Art and Technology are Friends

Joule Thief Kit

I’ve created this Joule Thief design back in September 2011. Now sadly I found that there’s a knock-off of my design being sold by Eastern Voltage Research. Although their kit doesn’t have a light sensor (has a switch instead), the “look & feel” of the physical design is strikingly similar to mine.
While I did not invent the circuit, I did work hard to come up with a one piece design that integrates the battery holder. I also worked hard to make it look nice.

- I’d love to know what you think of this. Please leave comments. -

To be honest I feel cheated. Things of this nature is not good for the creative community. We all strive to create something great, and when you come up with something that people like or love, one should deserve the recognition. My contacting the company failed to produce a positive result. They neither deny or acknowledge the possibility of referencing my design. Even though there are few unexplainable identicality in our designs;

  • two holes at the end of the PCBs to accomodate the hook up of paper clip battery holder (The photos on their site is now photoshopped to hide these)
  • The two transistors on their PCB are named Q2 & Q3, mysteriously skipping Q1, which is the ambient light sensor amp transistor in my design replaced by a switch in theirs.

Hours after contacting them, photos on their website were retouched to hide the obvious clues (mentioned above), and the manual was revised. I can only see this as acknowledgement of them copying my design. (and an effort to avoid possible legal issues…)

This isn’t about money, but it’s about giving credit where it’s due…

- Purchase Night Joule Thief Kit -

10 Responses

  1. Funki

    Wow, that is SUPER LAME. I will never buy anything from their company.

    I built a JT from your color night kit – which was super easy and fun, and makes for a brilliant light show inside of an old glass fixture cover that I found at a ReStore. Thank you for providing this fun easy kit for beginners!

    I found this post while searching for tips on a way to attach an on-off toggle switch to the JT so I don’t have to pry the battery out every time to turn it off (since I have it suspended inside a delicate old glass thing). If you do a revised version of the kit, I would love to see a power switch included – like in the stolen version – but keeping the light sensor too I would hope. But no way I’m buying a kit from the design thieves! Bad karma.

    January 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm

  2. Dan

    Ha. Love it. Free advertising for Eastern Voltage Research! You ARE a dumbass. So you complain about Eastern Voltage Research and what you really are doing is providing a competitor with a free advertising plug. Nice!

    November 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm

  3. LemonTwist

    Wow, what a jerk runs Eastern Voltage Research. You kept your design open source to be free for the hobbyist community to build and learn from, and that company just rips you off.

    November 24, 2013 at 2:10 am

  4. bd4

    When doing any future designs, PROTECT YOURSELF! There are people with no conscience who will steal your work . A few years back I spoke to another engineer who openly acknowledged that if he saw someone else’s design that he could sell he would steal it with no hesitation. Another engineer mentioned someone bought a unit he designed, removed the parts from the PCB, made a “Xerox copy” of it with P.N.s, dates etc intact and began selling the copy. A few rules I try to follow:
    1. Document your work in a lab notebook with verifying signatures from close associates on each page showing your design , like you should do on the way to a patent. You have proof of origination date. Might help if you try to sue.
    2. Try to hide your components, Pot them.
    Do realize some potting can be desolved.
    3. Make a custom part.
    4. Remove IC part numbers. If using TTL DIP size parts, bend the pins to the opposite side and use the part upside down.
    5. Another engineer found out giant Hughes Electronic Company began to copy one of his designs that he was building at home on his kitchen table. He was successful in getting a restraint of trade against them because he showed his design provided income to his family.

    October 23, 2013 at 10:31 am

  5. ambady

    hello thank you for the share now i want to make one

    November 12, 2012 at 8:04 am

  6. Holland

    Hi ledart. Love your design and creativity.
    To your example i will go and assemble some kits for my little cousins.

    btw . Why are the shipping cost zo high outside US?

    September 9, 2012 at 5:02 am

    • Hello Holland,

      Thanks for your comment. I have checked pricing for many ways of international shipping, and the cheapest is the USPS (Unites States Postal Service). Still very expensive – I know, but this really is the cost. I suppose something small can be sent via air mail, but there’s no confirmation of any kind, and the mail can be lost easily.

      What I really love to have is distributors in Europe, Austria and other places so that shipping won’t be so expensive. Any one you know?


      September 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

  7. What is the law on this? Could you try small claims court? I think it is terrible that someone steals your design, profits from it and potentially deprives you of revenue.

    The WORST part to me is the SLEAZY way they handle it, no response and then slinking around and photoshopping their pics to hide the obvious evidence of theft.

    If you can, you SHOULD sue. As you say, it hurts everyone when this happens. I’ll avoid ever buying anything from them.

    June 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm

  8. What a shame that someone already has made knock-offs off your design!

    June 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm

  9. I thought so highly of the design, I bought some! So get yours while they last. I think I’ll order some more. Thanks.

    June 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm

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