Review 2022 / Outlook 2023

The year 2022 is slowly coming to an end. We would like to give you a small look behind-the-scenes.

Parts procurement and manufacturing
2022 was very challanging for us. The issue of the availability of parts and the associated problems during manufacturing of our products resulted in a significant increase in the amount of time needed. Previously, we always kept some parts in stock for the production of our products, and we would order the missing parts just in time for each new production run. The effort for that was kept within limits. This approach simply stopped working mid to end 2021. We started to increase our stock of parts significantly. Nevertheless we were not able to procure all of the necessary items. As an example the DAC7760 (analog to digital converter used on the Industrial Analog Out Bricklet), is not available anymore for over a year now. Because of this we go through parts that are available at ditributors every day now to buy parts that are difficult to procure, even if we don't need this specific part at the moment. One of the most annoying aspects of this whole situation is that distributors stopped to honor delivery dates. They may say that a part will be deliverd in 3 months, but 1 week before the delivery date they will push it back for another 3 months. This happens all the time now. Because of this we needed to stop an already scheduled production run several times this year.

Price increases / inflation
Additionally, some of the parts that were not available anymore are now available again, but multiple times more expensive. As an example, the INA226 (analog to digital converter used by the Voltage/Current Bricklet) was priced at ~40USD (instead of the normal ~4USD) on the market. This is more expensive then the sales prices of the whole Bricklet. Electronic parts have become more expensive across the board. We are currently not sure if this price spiral will stop in the near future of if the inflation in this category will persist for a while. For now we have just accepted big parts of the price increases. It is unfortunately very much possible that we will have to increase our prices again in the near future.

WARP2 Charger
But not everything was bad in 2022, the opposite is actually true! Our WARP2 Charger wallboxes are a huge success. We were able to implement lots of new features this year. They include the charge tracker, user management, MQTT, HTTP API, Wireguard, Modbus/TCP and also our OCPP implementation is nearly ready. Most of the improvements are based on your feedback and improvement suggestion. Many thanks for that!

WARP Energy Manager
Unfortunately we were not able to fully implement the WARP Energy Manager as fast as we wanted. The Energy Manager was supposed to be available in our shop already. We also actually now have the hardware in stock already, but the software needs some more time. Very sorry for the delays!

Bigger team
In 2021 and 2022 the Tinkerforge team has grown! We actually have not even put Vincent, Michael, Frederic and Matze on our team webpage. We will have to make sure to catch up with that next year.

What will be new in 2023?
For 2023 we plan with lots of improvements for the WARP Charger. We will release the the WARP Energy Manager and lots of other new features will be available with a software update. If you are here for the Tinkerforge building blocks you do not need to worry, we also plan to release new Bricklets soon. However, our personal highlight for 2023 will be our new industrial real estate. Our current building is simply full by now. With the increased stock and new employees we are using up every square millimeter now. With the new modern building that we bought we will have a huge amount of space for offices and warehouse.

That's it for our little review and outlook!
We thank you for your trust and wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2023!

WARP News: Webseite, WARP Energy Manager & Stand

This blog entry is only available in German:

Tinkerforge stand-alone with ESP32 Bricks

ESP32 Ethernet Brick

We are using the ESP32 Brick and the ESP32 Ethernet Brick for our WARP Charger for a long time now. The WARP Charger (generation 1) uses the ESP32 Brick as the central control unit, while the current generation of WARP2 Charger use the ESP32 Ethernet Brick.

Starting today these Bricks are now also officially part of the Tinkerforge building blocks, i.e. you can use the new Bricks for your own projects!

What are the ESP32 Brick and ESP32 Ethernet Brick?

The ESP32 is a powerful microcontroller platform. It integrates WIFI (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth (V4.2 BR/EDR, BLE). It has two CPU cores that each run with 240 MHz and it has 448KB ROM, 520KB SRAM as well as 16MB flash. Both new Bricks each have six connectors for Bricklets. Power can be supplied through a USB-C connector that is also used for firmware flashing. To make this possible the Brick integrates a USB to serial converter, which means that USB can also be used for debugging through the serial interface. Additionally we offer an optional power supply that can be stacked on top of the Brick. It supports an input voltage of up to 27V. As you might have guessed from the name: The ESP32 Ethernet Brick has an additional Ethernet interface compared to the ESP32 Brick.

What is the intended application for the new Bricks?

The ESP32 (Ethernet) Brick can be used in two ways: In the delivery condition the Brick is flashed with a standard firmware. This firmware creates a WIFI access point that can be used to reach be Brick through a web interface. With the ESP32 Ethernet Brick the web interface is also reachable via LAN (DHCP). The web interface can be used to configure the brick, for example to connect to your own WIFI. The standard firmware comes with the proxy mode enabled. With the proxy mode it is possible to control the connected Bricklets through our normal API Bindings. This means you can also connect to the Brick with the Brick Viewer. In this mode the Brick behaves similar to a Master Brick together with a WIFI/Ethernet Extension.

Of course you can also use the ESP32 (Ethernet) Brick as a development platform for your own software that runs stand-alone on the ESP32.

To do this you can use the standard ESP32 development tools. The ESP32 is a widespread platform that has lots of libraries and support for many development environments. To use our Bricklets we offer the C/C++ API Bindings for microcontroller. Additionally you use our standard firmware as a starting point. It is build from many different software modules that can be extended. This means you can use the web interface and all of its configuration pages together with your own sub-pages and the proxy mode at the same time!

New features and changes in WARP(2) firmware 2.0.0

This blog entry is only available in German: