Author Topic: Paul Carlson's Super Probe  (Read 55268 times)

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Offline Bud

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2024, 01:26:26 am »
I think, given the scale of Mr Carlson's activities, managing a small scale production of assemblies or kits would get on his way. I changed from selling kits to selling PCBs only to selling only licenses, and cannot be happier. Sure things I may have lost a buck or two in revenue but now all I need to do is just watch my bank account balance growing, no any of that pain anymore.
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Online rsjsouza

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2024, 05:50:03 pm »
Presbyopia reached me a few years ago in my mid 40's, so any SMD regardless of size is equally impossible to the naked eye. I got myself one of those Aliexpress head loupes with multiple lenses that allow me to perform these tasks quite easily. Given my current work in RF related designs, I was thrusted into the world of 0402 and 0201 immediately and, while 0201 is quite obnoxious due to its pesky ability to bond/tombstone to anything metallic such as tweezers and exacto knives, it is quite doable. Practice, practice, practice is what makes you minimally good at it.
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Offline floobydust

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2024, 10:45:30 pm »
I think, given the scale of Mr Carlson's activities, managing a small scale production of assemblies or kits would get on his way. I changed from selling kits to selling PCBs only to selling only licenses, and cannot be happier. Sure things I may have lost a buck or two in revenue but now all I need to do is just watch my bank account balance growing, no any of that pain anymore.

I don't follow your new model, licensing a hardware design? I have no idea if this is remotely enforceable, a guy changes a few parts and calls it their own. This is a very common IP ripoff I see cheezeball bloggers doing.

Mr. Carlson I can't figure out his approach:
"Building and selling the Carlson Super Probe without permission from Mr Carlson's Lab is strictly forbidden. This is not an item for you to build a business around, this is for personal use only, meaning: You build this for yourself and no one else."

This is fine assuming you can get a PCB/Gerbers/Drill file BoM etc. and don't have to reinvent the wheel for yourself.

I see an eBay seller of Super Probe kits, MK1 or MK2:
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/155677682908
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/155730926542
 

Offline Haenk

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #28 on: February 29, 2024, 04:10:40 pm »
https://www.instructables.com/Carlsons-Super-Probe/

Is probably where the seller got his "idea" from.
I'm not sure, if that is the original PCB design, which certainly should be considered copyrighted. I'm pretty confident the circuit design itself does not fall under copyright regulations; so creating your own PCB should be fine.
At least legally, but not morally, of course.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #29 on: February 29, 2024, 06:57:35 pm »
People really think there’s a make-or-break difference in difficulty between 0603 and 0805?!? I can’t decide whether the  :-DD smiley or the  |O one is more appropriate here.

You can decide when you hit your 50th birthday.
I’m already 44, so not very far away from that.

Not that it matters: My over-50 colleague routinely uses 0402 parts in his designs.

The key is to use magnification appropriate to the size and to one’s eyesight. I would certainly struggle to place 0402 components without magnification. But with it, it’s fine. 0603 parts are no trouble without it.

I also cannot emphasize enough the importance of good lighting.
 

Offline KjoTopic starter

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2024, 04:46:02 pm »
Quote
quote from haenk
 I'm not sure, if that is the original PCB design, which certainly should be considered copyrighted. I'm pretty confident the circuit design itself does not fall under copyright regulations; so creating your own PCB should be fine.
At least legally, but not morally, of course.

When making judgmental comments rather than factual ones, please at least acknowledge that you have reviewed related comments in the thread as it is not that long (see #9).

Carlson never described making more than a home-made PCB, and Yannick99 designed and fabed one commercially, so the PCB artwork does not belong to Carlson. The component selection is not Carlsons either as they are 0805/1206 sized. Carlsons use of the term “open sourced” has to be taken literally as the digital version of the schematics and component layout. Meaning one can take and fork and use in any way. And instructables.com is a quintessential “open-source” site.

Carlson has a a lot of supporters that are delighted to have a path to building this particular design without starting from scratch. And Yannick99’s choice of 0805/1206 means you can actually assemble it without a microscope. (Well maybe an eye loupe would be a help!)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2024, 04:48:00 pm by Kjo »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2024, 04:53:14 pm »
Mr. Carlson I can't figure out his approach:
"Building and selling the Carlson Super Probe without permission from Mr Carlson's Lab is strictly forbidden. This is not an item for you to build a business around, this is for personal use only, meaning: You build this for yourself and no one else."

That "strictly forbidden" claim is strictly meaningless. Carlson does not have a patent on the technical design. He would have copyright protection if people copied his exact text or video instructions or his exact PCB layout as part of a commercial build or kit, but that is not what people do.

I don't see why Carlson thinks he can restrict use in this way. And I don't see why he believes he is doing himself (and many potential users who don't feel comfortable making this from scratch) a favor by trying to restrict the distribution of kits or ready-made probes.
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2024, 11:48:35 pm »
Creative types, inventors- they crater when it comes to manufacturing and assembly. They really don't like doing that at all. Let alone be on social media getting roasted about their creation.
If only there was a way to toss it over the fence for someone else to deal with it.

No patents on signal tracers, they were popular starting in the mid 1940's radio boom.

Mr. Carlson's works all kinda behind a paywall as a paid Patreon subscriber then you get access to some docs I guess. At the end of the day, still have to make a PCB, parts kit, enclosure - ain't nobody got time for that.

The Super Probe being housed in a metal (cigar tube or pipe) enclosure I really don't like because I'm not potentially grounding myself (hand) when working on mains/HV tube stuff. Also the case can short to things as well. ICK.
Really need someone to make a 3D printed plastic probe housing and then add some foil shielding or just go for a 4-layer board and put parts on both sides, it's all hand-soldered anyway. That would make it small.

The Ultra Probe might be interesting if more was known about it and the module add-ons it seems to have.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2024, 06:24:08 am »
I also cannot emphasize enough the importance of good lighting.
This one is interesting, I heard people saying this but myself never had much of a need in bright lighting. Could be one of those personal things.
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Online abeyer

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2024, 07:16:22 am »
Carlsons use of the term “open sourced” has to be taken literally as the digital version of the schematics and component layout. Meaning one can take and fork and use in any way. And instructables.com is a quintessential “open-source” site.

I think that's all false. Someone just mentioning something being open source doesn't mean you can assume the terms and materials applied. Being open source explicitly means it can not be forked and used in any way, only in ways that comply with the terms that make it open source in the first place. And instructables.com does not seem to apply any default license nor take ownership of posted content, so someone can post anything under any (or no) license there.
 
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Offline tooki

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2024, 07:41:43 am »
I also cannot emphasize enough the importance of good lighting.
This one is interesting, I heard people saying this but myself never had much of a need in bright lighting. Could be one of those personal things.
The finer the work, the more important it becomes, for simple reasons of optics: dim light = pupils wide open = reduced sharpness and reduced depth of field. When one is young and the eyes can focus well, it’s easy to compensate for this, but as presbyopia sets in with age, it becomes harder and harder.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2024, 07:59:54 am »
I think that's all false. Someone just mentioning something being open source doesn't mean you can assume the terms and materials applied. Being open source explicitly means it can not be forked and used in any way, only in ways that comply with the terms that make it open source in the first place. And instructables.com does not seem to apply any default license nor take ownership of posted content, so someone can post anything under any (or no) license there.

I agree that the "open source" designation alone does not define clear usage terms; these will need to be set out in a specific license. But again, which rights and what protection does Mr. Carlson hold for his design, i.e. to what extent can he legally restrict usage rights?

In my understanding, the only protection is via copyright. Which protects Carlson's creations in their specific form: Instruction text and pictures, videos, original design drawings and layouts. He is free to state that these works cannot be used in conjunction with a commercial product or kit.

But if someone creates their own PCB layout and instructions based on Carlson's circuit, they are free to do with those what they like, including commercial use. The functional circuit alone, or the idea to put everything into a cigar tube, are not protected. (This type of technical solution could be protected in principle, via a patent, if it were new and inventive and if Carlson had filed a patent application before publishing. Both of which do not apply here to my knowledge.)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2024, 08:05:28 am by ebastler »
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2024, 08:40:04 pm »
Strange- if I use samples or portions of a song in making my own music, it causes lawsuits. Youtube even scans audio as well for copyright I believe.
But if I take someone's design/circuit it's nothing unless a patent exists.
 

Online abeyer

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #38 on: March 02, 2024, 09:55:04 pm »
I agree that the "open source" designation alone does not define clear usage terms; these will need to be set out in a specific license. But again, which rights and what protection does Mr. Carlson hold for his design, i.e. to what extent can he legally restrict usage rights?
As long as it's his design, he can license it however he likes, but yeah, he may not be able to stop people who don't choose to license it, though. Those details are beyond my ken of IP law (which isn't my expertise to start with) so not gonna assert one way or another if he can enforce them... but he can certainly offer licenses even if they may not be enforcable.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #39 on: March 02, 2024, 10:16:09 pm »
As long as it's his design, he can license it however he likes, but yeah, he may not be able to stop people who don't choose to license it, though. Those details are beyond my ken of IP law (which isn't my expertise to start with) so not gonna assert one way or another if he can enforce them... but he can certainly offer licenses even if they may not be enforcable.

Sure. But since a "license" means granting someone the right to use something (within certain constraints, possibly for a certain remuneration) -- what is the point of a license on something everyone has the right to use anyway?

Carlson could choose to offer licenses for "officially authorized" versions maybe, which would be allowed to carry his signature, channel logo or some other copyrighted mark. But his "it is strictly forbidden to use this design commercially" statement does not carry any weight or meaning at all, from what I can see.
 

Online abeyer

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2024, 12:33:17 am »
Sure. But since a "license" means granting someone the right to use something (within certain constraints, possibly for a certain remuneration) -- what is the point of a license on something everyone has the right to use anyway?

Carlson could choose to offer licenses for "officially authorized" versions maybe, which would be allowed to carry his signature, channel logo or some other copyrighted mark. But his "it is strictly forbidden to use this design commercially" statement does not carry any weight or meaning at all, from what I can see.
I assumed mainly just as a more tangible kind of patreon benefit. It makes patrons feel like they're "getting something" even if there isn't any real requirement to do so. Who knows, though, the licensing situation with it all is kind of unclear in general and I certainly don't have any inside info.  :-//
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Paul Carlson's Super Probe
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2024, 07:43:25 am »
I assumed mainly just as a more tangible kind of patreon benefit. It makes patrons feel like they're "getting something" even if there isn't any real requirement to do so. Who knows, though, the licensing situation with it all is kind of unclear in general and I certainly don't have any inside info.  :-//

He may want to make his patrons feel like they are "getting something" -- but I don't see what he is actually giving them in this case, beyond what everybody else gets.

The intellectual property rights situation seems pretty clear here (copyright applies, but no patent protection), so it's clear what can be used freely and what is protected. The whole "strictly forbidden" and "license" thing is just smoke and mirrors -- either to make his paying patrons feel better, or because he is annoyed by the kit sales and hopes to discourage some sellers.
 


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