It has been several months since I have posted, though not because we are not working towards a solution to get TopScore up and running in the most amazing manner. We have completed two separate schematics for the circuit boards - which run with the new E-paper - testing them both - and now we have completed the soldering of all the components.......
This week and next our engineer will be matching up the programming with the new circuit boards and determining which ones give us the best performance.
The journey has taken so much longer than anticipated - and for that I am very, very sorry.
I look forward to a positive post some time in the next two weeks.
Thank you. PK
Met with my engineer on Monday - he will finalize programming in 2 weeks, which then means he has to create a new schematic for the circuit boards, which will not take long. From that we are hoping for great results leading to putting a prototype on court for testing...
Hang in there tennis-world, TopScore is coming.
It has been a few months between updates, so I apologize. We are working on 2-3 different programs involving a stronger chip to drive the e-paper. We have samples of the new chip coming from overseas which will allow us to finish up the testing. My engineer is very optimistic about this direction - and I will update once again once we have testing under our belts....it will probably be a few weeks. Fingers crossed. PK
The issue has still not been resolved and we are still reviewing all of our options every week. Very sorry for this news - as it is very disheartening on our end. Please hang tight - this will come together. PK
We received some good news in the form of video from our engineers.
The "ghosting" issue looks to have been solved - which has been 99% of the hang up.
See pics below and forgive the crudeness of the photos as they are screenshots taken off a video.
Anyway, I like what I see and we are going to move very quickly now.
Instead of doing my best to explain the hold up with TopScore, I thought it best to SHOW anyone who is interested in what the actual hold up is...... As you can see, we are having issues with "ghosting", which is basically what the picture above entails. We should have a crisp blank background to the numbers - not "ghosts" of previous numbers....This is basically the main hold up. Seems simple, right?? We are working with our main chip manufacturer, which is the chip that "drives" TopScore, but their "support" has not been as comprehensive as we would like - and not delivering the results that we have been looking for as of yet. We are communicating weekly with them while also troubleshooting on our end.
This is a software issue that most certainly will be remedied - but everything seems to be moving at a snails pace.
Thank you for your continued patience,
Happy New Year everyone,
To say that 2022 was a frustrating year for Topspin Sports would be the understatement of the century. The work that has been going on behind the scenes of TopScore is hard for most to imagine - so I completely understand everyone's exasperation over the delay. We have had setbacks just about every step of the construction process - especially the e-paper side - but please know that not a single week has not gone by that our engineers have not been communicated with. Where is stands now is that we are having a challenge with what is called a Waveform - this is a programming element that insures the number switching is clean, with no trace (ghosting) of the previous number. Currently I am not happy with where it is at and until it is 100%, we will not launch......But I have been assured, as well as witnessed the process, that we are close....
We have many of orders in the "Q" - and I intend to fulfill them all as quickly as I can, once the waveform issue is complete - so please, please - continued patience....I know the school tennis season is approaching...this is not lost on me.
Happy New Year All, be safe - and know that my ONLY resolution is to get TopScore on EVERY court ASAP!!!!
We are sourcing assistance from the engineers at Solomon Systec, the manufacturers of the chip that drives TopScore. They are based in China so the communication can sometimes be challenging, yet we are making progress. It seems like the simplest of things are the hardest. The primary chip is what keeps the board functioning at high level, despite weather and other external conditions. This is what we are perfecting as weather across the globe can vary greatly and the boards performance must remain constant. Again and again, my apologies for this lengthy delay.
Apologies for the delayed update. We have had a couple of annoying setbacks which are not technology related and easily remedied. However, it will take some time to make the adjustments. Not to bore anyone, but something as trivial as the outer skin of TopScore did not line up perfectly with the number windows, thereby cutting off the top of the numbers. Again, a fixable issue, but time consuming and frustrating all in one.
Additionally, we have to add adhesive to the skin, insuring no separation between the outer skin and the Electronic Panel Display. This was discovered during on court testing last week.
I am starting question whether we will be ready to ship by Dec. 31st. It is becoming doubtful, as workers and suppliers take time off this time of year. I remain hopeful & as always, I appreciate everyone's patience. Best to you all. PK
Solved the issue of the polycarbonate panels that were too thick - which simply took time and money, but we got ''er done....The parts that complete this unforeseen problem will be picked up this Friday......Now, where we are right now is that our engineer is still working out some issues that are caused by the lack of quality soldering behind the main chips on our printed circuit boards - which is the driver of TopScore. We have ordered 10 more sets of PCBs, which will be x-rayed for quality. If they pass this inspection, we have every expectation that the board functionality should be complete, which would then allow us to test in outdoor/heat/sunlight conditions.
Again, the good news is that there are no supply issues, but the peripheral delays have been horrible, which I am out of apologies for. It is absolutely killing me. We are working as fast as we can, hoping to get you all boards for the holidays. Stay tuned.
Sorry for the delay in my updates - We ran into an unexpected non-software-technology problem that we had to address. Turns out the polycarbonate panels were too thick for the TopScore steel enclosures (.118" vs .177").!! It is not something that you can really tell with the naked eye, and our drawings were very clear.....The company providing the panels just blew it, plain and simple. Good news is that we have figured out a solution - but just like everything, we added time and expense to the process.....But really, at this point I don't CARE what the costs are, I just want to get everyone their TOPSCORE!! So the new timeline is 3 weeks from today (I just send the P.O.) until the parts arrive which allow us to fit the panels to the enclosures....and by that time the programming should be finished and all that is left is to assemble the boards. If you are waiting for new panels, I suggest you start to make arrangements to getting me your full boards, because I will have to retro-fit your enclosures with our new parts so that they fit the new panels.....
Patience is a virtue. I keep telling myself that. Hang tight friends......
I will be picking up 65 sets of TopScore V2 panels this Friday, varieties of all three colors. These will be the first TopScore V2 panels produced - so very exciting....Only reason we are not producing more is to make sure they look perfect. I will be using these to take promotional photos to share with all....so watch on Facebook, Instagram and Linked In the week of August 1 for images. Again, these boards will not yet be functional as our engineer has not finalized the programming, but it should give everyone the confidence that we are dangerously close now. Many of you have called/emailed about the availability/progress and I truly appreciate everyone's patience and anticipation. TopScore V2 is gonna ROCK!!
We have hired a new engineer - and the programming is back underway. The unfortunately thing is that we are looking at 6-weeks (they said 8 - but I asked for faster...they are trying...).
At this point I am exhausted from how I am letting everyone down, but as my mom and many smart people say - "This Too Shall Pass"....I have to believe it.........We will be back with the tennis industry's best scoreboard - and once in stock I will do my absolute best to provide the best service in the industry.
Thanks again, and again, and again for your patience and understanding. PK
I had a meeting on Friday with a new E-paper programmer who is going to give me a timeframe at the end of this week for the completion of our program. This is beyond frustrating for me as I know so many of our current and future customers have been waiting a long, long time for TopScore to be completed. Please check back on this website next weekend for a timetable update.
Our lead engineer/programmer is out on emergency family leave. We will finalize programming as soon as he returns. Wishing him the best. In the meantime, we will insure all other elements of TopScore are squared away and ready for shipping as soon as he returns.
I have inspected the the finished TopScore panels, they look great and are ready to go & be tested. However, the TopScore engineer has not finished the final programming due to unforeseen complications, however he assures me this will get rectified shortly. So, this said, we are in a brief holding pattern. And I realize this seems like one thing after another (well, at least it does to ME) - but the important obstacles are behind us (supply chain and vendors in post-covid world). Please everyone, hang in there.
Full transparancy - a small set back - but these things happen.....Just received this email a couple of days ago from one of our incredible partners here in So Cal.
"I have some bad news. Not catastrophic, but will delay us for a few days. As we started to put things together, I realized that the cutout in the gasket does not fit the new EPD displays. I think our artist used the shape from the old, earlier design, which had a radius corner on the top, and was slightly smaller in height as well. The PED simply does not fit. I believe we can recover by re-cutting the gaskets slightly larger to fit these displays.
The issue is complex and confusing enough that I cannot handle this one remotely by phone or email. It is going to have to wait until I am back in the office on Monday, and I'll need to first focus on figuring out what the rework needs to be so the PED numbers align to the overlay. Then we'll have to recut the gaskets. I will get back to you on Monday afternoon with an update.
I apologize for the delay, and will do everything necessary to make up the lost time. I am just so sorry.
So - we are delayed another week or so....I wish all of you knew how complex a product TopScore is.......again, can't apologize enough to those of you waiting for your boards/replacement panels.....Going as quickly as we can.
After my EPDs were held up in customs for a week, they were finally released - and were delivered to my attention Wed, 4/6. Today I drove them up the fwy to our vendor for the final assembly of the panels. This process is very complicated and will take a few weeks.....While they are being assembled, we will be testing our new program on our prototypes......Once the construction of the new panels are finished & the program proves to work successfully.... we begin the final assembly and get ready to ship.
As we continue to get closer to the finish line, let me share with you the latest in what is going on.
From our partners that put together all the intricate parts of TopScore:
"It seems like every step we take on the relaunch, it takes longer than anticipated, mostly due to the sheer number of different parts that have to move in parallel. We have completed all of the prepress film work and put the orders for printing the different overlays and the circuits into the press schedule. And due to the existing heavy workload and work ahead of it already in the queue, we are anticipating the overlays and circuits to be printed at the end of March. Once printed, there is still a considerable amount of work left to put them all together - Please get me all the EPD's and polycarb panels the first week of April"
So, for our customers that were looking to have boards in April, it will be tight - not impossible, but tight.
I guess I should be grateful that the devastated supply chain in this country and abroad has not stopped things altogether......We are delayed some, but we ARE moving forward.
Thanks as always for your patience and support.
Best in Tennis,
On Thursday we submitted payment for the assembly of the EPDs (Electronic Paper Displays) to the Polycarb panels/outer skins/membrane switches. We are waiting on the EPD's to deliver stateside from Germany (air, not sea, thank god)....and once they land we can proceed with the assembly. I have been told the EPDs will be here any day now.......However, the membrane switch supply may be in question, but we wont know that for a few days......I am optimistic.
Once the assembly begins, it will take about 20-25 business days.
Watch this space over the next week. Again, for those of you have been waiting...patiently....my sincerest gratitude. I know TopScore V2 will be worth it.
Best in Tennis,
I know many of you are waiting for TopScore V2 - believe me, so are we!! There have been many details which we have been dealing with over the last few weeks - most of them supply issue details - but we HAVE put in the final order for assembly, which is basically the last step in the production process....this process is about 25 business days....
Now, we are hoping for a quicker turnaround - but some things are just beyond our control......
For those of you who want your panels logo'd, know that that will add another week to the process, so my recommendation is that we get you your boards FIRST - and then I can send you your logos at a later date - the application is fairly easy.
Again, I know many of you have your seasons starting - and need boards post haste....but please understand that EVERY step of the TopScore process has been changed due to the pandemic - businesses which assembled TopScore have closed & parts that are key to the TopScore function have been delayed......That said, we are on the 5-yard line about to punch it in for the score.....Can't WAIT to get you all your boards!
Best in Tennis, Paul Kincaid - 949-510-4819
We have received the prototype of our re-engineered EPD (Electronic Paper Display), which will improve the reliability of TopScore in all unique weather conditions as well as increase the life of the product. The EDP looks amazing and is very robust, giving us absolute confidence that when put to the test, TopScore will be better than ever, performing great in all weather conditions. The balance of the remaining prototype EDP's will be coming in the next few weeks - and once we have received them, they will be tested as stand alone parts. We have ordered and arer waiting for the polycarbonate panels (the outside of the boards), which have been in short supply due to Covid - and once received we will begin the process of silk screening & laminating....followed by the installation of membrane switches (which makes the buttons work)...Although TopScore is Made in the USA, the timing of finished prototypes will be determined by the amount of time it takes to receive some parts which come from overseas.
We are moving in the right direction - and patience is a virtue that we all must possess!!
Stay safe & check back here in a couple of weeks for more updates.
Best in Tennis - Paul Kincaid
Our 3 newly designed EPDs that will be tested for functionality in two weeks. If the EPDs pass the test (which I am sure they will), I will order a large qty for our first V2 production. Then we wait for our polycarbonate panels to arrive from overseas (Oct. 1st) - and by then we should have our newly programmed Printed Circuit Boards (which act as the "brain" of TopScore) ready. We then work with our local partner, Steven Label, to put "all the pieces together" - EPD, polycarb panel, membrane switches, PCB's, skins/silkscreen, etc. This will give us the 3 working models to put on a few courts. If all works as planned, we will be able to give our current/new customers more specific timelines as to when they will receive replacement panels and/or new boards .
We are getting there!!! Stay tuned! Thanks for your patience. Best in Tennis, PK
Very excited to share with the Tennis Community that we have finalized the re-engineering of TopScore - making sure it performs at the highest level in all tennis playing weather conditions......We are looking to have the new product in market and on courts before Labor Day. There will be a short "beta test" to make sure any and all kinks have been worked out, but we are fully confident that TopScore will perform incredibly well - and ready to grace courts all over the world. Stay tuned!!
We are testing the new e-paper panels THIS WEEK. If all goes well, I will place a large order from our supplier sometime around the week of 10/17 - and those panels should arrive by Thanksgiving. During this 4-week stage we will be using our new software program to produce the new circuit boards - which drive TopScore. They should be ready at about the same time as the panels arrive. It will be at this stage that we will take the new panels to our local business partner who will put the panels, the e-paper, the membrane switches, the "skins" together - in a very intricate lamination process. One done we will have all the pieces to put together our first "new" boards........The goal is to be able to have some boards to ship out by Dec. 31. Stay tuned and thank you for your patience.
Very excited to announce that our tests were 100% successful and we have placed an order for many EPD (Electronic Paper Displays) so we can begin production as soon as they arrive stateside.
Production involves the process of laminating the EPDs to the polycarb panels, as well as the assembly of the membrane switches (arrows, buttons) and the silk screening of the "skins"......
We then will assemble the boards "inners" with our newly programmed circuit boards and we have BLAST OFF! I will be in touch with all current customers and those of you who are in the Q over the next few weeks to discuss post sizes, desired colors and confirmed quantities. We are very excited to bring the Worlds First and Only Digital, 2-sided tennis scoreboard BACK to the courts!
Order placed today for new EPD panels, very exciting! And these panels are an engineering marvel!
The ETA is probably 4-6 weeks, which puts us a little behind the January production expectation - because once we receive the EPD's, we still have to align them/laminate them with the polycarbonate panels, membrane switches and outer skins. I am not sure on the timetable of this process, but it is done just 40 miles up the freeway from me - so no waiting on containers on the water!!
For all of you that have been watching and waiting, the journey is almost over! The World's First (and only) Digital, 2-sided, Net-Post Mounted Tennis Scoreboard is coming!!! Can't wait to watch the first tennis match with TopScore V2 on court! WATCH THIS SPACE!
Best in Tennis,
Sorry for the delay in the update, but a lot has beens going on....I have leased an office and extra space for the inventorying, assembly and shipping of TopScore V2 - as my previous space was a victim of Covid and had shut down - so very grateful to find a great space to inventory, build and efficiently ship TopScore to our customers.
The polycarbonate panels have arrived - which is great. And the balance of the EPDs (the heart/technology of TopScore V2) will arrive before the end of the month.
Next week I will be meeting with our exciting (domestic!) new vendor partner, Steven's Label, who will be putting all of these materials (EPDs, polycarb panels, membrane switches, graphics skins) of TopScore together - (kind of like putting the tennis version of Humpty Dumpty together, lol) - and in all transparency, I do not know how long the process of "construction" will take until we have the meeting. Hoping just a few weeks.
Additionally, last week also met with our PCB (Printed Circuit Board) partner - EP Boards, and they will be creating a dozen or so of our newly programmed circuit boards for us to test on the first few boards. This had been delayed because so many of our components were out on a container somewhere on the ocean, ugh....
Now, all of this said - I know there are many of you high school and colleges eagerly waiting for TopScore as your tennis season will be upon us in Feb. I PROMISE you this is on my mind as I discuss timetables with my vendors and will do everything in my power to get boards to you asap.
Please keep in touch with me on your needs, your schedules, etc....and let's work together to get TopScore v2 on your courts as soon as possible.
Best in Tennis - PK