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Are you buying the powersupply kit ?

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Author Topic: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?  (Read 45380 times)

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Offline Rutger

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #100 on: February 08, 2012, 03:33:44 pm »
I use Endicia/Dazzle software for all my US Postal service shipments. The software allows me to propagate all the fields via and XML code (pasted to the clipboard) and included the custom information as well. I then print out the label on zebra printer, stick it on the box and I can just drop it off at the post office. I don't have to wait inline.  I wonder if there is something similar in Australia, I know there are other companies here in the US that do the same thing, but Endicia was the easiest to integrate with my software.

Also I order all my US Postal supplies via the web at no cost and it get delivered to me for free. Endicia also gives a discount rate on the shipping.

I thought this might help you Dave if you can get something similar.

Rutger

PS: I would order a kit, if the kit was more modular. I would have split the design into 2 boards, 1 being a Arduino Shield with the DAC/ADC/LCD/I2C and Encoders interface with the Opamps for the ADC and the other board just being the power supply.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 03:49:59 pm by Rutger »
 

Online IanB

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #101 on: February 08, 2012, 03:38:18 pm »
stick it on the box and I can just drop it off at the post office. I don't have to wait inline.

My local post office here in the US has a rule that you can't drop off packages larger than a certain size without handing them over in person. Some rule to do with "security"...  ::)
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Offline Rutger

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #102 on: February 08, 2012, 03:47:38 pm »
My post office has never stopped me dropping of bigger packages, maybe they see the commercial endicia label and they accept it or maybe they are just more relaxed about the rules. What size packages are you talking about?
 

Online IanB

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #103 on: February 08, 2012, 05:26:51 pm »
I don't remember what size packages, I'll have to check the notice next time I'm there. As I recall it is roughly things too large to fit in a standard mail slot, i.e. boxes rather than envelopes. There's a notice that says if you drop off large packages unattended they will not be delivered--you have to hand them over the counter and can't just put them in the drop box. Come to think of it, the local mailbox in my street has the same notice.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #104 on: February 13, 2012, 06:16:55 am »
Ok, so I've been thinking about the viability of a kit, and discussing with my potential assembler/kitter.
It's likely going to be same cost (or even cheaper) to simply have an SMD version of the board assembled, rather than actually supply a through-hole kit.
Not terribly surprising, but none the less opens up the discussion about whether to supply a through-hole part kit as intended, or re-jig it and supply a fully assembled SMD PCB, with a small amount of case wiring being the "kit" part.

What would people prefer?

Dave.
 

Offline electrode

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #105 on: February 13, 2012, 06:26:15 am »
It's hard to say, but it certainly raises a few questions:

1. SMD == smaller PCB -> more room in the case for user mods and such?

2. Will you leave the micro controller as DIP so it can be removed/replaced? (Just thinking of your reasoning of a newbie breaking SPI, so separating hardware and software SPI, which reminded me of another newbie mistake, which is to screwup fuses and "brick" the uC, unless you have a parallel programmer...)

If the SMD version preserves the original idea of keeping it user-moddable, with intelligent attachment points for headers, etc, then I'd give it the big thumbs up! :)
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #106 on: February 13, 2012, 06:58:12 am »
Go for SMD, but I have always thought you should split the board into 2 parts, one being the pure power supply with the micro amp, change the opamps to accept a higher voltage to allow a wider range of voltage supplied so that you can go all the way up to 32V max. The second board all has smd with a better DAC with 4 outputs and ADC with 8 input and micro with more ports so you can put more in/output stuff on it and use the digital board for other projects as well. Oh and another option is to make this board a Arduino shield board so you don't have to fight to program the controller.

You know were I am going with this and that is to allow a dual voltage power supply... :-*

I was going to do this so I have already picked out some smd parts, let me know if you want to know what I came up with.

Rutger

« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 07:03:28 am by Rutger »
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #107 on: February 13, 2012, 07:09:49 am »
Ok, so I've been thinking about the viability of a kit, and discussing with my potential assembler/kitter.
It's likely going to be same cost (or even cheaper) to simply have an SMD version of the board assembled, rather than actually supply a through-hole kit.
Not terribly surprising, but none the less opens up the discussion about whether to supply a through-hole part kit as intended, or re-jig it and supply a fully assembled SMD PCB, with a small amount of case wiring being the "kit" part.

What would people prefer?

Dave.

Presumably, the goal of kits is to be instructive.  I personally learned more about electronic principles by studying kit schematics and researching what I don't understand about it than from the act of building the kit itself.  I mean, its not like you're learning by trial and error or experimentation when building a kit.

So if you ask me, go with an assembled smd board especially if its cheaper.  If a hobbyist is serious, there will be plenty of other opportunities to learn how to solder.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #108 on: February 13, 2012, 07:56:58 am »
change the opamps to accept a higher voltage to allow a wider range of voltage supplied so that you can go all the way up to 32V max.

Already done that actually. Two software selectable ranges, 0-10.24V and 0-20.48V.

Quote
The second board all has smd with a better DAC with 4 outputs and ADC with 8 input and micro with more ports so you can put more in/output stuff on it and use the digital board for other projects as well. Oh and another option is to make this board a Arduino shield board so you don't have to fight to program the controller.

You know were I am going with this and that is to allow a dual voltage power supply... :-*

I don't know if I would go that far in this design.

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #109 on: February 13, 2012, 07:59:47 am »
Presumably, the goal of kits is to be instructive.  I personally learned more about electronic principles by studying kit schematics and researching what I don't understand about it than from the act of building the kit itself.  I mean, its not like you're learning by trial and error or experimentation when building a kit.

So if you ask me, go with an assembled smd board especially if its cheaper.  If a hobbyist is serious, there will be plenty of other opportunities to learn how to solder.

Yep, that's exactly what I'm thinking.
If the kit doesn't save any cost, then might as well supply the board fully assembled, and indeed might be cheaper which will be good for everyone.
The instructive nature is in all the videos I'm doing, and the open source nature of it that allows playing around.

Dave.
 

Offline Harvs

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #110 on: February 13, 2012, 08:14:25 am »
Presumably, the goal of kits is to be instructive.  I personally learned more about electronic principles by studying kit schematics and researching what I don't understand about it than from the act of building the kit itself.  I mean, its not like you're learning by trial and error or experimentation when building a kit.

So if you ask me, go with an assembled smd board especially if its cheaper.  If a hobbyist is serious, there will be plenty of other opportunities to learn how to solder.

Yep, that's exactly what I'm thinking.
If the kit doesn't save any cost, then might as well supply the board fully assembled, and indeed might be cheaper which will be good for everyone.
The instructive nature is in all the videos I'm doing, and the open source nature of it that allows playing around.

Dave.

I was thinking that if I got one I'd by linking the uC socket up to another board to put an ethernet enabled part in (like maybe a PIC32 or ARM). So it would be good if the uC wasn't SMD, or if we had the capability to de-solder the SMD part and use some headers to access all relevant signals.

Just my take...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #111 on: February 13, 2012, 08:20:27 am »

I was thinking that if I got one I'd by linking the uC socket up to another board to put an ethernet enabled part in (like maybe a PIC32 or ARM). So it would be good if the uC wasn't SMD, or if we had the capability to de-solder the SMD part and use some headers to access all relevant signals.

For the Ethernet part I was simply going to add expansion connectors for the WIZnet module. Impossible to beat for price and simplicity.

Dave.
 

Offline markus_b

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #112 on: February 13, 2012, 08:26:42 am »
Already done that actually. Two software selectable ranges, 0-10.24V and 0-20.48V.
This is the most important simple modification you can make to increase your potential market. 10V is just a tad low for quite a few applications.

Though-hole kit or SMD built PCB does not matter much for me. There is one thing though: In a through-hole kit it is easy to add a small, private mod. For example I'm thinking to add the transistor and LED back in, who show that it is in current-limiting mode in hardware. I like a dedicated LED for that function. It would be good if the SMD version PCB had all signals available somewhere on a pin. You don't need to fit the pins, just have them there. This increases the board size again, but I care more for modd-ability than for small size.

But before deciding it would be nice to listen to your story till the end. Things like the case do matter too (will it be part of the 'kit' ?). I would like to be, making a case is often a pain.

Markus
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Offline Magicmushroom666

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #113 on: February 13, 2012, 08:30:17 am »
If both built and kit versions were in the store, I think i'd buy which ever one was cheaper! If prices were the same i'd prefer the kit version, but i'd certainly not pay more money for a kit one when an alternative was available.
 

Offline markus_b

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #114 on: February 13, 2012, 08:57:15 am »
Contrary to others I think the AVR can be a SMD device. People who are likely to brick it would be shielded by the Arduino environment, who uses it directly is likely to know his way around.

If someone wants to use another micro, then they better create a new PCB for it too.

Markus
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Offline Harvs

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #115 on: February 13, 2012, 09:06:45 am »


For the Ethernet part I was simply going to add expansion connectors for the WIZnet module. Impossible to beat for price and simplicity.

Dave.

Yep that'd work fine to.  Do the WIZnet modules you're talking about have uSDCARD sockets?  I've just got a Freetronics ethernet board (with WIZnet chip) and having the bulk storage is great for serving up pages based on raw html, css and filling in the realtime data with AJAX requests.  Nice and fast considing it's only an 8 bit uC.

It needs the 32k part though, the demo html server from adafruit (I think) takes up 21kB of program space.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #116 on: February 13, 2012, 09:10:56 am »
Ok, so I've been thinking about the viability of a kit, and discussing with my potential assembler/kitter.
It's likely going to be same cost (or even cheaper) to simply have an SMD version of the board assembled, rather than actually supply a through-hole kit.
Not terribly surprising, but none the less opens up the discussion about whether to supply a through-hole part kit as intended, or re-jig it and supply a fully assembled SMD PCB, with a small amount of case wiring being the "kit" part.

What would people prefer?

Dave.
This isn't going to be the kind of kit someone would buy as a soldering trainer so I'd say the SMD option makes more sense. Likely longer lifetime for parts, smaller size, more reliable, (less nobs blaming your design for their absence of skill).

Perhaps though if you were to go this way you could consider incorporating a fair few connection and cut points in the layout so the kits still lends itself to easy modification by those who want to go further than assembly by the numbers?

My 2 bobs .....
 

Offline electrode

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #117 on: February 13, 2012, 09:12:16 am »
Contrary to others I think the AVR can be a SMD device. People who are likely to brick it would be shielded by the Arduino environment, who uses it directly is likely to know his way around.

If someone wants to use another micro, then they better create a new PCB for it too.

Markus

This is true. I'm not really phased either way. More curious about the 2nd board/secret feature that we're still being taunted with. :p
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #118 on: February 13, 2012, 10:48:18 am »
(less nobs blaming your design for their absence of skill).

Yup, been there, dealt with that before.

Quote
Perhaps though if you were to go this way you could consider incorporating a fair few connection and cut points in the layout so the kits still lends itself to easy modification by those who want to go further than assembly by the numbers?

Yup, that would be a given I think.

Dave.
 

Offline thilo

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #119 on: February 13, 2012, 11:43:59 am »
Ok, so I've been thinking about the viability of a kit, and discussing with my potential assembler/kitter.
It's likely going to be same cost (or even cheaper) to simply have an SMD version of the board assembled, rather than actually supply a through-hole kit.
Not terribly surprising, but none the less opens up the discussion about whether to supply a through-hole part kit as intended, or re-jig it and supply a fully assembled SMD PCB, with a small amount of case wiring being the "kit" part.

What would people prefer?

Dave.
Hi Dave,

as far as I understand the power supply project, it's about how a professional engineer turns a project into reality. And iirc one of the design goals was through-hole, because you wanted a kit, right? Shouldn't you have checked the cost of pre-soldered SMD vs. self-assembled through-hole before you choose all parts according to their availability in through-hole casings? And before you've gone through two revisions of a board for these through-hole components? You've already invested a lot in the through-hole kit, time and money, and I can't really understand why you make such a drastic change in your design, so late in the game. And what's bugging me even more, why didn't you check the cost before you went through all that work? You're a very experienced engineer, which you've proven over the years again and again in your blogs and especially in your power supply series. And that's why I just can't comprehend this sudden and drastic change. I'd expected that you would've checked this up front and can't really believe that you didn't. Especially because you so often talk about production cost and what possible cost factors are and then all your (recent) blogs about the cost for kitting something up vs. shipping it pre-soldered.

I guess you're already on finishing the blog where you address your reasons for this fundamental change, so don't feel forced to answer it here again :)


thilo.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #120 on: February 13, 2012, 12:34:23 pm »
as far as I understand the power supply project, it's about how a professional engineer turns a project into reality.

Yes, and no. It's how a professional engineer develops a hobby project for their own enjoyment, based on many whims that change often.

Quote
And iirc one of the design goals was through-hole, because you wanted a kit, right?

Correct, that's what I originally wanted.

Quote
Shouldn't you have checked the cost of pre-soldered SMD vs. self-assembled through-hole before you choose all parts according to their availability in through-hole casings?

I already know that a through-hole kit wouldn't save much, if anything, and may in fact be limiting the design in various ways.
I did it because I wanted a through-hole kit, not because it was the best or lowest cost option.
I became kind of infatuated with the kit idea at the time.
I now possibly changing my mind. That's allowed :P

Quote
And before you've gone through two revisions of a board for these through-hole components? You've already invested a lot in the through-hole kit, time and money, and I can't really understand why you make such a drastic change in your design, so late in the game.

Drastic?
It actually won't cost me a cent, because I have to re-spin the board anyway. All it will cost me is a day or two tops to lay out a new SMD version of the board, no biggie. My existing boards and proto parts can still be used to build up functional units, so no waste.

Quote
And what's bugging me even more, why didn't you check the cost before you went through all that work? You're a very experienced engineer, which you've proven over the years again and again in your blogs and especially in your power supply series. And that's why I just can't comprehend this sudden and drastic change. I'd expected that you would've checked this up front and can't really believe that you didn't. Especially because you so often talk about production cost and what possible cost factors are and then all your (recent) blogs about the cost for kitting something up vs. shipping it pre-soldered.

You don't get it. It's not about getting something "right" up front, as there is no "best" or right solution for these types of personal projects. It's about having fun on a personal pet project and seeing where it goes and very often changing your mind on a lot of things. I wanted a kit because I thought that would be kind of cool, like I've done many times in the past, not because I methodically went through the sums and deemed that was the best option.
A "drastic" change would be changing the architecture completely or functionality in some big way. Just changing from through-hole to SMD is fairly trivial and actually costs nothing.
I didn't suddenly realise today that "OMG, I can't believe that an SMD assembled board will likely cost the same as a through-hole kit". I knew that was likely.
Just some discussion with the assembler today was the catalyst to get me to re-think my infatuation with the kit idea.
The project has morphed and changed in many ways, and in many ways you haven't seen on the blog. And those changes are often done on whims, simply because I want to, not because it's the "best", cheapest, simplest, or whatever option.

Dave.
 

Offline markus_b

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #121 on: February 13, 2012, 12:57:45 pm »
This is true. I'm not really phased either way. More curious about the 2nd board/secret feature that we're still being taunted with. :p
I think these are two distinct items. It looks to me like Dave had this one, specific use scenario for a power supply with built-in ucurrent adapter. Something like 'I want to measure/the power consumption of this microcontroller in all sleep modes' and found he is missing the ideal power source for that and then decided to build it.

The 2nd board is just there to defer decisions about PC interfaces to later, but keep the options open. I think.
Markus

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Offline caroper

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #122 on: February 13, 2012, 03:31:53 pm »
Just to add my 20c worth (that is 2c A$ at the current exchange rate)  I am 100% behind a populated smd board rather than a kit. The presence of any smd in a kit was enough to scare off many, myself included, and yet I am working with and designing smd boards. I just have them assembled by people who have the skills, tools and eye sight to do it properly.


What I would like to see is a bare bones offering of just the populated board.

If I could buy 2 boards and then interface to them to my own front end cpu, display and control panel (each board still retains its own dedicated cpu, I am adding a 3rd) I could have a dual supply with the features I want and save the shipping costs of the heavy hardware (case etc.) that I don't require.


As others have pointed out the real educational value is in the tutorials, not the assembly, and I certainly don't think this possible change of direction invalidates the series. I think it increases the educational value. Often in life you will have last minute change of mind coursed by many external factors, not often driven by cost but by user requirements.


Dave is showing us such a situation is handled and it is an invaluable lessen.



« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 03:33:37 pm by caroper »
 

Offline toddisbn

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #123 on: February 13, 2012, 04:13:01 pm »

IMHO, the kit concept is great for not only beginners to learn to solder etc, but here are some points that may or may not have crossed your mind.
Being a kit you have the pride of something you have made yourself.
If the assembled kit does not work then there is a fantastic opportunity to post the fault of the forum and have other help you diagnose the problem
As thru hole, you can repair the unit a little easier, source part from dse, jaycar etc
Mods will be easier, if they entail soldering on the board, or replacing parts
Updates to the DACs and ADCs will be something joe blow will stand a chance at doing
If Joe blows a track, he stands a better chance with typical TH boards
Layout is most already done for thru hole... People following at home have enjoyed the journey so far
The project shouldn't have to cover all bases. This ain't for NASA
You will still need thru hole components on it anyway (less space saving)
You will still need the meaty traces (less space saving)
As preassembled you are competing with other premade units on the market place

So just a few ideas. However I am not totally against a prebuild unit. It just that the best tools you can have at times are the ones you build yourself. I have noticed that Dave has several kits built from companies like Altronics etc (PSUs)

One final thought.

Above mentioned suppliers have abandoned the market, they have typically used designs from EA, ETI and SC, supplied them until sales go down then ditch the kits ASAP. I would rather buy kits from the bloke that designed the circuit and saw the project to a point where I can purchase it. Not at any stage do you see a supplier of kits who may provide a rev B and update the kit to reflect the changes that occur to the designer after the article is originally published.

Dave this is an opportunity to firmly place yourself in to the re-emerging electronic hobbyist market, and have your fans support you by buying a quality kit which I am sure will prove invaluable on any geeks bench.

Yes I will buy it, if it only comes as a preassembled unit, however I would like to see it as a kit. 
 

alm

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Re: Do you want to buy the powersupply kit ?
« Reply #124 on: February 13, 2012, 08:41:38 pm »
Yes, and no. It's how a professional engineer develops a hobby project for their own enjoyment, based on many whims that change often.
As opposed to commercial projects where specs are determined in advance and never changed after that point, right? ;)

I don't think there's that much education in soldering a kit together, except to learn to solder which you might as well with the LED christmas tree kits. The amount of troubleshooting for many people is probably going to be limited to emailing you or posting on the forum that the kit doesn't work, that they did everything right, and that they don't own a DMM to test it. Might as well go with SMT if you can get a cheaper / better product with less hassle.

I think the dozen or so videos you will have by the time it's shipping should offer plenty of opportunities to learn. They describe both the theory of operation and the design process. This is much more valuable than learning to solder the 10 k resistor in the holes labeled R4.

You might choose to let the customers assembly the through-hole components like connectors if this would save you a significant amount of assembly fees. This is how ELV operates. In most of their kits, all SMT components are pre-assembled, but TH components are not.
 


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