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Old 17th Oct 2017, 8:02 pm   #1
chriswood1900
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Default Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Whilst browsing the net I found these two sites which I thought may be of interest to others, the first is about how electronics industry works in Shenzen China which goes a way to explain the products we see and why they have the quirks!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5QkM2Work0
The second is an interview with Paul Horowitz about How the Art of Electronics came about, Paul is good but the young person interviewing him I found a bit annoying.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCI3B5eT9NA
I hope you enjoy these let me know what you think.
Chris
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Old 17th Oct 2017, 10:26 pm   #2
MrBungle
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

The young lady interviewing him is "LadyAda" (Limor Fried) who is the founder of adafruit industries, the notable Arduino crap shifter and former MIT media lab graduate. When this video was originally posted it annoyed the hell out of large swathes of people on the Internet because she kept interrupting him. I'm a vicious opponent of her as under the guise of open source, she pushed for price hyping of trivial products and marketing then whined a lot when the Chinese copied the open source stuff and undercut her by several orders of magnitude.

Good videos though. Thanks for posting
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Old 18th Oct 2017, 4:03 am   #3
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by chriswood1900 View Post
I hope you enjoy these let me know what you think.
Chris
That interviewer was terrible and totally unsuited to interview a person of Mr Horowitz's caliber. As an old saying goes "My 10 year old brother could have done a better job"

I would really like to get my hands on a copy (reproduction) of Paul's original hand written course notes, they look wonderful. He is inspirational.
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Old 18th Oct 2017, 9:34 am   #4
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

We must assume Paul agreed to it because of her profile with the younger enthusiasts, he was good but it must have been very trying!
Anyone with a view on the Chinese video, I thought the infrastructure and the way parts and equipment get moved along the chain interesting when compared to Western ways and does explain the way they pick something up, copy it and bring it to market so quickly.

Chris
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Old 18th Oct 2017, 1:27 pm   #5
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

I haven't watched the Horowitz interview yet, but the one about China is fascinating to me as a practising electronic engineer. It strikes me that the electronics district in Shenzhen is rather like the Tottenham Court Road of yesteryear, except that instead of starting with '19' Sets and Indicator No. 62s, they're starting with iPhones and 32-bit processors.

If I had that round the corner from my office, an awful lot more of my and my clients' product ideas would make it to reality instead of getting bogged down in the drudgery of sourcing parts and arranging manufacturers. This should be a lesson to us in Europe!

Chris
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Old 18th Oct 2017, 10:30 pm   #6
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Shenzen seems to reflects the Asian way of trading which involves a very lengthy supply chain and lots of haggling.
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 12:24 am   #7
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

That is about it. My father ran an import business back in the 1980s bringing in the first clone PC hardware from that part of the world and he was forever haggling on the phone and in person. The supply chain is deep and scary and difficult to navigate and not end up getting ripped off or with containers full of junk turn up. There’s no accountability anywhere! I suspect that’s why some of the electronics vendors charge so much; supply chain assurance.

Incidentally my father was also the largest importer of “dancing sound activated pot plants” at the time, a craze which actually started due to a miscommunication and a whole container turning up full of them that he thought was computer memory!
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 5:37 am   #8
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Chris,

I have been quite astonished of late at the re-manufacturing or refurbishing of semiconductors and IC's that has been going from Shenzhen, that doco helps explain some of it.

They have mastered the art of extending the cut down wires from round CAN style IC's and transistors that have been pulled from pcb's. They cut the wires at a diagonal and weld them together. Then all the wires plus the metal device body is re-electroplated (looks like shiny new Tin) this covers the welds so you can almost not see it without a microscope. Then they re-label the device or laser a new label on it. You can see its been done if you look closely, but at a glance it looks like a shiny new part. The advertising though can be deceptive as it showed an original Motorola part, but these refurbished ones turn up. I can hardly believe all the work that was put in to pass these things off as new parts.

The problem with this as I see it, even if the part works, it is used, you can't know its history or even who the original MFR was, so it throws in a big element of uncertainty, so when I receive this sort of thing I bin it and don't even bother complaining, its a terrible waste.
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 7:51 am   #9
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

It’s clever at the same time though isn’t it?

Got to be honest though, if you grab some of the made in China stuff that isn’t pretending to be made anywhere else it’s quite good. Recently I bought a few discrete and ICs from aliexpress, mainly standard transistors and some boost/buck converter ICs and you know what? I think my total expenditure was about 3 and I walked away with 280 parts shipped!
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 8:28 am   #10
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

The Horowitz interview is fine. It's two people having a discussion and bouncing things backwards and forwards. They both seem OK with it. It isn't a performance for the camera, it's a conversation which forgot the camera.

The two people have different styles. One a quick talker, one slower. Stereotyping makes us assume quick talkers sound shallow and slow talkers sound dim. But Horowitz changes gear for different sections. Dave Packard was a very slow talker, it's an indication of the amount of thought going on behind the scenes.

TV producers think more closely matched people make better viewing, or they like throwing strongly opposed people together in today's answer to cock-fighting. This is neither of those this is reality.

Fried and Horowitz probably both enjoyed it, and learned about each other's viewpoints.

Little trace of the MIT/Harvard rivalry of two universities grinning at each other from opposite ends of Massachusetts Avenue.

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Old 19th Oct 2017, 10:10 am   #11
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

I couldn't agree more. Clearly 2 different personality types / styles, but also clearing sharing an enjoyment of electronics, I'm pleased to see its not just me who took that away from this clip.
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 11:41 am   #12
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

I'd echo those sentiments - what a very clever and enterprising young woman.

First impressions can be misleading.

Limor Fried, AKA "Ladyada", founded Adafruit in 2005 in her dormitory at MIT when studying engineering. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. It's grown to over 100+ employees in the heart of New York City with a 50,000+ sq ft. factory and has expanded offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests and approves before going in to the Adafruit store. The prices look quite low to me, but of course, for us, there's the complication of shipping, duty etc.

She was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine, awarded Entrepreneur magazine's Entrepreneur of the year, and was on the cover of 'Make': Vol. 57. 'Ladyada' was a founding member of the NYC Industrial Business Advisory Council. Adafruit is ranked #11 in the top 20 USA manufacturing companies and #1 in New York City by Inc. 5000 "fastest growing private companies". Adafruit is featured in Google's Economic Impact Report, and Limor was named a Whitehouse Champion of Change in 2016. Adafruit is a 100% woman owned company.

So, if she's not worthy of having an informal chat with Paul Horowitz, then who?

https://www.adafruit.com/about

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limor_Fried

Arduino, Raspberry Pi etc isn't the sort of stuff that has any direct appeal to me, but clearly has an enthusiastic following the world over, and the rapid growth if Adafruit is testimony to the fact that they're tapping into that market and meeting its needs. In 2008 they had eight employees - now they have 100 plus.

I spent quite a time having a poke around the website and blog, and continue to marvel at the stuff that people are able to create using 3-D printers. The item at the links below look quite well finished too, but as I said in another thread, most of the things I've seen don't have a very smooth finish to them. I'm always enthralled by the creation of quirky things that are created for little more than the fun of it, and because the creator has the skill and imagination do it:

https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/10/19...ng-3dthursday/

https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/05/04...ng-3dthursday/
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 12:22 pm   #13
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

I disagree.

The prices are to be frank, extortionate and the shipping too. You can get nearly everything they sell from other vendors for 1/4 of the cost. Most of their product range is carefully repackaged upsells, for example the ESP8266 boards. They added a brand "Feather" and build an ecosystem around it and some neat packaging, copying the Arduino model and now a starter kit is $70 + $37 shipping to UK. Or $17 for the base module. A functionally identical module can be purchased for $2.59. In fact it's less than the minimum order on Tayda so I have to buy two just to get over the $5 minimum. That is $7.02 for two including shipping. You can build the entire starter kit for less than $10!

A prime example is the $3 parts inventory here: https://www.adafruit.com/product/2975

They're a fine example of how to build a business and run the marketing and building an ecosystem around it. They're another rising Radio Shack or Tandy and nothing more. The main benefit they have is timing, hype and no physical presence on the high street which was what took RS out. I respect her accomplishment not as an engineer but a business-person.

As for alternatives to interview him; Woz, Jeri Ellsworth...

On the subject of 3d printers, they are amazing when they work but they tend not to show you the hours of frustrating pain involved in getting one up, working and calibrated. I know two people who have purchased them (4 total printers) so far and they've never got them to perform as advertised. We're in the infancy of such things so I'm sure things will improve over time. I'm holding out for one that works as well as the first HP Deskjets did!
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 1:17 pm   #14
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

While some of the prices might seem extortionate, it depends what you're comparing with. A parts supplier who does that day in day out shifting thousands and thousands of resistors will be able to sell them cheaper due to the scale alone. Also, I wonder whether those competitors operate from or are based in the USA where naturally their costs will be higher.

Personally, the arduinos I buy tend to be cheap ones from UK ebay sellers, but I'd imagine some people like the idea of working within the adafruit ecosystem, I.E read about a project, and have nice links from the article on exactly what to buy. Perhaps that's the value they add to it. Similarly, any kit you buy would be far cheaper to buy in its individual component parts
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 1:48 pm   #15
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

You get that from Tayda for example. See:

http://www.taydakits.com/
http://www.taydaelectronics.com/

They ship from US and Thailand.

Perhaps a crazy thing, but their shipping is more reliable than RS and ParcelForce as well.
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 9:44 pm   #16
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argus25 View Post
The problem with this as I see it, even if the part works, it is used, you can't know its history or even who the original MFR was, so it throws in a big element of uncertainty, so when I receive this sort of thing I bin it and don't even bother complaining, its a terrible waste.
Hi.

Interesting to note the lengths they go to to pass off s/h parts for new. Thanks for pointing this out. I don't think I would scrap the parts though, it would surely be worth pressing them into service to see what they're capable of.
I'm now going to check some of the transistors purchased from China to see if there's any sign of the welded leadouts.

Regards
Symon.
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Old 20th Oct 2017, 3:17 pm   #17
chriswood1900
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Thank you MrBungle, RadioWrangler and others for the additional insights, I find these sorts of videos and interviews useful to start debates and gain a better understanding of the electronics world we have now.
Chris
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Old 20th Oct 2017, 3:32 pm   #18
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Hi.

I found the video very interesting. Paul Horowitz clearly knows his subject extremely well. I have an earlier copy of The Art of Electronics and it's one of my favourite books for reference.

I actually thought the interviewer was OK, she seemed enthusiastic and keen to engage with Paul. Thanks for posting the link to the YouTube video.

Regards
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Old 20th Oct 2017, 5:02 pm   #19
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

Incidentally, I have the first, second and third editions of The Art of Electronics and the first is actually the best of all. It's the only one you can read without it trying to murder you too
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Old 20th Oct 2017, 5:25 pm   #20
chriswood1900
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Default Re: Chinese electronics and The Art of Electronics

I have to agree with MrBungle I have the 1st and the 3rd and I was amazed at how heavy the 3rd was, I have to sit at desk to read it compared with just about bedtime reading with the first.
In the interview with Paul I was interested about how it came about, i.e. it was written for someone who wanted to do something with electronics, and provided a guide book, whilst nearly every other book starts with theory, moves into maths and losses a large part of any potential readership, whereas with the Art of Electronics I can dip in and learn enough to fix or understand something, what it does and move on.
Chris
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