[Nut-upsdev] Disrupting UPS hardware

Eric S. Raymond esr at thyrsus.com
Tue Feb 13 13:04:05 UTC 2018

Some of you may remember me as a NUT contributor years back - I did a
significant amount of work on documentation, and later moved the
repository from Subversion to GIT.  I eventually drifted away from the
project in large part because I found the lossage from lazy,
least-cost-is-everything product designs too annoying to deal with.

I recently had a bad experience with a UPS that brought all my
frustrations back to the surface. I described it here, at
"UPSes suck and need to be disrupted":


In 2018, the rise of makerspaces and short-run manufacturing means we
have options we did not when I last collided with this technology.

Today I think we could design and build an open-hardware/open-source
UPS for personal and SOHO use that would put a floor under the
commercial market, forcing the vendors to up their game.  (It would be
OK with me if "upping their game" consisted of putting this design in
volume production and profiting from it.)

The response to this proposal has been intense. It wasn't just me;
frustration with this product category turns out to be
widespread. People have offered to throw engineering time at it. I've
gotten a lot of "Please please please run a kickstarter and take my
money!"  Last night the guy who runs the nearest makerspace to me
recruited himself onto the project, which means we have shop space
and tools for a serious build.

I've started a project at GitLab:


So far it's just a wiki for collaborative design. My goal is for it to
become a complete design - schematics, COTS parts list, assembly
instructions, qualification procedure.

One problem with this plan is that I'm a software guy, not a hardware
engineer.  I can read spec sheets but I haven't a clue about designing
and implementing power-switching electronics.

(What I can do, and am doing, is develop the requirements list. In
effect, I'm the product strategist and market-research guy.)

UPSide needs a lead hardware engineer.  This dev list seems like a
good place to find one.  If the concept interests you, please respond.
It would be OK if you work for a UPS vendor; I get it about low
margins making NRE spending difficult and I'm fine with a for-profit outfit
using our enthusiasm to improve its product.

The point is to *solve this problem*. And if we can create a precedent
for positive-sum cooperation between open-hardware/makerspace hackers
and industry, that's good too.
		<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>

To make inexpensive guns impossible to get is to say that you're
putting a money test on getting a gun.  It's racism in its worst form.
        -- Roy Innis, president of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), 1988

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