Pre-BABSCON Update

I’m not dead, I swear! I just haven’t really been doing much of note. That, however, has changed.

First up, let’s talk conventions – Or, more specifically, BABSCON. A few days ago, BABS released their vendor hall layout. A few hours later, they updated it to correct a handful of mistakes in it. As I have mentioned many, many times before – Nothing is ever perfect the first time. I didn’t want to post immediately for this very reason. With some time having elapsed, however, things shouldn’t be changing now. So, here’s the map! I’ll be at H11, and Sophie (You should be familiar with her by now) will be at H10. Sophie and I will be covering each others’ booths when needed,

In preparation for BABS, I’m working on replacing the microcontrollers for the DigiBadges and otherwise preparing them. I accomplished the removal of the battery packs today, as the hot air just melts them and they’re a bit in the way even without that issue. On Wednesday I’ll be starting the next step, which is removing all of the ATMega328s in preparation for replacing them with ATMega328Ps. This whole issue is almost certainly the most annoying typo I have ever made. Once the 328Ps are on, I’ll be replacing the battery packs and then soldering on the screens.

I am also going to ask everyone who stops by my booth for a small courtesy. While I love hearing about electronics projects, gadgets, and the like, a convention’s vendor hall is not a good location for such conversations. Unless you’re going to buy something, don’t spend much time in front of anyone’s booth – Not only does this harm the sales of whoever it is you’re talking to by blocking others from viewing their booth, it causes traffic issues and can also cause issues with neighboring booths. If you want to talk, you can always find me on Discord (No convention necessary), and I’ll even be able to chat there while at the booth. And then you won’t be blocking anyone and causing a fuss.

See you in San Francisco!

The Online Shop has been Disabled

I’ll put it simply: Realistically, I do not have the time to run a web store.

Not, at least, to the quality and acceptability that is expected from such an online establishment. My day job is full time, and my work there often leaves me no time to visit a post office either before or after work. It’s also a physically active job, and I need to be able to spend some time and relax on my days off. I can’t spend that time worrying about rushing things out the door.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be putting up product pages for things that Phoenixborn makes, along with new pictures and updates on items. These pages will have prices, but the “ease” of an online storefront will not be available. I’ll be treating Phoenixborn like what it actually is: A manufacturer. I’ll be looking in to places that can be re-sellers, and when they become available I will add a re-sellers page with links to where you can easily purchase Phoenixborn items.

I also plan on selling at fewer conventions. 2017 was not a good year, and I ended up spending a huge chunk of money. Conventions are expensive, and Phoenixborn does not make the money needed to hop across the country on a regular basis. Going to any new convention is a big “Maybe” in the first place, and the costs associated with it are high, especially for electronics. As with online sales, I’m going to be looking into re-sellers (And some of them might even be the same!), and will ensure to communicate when and where things will be available.

If this sounds like a massive scaling back of Phoenixborn, that’s largely because it is. Last year I overcommitted myself and I’m still recovering from it. If Phoenixborn gets to a point where it’s making enough money to be self-sustaining, I might revisit these things. On the other hand, I may already have a bunch of resellers and not need to put up an online shop of my own.

For the time being, if you’re looking to purchase anything, send an e-mail to sales [at] – I’ll get back to you on cost, estimated time frame, and the like.

An Update on the Shop (And Other Things)

So, long story short: I didn’t get the pictures I wanted done in November.

Without going into too much complaining, my day job is in a bakery, and it’s the Holiday season. And everybody wants food around the holidays. I’ve been busy and/or exhausted and also a little bit of sick.

My new goal is to have the store revamped by the end of the first week of January. That’s when things slow down a bit, so I should be able to get the time between now and then and get things done.

Additionally, I bought a small 3D printer and have been using that quite a bit over the past few days, and I think I’ve done a decent job of the beginnings of a turret mechanism for the TankBot I’m working on. Take a look:

And last, but certainly not least: Sophie, who did our wonderful logo, is running a sale on prints. It goes from now until Sunday. Her stuff is great, and it is definitely my opinion that you should buy some:

Time for Plan B!

Shipping is expensive.

Or, more accurately, shipping a 7+kg box all the way to China is absurdly expensive, especially if you don’t have any sort of account. How expensive? Well, it’d be about $500. Just for shipping. And then there’s things like customs, and that doesn’t involve shipping anything back to me.

My primary reason for wanting to ship them was because I didn’t have the tools necessary to do the PCB Surgery. But rather than spending $500 on shipping, I can spend significantly less than that on a hot air reflow station.

I haven’t used it yet (It’s still sitting on my table in its box…), but I have the next two days off from my job and I intend to put them to good use. While I don’t expect to get to any of the re-soldering of the broked boards, I do have some other boards that I’ll be able to experiment on and get things down properly.

If you don’t hear back from me, I’ve probably managed to burn myself with this thing.

Unfortunate News! Doom and Gloom (Mostly delays and probably a typo)

Let’s be short about this: Bad Things happened.

The DigiBadge Minis came with the ATMega328 chip on them, instead of the ATMega328P. Despite several hours of working with them (And one board being sacrificed), I could not manage to get the chips to load bootloaders.

This means I won’t have the DigiBadges for this weekend. This, combined with a number of other things – Myself being sick at the moment one of them – means I won’t be vending at Nightmare Nights this weekend. I will, however, still be in attendance. There’s too much non-refundable money spent to not go.

I have also cancelled the scheduled appearance at RetroGameCon in November. Due to the very short timeframe between the two conventions, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get enough finished before the event, and wanted to err on the safe side.

On the plus side! It looks like I will be able to fix these. Unlike the V3s, this is the only issue with them, so a hot air rework station plus a lot of patience and some of the 328P chips (Of which I have a bunch) I should be able to fix them, or at least most. It depends on how well I can solder.

I’ll keep everyone updated as things happen. For now, though, I need my sleep. Being sick just sucks, and I’d certainly like to be “better” by the weekend.