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196  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Where to buy part in Toronto on: April 27, 2008, 09:40:00 pm
Oracle, looks like I can send you PMs, you should be able to respond to that, or send me an email.
197  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Where to buy part in Toronto on: April 22, 2008, 09:28:49 am
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Active Surplus on Queen St/Beverly is the classic place, OK for resistors, hardware, leds and the like. Supremetronics is next door, or used to be.
I used to work for their competitor, A1 Electronic Parts out in Etobicoke, sadly they too have gone down since they moved. I browse around when I'm in the area, but I don't know when I last bought something from them.

There's also Sayal, which feels like a mix between radioshack and a proper surplus store. Many people consider them the electronics equivalent to Princess Auto.
198  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Where to buy part in Toronto on: April 04, 2008, 11:44:06 am
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I ordered $25 of parts from Mouser once and FedEx charged a $50 "brokerage" fee.  I've read up since then and they do that all the time, typically 50-200% of the cost of the items.  That's why I'll never use FedEx again, not even domestically out of spite.
Hmm, generally I find FTN one of the cheapest customs brokers. Was this FedEx Express or FedEx Ground? They're two totally different monsters. I would expect this sort of thing on an international ground package without 'brokerage select'. If it was an express package, complain to mouser, they're supposed to be pre-clearing this stuff (green 'International Paperwork OK' sticker under the FTN label, not the other way round).
If you receive more than a couple of courier packages a month, it's worth opening either a FedEx Trade Network or UPS Brokerage account. Either courier will clear the other's packages and generally for much less than the one-shot fee you're charged without a registered broker. (There's some paperwork voodoo to let them clear Canada Post/Purolator, CanPar, and DHL packages.) Call either company and ask, accounts are almost always free since their POE fees are inversely proportional to their client base. If it's a problem for you, ask at the same time for a blanket package release allowing them to leave packages unattended, if you're routinely out; the fee for repeated delivery of a package with COD customs is shocking.

In the end, everyone is sure one courier is better than the other, just like everyone is sure either mouser or digikey is better, or Futurlec is a scam or legit, or ...

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Okay, that plus your low shipping rate really has my attention.  I'll send you a PM as soon as I figure out exactly what I want.
Honestly, I charge you what they charge me for shipping; you may ship by any Canada Post or FedEx service you like, it's your package, it's your money, why shouldn't you get to choose?
199  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Where to buy part in Toronto on: April 03, 2008, 12:53:34 pm
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ctually, how much is your shipping in Canada for one of those USB-boardino clone kits you posted about?  I really like the sound of them.  I just bought a pair of Diecimila boards (I got them yesterday), I wish I'd known about yours before I orderd, but I still might want one.
Shipping within Canada and the states is generally less than $3 for Canada Post or about $8-15 for FedEx. (The rest of the world is, um, less than $13 for post or who know how much for FedEx.)

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As far as the chips themselves, I do have an AVR-ISP so I don't care too much about pre-programmed, and I like the $2.58 price digikey has if I buy a rail of 25...it's just that shipping and customs will probably double that.
If you shop from Digikey.ca they handle sales tax, so there's no 'customs' to deal with.
You may find Mouser's flat rate FedEx shipping easier to swallow, they ship _anything_ to Canada via next-day FedEx for $15. There is generally no tax, duty, or handling on imports less than ~$100. Theres some magical formula to figure this out, but I can't remember.
Sadly, like most ICs you need to order a full tube to get a 'reasonable' price. IIRC, they're packaged in 25s, so the price/each at 25 units is roughly 1/2 the price/each under 25 units. 1/4.11, 25/2.58, and 2.39/100 is Atmel's recommended pricing, so everyone is roughly the same for small quantities.

If you're only looking for a hand-full of Atmega168s, send me a PM/email and I'll add a few extra onto my next Atmel order for you. I have to order them anyway.
200  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Where to buy part in Toronto on: April 02, 2008, 01:28:19 pm
Honestly, I haven't seen the '168 in any GTA stores; Arrow and Avnet carry them, but I'm fairly certain you can't walk in and order 1 of anything from them.

If you can tolerate a few days in the mail, I carry them pre-programmed.
201  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Better than MAX232! on: April 23, 2009, 12:48:59 pm
Important distinction, the MAX233 costs about $7.45 for single PDIPs.
The MAX232 costs $0.90 or less and four 1uF caps cost about $0.05 each - and the MAX233 is physically larger (20 pin vs 16 pin).
202  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Futurlec...  legit or scam? on: March 19, 2009, 08:24:23 pm
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I was wrong, missing a couple small parts.  F-it.
email their sales group. You'll typically get a reply from "Amp" saying they've shipped them out for you. They almost always do.
Check and make sure your parts are correct to. They routinely get the wrong decade of resistor or wrong style of component (eg N/O switches instead of N/C or CA displays instead of CC). They also routinely replace smaller strip-headers with big ones. If you complain they'll ship the smaller ones.

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At the beginning, the packages arrived with USPS stamps, but always 15 to 21 days after the order was placed.  My guess is that they send a bunch of packges in low cost carriers, then somebody in the US separates the boxes and stamps them for US domestic shipment.  As I increased the volume of each purchase, later orders arrived in boxes stamped directly using Thailand Postal Service.
The answer is actually much simpler, years ago, Futurlec used to have a North-American warehouse in the US somewhere, if things were in stock they shipped from there in a matter of days, if things weren't in stock, you got stuck waiting two weeks for them to come from Thailand then shipped.
Today they only operate out of Thailand (hence the Thai postal marks). If you order an awful lot of something though, it seems they have a warehouse/manufacturer in Vietnam.

A tip with Futurlec though, now that they've move to Thailand, the "express" shipping option is actually FedEx International Economy (2 days to most of the world). Assuming they have everything in stock, you usually get things in under 4 days.

I really wish they'd implement an actual inventory system though.
203  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Ordering IC samples on: March 19, 2009, 08:31:41 pm
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If a manufacturer starts to feel like the value is not worth the cost to them, they will change their policies.
Many manufactures have started charging nominal fees (usually $15) to have samples sent. Some will waive the cost if you're associated with a company or university they have a contract with.

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I made it clear that this is for my major and not just to tinker with. So for company I'm going to put Purdue electrical and computer engineering technology student.
Most manufacturers accept sample orders from students, some (esp maxim and ti) will actually let you sample non-samplable parts if you call them up as a student. I guess they see you as a future customer.

I know it doesn't apply here, but if you actually are a business, calling up your distributor (mouser and digikey count, even if they don't always care) and try asking them for samples. At least in Canada, it's the only way to get Linear and Atmel to send samples (unless you have a direct purchasing contract with them). NuHorizons has been known to help out students as well, even if you're not a customer.
204  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: Automotive Gauge Sin/Cos on: March 09, 2008, 09:37:05 pm
FindChips.com shows mouser and digikey both stock the CS8190 in PDIP and sell in single quantities.
Mouser: $3.95
Digikey: $4.24

If by "for a reasonable price" you mean "less than $3", I wouldn't expect much; ONSemi's budgetary price is $2.0933 so unless you're picking up 10,000 or more, expect some markup.
205  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bar Sport / Re: To any bored Developer: Smart Fan Controller on: March 09, 2008, 09:45:23 pm
It seems, you might be able to live with something much simpler, like the Microchip TC642 and it's friends (TC646, tc647, TC648, and TC649, as well as the B version of them). (I'm sure maxim and others make a similar dodad.)
The reference design in the datasheet is plainly simple but you'd need another way to monitor the fan speed. You should have no problem simply connecting the tach line from each fan to a motherboard fan connector and using the motherboards own hardware to read the fan speed.
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