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mattmcl 24th April 2013 03:49 AM

Idea for site fundraising
I ran across this idea in another forum. What if some of the experts on this site donated time to help newbies (via Skype) with projects? I'd sure pony up for some help at times. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

DF96 24th April 2013 10:17 AM

Remote debugging can be frustrating even when the remote person roughly knows what he is doing and can correctly report measurements and circuit changes etc. back to the 'expert'. Doing this on the public forum helps others to learn. Doing it privately via Skype for money will not work too well, as knowledge will not be shared (the whole point of the forum), and newbies may expect miracles at cheap prices. There may also be an expectation of an indefinite 'warranty' so the expert will never be released from his 'obligation'.

I occasionally get requests to help someone on here via Skype. I always refuse. My view, which may sound cruel, is that someone requesting such help is likely to be so inexperienced that they actually need someone to do the job for them. In that case they should find a local person.

A lot of wisdom and good advice is offered on here completely free of charge. People are free to donate to the website. If people want to pay for advice then they should enter a normal commercial contract with a consultant, but this could be very expensive.

Alternatively, do what I and others have done: do a lot of reading and thinking and building and debugging and thinking. Five years later you will think you understand electronics. Forty years later you may actually understand electronics, at least in part.

ashok 24th April 2013 10:45 AM

I generally don't like to help 'newbies' with hands on help. It always turns out that eventually I have to do 'everything' and if it goes bad I have to fix it and it has ' a warranty for a lifetime ' because I rigged it up. Leads to a lot of problems.

Getting help on the forum is best. It's free and you get help from SEVERAL experienced people. The physical work and 'warranty' remains with the builder which is how it should be !;)

Helping over Skype and charging for it will never work well with newbies. You have to remember that it takes a long time telling somebody else what to do over the Net or Skype and then getting it done , and it's MUCH worse if there are problems. Explaining procedures over Skype can take a very long time......precious time ! More than the money , there " isn't " enough free time !!

Haven't you seen guys complaining that they never have enough time to complete their own projects ! The moment you charge for the service you get tied to it and are responsible to get it to work. Giving free advice over the forum has no such problems. Usually there are several people helping and if one person drops out it doesn't stop the chain of 'help' !;)

Enzo 25th April 2013 05:23 PM

Not so much on this forum, but on other more guitar-amp oriented boards, I get PMs all the time wanting essentially private consultations. Inevitably it will be someone with zero post count. "Hi, you seem to know a lot about..." I remind them that if I did all my helping in PMs, no one would know I existed. I then suggest they post their questions in the forum so others may benefit from the discussion.

So put me down as another vote against the skype method. I'd also have to agree with the lifetime/do-it-all outlook. Much of the time someone wants help with some seemingly small thing, but to get them there you also have to teach them how electronics works.

I like to support people who want to learn. Forums like this is one way to do that. But I have people coming by my shop. SOmetime they are looking for a resistor or something, and I just give them one. Or they want to show off their latest project and get my comments. I don't mind. But now and then someone wants to "pay me for lessons." And I have to decline for the same reasons as above. They tend to think it will be something like show me how to make chocolate chip cookies. I have on only couple of occasions agreed to charging my hourly rate for someone to sit there and ask me whatever technical stuff is on his mind and to explain the why/how of whatever. It is only with someone I am already familiar with, so I have an idea how receptive and perceptive they are. SO if he feels he gets his money's worth, well then OK.

mattmcl 25th April 2013 07:00 PM

All good points.

I have paid a local tube repair expert to troubleshoot for me once and the time was worth its weight in gold but I suppose in-person is much easier than Skype.

ashok 26th April 2013 05:37 AM


Originally Posted by mattmcl (
.......I suppose in-person is much easier than Skype.....

You can't even start comparing the two ! Doing it on Skype, the other person could very well be on the Moon !:D

Enzo 27th April 2013 05:04 AM

Yes, but on the moon, you can break the glass on a vacuum tube and it keeps working.

ashok 27th April 2013 05:26 PM


Originally Posted by Enzo (
Yes, but on the moon, you can break the glass on a vacuum tube and it keeps working.

Yeah , right !:D

Maybe they should carry a tube amp to the Moon and cut off the glass there and use it ! It would look cool ! No speakers , only headphones !;)

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