Vactrol prices

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metasonix
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Vactrol prices

Post by metasonix » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:47 pm

Well, this was unexpected.

Today Zerosum alerted me to something, so I looked into it further.

The VTL5C3/2 Vactrol optocoupler we use in several of our products (including three of them in the D-1000) was always a fairly costly, specialized part. We had to buy them from Allied Electronics, because the usual distributors (Mouser, DigiKey etc.) didn't carry them at all. (Allied is famous for screwing up our orders over the years, but that's a different story.)

The couplers were made by a company called Vactec originally, thus the name Vactrol. EG&G bought Vactec in the 1990s, then Perkin-Elmer bought EG&G and made it Perkin-Elmer Components. Then the whole division apparently went kaboolie in 2010, so it was spun off as "Excelitas".

Very recently, after fairly stable prices for 10 years or so, Excelitas drastically increased the prices of their Vactrols, without any warning.

The 5C3/2 I had been paying about $5 apiece for in quantity is now $20.66. Isn't that charming?

They didn't tell anyone, they didn't warn anyone, they just did it.

Don't bother looking at Excelitas's website, there's not a word about this. All I can figure is they are sick of selling a low-margin device that finds most of its use in price-sensitive applications like guitar amps, effects and audio equipment. So they've suddenly decided to screw their customers as if they were medical-equipment suppliers (an area where huge, greedy margins are commonplace). Most of the stuff Excelitas sells is high-priced, and aimed at either medical or aerospace/military use. Maybe they just don't wanna make them anymore. Sadly, there's nothing else that works as well--ask Marshall.

Other suppliers? The prices of Silonex couplers are still reasonable--but they don't make a dual-element coupler like the 5C3/2. It's needed for the circuit in the D-1000, R54, and the R52, plus the filter in the Wretch. I can't find anyone else making a dual-element CdS coupler today, at least not that I can buy in the US in "small" quantities, meaning a few hundred pieces.

Brace yourself for higher prices. Not just my stuff, but any tube guitar amp with tremolo, most Mesa-Boogie products (some of them are full of Vactrols), various other guitar amps, assorted pedal effects, limiters, you name it. It's ALL going up, soon.

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Joe.
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Post by Joe. » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:57 pm


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Post by metasonix » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:58 pm

Well, if there was a thread here, I missed it.

We only buy the things once a year or thereabouts. It's been more than 6 months since the last buy. If there had been an "official" announcement I would have known. This was sneaky-ed in.
Last edited by metasonix on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Joe. » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:06 pm

There's a few threads about Vactrol prices, the one I've linked is just the most prevalent one.

Yah, huge amount of complaints though, and a lot of people desperately scrambling for the last stockpiles from obscure IC retailers.

I feel sorry for alot of the DIY'ers that have a backlog of PCBs and BOMs that are now going to triple in price

:waah:

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Post by metasonix » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:23 pm

Okay, now I've seen the thread in the DIY area. I don't look at DIY very often.

And I don't believe for an instant any of this crap about ROHS--we take the exemption for "expansion of capability" equipment, no one has ever said anything.

The total cost of parts in a VTL5C3 is less than $2. You can buy them yourself separately and make your own--a dual-element CdS cell, a yellow LED, and a plastic case. The only things you get with finished Vactrols: they look nice and are pre-tested. That's worth something to me, although probably not THIS much.

Excelitas did this to screw their customers. Period.

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Post by HueMonContact » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:20 am

That's really lame of Excelitas to raise prices that high... that's just a huge kick in the pants. I'm just getting started on some diy projects. This is really gonna raise the cost of my diy case. And it will put a big dent in my bank account when I start buying more Metasonix gear.
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Post by zerosum » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:41 pm

Maybe they don't have plans to keep them in production anymore,
so they jacked up the prices to keep what remaining stock they had last longer? :despair:
Mouser does that.

If that's the case, just use them up until they are gone, and when they are gone design something new :party:

That 5C3/2 is magic! :zen:
I'll miss it if it goes away, but if it goes away the universe will bring something else :hihi:

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Post by equalpyramid » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:49 pm

How soon, Eric?

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Post by megaohm » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:33 pm

zerosum wrote: If that's the case, just use them up until they are gone, and when they are gone design something new :party:

That 5C3/2 is magic! :zen:
I'll miss it if it goes away, but if it goes away the universe will bring something else :hihi:
Yes, yes, and yes!

I use the 5C3/2 in my CdS module.
I'll have to redesign this when that vactrol disappears.
It's not the end of the world but it will require another setup fee for a new pcb design and more experimenting to build a circuit that I already have in the bag...which sucks!

Until then, I just increased the price of the module by the amount the vactrol has gone up.
What else can I do?
www.MegaOhmAudio.com

Will work for pistachios

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Post by equalpyramid » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:39 pm

FYI, Small Bear still has some vactrols for $9. Probably won't last long. :sadbanana:

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Post by metasonix » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:31 pm

Resurrecting old thread because now, it is being claimed they are "no longer in production".

viewtopic.php?t=157827&start=0&postdays ... highlight=

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Post by Yes Powder » Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:22 pm

Shit! What does this mean for the future? I was gonna order an R54 next month, but now I may scramble to get one as soon as my paycheck goes through tomorrow.

Is there any way at all the circuits can be done without vactrols?

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Post by metasonix » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:29 am

ElectricNoises wrote:Is there any way at all the circuits can be done without vactrols?
The only other device that can do this, the H11F1 analog "PHOTOFET" optocoupler, also varies all over the place from sample to sample and is very difficult to match. AND it's more expensive than Silonex or DIYed LDR couplers. And its voltage handling rating is "marginal" for use in tube electronics.

Help me out here---find a supplier for any of the old dual vactrol types. VTL 5C2/2, 5C3/2 or 5C4/2.
Last edited by metasonix on Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by depth20 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:31 am

Roll your own?

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Post by metasonix » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:32 am

depth20 wrote:Roll your own?
Sure, but see other thread. I need a matched pair and that is a miserable job.

viewtopic.php?p=2177375#2177375

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Post by Trilo » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:50 am

So my D1000 is $100 more now? :miley:

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Post by Carl Hungus » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:04 am

makes me glad I sucked up a bit of credit card interest to buy my D1k and R54.
You just never know when the small instrument building companies will be hit. Best just to buy things when you can.

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Post by Moog$FooL$ » Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:08 pm

how about those Macron "versions" that smallbear sell??
are they not vactec copies?

:hmm:
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that fat cat had to go..... wasn't even mine.

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Post by metasonix » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:02 pm

Moog$FooL$ wrote:how about those Macron "versions" that smallbear sell??
Link?

PS; Just heard back from Anita at Allied Electronics. She says:
Factory came back that this part has a 1k pc order min now and this part will be obsoleted soon, did you want me to get a quote for 1k pcs? Let me know!
Which is "interesting" because everyone else claims they have been discontinued. Permanently.

Would anyone be interested in another group purchase? Or shall we wait for the actual Chinese manufacturer to start selling them directly on eBay or Alibaba? That could happen....

Also, it seems that "Silonex" is now owned by a California company called "Advanced Photonix Inc".
http://advancedphotonix.com/optosolutio ... ocouplers/
Which has just been bought by another company in Virginia.
http://lunainc.com/
Last edited by metasonix on Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by thermionicjunky » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:15 pm

metasonix wrote:
Moog$FooL$ wrote:how about those Macron "versions" that smallbear sell??
Link?
http://smallbear-electronics.mybigcomme ... lx-series/

They are work-alikes for the single 5C2, 5C3. and 5C4. No duals.

Aside from Cool Audio, XVive are cloning the 5C3. Maybe they might want to do a 5C3/2?

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Post by Moog$FooL$ » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:20 pm

ah!! no duals..... sorry, thought i saw duals in the pic. :omg:

http://smallbear-electronics.mybigcomme ... lx-series/

curious to see where this whole vactrol thing is going. i thought all of them were being discontinued regardless of brand, company, style, size or model/make. :despair: :despair: :despair:

something to do with the cad sulfide in the LDR.... no??
Last edited by Moog$FooL$ on Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Moog$FooL$ » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:24 pm

well.... a "group buy" might be fun. but fack!! 1k..... that'll be what $5000 at least, no???

i'd only account for a handful. :doh:
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Post by metasonix » Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:43 pm

Moog$FooL$ wrote:well.... a "group buy" might be fun. but fack!! 1k..... that'll be what $5000 at least, no???
Are you kidding? Probably more like $10k or $15k. If they realize they can "stick it" to a couple of remaining OEMs, they probably will. This is what every marketing drone dreams of at night: becoming "sole source" to a captive market that is desperate.

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Post by metasonix » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:00 pm

Found another distributor who has stock of Vactrols. They specialise in obsolete semiconductors and are not a "bargain". I got a quote of $8.40 apiece for 200 pieces.

http://www.4starelectronics.com/part_de ... L5C32.html

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Post by Grumskiz » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:25 pm

Maybe this is of interest to you:
viewtopic.php?t=158263

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