"Planning is half the life" - Surely everyone has heard this saying before in his life. And he is not so completely wrong. Where one can act in the small perhaps still on it loosely, with larger topics a planning becomes inevitable.
As I had already reported in Part 1 and Part 2, the whole topic developed into something larger.
It was no longer a matter of making a platinum, but of running the whole thing as a small series. I've already had a lot to do with planning in my job, but it's something else if you want to push ahead with your own private project.
It turned out that almost 100 circuit boards were needed. And of course you also need the corresponding parts. But that alone is not enough.
How and with what to pack? How to design the whole thing so that other people can reassemble it afterwards? With which service provider, and above all which product to ship.
First of all, see how you get the things shipped. First of all, I assumed that the deliveries would mainly go to Germany and Austria, or to the EU. And the whole thing should also remain within an acceptable price range.
Since I still had the fewest problems with DHL, and here in the village also only a corresponding branch of the German post office exists, at least this choice was not difficult.
But what do you take now? It was important that the items were traceable and that the price was not too high. In the end, the product was Large Letter & Registered Mail for Germany and Merchandise Letter & Registered Mail for the EU. Due to the weight and size restrictions this went however only for 2 kits. From the 3rd the DHL parcel was added.
Until then it was still easy, although this had already cost some hours of research. Next was the packaging and how the individual components could be packed as a kit.
There I found the easiest to take small PVC bags. ESD critical came in appropriate ESD bags. And the whole thing at the end in a bigger bag. Fortunately eBay offers a wide range of packaging, which is also very attractive in terms of price.
And the whole came then finally in cushion envelopes into the dispatch.
So far, so good. Seems to be running smoothly. Now order a few more components...
And that's where the real work started. At the moment the situation is becoming more and more problematic, especially with regard to SMD capacitors. On the one hand, most of this "chicken feed" is used for China itself. On the other hand, many manufacturers are engaged in the production of components that promise a higher profit, such as integrated circuits, etc.
Where previously an SMD capacitor in size 0815 had cost 0.002 for the purchase of 100 units, the price has now risen to 0.03 Euro and the trend is currently continuing upwards.
Sometimes the usual values, like the 0.1µF capacitors were not available at all, or at prices of 0.30 Euro per piece!
Especially since I couldn't buy from dozens of suppliers now, because the price of a single kit would have risen unnecessarily due to the postage costs.
The largest part I could order in China with LCSC and in America with Digikey. The delivery times were several weeks.
Then suddenly eMails came that one article would be available only sometime next year or the other not at all. It became a vabanque game. So I began to order from different smaller dealers.
Fortunately, everything turned out to be positive in the end, but with the result that I had now partly received double and triple deliveries. In addition, I slowly lost track and accidentally doubled my orders.
But since they are all parts that are needed all the time anyway, and the situation on the component market is far from relaxed, I didn't see this as a big disadvantage.
Except for the most expensive item, the ATMega processors, I now had everything together in terms of components. Now I could slowly start to make a list, on which the potential buyers can register themselves.
But I will tell you about that in the next part...
Translated with www.deepl.com/translator