Apr 18, 2014

Heartbleed and Estimates

Since we sent out our last update, several hundred new customers received their newly reworked Lockitrons. With those units now in the field, we have learned that while our mechanical rework is robust, our software patch has made it more likely that Lockitron will get stuck while attempting to lock or unlock.

We have identified the root cause of the problem and a fix is being tested now. We are holding off on shipping additional units until we can confirm this does not cause any unintended behavior for current owners and is ready to be sent to all units. We anticipate this will take no longer than a week.

The good news is that despite this firmware issue we have continued to build and stock units (we now have over 1,000 new units ready to head out for the March estimate).  In our last update we promised to update the March shipping estimates with more concrete times for when your unit will ship. Once we have a solution in place for this behavior we will update the March shipping estimates and resume shipping immediately.

It is absolutely critical Lockitron operates reliably when locking and unlocking. Over the past few months we have introduced many improvements to ensure this is the case, from remote operation over web, Bluetooth Low Energy for iOS, and now expanding Bluetooth support for Android – with the resolution of this issue, we can ensure your Lockitron experience is great from the first time you take it out of the box.

We also would like to thank all of our backers who have received Lockitron’s and have sent emails and videos, which have helped immensely in identifying the issue before we shipped our next large batch of units.

What causes Lockitron to Jam?

The most common reason that Lockitron jams is poor alignment of the C-Plate. Lockitron should turn easily by hand or key - if this isn’t the case for your Lockitron, take a look at our support video regarding alignment problems and how to fix them.

The unexpected jam that we are facing has to do with Lockitron’s custom motor. Lockitron uses a specialized high-end motor that you won’t find in any other electronic door lock. It produces a significant amount of torque allowing it to accommodate slightly misaligned doors, light weather stripping, and mildly sticky locks. 

This powerful motor also has the downside of being able to jam Lockitron into a locked or unlocked state if not correctly controlled. Our fix for this jam is to ensure that Lockitron always has enough power to close even sticky doors without overdoing it for doors the close easily. We’re solving this problem by leveraging onboard sensors to understand how much power Lockitron’s motor is outputting relative to the age and state of the batteries as well as how far individual locks need to turn to fully lock and unlock.

Heartbleed Vulnerability

Many of you have expressed concerns over the recent Heartbleed bug found in OpenSSL and how it may effect Lockitron users. The Lockitron website and mobile applications were not vulnerable to Heartbleed as of it’s public disclosure on 11am Monday, April 7th.

Our content delivery network partner, CloudFlare, patched against the bug prior to it’s disclosure. To further mitigate any potential risk, we, along with many other sites, rolled over our SSL certificates this past week.

For further information, please visit our security page at https://lockitron.com/security or contact us directly at security@lockitron.com.

Apr 3, 2014

New FAQ Section and Mailing List

We have resumed full-scale production after reworking a mechanical issue that wascausing higher than expected failure rates. The new testing procedures and corresponding fix helps ensure your Lockitron works out of the box and with three layers of mechanical, electronic, and software protection it is even more robust in stressful jamming scenarios. 

If you were part of a March shipping batch and did not elect to have an un-reworked Lockitron sent to you, you should have recently received your shipping notice. Because most of the assembly work was already performed on these units, backers in later shipments should not have their estimate affected.  

With our reworked units in stock we are wrapping up shipments through the March 25th batch - those of you with the “March 2014” ship estimate will see firm week estimates arrive shortly

Join our Beta & Developer Mailing List

We’re working towards an Android beta release with Bluetooth Low Energy and firmware updates to reduce power consumption and we could use your help.

We found that it’s been tricky to track all the folks who were interested in our previous betas, so we’re formalizing our developer list and the beta sign up with a new mailing list. If you’re interested, sign up and help us build a better Lockitron!

New Help Section

We’ve recently launched a new and improved help section which we’ll be continuing to add content to as we ship out more Lockitrons. This will give everyone the ability to fix any issues that may occur, and provide a better understanding about our most frequently asked questions.

Take a look at help.lockitron.com!

Mar 20, 2014

Feedback from Lockitrons in the Wild

We now have a few hundred Lockitrons in the wild and we’re getting lots of valuable feedback from customers. This helps us to identify features to build out in the future as well as gives us a better understanding of what issues backers face when installing Lockitron.

We are working on important bug fixes targeted at graceful jam handling and ensuring that the state reported over the web is always up to date after Lockitron is unlocked or locked over Bluetooth.

Shipping Progress

Since the last batch of units we shipped out, we are seeing a higher than anticipated failure rate of around 10% for one of Lockitron’s mechanical components. We have identified the problem and have developed a new test and solution to catch this in units before they are shipped.

Fixes are being integrated into our final production and quality control (QC) process for newly assembled units with the goal to be on track next week. Until then we’re holding back sending out units that are already assembled and packed. If you’re in the March 4-11th or 11-18th batches and would like receive your unit now without the additional review, let us know and we will queue it up for immediate shipment. Of course if there is any failure, we will replace your Lockitron.

If your dashboard reads “March” for your estimate, we will soon be transitioning you to a week interval reflecting when we are confident in delivering your Lockitron.

From the Factory

Our California-based electronics and assembly facilities are picking up steam. After assembly Lockitrons are boxed, shrink wrapped and placed into the flat rate mailers before heading to you.

Lockitrons awaiting the pending mechanical fix for backers with the March estimate.

Lockitrons sealed up and ready to go from our fulfillment house.

No C-Plate No Problem

Over the past year we’ve been testing Lockitron on a range of locks and found that while the main body and faceplate fit over most deadbolts (including high security ones), our C-Plate unfortunately is not compatible with a number of locksets.

We have since devised an alternative mounting method using 3M command strips that have an incredibly strong grip on your door, but are easily removable and don’t leave a trace when taken off. While aligning Lockitron without the C-Plate is a bit trickier, we’ve come up with a support video to help out - take a look!

Mar 6, 2014

New Support Videos and Queueing Shipments

At Lockitron HQ we’re focusing our development efforts on a new firmware build, fixes to Bluetooth Low Energy and app updates. On the Lockitron web app we recently reworked our queueing system to ensure that if we encounter any problems charging your card we’ll hold your spot in line until your payment information is updated.

Everyone with February 25th-March 4th for their shipping estimate in the dashboardshould have received an email about their queued up Lockitron - if not, reach out and we would be happy to help. We’re a couple days behind on our production schedule, however we expect to catch up with the current batch of units next week.

A Helping Hand

We’ve started work on a new set of support videos that will help you troubleshoot when something goes wrong with Lockitron. We’re also working on videos that should help with installing Lockitron on non-standard styles of deadbolt. Take a look at our videos foraligning Lockitron and troubleshooting WiFi connectivity.

A Thicket of Circuit Board Assemblies

Several thousand circuit boards are between production and assembly phases for upcoming units. Each circuit board has a ribbon cable - similar to what you would find connected to an old-fashioned floppy drive - leading to the switches that indicate whether or not Lockitron is locked or unlocked. Take a look at the forest of ribbon cables below!

PCBAs (printed circuit board assemblies) ready to be installed into Lockitrons.

Feb 20, 2014

Custom Rubber Insert and Mobile Updates

Some backers should see tracking numbers hitting their inbox today as we shipped out another batch of units - we’re also in the process of updating shipping estimates in your dashboard. For the earliest orders that are assembled or in the midst of assembly, our shipping deadlines reflect how confident we are in timing. For orders further out, where we are waiting on components, we have broader estimates. As we work our way through shipments we will update with more specific timelines in step with production.

While we’ve made a lot of progress over the last couple of months in our firmware and mobile apps, your Lockitron might need some love out of the box. If you’re having trouble with your new Lockitron, drop us a line, send us a video and let us know how we can help!

Tailor Your Lockitron’s Fit with Open 3D Design Files

Lockitron is compatible with most modern deadbolts, like the kind you can purchase at a Home Depot or Lowe’s today. However some older or more exotic deadbolts can be tricky for us to test and may present issues. The good news, however, is that if Lockitron fits over your lock there is a solution to mount it to your door.

By popular request we’re open sourcing the rubber insert for Lockitron. This is the part of Lockitron that fits snuggly around your deadbolt’s knob. In some cases the fit is too snug (high security deadbolts) or not snug enough (small European style thumb turns). We picked the size and rubber composition that we found to be the most compatible, however, with the Lockitron insert file you’ll now be able to 3D print your own, custom variant using a Makerbot or Form 1.

Grab the file from the Lockitron’s Github and start printing!

What’s up with the Lockitron Apps

We’re currently fixing a few bugs in our upcoming Android release to solve issues with BlinkUp, which is used to enroll Lockitron onto your WiFi network (this is what Blinking Up up eight Lockitrons simultaneously looks like!). Along with that, we’ve solved issues where the Android app’s state would get out sync - these fixes ensure that any action to lock or unlock (by hand or through the app) are mirrored in the app. Our imminent release will also (finally) lay the groundwork for push notifications.

We’re also priming the 2.2.1 release of our iPhone app that features a number of bug fixes and generally makes connecting to Bluetooth faster and more consistent.

On the Lockitron side we’ve updated firmware twice over the past two weeks making for a more stable, consistent Lockitron experience. We’re seeing fewer Lockitrons looping and draining precious batteries, and our recent additions targeted at increasing compatibility for different styles of locks are going well.

Feb 6, 2014

App Updates and Testing our Geartrain

Thanks to everyone who helped beta test on our first Bluetooth iOS release, we made terrific progress on a number of fronts. We were able to push the latest iOS app with Bluetooth functionality to the App Store today. We sent out firmware updates which address the jamming issues. We made backend updates which provide new notification activity. Here’s what you can look for:

  • Updated iOS app to 2.20 which includes a new support section, initial Bluetooth Low Energy support and additional bug fixes
  • Pushing activities when an operation is carried out by hand at the door - i.e. if someone unlocks the door by hand or key, you will now see this in your activities
  • Better jam detection and recovery behavior so that Lockitron knows if your door is ajar and won’t attempt to lock

We’re also testing new firmware that will help certain locks retract or extend their bolt completely for certain Kwikset locks - if this is an issue you have seen with your Lockitron, reach out and we will get you set up.


Pending Software Updates

We’re still seeing a few nasty loops in our firmware that are draining significant battery life as well as instances where commands are not being executed over the WiFi connection as expected. We’re working hard on resolving these along with fixing a number of Android bugs. Here’s how we’ll be making Lockitron better over the next several weeks:

  • Better battery life by eliminating power draining loops
  • Initial Bluetooth Low Energy support on Android
  • Sense support on iOS
  • Alerts for when Lockitron jams and how to solve it


What this means for Shipments

We apologize for not yet having new shipping estimates ready - while we hoped to have updated shipping timelines in dashboards a week ago, we wanted to ensure that the new firmware and app were ready for release before committing to dates. With the firmware update pushed and iOS Bluetooth update in the app store we will be shipping out more units (and updating estimates). Per our last update we have nearly 2,000 new unassembled circuit boards in stock which will go through the assembly process over the next few weeks.

To ensure that we can give everyone adequate help and support as we send out Lockitrons, we will stagger the units we currently have in stock to make sure we don’t overload our capacity.

What Makes a Lockitron Tick

Lockitron incorporates ABS, nylon and metal components - as we’ve talked extensively about in previous updates, catching bad parts before we ship Lockitron to your door is crucial. 

In order to verify the quality of materials and replicate failures that we’re seeing in the field, we set up a test rig that continuously locks and unlocks a collection of Lockitrons. This helps us ensure all parts of the unit are working well, but most importantly, measure wear on the geartrain and its internal components. We’ve seen some unit failures in the geartrain, and a rig like this helps us identify where to hone in and tighten up quality control procedures. 

With new quality control measures in place, we catch faulty units before they head out the door and make sure your Lockitron serves you well from day one. Below we’ve linked a quick snippet of the test rig in action.

A test fixture we’ve built that continuously sends lock and unlock commands

Stay tuned for our next update on February 20th. Keep an eye out for interim updates on our blog at http://blog.lockitron.com/ and at the Lockitron Community.

Have questions that haven’t been answered? Drop us a line and we will be happy to help out.

Jan 23, 2014

Backer Numbers and Production Updates

We’re putting the finishing touches on the Bluetooth Low Energy beta release. We had an incredible outpouring of interest in the iOS app beta - thank you everyone for your awesome support. As noted we only have a limited number of spots, but not to worry, we’ll need your help in the future!

Shipping Timeline Update

We will be updating shipping timelines in your dashboard next week - for the earlier units we are confident we can get out the door (i.e. the units we have in stock today), we will provide a range estimate. Based on the feedback from a number of backers, we will update your dashboard with your backer number to give you a sense of where your Lockitron is out of all the pre-order units we’re working to make and ship.

This past week we learned some disappointing news - the 10,000 circuit boards that our local assembly house committed to having ready by the end of this month (in four days to be exact), are delayed.

Out of the original 10k, we’re guaranteed 2,000 circuit boards by the end of this month, however, the remaining boards aren’t slated for arrival until the third week in February.

We’re doing everything in our power to speed up the remaining circuit boards, including finding additional suppliers to work with in parallel. While we’ve found that we have substantial capacity to quickly ramp up the mechanical components for Lockitron, we’re doubling down our efforts get electronics made quickly.

Lockitrons on the Shelves

With our impending Bluetooth Low Energy beta release we’re resuming shipments, and another few hundred Lockitrons were packed in our fulfillment house yesterday. Take a look at that stack of ‘trons!

A few hundred Lockitrons waiting for final packaging here in California

Jan 10, 2014

Opening Up Our Bluetooth Low Energy Beta

We’re incredibly excited to announce that our first Bluetooth Low Energy release is nearly ready for beta testing. We’re opening up the beta opportunity for all current iOS Lockitron users, however spots are limited. If you would like to test the beta app, reach out at hello@lockitron.com.

Our upcoming Android update will be the first to include notification capabilities. We’re working to include Bluetooth Low Energy in the subsequent Android release. With Bluetooth Low Energy nearly ready to go, we’re going to slowly resume shipments. Since our last update several hundred more units have been assembled and prepped.

Opening up Lockitron: Webhooks Enabled

For developers we’ve recently added webhooks to the Lockitron API. Webhooks allow Lockitron to post valuable information - such as when someone knocks at your door - to other home automation products and apps. If you’re working on an app that uses the Lockitron API, let us know!

Where to get help for your new Lockitron

With Lockitrons heading out the door we’ve learned a bit about what can go wrong and how to solve it:

  • Sticky door? Weather stripping requires you to pull your door closed? Consider adding a replacement Schlage deadbolt to your order. With the included tapered latch, Lockitron can pull your door closed.
  • Lockitron not fully locking or unlocking? This might indicate that the C-plate is out of alignment - see our installation FAQ section for more help.
  • Lockitron doesn’t turn or sounds odd? Drop us a line at support@lockitron.com - if you experience any mechanical or electronic failure, we would be happy to get you set up with a replacement as soon as possible.
Dec 27, 2013

Holiday Wishes and Units Lined Up

Happy Belated Boxing Day from everyone at the Lockitron team!

In our last update we noted that our goal was to hit 1,000 units before the years end. Thanks to the quality control steps we take here in California we caught a few bugs in some units before they left for final packaging. Between our current set of units being prepped for shipment and ones that have already gone out the door we should be at just over 500 units, with the remaining units from that target being built during the first weeks of January. 

Based on the components we have in stock, the current assembly times and adding remaining features (Bluetooth Low Energy), our rough estimate is that we are 6-12 weeks behind the dashboard schedule. Once we are confident we have spun up to full production capacity, we will update the estimates in the dashboard. We will send you an email with tracking information once your unit heads out the door.

Bluetooth Low Energy and Notifications

While ramping up the manufacturing side of Lockitron is a major hurdle, we are also focused on getting out the last core features - Bluetooth Low Energy and app notifications - into production as soon as possible. Our BLE development is currently proceeding in parallel on both iOS and Android platforms.

While we expect to have our iOS release available first, we’re excited to get the feature out the door for both platforms as soon as possible - we want to ensure that every customer has a great Lockitron experience out of the box and Bluetooth Low Energy is a major part of this.

Colors Closer to Production

In previous updates we noted how the production of different colored Lockitron faceplates were taking extra time. We will be supplying backers with Obsidian Black units until additional color faceplates were available at which point we will send an additional color free of charge.

We recently received new Bondi Blue and Studio White samples that are close to production ready. Color matching on production parts is tricky and involves various paint samples, material tests and process control. We’ve been through several iterations of paints and finishes, each one approaching the quality and color that we envision for Lockitron. Once we finalize the additional faceplate colors, they will be placed into full production alongside Obsidian Black.

Dec 12, 2013

Android Updates, Bluetooth and Production

The past couple of weeks we have pushed out a few more updates including changes to our Android app as well as firmware updates. We’re currently prepping the first release of Bluetooth Low Energy support for the Lockitron iOS app. Over Bluetooth Low Energy Lockitron responds instantaneously, paving the way for full Sense support early next year.

What’s the status on Lockitron shipments?

After shipping out the last batch of Lockitrons we found a few more steps that needed to be added to our quality control process. Any change to assembly is tested, documented and then scaled to ensure it is repeatable and consistent. 

We are slated to have another few hundred units ready the end of this week and the beginning of next. We’re shipping units as quickly as they’re assembled and we are working to ramp up to several thousand per week in late January. Our goal is to ship an additional 1,000 units before the end of the year.

What’s Coming On Mobile

We recently released version 2.0.3 of the Android app with an important new feature - we now push state changes from your Lockitron to your app in realtime when the app is open. Along with a few bug fixes, we’re currently working on the following for both our iOS and Android mobile apps:

  • Bluetooth Low Energy - our initial release of BLE for iOS will let you control Lockitron immediately, any time when you’re next to the door. Android support is incredibly important for us and we’ll call for beta testers when we have an initial release.
  • Push Notifications - low battery, manual lock and unlock actions and door knocks. Other notifications for individual user actions, i.e. when a virtual key is used for the first time, are on our roadmap.
  • Help and Support - we’re adding more information and tools directly into our mobile app to resolve any issues during the setup or use of Lockitron.

We appreciate any and all bug reports or feedback for our mobile apps - we review all crash reports and they’re incredibly helpful.

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What is Lockitron?
Lockitron replaces your keys with your phone.

With Lockitron, you can instantly grant family, friends and guests access to your home or business from anywhere in the world using your internet enabled smartphone. For $179 and no monthly fees you can order a Lockitron that fits over your current deadbolt lock and can be installed in seconds.

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