Author Topic: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)  (Read 5736 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #50 on: October 24, 2017, 08:58:39 pm »
Be happy you aren't one of those folks graduating with $100,000s in college debt who has never had any practical experience, with both the government and parents breathing down their necks for them to get a high paying job so they can start paying back that debt. (which is non-discharge-able unlike the debts incurred by multinational corporations who get bailed out because they are claimed to be "too big to fail".)

Did you see the video where they were asking them (recent grads still in their graduation gowns) how one would hook up a light bulb?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 09:00:33 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline fonograph

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 369
  • Country: at
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #51 on: October 24, 2017, 09:17:19 pm »
The above is very true - I forgot the software  :palm:

   https://youtu.be/i8ju_10NkGY   >:D
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 09:18:53 pm by fonograph »
 

Offline Awesome14

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Banned!
  • Posts: 192
  • Country: us
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #52 on: October 24, 2017, 10:18:38 pm »
Be happy you aren't one of those folks graduating with $100,000s in college debt who has never had any practical experience, with both the government and parents breathing down their necks for them to get a high paying job so they can start paying back that debt. (which is non-discharge-able unlike the debts incurred by multinational corporations who get bailed out because they are claimed to be "too big to fail".)

Did you see the video where they were asking them (recent grads still in their graduation gowns) how one would hook up a light bulb?
cdev, I don't know where you get the 100,000s in debt idea for a college education. It appears you're not from the United States, so that must apply to some other nation's schools. Could you please state which nation you are referring to.

When I graduated I was about 10,000USD in debt for student loans. The remainder of my tuition was paid by government grants (don't have to be paid back; free money). University education is not the only way to go, but it is the best way, and the way most electronics professionals choose.

If I wasn't educated in physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering; I doubt whether I would have picked them up on my own. Maybe you were unable to get a college education. But don't tell everyone else that uneducated in the way to go.

Take your ridiculous prejudices and misinformation about getting an education somewhere else, because you're not helping anyone! Anyone in the United States can get a college education paid for by the government, and incur debt that can be paid back within a few years.

Non-citizens are a different story. But they're not entitled to government education programs in the U.S., because they're not Americans. Not everyone can be an American. 
Anything truly new begins as a thought.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 8158
  • Country: 00
  • Display aficionado
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2017, 10:32:24 pm »
cdev, I don't know where you get the 100,000s in debt idea for a college education. It appears you're not from the United States, so that must apply to some other nation's schools. Could you please state which nation you are referring to.

When I graduated I was about 10,000USD in debt for student loans. The remainder of my tuition was paid by government grants (don't have to be paid back; free money). University education is not the only way to go, but it is the best way, and the way most electronics professionals choose.

If I wasn't educated in physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering; I doubt whether I would have picked them up on my own. Maybe you were unable to get a college education. But don't tell everyone else that uneducated in the way to go.

Take your ridiculous prejudices and misinformation about getting an education somewhere else, because you're not helping anyone! Anyone in the United States can get a college education paid for by the government, and incur debt that can be paid back within a few years.

Non-citizens are a different story. But they're not entitled to government education programs in the U.S., because they're not Americans. Not everyone can be an American.
How long ago did you graduate? It's no secret that the cost of US education has skyrocketed the past few years, and debt followed suit. Apparently, a student has, on average, a deb of close to $40000 upon graduation. As recent as 10 or 20 years ago, that was just a fraction.

Note that I'm not saying that you shouldn't get a degree, but it's good to be realistic about the situation, especially considering the conditions that are attached to these debts.
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10274
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #54 on: October 24, 2017, 10:59:03 pm »

Question is, how much would I have to spend to setup a lab capable of doing the most common freelance jobs?

I'm just not seeing WHY someone would need to spend so much on equipment. Maybe a more sophisticated oscilloscope? But which projects require such a piece of equipment?
.. but of course If you can't answer those questions yourself, you almost certainly don't yet have sufficient skills to make a living freelancing.

Who would hire a freelancer who doesn't even know what tools they need to do the job?

Precisely.

But I'd add that if someone has sufficient experience to be a freelancer, they also probably know what they don't need because they can find a way to workaround the lack of it, at least until they manage to hire or buy the tool.

When I worked in contract R&D, the company didn't like buying equipment; they preferred the contract to include the cost of the equipment.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10274
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #55 on: October 24, 2017, 11:10:30 pm »
I was under the impression that an electronics lab setup would cost around $1,000 according to the eevblog video.

But recently ive talked to someone who says he is spending $6k+ on a lab.

Question is, how much would I have to spend to setup a lab capable of doing the most common freelance jobs?

I'm just not seeing WHY someone would need to spend so much on equipment. Maybe a more sophisticated oscilloscope? But which projects require such a piece of equipment?

Clients don't give contracts to a lab. They give contracts to someone that can demonstrate their experience by way of previously successful completed projects.

So you should first ensure that you have completed work under your belt, and that requires very little equipment.

I built my first microprocessor (6800+TTL) from scratch using a multimeter,some switches and LEDs. I have to admit to taking it to university to use a scope for 10 minutes, to verify that the critical non-TTL 6800 clock had good signal integrity. That is the equivalent of hiring something I couldn't afford.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 11:13:47 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 03:38:55 am by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline sairfan1

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 106
  • Country: ca
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #57 on: October 25, 2017, 02:41:17 am »
Sorry for question on a question, just wanted to know what kind of projects you guys do as a freelancer.
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #58 on: October 25, 2017, 01:49:22 pm »
Some are very worried about our younger people's expectations. I really cant talk about this - its outside of the scope of this web site.

Think a bit about supply and demand and how it works.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 01:56:30 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline rhb

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2677
  • Country: us
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #59 on: October 25, 2017, 10:59:07 pm »
University education has become a scam preying upon adolescents and their parents.

I was asked to serve on the external advisory board of the geoscience department where I got my MS.  Not one of the professors responded to any emails attempting to start a conversation about what math skills certain specialties required.  After 3 years of this farce, I came to the conclusion the only interest I had in common with the department was my money.   The only reason I'd been asked to serve was the expectation I'd be so flattered I'd give them my money.

Education is important.  Woe unto those who ignore the need.  How you get it is less important.  I've seen high school hobby projects on HackaDay that I'd hire the person in a heartbeat as an engineer and send him to school if there was something he didn't know that I thought important.  Handsome is as handsome does.

One of the really nice things about the oil industry was I worked with people who had degrees in English, music and probably every other subject imaginable.  No one cared about what pieces of paper you had.  They cared about what you could do.

To return to the OP's question.  Get an Arduino kit and a DMM and see what you can do.  You'll find out what else you  need pretty quickly.  You might also find you don't like the work.  Not everyone does.
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 30124
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #60 on: October 25, 2017, 11:16:12 pm »
I was under the impression that an electronics lab setup would cost around $1,000 according to the eevblog video.
But recently ive talked to someone who says he is spending $6k+ on a lab.
Question is, how much would I have to spend to setup a lab capable of doing the most common freelance jobs?

Depends entirely upon what you are doing.
You could be freelancing doing mostly embedded software, in which case your "lab" is a PC, a desk, and some embedded debuggers.
You buy gear as you need them, don'
t make the mistake of setting up a lab before you know what work you will be doing.
 

Online TheUnnamedNewbie

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 836
  • Country: 00
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #61 on: October 26, 2017, 06:25:35 am »
If you are doing true freelancing, you should not think of equipment as having a cost, but think of how long with will take for it to pay back it' s investment in the form of time savings.

Think of how much your time costs you (And your clients). As far as common rates go, lets just assume 50 euro per hour, which from what I understand is a quite low rate for a freelance EE that is any good at their job.

You now might think "Why do I need this expensive soldering iron that costs 1000 euros when I can get a cheap one for 100?". Well, if you spend 2 hours a week soldering with the cheap one, but lower it down to 1h30 minutes by going for the more expensive one, that iron will pay itself back in less than a year. In a sense, you could say that the cheap one costs more because you must include the cost of the time that you could save by going for a more expensive innitial model.

The same goes for stuff like scopes and powersupplies. If you spend just one day trying to bring a board up and struggeling because you went for a cheap supply instead of one that allowed it's output-toggle to be scripted, it' s likely that expensive supply would have already made up for the cost of purches.

In short: Don't make the mistake of thinking cost is just the initial cost of purchase, but factor in the amount of time you lose/gain by going for the cheaper/more expensive model. This is a key difference between doing a project as a hobby or as a way to put food on the table.
The best part about magic is when it stops being magic and becomes science instead
 

Offline AndyC_772

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3497
  • Country: gb
  • Professional design engineer
    • Cawte Engineering | Reliable Electronics
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #62 on: October 26, 2017, 06:50:33 am »
I'd argue that if you're strictly charging by the hour, then a tool that saves time doesn't pay for itself. Quite the opposite!

The benefit comes if you can charge the same to get the job done, but it actually takes you less time with a new tool than it would have done otherwise. Work out how long you think a job should take and quote that, and don't then reduce that quote in future because you have better equipment, unless you have to.

Better tools also mean a better chance of first-time success at getting the job done. A quality soldering station is less likely to result in damaged leads and lifted pads, which are ugly at best, and at worst, a costly embarrassment.

Often overlooked too is that good tools are simply nicer to use. You'll enjoy your work more, and that's a good reason to choose a career path. If you have discretion over equipment purchases, and it's your own money, you can buy the gear you actually want rather than whatever is "best" according to a bean-counter.

(I've still never forgotten the time the 100 MHz Tektronix scope I asked for was substituted for a 150 MHz Owon "because it's better value").

Online Psi

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7368
  • Country: nz
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #63 on: October 26, 2017, 07:20:54 am »
$1000 - for test gear (2x meters, cheap scope, USB LA, maybe a cheap LCR)
$400 - Hand/power tools (sidecutters, screw drivers, cheap cordless drill etc)
$500 - for general work room stuff, (desk, chair, workbench, lots of multicompartment storage boxes)
$400 - of generic parts stock, resistor kits, caps, jellybean semiconductors etc..
$800 - desktop or laptop computer
$900 - generic software licences, (win10/msoffice, cheap pcb design package, misc other minor licences)

So i think $4k is probably more reasonable to go from an empty room to a usable electronics lab.
Could save a little if you went all open source software. But still be looking at ~3k.

There would still items/gear missing, but that would setup a lab that's usable.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 07:26:18 am by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10274
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #64 on: October 26, 2017, 08:06:29 am »
Better tools also mean a better chance of first-time success at getting the job done.

If and only if they are used effectively, of course.

Learning to use any tool effectively requires time; such time should not be ignored, and may be accounted for in terms of "lost opportunity cost".
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline AndyC_772

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3497
  • Country: gb
  • Professional design engineer
    • Cawte Engineering | Reliable Electronics
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #65 on: October 26, 2017, 08:41:54 am »
I disagree. If two tools are designed to do the same job, the good tool is likely to be easier to learn and use than the less-good tool, almost by definition.

Take a solder station, for example. A good one will have quality tips that get up to temperature quickly, tend not to oxidise, and make it easy to create a quality joint. A bad one makes the job harder and requires more skill on the part of the operator to achieve a satisfactory result.

The same goes for cutters and pliers, multimeters, optical devices, test leads and other common items. Quality kit is easy to use and gets the job done right first time. Inferior kit may be able to do the same job, but introduces awkwardness, unreliability, distractions that you don't need.

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10274
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #66 on: October 26, 2017, 09:36:20 am »
I disagree. If two tools are designed to do the same job, the good tool is likely to be easier to learn and use than the less-good tool, almost by definition.

Take a solder station, for example. A good one will have quality tips that get up to temperature quickly, tend not to oxidise, and make it easy to create a quality joint. A bad one makes the job harder and requires more skill on the part of the operator to achieve a satisfactory result.

The same goes for cutters and pliers, multimeters, optical devices, test leads and other common items. Quality kit is easy to use and gets the job done right first time. Inferior kit may be able to do the same job, but introduces awkwardness, unreliability, distractions that you don't need.

Those are different points to the ones I was making. It assumes that someone is already competent to use a specific tool.

While there may not be much of a learning curve when moving from one pair of cutters (or soldering iron) to another, there is in moving from a scope to a logic analyser or spectrum analyser. In the latter case, frequently "better" means increased capabilities and concomitant increased complexity.

A recent example for me was getting to grips with the triggering capabilities of my "new" Agilent logic analyser - and I first used an LA in anger 37 years ago, so I'm not exactly a newbie in that respect!
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline rhb

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2677
  • Country: us
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #67 on: October 26, 2017, 01:29:52 pm »
I'd argue that if you're strictly charging by the hour, then a tool that saves time doesn't pay for itself. Quite the opposite!

Might be true for some, but I routinely dropped over $3k/yr on books and professional society journals precisely because it allowed me to work more quickly.  When I couldn't get a faster computer at work I upgraded my home system to the tune of $3-4k.  I also put in quite a bit of time in the evenings reading and contemplating work problems.  I do not consider that billable time.

I took a week off every year to attend a professional society annual meeting on my nickel.  Another $5+k/yr expense.

So there are contractors and there are contractors.  Being able to do things quickly was precisely what justified my very stiff hourly rate.  I did not miss deadlines or produce buggy code.  I'd much rather bill 20 hrs at $100/hr than 40 hrs at $50/hr.  Clients seemed to like it.  It was generally perceived that I worked much harder than I did.

If you're not prepared to invest in yourself, why would you expect someone else to invest in you?

 

Offline xani

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 372
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #68 on: October 26, 2017, 02:41:08 pm »
While there may not be much of a learning curve when moving from one pair of cutters (or soldering iron) to another, there is in moving from a scope to a logic analyser or spectrum analyser. In the latter case, frequently "better" means increased capabilities and concomitant increased complexity.

But you're not talking about same thing. Moving from scope to spectrum analyzer is not "moving to better tool", it is "moving to completely different tool"

Moving from $50 2 channel analog to Rigol 1054Z won't be harder. There is of course the point of "higher" option just having way more features than lower one but often it isn't "more expensive one is harder to use", often it is just "that device just has worse interface that this other device you used" because it runs different UI, or is older model, or is from completely different vendor than your previous one. It could very well be other way around

The important part is buying a tools that have as much features you will use and not overpaying for those you do not or use rarely and can be worked around.
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #69 on: October 26, 2017, 02:51:29 pm »
The final product is what people pay for. What matters is that it works.

OP, can I ask you this point blank, are you a market researcher?

Are you conducting market research for a client?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 03:00:06 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10274
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #70 on: October 26, 2017, 02:54:49 pm »
While there may not be much of a learning curve when moving from one pair of cutters (or soldering iron) to another, there is in moving from a scope to a logic analyser or spectrum analyser. In the latter case, frequently "better" means increased capabilities and concomitant increased complexity.

But you're not talking about same thing. Moving from scope to spectrum analyzer is not "moving to better tool", it is "moving to completely different tool"

Well, duh. If you had read the previous paragraph and not snipped it, you would realise that is the point I was making. Here's the relevant bit:
Those are different points to the ones I was making.

Quote
Moving from $50 2 channel analog to Rigol 1054Z won't be harder. There is of course the point of "higher" option just having way more features than lower one but often it isn't "more expensive one is harder to use", often it is just "that device just has worse interface that this other device you used" because it runs different UI, or is older model, or is from completely different vendor than your previous one. It could very well be other way around

You have ignored and snipped (again!) my subsequent paragraph, which gives an example of exactly where and how that can happen. Here's the relevant bit:
A recent example for me was getting to grips with the triggering capabilities of my "new" Agilent logic analyser - and I first used an LA in anger 37 years ago, so I'm not exactly a newbie in that respect!

In addition I will note that I have found it far easier to teach newbies how to use an analogue scope than a typical digitising scope. The principal reason is that analogue scopes have the minimum necessary controls and they are all visible on the front panel. Typical digitising scopes usually have important controls that are invisible because they are buried somewhere in a menu system, plus they also have other controls that significantly change the display in subtle ways that are hard for a beginner to understand.

Quote
The important part is buying a tools that have as much features you will use and not overpaying for those you do not or use rarely and can be worked around.

Now there, we agree. That is implicit in an earlier of message of mine, https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/total-cost-for-a-lab-for-marketable-work-(freelancing)/msg1332031/#msg1332031
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 03:00:57 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10274
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #71 on: October 26, 2017, 02:56:56 pm »
The final product is what people pay for.

What matters is that it works.

Yes.

And in particular people don't give contracts to labs or lab equipment - they give them to freelancers they believe can do the job.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10274
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Total cost for a lab for marketable work (freelancing)
« Reply #72 on: October 26, 2017, 03:05:51 pm »
The final product is what people pay for. What matters is that it works.

OP, can I ask you this point blank, are you a market researcher?

Are you conducting market research for a client?

I suspect the other topic he has started may throw some light on that, viz: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/beginner-looking-for-info-on-freelancing-possibilities/msg1314412/#msg1314412
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf