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Thread: Cheap China retro-computing knock-offs. Good or bad thing?

  1. #51
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    The kit stuff I took to VCF East this year (12x 8085 SBC rev 3 kits, 50-some CF interface kits for the SBC, a few 8255 PPI kits for the SBC) was over $4K, and there's no funny connectors or anything there. It's easy to think, "this costs too much!" in an age of $5 embedded computers I guess, especially if you're not used to sourcing components for actual kit runs. I'm sure I can build myself an XT-IDE for the cost of the circuit board, and scrounge all of the ICs from my "misc solder pull ICs" bins, but one can't run a kit like that! Or at least you shouldn't...

  2. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caluser2000 View Post
    If you have not tested or seen the product how can you make that assertion?
    Well over the last 10 years that i've been buying / building the XT-IDE cards for my own use, I have original Rev 1 - 2 and 4 cards, Also i have a few lo-tech cards, Glitch's R4 cards are a great improvement on the original design, In those 10 years i've seen many "Copy cat knock off's" appear on ebay of the XT-IDE's and Lo-Tech cards, They were all blatant knock off's with no improvements made, Just copies of the XT-IDE and Lo-Tech design in one, They move parts around, Leave parts off, Change the colour of the PCB and put there own name to it, And it's pretty obvious where the parts have come from, No i've not tested any of them, " A picture paints a thousand words ", My revision 1 XT-IDE's are still going strong today and i've no doubt they will continue to do so for many more years to come along with my other original cards.

  3. #53
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    I'm pleased to hear that. I never had a requirement fo an XT-IDE card until this year. I'll let you know in 10 years how my Monotech pans out.
    Thomas Byers (DRI)- "You'll have a million people using the A> [MS-DOS prompt] forever. You'll have five million using [nongraphic] menu systems such as Topview, Concurrent PC-DOS, Desq, and those types. But there'll be 50 to 100 million using the iconic-based interfaces."

  4. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by eeguru View Post
    I've had two people this week lose interest after I told them how much. I worked out a BoM ages ago and it came to $75 including shipping. It's probably a little cheaper since I bought the last PCBs in quantity 100. But the connectors from State Electronics were $12.50 of that - and you can't get them anymore! I laughed at a recent YouTube comment about my published BoM and threatening to build their own thinking, "where do you intend to source the 30 year old connectors?" I used more expensive CPLDs because I though geee... most people will want to solder them up themselves so I'll stick with PTH+5V components. Nope. 3-4 kits in 130+ orders. I add 25 for assembly and test. But like glitch, I don't do it for the money. I really love seeing these old machines live on. But a typical batch of parts for 25 boards from Mouser/Digikey tops a grand. That's not a trivial outlay.

    It irritates me when people lose interest, but that is also a way to weed out people who are not serious. I understand that $100 or $150 is a bit of coin for a lot of people, but consider that the parts cost money and the labor is free - it's not like people are price gouging.

    I put my money where my mouth is - volunteer time making things happen, travel expenses, web hosting fees, direct donations, and hustling for funds from other sources. And that's exactly why we should be supporting the people who do the work with the bare minimum - recognizing that it is their work and not supporting people who rip it off. Which is how this thread started.

    Let me know if you want to outsource any work to Seattle. ;-0

  5. #55

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    While working on a personal project, I've experienced the quandry of economy of scale. As an individual parting together one or two products, my cost for just a few components is way more than a shop that buys in bulk or already has bulk parts on hand. It costs about the same in shipping to ship one or two parts as it does several hundred from some vendors, plus the packaging for smaller quantities of parts also adds to the price.

  6. #56
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    That's true, but there's been cases where I've been able to assemble my one offs for quite a bit less than buying an assembled one. Obviously depends where you're buying parts. A recent example for me is i assembled a Mockingboard. The motherboard pcb was $12.50 and all the parts were about that as well (i don't have exact numbers on me though). So, basically $25 vs the $55 kit price plus shipping (more for assembled). I've been building a CFFA card for significantly less than the minimum $150 price those go for. Obviously those prices reactivemicro sells their stuff for is reasonable, they're a business... but this is also a small market and they're not getting much better economies of scale either. If they are saving a bunch of money, i think it goes into their profits (as it should), not into consumer savings. My only point is to say that you can't build it yourself for less is definitely a sales tactic. There's lots of reasons why you couldn't or shouldn't build it yourself, but cost of parts generally isn't a valid one for the hobby market.
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbbrutman View Post
    Everybody loves the jrIDE. Raise the price - seriously, it is easy to defend an increase.
    Btw, watched Adrians video where he showed off the jrIDE card... definitely looks worth it. Very impressed.

    https://youtu.be/_CNruhSYC2E
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngtwolf View Post
    My only point is to say that you can't build it yourself for less is definitely a sales tactic. There's lots of reasons why you couldn't or shouldn't build it yourself, but cost of parts generally isn't a valid one for the hobby market.
    If you count your time as billable hours, building an XT-IDE (or other) kit probably isn't "worth" your time. But, I figure a fair number of people are like me and like to build kits even if it works out to be more "expensive" than just buying it premade. I also like to keep bare boards available since I assume many of you other hardware hackers also scavenge parts from everything you take apart I like "junk bin friendly" designs, where it's likely that the average vintage computer hobbyist will have a bunch of the parts in their parts bins anyway.

    That's not even counting the educational value of building your own hardware for folks new to hardware hacking.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by glitch View Post
    If you count your time as billable hours, building an XT-IDE (or other) kit probably isn't "worth" your time. But, I figure a fair number of people are like me and like to build kits even if it works out to be more "expensive" than just buying it premade. I also like to keep bare boards available since I assume many of you other hardware hackers also scavenge parts from everything you take apart I like "junk bin friendly" designs, where it's likely that the average vintage computer hobbyist will have a bunch of the parts in their parts bins anyway.

    That's not even counting the educational value of building your own hardware for folks new to hardware hacking.
    Hahaha, yeah, i have an xt-ide card i've been building... I'm stuck waiting for those dang resistor array's to come from china, i didn't have those. That wasn't really much cheaper and it definitely is a case of something where if you just need one (and need it quickly), you're better off just buying one. In my case I got multiple boards made and giving a few to couple friends for them to build themselves for their equipment. I do like that design, everything is pretty simple to assemble. The ones that give me pause are the ones that use surface mount stuff (for instance, I'm planning to get some floppy emu boards printed next and tackle that for a few of my apple computers).
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA

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