September 24, 2018 3 Comments

Hey there Starkies

 



It has been over a month since our last update and a lot has changed in such a short amount of time! Everyday we face a new challenge. And everyday we work harder to overcome those challenges. We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished so far. In just under a year we started this company, had a successful crowdfunding project, joined the Techstars accelerator AND almost completely fulfilled our Indiegogo campaign shipments. In comparison, other electric skateboard campaigns that launched around the same time as the StarkBoard are still in the pre-production phase!

The unyielding foundation that we have built at Stark Mobility from the beginning remains the same: we are dedicated to producing a great product. We are working hard everyday to grow and build upon our foundation and make sure that we continue to get working boards on the road.

In this update we aim to provide a transparent look into the past couple of months at Stark Mobility. We will cover everything from intricacies, challenges and solutions on topics from worldwide StarkBoard shipments to extra batteries to sensor technology improvements.

Before we take off we want to extend a very special thank you to those customers who have been continuously supportive and patient throughout this process. It is your positivity and excitement that makes our days brighter.


Keep your hands, feet and negativity away from the vehicle at all times….and off we go!


The Intricacies

Team

At the end of May two founding team members decided to step away from their responsibilities at Stark Mobility. Then in July another two team members left, this time not co-founders though. Ouch. That’s 4 people gone. Naturally, their obligations were transferred to the remaining team members. Consequently, the current workload is now double to triple what it was before and we are finding ourselves working harder and longer hours to cover all of our basis from engineering, sales, funding and customer service.  If you would like to get in touch with us please always send an email to hello@starkmobility.com as we can better track this. If you were previously corresponding with Lucian or another Stark team member, and haven’t gotten a response PLEASE start a new thread with the email provided above. We are working very hard to respond to messages in a timely manner.

Shipping Delays

Those of you (mostly in Pacific Asia) who are still waiting for your StarkBoard to arrive, we understand better than anyone your frustration with the shipping status and the perceived ambiguity around your board’s arrival. The reason for the delay is simply that the weight sensors our current supplier is making, aren’t working as expected. Hence we had to find a solution before we make any more boards with the same potential for failure.

Which brings us to our next point...


T-Shirts

If your shipping status is still “unfulfilled”, we want to send you a FREE Stark Mobility T-Shirt in exchange for your patience and understanding! Over 50 customers have already received or claimed their free T-Shirt. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this and your order is still “unfulfilled” please contact us so that we can send you your custom code to claim your Stark Mobility T-Shirt.

Yes...it’s not a board. We know. But we prefer to send you something now that way at least you look stylish while you wait ;) All jokes aside, we appreciate every single one of you who supported us from the get-go. A shirt is the least we can do!


StarkBoard Availability

Since we are getting close to 100% fulfillment of our Indiegogo campaign, we have decided that the StarkBoard will be no longer available on Indiegogo going forward. Starting today we will be taking pre-orders on our website only.

Our goal for the next month is to oversee and implement product improvements. This step is essential before we can offer the StarkBoard on other platforms. Which brings us to the intricate details of the challenges we are working to solve….


The Challenges

Sensor Technology

In response to several StarkBoards exhibiting weight sensor failures, we have been providing pre-paid return labels for those boards to be delivered back to us for inspection.

What we have found to be one potential cause of the sensor failure is that the glue affixing the small PCB inside of the metal structure of the sensor is expanding if too much material was used during assembly. This thick glue hardens over time. Hence if it expanded too much, it can mess up the sensors ability to compress and expand at the right level. Not good.

In addition we noticed that several sensors had data and power cable connectivity issues. After taking apart all the units that came back, we found out that this was due to the soldering material that was used to affix the data and power wires on the sensors PCB. The waterproofing applied over the sensors PCB and data cables was making the wire soldering spots very rigid and prone to breaking off.



There are twelve tiny cables, four on the left, four on the right and then another four in the center that combine the collected data and send it to the main board. With two weight sensors, this makes a total of 24 cables. If any ONE of these 24 cables is having a issues or is cut or disconnected, the sensor will fail.

Both are tiny details, but each one of them can make the sensors unresponsive and thus the entire StarkBoard not functional. Pretty shi**y.

Seems like a very easy fix, but turned out to be a bit more difficult. We already tried several things, but they didn’t make it any better. So now we are testing a new, tougher, waterproof-by-design and shielded way to affix the cables to the sensors PCB and mount it without glue. It’s looking very promising!


If you already received your board and don’t have a problem, awesome! However if you are experiencing issues, going forwards we will replace sensors FREE of charge for those affected.

You know that your board is experiencing sensor issues, if it does not accelerate or brake properly anymore. Also your sensor is failing if you hear either one of these beep sequences:


1 Long Beep --- 1 Long Beep --- 1 Long Beep --- 1 Long Beep
or
2 Long Beeps --- 3 Short Beeps --- 2 Long Beeps --- 3 Short Beeps

 

Here is a link to support page if needed: http://starkmobility.com/support


iOS Application

The iOS app is temporarily unavailable on the App store. When we first launched the APP earlier this year it had been released under the Apple Developer account from one of our suppliers. We are now transferring ownership over to our own Apple Developer account. There will be a slight period of time where it is no longer available on the App store. We will keep you guys posted once it is back online. In the meantime the App is still available on the Android Play Store.


Extra Battery Shipments

Some customers who have already received their StarkBoard have noticed that their extra battery was not included in the shipment. Because of international lithium ion import regulations it is too expensive to ship individual shipments directly from our factory in Shenzhen. Hence all outstanding battery orders will be fulfilled with the next batch of boards. This is for US and EUR. Don't worry we haven't forgotten about you! We will be sending them out individually once they arrive.


Exception: For those of you whose order remains “unfulfilled” your extra battery will be included in your upcoming shipment.


The Hardware Solution

We will be spending the next month in China implementing improvements and making sure that we do it in a timely manner so we can get this next batch of boards on the road. We already have our development team in Shenzhen working to implement the proposed changes, so when we arrive we can begin testing.

In addition to making hardware improvements we will be implementing even more strict quality control procedures. This is to ensure we catch assembly or part issues right as they appear.

The road to technological perfection is quite steep in hardware. We were lucky that the first batch was only 500 not 50000. However, the good news is that we were able to figure out what the issue is. Now we need to implement the solution in the best and quickest way possible.

We are doing our best to respond to messages and emails in a timely manner. As always, the best way to get in touch with us is by sending an email to hello@starkmobility.com


Instagram - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube

 

Cheers! 👋

 

 


3 Responses

Jenny Farmers
Jenny Farmers

October 05, 2018

I got my StarkBoard back in April 2018 and it is still holding up strong. We are having a great time with it, I share it with my boyfriend and we take turns with this and the BoostedBoard V2. Both are very fun, but it does take a second to re-adjust when coming from No-Remote back to With-Remote. I ended up liking the No-Remote so much better. My boyfriend is still on the fence and likes it both for various reasons.

Anyhow do I have to register for extended support or will this continue to be covered since you guys figured out that it was a issue with several boards? Thanks for being to transparent about it.

Jonathan Lambert
Jonathan Lambert

October 05, 2018

Thanks for clarifying this. I was wondering what’s going on and head sent an email to Lucian before, but did not get a reply right away. Then I got a call from Lulu and an email with a link to this post. Makes sense to hold off pushing out more units at this point. Keep up the good work and the clear communication. Startups are hard. You guys are doing a great job. Looking forward to receiving my board. Cheers!

Doug N.
Doug N.

October 05, 2018

Thanks for the update. While I am not super happy about the delay, I do very much appreciate your continuous effort to make a great quality product and insisting on this vs. just shipping out boards with the same sensor thing. Good work. Keep it up. Looking forward to my StarkBoard!

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