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Topic: So why are there no good electronics shops? (Read 5939 times) previous topic - next topic

cr0sh

Another reason why there isn't much around is because the vast majority of the manufacturing has moved to Asia, particularly China. Hopefully Terry King will chime in here soon; he could tell you about places he's visited there, where there are entire expansive multi-level buildings filled will tables and booths of vendors selling any and every kind of part, component or assembly you can imagine for pennies.

Think about it - Foxconn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn), which makes tons of products for everybody - has their main plant in Shenzhen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenzhen) for a reason: That's where the parts are. You go on ebay, find an electronics seller out of china or HK, 9 times out of 10 they are going to be located in Shenzhen.

Shenzhen isn't an electronics shop - it is an electronics city. It is to electronics what Detroit was to cars in the 1950s (even more so, when it gets right down to it). If Apple needed a new part for their boards, they could let Foxconn know and in likely only a few hours (that's only barely an exaggeration) the assembly line would be rolling with the new part (Foxconn could go around the corner and get it almost instantly).

I really can't impress what I mean here. There are only a few places like this in the world, and all of them are in Asia. Imagine something like the Mall of America in scale, filled with nothing but electronics, components, etc - all at dirt level prices (or at least wholesale). Now make that thing the size of a city. Imagine being able to spend a day just looking for stuff, and never seeing it all. Imagine 20 story buildings filled with electronic part vendors.

America wanted it cheap. This is what we have now. The majority of the population couldn't care less how something works or how they could build it themselves, just so long as they can get it cheaper. Always cheaper. So that manufacturing was moved off-shore. The enclosures, the hardware, the electronics - all that was moved off-shore so that we could save a dollar or two.

Now we complain about the loss of manufacturing jobs. We can't have it both ways. You have to have a population that is interested in knowing how to build things in order so that they will build them and can build them. You also have to have a population that is willing to pay the prices for that home grown product. If you want to pay those people good money (or they want to make good money) - those same people need to be willing to pay higher prices for those same goods.

Why so many can't see this issue, I don't know - but that is part (perhaps a large part) of why you don't see "good electronics shops" here in America: The manufacturing of those parts is not here, and the population in general doesn't care (yet they scream about there not being any manufacturing jobs - for some reason, there is a logical disconnect).
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Jack Christensen

Back in the day (1970s) we had a couple fairly serious electronics shops in town, in addition to Radio Schlock (which may have been Tandy Radio Shack at that time).

But even then, while you could drop into these places and get the odd resistor, capacitor, etc., they weren't competitive on price or on breadth of inventory. So most of the "good stuff" came via mail order, either from regular distributors or from surplus places.

Anyone remember Poly Paks? Or what the Digi-Key catalog looked like back then?

MCP79411/12 RTC ... "One Million Ohms" ATtiny kit ... available at http://www.tindie.com/stores/JChristensen/

wizdum


snip


Actually, due to all the regulation here, the difference is more than a few dollars. If an iPad 2 were made in America, it would cost $1,144.02 USD, instead of $400 USD.

The funny thing is, we keep increasing wages so that people can afford to buy this crap, but the wage increases jack up the prices of things (that are made in America) that people want to buy.
"Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation."

Electronic props for Airsoft, paintball, and laser tag -> www.nightscapetech.com

retrolefty

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Anyone remember Poly Paks? Or what the Digi-Key catalog looked like back then?


Sure do. I wonder who was responsible for taking Digi-Key from a small hobbyist center firm that advertized mostly in hobby electronics magazines to an industrial powerhouse that supplies the whole industry? Maybe they went from a private company to a public company under some guidance from Romeny type?  ;)

Poly Paks were cool to read about in the mags. Many of the Asian E-bay electronic sellers still remind me of that kind of bundling and assortment offers.

Lefty

Osgeld

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an industrial powerhouse that supplies the whole industry?


oh I wouldnt go quite that far, we use digikey for small quantity items (like reels of 5000) for prototypes and they quickly hit the radio shack argument, great when you need stuff fairly fast, but you pay for it. Support wise, while places like arrow and avnet show up regularly to make sure we are getting what we need, buying us lunches and sprinkling us with eval-boards, digikey shorted us a significant quantity of LED's ... 4 phone calls and 2 hours after the van load of demos left they finally showed up a week too late (and I have never met a DK rep).

for small fry people like most of us, they are pretty nice to have around, but the whole industry? meh.
http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php?action=unread;boards=2,3,4,5,67,6,7,8,9,10,11,66,12,13,15,14,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,86,87,89,1;ALL

retrolefty


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an industrial powerhouse that supplies the whole industry?


oh I wouldnt go quite that far, we use digikey for small quantity items (like reels of 5000) for prototypes and they quickly hit the radio shack argument, great when you need stuff fairly fast, but you pay for it. Support wise, while places like arrow and avnet show up regularly to make sure we are getting what we need, buying us lunches and sprinkling us with eval-boards, digikey shorted us a significant quantity of LED's ... 4 phone calls and 2 hours after the van load of demos left they finally showed up a week too late (and I have never met a DK rep).

for small fry people like most of us, they are pretty nice to have around, but the whole industry? meh.


I guess one would have to research the total sales figures for Arrow, Avnet, Digikey, and others to see who the how they rank up. But I'm too lazy to do that I guess.  ;)

Oracle

There's an electronics store near me I used to get most of my parts at 20 years ago, they have aisles full of components in little baggies.  Last time I was there the baggies were covered in dust, the labels were fading, and they still want $25 for a PICF84 (far better, newer pin-compatible chips are about $2 online).  I can buy a bag of 5 resistors there for the same price as 100 online with free shipping.  I'd probably be willing to shop there when I don't feel like waiting 3 weeks for a part, but they don't seem to have anything newer than about 2002.

They're always empty and I don't know how they stay in business (though they still and always have supplied parts for industrial customers too).

Boffin1

10 years back we lived in a tiny village at the southernmost tip of Africa ( L'Agulhas )  at the end of a dead end road ,  260 kM from the nearest city ( Cape Town ) , and 86 kM from the nearest main road.

RS Components had an arrangement with a courier company  for delivery anywhere in South Africa at a fixed price, and one day I ordered a small plastic bush for something - 2 bucks worth I think -  and a few days later the courier van pulled up to deliver the little envelope.
Thats about a five hour round trip.

I dont know if they still do this, but I see RS have closed down there shop in Cape Town !
With my mobile phone I can call people and talk to them -  how smart can you get ?

Graynomad

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I dont know if they still do this,

I doubt it.

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I see RS have closed down there shop in Cape Town !

Wonder why :)

_____
Rob
Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

Boffin1

Yes,  you just cant get good service since the recession :-)
With my mobile phone I can call people and talk to them -  how smart can you get ?

Graynomad

Recession, what recession? ... oh hang on, most of the world had a financial crisis a couple of years ago eh?

______
Rob
Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

Boffin1

With my mobile phone I can call people and talk to them -  how smart can you get ?

Graynomad

No, most of that flew right over our heads here in Oz, thanks mostly to the Chinese wanting all of our minerals.

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Walkabout Creek

I've been to the pub they used in the movie, it was moved out to a more major road because it's original location was too far off the tourist track.

______
Rob
Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

wizdum


Recession, what recession? ... oh hang on, most of the world had a financial crisis a couple of years ago eh?

______
Rob


Nice, I thought you would have been hit hard due to the dip in tourism. I know it hit us hard in Maine.
"Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation."

Electronic props for Airsoft, paintball, and laser tag -> www.nightscapetech.com

Boffin1

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it was moved out to a more major road because it's original location was too far off the tourist track.


That takes away a bit of authenticity perhaps ( for those who dont recognise Walkabout Creek and its pub - it was in the movie Crocodile Dundee )

So the massive road train trucks going by was a bit far fetched then :-)

Glad you didnt have the recession, or perhaps your life style made you miss it !
With my mobile phone I can call people and talk to them -  how smart can you get ?

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