Author Topic: The Economics Of Selling Your Hardware Project  (Read 3820 times)

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Offline hamster_nz

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Re: The Economics Of Selling Your Hardware Project
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 02:01:54 am »
Oh, and things look even more dire for small projects if you factor in minimum batch sizes for small runs, as I found out when looking at doing a Kickstarter.

For example, you have to manufacture your $50 product in batches of 100 and have orders for 201 units  then you are forced to make 300, and have $4,950 of stock on hand.

Kiss goodbye a large chunck of your profit until you manage to sell the final 99...
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Offline all_repair

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Re: The Economics Of Selling Your Hardware Project
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 04:11:57 am »
You are so right.  Before the kickstarter, uCurrent was sold through a local reseller at a premium than what Dave was selling direct.   I didn't find a value of the local reseller unless they are selling to estasblishment that need to be locally registered company.
 

Offline tsra

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Re: The Economics Of Selling Your Hardware Project
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2014, 07:36:34 am »
The blog comments had again some fearmongering about CE marking. I'd like to correct some misunderstandings here (I thought this might be better place for this discussion instead of blog comment);

For your small product (small electronics with no radios (of any kind, including receiver-only!) and no functionality deemed critical (that is, it isn't used in any "official" fashion, like shop scales, credit card processing and so on, or in explosive surroundings) you only need to slap in CE mark in product and create Declaration of Conformity.

Most likely your product has to meet following directives;
2002/95/EU: RoHS. Simple nowadays, since you actually have actively seek out non-RoHS components/materials.
2002/96/EU: WEEE. It may seem that you are required to join some huge recycling consortium, but for small-scale producer there are exceptions. Basically you can put WEEE mark in product and in documentation say that "don't throw it in bin, return it to manufacturer". You will have to somehow arrange return so that person doing to return doesn't have to pay for it so this can be a bit unpleasant.
2004/108/EU: EMC, the big nasty thing. Requirements basically are that product may not generate too much EMI and doesn't get permanently destroyed if subjected to external emissions (yes, destroyed - failing temporarily until interference goes away is perfectly ok according to directive requirements) . Pretty easy, and you can even test it yourself if you happen to have spectrum analyzer and suitable probes (for example, my last project I was a bit worried about was far less noisy than Arduino controlling it). If you want you can use external lab for few hundred eur (lab does *not* have to be official as long as they can do same measurements - I contacted local school, EMI testing was about 150€ and I got nice report saying my product was about 20dB below limits).

Others notable directives are 1999/5/EU (R&TTE - basically anything having any kind of radios), 2004/104/EU (EMC instead of 2004/108 if your product is related to electronics used in/as car components) and 2006/95/EU (LVD - if your product has voltages larger than 50v AC or 75 DC). Many of mentioned directives have since been amended but the current status (for low-volume, non-"official" electronics) is pretty much this.

So there, not that scary anymore?  :)

(disclaimer; I work for electronics for living and reside in EU (and yes, it took me a while to figure out all this). Now, although I have no exports to US, I still tried to decrypt applicable FCC rules... And gave up instantly. At least EU rules are human-readable... So if someone would be nice enough to post similar list about FCC, I'd be really happy.)

 

Offline nitro2k01

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Re: The Economics Of Selling Your Hardware Project
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2014, 05:14:21 pm »
Thanks for the information, tsra. Do you have any information about the requirements for selling a product carrying the CE mark from to EU from outside EU? In particular with regard to WEEE.
Whoa! How the hell did Dave know that Bob is my uncle? Amazing!
 

Offline station240

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Re: The Economics Of Selling Your Hardware Project
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2014, 07:38:39 pm »
"I have spent many months and a lot of effort setting up an Australia Post commercial account, and a system that allows me to sell and distribute my product easily and cheaply."

I take it Australia Post isn't that easy to deal with, any tips on how to start with that, and what to watch out for ?
 

Offline tsra

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Re: The Economics Of Selling Your Hardware Project
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2014, 06:10:35 am »
Thanks for the information, tsra. Do you have any information about the requirements for selling a product carrying the CE mark from to EU from outside EU? In particular with regard to WEEE.

Like I said, I live in EU so that aspect is somewhat foreign to me. I needed a refresher anyway so quick googling on WEEE found FAQ; http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/pdf/FAQ%20on%20the%20new%20WEEE%20Directive.pdf (note, it just happens that many directives have similar FAQ or explaining material available, like Blue Guide I mentioned below). In this case FAQ point 4.4 applies, so you'd have to comply. In directive itself then the applicable point is article 5 point c, which basically says that you're good as long as you arrange it so that end-users can return devices to you for no cost to them (well, not exactly, but when you interpret it in context of other articles it's essentially that). Unfortunately this can be a pain as return costs (that you'll have to cover somehow) can be astronomical. (this is assuming that end-users actually comply with WEEE and don't just throw items in trash anyway... In my experience they generally don't.)

EU directives are actually quite human-readable - after you figure out the general format (always starts with general part that always never has anything interesting, then come definitions, then the main articles, and in end annexes. Articles and annexes are what you want to read. Each article has only one point so you can just read first lines and skip rest of it if it doesn't look relevant). Since they're translated to every language there is also problem of "official" translation - I've been bit by translation errors before. And when you really start to dig in, devil is in creative interpretation of the written text...

It used to be that directives had everything (including test setups and so on - see annexes in mentioned EMC directive) but new ones have changed so that the directive is mostly empty words and all the interesting stuff is in some ISO or EN or whatever standard they don't even bother to name in directives. That is pretty annoying.

There is also "Blue guide" that covers just about everything about product markings in EU. It is written in very reader-friendly way and explains just about anything you might ever want to know (and very likely many things you'd rather not know), but then again, it's primarily for larger operations.

 


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