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Author Topic: Thoughts on Maker Shed Stuff and Radio Shack?  (Read 4637 times)
K0OD
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Posts: 2578




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« on: January 06, 2013, 06:56:49 AM »

Yesterday I made a rare trip to the Shack, looking for a few small value capacators (that they didn't have). Was surprised to see these nifty kits of components that bore the Maker nameplate.

http://www.makershed.com/Make_Electronics_Components_Pack_2a_p/mecp2.htm
http://www.makershed.com/Make_Electronics_The_Complete_Collection_p/mecp4.htm

Looks like Maker and Makershed are filing in some of the broad gaps in supplying electronics stuff for beginners, and not just Arduinos.

http://www.makershed.com/Tools_Components_s/139.htm

Thoughts on this?
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TANAKASAN
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 07:44:56 AM »

Bit expensive, but if it introduces more people to electronics construction then I'm happy.

Tanakasan
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K8AXW
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 09:10:38 AM »

Ever since buying a selection of electrolytic caps many years ago with bastard values/voltage ratings and seldom ever used, I've been pretty much against buying 'packages' like these.

Not only are they expensive as TAKAKSAN points out but there is always the question, "Does the package contain components that I will use?"  Unless you're in the repair business and know what is in such a package, the answer most of the time is NO.

Spend your money wisely.  Buy only what you need.
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KA5IPF
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 09:55:38 AM »

Yesterday I made a rare trip to the Shack, looking for a few small value capacators (that they didn't have). Was surprised to see these nifty kits of components that bore the Maker nameplate.

http://www.makershed.com/Make_Electronics_Components_Pack_2a_p/mecp2.htm
http://www.makershed.com/Make_Electronics_The_Complete_Collection_p/mecp4.htm

Looks like Maker and Makershed are filing in some of the broad gaps in supplying electronics stuff for beginners, and not just Arduinos.

http://www.makershed.com/Tools_Components_s/139.htm

Thoughts on this?

Those are not just parts kits. They are specific kits to build projects outlined in a book they sell. There are 36 different projects in the entire package, the old breadboard project kit redone.

It's not just random parts for your supply.

Clif

PS: their 365 piece 1/4w resistor pack at $7.95 is reasonable for a starter kit.
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K0OD
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 09:57:48 AM »

I guessing the idea is that electronic projects in Make Magazine will try to stick mostly with components from these kits.  http://makezine.com/
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K0JEG
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 06:07:32 PM »

The local 'shack has the Arduino micro for $16. I thought that's actually a good deal, but I figured someone else could make better use of it than I can.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 04:21:54 AM »

It's another band-aid type of thing for Radio Shack.  It's true that parts don't provide the profit that makes carrying them worthwhile, but these 'kits', in my opinion are too expensive for everyday experimenters.

Radio Shack is still trying to find product that will give them a decent profit--and yet will allow them to be known as Radio Shack.  Unfortunately, they're not going to do any better than they used to do--yet they're still deluding themselves that they can.
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K0OD
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 07:37:18 AM »

If these kits are too expensive, what's the alternative... building a time machine and going back to "radio row" on Cortlandt Street to pick thru piles of war surplus command sets at $2?

My son, who's never changed a fuse, is now playing with Arduinos and such. What's on the horizon except Shack and Shed?
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 08:52:42 AM »

Mouser, Digikey, Newark et al.  they just aren't local.  prior to the maker movement, which is a bunch of folks who got fed up and did something about no neighbor with tools and no local parts distributors, the "movement" was searching for something like "make 500 kilowatt Frikken (tm) laser for sharks" on the Internet, and then assembling parts.

unless you want to get a bunch of "free" phones to gut for microscopic parts you'll burn up in removal (2 year contract required,) the shack isn't a destination for us types.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 09:24:21 AM »

OD: The answer to your question is Mouser, DigiKey, and similar. 

I prefer Mouser (OK, let me carry their flag for a minute) because I use Mouser almost exclusively.  With Mouser I have access to hundreds of thousands of parts within a few days. I can 'build' a project using their website and after completing the parts accumulation, rather it's hours or weeks, I push a couple keys and the order is made. 

Have you ever placed an order for parts and then realize you forgot one or two?  Mouser helps eliminate this by using their site to pile up an order before placing that order.  You can add or subtract anything before placing the order.  The "project" page also gives you a running total cost as you add or subtract items.

Mouser shipping costs are, as far as I can determine by comparison, among the lowest in the business. Delivery time is excellent.

Now for the spare parts thingy.  Whenever I order parts, I order replacements for the solid state items.  For obvious reasons.  The spin off benefit of this is if later if I need components for another project I raid these spares.  They also sell resistor kits which are always good to have.  As for the rest of the component list, I have seldom enjoyed any benefit from kits.  I never have the correct value, voltage or component composition for a particular application.

Over time my parts inventory has my shop looking like an electronics store.

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K0OD
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 11:26:48 AM »

AXW, Mouser owes you one!

I'm aware of those small-parts sites of course, but I've never bought from them. I don't need much at a time. Here in St. Louis we at least have Radio Shack and Gateway Electronics. I'm inclined to head over to the Mouser site and buy a few assortments.

BTW, just about any shopping cart will allow the user to add and subtract items for awhile, sometimes over weeks. 

Off topic, but I have to comment that my son just bought an electronics text from Amazon that was shipped to our house from India in a few days. Cost was dirt cheap, too. Damn if I know how they pulled that off. 
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K1CJS
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 04:31:25 AM »

With the costs of keeping an goodly inventory/selection of parts and the availability of parts over the internet within a couple of days, it just isn't practical to have multiple locations (one in every town/every other town) stocked with such parts.  

There is a location near me (within an hours drive, anyway) that DOES stock a lot of parts and accessories.  An electronic department store of a sorts.  When I have the need to restock the small amount of things I like to keep, I take a ride up there.

That is probably as close to an 'old Radio Shack' parts selection as anyone is likely to get anymore, and the one near me carries a heck of a lot more than any Radio Shack ever used to carry!
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K0JEG
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 06:43:27 AM »

Other than the "friendly service" what's the opinion of Fry's? I make it a point to visit their Vegas store (and usually spend more there than at the tables), but it seems like they've cut back on the parts department (and PC parts department) the last time I was there.
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