diy partial-kit frustration rant

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JanneI
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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by JanneI » Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:35 pm

DanaFo wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:16 pm
dude, if I can enter an existing bom into mouser and see where it highlights obvious issues in a few seconds then so can the designer
Yes, you are right. The designer can do this. You fail to understand my point:
Do you want the designer to spend his/her time with:
a) designing NEW products?
b) maintaining fully working BOM carts?

Yes, you can only pick one.

I would definitely want the BOM cart be fully working 24/7/365/yearstocome, but that's not the reality, unfortunately.

If you don't still understand my point, please design a module, whatever passive multi, it doesn't matter, but do it. You'll have all the answers when you are done. Peace.
The

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by DanaFo » Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:58 pm

JanneI wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:35 pm
DanaFo wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:16 pm
dude, if I can enter an existing bom into mouser and see where it highlights obvious issues in a few seconds then so can the designer
Yes, you are right. The designer can do this. You fail to understand my point:
Do you want the designer to spend his/her time with:
a) designing NEW products?
b) maintaining fully working BOM carts?

Yes, you can only pick one.

I would definitely want the BOM cart be fully working 24/7/365/yearstocome, but that's not the reality, unfortunately.

If you don't still understand my point, please design a module, whatever passive multi, it doesn't matter, but do it. You'll have all the answers when you are done. Peace.
The
No I fully understand. I work in software, you can make new products or fix bugs. But b) leads to c) customer service and dealing with returns. I sure as heck can get paypal to refund a panel/pcb set if the parts aren't available.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by joem » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:12 pm

Here's an idea that I don't think has been mentioned here yet here, and it's a technique I sometimes use as a builder: start looking into ordering all the parts before you even order your PCBs. I started doing this initially to see what projects have a lot of similar parts so it would make sense to do at the same time, but I realized that it helped point out which projects had hard to find parts too, which lets me decide whether to do one of those projects or not instead of it coming as a surprise later and extra small purchases.

Also, it can help to build up a supply of a lot of the basic common components like resistors in the E12 series, capacitors at some of the most common values, common NPN and PNP transistors, common op amps and other ICs, etc. Also common jacks (thonkiconns, and maybe some others if the stuff you build use them) and common pots (you'll see a lot of 10K, 50K and 100K ones usually). Eventually after building up a supply of common parts, the parts you need to order for a new project will be very small, and will specifically be the less common parts. That cuts down your sourcing time, helps you better plan your orders, and helps you more easily spot which parts are going to be hard to find.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by JanneI » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:14 pm

DanaFo wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:58 pm
No I fully understand. I work in software, you can make new products or fix bugs. But b) leads to c) customer service and dealing with returns. I sure as heck can get paypal to refund a panel/pcb set if the parts aren't available.
But you must realize that if the designer has to be accountable for parts being available ALL THE TIME there's only one solution: buying "enough" of them and selling kits only? If this is required, there's going to be much less modules to choose from, simply due to the costs of running business like this.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by tassie tiger » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:23 pm

nigel wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:59 am
Reading the parts list to discover these problems is simply one of the new skills that you have to learn when moving from complete kits. (And I don't think that's obvious when you start - I haven't seen any instructions that begin with "make sure you can still find all these bits".) Like any other skill, it takes a while, and your early attempts will be full of mistakes.
Seconded. It can sorta be frustrating, especially when you're really excited to build that u-beaut module that you've found a PCB/Panel for, to find that component X just can't be found, can't be substituted, or has to be imported into the country via Fedex at 7 times the cost of the PCB/Panel.
But that's also part of DIY, and some of us may privately (oops!) admit to enjoying the research and ingenuity that are needed.
Many times I've had to say to myself, "nope, that build is just not going to work; move on".

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by DanaFo » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:45 pm

joem wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:12 pm
Here's an idea that I don't think has been mentioned here yet here, and it's a technique I sometimes use as a builder: start looking into ordering all the parts before you even order your PCBs. I started doing this initially to see what projects have a lot of similar parts so it would make sense to do at the same time, but I realized that it helped point out which projects had hard to find parts too, which lets me decide whether to do one of those projects or not instead of it coming as a surprise later and extra small purchases.

Also, it can help to build up a supply of a lot of the basic common components like resistors in the E12 series, capacitors at some of the most common values, common NPN and PNP transistors, common op amps and other ICs, etc. Also common jacks (thonkiconns, and maybe some others if the stuff you build use them) and common pots (you'll see a lot of 10K, 50K and 100K ones usually). Eventually after building up a supply of common parts, the parts you need to order for a new project will be very small, and will specifically be the less common parts. That cuts down your sourcing time, helps you better plan your orders, and helps you more easily spot which parts are going to be hard to find.
Already started building that stockpile pretty much exactly as you stated. I was mainly running into issues with components that are now smd only or trying to figure out if ceramic is the same as mlcc and then discovering lead spacing... etc etc Mouser is really intimidating if you don't have the exact sku number to punch in because there's 15 variants that need parsing.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by MikeDB » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:47 pm

discomicke wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 5:44 pm
For some builds the time spent on sourcing exceeds the time spent on building.
Heads of purchasing and manufacturing told me it often took more effort for them to source and build something than for R&D to design the thing in the first place !

Also bare in mind that a certain popular op-amp is currently on 6 month lead time in commercial volumes. That is bound to hit home builders in due course and then it will be even harder to find all the bits for a build.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by JanneI » Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:10 pm

DanaFo wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:45 pm
..I was mainly running into issues with components that are now smd only or trying to figure out if ceramic is the same as mlcc and then discovering lead spacing... etc etc Mouser is really intimidating if you don't have the exact sku number to punch in because there's 15 variants that need parsing.
I feel that it's just a never-ending "learning from mistakes" kind of thing... identifying different cap types, figuring out the main differences, learning about 0,001uF being the same as 1000pF, learning that substituting one for another is also a matter of the purpose of the cap in the circuit, learning that c0G is way better than the rest, but it's only available up to 100nF, learning that DC biased X7R's don't necessarily perform up to the cap value stated due to.... And the lead spacing, max voltage, etc... the list goes on and on..

But isn't that part of the DIY experience? It's a miracle that something that you build with your own hands actually works, even though you have no clue how it actually works? And if it doesn't, that's the invitation to learning new stuff. If you want a 100% success rate and no problem-solving, maybe it's better to buy it pre-made & ready-to-go from the store?

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by DanaFo » Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:41 pm

MikeDB wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:47 pm
discomicke wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 5:44 pm
For some builds the time spent on sourcing exceeds the time spent on building.
Heads of purchasing and manufacturing told me it often took more effort for them to source and build something than for R&D to design the thing in the first place !

Also bare in mind that a certain popular op-amp is currently on 6 month lead time in commercial volumes. That is bound to hit home builders in due course and then it will be even harder to find all the bits for a build.
Yeah I don't doubt it at all. No easy answers here, remember I'm just ranting! :bang:

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by Flounderguts » Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:58 pm

DanaFo wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:22 pm
I'm sensing some gatekeeping posts coming into the thread and I'm going to put it bluntly:

If you want your community to expand and encourage people to get into DIY and amateur engineering then make it a safe place to fail and grow. More people will make more money and eurorack will continue to evolve. I'm not learning any new skills by navigating obsolete BOMs because the cliff is so damn high and the time requirement is too great for a HOBBYIST. I'm not a pro designer and I'm not an engineer, I need small hills to climb and build confidence.

If you want to circle jerk cryptic IC values with your fellow gatekeepers then keep calling me a 1st world paint by numbers noob.
Blunt indeed.

Sorry you're feeling blocked by the "gatekeepers," but the reality is that DIY electronics is NOT EASY. For most people, just soldering decent joints and learning to place parts correctly has a steep learning curve. If that type of thing, where you can save a bit of money by doing what you call "paint-by-numbers" kits is your thing, then great! You're certainly not alone!

But the saga of your partial kits are not even the deep end of DIY synth hobby. And the people who want to help you have invested thousands of hours in learning to do some of this stuff. I would argue that learning to navigate obsolete BOMs and read part datasheets is an ESSENTIAL skill to learn if you want to DIY the more interesting bits of kit, and one that takes the engineers and designers just as much time to do as it takes you! In fact, they also need to spec the part, rather than just choosing an available version of it!

Hey, I get it! Faced with a part number like RFCP06032K3FTEA (which is for a resistor) and trying to figure out what else might be the same is daunting! And most of the electronics suppliers have different UI's and can be hard to navigate. AND there aren't many options when you're in Canada...especially with ruinous brokerage and shipping fees (I'm from Vancouver Island, I feel that pain)

This forum is 90% friendly, and we want to help. Some of us are crustier than others, but there aren't too many who are unkind. Having said that, if you want to sail on this boat, there is a certain amount of anchor pulling to do.
The good news is, we're happy to show you the best way to do that...but you have to use your own muscle.

Here are some truths about DIY synth stuff:
1. It's not necessarily cheaper than simply buying modules.
2. Parts are frustrating. Imaging troubleshooting a bit of gear that has a fake or misplaced part that you don't even know what it SHOULD look like.
3. DIYers bulk buy parts for good reasons
4. Expect difficult projects to take months, if not years!
5. Coding....you will probably have to learn to code.

And regarding obsolete parts, there are often workarounds, reissues, and hidden sources that we share only with our loved ones and hoard from the unbelievers. You might be surprised at how generous of time and parts Wigglers can be. Sometimes we even have them hiding in our stash!

Unfortunately, if you don't want to meet us halfway, by learning the part codes for the obsolete IC's, it makes it hard to help. It's like "help me find a pushrod for my Corvette!" "What year make and model is your 'Vette? I have some pushrods for a C4..." "What the hell is a C4? I just need Corvette stuff!"

For me, the entire point of having HOBBIES, is that they take TIME, and that I feel like I can do a better job than a professional (who is someone who knows which corners they can cut so that they can make money.) If you're in a hurry, maybe it would be better to take that time to earn more money in your actual profession so that you can buy the modules you want, rather than wasting time building them? I'm serious...I spend far more time *building* my modules than I do *using* them. Because for me, that's my happy place.

Good luck. And be careful of feeding the trolls.
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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by KSS » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:30 am

OP
What makes you assume that the designer is even using the same sources as you? They might ahve already sourced from other than your source, and only provide a BOM as a final act of charity. After all, they've already given much with the design itself.

And while you're speaking from your own perspective and telling us how we should be -and can be- more helpful and welcoming, it might be worth thinking about it from the designer side too. Because that's a person. Just. Like. You. Excepting they may have some more training or experience in an area different from yours. What about making it easy for *you* is -or should be- important to them?

Compared to say -for example- designing a new thing for themselves and others to build.

Like I said before, you have paint-by-numbers providers and you have other types. If you don't like the others, change your approach. Or stick to the paint-by-numbers.

Why should the lowest common demoninator be the only acceptable result? I prefer greatest common factors.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by KSS » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:34 am

What is really being ranted here is the difference between DIY and DI4M

Do. It. Yourself.

Do. It. For. Me.

Both are offered. Both are useful and valuable. They are NOT the same thing.
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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by KSS » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:50 am

joem wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:12 pm
Here's an idea that I don't think has been mentioned here yet here, and it's a technique I sometimes use as a builder: start looking into ordering all the parts before you even order your PCBs.
Best be sure the PCB is still available if you spend your time getting parts and then it's gone away. Depending on the project, some things expected -and planned- to be 'always' available, end up having a very short offer time. A recent project for 2600 modules is one good example.
Also, it can help to build up a supply of a lot of the basic common components
Please visit member mskala's northcoastsynthesis.com website and read his paper on this. It can be eye opening. While you're there read more of the amazingly good things he writes on *many* topics important to an SDIYer at *any* level of ability or experience. You may not always agree, but I'd bet you'll learn something. Whether beginner or expert. While you're there, you might want to buy one of his excellent modules. With superb supporting literature. <--I have no connection with mskala or his business. Just appreciate what he's put out in both products and information.

---------------------
In case it was missed before, the marketplace of euro has painted itself into the corner you're experiencing. Demanding smaller and shallower modules means also demanding modules which will have a less variable BOM solution. That's at least part of why other DIY formats like LW have gained followers.
Last edited by KSS on Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by cretaceousear » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:11 am

Lead spacing shouldn't be a problem - you can always have things connected with an extra tiny bit of wire or stand that component off the board. Yep, it's ugly. It's also easier on old style "plenty of space" boards - Euro format panel mount is so much less forgiving.
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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by socom93 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:43 am

It is true that learning to source is frustrating and is a big task while doing diy electronics.

When purchasing PCB, you should check first if it's a clone or a modern design. With clone you might end up with a lot of discontinued chips.

You have to remember that many designer are not that experienced either and don't know which components have been there for a while and will still be, or those that are at the end of the road. You can sometimes check the product life cycle of some components online.

Last, if a designer write the exact partnumber of a SMT resistor in the BOM, it is kind of crazy. It means he might only test his modules with this one and doesn't want to be responsible if another PN doesn't work, but it also means that he doesn't know what are the important specs on the resistor for it to work in his design.

My point is, starting DIY you might think that sellers are really expetienced but it's not always true, we are all still learning and always will be.
In case of need, you can just ask the designer or in here for substitute, you will always get an answer.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by JanneI » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:47 am

socom93 wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:43 am
Last, if a designer write the exact partnumber of a SMT resistor in the BOM, it is kind of crazy. It means he might only test his modules with this one and doesn't want to be responsible if another PN doesn't work, but it also means that he doesn't know what are the important specs on the resistor for it to work in his design.
The exact part number for all parts is needed for PCB-Assembly services, so that's probably the reason why even the resistors have those exact part numbers.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by socom93 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:19 pm

JanneI wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:47 am
socom93 wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:43 am
Last, if a designer write the exact partnumber of a SMT resistor in the BOM, it is kind of crazy. It means he might only test his modules with this one and doesn't want to be responsible if another PN doesn't work, but it also means that he doesn't know what are the important specs on the resistor for it to work in his design.
The exact part number for all parts is needed for PCB-Assembly services, so that's probably the reason why even the resistors have those exact part numbers.
It is a simple way to look professional. But it doesn't help people when building. In 99.9% of the case you just say ohm, tolerance and power rating and it will be easier for everyone to source their components.

For some ICs, i would agree with you by giving the exact part number, for example some cd4040 are buffered and some aren't so the exact PN is needed some times but not all components need that.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by KittenVillage » Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:06 pm

There was one PCB/Panel set I got that was a nightmare. They didn't release a BOM for it, but there was an assembly guide for the full kit. I had to put together a BOM for it myself based partially on the other BOMs they had, partly on photos of built modules. It was a nightmare and usually I'd say I learnt a lot but that one was more a frustrating pain in the ass than anything else. I've since come to the conclusion that that brand (not naming them) cares way more about selling full kits than pcb/panel sets.

I do enjoy sourcing. I had about 40 modules in process, some for months, and finished 20 last month. In total I've learned a lot, still not a full kit person partially due to my budget. I do look at the supplemental materials (bom, assembly, schematic, design files) that a brand or designer provides a lot more closely than when I was first starting out.


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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by JanneI » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:02 pm

socom93 wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:19 pm
It is a simple way to look professional. But it doesn't help people when building. In 99.9% of the case you just say ohm, tolerance and power rating and it will be easier for everyone to source their components.
Well, for through-hole I'd agree, but for SMD it's not a "bend those 5MM leads to fit 2,5MM holes" kind of thing. You need the exact part, like 0805 25V c0G 22nF. And for some simple diodes, there can be multiple footprints. I'd say it's better to give an exact part number, then you can at least see all the specs from the datasheet for finding substitutes.

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Re: diy partial-kit frustration rant

Post by mskala » Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:59 pm

Thanks for the plug, KSS. Something I'd add is that as a largely DIY vendor, I'd rather have people buy full kits because those give me the chance to make a small profit on the parts and get paid for the sourcing work I'd be doing anyway to support my own builds. The percentage margin on PCB+panel is better (that is, I could take a bigger percentage of the retail price as profit), but because PCB+panel sets have a lower price per unit, I would have to sell thousands of them to make a living, and the market isn't that big. There are also side issues like the price of shipping making it impractical to sell anything as small as a PCB+panel set internationally. The economics may be different for bigger companies or for hobbyists who aren't trying to use synth electronics as their main source of income, but in addition to providing what I think is a better product for the customers, "full kit" works a lot better for me on the business side.
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