due to CoV 19.

                                                                               

                                                                              I made a very big effort to get a somewhat expensive Oscilloscope, some unprofessional jerks didn't pay me for 6 months work, so that money all got spent on bills.

                                                                              There is no one to hand me down anything I might need, I have to fight tooth and nail for everything around here.

                                                                              This is why I'm so fed up with everyone at the moment.

                                                                                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                                  lui_gough

                                                                                  Well station240, as a fellow Aussie - I do have a Rigol DS1102E 100Mhz dual-channel DSO with original probes and power cable sitting about from my PhD days (~ 6 years old). It's what I would consider an entry-level 8-bit scope with no bells and whistles - but I'm willing to part with it if you're willing to send me AU$20 to cover the postage. All I ask is that you'll give it a good home and use it responsibly.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  It won't solve the issue of not being high end, of being "from China" and being "of unknown calibration", but it might be better than nothing. PM me (or reply) if you're interested.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  - Gough

                                                                                   

                                                                                  EDIT: Just tested it, seems to be working fine. Ran self-calibration, completed with no errors. Firmware upgraded to latest - even packed it nicely in a box. Even found the original USB-cable and calibration certificate from 2012.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  If you want it and you get your physical address to me within a day or two, I will post it out right away, before I fly out on my one-month holiday, otherwise it could be a while before it gets to you ...

                                                                                  6 of 6 people found this helpful
                                                                                  • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                                    shabaz

                                                                                    station240  wrote:

                                                                                     

                                                                                    There is NO used test equipment in Australia, EEVBlog knows that also.

                                                                                    Any cheap new stuff would be direct from China, of unknown calibration, and delayed anyway due to CoV 19.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I made a very big effort to get a somewhat expensive Oscilloscope, some unprofessional jerks didn't pay me for 6 months work, so that money all got spent on bills.

                                                                                    There is no one to hand me down anything I might need, I have to fight tooth and nail for everything around here.

                                                                                    This is why I'm so fed up with everyone at the moment.

                                                                                    So use your initiative. I'm not going to hand-hold you further, you've taken up enough of my time today, and I've made several suggestions, yet you continue to complain that the stuff you're interested in, you don't have test equipment for.

                                                                                    EEVblog may help you for country-specific information. I don't live in Australia, but I have visited labs there, and they certainly used test equipment.

                                                                              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                                waleedelmughrabi

                                                                                I completely agree, I am a new member, I can see a lot of members in the community with many years of experience, I thought I didn't have a chance to review some products but I was selected to review the Weller WT1 which was a great roadtest.  

                                                                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                            • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                              gpolder

                                                                              kas.lewis wrote:

                                                                              ...............................

                                                                              For me the real issue comes with the lack of acknowledgment and progression with a kit like this. When I first started doing roadtests I was happy to just get selected with the idea that I would eventually graduate to bigger better and more interesting kits and even equipment. The concept of show what you can do and then you will be rewarded was how thought of this whole endeavor. This is not to say learning is not part of the adventure, but that learning bigger and more complex products would be in store after showing you can learn and review the smaller ones.

                                                                               

                                                                              This never really happened. I've applied to a number of the larger more interesting roadtests but never seem to come out on top............................................

                                                                               

                                                                              Hi Kas,

                                                                               

                                                                              just curious, your sixth review was on a 6GHz spectrum analyser, worth $2500, I would not count that as low value non interesting stuf.

                                                                              I remember I was a bit disappointed not being selected for that one as I had real use for it.

                                                                               

                                                                              Gerrit

                                                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                            • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                              kas.lewis

                                                                              I'm currently using a different version of this bluetooth module and had looked at doing a sort of review of it but passed on that. I'm looking to use it in a project of mine that I'm currently working on hence my questions with the MKR1010 and its UART interrupt structure.

                                                                               

                                                                              Overall it's a great board easy to use but will only talk to other boards of the same type, it's got some proprietary framework thing in the bluetooth (It's late and I looked into it a few months back before I started looking at teh code). This means that you can't talk to a bluetooth module from another vendor unless have the right software. Hence you need their app or thir framework in your android app to be able to use it with your phone etc.

                                                                               

                                                                              For my project it works as its pretty much a point to point connection but if you wanted to talk with random other bluetooth devices you'd be stuck from what I recall.

                                                                               

                                                                              Kas

                                                                              2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                            • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                              BigG

                                                                              I've been absolutely fascinated by all the replies give here. One thing that struck me is perspective, especially on ROI.

                                                                               

                                                                              It struck me that there are actually two perspectives when it comes to ROI.

                                                                               

                                                                              There is the perspective of an employee or contractor (i.e. the individual) where ROI represents a view on whether this road test effort will enhance my capabilities and expertise and will the employment market value this.

                                                                               

                                                                              Then there is the perspective of the employer or the business owner where ROI represents a view on whether this road test will provide competitive advantage by gaining first hand knowledge of the capabilities and the most likely development effort + BOM cost required to produce a product using this device.

                                                                               

                                                                              It's become clear to me that you cannot always marry the two.

                                                                              3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                                                              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                                colporteur

                                                                                The commentary appears to be be grouped into two camps. The RoadTest process itself and the product of the RoadTest. Discussions started out around the product and have gravitated to the process.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Separate posts have attempted to flush out the RoadTest process itself. I'm curious if this question is an extension of the RoadTest discussion, (i.e. coming at it another way) or are you seeking input on the product selection?

                                                                                 

                                                                                A soldering iron RoadTest generates close to 300 applications and while a bluetooth design kit garners 19 application. From a technology perspective you would think bluetooth would have the greater appeal.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Maybe I'm reading to much into the question.  I guess any results can be beneficial in their interpretation. I'm curious what was your goal?

                                                                                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                                  gam3t3ch

                                                                                  I had looked at this roadtest but since we can only partake on one roadtest at a time there was others at the time that sparked more interest to me over this so its not that I wasn't interested in the roadtest it was certainly others that grabbed my attention alot more and I wanted more of a chance to be able to take part in them. 

                                                                                   

                                                                                  So not the manufacturers fault here just too many awesome element14 roadtests already this year and the end of last.

                                                                                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                                  • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                                                                    waleedelmughrabi

                                                                                    I just read the previous replies and in my case it was as Michael Kellett mentioned, the 8051 processor stopped me from participating as I usually work with ARM processors and was afraid of how long it will take me to get up to speed. Another reason is that I focused my BLE learning time on the OnSemiconductor module I roadtested last year RSL10 Sensor Development Kit - Review  (I am using it in a product launching this July)

                                                                                    2 of 2 people found this helpful