How About Open Source?


Yesterday HK released a video about their new 433Mhz LRS modules.
And i shocked. Because it is unauthorized copy of my OpenLRS !

OpenLRS is an Opensource RC and i'm the developer of that system.

Stop the video on 1:08 and check the receiver.
And check the pinout or something.

Only the difference is 6 pin ICSP. We don't need that because of our production procedure.

Now the question is "What can i do?"
If i cant find an answer about that, i will stop to designing open source hardware.

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  • @Melih  What was the resolve on this? 

  • "I have the ideas but they dont :) They can copy but I'll be one step ahead ;)"


    That's a good way to look at it...

  • Hi Guys,

    Sorry for my late reply. I was in HongKong for a week and just turning back (not for meet with HobbyKing, just another)

    At first, thank you for your comments. I'm agree with all of you about being open, laws, rules, GPL and others. But i have some extras.

    At first, everyone using this "China" thing to cover the copying but you are forgetting one thing, "Hobby King is NOT a China company". HK is a company that placed on HongKong and his owner is an Australian.  And yes, they are copying everything without any respect. We have to separate "china" and "copy" words. Because i have good Chinese friends that have respect.

    Production in china is cheaper than every place on the earth and HobbyKing selling most of item under the cost. Because they are making the money from "Shipping" not from the products. 
    today i sent a half kg package with HongKong Post from HongKong and paid only 7USD. If you send 10 or more item, they are giving half of it as "bulk post". And if you have some export agreements, Shipping is free for most of HongKong company here. 
    Making the money from shipping is the strategy of HobbyKing and this is why no one cant be competitive with them on the market.  

    Some friends suggesting to dealing with HK about OpenLRS. Yes it is possible but not now. I think, they have to do that before releasing it, not after. I think, respecting the developers more important to making money. 
    By the way, OpenLRS is not only the copy. They are also copying our closed products too :)

    3692563448?profile=originalThe Red board is our STROBON XL Navigation Strobe Light. We are producing them since 2 years. This rectangle shaped one is the v1, now ve are producing rounded v2 boards. 
    The Blue board is the announced by HobbyKing in last week. I guess they didnt recognize and copy our microprocessor and used PIC12F508 with same circuit. Holes, passive components and LED places is %100 same with our one.  It is getting funny :)

    @Ricky & Mark, 
    Thank you for your wishes. 
    The best think about that, I have the ideas but they dont :) They can copy but I'll be one step ahead ;)

    Cheers from HongKong International Airport
  • I'm a little late to this discussion but the way I see it, your problem is that they didn't reference the developers when they copied your product. I can see how that could be frustrating. In my experience, hobbyking can be very understanding of these concerns. I recommend you contact them directly and ask them to provide a link to the project on their product page. Once they've done that it is a very small matter to provide tactful information on where to support the developers directly. You might have to adjust your pricing structure to bring in the business, since you're currently more than twice the price.

    The benefit of having hobbyking selling a clone of your product is the community visibility you'll receive. This will get your receiver on more people's hands and more people will contribute to the project. I hadn't heard of the OpenRLS project until hobbyking cloned the hardware.

    Clones come with the territory of open source hardware. If you continue to develop the product and if it's a quality piece of kit, people will buy it. Sure hobbyking gets "free" R&D from you but you get FREE advertising. With a that generates the level of traffic that hobbyking does, I expect you'll see results sooner or later.

    People are willing to pay an extra $5-10 for a legit arduino than a clone because they know that they are getting quality. It's not just the hardware, it's the attitude and ethics that drive it.

    Best of luck Melih!

  • I think you would feel better if you were to accept it as a done thing & get back to the real stuff you enjoy. We all utilise ideas from various places at different parts of our lives, we build up a system that comprises of ideas that we have gleaned through life, some our own & others - who really knows?! Maybe you should feel honoured that it is (to some degree) a reflection of your own system. - regardless. Way too much emphasis is given to the mighty $1 these days & it can blur your thinking! Focus rather, on what other people may have gained from your expertise in the first place. It is thanks to people like you that contribute such ideas, that we end up with such ready to go systems! I used to hide my ideas & try to protect them & make $ from them, but I have had many struggles with life & now just appreciate I am 'on' the surface, not below it! I like open source & encourage it when possible. Sharing is the answer to helping others out. Thats a worthy thing that not many do. I say thank you for your open source idea in the first place! BTW I think many of us have seen our thoughts of an idea, appear from commercial outlets, then I feel proud! I hope you can see what I mean & enjoy the things in life, that you can, while you can!

    Enjoy your day,

    Kind regards,



  • As mentioned already I feel that we all are willing to pay more for a higher quality product with support that is proven. I am not in the need of a LRS just yet but when I am i will indeed buy from you. Just hopefully there will be a mod for the Futaba 8FG by then or I will be hacking away

    And I feel that all this exposure could be turned into a good thing.  HK closed the comments section on Youtube

    so people know who the creator is.

  • Melih, i think what you're going through is a part of the opensource curse. Hobbyking is a china /hk based company and they neglect almost all copyrights/patents whatsoever. nevertheless they also have franchise in countries(germany, usa etc.) where those issues are big deal. maybe there you can prevent sales. hope you can make it.

  • Developer

    Copyright is considered a 'moral right', so you can, if you choose change the license for your hardware from CC-SA-3.0 to CC-SA-NC or other more restrictive license. Though I do wonder how much other than the PCB layout you can protect. Looking at the schematic it's the combination of couple of chips. The firmware is the defining difference.

    Open Source is offering value for the service and selling that service. It's just not so clear when you are selling hardware that anyone can make as it's open source.

    As somebody pointed out in the rcgroups, is you just need to stay ahead of the copiers. 3DR are doing this by innovating and reworking the products based on customer feedback on a 6 month schedule. The plans for the innovations are kept secret to a degree and that keeps them current and up to date. ie. APM2.5 in the summer. APM 2.5+ just released with new power management, power supply module. (The combined cost is also $179 instead of $199 without the Power Module) (Slight gripe there is that I need to pay $25 extra ;-) )

    The is the advantage of this model for customers is that innovation happens faster. HK are selling your old 100mW model. the new one is 1w, so why would I want that ;-)

    Maybe contacting 3DR to sell your solution as a preferred solution would also help.

    All I would like to say is keep up the good work, you look like you are ahead of the game.
  • @Max,
    I'm happy when i design something. I guess enough people knowing arduino and they can read the code and find better usages than me. In the current code you can add just a gyro and use your receiver as an MultiWii controller No need an external receiver. It is fully compatible with MultiWii 2+ firmwares because i a member of multiwii project. :) Or just stabilize your plane with only few lines code. I guess this is enough starting point for other developers.

      I will return to my designs and think twice before releasing new open things. My all money coming from closed source projects and going to the opens. I know i'm not a good capitalist. Because i'm not. :D

    Thank you for your comments.

  • @Melih

    Maybe you can provide some kind of "service" to keep straying customers up to date with the project and get your returns that way? 

    Like you say its not about the money, but hey, you don't want to go the other direction and provide ongoing work for nothing (or a loss!).

    ... Just a crazy spontaneous thoughts. It's past my bed time here and I need some sleep before I ramble on some more about it hehe.

    Good luck and I hope you have a great day :)

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