Author Topic: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth  (Read 4968 times)

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Offline amspire

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Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« on: June 23, 2012, 01:25:43 am »
Congratulations Chris and Dave on the 100th episode!

Just had two suggestions about the Eevblog booth for Electronex.

http://www.electronex.com.au/

First is you invite Eevblog members to send in any boards or kits they have done - particularly open source ones.  I was thinking something like a big map of the world with the boards mounted to show where they came from. A few selected projects can be set up so they can be demonstrated, along with the uCurrent, prototype USB power supply, etc. A webpage could be set up with links to all the projects on display.

The second idea is a lot more ambitious. We set up an Eevblog group project that is very modular and with a very tight time scale.

What I was thinking was a modern curve tracer for transistors, fets, etc and perhaps opamps.

The construction would be a number of standard sized modules all mounted on a flat sheet - could be wood or a PCB motherboard - with a perspex sheet over the top. The reason I was thinking of a curve tracer is that they have almost disappeared as a piece of hardware, but they are brilliant for visualizing how devices work. Also many older parts have almost no specs. It is not uncommon to see a one sheet spec sheet for a transistor.

Looking at the fundamentals feels to me to be a big part of the Eevblog. It is why we get so many people learning electronics here and I have always thought that is great. A device to look at characteristic curves for devices, and something that most of us could afford to build sounds like something in line with the Eevblog.

The project would probably be Arduino based and the plots would be done on a PC via the USB interface. Could even use a web browser for the interface. The testing would be single shot short interval, rather then continuous like the older tracers used to do so that the device under test never gets hot.

Neat prototype hand-wired boards would be allowed given the short time scale. With the modular design, we would just have to make sure some main modules work, and then more ambitious modules - like capacitance measuring modules - can be added if they are ready. Keeping the design modular encouraged people to continue to evolve better modules.

Dumb idea?

But then again, maybe Eevblog members may want to give it a go knowing it is probably at least a 50% chance it will not be ready in time. If the initial overall design is right, then individuals would end up working on a single specific module - like a relay matrix board, a programmable current source, a programmable voltage source, voltage measuring board, current measuring board, an AC source board (could use one of those cheap function gen boards from China), and so on. They would probably have about a month to get a module working from scratch. A team could work on a module, which would help to ensure that something is working by the end of the month.  A sponsor would be a big help.

It would need volunteers to manage it to take the pressure off Dave, and the micro programming and PC Software would have to be up and running probably by mid July (nothing too fancy - just functional). Prototype modules would need to be done by mid of August, and Dave would need perhaps five copies of each working module. I am going to say up front that programming drives me nuts, so I would stay clear of that area.

Believe me I do know exactly everything that could go wrong, and this would have to be done as an Eevblog group project, not just a Dave project. I would understand it completely if Dave wants to have nothing to do with taking a prototype device to Electronex. The thing that would be on show would be the Eevblog community that Dave has set up, rather then the tracer as a product. If it is a bit rustic, that could be a welcome relief for visitors suffering from UPO (Unaffordable Product Overload) from the other booths.

If it is too ambitious, anyone with a simpler idea for a community project?

Richard.
 

Offline TerminalJack505

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2012, 05:13:06 am »
That's a good idea.  If we can get enough volunteers I'm sure we can hack something out in time for the conference.  I imagine that the biggest problem would be just agreeing on what to do and how to do it.  The "getting it done" part--with the understanding that it will only be prototype quality--should be easy enough once agreement has been reached.  (The sooner, the better, obviously.)

I'm a software developer so I can help out in that area.  I have over 20 years experience in Windows and *nix development.  My programming language of choice is C++ but I know several other languages.  I can do host-side (user application) and/or device-side (MCU) development.  I also know VHDL if we need to make use of CPLDs or FPGAs.  My web development skills are a bit lacking, however, so I might struggle a bit with a web-based application.  It's nothing I can't learn, however.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2012, 08:19:35 am »
I kinda like the collaborative project idea in principle, it's like what Makerbot did recently with their clock thing:
http://www.makerbot.com/blog/2012/01/02/makerbot-clock-project/

But I don't think a curve tracer is the right kind of project.
It actually doesn't need to be anything useful etc, probably just novel and/or fun.

In honestly don't know how much time I'll have at my "booth" over the two days, as I have to not only formally blog the whole event, but wander around and see it myself, and chat to all the people who come up to me etc.

Dave.
 

Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 09:12:41 am »
Get some booth babes to promote your uCurrent project.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2012, 09:27:28 am »
When you're away from the booth have some of your vids running on a big screen.

Live teardowns would be good, but need to be short if on the booth as opposed to a theatre session. Maybe contact other exhibitors for donations.

Maybe set up all the multimeters you own in a line/wall/pyramid, connected together displaying something interesting.

Random rant challenge in response to visitor supplied subjects.
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2012, 10:07:23 am »
Does Dave have that big a booth Mike?  I like the idea of a screen running all of the Video's, preferably with a set of speakers  close by turned up just enough to hear close by. Or you just connect a low power OHL FM stereo transmitter to an unused in your area channel and use the crowd's phones as the audio section. No extra noise from the speakers then, and you can hear better. Most feature phones have a FM radio nowdays, though you might want to rig up a local wifi hotspot and an audio streamer for them to use smartphones.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2012, 10:13:56 am »
One thing you should do is print up some small cards with the website address on it for people to take away.
Maybe a QR code poster for these new-fangled smartphone thingies.

As regards booth decoration - a wall of a4/a3 prints of the most  'interesting' screenshots would be good.


BTW Dave have they given you a size yet? I have seen "booths" at shows that were literally only big enough for one person to stand in...

Have you asked if you're allowed to sell ucurrents and all the other products you'll doubtless have finished by then  ;)
 
« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 10:17:14 am by mikeselectricstuff »
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2012, 11:06:00 am »
I have no idea about the booth size or type, but the organiser mentioned they would put up posters of some sort.
I think a large TV with constantly running videos while I'm not there is a given, will see if the organiser can supply one.

I like the idea of some form of wandering audio solution. I could wear my wireless mic all day and people could tune into a small local FM transmitter if they wanted. I could also stream the audio live online - listen to Dave as he wanders around the sow all day!  ::)

Dave.
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2012, 06:44:57 pm »
Make sure of what they are going to provide before you arrive. You don't want to be left with a dark unlit space and some A4 black and white printed sheets that just say EEVBlog. Try and get hold of a couple of biggish monitors / TVs to stream your shows - better take copies of videos with you though, Internet access can be iffy in big exhibition halls.  I would show a reel of the PSU development videos.

The posters should not just be advertising the name and what you are, but possibly with a view to blagging gear from other stand owners ("Get your product seen by X thousand views every month" etc).

On a similar note, try and get hold of a list of other stand holders and approach them with a view to doing reviews or even tear-downs of their gear live. It would be great if you could get a plot next to a college / uni or other educational institution. Its all free advertising for their product, which is what they are there for! For you it means video footage for YouTube and possibly free gear.

Definitely have the MakerBot doing things. People love to see stuff actually working, especially when they make interesting stepper motor noises. Beeps and flashing lights attract people like moths to a flame!

Business cards. Plain ones and flashy ones. Plain ones saying something like "Dave Jones. EEVBlog. Electronics design engineer. <url> <phone no>". Flashy ones with the EEVBlog logo prominent.

A fake work bench with various test gear on it (away from public hands and check on insurance though!). Scatter prototype PCBs and so on around to make it look like you are using it. Maybe an array of multimeters along the back?


Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2012, 11:09:04 pm »
Do you have enough multimeters to arrange them on the wall to spell out EEVBLOG ?
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Uncle Vernon

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2012, 12:05:41 am »
In honestly don't know how much time I'll have at my "booth" over the two days, as I have to not only formally blog the whole event, but wander around and see it myself, and chat to all the people who come up to me etc.

That's the problem with these shows and with exhibiting as a small player. Keeping a booth manned for the duration is a royal pita, and in your situation visitors will be peed of seeing anyone other than the masthead to chat to,unless you can coerce Chris or Jeff to muck in with you.

With 20-20 hindsight I found having a booth as a small player was a mistake, I attracted more leads than I could possibly handle for the following year and I'm sure I missed a lot of the best ones while trapped with the inevitable professional time wasters that also populate these events. But results vary according to what you are aiming to flog, an Eevblog stand will be a very different one to an Altium one. The great thing about these events is that many of your prospective targets and customers will be manning other booths. It's a sales and marketing smorgasbord so you need to not be stand bound for the duration.

I'd follow the above advice about copious quantities of (appropriate) business cards, leaflets and promo material, I do this now even as a visitor. As for displays avoid anything that requires constant monitoring and attention.  We all have to pee, eat and scream alone and the booth should be able to function unmanned for short periods.  The other consideration is scale,  you need maximise every square mm of booth space.  A banner or display that seem huge in the office soon looks tiny in those big barns with their wide aisles.

Most of all have fun! See you there, unless you see me first!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 12:08:17 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2012, 12:38:40 am »
That's the problem with these shows and with exhibiting as a small player. Keeping a booth manned for the duration is a royal pita, and in your situation visitors will be peed of seeing anyone other than the masthead to chat to,unless you can coerce Chris or Jeff to muck in with you.

I doubt I'd be able to keep it manned greater than half the time. I'll be contracted to blog the show itself, so have to get that done.
Although given that it's a two day event, I can spread the work across two days I guess, or cram it all into half a day or whatever.

Quote
With 20-20 hindsight I found having a booth as a small player was a mistake, I attracted more leads than I could possibly handle for the following year and I'm sure I missed a lot of the best ones while trapped with the inevitable professional time wasters that also populate these events. But results vary according to what you are aiming to flog, an Eevblog stand will be a very different one to an Altium one. The great thing about these events is that many of your prospective targets and customers will be manning other booths. It's a sales and marketing smorgasbord so you need to not be stand bound for the duration.

At the moment I don't have a real aim for the booth, as I'm not paying for it, it was the organisers idea.
So I have to think of how best to utilise it now.

Dave.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2012, 09:44:52 am »
Silly idea for a booth gadget for when you're a way....
DMM connected to a capacitor. When you go away you charge the capacitor.
There is a sign that says "Dave will be back in "<insert DMM here> "Volts"
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2012, 09:53:13 am »
DMM connected to a capacitor. When you go away you charge the capacitor.
There is a sign that says "Dave will be back in "<insert DMM here> "Volts"

I like it!
Maybe a screen with some sort of tracker that shows my current location  ;D

Dave.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Amp Hour #100 - Ideas for the Electronex Show Booth
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2012, 11:35:01 am »
DMM connected to a capacitor. When you go away you charge the capacitor.
There is a sign that says "Dave will be back in "<insert DMM here> "Volts"

I like it!
Maybe a screen with some sort of tracker that shows my current location  ;D

Dave.
Board with a moveable pointer :
Dave is currently :
1) Wandering aimlessly around the show trying to get someone to talk on camera
2) Taking the piss out of a lame product
3) Trying to take apart something on another stand before anyone notices
4) Gone to find somewhere to charge camera batteries
5) In the dunny
6) Trying to find a useable internet connection
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
Day Job: Mostly LEDs
 


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