As you may know from posts a short while ago, I’ve been working on creating an ultra-low power supply, providing just enough energy to a JeeNode or JeeNode Micro to let it do a little work, report some data over wireless, and then go to sleep most of the time.
I even designed a PCB for this thing and had a bunch of them produced:
The good news is that it works as intended and that I’ll be using this circuit for some projects.
The bad news is that they won’t be available as kits in the shop. Ironically, this was the first time where I actually had a batch of kits all wrapped up and ready to go, ahead of time.
But the reality is that I can’t pull it off. For two different reasons:
The circuit is connected to live AC mains @ 230 VAC and that means there is a serious risk if you build this stuff, try it out, and then hurt yourself because of some mistake. And even after that, there is the risk that the whole circuit is not properly protected, exposing these voltages (even just humidity and condensation).
The other risk is that once everything works, it gets built-in for permanent use and becomes part of your house. What if it gets wet or malfunctions for some other reason, and your house burns down?
As supplier, I’d be liable (rightly so, BTW – there is no excuse for selling stuff which might be dangerous).
The hardest part of all is that even if an accident has nothing to do with this Low-power Supply, I still have to prove that this stuff is safe under any circumstance and that it complies with all regulations!
I’m not willing to go there. Life’s too short and I don’t have the pushing power to go through it all.
Having said this, I do intend to use this supply myself and create all sorts of nodes for use here at JeeLabs. Because I know the risks, I know which failsafe features have been built into the supply, and I’m ok with it:
The design is available in the Café, to document what I’ve done and for others to do whatever they like with it.
I’m not happy about this decision, in fact I hate it. I’m really proud of finding out that it is possible to create sensor nodes which run off just 12 mW of AC mains power. But the right thing to do is to stop here.