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I was at my favourite supplier on the way home and he told me this salutary story:

Seems a few uni students were in the shop a while ago, buying parts for a project. Another punter offered to do the work for them, for a suitable financial consideration. The students accepted.

Unbeknownst to them all, two further customers, who heard the whole exchange, were lecturers at the same uni.... Those students were expelled, and the guy's work was traced back to so 50 other projects.

Justice prevailed.
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Seems a few uni students were in the shop a while ago, buying parts for a project. Another punter offered to do the work for them, for a suitable financial consideration. The students accepted.

More money than sense.  Which confuses me.  When I was in college I was unaware of anyone who could afford to out-source their homework.  Money was needed for rent, food, gasoline, utilities, books, tuition, a never ending stream of irrelevant fees, and, what was left, beer.  In the U.S. college cost has risen significantly faster than inflation #.  How is it that so many students have money for out-sourcing?  Are parents overindulging their offspring more?


# Apparently, with a significant decline in quality.
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That is a classic case of kids going to Uni because Mum wants them to get a degree in something, anything, just so long as they are not around the house all day!!!

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I was at my favourite supplier on the way home and he told me this salutary story:

Seems a few uni students were in the shop a while ago, buying parts for a project.
You mean that you still have independent suppliers with physical shops in S.Africa!?!?
You're lucky.
We have one chain here, Maplins, with physical shops. All the rest are on-line, virtual stores.
The last independent physical electronics parts shop near me closed last year because the owner hung himself in the shop. I was told that this was because he was losing money. As far as I know, there are no longer any independent physical electronics parts shops in the whole of London.

Maplins employ staff that know nothing about electronics. I went into my local branch and asked, at the components counter, for a 12 V regulator. The assistant came back, from elsewhere in the shop, with a box that appeared to be a fitting for a car!
"NO. I want a 7812."
"What's that?"
"A three pin integrated circuit."
"What does it look like?"
I didn't want to confuse him by telling him "It looks like a TIP120".  smiley
After about 30 minutes of this back and forth, he eventually found some.
It doesn't inspire confidence when asking, for instance, about a component's parameters!
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You mean that you still have independent suppliers with physical shops in S.Africa!?!?

Yep, I use these three.  The first one is robotics and stuff and is close to my office; you'll see Arduino branded stuff there and lots of Sparkfun / Adafruit / Pololu; the others are more general electronics and are 10 minutes drive from home, literally round the corner from each other.

For comparison, it's about 18ZAR to the GBP right now.

https://www.robotics.org.za/

http://rse.apexmedia.co.za/

http://www.mantech.co.za/

There was one about 500 metres from my home, but it burned down last year.



« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 12:26:27 am by JimboZA » Logged

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After about 30 minutes of this back and forth, he eventually found some.

Consider yourself lucky - my nearest Maplins doesn't do discrete components. PA systems, fog machines, yes. Resistors in packs, yes. 7805? No way!
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In most cases, an online retailer just makes sense.  It's hard enough keeping prices and inventory competitive when you're selling to a whole country (or continent or planet.)  However, I was reminded of the disadvantages to this approach when I was shopping for solder paste.  US Postal Service restricts sending stuff like that (and coin cell batteries...) via air mail.  Shipping to my state via one of the major carriers (FedUps) would start at $40.

Now, given that solder paste has a short shelf life and is sold to a fairly niche market, how likely is it that I'll find that in a local shop?  If we still used brick-n-mortar stores as primary source, maybe non-zero.  But now?  Nuh uh.
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Don't you have Radio Shack?
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Sometimes an example says more than many times as many words.

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We did.  Not sure if there are any left.  The two I knew of are gone.

While I would assume you could pick up a roll of solder there, does RS actually carry solder paste?  I can't imagine there would be enough SMD-savvy makers out there to keep the stock fresh in any given town.  I still kinda see it as the place for cordless phones and cheap RC cars.  (OK, and an Arduino or two.)
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In most cases, an online retailer just makes sense.  It's hard enough keeping prices and inventory competitive when you're selling to a whole country (or continent or planet.)  However, I was reminded of the disadvantages to this approach when I was shopping for solder paste.  US Postal Service restricts sending stuff like that (and coin cell batteries...) via air mail.
If you bought it from China, would they know what was in the packet? Shhhh!  Everything I buy from there is marked as 'gift'.   smiley-wink
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Shipping to my state via one of the major carriers (FedUps) would start at $40.
Tell me about it! I needed a US$3 item from Adafruit. Local suppliers didn't stock it. I could have bought it from Adafruit, but the shipping to the UK was another $12! In the end I managed to get one from China with free shipping for about $2.50.
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Now, given that solder paste has a short shelf life and is sold to a fairly niche market, how likely is it that I'll find that in a local shop?  If we still used brick-n-mortar stores as primary source, maybe non-zero.  But now?  Nuh uh.
Another advantage of independent bricks and mortar shops is that the owner/staff knew what they were talking about and you could get good advice there. That's not as easy over the intertubes.
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We did.  Not sure if there are any left.  The two I knew of are gone.

While I would assume you could pick up a roll of solder there, does RS actually carry solder paste?
I don't shop RS all that often, particularly since I moved offices, and it isn't on the way home, I decided to check.  RS has two different solder pastes listed in the web inter-tubes.  There are 3 RS's still operating within 10 miles of my home, and the web claims that the 2 oz. Non-Spill Rosin Soldering Paste Flux is at each of the 3 RS, while the SP-30 Acid Paste Flux 2 oz. is online only.
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After about 30 minutes of this back and forth, he eventually found some.

Consider yourself lucky - my nearest Maplins doesn't do discrete components. PA systems, fog machines, yes. Resistors in packs, yes. 7805? No way!
Are you certain? There's usually a counter at the back of the shop with the individual components hidden away behind it. I now usually look up their product number on-line before I go there. It doesn't always help though! I wanted 2 Mtrs of 6 core cable. They knew what I wanted, and they knew they had it in stock, but they had to look through several dozen reels of cable before they found it.  smiley-mad smiley-mad
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We did.  Not sure if there are any left.  The two I knew of are gone.

While I would assume you could pick up a roll of solder there, does RS actually carry solder paste?
I don't shop RS all that often, particularly since I moved offices, and it isn't on the way home, I decided to check.  RS has two different solder pastes listed in the web inter-tubes.  There are 3 RS's still operating within 10 miles of my home, and the web claims that the 2 oz. Non-Spill Rosin Soldering Paste Flux is at each of the 3 RS, while the SP-30 Acid Paste Flux 2 oz. is online only.
Flux is not the same as solder paste (used for SMDs). Solder paste has powdered solder in it, flux doesn't.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 12:27:27 am by Henry_Best » Logged

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I was thinking flux, not paste. They have flux.

These guys ship free and I always get my stuff in 20 to 30 days.
http://www.dx.com/s/solder+paste
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I find it harder to express logic in English than in Code.
Sometimes an example says more than many times as many words.

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Hi, I live in a rural city, 100kms from Melbourne, we have one independent electronics outlet, they are a small run development and assembly company, I worked there for 3 years.
They have apart from there own line of parts gadgets, they represent a range of other suppliers, Jaycar, Altronics, which includes Arduino clones such as freetronics. A good component base because they supply the local educational facilities in the state.
The prices are reasonable, they are online and even their Arduino stuff is not to badly priced.
Other wise we use E14, RS or Altronics, Jaycar.

Tom.... smiley
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 04:22:26 pm by TomGeorge » Logged

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