New Ninox mouse "Ninox Astrum" - with swapable shells - Page 221 - - An Overclocking Community

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New Ninox mouse "Ninox Astrum" - with swapable shells

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post #2201 of 2788 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 07:48 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Klopfer View Post
do you have money to hire people ?
yea , its annoying that it took so long , but hey ... wayne ... Im sure we will get the mouse ...
I said future endeavor ...wayne... He did the same thing with the Aurora. If this project is a success, which I see it being one because there is a niche in the Makers/gaming market for this product, he will have the tooling and capabilities to continue manufacturing the Astrum and get a nice return on the investment of time, ingenuity, etc. Then he should have the money to hire people, specifically in a manager to precisely plan out deadlines and account for realistic errors.
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post #2202 of 2788 (permalink) Old 07-28-2019, 03:13 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by kr0w View Post
I said future endeavor ...wayne... He did the same thing with the Aurora. If this project is a success, which I see it being one because there is a niche in the Makers/gaming market for this product, he will have the tooling and capabilities to continue manufacturing the Astrum and get a nice return on the investment of time, ingenuity, etc. Then he should have the money to hire people, specifically in a manager to precisely plan out deadlines and account for realistic errors.
Which will do exactly nothing. One of the biggest disadvantages for him is that he is not a big customer for the chinese factories you have to work with to build the mouse. They tell him a date and then don't deliver on time. This has happend a lot in the past, and this project here has seen this as well. No PM will change that. Ninox is not a priority over there. And likely never will be.
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post #2203 of 2788 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 12:39 PM
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What happened? What's the status at the factory? BST?
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post #2204 of 2788 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 02:00 PM
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He hasn't been on the forum in over a week. Maybe he's on Holiday.
However, his last post that has anything to do with "timeframe" is from the 5th of July, stating that:

"I don't have the samples yet, its still going to be a few days, because it took a while to get the firmware from my engineer, I have now ordered the programmed MCUs though. After they arrive, it should be ready to go."

That's 24 days ago now without letting us know if the Final Sample is finally ready or not (?), according to this, it should be by now?

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post #2205 of 2788 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 01:51 PM
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Is BST even OK?
One month without news is worrisome specially knowing UK is becoming hazardous..

Last edited by ATH-YF; 08-03-2019 at 08:23 AM.
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post #2206 of 2788 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 05:41 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by ATH-YF View Post
Is BST even OK?
One moth without news is worrisome specially knowing UK is becoming hazardous..
Hazardous how? I don't watch.

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post #2207 of 2788 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 01:11 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by ATH-YF View Post
Is BST even OK?
One moth without news is worrisome specially knowing UK is becoming hazardous..
He posted to reddit five days ago so he should be ok. Hopefully we'll get a shipping date in the next update.

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post #2208 of 2788 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 05:51 AM
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Its the same old story, just taking ages. As usual.

I did get a sample, only about a week ago, so they took a silly amount of time to do that, but it wasn't good enough. Its not that bad, they just didn't do a few things I asked for. I don't really mind that much if they miss things out, as long as they don't take ages over it, but they do take ages.

I'll go through them now so you know exactly what they are:

The first and most important one is the sensor holder, it does work, the tension of it being held down holds it in place fairly well. But you can still move it with your finger if you push hard enough. Its one of those things where, yes, it would be "ok" how it is, but its not how its meant to be. You're supposed to press it into the shell so it disengages from the teeth, move it, and then the teeth help to locate it and lock it into position as it springs back down. At the moment you can see in the picture, that it'll move in the gap between the teeth. It doesn't rattle or anything like that, but over time it may move slightly, which I think is not acceptable. They need to just make it how I had it in the original model I sent to them, it worked fine.

So what happened? They made the teeth shorter, which is fairly normal, because then you can cut into the mold to gradually bring them up, until they're perfect. So basically they just didn't finish it, and probably thought it would be ok. But they don't ask me this before they make these decisions.

You can see the difference between the sample and the 3D model in the picture below. The reason the sample looks kind of broken is because I had to cut away plastic so I could get a good side view.

2, Theres a little clip at the rear which holds down the top cover, and its not really tight enough. Again it doesn't rattle, and this is not really that important, if they don't do it again I'll probably leave it. But it just slides back and forth too easily (mostly when the cover is off, so not so bad, but its not good either). Its the same thing as the sensor holder, where the clip is made loose to begin with, and is gradually made tighter, but they haven't made it tighter.

3, I wanted them to reduce the size of the scroll wheel holder's hole, just to make the wheel a bit quieter. Its ok how it is, but it'll just be better if its a bit smaller. Same thing again, just tightening things up.

4, They haven't finished the side button blanks, half of them are correct, the other half are not finished. They have these little ribs on them which go against the shell and stop them from pushing outwards. They are missing on B3/B4/A3/A4.

Strangely, they did improve them in some areas (on the rear, which you can't see). So they spend time doing things I didn't even ask for, but don't do the things I did ask for...


All I know is, I don't want to make the mice until I'm happy with the tooling. I don't think anyone wants me to make them how they are now. If I knew how to make them work faster, I'd do whatever it took. But there doesn't seem to be any way. I talk to the factory pretty much every day, so they know I'm here and waiting.

The only thing I don't do so much of, but this time around I will (because there's less to do), is get into the technical details of the tooling. I don't ask for detailed reports as they're doing it. I usually wait to get the sample and then review it. Its not like they don't have the list of things I wanted right there. Btw this is not as easy as it sounds, they don't speak english, I have to ask questions or write a question sheet which has to be translated, theres not much room for back and forth discussion, and just a few slip ups and there can be huge misunderstandings, which can spend all night clearing up, so its hard to find a balance between asking too much and confusing things, and not asking enough.


Second thing is, the MCUs.
I ordered some, pre-programmed from Microchip Direct (the manufacturers of the MCU). But they took ages with it, AND it was really expensive (they send the chips from Thailand also, and charge taxes). Also they don't make it easy to get a business account either, and anyway its still expensive.

Then the factory sent me PCBs with the shell samples, so I was thinking, "At least I can try the PCBs", but no, they sent blank PCBs... lol. Like I have any use for them.

So now I have found a new supplier for the MCUs, who can pre-program them. Its cheaper because they buy them in huge quantities, and the delivery is easy because they're in Shenzhen near the factory.

Then the factory had some problem with a chip on the sensor PCB, telling me, the sensor needs 1.9V. But I knew they had used the wrong voltage converter chip. But the engineer misunderstood me, and thought I was saying it doesn't need 1.9V, and kept saying "talk to Pixart, they will tell you", and I'm just trying to explain that he needs to use the correct chip. But he doesn't want to discuss it. It was so damn infuriating. I don't even know how they get to this point, its just weird. But eventually I did manage to get through to him, and turns out they couldn't get the chip that I wanted to use (in the past, they used ones I had supplied, but ran out and just used some random chip, like I say, I don't know what they are thinking). So now they've found a chip that works and I've checked the datasheet and it is a good replacement. They already made this change, I just thought, it shines a light on the kind of weird things I have to deal with.

Its really strange. 90% of the time, they're genuinely clever. Then they do weird things. I don't get it at all. I can only think, they are under pressure from their bosses and sometimes just have to skim over things.


Maybe people are worried that I've been spending loads of money, and its all going to run out, well, just to reassure you, I haven't. I spent a bit on the mouse feet tooling ($300), and the samples of the MCUs, but that's about it. I haven't spent any more on tooling than I did originally. So the project isn't in any financial dangers.


Overall, the waiting is the most disappointing thing about the whole project. There doesn't seem to be much I can do about it.

Its not really the same as the Aurora, that was a lot worse. That mouse had genuine problems, and the factory were just plain nasty. They basically messed up the firmware and refused to fix it*. It was just pathetic really. Same kind of problem though, I had no leverage with them. But they had no real confidence in me, or morals, so with that factory, not having leverage was way more dangerous than I realised at first.

(*they did in the end, but only because I didn't stop pestering them about it. Also it wasn't perfect, I wanted them to use a flashable MCU because if there were any problems, it could be fixed, but for obvious reasons they didn't want to (would mean more working on it, to fit the MCU and firmware work in future)).

This factory is just slow, but they do at least make progress, they are getting there. At least there's that. Because it could be a lot worse.

This isn't an emo post, I'm just explaining what has happened. Of course I'm not happy about it, but it'd be weird if I was. I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm just reporting what happens.

I have actually had a couple of mouse companies tell me they've been through the same thing, especially when they were new. They share the same feeling of disbelief of how bad things can be. Its not just me this happens to, its just that usually I have to do my projects in public, so you get to see everything that happens. Most other mouse companies wait and wait until they're basically finished, only then do you know they were even working on something. So you never know how smoothly it went. It is also of course because I had to choose such a difficult mouse to design and tool, probably if I kept it just a normal lightweight mouse, it'd be done quite a while ago, but probably also well on its way to being copied if it was a success, too. But that's just the decision I made, even now I can't truly say I know if it was a good decision or not, but its too late to change it anyway.

I realise this is a long, rambling post, and I didn't give any ETA. But there is no way to be sure about the ETA, someone said I should be 500% sure, or not give one. But I will never be 500% sure, yet people still want an ETA. I wish the factory could give accurate ETAs, but, they don't.

Since the tooling changes are small, and they've got programmed MCUs, and they've solved that problem they had with the voltage chip, they're going to send me a new PCB, and if its all good, I'll try and get them to submit it for the FCC/CE testing, since the shell isn't going to be visually any different, it should be ok. So next week I will find out how quickly that can be done, and I'll report back.
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post #2209 of 2788 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 07:03 AM
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i feel your pain

1) complicated mouse design
2) language barrier
3) factory may not as competent or up to the mark

it can be hell of frustrating.

the only thing i can think of, in this case, is the choice of factory you are dealing, did you do any background check on them, have they made any major brand or prominent gaming mice before, which would give some insight into their competence or experience, did you know before hand they cant speak English properly? were there other alternatives? and how did you make the choice, maybe pay slightly more for a more reliable and competent factory? Having to discuss complicated issues, when the two sides are not even competent in one language, is close to impossible. So you are making it work somehow, is a miracle, as there is so much chance of misunderstanding, and things getting "lost in translation". Even if everything else was the same, if they had competent English, I am sure you could have a 1v1 talk and things would improve 10 times faster.

This is the only talking point, I can think of, but now that you are stuck with them, I know it must be super frustrating. I would request the community to give him as much time as he needs, its better he produces a mouse which is flawless quality. Then get under pressure from the community to race it through the system, and then when people get it, another Pandora's box opens, of things falling apart or not working as intended. we already have a lot of choice in the market for other mice. So let him take his time, its only his third mouse, and compared to most other mice, it is not straightforward to make, lot of moving parts and stuff. don't put pressure on him to rush it. Hopefully this experience will be a huge benefit if he makes another mouse, and i am sure based on learnings on this one, the next project will be much better managed and better decisions will be made. my 2 cents. All I would ask BST is more honesty and straightforward reporting and do not commit to timelines even if you have the slightest of doubt, because then people start expecting and when expectations are not met. They start to worry, what's going on. Also even though you may be under pressure to deliver, you will make things even worse, if you try to rush the mouse. Then you would have a delayed mouse and a bad mouse. Where as now you can still have a delayed mouse but a good mouse (so this outcome is better for both the buyers and you). Once you are 100 percent satisfied, only then proceed with production. Community will be thankful in hindsight

Last edited by rain85; 08-04-2019 at 07:17 AM.
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post #2210 of 2788 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 07:59 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by bst View Post
Its the same old story, just taking ages. As usual.
Thank you for letting us know. Personally i can understand you wanting it to be perfect, as its a very ambitious project. If some things are done wrong, it could ruin the reputation of the mouse quickly. Especially with so many things that can go wrong with this design. Other companies made mistakes on mice that were way more simplistic. So in my opinion. Make sure everything is correct and to your liking, even if takes another year (it would suck, but better than a bad end product).
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