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Macrosill
09-29-2008, 11:14 PM
It appears that the Group Buys are nothing but a thorn in my side. The original intent of a Group Buy is to make a collective purchase with the cooperation of multiple people to bring down the unit cost of an item. It seems as though that has morphed into a way for a Group Buy organizer to get a greater benefit from the cooperation of others by organizing these buys. We even have a member who no longer runs Group Buys but stocks circuit boards like a distributor and some others who have set up online stores. This is way off the Group Buy map. Every so often I get contacted about the Group Buys that go on around here. The latest issue is someone wanted to purchase a single pcb from a once called Group Buy but was given prices for 4, 6 or 8 units. No price for a single unit.

In the past I have come down hard on Group Buys with some pretty strict rules. I have also come down hard on members selling for profit and added some strict rules for Vendors. So the question is where do these situations fall? They are not Group Buys, no doubt about that.

In the past all hardware designs were made with the help of the group at large, mostly for design input. Some were made by a single person with a specific use in mind. In either case they were always made available to all. Schematics were made available, pcb files were available, BOMs were available and the code was available, all publicly. Most are still done this way but now it seems people are coming up with designs and keeping everything a secret, only to allow a single person to do a “Group Buy”. How does this help us as a DIY community? It does not, it hinders us. This is what a for-profit company does. Take a look at all the DIY television shows, magazines and clubs out there. They all give all the information possible for others to build the items themselves. They do not entice you with a video, say buy it here and call it DIY at the same time. A lot of us like to look at things, figure them out and rework the design to fit our needs a little better. Take a look at Computer Christmas, every how to there has everything you need to know to build each project. It was an open community of tinkerers helping each other. Designs were posted for everyone to see, there were no secrets. That is what this place was founded on and that is how it must be.

The Animated Christmas scene has exploded in the past few years. Unfortunately for us whenever something takes off in the public eye there will be those who want to make a quick buck of others. It seems as though we may be in the midst of such a scenario. What happened to the Christmas Spirit? This is a Christmas based community and no one wants to share.

To keep things in order and get things back on track there will be some changes forthcoming. Some may feel it is not fair, some may feel it is wrong, some may feel I am being too harsh or targeting specific people. Well I am the Admin and I must be the bad guy at times. I have to look out for the greater good of the community at large and if that creates some unfairness for one of 2 so be it. I do not want to do this but I have to. This is not open for argument or discussion.

Because of a few people in the past one member was pushed off our site and created his own. There he has made and produced some good hardware, which we have lost out on. Sure you can go to his site and get it there but we as a collective group here have lost a valuable resource. I can not and will not allow this to happen again.

For the above reasons Group Buys will continue to be allowed under the current rules. However the “stocking and supplying” of boards will no longer be permitted on this site. Off site stores are just that, off site stores and are not considered Group Buys. They must be handled off site. No postings about them will be allowed. Vendors are business entities, not an individual selling a product. Proof of business will be required. Some may think they have put a lot of money into their “stock” only to have the sales cut off. Well that is a chance you took.

I know I am going to hear argument on both of these points but I do have to question the motives of some. I understand the Christmas spirit but I can not understand why someone would outlay a large amount of money on prototyping to then purchase a large quantity of product in hopes people will buy them, just to break even and not make a penny on the deal. All for a bunch of people you know only buy a username on a website. This I think anyone would question. I am not saying a Group Buy organizer is not entitled to some sort of compensation but that should be limited.

Also I have been question as to why a single person has all the files and Group Buy rights to most of the pcb designs here. I do not have an answer but this can not continue. These designs should be available to everyone. Not necessarily the exact pcb design but at the very least the schematic and code to produce the design. If some designs something and is not willing to share it publicly then go design it somewhere else. All designs will be required to be openly available by all from now on. I see no reason why they should not be. After all the open design is what has gotten us to the point we are at now. There is an obvious reason why someone would want to protect a design and keep it secret, profit. If not then share it with the rest of us.

In closing anyone who feels they are being targeted here you are wrong, this is not personal, it is a trend that started a while back and is getting out of control. Anyone who feels this is not the place for them because they will never release their designs to others are welcomed to go elsewhere. If you are a supporting member let me know and I will deactivate your account as well as refund any donated funds you may have made less than 1 year ago. The site rules will be adjusted accordingly as soon as possible.

If there is nothing to hide then do not hide anything.

Macrosill
09-30-2008, 09:33 AM
The PMs have started as expected. I have answered at least half a dozen already. One point I would like to reiterate is about open development. Take a look at the 8 channel parallel port controller, openly available to too. The Olsen 595, openly available. The Hill 320, openly available. The Renard, openly available. DMX, openly available. Firegod, openly available. That is just to name a few. Everything I posted above, about open development has been done with those systems. So how anyone would be shunned away based on the open development policy is beyond me. The systems I stated are the basis of what we do and have brought us to where we are today. These were designed by some very smart people and were provided to everyone. So where is the problem with open development? I have only put in writing what we have practiced in the past. The only ones I can see having a problem are those that do not want to release their designs to the masses for some reason that I can only assume.

scorpia
09-30-2008, 06:08 PM
Well i must say that i do think this has come as a bit of a surprise to me. i do like the idea of people supplying there designs but forcing them to do it is not in the christmas spirit at all.

As you said someone has allready left and we dont want any more. there have allways been designs available on this forum that were not available to make though schematics and grabbing your own code. i would have thought that this is the designers choice.

but my main worry is below



However the “stocking and supplying” of boards will no longer be permitted on this site. Off site stores are just that, off site stores and are not considered Group Buys. They must be handled off site. No postings about them will be allowed. Vendors are business entities, not an individual selling a product. Proof of business will be required. Some may think they have put a lot of money into their “stock” only to have the sales cut off. Well that is a chance you took.

I know I am going to hear argument on both of these points but I do have to question the motives of some. I understand the Christmas spirit but I can not understand why someone would outlay a large amount of money on prototyping to then purchase a large quantity of product in hopes people will buy them, just to break even and not make a penny on the deal. All for a bunch of people you know only buy a username on a website. This I think anyone would question. I am not saying a Group Buy organizer is not entitled to some sort of compensation but that should be limited.


i really hope that you reconsider your thinking about the “stocking and supplying” of boards on this site.

this is a very important service that saves anyone of us who use the boards heaps of money.

i mean have you ever tried to get a single board of something like the ren-64 professionally made for you. I can assure you that it would cost lot more that any amount of money that any of these people selling the boards would charge. Im sure alot of the boards couldnt even be made at home.

As for using offsite web facilities to track what and who they are sell. well if it makes it easier and cheaper for them to do it. then who cares is my thinking. as long as the price is reasonable then i dont see a problem.

As for why people would do it i think you answered your own point, it is a site all about christmas and christmas spirit.

So please reconsider this policy or at least allow open debate about it.

regards

Peter Rogers

Macrosill
09-30-2008, 06:54 PM
As far as stocking and supplying boards goes:
Besides the points made above lets think what happens when one person supplies and stocks all the boards;
What happens when they can not access the internet, get sick, lose interest, go on vacation, just disappear? If you have been active on any forum on the internet for any significant time you would know of at least one individual that falls into at least one of those categories. What do we do then? All our eggs are in one basket and if something goes wrong we all lose. A couple of those isues have arisen in the past year. Regardless of the reasons they occurred.
Currently all the boards are not in the USA, another concern I have heard about in the past. This causes 90% of the members to pay international shipping, which is not cheap.
If one person is going to stock and supply every board then we do not need Group Buys. Or is the 1st order a Group Buy and all the rest are stock and supply? Maybe I should stock other items and sell them directly to the membership. Uhm, that sounds a lot like a Vendor and direct sales which are not allowed. I proposed a DIYC store a long time ago. I suggested a central place for people to order what they want and then the boards would be shipped out by whomever was in charge of that particular board. This would have spread things out a bit and made it fair across the board. This was met with great resistance. Why? I was told " I have a system and it works well for me as it is."

There are people who would like someone to offer fully assembled boards. There are a few problems with such a situation that go directly against the rules. Why not offer that too? Somewhere there has to be a line drawn. Where is that line supposed to be? That is the answer I must find. It is not as easy as it seems. Sure it sounds like a simple question but to actually answer it responsibly, fairly and intellectually is not an easy task to undertake.

I do not think we should concern ourselves with the timing some selectively enthusiasts choose to use. Most of us are here year round. Why should we cater to the few who show up in Nov and demand they have everything they need in a week. They can do that, its called LOR and AL. No one ever said DIY is fast and easy. If someone shows up in Nov and wants things to get done by Dec then they better get moving, or do what others have done, research and learn that 1st year and get in on a coop during the off season next year. I am not going to make rules because someone comes around for the 1st time and demands things are made available to them because they said so. I have to think about the entire group, not just a few new people who have no stake in this place.

Wayne J
09-30-2008, 06:55 PM
After reading this this, then going back to our 'roots' (computer christmas) and doing some more reading, Brian has not said any truer words. Everything that came across the board there, was posted up for all to see and help develop. That IS the spriit of DIY and our community. We have a lot of extremley brilliant people here in our community, that can, and do, add input to any and all designs. A collective effort to help with, or improve a design, or idea is the spirit of DIYC and as what Brian said, the priciples we are founded on.
We need to stay with our roots, both in the DIY and Christmas spirit, this is what has made our community great. Just sit back and look at our community ( I mean really look at it) and think on how you want it to be. It can be as the giving and sharing place it started out as, or it can go to a store front to where you have to buy everything, including the information. Sounds extreme doesn't it, or does it???? Look at the past few months, offsite stores popping up, offsite group buys, other forums. We can't have stores and offsite buys, files not available, ect., ect. This does nothing but hinder the entire community in some way. We lose both valuable information, and an opportunity to make this a better place by doing something as a whole.
Brian has made changes and set forth some new rules as of late. These are all in the greatest concern of the community to benifit everyone, please understand this. If you love this place such as he and others do, myself included, then help keep it a place that we all can call our DIY home.

P. Short
09-30-2008, 07:26 PM
Hmm...

At this point I don't have any particular opinion on this matter one way or another on this. I don't have any desire at all to run any coops, nor have I purchased any boards/arts through coops that i can recall.

But I do have a question. How will things work in the future as far as coops go? The example that comes to mind is the Renard64. At the moment I have the original design files, as well as originals of the Gerber files that would be used for fabricating boards. I've also sent copies of the Gerber files to one or two other people. So how will people get copies of these boards in the future under these new rules? I do not wish to run any coops myself, so who (if anyone) would do it, and what should be the relationship between myself and those people? Should I make the pcb design files and Gerber files freely available? Or should I keep them close, and someone else should create new designs when I eventually lose interest in this and move on to something else? Some of these same questions might also arise for the case where the designer wishes to run the coops him/herself, and perhaps others as well.

lbro
09-30-2008, 08:37 PM
We are just going through yet some more growing pains. I don't like the idea of someone holding boards for sale. I prefer the group buys as they were when we set out on this adventure. There have been several group buys of different boards, usually with that person buying a FEW extras in case someone missed the thread.

Brian is right in the fact that it seems newer people come in and try to impose a new way of doing things, I think in some cases that works, but in the case of the way in which we have been doing hardware, I prefer the orignal plan, someone proposes the co-op and we see what interest is there.

Aurbo99
09-30-2008, 09:04 PM
Not sure if this muddy's the water any but here goes.

As for making the designs, schems, traces, BOM's, etc available to all, I agree, its what we do and why I'm here.

As for Co-OP's group buys etc.. if its done within the community by a community member for the community, then I'm all for it. There will be a few purchasers jumping in from the other forums, but that not bad either.. cross-pollenation is not always bad.

What I would not like to see is a CO-OP for 100 purchased units become 500 sitting in someone's shop, it creates stockpiling, overhead for the member holding them and hard feelings and whatnot when someone unaware decides to offer up a new CO-OP for the same items. A few spares are ok, I've seagulled a few of those myself in the past.

Off-site stores.. not keen on them and will avoid whenever possible. Its not a CO-OP buy when I can jump online to a store and just click and have it delivered, or worse, click and wait for a few months or longer until sufficient order numbers are reached by the store before manufacturing and delivery is made.

CO-OPs the way we ran them until recently seemed to work fine, albeit a bit of hard work by the person in charge. The Co-Ops should remain a calculated, exacting purchase for those interested at that point, It helps guage where the community and our technical advancements are leaning.
I'd rather not see creative thoughts and advancements stymied by one persons desire to clear out old stock before they release the new and improved version.

We are a finite group with infinite potential. I've learned a bucket-load of stuff from you guys and hopefully returned in kind.

TERBObob
09-30-2008, 09:04 PM
WOW !
This is bad news guys !
Only thing I would like to say ....
Lets remember - we're DIY here . Not AL , LOR , or any of the others ...


DIY .

Hope everything gets back on track . ;-)

wjohn
09-30-2008, 09:23 PM
Appears taking a week off ill, and a week off at the beach is a bad thing.

For the facts, anything I have been invloved in is detailed in the WIKI, generally I have written a complete construction Manual, drawn a detailed schematic and posted the PDF of the board design.

GRINCH - Full design and constructuion manual written and published, Schematic published, PCB PDF published, BOM published.

LEDTRIKS - Full design and constructuion manual written and published, Schematic published, PCB PDF published, BOM Published.

SSROZ - Full design and constructuion manual written and published, Schematic published, PCB PDF published, BOM published.

DC SSR - Schematic ublished, PCB PDF published, BOM published.

RENARD 64, designed by Phil, schmatics published, code available, Board designed by Phil.

REN16, design by Dave, from the orignal design by Phil, PDF and construction manual available.

I think you all need to slow down a bit, think how complex some of the designs are, and that they wont be able to be home etched. I think Wayne is the only guy on the site that is doing complex double sided boards, but frankly, why would 99% of you want to.

Other sites wont even release the circuit scematic. At least all our designs on DIYC are available to you, you can ready the WIKI, understand the operation of the design, look at the schematics.

Group buys - very slow. if the buy is open one month, and another two weeks for a cheap buy price, you are looking at 2 months before you can get a board. Don't forget that the board design needs to be check prior to committing to a group buy and this is where a Beta comes in. A small group take a chance that the design is going to working fibreglass before commiting to a run of 100 plus boards.

As for overseas postage. 6$ is kinda cheap, and i have seen boards arrive to the buyer in 4 days, average 7. For most orders I have received, the buys has had their boards in under two weeks. if that was a COOP, you would be waiting 4-6 weeks at least.

Given it is now Oct, how will people get ready for Xmas if COOPs cant be kicked off and deliver in time for Xmas, It just means that those who have will be happy, and the rest will be left wondering what they can do.



B. Elec Eng
Masters Elec Eng
MBA

Wayne J
09-30-2008, 09:33 PM
Not sure if this muddy's the water any but here goes.

As for making the designs, schems, traces, BOM's, etc available to all, I agree, its what we do and why I'm here.

As for Co-OP's group buys etc.. if its done within the community by a community member for the community, then I'm all for it. There will be a few purchasers jumping in from the other forums, but that not bad either.. cross-pollenation is not always bad.

What I would not like to see is a CO-OP for 100 purchased units become 500 sitting in someone's shop, it creates stockpiling, overhead for the member holding them and hard feelings and whatnot when someone unaware decides to offer up a new CO-OP for the same items. A few spares are ok, I've seagulled a few of those myself in the past.

Off-site stores.. not keen on them and will avoid whenever possible. Its not a CO-OP buy when I can jump online to a store and just click and have it delivered, or worse, click and wait for a few months or longer until sufficient order numbers are reached by the store before manufacturing and delivery is made.

CO-OPs the way we ran them until recently seemed to work fine, albeit a bit of hard work by the person in charge. The Co-Ops should remain a calculated, exacting purchase for those interested at that point, It helps guage where the community and our technical advancements are leaning.
I'd rather not see creative thoughts and advancements stymied by one persons desire to clear out old stock before they release the new and improved version.

We are a finite group with infinite potential. I've learned a bucket-load of stuff from you guys and hopefully returned in kind.

Some very good points, and is a goal we should try to reach. That is the direction Brian (and others) would like to take and keep DIYC.

RavingLunatic
09-30-2008, 09:39 PM
Since this has turned into a somewhat tolerated public discussion, I will offer an opinion.




But I do have a question. How will things work in the future as far as coops go? The example that comes to mind is the Renard64. At the moment I have the original design files, as well as originals of the Gerber files that would be used for fabricating boards. I've also sent copies of the Gerber files to one or two other people. So how will people get copies of these boards in the future under these new rules? I do not wish to run any coops myself, so who (if anyone) would do it, and what should be the relationship between myself and those people? Should I make the pcb design files and Gerber files freely available? Or should I keep them close, and someone else should create new designs when I eventually lose interest in this and move on to something else? Some of these same questions might also arise for the case where the designer wishes to run the coops him/herself, and perhaps others as well.


The availability of information is probably the one area that I have the strongest opinion on. I strongly believe that as much information should be made available as possible. Which I do believe that we as a community do a great job of sharing the info. However, I do believe there is one area that the information becomes less public and more of a personal issue.

I don't think that any designer or group buy organizer should be under any obligation to provide to the masses the actual pcb/gerber files that were/are used to get the board fabricated. A lot of time/effort was spent in getting those files created and to the point of being ready for board fabrication. If they want to share them that would be their choice but it shouldn't be mandated requirement.

If someone wants a board built exactly the same as the last group buy then they need to try to confince that original group buy organizer there is enough interest in another group buy.

As long as there are schematics and board images available then any member who is dying to have a board now can put in the effort and create their own pcb/gerber files to get the boards made. After all it is DIY not CIY (Copy it Yourself).

Now before anybody gets in an uproar, look back at our history and I believe that it has always been that the designers or group buy organizer have had exclusive control of the actual fabrication files. They shared enough info (schematics and/or layout images) that if someone wanted to build their own they could.




New Info added to the mix:

The concern of a "single point of failure" due to an individual having a "monopoly" on some of the boards, I believe might be a bit overstated. I am unaware of there ever being any declaration that those boards were off-limits to any others to fabricate for themselves.

There are enough board images and schematics that anybody could build their own if they wanted to. The folks who might be complaining about the unavailability of the fabrication files seem to want to DIY with the least amount of effort possible on their part.

bmcgeeny
09-30-2008, 09:41 PM
Wow? I'm not sure I understand. So if I want to buy some Ren 24 boards I can't do that anymore?

I missed out when the group buy was going on and was hoping Frank or somebody else would have 1/2 dozen or so.

Can somebody translate all this into English?

Jeff Millard
09-30-2008, 09:47 PM
Devil's advocate here. I seem to be the lone dissenter regarding the stockpile of PCBs. While I consider myself a competant DIYer, I still haven't undertaken the chemical etch some of you are so good at. Mainly because my plate is full and I have no round tuit. But I have a few of the 'stock' boards and I'm really glad they were available. I'm also glad I didn't have to participate in a co-op or group buy to obtain them. I've never been the type to participate in a month long purchase, (or more) while sitting patiently at my PC watching the progress and biting my toungue when things go south.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm just an impatient jerk who wants his parts when the thing I'm interested in building is at the forfront of my attention. I have a half built LEDTricks in a pile in the shop because a few of the things needed to assemble it weren't readily available and so I lost interest. Nobody's fault but my own but it's a good example of my point. My short attention span has steered my display throughout my involvement in this hobby.

No one has named any names in this thread, but I have to to make my point. RJ's Freestyle is a really popular item. It's a great product you can build yourself from a kit. To some people that's DIY! Obviously, that's not the opinion most of you have. But to some people that's enough. Or getting a pre-etched board from John Wilson for a few bucks, then following the guides and doing what is needed to make blinky-flashy... That's DIY. Granted, the development that led to the design of these boards is open. But I can see the folks that spent time laying out the design of their particular board not want to openly give it out.

IMO if I am capable of getting some software and then using it to design an SSR and a Grinch and breakout boards for DIO using the info I found here and on Computer Christmas, there really isn't any reason to beg files from other people. That's even more DIY. Begging files for board design is something akin to begging sequences AFAIC. I always considered that taboo.

I don't want to see profit just for the sake of profit here. But I also don't want to see guys like John and RJ, two people who are in this for the fun/sport/hobby/sharing of it, alienated because of this philosophy of pure DIY. I'm focusing on them because they were who came to mind as I read this thread. Think of it from the other side of the fence for just a second. You'll also be alienating the folks who don't have a problem paying for these essential parts to be part of this wonderful community of light sequencing nerds we are so proudly a part of.

I don't have the credentials of most of those who posted here. But I've been around as long as most of you. I want to say, without offending anyone, that I think some of you should look at this from the perspective of those of us who don't have those credentials. I'm not bothered in the least bit to say that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't figure out how to program Pics, so I sent everything to Wayne. He helped and sent it back and I had Blinky-Flashy. There is a parallel between that and readily available boards. There's someone there to provide those parts to others... and there are people who need those boards... and are willing to pay for them...

I know you said it wasn't open for discussion, but isn't that contradictory to your whole point?

I'm gonna go solder to calm my nerves...;)

Jeff

Macrosill
09-30-2008, 10:14 PM
Lets all go back to the 1st post in this thread. Re-read the second line of the 9th paragraph.


Not necessarily the exact pcb design but at the very least the schematic and code to produce the design.

If everything is currently done that way then why is there so much controversy about it?

wjohn
09-30-2008, 10:22 PM
Lets all go back to the 1st post in this thread. Re-read the second line of the 9th paragraph.



If everything is currently done that way then why is there so much controversy about it?

Because ppl are inheriently lazy, the information is there, it's in the WIKI, they just dont ready the WIKI first, they post, they ask questions, and maybe, they read last. In finding the truth, they get confused and angry. SOme want a full parts kits, others want it built for them, others want to make it on breadboard.

Brian, if some can build and design their own, they will, the rest need help.

RavingLunatic
09-30-2008, 11:00 PM
Lets all go back to the 1st post in this thread. Re-read the second line of the 9th paragraph.

If everything is currently done that way then why is there so much controversy about it?

Probably because the manner in which you presented the whole post gives the impression that there is a host of wide spread problems that exist and are threatening the foundations of DIYC. In your attempt to keep the info general in nature and not "name names", you give the impression that nobody is currently doing it the way you would like to see it so everyone needs to fall in line, which of course would cause a stir among those who believe they are doing right but are being called out (I know you didn't use anyone in particular but that won't stop each person in believing it is them) for not doing so.


You basically dropped a hornets nest among a crowd of people. You should expect people to be swinging at the hornets whether the hornets are actually a threat or not. And of course there will be the occassional accidental hitting of a person instead of a hornet. :)

holtm
09-30-2008, 11:08 PM
Maybe my experience is typical, maybe not.

This is my third year. The majority of what I have built was laid out by me and I home etched. All of my designs started from someone else's. Some are a combination of designs some are a tweak. One time, I have purchased "stocked" boards. I think they were left over from a group buy, maybe they were a spec purchase by someone. I don't know. I'll have to say it was convenient. This DIY, for me, started as a project to save money and get blinky. Now it is a hobby and I debate even putting up the lights. I have tried to share what I have done, mostly without a following. I feel that I have received much more from this community that I have returned. Maybe someday I'll come up with something that will benefit the masses.

So, why did I post. Just to put in my 2 cents. I would like to see this site stay flexible. I would like to see things open, at least the schematics and theory. I don't want to see designs hoarded and I don't want to have board designs not being upgraded because there is stock pile of boards in the original designer's garage that need to be sold before the next version is released. However, it is nice to buy a pre-made board once in a while. Somewhere in the middle is good. I think that is where this site started. I interpreted Brian's post as a course correction, it has drifted too far to the commercial side and he would like to pull it back to the DIY side. Good move, I think.

awhaley
09-30-2008, 11:37 PM
Well, as a relative newcomer to this forum, I probably should just keep my head down in a discussion like this, right? But nope... here I am talking....

I think it's perfectly fair to say that this is a place where we work on the open source, free to build options for animated christmas lights. There are other places to go if you want information on the less DIY options, and we can keep pointing people to those offsite locations when they come on and want 128 channels working next week.

I see both sides regarding the coop/stocking questions. I'm also an inpatient DIYer. I didn't even want to wait for the in stock pcbs, and instead laid out my own grinch and SSR set up using stripboard and 'IC board' (don't know what you really call it... the cute boards with room for ICs down the middle broken out along the sides, with a couple of buses.) And I have to say that I take some satisfaction in saying that I designed the layout myself, and that all the boards are 'custom,' because I changed a few little things to make it fit my needs better. But when it comes time for more complex boards (which is coming soon...) that don't lend themselves to stripboarding or any of the other commonly available prototyping boards, I'm going to be lost and I'm NOT going to want to wait two or four months for enough of us to get ready to order them.

I really liked the idea of DIYC storefront...which would be a central place for people to post what they have and how much they want for them. I don't see anything wrong with people making a few bucks on their stuff either, as long as it's happening in a specific place and not all over the forums.

So in the interest of 'Putting my money where my mouth is...' I'm adding a quick and dirty forum to my website and making it free for all to access. Anyone who has anything they want to sell, be it an extra pcb, a completed SSR module, or 10,000 pcbs they want to sell with a 100% markup just like a real business may post there. They can post an email address or a url to their online store, etc. I'll write up some rules and sticky it at the top of the forum.

This should help clean up this forum and get it back the way we want it, yes? Anytime anyone new pops in and asks "where do I buy all this cool stuff?" we can say "commercial activity isn't allowed here, but some of our users post at this URL when they have things for sale..."

This seems like the best way to keep this forum clean and free from commercial influence while still allowing those who want to buy to find those who want to sell? It won't replace the APPROPRIATE use of the 'buy/sell' or 'coop' sections of this forum (though, you can cross post those on my forum if you want) but it WILL give you a place to take anything that isn't appropriate for this forum. I'll work on trying to get this up by tomorrow... but bare with me... it will be my first time setting up a php application... anyone got any experience getting php stuff to work at powweb? I'm getting error 500s.... lol. I'll let you know when there's progress, and feel free to let me know what you think of the idea, and what you'd want in a forum for this sort of thing.

Art
artwhaley.com
artwhaley@gmail.com

jpb
09-30-2008, 11:44 PM
I am a mug amateur when it comes to Christmas lights but I do want to put on a good display and I don't want to have to become an etching whiz to do it.

I have made 595 controllers on strip board, both with on board SSRs and remote SSRs. I have also home etched boards of my own design. This year I have got a bit more fair dinkum and bought a Grinch board and some SSRs from wjohn.
I don't want to have to etch my own boards but I will still sit there and solder them up and I am still a Do It Yourself person.
I understand that I am taking a short cut but I am still a Do It Yourself person.

In my opinion a member that has a stock of boards that are only relavent to us is doing me a service. I would really like someone on the board to buy a heap of Allegros that can be on sold to members in small quantities because I could not get the samples and can't buy them from a vendor down under.
If a member was selling the components that I could easily source elsewhere, then they would be a vendor.

What about those "tune to" signs. I bought one and would happily buy more. I don't have the vinal cutter and it would be uneconomical for me buy one. Nick has done me a service by making me a sign.

Please continue to allow members to publish the fact that they have certain designs of boards available for those of us that are unwilling to etch our own. If they are price gouging then members will realise the fact and either source their boards elsewhere or etch their own but I was quite happy to pay for bare etched boards.

Jon

Keith R
09-30-2008, 11:52 PM
Although I am new to this board, I thought that the process for the Triks-C was progressing smoothly. I was impressed by the graphics and the standalone. The prototype boards are being built and were offered to members of DIYC for testing. I assumed after debugging and critique from the testing, a final compromise on the board would be reached and be put into production. Isn't that how it has always been done?.


I am also glad that some members over buy their products to sell to those that either missed or were not aware of a particular COOP. If not for this, I still would not have a REN-C or a REN-T since COOPS for those boards are non-existant. I never felt over charged for a particular board as shipping charges seem to come into play for small quantities.
I was a little surprised by Brian's attack on what seems to be an attempt to hoard quantities of PCB's and sell them for a profit later on.


In the past I have come down hard on Group Buys with some pretty strict rules. I have also come down hard on members selling for profit and added some strict rules for Vendors.



I understand the Christmas spirit but I can not understand why someone would outlay a large amount of money on prototyping to then purchase a large quantity of product in hopes people will buy them, just to break even and not make a penny on the deal. All for a bunch of people you know only buy a username on a website. This I think anyone would question. I am not saying a Group Buy organizer is not entitled to some sort of compensation but that should be limited.





These statements are contridictory and need clarification. Is it OK to sell for profit or not? If there is a limit to the profit on a group buy, what exactly is that? A percentage, extra parts, a few boards, or pennies?
If some one buys extra boards and sells them at a later date, I think that is OK. By limiting the number of COOPS or only allowing certain people to run them, the problem has already started because a limited number of folks have access to the extra boards.

I am sorry TimW feels the way he does. I think the the Triks-C is a wonderful upgrade to what we have, and I hope this has not stopped him from continuing to work on what he has already accomplished.

If someone feels there is a problem with the way things are going, or with the way certain people are handling sales of a product, it probably could have been handled a little better than this. Now people may be less apt to publish there ideas here and go to another forum. That is not what I want and I hope that is not what you want.

Keith

awhaley
10-01-2008, 12:36 AM
Turns out I have to wait till tomorrow for Pow Web to get cgi turned on for my forum. I'll let everyone know when it's up. In the meantime, here's a look at the rules I'll be posting. I'd appreciate some input, particularly from the DIYC admins...

Forum rules for DIY Commercial Board to be located at Art Whaley.com:

No Whining
No Spamming
No Loud Music after 11
And your friends can't sleep on the couch. Ever.



Okay, seriously:

This forum is my private attempt to help out at DIYC by providing a place for activity that is too commercial to fit with the spirit of that website. This forum is in no way affiliated with that one. This is a service provided by artwhaley.com to the animated christmas lights community, and it is provided on an as-is basis. No warranty is made on anything, I don't speculate on this forum's fitness for a particular application, and I'm not responsible for any money or equipment lost on any deal brokered using this service. This service is provided while it can be and while it fits in with the overall vision of artwhaley.com. It may be closed any time with no notice.

Buying and selling on the internet is a risky venture, and you're responsible for verifying your party's legitimacy and the safety of your conduits for money and items. I'm not connected with the sale of any of the items listed here, unless I say so in the original post of a thread. If you get scammed, if an item isn't delivered promptly/in the condition stated/or at all, that's a private problem between you and the seller. If money doesn't arrive as promised, that's a private problem between you and the buyer. I think it's clear now that you're all on your own. I'm providing the table, you can all sit around it and play poker or not.

There are two sub-forums. One is for things you WANT, and the other is for things FOR SALE. These should be self explanatory. Post in the correct forum. You're allowed to create no more than one thread per month per item. If you run out of an item for sale, or if you get your request for an item filled, post that in the original thread so that people will know to ignore it. You may either post one thread per month listing everything you have for sale in the first post, or post separate threads for each item. Be reasonable here. Group all your Renard Boards into one post, and all the SSR boards in another, and all the strings of minis in a third. Don't post a new thread for every color of mini lights you found in your attic. If the thread is active and near the top of the forum, you don't need to post again next month, but you may. Common sense is key here, my friends. Please apply it yourself, because life is easier when everyone applies common sense with a gentle touch, as opposed to when I have to come off my porch and apply common sense with a hammer on everyone's behalf....

When you post an item, post a method or two for reliably getting in touch with you. You can use my forum's PM features if you want, but it's my first time setting up a forum and if the PM feature sucks, I'm sorry, but not sorry enough to send you a free can of coke or anything. You can post your email, a link to your website, etc. As far as I'm concerned you can post your phone number, SSN, address, and what you like to eat for breakfast, but I wouldn't. Be smart and protect yourself.

Above all, have fun. Email me if you need anything! Don't let my style of writing forum rules dissuade you from emailing me... I'm not mean one-on-one... only to humanity at large. ;) Merry Christmas!

mrpackethead
10-01-2008, 01:39 AM
Hey, everyone if you don't like this then no one forces you to be here.. Brians board, his rules. He will live or die by them.

As for me, i far to busy to care.. but i've alraedy had 5+ emails asking me which designs i'm hiding!! URGH...

PS. A camel was the result of a committee design for a horse.

scorpia
10-01-2008, 04:09 AM
So im summary of this thread as a whole.

__________________________________________________ ___________________
i didnt say anyone was doing anything wrong but it must stop.

make it available and free and not on your own website.
and if thats not the case see the new website.
__________________________________________________ ___________________

did i read this thread wrong?

i mean really guys why would we want another forum just to buy boards for designs that are available here and supported here.

As a general rule im all for making the designs available in any regard but im not in favour of dictating that this must be the case.

also please i repeat please allow those people who have the facilities the spare time to sell any extra boards thay have as it helps the general comunity at large. Let the comunity decide when they are charging to much by them deciding not to buy em.

Hopefully i havnt offended anyone with this post as i would hate to have someone quote me in a negitive way. :)

/flamesuiton

Peter Rogers

Michael
10-01-2008, 10:33 AM
Macrosill
I agree all designs, schematics, code.... should be in the open. I also believe that is a law in the USA, or at least it was for any product sold.

Stocking of boards: I think this is great for the DYI community. It allows someone to get in at any time, not having to wait for a year for the next coop, and for those like me that have no way of ever making my own board. Personally I have only used coop's, but it is nice to know that if I need a board in a hurry, I can get it. Makes me buy into the DYI system.
You will not be able to stop someone from stocking boards, but you can stop them from being sold on this website. If you choose not to be involved with stocking then I believe vendors should be allowed to post links to their sites so this can be the central clearing house for all information and the first place to stop.

Stocking of premade boards: I believe someone should also start doing this, on their own site of course. There are already requests for this service. I would have liked to get a working sample in my hand, and then order the rest as parts and build them myself. Again, it is a quick way for someone to get started and get them hooked, and build the community.

The barrier to entry for this hobby is so extremely high. You need to be experienced in so many areas to even start. If we choose to make some of these easier, we might attract more people. But then is the goal to grow the number of people, or restrict it to only those who posses all of the skills to begin with? That is for you to decide since this is your site. But remember, if you do not give people what they want, they will not be back.

I have no intensions of leaving, so please do not refund my subscription. I plan on being here, and also every other place that supports this hobby. Please keep making this the FIRST place I check.

- Michael

Originally sent as a PM, but since this is discussion has opened, I thought I would post it.

awhaley
10-01-2008, 11:04 AM
Hey all, I've got my off-site forum up and working...

forum.artwhaley.com


It allows anonymous posting if you want to just type in your username from this forum so everyone knows who's talking... or you can register and not have to type the security gibberish everytime, and be able to use the PM features...

Nobody has to use this, but I've put it up as a free resource for all, so we can keep the stuff Brian doesn't want here somewhere else. I'd appreciate it if anytime you see a post 'asking' for commercial activity you point them to forums.artwhaley.com

Thanks!

Art

omzig
10-01-2008, 12:05 PM
Something tells me I should steer clear of this discussion, but that is not in my nature. As for whether it should be open for discussion, of course it should. Isn't that what a forum is all about?

As far as the Australian who stocks boards that was not named, but certainly inferred...To suggest that he has clandestine motives of profit, based solely on the fact that he stocks boards, is misguided logic IMO. Given the prices charged, he surely can't be making much profit if any. In fact, the availability of these boards without markup precludes the possibility for someone else to use the designs for their undeserved financial gain.

This is an amazing community and it would me a shame to see it fall apart due to semantics or dogma. Anytime a large group of people get together there are always going to be disagreements on the way things should be done. I understand the importance of preserving the purity of DIY, but is dividing the community going to do it? Anybody who is looking to earn a profit should definitely go elsewhere but let's not alienate those who have so generously contributed to the community, but have a difference of opinion on logistics.

But please, let's keep talking...IMHO that's the best way to iron out these wrinkles in he fabric of the community.

ukewarrior
10-01-2008, 12:30 PM
I'm newer, and my experiences with this board are:

1. Awesome information.
2. Not everything I wanted was available in a coop.
3. As a result of #2, I have ordered boards from JohnW.
4. John's prices and shipping have been very reasonable.

Without the ability to order boards from John, I'd not be able to get started. It also keeps folks from ordering extra stuff needlessly during a coop because they are so few and far between !!! That wastes time, money and equipment.

I really like the combination of coop and the ability to order boards from someone that MAY have them.

Why not have both? It is still DIY and no nobody is making me order boards outside a coop.

As long as the 'order boards' info is posted in the 'commercial' section, what's so bad about that?

If you don't like what the 'board stockers' have, then don't buy something from them!

David

lbro
10-01-2008, 01:25 PM
Without rules, chaos.

We have gotten this far with the system working the way it has been. Using the rules that were agrred upon by those that have been here from the start.

This is DIY, therefore I agree there should not be people offering prebuilt boards. That is not what this site is about. There are several places to go for that already, this forum was started as an alternative to those.

I have changed a bit on the idea of someone stocking the boards. If the price is not to high, and they are not in it to take advantage of the members, people will still buy them. BUT, this person or persons should not be the only resource for them. If someone that meets the requirements to run a co-op wants to get a co-op together to have boards made for a group, they should have the access to the PUBLIC information that is located on the site, such as the schematics and files. This way there is still some alternatives to the one stop shop.

While this is a public forum. We have set rules and we expect people to respect them. Remember you joined because it was the best site out there for this information, how do you think it got that way?

ukewarrior
10-01-2008, 02:15 PM
Great points about the PCB files, schmatics, and gerbers.

If you post on this board to 'sell' boards, these should all be available if someone else wants to run a coop.

P. Short
10-01-2008, 03:04 PM
... If the price is not to high, and they are not in it to take advantage of the members, people will still buy them. BUT, this person or persons should not be the only resource for them. If someone that meets the requirements to run a co-op wants to get a co-op together to have boards made for a group, they should have the access to the PUBLIC information that is located on the site, such as the schematics and files. This way there is still some alternatives to the one stop shop.


I'm not sure how realistic this is. Why would someone want to run a coop (or wait to participate in a coop) when boards are in stock? Without the Gerber files (or expresspcb .pcb file) it is not possible for someone to order boards for a coop. I am not sure that I would want to release the PCB design files (either the original CAD files or the Gerber files) for general consumption because I don't really want to deal with people getting the files, ordering a few boards for themselves and/or their friends, and then having problems and coming out of the blue with questions, especially people who haven't had any presence on the forum.

There is another concern about people stocking boards. This might make it hard to get a parts coop underway. If boards are going out a few at a time on a continuous basis, it will be very hard to get together a critical mass for a parts coop. So everybody will end up paying more for parts, since they are likely to make a smaller individual order rather than take part in a coop.

Some of the old-timers here have some trepidations about the way things are going now, certainly I do. If you go back two or three years and look at the discussions taking place on the computerchristmas.com site you will see that things were entirely different back then. At that time there weren't any coop buys going on at all, let alone stocking buys or storefronts, just a bunch of people each building their own setup, talking things over with each other, getting advice and sharing ideas. It is this spirit, I think, that some of the people wish to find again. There was of a more spirit of 'do-it-yourself' and a lot less of 'order some PCBs' and do the same thing as a thousand other people.

I doubt that we can completely roll back the clock, and I'm sure that a lot of people don't want to 'waste time' doing low-level, repetitious work. But I, for one, would welcome more innovation and quirky new ideas and less focus on coops and 'doing the same thing' as others.

rstehle
10-01-2008, 03:21 PM
Phil,
You are one of the very fortunate ones that can do it all. And there are several other members of this forum that also fall in to that category. For the vast majority of us IMHO, we don't have the expertise (and maybe not the desire) to creat circuitry, design PCB's, write code, etc. Speaking for myself, I would have had to spend a whole lot more money than I have (and even that is a considerable amount at this point) to be able to participate in the Blinky Flashy world. I really appreciate the fact that I can buy a board from a member, even if I may have to wait a few days to receive it. I appreciate the occasional parts group buy, to save a buck or two. I appreciate KC for providing a most excellent piece of software to run my new equipment with. Without all of you, I would be lost (and a much poorer LOR user). I really wouldn't want to loose those things, or the help of all of you experts and the great things you make available to the rest of us!
Just wanted to express my sentiments.
Thanks,
Randy

n1ist
10-01-2008, 06:38 PM
I also agree that all pertinant data for a project - schematic, bom, code (source preferred, but at least the hex file), and board files - should be available as part of the DIY world; otherwise it is hard to do it yourself... Boards are a different animal from parts; they tend to be long lead time (at least for the cheap import stuff) or have a high setup charge (like ExpressPCB) thats better if spread among a bunch of them. I don't see a big problem stocking them, especially after the inital COOPs are done and the huge demand has worn off.

Mudsculpter
10-01-2008, 06:59 PM
I came into ComputerChristmas about the time the coops were being put together for the first time. I would never have attempted to animate my Christmas display without those coops then.

I do not know what it takes to design a board, prototype, and troubleshoot a pcb in progress. The designs are getting more intricate as each new PCB project gets underway. My hat is off to those here who can do this. I do understand soldering, following directions, and asking questions if I don't understand something. I need to have an organized, well informed site to do this.

I guess what I am preparing to say is that Brian is trying to protect what we have here and I stand behind him. I rely on the admin to take charge and set the guidelines. I remember that this site was set up initially to bring together other sites that we were all visiting. We were all going to and fro to get information on software, device assembly, PCB design,...... Brian and others saw the need to combine the sites to bring us together as a cohesive whole. A site was made and we are all under one roof. Unfortunately, after quite a few coops there was a real biggie to save loads of dough. Issues arose, deadlines were passed, and passed again, and some folks got P.O.ed., things began to get ugly for Brian and he had to protect himself and the site and its members. Rules were put in place and are being tweaked as the need arises. I want the rules, I need guidance.

I also see the wisdom of making whatever files available to those that want to etch their own board. I wouldn't etch my own, but that's just me. I also see the wisdom in someone taking initiative and making and stocking and selling these boards to those who are in-between coops. So far I think those that are doing this are being genuinely responsible about it.

I think Brian is correct in that that there is a possibility of exploitation. I do hope that is not happening here. That would kinda spoil it for me.

RavingLunatic
10-01-2008, 07:28 PM
Without rules, chaos.

We have gotten this far with the system working the way it has been. Using the rules that were agrred upon by those that have been here from the start.




Lou,

I don't think you will get anyone to argue this point. In fact, as of yesterday morning nobody was violating any of the existing rules (as far as the general public knew). In any community when an announcement is made that problems exist and that new rules to handle them are forth coming, then you will get (if allowed) inputs from the community.


I believe the most sensible thing to do now is for Brian to call his moderator team together and they can discuss the current health of DIYC. This would allow Brian to get the inputs from people he trusts (that’s why he made them moderators) about whether or not the problems he thinks exist are really problems, and if so how to fix them. Once they identify the problems, then they can work on the solutions. If that means new rules, they create them and Brian posts the new rules as a “take it or leave” situation (much like the previous updates in the Terms of Use and Group Buy rules).


By now I’m sure that Brian’s PM and email inbox is over flowing with the views of the masses (I should know I sent mine too), so he should have plenty of info to guide him if he is looking for public input into the process.



EDIT:
Side note - I've seen several references to the "Beginnings of DIYC" and it seems that some people only remember what they want to about that period of history for the community. Yes, DIYC was created to consolidate the information and to make it easier for everyone to learn and share. However, there was also a touch of "rebellion" also. If Mr Robertson would have listened to the growing community and instituted the changes the were suggested back then, we would all still be at ComputerChristmas.com. But since he refused to make upgrades and make the site more user friendly an alternative was sought out and the bulk of the community found a new permanent home.

I'm not saying there is a revolt on the horizon, I'm just thinking that if the reigns are pulled too tight to try to return to some long lost sense of what DIYC was at the beginning, the result will not be the ever growing happy friendly community that it is now.

BTW: I'm really tired of the "What is DIY" discussions. It doesn't matter what any individual believes is DIY, what matters is what is allowed by the rules for this community. Oh yeah, I consider myself to DIY my own television programming, after all I pushed the buttons on the remote. :p

toodle_pipsky
10-01-2008, 08:49 PM
This is just so strange - I had no idea that there were any problems. No one had posted a complaint. No one had mentioned there was a storm on the horizon. Then BAM! We got opinions flying left, right and centre!

As far as I can understand this is the situation - instead of airing concerns publicly, within relevant threads or with relevant members, they've gone straight to the management and it's been happening for a while, maybe there were more complaints recently. Management have made an announcement to address the issue, but because no one really knew there was a problem management copped the flak. In an effort to keep it general so as not to incite a riot, no one was named. People being as smart as they are, put 2 and 2 together. Since there are a limited amount of people developing and stocking boards/products, ya kinda know who it's about. Everyone yelled and added their 10c worth, management threw up their hands in surrender and curled up in a ball. End result everyone is eying everyone else suspiciously and nothing has been gained. (I also have a sneaking suspicion that this has a lot to do with it being so close to Christmas and people being impatient.)

So now the trust is broken - developers have something to hide that their not sharing, people selling stuff are shafting the public and management has given up. So what is the solution? Although there's be lots of backwards and forwards, I haven't seen any real solution suggested - not from members, and not from "da man". I've seen a lot of contradictions though! I would really like to hear from Brian WHY he thinks there's a problem (specifically what have the complaints been, why does he think people are hiding stuff and what's a rip off - keeping it general has not helped, just fuelled the controversy) and what he's solution is - all I've seen so far is a general description of what the problem is and it's got to stop, in fact all of it has to cease now. No wonder people spontaneously combusted.

For what it's worth - I've had nothing but good experiences with people on this board, and yes they might just be "username345" to me and I'm just TP to them, a few PMs later and I'm satisfied I can trust them enough to buy stuff. And looking at when and why they post, you can tell if they're light nuts or out for a buck. In fact I'd trust people selling stuff here more than eBay - the feedback system of people posting their experiences in threads I thought worked rather well. Besides, the only member I’ve spent considerable money with, I’ve met in person. If members selling stuff give me a price I’m not happy with, I don’t pay it – that hasn’t happened yet.

As for development, pffft, do I look like I could do that? Don’t know what everyone else is like, but I rely so heavily on the smart kids that I feel like the special kid up the back of the class eating glue. So it really doesn’t effect me if they share designs or not. Should they be forced to share in the spirit of open source? That’s for them to decide and not my place to give an opinion I don’t have the knowledge for.

If the sale of the nice boards were to cease because it’s considered too “commercial” – I’d be like a puff of dust on the horizon, gone. Well, very disappointed at the very least. I have no inkling of development (remember, special kid with glue), I also don’t home etch and never will. I’d just have to use what I’ve got until it burnt out and that would be it. I had kinda thought of myself as a little bit DIY, but if that doesn’t fit into the purist form of DIY – I don’t care. You don’t do DIY renovations by going out cutting down trees, making boards yourself and making paint from scratch, weaving your own curtains and building your own furniture. You can do that, but it doesn’t make you any better or more DIY than the guy who popped down the hardware store – just more handy, or it’s what you’re good at.

So anyway - I'd like to hear from Brian. Specifically what have the problems been, and what's your solution? How will it be addressed so we can all get back to getting displays ready – it’s October for God’s sake!

Jeff Millard
10-01-2008, 09:24 PM
If the sale of the nice boards were to cease because it’s considered too “commercial” – I’d be like a puff of dust on the horizon, gone. Well, very disappointed at the very least.

This was the point I was trying to make. There are countless people like her (and I) who require a little assistance.

I feel like the odd man out as far as Mods go. I think I'll take a little time off and work on my '08 display.

BTW, very good points everyone.

See my sig and join another forum. You'll see one of the major differences between Brian and I. He's a nice guy. I rule with an iron fist.

Jeff

mrpackethead
10-01-2008, 10:02 PM
===edited in hindsight=== this post did'nt deserve a response.

deplanche
10-01-2008, 11:05 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn10FF-FQfs

dhavard
10-02-2008, 12:22 AM
Well I guess I need to find out how to get more PCB's.....I don't know how I would have gotten them this year if it weren't for the co-op. I am now running out of channels and need to purchase a few more boards, so with the rules set how would I get the extras? Would I have to wait until next year? This is my first year and I have had nothing but success with buying from co-ops on the forums here. I received everything and started creating everything. I think I have the WIKI memorized by now ;) I am all about sharing information. I have learned alot in the past few months and I never thought I would have blinky flashy, but with the help of everyone on here, I do. I do no hesitate to share what information I can and also share the problems I had to help take the load off of those who know the circuitry inside and out.

As far as how to handle excess stock, my personal opinion is that I think there should be a few extra boards available for those who might need 1 or 2 extra for some reason, but I am not sure how this could be worked out to satisfy the entire community. I can see how it could get out of hand, but it would be nice to have a fall-back in the event it is needed. I don't know if maybe opening a partner site to DIYC handling all of the sales would be a good option or now, but I am a web developer and I would be interested in getting that going if it is the right solution. I just don't want DIYC to change and everyone run and that leaves people like me without the info/support on making their DIY display's a success.

I will go along with whatever rules are set, but I did want to post my opinion!


Daniel

artzy
10-02-2008, 12:50 AM
As a newbie on here who has little or no electronic knowledge, I am eternally greatful to the guys on here that have provided me with assistance. If anyone is suggesting that John is doing what he does for profit, they need their heads read John has put in so many hours helping out so many of us with no expectation of anything in return (other than a smile). Looking at the effort that was put into organising the latest group purchase by John and others, even if they did happen to make a few cents due to currency fluctuations etc. good for them (I dare say the credit card charges etc would eat these up anyway).

I have only ever been charged reasonable prices for what I have purchased from people on here (more often than not cheaper than if I got parts direct myself), and like TP if I felt that the price was too high I wouldnt part with my hard earned cash.

Overall I have found this to be one of the most open and welcoming forums I have been a part of, and I am appreciative of all of the help that so many of you have given me, I sincerely hope that this does not change.

Paul

jrock64
10-02-2008, 01:52 AM
Last year I needed 32 strands of lights so I bought them at $2.00 a strand.
Then I waited.
After Christmas I bought 200 more at only $1.00
On new years day I snagged another 50 at $.50.

Its mid july and the only place you are going to find lights at that time of year is online for $5.00 a strand plus shipping.
Now if someone Posts a WTB 100ct minis post what do I charge.

Some of the conversations I have seen on PC seem to imply that they should expect to be able to buy any quantity they need at $.50 or at most $1.00

I would probably have considered $2.50 which happens to be the current replacement cost and would still save them 50% off their next best alternative.

Translate this to the current situation.

User JF runs a coop under current rules. The coop generates orders of 65 units. Price breaks are at 50 and 100 units.
Because of the price break structure 80 units at the 50ct level cost as much as 100 units at the 100ct level. So JF orders an additional 15 and essentially gets 20 free.

He now has 35 to offer to late comers of newbees.
Will he make a profit, absolutely. But the risk he takes is that he may never sell them and and his investment is lost.

Now what are my alternatives.
Go point to point or strip board.
Wait for a coop, there may not be another one any time soon.
The only PCB layout software most can use is PCB Express and the the final costs of one board will be at least 10 times what JF is offering them for.
Design you own PCB. Have to learn new software, not easy and will still face setup fees from most board houses.
Now the great unknown. Was there an error in your design or PCB, it still may not work.
JF is offering a proven and tested design at probably one quarter of my next best alternative.

I will go on record saying I have no problem with stocked boards of open designs.
If the schematic and the microcode are out there I have the option to go elsewhere or modify a design to meet my own needs.

Joel

toodle_pipsky
10-02-2008, 02:51 AM
FINALLY . . . we start to see what the problem might be! How many angry words have been typed before someone actually gave some specifics? Thanks Joel for sharing.

dhavard
10-02-2008, 10:20 AM
I hate to see any feelings hurt or anyone angry. We are supposed to enjoy our Hobby of putting smiles on people's faces during Christmas. We need to remember the MAIN reason for the season and I think that will help everyone get on track. We need to remember why we enjoy doing what we do. I know bumps will come up in the road, but it's a hurdle we need to overcome and if we work together and keep communication open, this will only help. I have ran a few forums myself in the past and I came to realize that it is TOO hard to please everyone and that's where the rules come into play, and I had to come up with rules that would keep people around but not let things get out of control. I always looked like the "a$$" but it had to be done.

Daniel

Reddy_Kilowatt
10-03-2008, 01:33 AM
Case in point:

I was one of those late comers, just a year ago. I came here by way of Computer Christmas and Vixen lights. Thinking that I would just do a few channels… Wow what neat place. So many fantastic designs. I fell off the deep end.

The co-ops had all just finished for the year. So at the time, the only alternative I thought I had was to do my own PCB’s. The SSR’s were easy, but the Renard 64 is a real challenge for single sided board (extreme DIY). By mid October I was still struggling to get it done. Then WJohn posted in a thread that he still had a few boards left. I wasn’t aware anybody stocked them! I PM’d John, and he dropped the Renard 64 boards in the mail on his way to lunch, all within 15 minuets! I still did all my own home etched SSR’s, but I would not have had a show without that precious stockpile of boards.


Brian, you have the best DIY place on the planet, and I can live with whatever rules are set forth. :wink:

-Craig

5childrensleep
10-05-2008, 06:17 PM
Just my two cents worth:

I am in total agreance with Brian on this one. Although I haven't been able to contribute much to this board, as I feel I am still very new to the subject, I am extremely glad that the people who do share their designs do so. Without these designs to modified and made better and used by other members, we would be nothing. What's the point of having a Christmas (also known as the time of GIVING) forum if no one shares anything. We would be just a bunch of people talking about how cool Blinky Flashy looks and wishing that we would be able to do that. I am absolutely grateful to Brian and all the other people here that have made DIYC what it is today, and I hope that we can continue to keep it that way, so that we may all benefit from it.

Ronp
10-05-2008, 08:22 PM
OK I might as well ad my two cents.
The isue here is John doesnt do co-ops He just orders boards.
Whenever a new design comes along John is the first to jump in and takeover the pcb design then places a limited order and restocks as needed.This is what I think is the isue
that we want to change back to the way it was.
When a new pcb was developed we would do a head count on intrist on the board,
Then we would order as many as we could to get the best price.
As things are now, making smaller orders WE are not getting the best price on these pcb's.

ErnieHorning
10-05-2008, 09:05 PM
I guess I don’t really see the problem. The schematics for everything that I could think of are all published in the Wiki. There are photos of some of the PCB’s. This matches what you used to get on CC. Some have generously provided the Gerber’s and even the CAD files to make it easier for you to create your own boards.

I remember the hassles some were having trying to etch boards not to mention drilling the holes. Some people with CAD experience were able to send files to board houses to get PCB’s fabricated. This made building boards much easier and they looked a whole lot better, but they also cost a lot more then etching them yourself. Then we started group buys for the boards, which got the price down so that etching your own, didn’t really save you much anymore. Someone, though he didn’t live in my country, offered to get some boards made locally and ship them to anyone in the world. He was able to have them produced and shipped to me internationally cheaper than I could get them made locally at my puny quantity. Could I make my own boards? You bet, and I still do for something’s. It’s still, do-it-yourself. I still have to assemble and solder it. I still have to put it in a case. I still have the right to hack it if I want. I still have to be the one to fix it if it breaks. He must have quite a bit of money tied up in this, I’m glad that he can do it. If this foreign guy dies tomorrow, I’ll just have to figure something else out.

I’ve been in a couple of the group buys for parts also. He might have gotten his parts cheaper than I did, or maybe even free. I don’t care; I still got my parts cheaper than I would have on my own. I’ve can’t imagine the hassle of trying to get thousands of parts out to all the right people. If he got all of his parts for free or even made a little money on it, it was worth it to me, he would have deserved it.

I don’t want to run any COOP’s or supply anyone circuit boards, but I’m glad that someone is willing to do this. Even if this does look a bit on the commercial side, I can’t believe that anyone is rolling in any big bucks.

As far as PCB files, was there ever a rule that the CAD files must be released or just the Gerber’s? Does software source files have to be released or just the HEX files? Should the source files for Vixen be required also?

These are just my opinions and observations and I decided to post this for everyone to see, instead of hiding it in a PM.

random_rodder
10-07-2008, 09:53 AM
Been gone for quite a while and first day back I see this and am admittedly confused. If the issue is, as it appears, wjohn, I have bought several things from him (Grinch, Ren-C) during times when a COOP for the board was not ongoing or planned. The cost was far better than what I would have gotten had I tried to do it myself or found a place here in the states, so in no way did I feel cheated. And, I've ordered items here in the states that took longer to get to me than what I got from him. To me, he provided an invaluable service that was otherwise unavailible at the time.

So, like Ernie said, I fail to see a problem. I don't think it's John's fault he's the only one who does this, if that is indeed what all of this is about...



Brian

PacMang
10-10-2008, 04:16 PM
I also dont see the problem with someone putting their own effort into providing boards for the rest of us. this year i built 4 ren-64s and 64 SSR's ... one email to wjohn and within a week i was starting to solder components.

It i had to find another way to make thoses boards it would have taken longer and at a greater expense. If others would like to offer the same service to our comunity I am all for it.. but hopefully we will not be restricting people from providing services like this.


On the other hand.. I am aganist advertising and/or selling of complete kit/boards on this site. I love the DIY vibe of this group. I am glad there they are plenty of designs and features to chose from when designing your display and all the knowledge that is freely avaliable.

wjohn
10-10-2008, 04:21 PM
As long as we all play fairly, things will be OK. I am very happy for the positive feedback I have received all month. I enjoy the interaction with the members of DIYC and playing a small part in getting your displays ready for 2008/9

mrpackethead
10-10-2008, 06:22 PM
I
On the other hand.. I am aganist advertising and/or selling of complete kit/boards on this site. I love the DIY vibe of this group. I am glad there they are plenty of designs and features to chose from when designing your display and all the knowledge that is freely avaliable.

Im not against complete functioning systems. I personally am not interested in soldering tens if not hundreds of the same board over and over again. I quite enjoy the challenge of designing something, debugging it, building the prototype, testing again and getting it to a point where its 'manufactble'. Not to mention the fact that once you want to build 50-100 off, its often cheaper to get it factory made anyway.. The board houses in China can source the components at prices you'll never beat.

Now i understand that there are people that love soldering.. And if thats what spins your wheels thats great! And I dont' hear anyone suggesting thats wrong, or should that stop.

In this huge world theres space for both perspectives. I'm happy to respect the DIYC rules *while on DIYC*.. but its not stopping me nor others from going about what we want to do as well.