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Topic: Chinese Clone vs DIY PCB (Read 2296 times) previous topic - next topic

ericfragola

I've been working on making a custom PCB. The part that gets me is when I try to upload my design to somewhere like SEEED, the cost for the ATmega328 alone is ~80% of the cost of a Chinese clone.

Are the chinese really producing in that large of a quantity to justify that price?
Or are they using knock off micro controllers?

pert

It's a question I've seen asked a lot but never definitively answered. Usually they will use acid to "decap" counterfeits of popular ICs and then show microscope images comparing the differences in the silicon to the real thing. For example, you can find these for the counterfeit FT232RL and nRF24L01+. I'm surprised that I've never seen this done with a working ATmega328P. The only one I've seen was from a batch of ATmega328P "slugs" that SparkFun bought:
https://www.sparkfun.com/news/384
but this was a different story in that these were non-working chips that were never intended to work as an ATmega328P. The suspiciously cheap Chinese chips seem to work fine but so do the counterfeit FT232RL and, to some extent, the nRF24L01+.

LMI1

Have you seen 1-2  €£$ devices from Ebay? I mean ready to use switchmode regulators, amplifiers and such. A single chip costs more than that. It is hard to believe that the seller gets some profit.

But there are surplus sales somewhere where they build most of electronics we use, maybe they get their parts there. And of course, large manufacturers get their parts at very low cost. 7£$€ is way too much for them, less than 1 is more likely.




hammy

Quantity makes a big discount  - if you order a 1000, instead of one it will be cheaper per unit .

To sort out , pick , wrap
And process the paperwork is a fixed cost - whether you buy one or a 1000. If you buy one,that's probably most of its price

LMI1

Quantity makes a big discount  - if you order a 1000, instead of one it will be cheaper per unit .

To sort out , pick , wrap
And process the paperwork is a fixed cost - whether you buy one or a 1000. If you buy one,that's probably most of its price

Exactly and if you are a phone maker or an other real large customer, you get your parts really cheap. That is if you plant to buy 100 000 or more.

lkcl

Are the chinese really producing in that large of a quantity to justify that price?
Or are they using knock off micro controllers?
hi eric, i've been following the chinese markets for about five to six years now (and just posted about doing an STM32L471 compatible variant of the Arduino Due).  the answer actually depends on the intransigence (pig-headed-ness or lack thereof) of the manufacturer.  ST and Freescale (now NXP) are perfectly fine about having totally different prices in Shenzhen / Taiwan than in the EU / US, particularly for the extremely popular ICs.  the STM32L471VG for example can be bought on taobao (the equivalent of ebay) for around $2, $2.50, when the "list" price is actually around the $5 mark.  the STM32F103VCT6 was available many years ago for $1 when it was at least $3 outside of Shenzhen.

Atmel (now Micron) on the other hand... are being bloody idiots.  they clearly flatly refuse to accept the realities of the chinese markets.  they *could* - like ST - just sell pretty much direct out of the foundry (or more to the point via an extremely closely trusted large distributor) at an extremely small but highly profitable markup, leaving the the shenzhen eco-system to choose the pricing as per market forces, but they choose instead to hike their prices and consequently are losing sales.  and risk having their processor cloned just as other people on this thread have mentioned.

ST at least sell at reasonable prices, but there's absolutely no way that you'll find - or should risk finding - a distributor willing to sell (and export) them to you in bulk.  you'll have to get your board actually made *in* Shenzhen in order to take advantage of the competitive pricing that's in that special economic zone: that's the way it works.  i can introduce you to some people if you're interested: please don't mess them about though as they're very very busy, and took me a long time to find: only contact them if you're serious, have everything (gerbers, BOM, etc) ready and 100% complete. 

bobcousins

ST and Freescale (now NXP) are perfectly fine about having totally different prices in Shenzhen / Taiwan than in the EU / US, particularly for the extremely popular ICs.  the STM32L471VG for example can be bought on taobao (the equivalent of ebay) for around $2, $2.50, when the "list" price is actually around the $5 mark.  the STM32F103VCT6 was available many years ago for $1 when it was at least $3 outside of Shenzhen.
I suspected that was the case, the desire to get a foothold in the vast Chinese market creates low pricing. I wondered if it was down to gray shifts or remarking, most of the chips are usable and not dead slugs or hacked counterfeits.

However, I think regardless of pricing strategy, popularity breeds clones. There is a clone of STM32 by Gigadevices (GD32), and also Atmega clones from LogicGreen.

It seems an office in Shenzen is the way to go into cheap production, which I see many of the Kickstarters doing.
Please ask questions in the forum so everyone can benefit. PM me for paid work.

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