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Old 28th October 2005, 08:40 PM   #21
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Actually, my point wasn't about those who find their way to this hobby, but how few of us there are who do. This is the largest board on the web, with a few thousand members. While there are sure to be DIYers who don't end up here, we really don't amount to a hill of beans for a true full time commercial venture. Look at all of the companies geared towards DIYers who have come and gone in the last ten years.

The DIYer's needs will largely be served by part timers, who are in it at least as much for the love of the hobby as the money. Nothing wrong with that, just don't expect the full time support staff and manual writing capabilities of Vellman or Marchand, to name a couple.
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Old 28th October 2005, 09:09 PM   #22
DC Dave is offline DC Dave  United States
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I commend Peter, Brian and the others who make their pcbs available to people. The fact they offer the pcbs with the components is an added bonus.

The only thing needed to build a kit is the schematics to know where the parts go.

I would rather see them spend their time creating new products than spending it creating a users manual. And I for one do not want to see increased costs related to manuals, customer support etc.

I've always considered this as a given, but maybe I shouldn't: Assembling a kit requires a basic understanding of electronics, good soldering skills and the ability to read and work from a schematic.

Every question or problem you could possibly have regarding a chip amp kit has been answered here on this board or the many other websites dedicated to these amplifiers. If it has not been answered then ask it.

And if you don't think you can build a kit then buy a finished amplifier.
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Old 28th October 2005, 09:13 PM   #23
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Here's the best example how support for those kits is being handled:
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...537#post754537
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Old 28th October 2005, 09:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Narcisse91

I look at a lot of kits (or a lot of circuits, in general) and I always ask myself "what about the power supply?".
I'll tell you "why not the power supply" -- who wants to get sued if some noob electrocutes themself with a board you've designed and sold to them.

and p.s. -- if you are going to sell in the U.S. make sure that you do your trading through a limited liability corporation, limited partnership or S-Corp.
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Old 28th October 2005, 10:24 PM   #25
hongrn is offline hongrn  United States
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Quote:
I'll tell you "why not the power supply" -- who wants to get sued if some noob electrocutes themself with a board you've designed and sold to them.
Here's a site in Australia that includes the transformer, the amp, and the heatsink in their kits. They either don't know any better, or are not afraid of being sued by noobs who may electrocute themselves. Come on...

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Old 28th October 2005, 10:56 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by hongrn
Here's a site in Australia that includes the transformer, the amp, and the heatsink in their kits. They either don't know any better, or are not afraid of being sued by noobs who may electrocute themselves. Come on...[/URL]
We're a bit behind the US (10 or 20 years) regarding fear of litagation but it will happen. In some states (i.e. Queensland) the laws have recently changed where even being a electronic repairer has become difficult because of the perceived problem of people electrocuting themselves.

As far as selling kits, if the volume is there, good documentation can be expected. In Australia, there has been a good synergy between Electronics Magazines and kit providers where the magazine does the article and contruction guide (very professional) and the electronics suppliers make up the kits.

For smaller organisations and individuals, without volume or a support structure, one or two emails or a phone call can make the difference between breaking even and loss. So, its just a matter of having the appropriate expectations. In other fields, IT for example, one support call would probably cost $50.

I work in online documetation and creating good, easy to follow instructions for everyone to understand is a rare talent. I wish the were more skilled documentation writers as it would make my job easier.

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Old 28th October 2005, 11:29 PM   #27
AKSA is offline AKSA  Australia
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The kit business is tough. Numbers are small, service is email based and can be very lengthy and expensive, and expectations are high. Occasionally the customer is very inexperienced and the education process this involves completely blows any profit margin out the window. You'd only do it because you love DIY, and/or enjoy pain.

It is rare indeed for someone with technical prowess to have comprehensive skills in documentation. As someone here mentioned, documentation is an ongoing process, as it must accommodate changing parts lists, enhancements, and known misinterpretations. The documentation for my 55W amp runs to 14,900 words, some 38 diagrams and pictures - and took about two months to write. The 100W amp is more again, and the hybrid preamplifier even larger.

I believe that if you do something well enough, you will satisfy your customers and win sales. Eventually you will make a profit. But most DIYers are not well informed about the market; they believe it will be cheaper. No, it will not be cheaper; the cheapest option is to buy used. But you learn nothing and have little pride of ownership. If you make it yourself, you learn a great deal, and if the documentation is well composed you learn in a fun way, with minimum discomfort. If the product is appropriately priced to cover service charges, you can guide the beginner through with minimum fuss and minimal financial loss. If, moreover, the design is good, then the pride of ownership is deeply satisfying all round. This is the goal, of course........

There are two weak points in most kits I have seen. The obvious one is the documentation, but the other weakness is the design. It is rare to find a DIY design which is really, really good, because the R&D is horrifically expensive. Perhaps a third point I'd make concerns culture; Northern Europeans, Central Europeans, Brits and Americans are all different in their interpretation of directions. Thus they must be written with cultural variation in mind, and this is not easy. Ambiguity and misinterpretation must be avoided, and in this area photographs and diagrams are king.

Someone mentioned transformers. Where bipolar power supplies are required - that is, direct coupled PP SS amplifiers - it is very easy to get it wrong, as the color code for transformer manufacturers is NOT standardised. I include a stepped instruction on how to figure out the secondaries regardless of the color coding, so that this problem is explained. I also put in a disclaimer so that if you make a mistake, and have not consulted a qualified and certified electrician, neither I nor my company has any liability, but in general there are seldom problems.

In closing, I would say categorically that if you are a complete newbie and have neither soldering skills nor any understanding of electricity, you should not be wiring up mains transformers or even building mains powered audio kits. This narrows my market, but it does discourage the uninitiated who might be a danger to themselves if they attempted some pretty forbidding mains wiring. I have found that the most uneconomic customer of all is the nice guy without a clue, who requires 40-50 emails of education to get through it all.

Cheers,

Hugh
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Old 29th October 2005, 01:13 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by AKSA
In closing, I would say categorically that if you are a complete newbie and have neither soldering skills nor any understanding of electricity, you should not be wiring up mains transformers or even building mains powered audio kits.

...and you will never race in the Tour de France if you keep the training wheels on...

here in the states the educational infrastructure is afraid to let the kids scrape their knees on the playground. how in the heck did we ever survive?

the nanny-state rules triumphantly -- would you let your 12 year old build this?

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 29th October 2005, 01:18 AM   #29
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Eighteen months ago I put a set of Klipsch speakers on the top of a set of JBL's. They were powered by a couple of Adcom amps. It sounded really good... It was, in fact, a line array. Of course, I didn't know it was a line array and can't figure out how I figured out it was a line array. But, you know, a little Googling and I wound up in this black hole, diyaudio.com.

I built a set of NSB line arrays... then a second. What's this "chip amp" stuff all about? Ordered a BrianGT kit. Finished it in a few days or weeks. "Won" a second set of boards. Built number two... and then number three and number four. Then a MOX active crossover. The line arrays were a little light on base but then I built a couple of Fitz Tuba 18's. This winter, a Mini A and a Aleph 30 on the agenda.

How much electronics do I know? Zero... Electrical schematics from machinery I can read (Euro style only) and I have carried a VOM in the car for thirty years, but no solid state stuff.

Blah blah...

The conclusion is that I was lucky to buy my first kit from BrianGT and the directions were good enough to 1) not kill myself; and 2) not burn down the house. Actually, the directions were superb.

Buy a kit. Learn how to solder on something other than the kit. Build the kit. Mostly ignore the talk of $50 caps and what is the best resistor in the beginning. Test you amp on POS speakers. Sell the Adcoms, sell the JBL's and return the Klipsch's to your kid.

Buy today. Do it now. Apologize before hand for the soldering iron burn in the den carpet. Say you are sorry when she gets a resistor tail stuck in her foot.

Welcome to the world's smallest hobby.
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Old 29th October 2005, 01:23 AM   #30
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...and learn the Parts Express 800 number
...and get a Mouser catalog
...and a Newark catalog
...and a Digi-Key
...reinforce bedside table
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