Author Topic: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?  (Read 3735 times)

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Offline uski

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Hi there

I'm wondering if others are seeing the same trend.
Where the f*** do we get cheap test equipment nowadays ? What happened in the past few years ?

For work reasons I relocated twice in the past decade, in different continents.
6-7 years ago I used to have a decent basic lab at home, that I built with equipment I got for free. Power supplies, decent DSO oscilloscope, logic analyzer, and a bunch of other goodies. All in good condition.
When I had to relocate to another continent, I could not ship everything and bring it with me. So I gave everything locally to friends and other enthusiasts, just as I was given the stuff before, fully expecting to easily find equipment a bit later.

Since then I did not build a lab at home since I had access to a decent one at work.

Fast forward a few years, I am trying to rebuild a lab, because I no longer work in the industry and I want to tinker at home.
I was expecting to find decent deals relatively easily. If I was able to get a lab for essentially nothing, years ago, I should be able to get gear very easily by paying a bit right ? And more modern equipment too ? WRONG !

People are trying to sell broken equipment which are clearly garbage salvage for hundreds of dollars. Untested crap, clearly physically broken and abused, clearly straight out of a dumpster where it was carelessly thrown out. eBay is full of this, people have no shame !

It seems like some "test equipment companies" which I am not going to name are getting all the stuff and selling it at 80% of the new price. Proudly showing pictures of their warehouses full of old test gear.
It seems to me that they cleverly inserted themselves into all the recycling places. What was sold on eBay for cheap before, by the recyclers directly, as it went through the recycling/disposal network is now directly stored into warehouses belonging to some specialized companies that are asking some big bucks for the equipment, greatly limiting supply and propping all the prices very high

Am I missing something or is it really bad now ? I thought it was a local trend (I am now in the US) but it seems like it's an international thing. Can't find anything anywhere at a decent price.
We even have people selling entry level 20 years old multimeters on Facebook Marketplace for $100. A bunch of them.

I am considering buying everything new, because the price of the used gear is now so high that it doesn't make sense to spend $600 on a "as is" 30 years old equipment when something new and much better sells for $1000.

It seems like somehow the value of used test equipment has gone significantly up in the past few years. Any idea why ?

PS: Yes I totally regret giving the stuff away, but relocating with it wasn't really an option anyway  |O :-\
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 08:42:30 am by uski »
 
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Offline Microdoser

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2020, 08:55:22 am »
I am going through a similar process. Looking at second-hand equipment I see lots of people selling old, untested pieces which they have clearly found in the garbage for nearly the price of new equipment, just because it was 'retro' or 'vintage'. Often, when you add in the cost of delivery and replacing missing parts like scope probes, the price is identical to just getting a new product yet has inferior specs.

I decided that I would spend the money and get a brand new product, with modern features and a warranty.

Good luck getting your lab back together!
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2020, 09:53:55 am »
Hi there

I'm wondering if others are seeing the same trend.
Where the f*** do we get cheap test equipment nowadays ? What happened in the past few years ?

The Gollums in the TEA thread are hoarding it.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 11:36:53 am by Fungus »
 
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Online coromonadalix

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2020, 10:37:52 am »
loll 

but one of the problems    the more people are showing interest the prices are spiking   :palm:
 

Online tautech

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2020, 11:26:56 am »
I thought it was a local trend (I am now in the US) but it seems like it's an international thing.
Maybe it's time to change your profile flag.  ;)

Quote
I am considering buying everything new, because the price of the used gear is now so high that it doesn't make sense to spend $600 on a "as is" 30 years old equipment when something new and much better sells for $1000.
You betcha !
The capability of modern gear is astounding especially for those that already have experience with older equipment.
Quote
It seems like somehow the value of used test equipment has gone significantly up in the past few years. Any idea why ?
Buyer resistance to all that new fangled modern equipment. Some prefer to KISS when in fact they are doing themselves a disservice.
In just the 7 years I've been handling TE the advances are amazing yet somewhat daunting for those that are slow to embrace it.......yet learning about new technologies is a lifelong voyage for us all is it not ?

Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 
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Offline alm

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2020, 12:33:05 pm »
Buyer resistance to all that new fangled modern equipment. Some prefer to KISS when in fact they are doing themselves a disservice.
In just the 7 years I've been handling TE the advances are amazing yet somewhat daunting for those that are slow to embrace it.......yet learning about new technologies is a lifelong voyage for us all is it not ?
This would explain why the prices are not dropping, not why they are going up. Unless you claim is that this resistance is increasing compared to say a decade ago?
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2020, 01:44:24 pm »
This would explain why the prices are not dropping, not why they are going up. Unless you claim is that this resistance is increasing compared to say a decade ago?

Supply/demand.
 

Online George Edmonds

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2020, 02:00:44 pm »
The answer in one word

EBAY and buy it now price inflation.

George
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2020, 02:47:37 pm »
There is cheap equipment in the USA. There isn't cheap equipment in continental EU.
It has to do with the taxation. Companies are incentivized to use testing equipment until it is scrap metal. It's bad for the technology sector, it is bad for the engineers, it is bad for the equipment manufacturers. It is the reason, why we have to beg on the floor to please please please buy the stuff I need to do to do my job.
 
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Offline Bicurico

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2020, 03:13:10 pm »
It was never as accessible as now to setup a home lab with propper soldering/dessoldering station, DSO, signal gen, PSU, spectrum analyser, etc.

Thanks to brands like Rigol, Siglent, etc., you can buy test equipment that would have been unimaginable 10-20 years ago.

You can go even cheaper if you consider chinese low spec "hand" oscilloscopes, the SMA/NWT spectrum analyzer/tracking gen, FeelTech signal gen, etc.

The problem with second hand test gear is that the demand is huge. Whereas 10-20 years ago most people would not need a spectrum analyzer and wouldn't ever have considered owning one, nowadays even I, who am not in the electronics trade at all, own SEVERAL spectrum analyzers!

So, 20 years ago, when Nokia was a huge company, they would swap their test gear for new units and throw out their old ones: I imagine that many engineers would be allowed to take a unit home. And there was little to no demand for something like that: what would you do with a spectrum analyzer anyway?

But today, literally any amateur, no matter what his background is, can take some Arduino, develop a PCB in Fusion360/Eagle, have it manufactured for peanuts in China, 3D print a custom enclosure, etc. Suddenly it make sense to own propper test equipment!

And while new equipment is cheap, for even less you can get a second hand PREMIUM unit! Wouldn't you prefer a HP spectrum analyzer that goes up to 22Ghz over a "cheap Siglent or Rigol"?

Also, don't forget that eBay has democratized access to exotic stuff. Before, only people of the trade with connections would get a free test equipment. Now, ANYONE can get a CHEAP test equipment.

I don't blame eBay at all - I am rather thankful for eBay, because it allowed me to buy lots of stuff at a great price.

And for all the auctions I lost, well someone was willing to pay more than me. So it is just fair that this person got the item.

Finally, if you are in the US, then your complaints are of a privileged one! If I could buy all the US based test equipment I see on eBay, without haviing to consider shipping and taxes, I would be so happy...

Regards,
Vitor
 
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Online wolfy007

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2020, 03:36:16 pm »
This would explain why the prices are not dropping, not why they are going up. Unless you claim is that this resistance is increasing compared to say a decade ago?

Supply/demand.

Im not so sure its as simple as that (well in some case perhaps).There are some adds that have been on ebay for 8months and the seller isnt dropping the price, but no one is buying it either. Wouldnt be surprised if some people are holding high prices and as others look to advertise they see this and think thats the norm, especially for items that are a bit more rare. I have spoken to a few sellers like that, I told them to contact me if they dont want to wait any longer to sell it, and have gotten a couple reasonable prices from something that was way over priced a few months earlier. All because someone else was selling high even though it isnt selling.
 

Online bdunham7

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2020, 04:16:31 pm »

Where the f*** do we get cheap test equipment nowadays ? What happened in the past few years ?
It seems like somehow the value of used test equipment has gone significantly up in the past few years. Any idea why ?

I buy/repair/sell some of this stuff, and vintage audio equipment as well.  The audio stuff had a similar boom starting probably a decade ago.  And before that, in the 2000's it was vintage cars, such as the 50s thru 70s muscle cars.  There's a pattern--it starts out with an appreciation in the value of the so-called prime stuff, like a Hemi 'Cuda or one of the very large 70's Marantz receivers, then it trickles down to the lesser products of the same type and brand, like a clapped-out 383 'Cuda or a mid-80's Marantz rack system.  Finally, you see absolute utter crap showing up.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1971-Dodge-Dart/264849731458?hash=item3daa462f82:g:2SgAAOSwW2VfTVpC

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=353211929249&_sacat=0

Your observations are correct--this has happened to test equipment recently, like in the past 2-3 years and especially this year.  There seems to be a resurgence in interest and no shortage of money.  Some old test equipment is interesting or fits a particular niche, but for the person hoping to set up a basic test bench using older equipment, the good deals have been taken.  The only way to go is to be patient, know ahead of time exactly what you are looking for and just refuse to pay too much for broken stuff.  If there is something specific you want, watch eBay like a hawk for sellers that either list an item at a low BIN price where it gets snapped up in minutes or list a low-volume item as an auction.  Get the Gixen bidding service for that. And realize that there is some stuff that you just can't get a deal on. 

The worst part for me is that it becomes difficult for me to add value by refurbishing when the price difference between mint/working/guaranteed and as-is/broken starts to diminish.  Paying $200 for a basic analog 2-channel scope isn't totally silly if that is what you want--and I've sold several--but paying $100 for a broken one is just nuts.  Always check TEquipment and Saelig to see what a new item will cost with the EEVBlog discount.

Finally, as alluded to earlier, eBay fans the flames with their outright fraudulent sold listings.  There are also a surprising number of hoarders who seem to like to calculate their wealth by imagining that their treasure collections are worth the highest eBay price and then some, but won't ever actually sell a single item because they always keep the price well above market value.  The piles of junk I've seen lately are astounding.


A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 
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Offline jogri

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2020, 04:19:36 pm »
You can always search for sold items on ebay and use that price to negotiate with sellers...

And you should always remember: Every item you see on ebay HAS NOT BEEN SOLD... There may have been five cheap and one overpriced offer, but if someone bought the five cheap ones you only see the overpriced offer. Let's take your broken Agilent 500 MHz scope as an example: How long would it be for sale if it was offered for a hundred quid (instead of 300)? A day at most? A lot of guys (me too) use filters/scripts to get notified of cheap offers as soon as possible, because that's the only way you can somewhat reliably make money with the repair and reselling of old gear. I only look at fresh offers (no more than 1-2 days old), if an item has been offered for weeks/months it probably is too expensive.
 

Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2020, 04:40:13 pm »
I think there are a lot of things going on here.  Some of them very good from an overall point of view, though terrible for those wanting to set up a cheap lab.  First, the world is getting richer.  More and more people are moving from third world economies to places where advanced education and free time are realities.  This is great, but also greatly increases demand for this type of equipment (new and used).  Second, Ebay is a two edged sword.  New and or greedy sellers see the high sales prices and use them as a benchmark for selling their equipment.  I am sure that if the OP had decided to sell rather than give away his equipment on first move this would have been part of his strategy.  Even if he decided not to try for top dollar, setting half of the apparent market price would push an upward price trend.  And finally, the demographics mentioned in auto sales above play a part.  The huge baby boom (at least in the US, I don't know if there was a similar boom in other parts of the world) has reached retirement and are looking for the tools and toys of their youth to play with in their newly found free time.
 

Offline edavid

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2020, 04:54:25 pm »
I think it has more to do with lack of supply than increased demand.  At least here in the US, there were some huge surges in supply over the last 30 years, that depressed prices:

1. offshoring of most electronics manufacturing

2. 2000 crash, 2008 crash

3. Silicon Valley transition from hardware design to software

4. US military reduction in internal repair capability

5. downsizing of test equipment rental houses

6. closures of used TE dealers (e.g. Tucker)

Maybe those are all over now, and we're back to "normal".

 
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Offline MosherIV

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2020, 05:17:49 pm »
So I am not the only cheap skate  ;)

There deals to be had out there, you just have to be patient.

By far the cheapest option is to grab te from the place you work when they dispose of it.
Not option for you  :(
Make friends who do still work in companies with te and ask them to get it for you.

Check out local 'maker spaces'. They often get donated te, you cannot take but you can go there to use it in return for helping out.
 

Offline 25 CPS

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2020, 05:30:56 pm »
Cheap test gear.  I'd always heard that hamfests were the place to go to get "the good stuff" for cheap.  So, when I started building out my workshop a number of years ago, that's what I did and wow.  No good stuff.  Not cheap.  No.

Try your luck at the remaining local surplus/junk shops has worked several times for me but that's a risky YMMV proposition especially since their prices have been creeping up lately.  Gentrification with increasing rents has been a problem for that kind of business in many cities.  First the prices go up to recoup the rent costs and then this type of business ends up getting squeezed out altogether and there are far fewer of them to shop at now.

eBay/Kijiji/Craigslist, have all been hit and miss.  When good deals come up you have to jump fast otherwise you'll miss out due to someone else that moved more quickly.  On the other hand, a lot people have truly delusional ideas of what ageing and increasingly unsupported, unreliable, underperforming compared to current equipment older gear is worth.  I don't think anyone here is willing to pay big money near top dollar for an older digital scope that's not as capable as a new one, has a calibration RAM battery that's about to go flat, tantalums that are getting ready to fail or electrolytics that are getting ready to corrode circuit boards (there was a range of Tek scopes that were particularly notorious for that) etc. that are priced not far off what new current products cost.

Industrial/Government surplus, work writeoffs.  Is it just me or have policies about this sort of thing tightened up a lot in the last few years?  Employer writeoffs being given away or sold cheap to employees appear to have all but dried up and a lot of places have signed sweetheart contracts with eWaste recycling companies that have exclusive rights to all this stuff for a couple pennies per pound scrap value and then turn around and flip them all at top dollar for as-is, not tested, not guaranteed condition (see eBay above).  Government surplus, at least here, has been thin for quite a while.  I think now that gcsurplus.ca offers shipping on a lot more items, prices have gone up quite a bit on test equipment when it does show up on there vs. when you had to make the trek to Ottawa or wherever it was located at to pick it up in person.

It's a shame, compared to three or four years ago, things have dried up considerably.
 

Offline mzzj

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2020, 05:45:51 pm »

Fast forward a few years, I am trying to rebuild a lab, because I no longer work in the industry and I want to tinker at home.
Connections..connections.
Maybe market didn't change that much but you relocated more than once and don't have the good old contacts for freebies anymore?

 
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Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2020, 06:03:53 pm »
So I am not the only cheap skate  ;)

There deals to be had out there, you just have to be patient.

This ^

Over the past few years I've built up a collection that would have cost the same as a small house, new.

The most recent was a mere month or so ago, a Keithley 2000 for £250, perhaps not fetching more as it was giving two error codes. I guessed at the problem and was correct. The cost of the fix? A few sprays of contact cleaner. Ok, so it was a gamble, but it does show there is cheap gear out there if you cast your net widely enough.
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Offline txNgineer

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2020, 06:31:01 pm »
I think tautech and edavid hit on the main points. While you have to be very careful with buying some of the gear by unpronounceable name importers, a lot of it can be good or even better than some vintage. But because it takes a lot of research and knowledge about what you are looking for, many people just don't bother. It baffles me to see a vintage piece of gear like a 20,000 ohm/volt multimeter selling on ebay for more than the cost of a good quality DVM. If it is an analog meter you need, at least get an old VTVM.

Power supplies are another puzzler. A vintage 3a-30v power supply can be seen for 3 times the cost of a good new one. The only drawback to the new one is sometimes you have to add your own filtering. AND derate the power ratings by what I am call the Watt-Exchange-Rate.. Like a dollar exchange, the import stuff is usually about 2-3 time overrated with respect to US/EU/AUS watts. But they are cheap as chips so just buy a bigger one.

 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2020, 06:39:16 pm »
Funny that this thread should appear today...  just this morning, I was browsing eBay looking for a parts unit.   All I could find was overpriced garbage.

I got curious and started searching for some of the equipment here on my shelf, to see what it would cost to buy it again?  -  I was totally shocked, a lot of the stuff that I had paid $50 - $100 for in the past, was now at a minimum north of $300.

There have always been "stupid expensive" listings for most test gear on eBay, but it was always possible to find stuff at reasonable prices as well.  No longer, it seems. Old test gear on eBay has definitely gone through the roof,  and there is less of it available.

Even unpopular equipment that hardly anyone uses (despite being very good!) has gone expensive - sellers trying it on, I guess.

Basically, I think what is going on is simply supply/demand:

  • There is a finite supply of older equipment, we are at the tail end of 80's/90's stuff being retired.
  • Word has spread (including via the EEVblog!) about how good some of the old stuff is - it is no longer seen as scrap
  • Perhaps more people are doing more hobbyist stuff or even electronics work at home, having more time due to Covid19

The only defense against stupid prices is to not pay them.   New equipment definitely looks attractive in comparison to overpaying for older models.
 
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Offline exe

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2020, 08:32:07 pm »
I have same feelings and I'm more inclined in buying new gear, rather than buying overpriced junk.

However, I think the gear price went up too last few years. I observe a pattern when cheap brands becoming not so cheap anymore: new models are getting more expensive, old models are increasing in price too. Like, siglent 6.5 digit dmm is getting quite close (in my opinion) to dm6500, for example.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2020, 09:04:20 pm »
I have same feelings and I'm more inclined in buying new gear, rather than buying overpriced junk.

However, I think the gear price went up too last few years. I observe a pattern when cheap brands becoming not so cheap anymore: new models are getting more expensive, old models are increasing in price too. Like, siglent 6.5 digit dmm is getting quite close (in my opinion) to dm6500, for example.

Anyone that thinks the rate of inflation is really 2%, I have a bridge I would like to sell you!  :D

You are right about the Siglent DMM, it is only 10% less than the Keithley.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 09:07:10 pm by SilverSolder »
 

Offline LootMaster

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2020, 09:04:32 pm »
I looked on ebay for many months myself, daily.

Only to find overprice GW-Instek that seemed so unpopular I could barely find a mention on EEv and most stores did not carry MSO.

After months of hope, I eventually gave up and started  considering wich arm and wich leg I was going to give.

Luckily price of new is barely 2-4x more, wich is not  that much if you take good care of it like Mr Carlson's lab.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 09:13:42 pm by LootMaster »
 

Offline max.wwwang

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2020, 10:32:25 pm »
I share the feeling here. It’s sad people like me have to pay unreasonably high prices even to buy some broken or scrap gear for learning purposes or attempt to repair.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2020, 01:27:53 am »
yup, it's gone to snot ...
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline precaud

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2020, 02:04:42 am »
I think it has more to do with lack of supply than increased demand.  At least here in the US, there were some huge surges in supply over the last 30 years, that depressed prices

THIS.
 

Offline uski

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2020, 03:32:42 am »
Wow that thread blew up. A lot of good point of views and insight here
Thanks all for your replies. I was afraid of being called cheap, but I am happy to see that I am not the only one seeing that trend.

A few thoughts :
- It is true that connections helps a lot. That's how I got my free stuff before, and now I am deprived of this, having relocated (which resets ALL your social network, pretty brutal). By the way if you have free gear let me know :-DD
- It is also possible that the "trade in" policies of some equipment companies are removing older gear from the market. Before, companies would "throw away" older gear and buy new. Now they send the old gear to a manufacturer for destruction in exchange of a virtual price reduction. But I do not know if that effect is significant.
- I also believe that it seems like more and more people are in the hobby, which is good. When I started almost 2 decades ago, all I could see what hobbyists using their soundcards as oscilloscopes and a LM317 as a power supply. Now everyone has a DSO and expects to have one, which possibly drives up demand
- Information about specialty pieces of equipment is more accessible. Time nuts, volt nuts mailling lists make everyone want to play with a 3458A or a Rubidium atomic clock (a freakin atomic clock !!!! at home !).
- Similarly, there are now many repair videos, from Dave EEVblog, but also Shahriar from The Signal Path and many others, which have driven up interest even for broken gear. Broken gear selling for hundreds is new to me.
- It is possible this is also related to a more global trend in the economy of inflated asset prices and too much money in the market, but that's probably out of topic for EEVblog :)
- There is an emulation with people showing off their labs, and all these vloggers (including Dave, no offense) who have an over abundance of gear (who seriously needs 5 scopes and 10 power supplies and ...). It makes it seem like this is normal.
- There is also that new trend of comparing instruments with each other. I recently saw a video of someone having multiple atomic clocks on a bench. At home. I don't think anything like this would have been possible 20 years ago, but I might be wrong.
- Maker spaces / fablabs are a possible solution but it does not replace a home lab for that late night hacking with all your stuff in the same place. Plus, they are not exactly cheap !

On the upside, we have awesome cheap instruments available now. I am thinking about :
- NanoVNA v2 Plus 4
- Rigol DS-1054Z which is the benchmark for the cheap oscilloscope for hobbyists (sadly I need a bit more now, I've grown up in my game)
- Cheap power supplies from China such as the RD6018 (but in my opinion, they are not great due to the switching noise, people really need a linear lab supply)
- And in general, the software processing power we have in todays instruments which gives a lot of new capabilities and automatic measurements.

Funny someone mentioned the DMM6500, I am seriously thinking of getting one. A multimeter with a 1MS/s sample rate and memory ? It is almost an oscilloscope ! No way I am going to get an overpriced 30 years ago DMM with rotting capacitors...
« Last Edit: October 20, 2020, 03:38:00 am by uski »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2020, 03:47:11 am »
There seems to be a general oversight of two factors which I see as being hugely important here.....

1. Communication.  We are now living in an age where you can find a device anywhere in the world while sipping a cuppa at your computer.  The internet has connected almost everyone on the planet with this sort of gear and/or an interest in it.  It also provides an information resource accessible through incredible ease - especially in speed and scope.  We greybeards were raised in an era of magazines - and if you were really fortunate, a local mentor.

2. Technological awareness.  This is where a greater proportion of people today have a basic appreciation, if not understanding, of technology - because of two reasons.  The first is that technology has become ubiquitous in our daily lives, not just something encountered by those in white coats - and, because of this intimate contact, more minds that may be inclined to get involved have that opportunity.  The second is that the barriers to entry have been lowered.  No longer do you need to understand basic solid or hollow state theory to get rewarded with operational projects.  Just spring for a cheap microcontroller board to get something happening in an hour and you've taken your first step into a larger world.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2020, 04:09:36 am by Brumby »
 
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Offline Brumby

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2020, 04:06:58 am »
- There is an emulation with people showing off their labs, and all these vloggers (including Dave, no offense) who have an over abundance of gear (who seriously needs 5 scopes and 10 power supplies and ...). It makes it seem like this is normal.
It's not?? 

I have to be honest, though.  I got my first scope around 1980 - it was a prize from a competition run by Dick Smith.  I still have it and it still works well, despite a couple of knocks.  My interest in electronics took a back seat with a growing family and a demanding career, but it gained a new lease on life when they had pretty much grown up and I encountered the EEVBlog.  I now have 9 scopes of various types and condition, plus a few other bits of kit I would likely never have known about, much less acquired if I hadn't.

In all seriousness, this is one of the components of the communication aspect I mentioned.  Blogs and Youtube being big contributors.

Quote
- There is also that new trend of comparing instruments with each other. I recently saw a video of someone having multiple atomic clocks on a bench. At home. I don't think anything like this would have been possible 20 years ago, but I might be wrong.
This is an example of lowering the barrier to entry - older gear that had reached a level of functionality and reliability that made them useful, even if obsolete to industry.

Quote
On the upside, we have awesome cheap instruments available now. I am thinking about :
- NanoVNA v2 Plus 4
- Rigol DS-1054Z which is the benchmark for the cheap oscilloscope for hobbyists (sadly I need a bit more now, I've grown up in my game)
- Cheap power supplies from China such as the RD6018
This is certainly a major factor in getting more people interested - cheap, useful and a high degree of functionality (even if some attributes are not ideal).
 
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Offline eplpwr

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2020, 05:32:28 am »
People are trying to sell broken equipment which are clearly garbage salvage for hundreds of dollars. Untested crap, clearly physically broken and abused, clearly straight out of a dumpster where it was carelessly thrown out. eBay is full of this, people have no shame !

There are a lot of broken stuff that should either be sold for shipping cost, or recycled. I made a low offer on a seriously beaten up N1912A which resulted in a reply that these units sold for 7.000 GBP. Yes, a new one does. The forever-high-price-no-sales-multiyear-BIN listings may also indicate such a price, problem being it's a false indicator (no sales).

It seems like some "test equipment companies" which I am not going to name are getting all the stuff and selling it at 80% of the new price. Proudly showing pictures of their warehouses full of old test gear.
It seems to me that they cleverly inserted themselves into all the recycling places. What was sold on eBay for cheap before, by the recyclers directly, as it went through the recycling/disposal network is now directly stored into warehouses belonging to some specialized companies that are asking some big bucks for the equipment, greatly limiting supply and propping all the prices very high.

Yes, this is a serious problem. For some reason (well outside of EEVBlog happenings) they seem to have unlimited resources to keep stuff unsold for years on years, trashing the price structure of used equipment across the board. I don't know how large regional price differences may be, but often used equipment from these actors is priced higher than what it costs new in my location!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2020, 05:35:18 am by eplpwr »
 
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Offline BravoV

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2020, 05:48:45 am »
Hi there

I'm wondering if others are seeing the same trend.
Where the f*** do we get cheap test equipment nowadays ? What happened in the past few years ?

The Gollums in the TEA thread are hoarding it.

LOL, this is the truth, and somehow in the TEA temple thread, if you're patience, some of the disciples members, sometimes share findings on good deal, so better join the TEA brotherhood .  >:D  :-DD

Offline Fungus

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2020, 10:11:28 am »
The Gollums in the TEA thread are hoarding it.
LOL, this is the truth

 

Online RoGeorge

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2020, 11:17:20 am »
Last time I've looked for some RF gear there were some CMU200's from India, and some handheld SA/VNA from Taiwan or Vietnam.

My guess is there is not much equipment left for the second hand market in the US because the manufacturing was moved to other countries, and most of the equipment used to come from the production lines, which are now in other parts of the world.
 
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Offline BravoV

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2020, 11:41:52 am »
Last time I've looked for some RF gear there were some CMU200's from India, and some handheld SA/VNA from Taiwan or Vietnam.

My guess is there is not much equipment left for the second hand market in the US because the manufacturing was moved to other countries, and most of the equipment used to come from the production lines, which are now in other parts of the world.

The secret is, try to look and search at "developing" countries (not developed nor under developed), especially those that are hit hard say at last 1 or 2 decades, caused by the rise of China global manufacturing.

Yes, I'm living in one above, and also have been scoring "relatively" cheap not only here, but at the surrounding similar countries.

Offline ace1903

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2020, 12:09:54 pm »
Big part of the problem is that newer instruments came without service manual and schematics.
Everyone wants HP equipment from 80ties with part list, service manual and in the best case schematics available online.
Probably tons of Rigol Owon Siglent ... equipment goes directly in junk because it is impossible to find info about
how to service it or find value of some burnt resistor. Even if replacement part  is 2c risk of getting unusable brick is not worth checking for these on auctions.
 

Offline Stray Electron

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2020, 01:21:54 pm »
The answer in one word

EBAY and buy it now price inflation.

George

   You're on the right track but you didn't go far enough.  Twenty years ago used equipment on Ebay flooded the market and prices were cheap. But E-bay charged the sellers for every item that they listed and charged them a percentage of both the listing price and the selling price so the sellers had a big incentive to sell their items the first time around. But now Ebay has changed their format and allows sellers to relist items over and over and over at no charge and there is no charge based on the listing price so now the sellers have every incentive to list items for ridiculous prices and to list it over and over again until it sells.  Ebay is no longer an auction site but a big flea market where the sellers can sit and wait to get whatever insane price they demand.  Ebay should go back to charging for every time an item is listed and a percentage of the listing price.

   Other replies regarding increased expectations are also correct. Thanks to Ebay I now own some very sophisticated test equipment that I never expected to own. In many cases TE that most of my employers never owned.

   I do feel sorry for the ones of you in Europe and other countries outside of the US, your government's taxation has severely limited your country's market for TE and consequently the number of local manufacturers and on top of that, their import duties are so high that you can't afford to import used TE from countries like the US where it is relatively cheap and plentiful.
 
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Offline Microdoser

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2020, 01:58:26 pm »
It was never as accessible as now to setup a home lab with propper soldering/dessoldering station, DSO, signal gen, PSU, spectrum analyser, etc.

Thanks to brands like Rigol, Siglent, etc., you can buy test equipment that would have been unimaginable 10-20 years ago.

I think this plays a large part.

I have wanted an oscilloscope for more than 40 years but it was only in the last 5-10 years that the price came down to a point where I would begin to consider one.

Before then, they were only things you would see in an electronics lab funded by a business in some way.

With the explosion of 'makers' the demand is also much greater than it has ever been.
 

Offline madires

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #38 on: October 20, 2020, 02:06:06 pm »
Big part of the problem is that newer instruments came without service manual and schematics.
Everyone wants HP equipment from 80ties with part list, service manual and in the best case schematics available online.

... until you need an unoptanium part to fix it. That's also something you have to consider when buying vintage T&M stuff.
 

Offline nfmax

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #39 on: October 20, 2020, 02:29:29 pm »
It was never as accessible as now to setup a home lab with propper soldering/dessoldering station, DSO, signal gen, PSU, spectrum analyser, etc.

Thanks to brands like Rigol, Siglent, etc., you can buy test equipment that would have been unimaginable 10-20 years ago.

I think this plays a large part.

I have wanted an oscilloscope for more than 40 years but it was only in the last 5-10 years that the price came down to a point where I would begin to consider one.

Before then, they were only things you would see in an electronics lab funded by a business in some way.

With the explosion of 'makers' the demand is also much greater than it has ever been.

When I was a postgrad student, back in 1981, I met with an electronics 'hobbyist' who personally owned a Tektronix 7104 oscilloscope when they were new, shiny, and very expensive indeed. The (11th) Viscount Downe was involved in a start-up company that was being spun out of my university department. By a strange twist of fate, forty years later I ended up working for, and indeed owning a small part of, a successor part of the very same company.

And now I have my own 1GHz oscilloscope, too!  ;D
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #40 on: October 20, 2020, 02:31:37 pm »
Where is the cheap test gear ?

In China, like everything else  :)

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/surplus-test-gear-from-shenzhen/
 
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Offline Bicurico

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #41 on: October 20, 2020, 03:47:53 pm »
Hi,

I have to add to my initial reply. After reading many contributions, I know that I missed a few points.

1) Is less second hand test equipment moved to eBay and similar? Probably. I whitnessed a situation which really hurt me. 2-3 years ago I went to a huge electronics manufacturer, who is one of our customers (won't name them). While walking to the relevant building, the host and I passed a warehouse that had a cage outdoor (with a roof on top). Inside the cage were tens of R&S Audio Analyzers. I asked what was happening to them and the guy casually told me that there were for scrap. I immediatly asked if I could have them. He asked me how many i wanted and I told him: all that fit inside my car! He laughed and told me that he thought it would not be possible but he was going to ask anyway. After two weeks he called me and told me that I could not have them. They were going to be scraped by a contracted company. So I asked him to tell me the company name. My hope was to buy a few units cheaply from the scrap yard. After one week he called me again, told me the company name, but said they would not be allowed to sell me any unit, because they were obliged to destroy them and give prove of destruction. Plus they would be liable if any serial number would appear in the market.

Of course I accepted this (heavy hearted) and tried to understand the reason why equipment still worth tens of thousands of Euro would be simply destroyed. The reasons listed:

- To make sure no engineer would on purpose break a device (remove a fuse) to cheaply get to buy it and then repair it again for his own profit
- To make sure no competitor would get cheap access to required test equipment
- To conform with EU laws regarding write off of equipment -> this seems to be the single most important reason! Tax reasons!

I imagine that 5-10 years ago, all of this was handled in a more relaxed way. For example, I own three MicroScribe digitizing arms (1 broken, I was able to repair the other two), one SenSable Omni (was broken and replaced with a new one - we had to send proof of destruction by sending in a flat cable which I replaced, so I got to own one after repairing it), etc. My company gave me these broken devices for free. I imagine that the same was valid for test equipment a few years ago.

2) We are in a crisis! Companies are replacing less equipment than 10-20 years ago. Existing test equipment has to last longer. Also, they do last longer, being mostly based on software, where users can upgrade the software and/or license new functionality by inserting a serial key.

3) It is more common now to lease test equipment. The company uses it for so many years and then has to return it. It will then be scrapped, because the owner is not interested in flooding the market with second hand equipment instead of doing new leasing contracts.

So overall, yes, I have to now admit that there is less offer.

And, as already stated by me and others: there is a huge demand!

Giving myself as an example: Yes, I have followed EEVblog (and others) on subjects, that have nothing to do with my job or other hobbies. But I have to admit that I have been looking eBay for Rubidium clocks/counters, too! I have not purchased one, but WTF: how cool would that be, to own an atomic clock, just for the fun of it?

If I get a second hand module for 100 Euro and build the remaining PSU and what not - that is a bargain and money well spend: better to learn something new, have some challenges and the overwhealming joy of owning something this exclusive. Others spend 100 Euro to watch a football match...

But because demand has gone up, so did the prices. So instead of looking at Rubidium clocks, I am now considering other stuff. Part of this strange addiction is to be ahead of the game.

Conclusion: If you want to setup a lab, buy NEW gear. These have never been this affordable and so similar to high end equipment. If you are a hobbyist and if you get your kicks out of hoarding test equipment that 10-20 years ago cost as much as a house, then specialize in some kind of equipment so that you can guess what the fault is and repair it yourself. Having a CMU200 that had a price tag of 100.000 Euro for 200 Euro, after replacing 5 Euro of components is time well spent and will certainly have some use. At least for me it is and it is my way of "learning". When I wanted to really learn how to use an oscilloscope, I just bought one cheap at eBay. I learned much more than what I was taught at university regarding the use of an oscilloscope. The same for all the other test equipment I bought.

Regards,
Vitor

 
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Online bdunham7

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #42 on: October 20, 2020, 04:46:57 pm »
Companies are replacing less equipment than 10-20 years ago. Existing test equipment has to last longer. Also, they do last longer, being mostly based on software, where users can upgrade the software and/or license new functionality by inserting a serial key.

Ongoing companies replacing equipment has probably never been a great source of stuff, at least not in recent history, because of the 3 reasons you mentioned and the fact that once something is set up, they run it until it dies.  CNC machines with 8086 control boards are an example.  I think the upgrades you refer to are the rare exception, not the rule. 

The best stuff comes from liquidation of discontinued operations.  The stuff from going concerns is often destroyed (I have two Tek 2465 scopes that were 'drilled') or pretty obsolete.  I had a batch of Fluke 8050 DMMs that were all calibration rejects, marked 'repair support unavailable'.  Presumably if they had passed calibration, they would have gone back into service.  It seems that there's a lot of really, really old stuff that is still in use in various companies, I just see the stuff that trickles out. There's a fair amount of 30-40 year old stuff with layers of annual calibration stickers, meaning it isn't a case of cleaning out old storage closets--this stuff was in use.  FWIW, both surplus/scrap dealers I know say that things have been very slow recently, nothing much offered.

Quote
Conclusion: If you want to setup a lab, buy NEW gear. These have never been this affordable and so similar to high end equipment.

Maybe.  And in Europe I'm sure it is different.  But more than half of my bench is stuff I bought and fixed for a small fraction of what new would have cost--and it isn't all obsolete boat anchors either.  An old HP 34401A or Fluke 8842A makes an excellent bench meter for someone just starting out and those can be had today for only a few hundred dollars.  The only caution I would give someone is to not buy rubbish!  Paying a bit too much for a nice condition unit is much better than paying for trash.  Of course, I sell nice-condition units on eBay for a little too much money, so I may be biased.  :)
A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 
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Offline madires

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #43 on: October 20, 2020, 05:57:25 pm »
- To conform with EU laws regarding write off of equipment -> this seems to be the single most important reason! Tax reasons!

It's not because of writing off assets. If a company gives away stuff for free they have to pay VAT based on the current value of the devices (market value, not book value). Scrapping the stuff is usually less expensive than paying the VAT.
 
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Offline nfmax

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2020, 06:02:53 pm »
We haven't a proper tech crash in many years. When companies go bankrupt, the administrators are legally bound to realise as much value as possible from the failed company's assets, to distribute to the creditors. Hence test equipment gets sent to auction, not scrapped.
 
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Online SilverSolder

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2020, 06:15:47 pm »
[...]
- It is also possible that the "trade in" policies of some equipment companies are removing older gear from the market. Before, companies would "throw away" older gear and buy new. Now they send the old gear to a manufacturer for destruction in exchange of a virtual price reduction. But I do not know if that effect is significant.
[...]

This is definitely a factor - I have personally worked for companies that literally destroyed inventories of spare parts etc. in preference to seeing it go out on the open market and help keep older products alive.  Nowadays, every cheesy MBA realizes that every company is in competition with itself - in the form of its previous generation products on the used market!  So, offering discounts in return for the older equipment (which then promptly gets scrapped) is all part of the game and has been going on for a long time.

The latest fad from the cheesy MBAs is of course that they would like everyone to subscribe to their products, rather than buying them outright and possibly save money by keeping them running longer than they should, and then (the horror of it!) selling it on when they don't need it any longer.   So, look out for products that depend on cloud connectivity to work - so the cheesy MBA can flip a switch to make it obsolete in a flash, while telling you that you should have subscribed!


[...]
- It is possible this is also related to a more global trend in the economy of inflated asset prices and too much money in the market, but that's probably out of topic for EEVblog :)
[...]

That is the work of the macro-economic equivalents of the cheesy MBAs, who believe that printing money won't eventually have consequences!



 
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Online SilverSolder

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2020, 06:22:27 pm »
Big part of the problem is that newer instruments came without service manual and schematics.
Everyone wants HP equipment from 80ties with part list, service manual and in the best case schematics available online.
Probably tons of Rigol Owon Siglent ... equipment goes directly in junk because it is impossible to find info about
how to service it or find value of some burnt resistor. Even if replacement part  is 2c risk of getting unusable brick is not worth checking for these on auctions.

It is like fixing up an old car:  it is really only worth it if the car was somehow interesting/cool even when new...  or, it is in such good condition that little work is required!
 

Online tautech

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #47 on: October 20, 2020, 07:36:31 pm »
Big part of the problem is that newer instruments came without service manual and schematics.
Everyone wants HP equipment from 80ties with part list, service manual and in the best case schematics available online.
Probably tons of Rigol Owon Siglent ... equipment goes directly in junk because it is impossible to find info about
how to service it or find value of some burnt resistor.
Err well maybe you've never gone looking for modern equipment service manuals ?

They are available although not at schematic level as modern equipment seems to be pretty reliable.
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Online bdunham7

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #48 on: October 20, 2020, 07:55:51 pm »
Err well maybe you've never gone looking for modern equipment service manuals ?

They are available although not at schematic level as modern equipment seems to be pretty reliable.

Not always.  I've seen a fair number of things, some from top-tier vendors, that have no real service manual nor a parts list.  They use some statement like "The support strategy for this item is unit replacement".  And I'm not talking about sub-$100 handheld trinkets.

A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 

Online tautech

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #49 on: October 20, 2020, 08:06:16 pm »
Err well maybe you've never gone looking for modern equipment service manuals ?

They are available although not at schematic level as modern equipment seems to be pretty reliable.

Not always.  I've seen a fair number of things, some from top-tier vendors, that have no real service manual nor a parts list.  They use some statement like "The support strategy for this item is unit replacement".  And I'm not talking about sub-$100 handheld trinkets.
Quite so although your "unit replacement" can also be interpreted as PCB replacement which ranges from reasonable cost to "whole unit replacement".
Service manuals today....those I'm familiar with, have a flow chart to help identify the faulty board which then can be sourced at a reasonable price.......unless the reseller wants an unhealthy profit margin for it.  :palm:
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline ralphrmartin

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #50 on: October 20, 2020, 08:14:39 pm »
It's not just test gear. Second hand books can end up at silly prices too, to take an example.

One thing I believe happens is this. Someone sets a silly price for something (maybe through error, maybe through very poor judgement, maybe just in the hope that an idiot will fall for it). Other people (or algorithms) see it, and set a similar price. Once that has happened a few times, it somehow becomes a standard asking price. No one wants to set a much lower price, as they think they are cheating themselves, "not getting what its worth" for the item. The end result is a lot of people sitting on stuff they aren't using, but also not selling, due to a mismatch between what they are prepared to sell for, and what purchasers are willing to pay. Of, course, there is an occasional sale when someone is desperate (or ignorant) enough to buy at any price, and that only serves to reinforce the silly price.

There was a well known example of algorithmic pricing gone mad, on Amazon some years ago, when a book on flies ended up being priced at over $24 million, basically with two sellers each trying to make a bit more than the lowest price.
https://www.wired.com/2011/04/amazon-flies-24-million/
 

Offline KevinA

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #51 on: October 20, 2020, 08:37:54 pm »
Here in the North of England, the premier place used to be Johns radio; Top quality goods at sensible prices.

Many years ago, I was talking to John whilst his wife copied a service manual for me. He recounted a recent Government Auction he had attended, where a very exotic Japanese spectrum analyser came up for sale. No one had heard of it, and no one wanted to touch it, apart from a chap who snatched  it up for an absolute song.

John spoke to the guy afterwards to find out what he had seen in the unit. Very simple said the guy; I work for XSERGVKOY Government department, and we needed a mega high end spectrum analyser for a project, but this years funds were not enough to purchase one. Whilst speaking to a friend about it, said friend said they had plenty of that years funds left; I will buy it, and immediately put it into auction as no longer required. All you have to do is attend the auction, you will get it for a song.
 

Offline HobGoblyn

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #52 on: October 20, 2020, 10:05:04 pm »
I THINK it’s a similar thing to finding spare parts for my Myford lathe.  As the vintage lathes have become sought after, you get eBay listings for these lathes in A1 condition complete with gearbox, stand and a ton of accessories for say £1.5k

Others see how much this old very well looked after and very well serviced lathe is selling for, so they try selling their completely worn out and badly maintained lathe for say £1000 when it’s not worth half of that.

Then there’s the people who give it a quick coat of paint and try to sell for more.

But the most annoying by far is the simple fact that now, if you’re looking for a spare cog etc, 99.9% are sold by companies who seem to Hoover up all these old lathes and set a min price of about £40 for something that’s really worth about £5
 
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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #53 on: October 20, 2020, 10:52:20 pm »
I THINK it’s a similar thing to finding spare parts for my Myford lathe.  As the vintage lathes have become sought after, you get eBay listings for these lathes in A1 condition complete with gearbox, stand and a ton of accessories for say £1.5k

Others see how much this old very well looked after and very well serviced lathe is selling for, so they try selling their completely worn out and badly maintained lathe for say £1000 when it’s not worth half of that.

Then there’s the people who give it a quick coat of paint and try to sell for more.

But the most annoying by far is the simple fact that now, if you’re looking for a spare cog etc, 99.9% are sold by companies who seem to Hoover up all these old lathes and set a min price of about £40 for something that’s really worth about £5
Yeah all that for sure however when getting a Harrison 12 offered to me a few years back and after a little research disclosed it was a rarely seen fully optioned unit and with all accessories also (Chucks, steadies, toolpost and some tooling etc) I jumped at the chance for $1800 NZ (~1000 quid) despite it showing some bed wear.
Still think it was a fine buy although I don't use it much although been doing a little jobby with it today.  :)

Yet when we have gained some little experience with older equipment/tools we are better placed to know what what constitutes a reasonable/good deal rather than diving in boots and all first up to find you have just bought a POS.
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Offline gnavigator1007

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2020, 12:09:26 am »
Cheap test gear is still everywhere, it's just some lunatics are willing to pay more for it  >:D

I've definitely seen price increases even outside of ebay the last few years. Many of the bigger auction houses have implemented or increased bid minimums, deposits, & buyer premiums. It's kind of wild that I don't think I own a single piece of bench gear that I couldn't turn around and make a profit on now. I do wonder how much ends up being essentially set decoration for youtubers and their viewers. I'm certainly guilty of buying some things just because I could. Dave himself has done videos that resulted in major price increase followed by scarcity of the featured bit of kit. He's sabotaged me a couple times with items I already had my eye on  :-DD

Thing that bothers me most is the number of re-sellers that seem to specialize in "for parts/not working" test equipment with "unable to test" in the description. Sometimes priced quite reasonably until you see the shipping cost.

It isn't just test equipment though. Seems a lot more people are comfortable buying used in general. Thrift store prices are insane compared to what they were a few years ago.  The only area I haven't really seen a big jump in prices is used medical equipment.
 

Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2020, 02:38:23 am »


Thing that bothers me most is the number of re-sellers that seem to specialize in "for parts/not working" test equipment with "unable to test" in the description. Sometimes priced quite reasonably until you see the shipping cost.


I can't speak to shipping rates of yore because I just didn't do much.  But "boat anchors"  really do cost a lot to ship.  Even if the time and materials for packaging are thrown in for free.  Which means that you really need to find stuff in a local market, which in turn means that there are only a few privileged places in the whole world.  Places like the LA basin, the SF Bay area and others.
 

Offline gnavigator1007

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2020, 02:51:05 am »
Very true. Sometimes shipping is just legitimately expensive, although I've never had the guts to risk having more than a canoe anchor shipped. Figure there's a limited number of these things in existence and as much as I might want something, I'd rather it continue to exist and just hope I can go pick something similar up in person eventually. I was more referring to some of the listings I've seen that are within the same part of the state, can't weigh more than eight pounds with packaging, and still want close to $100 for shipping.
 

Offline med6753

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2020, 02:59:15 am »
If you are in the U.S. deals can be had, but it takes searching and patience. And usually a willingness to invest in some troubleshooting time and parts cost. Don't be afraid to check out local sites such as Craigslist. The obvious advantage here is you can personally check out the equipment and make a better informed decision. Some of my best deals have come from CL. Examples: A dead Tek 7904 with 4 plug-in's for $100. My time and less than $50 in parts and it was fully functional. A dead Tek 2465 for $75. It was missing the fuse holder cap and the fuse itself. Installed those parts and it powered up 100% functional.

Yes, Ebay can be a crap shoot. Sometimes good deal and sometimes you have to wonder why I spent so much for a POS.       
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Offline 0culus

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2020, 03:02:17 am »
If you are in the U.S. deals can be had, but it takes searching and patience. And usually a willingness to invest in some troubleshooting time and parts cost. Don't be afraid to check out local sites such as Craigslist. The obvious advantage here is you can personally check out the equipment and make a better informed decision. Some of my best deals have come from CL. Examples: A dead Tek 7904 with 4 plug-in's for $100. My time and less than $50 in parts and it was fully functional. A dead Tek 2465 for $75. It was missing the fuse holder cap and the fuse itself. Installed those parts and it powered up 100% functional.

Yes, Ebay can be a crap shoot. Sometimes good deal and sometimes you have to wonder why I spent so much for a POS.       

It's worth noting that local deals are heavily dependent on where you are. If you are close to high tech areas (like Massachusetts, Silicon Valley, anywhere that has a national lab nearby, etc) there is going to be a lot more surplus floating around. If you can get stuff that lived in the desert most of it's  life, all the better!
 

Offline med6753

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2020, 03:11:31 am »
If you are in the U.S. deals can be had, but it takes searching and patience. And usually a willingness to invest in some troubleshooting time and parts cost. Don't be afraid to check out local sites such as Craigslist. The obvious advantage here is you can personally check out the equipment and make a better informed decision. Some of my best deals have come from CL. Examples: A dead Tek 7904 with 4 plug-in's for $100. My time and less than $50 in parts and it was fully functional. A dead Tek 2465 for $75. It was missing the fuse holder cap and the fuse itself. Installed those parts and it powered up 100% functional.

Yes, Ebay can be a crap shoot. Sometimes good deal and sometimes you have to wonder why I spent so much for a POS.       

It's worth noting that local deals are heavily dependent on where you are. If you are close to high tech areas (like Massachusetts, Silicon Valley, anywhere that has a national lab nearby, etc) there is going to be a lot more surplus floating around. If you can get stuff that lived in the desert most of it's  life, all the better!

Very true. My local area once had three IBM sites (now 1) and four of my scopes were originally owned by them. A 475A, 485, 2430, 2465.
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Offline uski

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #60 on: October 21, 2020, 05:09:12 am »
Okay okay, when I created this thread I was half expecting to be shown the magical place where all the cheap equipment was.
But instead you confirmed my feelings

So!!! today out of despair I just ordered, brand new straight from Tektronix, a Keithley DMM6500 6 1/2 digit multimeter with 1 MS/s sample rate, and a Keithley 2280S-60-3 power supply with integrated 6 1/2 digit readings, graphing capability, 60V 3A output.

Thank you for giving me the necessary excuse/justification for this purchase :-DD

Next on the line is a Rigol MSO5000-series scope.
Just wanted to share my excitment with you !

I also joined the TEA thread. If you can't beat em... join em ! :box: ;D
 
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Offline Bicurico

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #61 on: October 21, 2020, 07:20:11 am »
Hahaha... you will love your new devices.
Plus, you now have the time and equipment to look out for bargains which you can repair yourself. Welcome to the TEA!
Oh - the excuse to buy second hand gear, once you already have brand new gear, is of course to have backup equipment.

Regards,
Vitor
 
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Offline uski

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #62 on: October 21, 2020, 08:06:15 am »
Hahaha... you will love your new devices.
Plus, you now have the time and equipment to look out for bargains which you can repair yourself. Welcome to the TEA!
Oh - the excuse to buy second hand gear, once you already have brand new gear, is of course to have backup equipment.

Thanks Vitor. We always need a few backup oscilloscopes. We never know what could happen !  :-DD

In fact, I am indeed frustrated that even broken test gear is expensive. Because I really want to practice my repair skills and I love that satisfaction of repairing something successfully !
 

Offline Bicurico

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #63 on: October 21, 2020, 03:41:34 pm »
"I love that satisfaction of repairing something successfully !"

You just need to start looking at some new niche: In the last months I successfullly bought myself an iMac 24" "2009" for 150 Euro and an iBook Air 11" "2013" for 250 Euro. Both look like brand-new and are working flaw-less. The iMac is primarily used as a TV (I use IPTV streaming where the iMac is setup) and it was by far the cheapest option. As a bonus I got a whole Mac, too, which is still great for surfing, office, etc. The only thing broken was the magic mouse. After openening it (it is glued - arghh) and cleaning it, it works like a charm.

The iBook Air is just working. It has an Intel Core i5 processor and is super light. Perfect for trips or meetings (my "other" laptop is an 17" Asus ROG that weights like 5kg with PSU and stuff).

But even cheaper is to buy a broken iMac 24" or 27". They are pretty repairable, because the screen comes off (just hold by magnets instead of glue) and many regular PC components are used. And the screen is just fantastic. I imagine that you could get great deals on non-working units, where you just need to replace the HDD (regular 3.5" HDD), memory SDIMM (very available) or CPU (available and you could even upgrade to the fastest supported unit). If you have better equipment for BGA soldering, you might get your kicks out of repairing broken graphics adapters. The whole graphics board can be replaced, too. This means that by buying a few broken units, you will be able to repair a few, just by swapping components and cleaning the dust out of the interior.

This is just an example for a product that is sold quite cheap these days, but is still of great value for certain applications. I imagine they will get more expensive at some point, too.

Or why not consider buying a cheap X-Ray or Ultra-Sound machine? Mainstream is still not looking at these things. I have even started to consider buying a patient monitor for my own use (at least I would get propper heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels, compared to general public devices).

The point is: when everyone is into buying second hand test equipment to score a profit after an easy repair, try to find something else to give you the adrenaline rush (during repair) and endorphine release (after sucessfull repair).

Regards,
vitor

 
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Online SilverSolder

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #64 on: October 21, 2020, 07:11:03 pm »
[...]  try to find something else to give you the adrenaline rush (during repair) and endorphine release (after sucessfull repair).  [...]


Falling in love?
 

Offline uski

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #65 on: October 22, 2020, 03:46:23 am »
But even cheaper is to buy a broken iMac 24" or 27". They are pretty repairable, because the screen comes off (just hold by magnets instead of glue) and many regular PC components are used. And the screen is just fantastic. I imagine that you could get great deals on non-working units, where you just need to replace the HDD (regular 3.5" HDD), memory SDIMM (very available) or CPU (available and you could even upgrade to the fastest supported unit)

I have a secret. I had a seemingly endless source (magic dumpster) of old laptops. Mostly early Core i3/i5 units (first gen), typically Dell business laptops.
I was replacing the old HDD by a SSD, putting a new battery and power supply, reinstalling Windows 10 with the license key on the laptop... and I was selling them ;D

I did not made a huge amount, but probably enough to pay for my next oscilloscope.

I would have made more if I was a bit dishonest and selling units with the old batteries and HDD since my customers were mostly not tech-savvy, but I can sleep at night knowing I sold them a computer that actually works decently.

Unfortunately it is over now...  :--
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #66 on: October 22, 2020, 04:25:32 am »
But even cheaper is to buy a broken iMac 24" or 27". They are pretty repairable, because the screen comes off (just hold by magnets instead of glue) and many regular PC components are used. And the screen is just fantastic. I imagine that you could get great deals on non-working units, where you just need to replace the HDD (regular 3.5" HDD), memory SDIMM (very available) or CPU (available and you could even upgrade to the fastest supported unit)

I have a secret. I had a seemingly endless source (magic dumpster) of old laptops. Mostly early Core i3/i5 units (first gen), typically Dell business laptops.
I was replacing the old HDD by a SSD, putting a new battery and power supply, reinstalling Windows 10 with the license key on the laptop... and I was selling them ;D

I did not made a huge amount, but probably enough to pay for my next oscilloscope.

I would have made more if I was a bit dishonest and selling units with the old batteries and HDD since my customers were mostly not tech-savvy, but I can sleep at night knowing I sold them a computer that actually works decently.

Unfortunately it is over now...  :--

You have to be careful doing that kind of thing, if it is a work related source...   I have seen good people get fired for that, even though it was all going to be scrapped so they thought it would be OK.
 

Offline uski

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #67 on: October 22, 2020, 04:54:06 am »
But even cheaper is to buy a broken iMac 24" or 27". They are pretty repairable, because the screen comes off (just hold by magnets instead of glue) and many regular PC components are used. And the screen is just fantastic. I imagine that you could get great deals on non-working units, where you just need to replace the HDD (regular 3.5" HDD), memory SDIMM (very available) or CPU (available and you could even upgrade to the fastest supported unit)

I have a secret. I had a seemingly endless source (magic dumpster) of old laptops. Mostly early Core i3/i5 units (first gen), typically Dell business laptops.
I was replacing the old HDD by a SSD, putting a new battery and power supply, reinstalling Windows 10 with the license key on the laptop... and I was selling them ;D

I did not made a huge amount, but probably enough to pay for my next oscilloscope.

I would have made more if I was a bit dishonest and selling units with the old batteries and HDD since my customers were mostly not tech-savvy, but I can sleep at night knowing I sold them a computer that actually works decently.

Unfortunately it is over now...  :--

You have to be careful doing that kind of thing, if it is a work related source...   I have seen good people get fired for that, even though it was all going to be scrapped so they thought it would be OK.

Good advice that definitely needs to be taken into account, but in my specific situation I was fine. It was an office building electronic waste recycling dumpster. Exactly like what Dave from EEVblog shows sometimes.
The company throwing these away probably had no idea that I was taking them. A lot of people was taking stuff from the container and I'm sure there was even nicer stuff that I could not get because others probably had first dibs
Also I was working for a very small company and they would not fire me for this. In fact they all knew about it.

Now I work for a large US corporation and I would not risk this at work for sure
« Last Edit: October 22, 2020, 04:58:53 am by uski »
 
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #69 on: October 23, 2020, 04:13:09 am »
this seems to be the single most important reason! Tax reasons!
yup. That and government grants for projects. They can bill the new shiney towards the grant
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Offline uski

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #70 on: October 23, 2020, 08:46:24 am »
I just realized something... with the coronavirus pandemic, and many people working from home, it is very possible that many companies have not been operating recently and this might have slowed down the amount of equipment refresh and disposal.

If we (unfortunately) get companies to go bankrupt in the next few months, we could see a surge in surplus equipment.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Where is the cheap test gear ? What happened in the past few years ?
« Reply #71 on: October 23, 2020, 03:25:30 pm »
I just realized something... with the coronavirus pandemic, and many people working from home, it is very possible that many companies have not been operating recently and this might have slowed down the amount of equipment refresh and disposal.

If we (unfortunately) get companies to go bankrupt in the next few months, we could see a surge in surplus equipment.

This works both ways...  people working from home may now need more equipment at home, instead of going in to the office lab to work.
 


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