Podpoi are known to be extremely durable. During beta-testing, we tried repeatedly to destroy them and found it quite difficult. A roomful of beefy boys took about 45 minutes of repeated smashing before it finally stopped working. We were quite excited and wanted to release a durability video shortly after the product launch. But it was not to be.
Systemic issues arose that would have made the release of a durability video untimely. Although podpoi were designed to be extremely durable, a significant percentage have suffered various manufacturing defects that make them appear much less in the early batches.
The infamous “red-out”: Shortly after we released podpoi, we began getting reports of them flashing the “red-flash-fade-out” low battery indicator on minor impact, even after a full charge. Despite months of beta-testing, we did not find this issue that was to become the bane of our existence for well over a year. We called this the “red-out” issue.
Almost immediately after the problem arose, we started conducting several impact tests during our QC process. We built centrifuges and spinning contraptions to mimic the rotational forces that poi undergo. We smashed hundreds of them in every direction we could, but could not replicate this issue.
After weeks of anxiety and deconstructing every component of the capsule light unit in the podpoi, Sean finally discovered that the root of the problem lay in the battery design. All cylindrical Li-ion batteries at the time were designed similarly, and they are NOT designed to take the rotational forces and repeated impacts of poi spinning.
Many of the batteries held up just fine, but some were bound to fail. The welds were not consistent and only the best would last.
We worked with our battery supplier to improve their welding process, maximize the size of the weld, re-grind the tip 10 times more often than they ordinarily would. This helped, but it was still an issue.
After many months of research, we had a different type of cylindrical li-ion cell made, removing the need for a weld and hence removed the cause of the problem.
We replaced them all of free, but it has taken years for every capsule with a “red-out” prone battery to show its weakness, which has cause lingering reports of failure long after the issue was resolved.
Overdischarged batteries: Coming shortly on the heels of the “red-out” was an issue with the low voltage cut-off, which allowed some batteries to deeply over-discharge and lose the ability to hold a charge. Unfortunately the symptom was similar to the “red-out”, though the cause was different.
Loose wire: Shortly after we resolved the low voltage cut-off issue, we placed a large order of capsule lights. Unknown to us, our factory changed their source for the wires that connect the battery to the board. This caused a percentage of the battery connections to fatigue and fail after repeated impacts. Another issue almost impossible to catch before the product has been in use for awhile. We started getting reports of what seemed like a resurrection of the “red-out” issue. And it wasn’t until the faulty capsules were returned that we found the battery wires had broken off.
Systemic issues resolved: We are happy to report that all known/common issues with the capsule light have now been resolved and the latest batches have been going strong!