[Freedombox-discuss] Environmental Limits

Jack Wilborn jkwilborn at gmail.com
Thu Apr 12 16:06:36 UTC 2012

Hi, I was first interested in the Freedom-box because you could erect it
anywhere and use it with only a solar panel and battery.  The picture I saw
was taken in NY if I remember correctly, and it was outside on a pole.  I
think for legal reasons anyone wanting 'inside' the box would need a
warrant to be on the safe side, they could easily lose if they didn't
follow president.  Beside that point, this box won't work where the picture
was taken, it gets below freezing where the picture was shot and the main
point of having a low cost 'WiFi in a Tupperware box' surly isn't viable.
Now you need air conditioning (which is heat or cooling) for the unit to
run.  As far as theft is concerned a roof isn't very secure but on top of a
tower, you limit how many are really interested in something that requires
personal danger to get it and computer savvy to get something useful out of
it.  Add to that many people don't realize what's possible in such a small
piece of hardware. There are places that it could work, although not
probably completely supported by solar, like San Diego California, where
the Pacific limits the high heat we normally get in the SW desert.  The
rest of the country, excluding the west cost does in fact freeze (below 0
Degrees Centigrade and exceed 104 Fahrenheit).

As an example I was stoked to hear about this, but as a Hardware/Software
specialist I now know that it's not possible to even consider this box as a
functional part of a system that we want to depend on, unless we limit it's
exposure to the 0 - 40 Centigrade range which it's engineered.  I assume we
want the machine to stay up?  If so then it's imperative we constrain it's
use to what it's limits in the environment are.  Does the device even know
it's own temperature or do we need to add more hardware to it to make it
possible to control some other external hardware (such as hear or cooling)
at greater cost?

 I'm sorry but this device may be fine for development and testing, but
clearly not possible for use in an uncontrolled environment which is what
attracted me.  I do believe that with some stimulation, we could get a box
with an extended environmental limits of course with increased costs. What
I mean by this is that if enough of us contact the devices creator and
explain what we want, it's possible that they could come up with what could
be done and at what unit price.  It still could end up costing too much for
the majority of us. The only way to know is to ask.

You speak about putting it in a controlled environment then you are paying
for this environment and limits the ability to place units in isolated
areas which is one of the interesting applications of the FreedomBox
concept. If you are not going to exceed the limits or you can afford to
have a device fail and replace it, the go ahead and use this hardware.  If
you end up with paying users, then this concept is not a good model.  Using
it as a development model is completely reasonable with the assurance that
we will have an extended environmental model in the future.  To base it on
this device, assures failure at some point and these need to be known to
those building the complete device.

Do we go with this model and limit where we can place these devices?  Or is
it asking too much for those that understand this problem to get a group
together and see what the ending cost of this device would be with extended
limits.  You do not have to participate if you are happy with this box.
How we stand legally and the success of this box could really depend on how
well it survives being placed in strange environments and it's ability to
operate in poor environments.  All persons working on this as an end, do
need to know and understand that the device will fail if placed in an
environment outside the stated engineering limits.  How many and how often
may be debated, but just one in a critical position could kill the
FreedomBox concept over a great range.

I have been contacted by persons in South America where they have to use
consumer equipment with a limited range and deal with 25 to 50 percent of
an expected life.  As the world of technology expands, engineers have to
take this into consideration.  Devices such as this can make a very big
change, as the FreedomBox is envisioned by most of us.  Let's not kill it
off early because we don't want to follow instructions.

I will take the responsibility of collection all of those that are
interested in a 'WiFit in a Tupperware box' that will be able to put into a
rather extreme environment and I will contact the manufacturers and make a
bidding of what we want the device to do. Is this acceptable?  Please write
me at "jkwilborn at gmail.com" and tell me where you live, what the range is
and if you have one now and how many you expect to purchase when the
software reached maturity.  If you give me Centigrade or Fahrenheit, I will
make them all the same and contact them with a consistent Centigrade
values.  Firm data or temps and numbers are required, so be at your best.

Anyone who has something to add, please write if you have something to
add.  If you just want to gripe, I can't help you.  If you don't care about
the environmental ranges, I.E. you are going to run it from inside of
something that's fine, I don't need to know.  If I don't have enough people
respond, that will raise the price and severely hurt the FreedomBox
project, IMHO.

Thanks for listening,

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