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We've just about wrapped everything up we're now going to build one final "release candidate" machine, to make sure everything we've changed is ok. That will be ready in about 14 days. Everything that is certain to not change will continue to be ordered.

 

The only two things left to nail down are:

- the exact shape of the USB plug on the front panel (choosing between USB-A or Micro USB-A)

- the exact shape of the flush diffuser (the rectangle in the bottom right of the chassis).

 

Here is a render (in false colors) of the final design of the internals.

 

side view copy.jpg

 

and here is where we're putting the USB plug, so that a very short cable can connect power to the tablet.

usb hole copy.jpg

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We're proofing the translations of our web site into French and German, and in the process, finding confusion around some terms I use.

 

There are two features in particular, which are new to espresso, and I haven't found a good way to name them. They currently are.

" Basket temperature goal mode"

"Automatic channel healing"

 

Can you read along, and please suggest ways I could describe these concisely? I feel like both of these are really important new things to espresso, so it's pretty essential that we communicate them.

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

"Basket temperature goal mode"

 

In every other espresso machine, you set the water temperature, and that's what the boiler heats to. Say, 90°C water. But, by the time the water leaves the boiler it's gone down about 6°C, sometimes more, sometimes less (depending on the machine). And then the espresso coffee grains themselves are at 20°C (room temperature) and when they make contact with the water, the slurry is a temperature which mixes the water and the coffee (and potentially the cooling effect of the portafilter if it wasn't preheated)

 

I've made this ugly chart to show what we're doing. Other machines have a constant water temperature, so they have a linear climb toward their goal. Our DE1+ machine can dynamically vary the water temperature, to get the puck temperature to the goal faster.

 

I like to think that this feature will arguably make better coffee, since different products are extracted from coffee at different temperatures and there really are different flavors at different temperatures. People really fixate on water temperature for pour-over coffee for this reason.

 

water_temp.jpg

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

"Automatic channel healing"

 

When espresso is being made, sometimes these channels open up (sometimes called "crevasses"), where water spurts out. This (a) tastes bad and (b) makes a mess. Here's a photo:

 

system-meltdown.jpg

 

when we detect a jump in water flow, we back off the pressure immediately, which generally causes the coffee to fill in and for the channel to "heal". We can only do this because of our use of vibratory pumps, which are like pistons, because we can instantly stop pumping and start again 1/10th of a second later. Traditional pumps can't do this.

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With regards to full size vs micro USB.

 

When moving around the espresso machine, I would have thought it very easy to accidentally knock or yank the wire, I would worry that a micro USB port was more prone to damage.

 

Something else about micro USB you have probably experienced on your phone is that as the port ages and becomes looser and/or dust builds up inside it it can become very intermittent as to how well it works.

 

Not sure this has been covered in this thread yet - but how warm is it up top on your coffee machine, and is the Lithium battery within the tablet ok to operate for extended periods at this temperature?

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" Basket temperature goal mode"

 

I read your description and the name but I'm not quite sure what temperature you're measuring? I know you've probably covered it elsewhere, so sorry if asking for a repeat. I'm asking because you mention basket temp goal mode but in the description it sounds like it's measuring the temp of the puck. Perhaps if you confirm exactly where the temp read is and which piece you think is most important, it'll help with any suggestion.

 

For the channel healing, your description makes sense to me. I can't think of another way to describe it. Is there anything specific that concerns you about it, or is it just because it's a novel approach?


Everything my heart could desire (more or less). . .

 

https://cupperjoe.com

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I like 'automatic channel healing' or 'channel sensing and healing'.

 

I hesitate to use the word 'dynamic' both because it is overused but also because it implies variability where stability is the valued attribute of extraction temperature. How about 'active temperature stabilization'?

 

Or perhaps you could brand a variety of your technologies under an umbrella philosophy - like Volvo's CitySafe is a collection of risk amelioration technologies. For example: DESR (Decent Espresso Sense & Respond). Then have DESR StableTemp, DESR ChannelHeal, DESR AutoPreinfuse etc.


Espresso: Ceado E92 (modified for single dose); Vesuvius; VST baskets and refractometer.

Other: Aeropress, Sowden and Alessi Moka Pot; Mazzer Robur doser with Auber timer; Mazzer Mini E; Expobar Leva Dual Boiler

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'Puck regeneration technology'

 

right up their with 'blue sky thinking' I reckon!


Sage Oracle, Moka Pot

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On the matter of succinct descriptions - a couple of straw men:

 

 

DESR ChannelHeal dramatically reduces the instance of channeling resulting in more even and dependable espresso extraction.

 

As you pull your shot, DESR ChannelHeal automatically detects minute drops in pressure caused by fissures in the coffee puck. It instantly reduces water pressure just enough for the fissure to close then continues with the extraction according to your target pressure profile.

 

---

 

DESR StableTemp prevents temperature variation during your extraction resulting in more focused flavours in the cup.

 

Unlike traditional machines that pump water at a fixed temperature, DESR StableTemp actively manipulates the temperature of the water throughout the extraction. In this way your coffee puck is brought up to your target extraction temperature within moments and remains at this temperature throughout your extraction.


Espresso: Ceado E92 (modified for single dose); Vesuvius; VST baskets and refractometer.

Other: Aeropress, Sowden and Alessi Moka Pot; Mazzer Robur doser with Auber timer; Mazzer Mini E; Expobar Leva Dual Boiler

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On the matter of succinct descriptions - a couple of straw men:

 

 

DESR ChannelHeal dramatically reduces the instance of channeling resulting in more even and dependable espresso extraction.

 

As you pull your shot, DESR ChannelHeal automatically detects minute drops in pressure caused by fissures in the coffee puck. It instantly reduces water pressure just enough for the fissure to close then continues with the extraction according to your target pressure profile.

 

---

 

DESR StableTemp prevents temperature variation during your extraction resulting in more focused flavours in the cup.

 

Unlike traditional machines that pump water at a fixed temperature, DESR StableTemp actively manipulates the temperature of the water throughout the extraction. In this way your coffee puck is brought up to your target extraction temperature within moments and remains at this temperature throughout your extraction.

 

love it , where do I sign


Sage Oracle, Moka Pot

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Obnic, I like your 2 above posts .... For example: DESR (Decent Espresso Sense & Respond). Then have DESR StableTemp, DESR ChannelHeal, DESR AutoPreinfuse etc.

Sense & Respond yep like it.

Michael

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With regards to full size vs micro USB. When moving around the espresso machine, I would have thought it very easy to accidentally knock or yank the wire, I would worry that a micro USB port was more prone to damage. Something else about micro USB you have probably experienced on your phone is that as the port ages and becomes looser and/or dust builds up inside it it can become very intermittent as to how well it works.

Yep, we're worried about that too, and after all this work, it looks like we're going with a USB-A connector, with quite sturdy mounting features, to help cope with abuse.

 

Not sure this has been covered in this thread yet - but how warm is it up top on your coffee machine, and is the Lithium battery within the tablet ok to operate for extended periods at this temperature?

It's very cool on top, but even in our prototype machines, which run hotter, the aluminum top radiates the waste heat over a large surface, so it never even reaches 30ºC.

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In the camp of "unbanded descriptions" these are my favorites so far:

Dynamic Temperature Targeting

Intelligent Flow Recovery

Active temperature stabilization

 

 

 

However, this direction (DESR...) is really interesting to me, because "Sense & Respond" is something we do in a few places.

Obnic, I like your 2 above posts .... For example: DESR (Decent Espresso Sense & Respond). Then have DESR StableTemp, DESR ChannelHeal, DESR AutoPreinfuse etc.

Sense & Respond yep like it.

Michael

 

For example, our preinfusion can end automatically when the puck is detected as saturated, as opposed to having a static setting.

 

Obnic, thanks for sending my thinking in a totally different direction. I'll have to let is percolate a bit, but I'm leaning toward your line of thinking.

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Yep, we're worried about that too, and after all this work, it looks like we're going with a USB-A connector, with quite sturdy mounting features, to help cope with abuse.

 

 

It's very cool on top, but even in our prototype machines, which run hotter, the aluminum top radiates the waste heat over a large surface, so it never even reaches 30ºC.

Good decision on the USB. Reliability rules.

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Australian Ben Champion, a regular from Home-Barista.com, has been helping us a ton, on a volunteer basis, to simulate the fluid paths in our group head, and has been running similar simulations in other parts of our machine; most recently our mixing chamber:

 

1.jpg

 

Ben's quirky and competent approach has really helped in the past month, and so we've decided to make his position official and paid. You'll shortly be seeing an unflattering cartoon representation of Ben appearing on our "about us" page.

 

His first project is to take the "flush diffuser" (or call it the "flush slower-downer" or the "try not to splash customer device") from Ray's concept, which we filmed here

 

 

which taught us that it worked right, but that a lot of the complexity was unnecessary:

 

2.jpg

 

which Ben has now turned into this 1st draft:

 

3.jpg

 

and we've got a revision or two on that to go (this week!) before it's done. Along with the USB port (most likely now to be USB-A) these are the last two things to finalize.

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...However, this direction (DESR...) is really interesting to me, because "Sense & Respond" is something we do in a few places...

 

It seems to me the car manufacturers use this approach because (a) they can trademark the names, (b) the 'benefit' of the technology acquires its own brand and so when they use the same name in subsequent models, customers instantly feel they understand (even though the underlying tech may have changed radically between models), and © once branded, prospective customers look for equivalent features in competitor products.


Espresso: Ceado E92 (modified for single dose); Vesuvius; VST baskets and refractometer.

Other: Aeropress, Sowden and Alessi Moka Pot; Mazzer Robur doser with Auber timer; Mazzer Mini E; Expobar Leva Dual Boiler

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We've been literally banging on our frankenstein-knockbox prototype for two weeks, and I've given the go-ahead to the factory to start making it. It'll be about 10 weeks wait now before they arrive : the long wait is because moulds this big take about 2 months to make. https://decentespresso.com/knockbox

 

We spent $350 recently to try out the larger size, and because it was too large for a CNC machine, it had to be welded from two parts (it looks sort of like Frankenstein's head). We decided we liked the larger size, because it felt damned solid (it's made from 3mm thick aluminum, not plastic) and because it never filled up. We think it's big enough to use in an office where lots of people are making espressos all day.

 

cbIMG_6381.jpg

 

Just to the right of the knockbox, you'll see our hotrodded Hey Cafe pro grinder https://decentespresso.com/pro_grinder which we've modified to have weighed dosing, using a brewista scale. We're CNCing the hopefully last iteration of the stand this week. We ended up attaching the scale stand to the rubber feet of the grinder, so that you can adjust the distance from the spout by loosening the rubber feet, and when you have it where you want it, you tighten the rubber feet to lock the stand in place.

 

We've also added a bluetooth on/off switch to the grinder, but we're not yet ready to sell that as a product, because I haven't written the software, as I'm also waiting for our bluetooth scale https://decentespresso.com/scale to be finished.

 

And speaking of which, I received new firmware and the 4th beta of our scale today, and just about all beta problems are now fixed. I hope that in about 2 weeks I can give manufacturing approval to that, and then the scale will take about 10 weeks to arrive from the factory.

 

Here's a render of what the knockbox should look like, when it arrives in 10 weeks:

 

preview-full-KNOCKBOX 3MM ROUND CORNERS_0003 cópia.jpg

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We'll shortly be ordering a mix-pallet of Mazzer grinders, to hotrod with weighed dosing and bluetooth control.

 

I'm currently looking at the Mazzer Robur, Kony, Super Jolly and Mini, as grinders we might offer for sale, hotrodded in this way.

 

For the time being, I prefer to take existing well-designed grinders, and insert our "value add" to it, of weighed dosing and bluetooth control. There will be a free app for controlling your grinder, as well as merging that feature into the DE1+ tablet gui.

 

The goal is to offer bluetooth controlled automatic weighed dosing, via three grinder manufacturers:

- Hey Cafe (a division of Mahlkonig), currently for sale at our web site

- Mazzer (PLEASE let me know what grinders of theirs you find interesting)

- ANFIM (potentially: I've sent them my proposal and their management is currently considering it).

 

I'd love to hear what you guys think of this strategy.

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We'll shortly be ordering a mix-pallet of Mazzer grinders, to hotrod with weighed dosing and bluetooth control.

 

I'm currently looking at the Mazzer Robur, Kony, Super Jolly and Mini, as grinders we might offer for sale, hotrodded in this way.

 

For the time being, I prefer to take existing well-designed grinders, and insert our "value add" to it, of weighed dosing and bluetooth control. There will be a free app for controlling your grinder, as well as merging that feature into the DE1+ tablet gui.

 

The goal is to offer bluetooth controlled automatic weighed dosing, via three grinder manufacturers:

- Hey Cafe (a division of Mahlkonig), currently for sale at our web site

- Mazzer (PLEASE let me know what grinders of theirs you find interesting)

- ANFIM (potentially: I've sent them my proposal and their management is currently considering it).

 

I'd love to hear what you guys think of this strategy.

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Will you be selling your 'hotrod' mod as a kit for people to upgrade their own grinders?

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We'll shortly be ordering a mix-pallet of Mazzer grinders, to hotrod with weighed dosing and bluetooth control.

 

I'm currently looking at the Mazzer Robur, Kony, Super Jolly and Mini, as grinders we might offer for sale, hotrodded in this way.

 

For the time being, I prefer to take existing well-designed grinders, and insert our "value add" to it, of weighed dosing and bluetooth control. There will be a free app for controlling your grinder, as well as merging that feature into the DE1+ tablet gui.

 

The goal is to offer bluetooth controlled automatic weighed dosing, via three grinder manufacturers:

- Hey Cafe (a division of Mahlkonig), currently for sale at our web site

- Mazzer (PLEASE let me know what grinders of theirs you find interesting)

- ANFIM (potentially: I've sent them my proposal and their management is currently considering it).

 

I'd love to hear what you guys think of this strategy.

 

Eurekas Mignon Zenith, 75E, 65E & Ceado e37s are very popular grinders over here and on this forum.

 

Are you not planning to targeting any of them?

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Eurekas Mignon Zenith, 75E, 65E & Ceado e37s are very popular grinders over here and on this forum. Are you not planning to targeting any of them?

I'd never heard of them before, so thanks for the tip. The shape of the Eureka Mignon, as I look in google images, seems like it will be hard to adapt to having a scale under the grinder spout. The Zenith looks like the only one we could make work.

 

The Ceado, on the other hand, looks like it could work fairly easily. I'll look into it.

 

Will you be selling your 'hotrod' mod as a kit for people to upgrade their own grinders?

I don't know yet. Haroldo (my engineer on this) shocked himself twice the the first time he wired this mod up, and Jeffrey (who has now taken it up) shocked himself once. Once in place, it's very reliable, but you need to be electrical minded to pull off the mod. I'm rather nervous about the liability, to be honest.

 

The other issue is that the scale integration has to be bespoke for each grinder model and year of the model (the shapes change sometimes in one model). We tried to make a generic scale platform, and I had it on my November/December tour, but despite my having carefully measured other people's grinders, it just didn't work for any grinder (except for I think the Robur).

 

Here is what the generic platform looked like:

 

doser_grey_sm.jpg

 

and here are examples of other attempts we made:

 

doser_at_coffeefest_portland.jpg

 

doser_example_1.jpg

 

So with the caveat of "you'll sign a piece of paper saying you won't sue us if you shock yourself" and "you own the exact model and year grinder we're using" then "maybe" but honestly, I think we'll make more people unhappy than happy by selling the mod kit on its own.

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We've now frozen the design of our espresso machine and we're working with manufacturers to make all the parts. About 90% of our machine is made from custom parts, so each one requires an extensive conversation with a manufacturer, as well as detailed drawings and price negotiations. Each type of part also has different lead times, from 7 days to 2 1/2 months (for parts that require a mould). Of course, we have companies all lined up for this, but until the final drawings were done, we couldn't get a final price quote and other "details".

We're currently interviewing 3rd year students from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology http://www.ust.hk/ and we're hiring 10 of them as summer interns. They're going to be building your espresso machines! We'll have each intern spend time at every station, so that they get a wealth of real world experience.

We originally thought we'd work on building a dozen or so machines at a time, from start to finish. However, to speed things up, and because not all the parts will be here at the same time, we're going straight to building 200 espresso machines at the same time. We're working on "sub-assemblies", which are groups of components that perform a function, such as the water heater assembly, or the water mixing assembly.

In terms of a calendar, this means that:

- nobody will get a machine from us in June

- but everyone who bought a pre-release machine should get theirs in July.

- this does delay our submitting our machines for UL certification, because we likely won't have all the parts we need until end-of-June/early July to completely finish any machines.

- so the 100 "final release" customers won't see their machines until August.

- However, since we're building all the "final release" machines at once, as soon as we have UL approval we'll be able to ship them all very quickly.

- In August/September, depending on how the customer reviews go of our pre-release versions, we'll decide whether to expand our manufacturing space and how many recent engineering graduates to hire. Our landlord, who owns the entire building floor (about 300,000 sq ft) and is a big espresso fan, has bought her own pre-release machine from us, and offering us multiple spaces to grow into with no commitment. That's helping us sleep at night!

Looking at the calendar for when parts will start arriving here, we think that:

Starting June 1:

- the heater subassemblies can be worked on.

- PCBs can be manufactured in house

- tablets can be configured (load from "adb") and mounted to a steelie stand

- legs can be assembled with rubber feet

Starting June 15:

- the left panel can be assembled (power supply, mini manifold, OPV)

- the main manifold (and top bar) can be assembled, though all - valve types might be not be in stock (the specialist valves from Italy might take 3 months).

- the wire harnesses can be made

- the group head can be assembled

Starting end of June:

- the middle panel can be assembled (both pumps, electrical relay, mounting heaters)

- the PCB can be mounted to the back panel

- the steam wands can be mounted

- tubing and wires can be connected to their final position

- reconfirming current postal addresses of 100 pre-release customers.

Starting 2nd week of July:

- shaking test for 12h, and 24h constant-espresso-making burn-in test of each machine

- localising android tablets to the customer's country and language

- send out machines to UL for certification

- boxing and shipping 100 pre-release machines

- accounting follow up with all "50% deposit" customers to pay remaining balance

Starting in August:

- receive UL certification, send out already-built "final release" machines (if no changes)

- or make changes to existing 100 "final release" machines based on UL mandated changes.

- Internet reviews of "early access" machines should be live by then, and we'll know how many machines we should build for the next run (between 500 and 5000 machines, depending on demand).

- Place advertisement to hire recent engineering graduates, start interviewing and hiring.

Starting in September

- summer interns go back to school

- recent engineering students start permanent jobs with us

Starting in October:

- build the next set of espresso machines

Start in November:

- start shipping, in volume, our espresso machines.

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I don't know yet. Haroldo (my engineer on this) shocked himself twice the the first time he wired this mod up, and Jeffrey (who has now taken it up) shocked himself once. Once in place, it's very reliable, but you need to be electrical minded to pull off the mod. I'm rather nervous about the liability, to be honest.

 

 

Nice to know it's not just us regular folk who are foolish enough to shock themselves when messing with electronics.

 

I managed to get a mains shock to the cheek when messing with my Mazzer, thought I had blinded myself for a split second... your worries are well placed for sure, but hopefully a strongly worded 'we take zero responsibility' clause would allow people to experiment if they like.

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Since there's a bit a of wordsmithing talent here, I was wondering if you could lend some brain cells toward a different problem, of clearly and concisely describing the DE1 vs the DE1+. The advice I'm mostly seeing, from successful approaches to this problem, is to elevate a single feature, and present it as a "do this, get this".

 

For the DE1, for me the standout feature is that you can load "recipes" that do a plausible job of emulating other espresso machines from history, from lever machines, to E61 to the Black Eagle.

 

So, for the DE1, I'm playing with:

"Taste 130 years of espresso history with a single machine"

 

For the DE1+, for me the standout feature is that you can see what's going on (with the realtime charts) and then program your shot to do pretty much anything you can think of.Master espresso with total control and understanding of the process.

 

For the DE1+, I'm playing with:

"Master espresso with total control and understanding of the process. "

 

I can "live with" both of those (as opposed to previous attempts, which I cringed at), but I think there's a lot of room for improvement, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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We've found a pretty classy USB charging cable, with this somewhat unique black rectangle over the micro usb connector. It looks nice and it's sturdy, but it also does a good job of surrounding the micro usb aperture to protect it a bit. The cable is silicone, which we really wanted, because it causes the cable to "flop" elegantly, rather than the usual plastic which is semi rigid and bends oddly.

 

We're having 500 of these made for us at a length of 14cm, which is the distance from the USB-A charging port on the front panel of the DE1, to the charging port on the tablet. We decided against micro-USB for reasons which were discussed here.

 

IMG_6391.jpg

 

And just FYI, the cable will mount on the left side (the tablet rotates 180°) -- the samples we got from the manufacturer for this cable had the wrong-handedness and so in this photo we're charging from the right, whereas on the DE1 we charge on the left (away from steam).

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So, for the DE1, I'm playing with:

"Taste 130 years of espresso history with a single machine"

 

For the DE1+, I'm playing with:

"Master espresso with total control and understanding of the process. "

 

What sort of person buys the DE1 and what sort buys the DE1+?

 

Once you really know this, you can understand why they choose that particular machine. Your description should confirm exactly their underlying motivation.

 

For example: if you take someone that just wants to emulate a good shop bought latte, your DE1+ tag line would probably be more appealing - they'll stop reading after 'master espresso'. I am not sure they would feel any affinity with tasting '130 years...' yet the DE1 is probably the better match.

 

Or: me, the geek with a fastidious wife and a busy household. 'The DE1+ kitchen chic that is tame enough to flatter your partner, but which gives you class-leading control and insight into your espresso extraction.'

 

[thats rubbish but you get the idea: I have to satisfy my wife's desire for a beautifully staged kitchen, and every now and then drink her coffee, but what I want for myself is espresso telemetry and control over flow, and instant On when I'm in a hurry..]

 

I would say you have two quite distinct and outstanding offerings. Who are your target buyers? Then you'll know what they need to hear to to convince them to buy.


Espresso: Ceado E92 (modified for single dose); Vesuvius; VST baskets and refractometer.

Other: Aeropress, Sowden and Alessi Moka Pot; Mazzer Robur doser with Auber timer; Mazzer Mini E; Expobar Leva Dual Boiler

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