NOTE: This thread is closed for now since the product is in production. We will continue to discuss hardware/software improvements, ideas and other wish lists around improving this product in the thread located here: On/Off Switch | Project Knight Flank (v2.0)
As mentioned in the 2019 Product Roadmap topic, this thread serves multiple purposes.
- Allows us to keep you updated on the project status (either good or bad)
- Allows you to participate and help us develop amazing products with you
- Enjoy each other’s company and have fun talking home automation
How this initial post will be laid out is in five sections:
- Project Overview
- Initial Hardware & Software Requirements (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Timeline (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Pinned Ideas & Shout-outs (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Weekly Recap
- DATES & FUNCTIONS ARE NOT SET IN STONE: Just a reminder that all dates and functions are sometimes fluid. We have to make choices based on feasibility, opportunity costs, and overall timeline. I will be as transparent as possible on these decisions, but just a heads up, they may not always be exciting.
- NO IDEA IS A BAD IDEA: Ok, some are, but honestly throw out anything that you can think of. If we use your idea, we’ll credit you and send you a free device, so take that shot!
- VERSION 1 VS VERSION 2: Some ideas may be fantastic, but may not make the cut for the first version of the product. Once the product is locked in from a function standpoint, we’ll keep a tally of V2 ideas and then once the product is produced, we’ll move the ideas over to the Suggestions & Wishlist section.
Ok, let’s get this party started!
The purpose of this project is really improve the quality of switches that are being offered in the market. For too long there’s been a bunch of, “me too” switches. Almost all switches in the Z-Wave space are created by the same manufacturers and look identical. Really the only difference is the firmware and even that is pretty basic compared to what it could do.
We started creating our Red Series On/Off Switch and found that the costs to produce it were higher than we wanted and part of our mission is to provide affordable options to people who may not want all the bells and whistles. However, we still wanted to create something better than what was currently out there as well as allow this switch to be put in any configuration (ie: neutral, non-neutral, 3-Way (dumb switch), or 3-Way (aux switch).
That’s precisely where this switch falls into play. It’s still one of the most powerful switches on the market, but we’ve removed a few things to make it more affordable.
Project Name - Knight Flank
“Knight Flank” refers to the game of chess where we’d be creating a device that compliments the Red Series On/Off as the low price option allowing us to offer both a premium and base model covering both spectrums of the market. Checkmate.
Knight Flank - Hardware Requirements
Here are the initial hardware asks we came up with. Pretty decent start!
Hardware - Initial Mockup
Hardware - On/Off Switch (Look / Feel)
- Responsive Paddle: rests in a neutral state (tap up = on // tap down = off & hold up = dim up // hold down = dim down)
Config / Favorite Button: button should be used for configuration of the switch as well as scene control.
- Should be able to be held (for config)
- Should be able to be tapped (for scene control)
RGB LED Bar: should show whether the switch is on or off
- LED should be RGB
- LED should also be able to be dimmed
- Colors: on/off switch will be offered in white, but the paddle should be able to be replaced to change colors (almond, brown, red, black, grey, etc)
- Slim Design: depth of switch should be as slim as possible so that it can fit into metal boxes.
- Air Gap: UL requirement
Hardware - Features & Capabilities
- Z-Wave Plus: use the best Z-Wave module on the market
3-Way / 4-Way Ready: should work in multiple different settings in a 3 & 4 Way setting
- Should work with an auxiliary switch
- Should work with an existing dumb switch
- Should work with another smart switch
- Z-Wave Distance Estimator: should be able to estimate the signal strength of the Z-Wave signal and notify via the LED bar (see Appendix - Section C)
- Instant On: when tapped 1x (and scenes aren’t used), switch should turn the bulb on instantly (no delay)
- CFL & LED Compatibility: minimum buzz and flickering
- 600W: increase the wattage to 600 to be competitive
switch should work without a neutral wire
- 03/16/19 - Neutral & Non-Neutral Compatibility: switch should be able to work with a neutral wire or without a neutral wire. The more we found out about the limitations with the neutral wire being removed, we wanted the ability for people to use the neutral wire if they have one.
- 03/23/19 - Well this one was shot down fast. It’s virtually impossible to make this happen. Reason being is that the Z-Wave chip needs to be powered and with a relay inside, the switch is either on or off… there’s no way for energy to trickle through like we were able to accomplish on the dimmer switch. We will continue to explore options here and will move this feature to V2.
Knight Flank - Software Requirements
Below is what we came up with for the software requirements. Welcome to the next level!
- RGB Bars Config: bar should be able to change colors and also dimmed to the customers favorite level/intensity
- Auto Timer: switch should have a timer that shuts the switch off after a certain amount of time
Easy Config: switch should be able to be configured via the config/favorite button (by holding for 5 seconds).
- There should be infinite customization via parameters in the firmware, but also set customizations for HUB’s that do not allow parameter changes (ie: Wink)
- Internal Relay Disable: internal relay should be able to be disabled locally and via Z-Wave
- OTA Ready: ability to update firmware via OTA
- Associations: switch should be able to be associated to other Z-Wave devices
Ah, everyone’s favorite part. When is this flippin thing going to be released? Great question – here’s the high-level of what happens leading up to the first release of the timeline:
- We present a PRD (Project Request Document) that has all of the above info in it
- R&D (manufacturer) analyzes the PRD and we go back and forth until we can align on 90% of the product
- Initial Timeline is released and remaining 10% of product features are added/cut along the way
NOTE: I’m cringing at this next paragraph because I am post-writing this project thread for visibility – boy did we not have any idea at the problems we’d face. Much better days when we were naive and expecting this to launch in May!
Again, just want to throw this out there – I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict things that come up along the way. Trust me when I say we’re trying our best to get things launched on time.
Pre-Initial Timeline Milestones:
- Present PRD: Completed 01/17
- R&D Analyzation: Completed 03/12
- Initial Timeline Released: Completed 03/12
The initial timeline will be shown below and will be updated weekly (if needed).
Design Phase: Completed (estimated completion date is
04/29 05/24 06/0607/18)
See Weekly Recap for notes around the delays
- Structure Design (Rendering, 3D Mockups, and Printed Mockups): Completed (est. completion date is 08/09)
- Hardware Design (PCB Design & Testing): Completed (est. completion date is
04/05 05/24 06/0607/18)
- RF & Antenna Design: Completed (est. completion date = 03/02)
- Firmware (For Basic Functions Only): Completed (est. completion date is 04/26)
- Tooling: Completed (est. completion date is 04/29)
EVT Phase: Completed (est. completion date is
04/29 05/24 06/0607/18)
DVT Phase: Completed (est. completion date is
Certifications: In Progress (est. completion date is 08/17)
- Z-Wave Certification (Technical): Completed
- Z-Wave Certification (Marketing): Completed
- FCC Certification: Completed
- IC Certification: Completed
- UL Certification: Completed
- Mass Production: Started (est. completion date is 08/21)
- Arrival on Amazon, Inovelli.com , etc: Not started (est. completion 08/30)
Pinned Ideas & Shout-Outs
Here are the ideas from the community. We sincerely appreciate them, we love them, and we couldn’t create the products we do without them. So, thank you for your input and let’s continue to innovate together and change the home automation category for the better (NOTE: if an idea is crossed out, it’s not because it wasn’t valid, nor was it something we didn’t consider – we’ve discussed it internally or with the manufacturer and unfortunately it was not feasible).
Every Wednesday, we have a meeting with our manufacturer to go over the various projects (status, issues, timeline, etc) and below I’ll provide a recap as well as edit the sections above so we can all keep track. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to ask, feel free to tag me and let me know so I can ask them as well. The weekly cadence for updates will be Thursday mornings.
August 12, 2019: I will update the history of the calls in milestones vs weekly as I’m post-writing this thread after a lot of history has happened for visibility. Either way, get some popcorn ready, it was a wild ride!
August 14, 2019: Mass production has started!!! It will take around a week to complete and then it will be shipped via air (yes, expensive, but you all have waited long enough) to our HQ and Amazon.