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Mark II Update – February 2021

By March 4, 2021 No Comments
Mycroft Mark II Update

Dev Kits are shipping!

Dev Kits are officially out the door. The first to leave were the Enhanced Kits bound for US addresses. We are thrilled to report that we have already received plenty of positive feedback from new Dev Kit owners, and we’re diligently working on reported bugs. All other kits are right behind them. When orders ship, customers will receive an email confirmation with tracking number. 

Once your Dev Kit reaches your door, the package will include quick start instructions that detail all of the elements within, a step-by-step assembly guide, and a link to the latest software image available. 

If you can’t wait for your device to arrive, you can see the growing Mark II Dev Kit documentation at: https://mycroft.ai/get-started/mark-ii-dev-kit

9 Mark II Dev Kit boxes

International shipping costs and fees

We have had a few questions about shipping costs including import duties and sales taxes for various countries. For the vast majority of international orders we’ve seen shipping costs around the world significantly increase. In many cases this is almost double the estimates we received for the campaign. 

In many countries there are also a range of import duties, sales taxes or other customs fees which were not included in the original campaign reward tiers. Often there’s no way to know if a charge will be attached to a shipment until it reaches the border, and how much varies on the jurisdiction, and sometimes the customs agent.

Mycroft will cover all increased shipping costs, however any fees, taxes or other charges imposed by your government or customs agency, will be the responsibility of the recipient.

What about the production Mark II’s?

Dev Kits are like a gift without wrapping paper. They have all of the same electronics as the Mark II but no fancy plastics and retail boxing. More specifically, the production Mark II includes an injection-moulded housing which is both a lot cheaper to manufacture in bulk, and looks a lot better. It is what you’d expect for an “off-the-shelf” product. 

From a manufacturing perspective, the 1st plastic enclosure will cost substantially more than the 2nd-10,000th. Before we commit to the million-dollar outlay for production parts and labor, we want to have the Dev Kits out in the wild and running in real time for long enough to ensure that we did not miss anything potentially detrimental to long-term stability. Additionally, we will use this time to test the firmware and software update processes with the hundreds of developers who are now powering up their Dev Kits for the first time. 

So while we can gear up for Mark II production by getting the injection moulds underway and qualifying a final product assembly partner, we won’t have a solid ship date until we have vetted the performance of the Dev Kits.

Heat management

The new Mark II design already has some excellent benefits for cooling. The Pi has been shown to run cooler in a vertical rather than horizontal orientation, and with the daughterboard connected at a 90 degree angle, this means the two boards aren’t sandwiched together creating a heat trap. Added to that, we have included a speed-controlled 40mm cooling fan to provide extra cooling across the Pi and daughterboard. 

To keep an eye on heat during development, we have dedicated one of the LEDs on the top of the board to act as a heat indicator. If you have a Dev Kit you’ll see that one LED is always green/red – indicating the state of the mic hardware cutoff switch. The second LED will range from blue being the coolest, magenta being warm, orange being hot, and red being very hot.

We’ll be doing more stress testing as we go, but we’d love to hear how your units perform too. Join us in the Mark II channel on Mycroft Chat, or the dedicated category on the Community Forums, and let us know what you’ve done with your Dev Kit so far.