As many of you know, the IoTaWatt grew out of an open source hobby project. I built it because nothing was available to monitor a number of circuits and manage the data in a way that I could control. As interest grew in the forum posts of the time, I was encouraged to make the hardware available and as it happened there were local resources available to make that happen. Fast forward five years and many thousands of units have shipped worldwide to more than 80 countries with various power systems.
Nevertheless, the effort has never been geared to large scale commercialization and I’ve never advertised or sold through the major Emarketing powerhouses. The unit was and still is geared toward a more esoteric technical user.
As a one-man effort, basically out of my basement, the business has become less of a technological challenge and more of a business, manufacturing and logistics job. I spend all of my time now dealing with sales, shipping, support, manufacturing and supply chain issues. Basically its no longer a hobby but rather a tedious job.
My initial decision to manufacture the unit in the USA puts IoTaWatt at a disadvantage relative to the well financed alternatives manufactured in Asia, no doubt with logistics in place to minimize the 25% China import tariffs put in place several years ago. Bottom line is that its no longer worth the effort.
With recent cost increases in all aspects of production and operations, I’ve decided to discontinue the effort. I plan to continue to offer add-on CTs, keep up with support on the forum, provide warranty service and generally support the installed community as needed. It’s not a big job as the things just keep on tickin’ like a Timex watch.
For those who have built their own or plan to do so in the future, the design and firmware are readily available on Github and I’m available for questions. I plan to shift gears, go back to hobby mode and finish the ESP32 unit for my own use. I’ll publish the firmware and schematics when I think it’s close to useful.
In closing I’d like to thank all the wonderful folks that I have worked with to both develop and deploy the IoTaWatt and hope to hear from you on the forum should you need any help with your unit.
UPDATE June 10, 2023:
Thanks to all who have offered kind words of support. I should have known that quitting would not be easy. There are subsequent developments.
Shortly after posting this, I began to receive inquiries from some of my frequent customers wanting to get a final supply. Others have expressed a desire to pick up the ball and become dealers. This was not possible when I was selling direct to the public. Worldwide it was pretty easy to get an IoTaWatt and hard for anyone to make another business doing the same. Now that I am out of the retail picture, others are asking about reselling.
There is already an active reseller in Australia, SmartGuys Australia. Unfortunately they sold out rather quickly once orders started coming in from around the world. They will be restocked in September - more on that later.
There has been reseller interest in the EU, we’ll see how that pans out. It would go a long way to reduce the VAT and customs hassles involved in shipping from the US, not to mention the expense. There are also some pretty large industrial users that have hundreds of IoTaWatt and want more, as well as a few who make a business of installing energy monitoring commercially and use IoTaWatt as one of their tools.
Long story short, there is another build in progress. The units are destined to prepaid quantity buys and should result in availability starting in September. If it all pans out, there will be dealers in the major markets so shipping time and cost will be less of an issue.
I don’t mind commissioning a build or two a year as it’s pretty much a matter of a few days work to order and coordinate. I’m taking prepaid orders for base units only with a minimum of 25 units. Be prepared for a price increase as my costs have gone up considerably and there will be a middleman now.