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Old 4th April 2013, 12:09 PM   #511
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I've been reading frequently about the problems you guys in India are having in obtaining components. The mail system to India is pretty robust and reasonably reliable. If you ever need something that you cant buy locally you can simply ask one of us to send it to you. Unlike commercial suppliers - I don't try to make any money, just try to help out.
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Old 5th April 2013, 03:15 AM   #512
vkj is offline vkj  India
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Originally Posted by quadtech View Post
I know him off the list, and I have gotten past the point of amazement
over the years. Gives one a real complex....
Tho Ive never met the guy I would have to say Im impressed too!

Heres an idea:

Most of the people buying stuff at SP road are no doubt from the electronic industry (such as it is), the other big crowd is the bunch of hapless students, taking their first faltering steps.

But occasionally (sadly, rarely) one does come across the genuine "addict". Tho I take down his (its always male ) contact details, it ends there.

I think we guys shd organize a convention/get-together, like the Trekkies. It would be great to exchange ideas and just hang out with guys on the same wavelength. Anyone interested?

vkj.
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Old 5th April 2013, 03:33 AM   #513
vkj is offline vkj  India
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Originally Posted by KatieandDad View Post
I've been reading frequently about the problems you guys in India are having in obtaining components. The mail system to India is pretty robust and reasonably reliable. If you ever need something that you cant buy locally you can simply ask one of us to send it to you. Unlike commercial suppliers - I don't try to make any money, just try to help out.
Thanks, thats really quite kind of you! Tho its very possible you may end up regretting your offer . Im sure theres a huge number of folks here who would need a good source of components.

Do let me know how this would work. In particular, how do I pay you for your expenses? Besides the actual cost of comps, theres the shipping. SInce Digikey charges $60 min. for shipping, Im guessing that this is an expensive process.

Or we could ask Linuxguru to ship you mangoes in return. Juuust kidding .

vkj
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Old 5th April 2013, 08:13 PM   #514
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Originally Posted by vkj View Post
...
I think we guys shd organize a convention/get-together, like the Trekkies. It would be great to exchange ideas and just hang out with guys on the same wavelength. Anyone interested?
Sure - it's been done a few times with good results. Check out the hifivision forums for various audio meets arranged in Bangalore and Chennai by the regulars - GeorgeO, Capt. Rajesh, Santhosh, Rajiv, and numerous other enthusiasts. So far, it's been audio-related, but it could be generic electronics or other stuff, if there's interest. It does take a fair amount of effort (and sponsors, venue, food, etc.) to organize a successful meet as well as host/liaison with out-station participants. It probably helps to get some hand-holding from the folks who have already organized meets.

@katieandad: There's no problem in offering parts for sale on a for-profit basis, either through the swap-meet or vendor forum, or directly through email/PM with willing buyers. There are lots of people willing to pay good money for authentic NOS parts (tubes, passives, transistors, opamps, etc.).

For instance, I could use Holco, Welwyn and Allen-Bradley resistors in some specific values, NOS Black Gates, and some specialty film/foil caps including polystyrene, polycarbonate and axial polypropylenes.

Speaking of NOS electrolytics, I recently found a pair of authentic Nichicon KG type-I Gold Tunes locally - but the electrolyte had dried out and I could feel the foil-roll shaking inside the can. A pity, because that is/was a premium electrolytic at an accessible price.
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Old 6th April 2013, 03:10 AM   #515
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Originally Posted by linuxguru View Post
Sure - it's been done a few times with good results. Check out the hifivision forums for various audio meets arranged in Bangalore and Chennai by the regulars - GeorgeO, Capt. Rajesh, Santhosh, Rajiv, and numerous other enthusiasts. So far, it's been audio-related, but it could be generic electronics or other stuff, if there's interest. It does take a fair amount of effort (and sponsors, venue, food, etc.) to organize a successful meet as well as host/liaison with out-station participants. It probably helps to get some hand-holding from the folks who have already organized meets.

@katieandad: There's no problem in offering parts for sale on a for-profit basis, either through the swap-meet or vendor forum, or directly through email/PM with willing buyers. There are lots of people willing to pay good money for authentic NOS parts (tubes, passives, transistors, opamps, etc.).

For instance, I could use Holco, Welwyn and Allen-Bradley resistors in some specific values, NOS Black Gates, and some specialty film/foil caps including polystyrene, polycarbonate and axial polypropylenes.

Speaking of NOS electrolytics, I recently found a pair of authentic Nichicon KG type-I Gold Tunes locally - but the electrolyte had dried out and I could feel the foil-roll shaking inside the can. A pity, because that is/was a premium electrolytic at an accessible price.
LinuxGuru,

Perhaps we can suggest it to the organizers. If you have their contact email I could send them an email and request. Is there a mailing list to find out when/where they meet? I dont visit these forums too often.

Re. parts: Not sure how the thing would work. First how to pay for the goods? I have never purchased anything in foreign currency, tho Ive been told that one can pay via credit card. But how does one send money to an individual? Second shipping via Postal Service entails clearing Customs. I did once ask a friend to get some parts from Digikey and ship them to me via FedEx. They cleared Customs (for a fee) and I paid them on delivery. It was painless, tho a bit expensive.

Once Citibank offered the services of some concern who would procure anything for you and get it over--all legit. Not sure if they are still around.

vkj
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Old 6th April 2013, 09:58 AM   #516
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Originally Posted by vkj View Post
Perhaps we can suggest it to the organizers. If you have their contact email I could send them an email and request. Is there a mailing list to find out when/where they meet? I dont visit these forums too often.
Here are a couple of links to threads about past/present events:

South India Audio Meet-2013
Is it time to do another workshop in Bangalore?

You should be able to read the threads without registration, but posting/PM will require registration and maybe a wait of a few days.

Quote:
...First how to pay for the goods? I have never purchased anything in foreign currency, tho Ive been told that one can pay via credit card. But how does one send money to an individual? Second shipping via Postal Service entails clearing Customs...
Once Citibank offered the services of some concern who would procure anything for you and get it over--all legit. Not sure if they are still around.
The simplest is to use a PayPal account. These days, it can apparently be opened from India and funded with a local credit/debit card, but YMMV. You can then use the balance to make small purchases over EBay, from individuals, etc.

Customs clearance is now much simpler than the golden age of socialism in the '80s when nothing would be cleared and you would get a show-cause notice for importing contraband, even if it was just half-a-dozen 2-cent BC550 transistors. Nowadays, the Postal Appraisal Department clears items quickly and usually charges very little (if any) duty on low-value imports below Rs.2.5k or so. The package is delivered straight to your address and the duty (if any) is collected by the postman, and a proper receipt is given on the spot - very clean and transparent compared to the past. The duty is also a nominal 10-15%, compared to the 365% duty + CVD on anything electronic pre-1985, which essentially killed value-added electronics manufacturing in India completely, and allowed the emergence of the Asian manufacturing hotspots like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Chinese manufacturing juggernaut.

You can use the services of Borderlinx and other courier/clearance agencies if you wish, but it's no longer needed, at least in Chennai.
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Old 7th April 2013, 03:18 AM   #517
vkj is offline vkj  India
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxguru View Post
Here are a couple of links to threads about past/present events:

South India Audio Meet-2013
Is it time to do another workshop in Bangalore?

You should be able to read the threads without registration, but posting/PM will require registration and maybe a wait of a few days.



The simplest is to use a PayPal account. These days, it can apparently be opened from India and funded with a local credit/debit card, but YMMV. You can then use the balance to make small purchases over EBay, from individuals, etc.

Customs clearance is now much simpler than the golden age of socialism in the '80s when nothing would be cleared and you would get a show-cause notice for importing contraband, even if it was just half-a-dozen 2-cent BC550 transistors. Nowadays, the Postal Appraisal Department clears items quickly and usually charges very little (if any) duty on low-value imports below Rs.2.5k or so. The package is delivered straight to your address and the duty (if any) is collected by the postman, and a proper receipt is given on the spot - very clean and transparent compared to the past. The duty is also a nominal 10-15%, compared to the 365% duty + CVD on anything electronic pre-1985, which essentially killed value-added electronics manufacturing in India completely, and allowed the emergence of the Asian manufacturing hotspots like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Chinese manufacturing juggernaut.

You can use the services of Borderlinx and other courier/clearance agencies if you wish, but it's no longer needed, at least in Chennai.
Thanks for that info, Linuxguru. I took a look a the Audio Meet thread AFAI could make out, it seems to be about audio gear, not d-i-y. I think I attended one such event way back, and it basically was a bunch of audio retailers setting up booths to showcase their products.

Re. the customs duty, Im not sure if that applies to Blore. (KA is the new Bihar ). As I mentioned, less than year back, I asked a friend to FedEx some parts to me. It was a tiny package, some video op-amps, value < US$ 30. FedEx charged me Rs 700 svc charge for customs clearance, and the customs duty itself was ~ Rs 1k (I forget the exact figures). But certainly it wasnt anywhere near 15%. So I ended up paying an extra Rs 2k (ie besides what Digikey charged).

Others have also mentioned that they have to cough up lots of money for those free samples that you can order from the manufs. Another "memorable" incident I recall in 2004 was when my Velodyne speaker went bust and I ordered a replacement driver. This involved a number of trips to the airport and interrogation by some official, who was undoubtedly angling for a bribe. Finally the "clearance agent" paid him and then charged me! ~ Rs 9k those days.

The import flood that you mentioned is a mixed bag. I remember way back the awful quality of components such as resistors and caps. You have to have a "blade" handy to scrape every lead otherwise it wouldnt even catch solder. Real pain. In direct contrast were the A-B resistors that were available in the PSU R&D dept that I worked in then. IN fact you may notice that in your polystyrene caps . When Philips got into the comps game, it was a real blessing.

Most comps made indigenously are poor quality even today. Even a decent mica washer kit seems to be out of reach for our guys. I now find that thanks to the iron leads that are being used, soldering them once again has become a pain. Not just the electronics industry, but in general designing and manufacturing a quality product at a reasonable price is way out of the capability of our guys. And even more so is maintaining that quality.

vkj
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Old 7th April 2013, 11:04 AM   #518
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Originally Posted by vkj View Post
I took a look a the Audio Meet thread AFAI could make out, it seems to be about audio gear, not d-i-y.
Yup, but typically there will be lots of DIYers also at such meets, in addition to the plug-and-play crowd.

Quote:
...value < US$ 30. FedEx charged me Rs 700 svc charge for customs clearance, and the customs duty itself was ~ Rs 1k (I forget the exact figures). But certainly it wasnt anywhere near 15%.
Ouch, '80s-style ripoff continues.

Quote:
... a "blade" handy to scrape every lead otherwise it wouldnt even catch solder. Real pain. In direct contrast were the A-B resistors that were available in the PSU R&D dept that I worked in then. IN fact you may notice that in your polystyrene caps .
... in general designing and manufacturing a quality product at a reasonable price is way out of ...
Yup, I remember the oxidized leads well. In fact, old habits die hard, so I still scrape every lead of most components before soldering. The real pits are those with several layers of dark grey oxidized tin, followed by blackish oxidized copper leads below. You think you're done when they're shining, but no - one touch of the soldering iron and they're black again. Rosin flux is of no use, one needs Sal ammoniac for this kind of junk.

However, now there are exceptions in local manufacturing. Watts, Thakor, etc. make very good resistors at a decent price. The sonic quality of some Watts CFRs is astounding - lush and full-bodied, reminiscent of classic Allen-Bradley, Kiwame, Beyschlag, etc.

PCBPower/Circuit Systems makes first-class PCBs in prototype quantity, comparable to the best in the world.

There are a few other legacy components which are pretty good, like Silver Mica.

Which reminds me - some fink bought 800 470pF/1000V El Menco Silver Micas (his entire stock) from one of the vendors I mentioned earlier, just a few hours before I went on a routine visit there. Just bad luck, and I don't use 470pF much in my designs, but I would have stocked up maybe 100 units for the rainy day if it had been possible.
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Old 8th April 2013, 03:35 AM   #519
vkj is offline vkj  India
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Originally Posted by linuxguru View Post
Yup, but typically there will be lots of DIYers also at such meets, in addition to the plug-and-play crowd.



Ouch, '80s-style ripoff continues.



Yup, I remember the oxidized leads well. In fact, old habits die hard, so I still scrape every lead of most components before soldering. The real pits are those with several layers of dark grey oxidized tin, followed by blackish oxidized copper leads below. You think you're done when they're shining, but no - one touch of the soldering iron and they're black again. Rosin flux is of no use, one needs Sal ammoniac for this kind of junk.

However, now there are exceptions in local manufacturing. Watts, Thakor, etc. make very good resistors at a decent price. The sonic quality of some Watts CFRs is astounding - lush and full-bodied, reminiscent of classic Allen-Bradley, Kiwame, Beyschlag, etc.

PCBPower/Circuit Systems makes first-class PCBs in prototype quantity, comparable to the best in the world.

There are a few other legacy components which are pretty good, like Silver Mica.

Which reminds me - some fink bought 800 470pF/1000V El Menco Silver Micas (his entire stock) from one of the vendors I mentioned earlier, just a few hours before I went on a routine visit there. Just bad luck, and I don't use 470pF much in my designs, but I would have stocked up maybe 100 units for the rainy day if it had been possible.
Vishal (and prob. others) have something called "liquid flux". Is this the one you are referring to as the ammonia thing? Incidentally the enameled Cu wire guy opp. Vishal sells flux for Al. soldering. Very expensive!, but I did try it and it works, tho messy and corrosive, and very probably toxic.

I dont think anyone on SP road bothers where they get their CFRs from--cheapest is the way to go. How does one know who the manuf. is? If you want better stuff, the usual route is to go MFR.

Since you are evidently into audio, have you ever tried/built a good MP3 player? I bought a board from Pooja for Rs 130(!), but the quality is bad, there are some very audible "popping" noises, which are extremely irritating. The "docking stations" by the audio manufs are horribly expensive. It would be great to incorporate an MP3 functionality into a diy amp.

Another audio question: Is it possible to send digital audio (from say a DVD player) over long distances (~20 feet) via 75 Ohm cable and do the D-A conversion at the far end?

vkj
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Old 8th April 2013, 05:06 AM   #520
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... "liquid flux". Is this the one you are referring to as the ammonia thing? Incidentally the enameled Cu wire guy opp. Vishal sells flux for Al. soldering.
Liquid flux is a recent innovation, and generally meant for wave-soldering or hand soldering on plated surfaces in current use - Sn/Pb, lead-free, immersion silver or gold. It works great on clean uncontaminated surfaces, and produces shiny, concave solder beads. It's really mainly meant for solders to flow very smoothly and wet surfaces.

For terribly contaminated copper surfaces (with lots of oxide and other metallic impurities like aluminium, iron, etc.), ammonium chloride aka Sal Ammoniac was the only easily available flux that worked in the old days. It's a white slightly hygroscopic salt that used to be available from chemistry supply stores. It's harmless and non-toxic in solid form, but produces an acrid cloud of ammonia and hydrogen chloride at the moment of soldering. I don't know if Mangaldeep's aluminium flux is the same thing, but sal ammoniac works with some difficulty on aluminium surfaces also.

Quote:
I dont think anyone on SP road bothers where they get their CFRs from--cheapest is the way to go. How does one know who the manuf. is? If you want better stuff, the usual route is to go MFR.
The spectacled guy in the same row of shops as Mangaldeep (the enamelled Cu wire store) is the Watts dealer and specializes in resistors. You can ask specifically for Watts and maybe a few other local brands from him. Most other shops will also give you Watts on request, but they source it mostly from the spectacled guy above. It's clearly marked on the paper tape, so there's no hanky-panky. The leads will be very soft tin-plated pure copper on almost any Watts resistor, except on some older stuff where they used tin-plated brass.

The problem with the cheap resistors is ferromagnetic leads or end-caps. The worst are those Fe-Cu (Fecuma) leads seen on cheap metal-oxide resistors, but nickel/kovar plating is also weakly magnetic and messes up audio.

Weakly magnetic end-caps now seem to be an unavoidable evil, even on otherwise high-quality imports like Panasonic ERX metal film and KOA CF carbon film. There are very few resistors now that are completely non-magnetic - Dale, PRP, Futaba, NOS Holco, Welwyn and some Shallcross non-inductive wirewounds come to mind. Of these, Dales are the only ones that occasionally show up locally.

Quote:
... have you ever tried/built a good MP3 player? I bought a board from Pooja for Rs 130(!) ... It would be great to incorporate an MP3 functionality into a diy amp.
I have one of those Rs.100 Chinese MP3 modules with remote as well.
I haven't tried it yet, just wanted the little IR remote actually.

For high-quality digital playback, the best options are moderately expensive: A linux-based Atom motherboard connected to a separate USB 2.0 audio DAC like the HiFiMeDIY Sabre ES9023 24/96 DAC.

Quote:
Another audio question: Is it possible to send digital audio (from say a DVD player) over long distances (~20 feet) via 75 Ohm cable and do the D-A conversion at the far end?
Sure, you just need a DVD player with digital SPDIF coax output, and a DAC or an amplifier with SPDIF digital input. Many DVD players have SPDIF built-in, and some have optical output as well.

There are inexpensive modules that can convert the optical signal back to coax SPDIF digital, or slightly more expensive modules that have a DAC and can convert optical to 2-channel line-level analog audio.

The simplest option is any cheap Home Theatre receiver that has digital input - just about any Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, Panasonic, Harman-Kardon, etc.
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