How we can deal with parts high prices?

Looking at some parts I have bought in the past, I see a price increase of at least 150%.
Under these conditions our presence in the diy will be problematic in the near future.
How we can deal with this?
Is group buying a solution to this problem?
I tend to shop around now instead of just buying from RS Components.
They have a bad habit of making minimum buys like 10 off, 100 off etc.
AD9201 on RS £15, on Ali Express £1.50 and they work !
4700uf 35v caps on RS £2+vat and 60p on ebay.
USB pcb socket £1.25 on RS, 25p at CPC.
RS's latest minimum spend is a pain to of £30 before VAT.
There are some things I only buy from RS like power components where the cheap Chinese stuff perform poorly.
JLCPCB is best place (quality and price wise.)for PCB's.
 
I remember buying an OC72 transistor in an individual box and being very excited about it, also having second thoughts about transistor preamps because they cost about same as 12AX7 which at lest was guaranteed to work, also buying IBM mainframe boards by the kilo, and removing parts, including a ton of mystery transistors and a zillion diodes using the burn and slap method, involving a propane torch on the solder side and a kitchen table covered in newspaper.
Almost forgot: early uA741 in 8 leg TO5 gold pin case inside its own cardboard box.
 
By salvaging, re-using parts, cutting down on new projects using expensive parts, revisiting old projects, being patient - after all, this is just a hobby.

I am stocked up on parts for projects for a lifetime. I cannot currently do all my projects, but that is still OK - plenty of things to do or experiment with.
All my audio work will completely stop for what I’m guessing is the next 3 years. When it does resume, I’ll be working strictly from the stockpile. If it isn’t in the stockpile, eff it. A few odd parts a year maybe, but gone are the days of buying tubes of power transistors, transformers, or dare I say any more speaker drivers.

I had a “well meaning” friend suggest that it would be better for me to sell all my old PA equipment and parts inventory for 10 cents on the dollar so I don’t have to store/move it. How in the hell could I ever expect to re-start at 3 years from now prices - with that much more of what I need/want NLA because of obsolescence? My gut tells me it’s only going to get worse.
 
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Imo the parts price increases are not that bad, probably less rise or increases compared to food and fuel so it’s all relative in one way or another. Part availablity has been a bigger issue but supplies are on the improvement. I found Nichicon and TI to be the worst at delivering parts.
I do agree that jlcpcb are an excellent fab, it was not so long ago getting a pcb for a proto or small qty was expensive, so you win some and lose on other’s, that’s life.
 
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I tend to put items in carts until it gets big enough to ship. A few days ago I put some large filter capacitors in the cart and noticed that the price had come down about 10% since last purchased 2 months ago. They're from Japan so currency exhange rates are part of the equation. The yen has been weak against the USD.
 
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We have been, still are, living in paradise.... ...pennies...
(y) :cool:
It’s inflation time. The right medicine for inflation is spending, not saving. So get rid of your money quickly and cleverly buy expensive stuff. But DIY expenditures are pennies, noting to consider seriously. Just drive 100 miles less and you have enough money to buy yourself enough parts for class A power supply.
 
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I tend to shop around now instead of just buying from RS Components.
They have a bad habit of making minimum buys like 10 off, 100 off etc.
AD9201 on RS £15, on Ali Express £1.50 and they work !
4700uf 35v caps on RS £2+vat and 60p on ebay.
USB pcb socket £1.25 on RS, 25p at CPC.
RS's latest minimum spend is a pain to of £30 before VAT.
There are some things I only buy from RS like power components where the cheap Chinese stuff perform poorly.
JLCPCB is best place (quality and price wise.)for PCB's.
I've been a customer of RS for decades but their policy of massively raising the price break quantities has made me go elsewhere. They are just not competitive for many parts.

Farnell is not quite as bad but annoyed me recently when I went to buy some pcb toggle switches. The prices had doubled but what added insult to injury was that their CPC subsidiary had the same switches at the old price.

There seems to be major profiteering going on and blaming a shortage used to justify it.
 
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Spending your way out of inflation has always been gaslit crap advice meant to protect the rich at the expense of everyone else. If no one paid inflationary prices inflation could not exist. Globalization and the connected world have rendered the individual consumer powerless, capitalism has us like a fish on a trident.
 
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One of the shortages in a more prosaic product -- MDF and OSB -- companies which supply are still running at 50% capacity because of labor shortages.

The "participation rate" of the available workforce to population is well off its historic peak, while "employment" leastways in the US has just within the last two months achieved the pre-pandemic level.

Add to this the quality of labor, in terms of education, math skills, addiction (or even over-use) of alcohol and drugs has really hobbled the manufacturing sector in the US.

With this being said, we are now seeing quite a number of VZ engineers who have made the perilous trip through Mexico to the States. This was highlighted in the New York Times last week. Difficult to get work permits, but their arrival is welcome.
 
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Here in Buenos Aires everywhere you go you find polite experienced very well educated Venezuelans.
Think Venezuelan Engineers, Shop Managers and such, not "car windshield washers" or "car door openers".
Also welcome, although the concomitant problem for us is they are taking all "good" available Job offers.
 
I tend to put items in carts until it gets big enough to ship. A few days ago I put some large filter capacitors in the cart and noticed that the price had come down about 10% since last purchased 2 months ago. They're from Japan so currency exhange rates are part of the equation. The yen has been weak against the USD.
Well, I was doing that same thing too in my last order for Digi-key Canada because the deal is: Free Shipping on orders of more than $100, so I painstakingly combined all parts for various on-going and near-future projects, and... was slapped with a surprise import fee that was even more than the shipping cost would have been. About 1/3rd of parts. Probably because the local storage ran out of parts and parts came from the US this time...

That was a cold shower...

BTW, you can get a lot of parts for cheap if you spend some time looking for amplifiers and other similar gear in thrift stores.

For example, for <= $10, sometimes for free if I have accumulated enough loyalty points, I can get:
  • Chassis with corresponding hardware
  • Large Transformer
  • Rectifier / Diodes
  • Capacitors
  • Power jacks
  • Input / Output Jacks
  • Potentiometers with knobs
  • Cables / Wires
etc...

And another note: if you want some thicker wires, those PC ATX PSUs have a bunch of them if you're not going to re-use the ATX PSU as a Lab SMPS PSU for other projects (not audio): just cut these off and re-use them. They also have many useful parts you can re-use in other builds.

For thinner single-core, Ethernet cables. You can do a lot with those.

From cheap Transformers/PSUs that are too low-powered to be really useful: recuperate the enameled wire - you can use this for prototype boards instead of normal insulated wire. Ferrite core can be useful too. You could also re-organise them as chokes, but it's a lot of work if you don't have the tools - I tried manually.

If I need to order, and there are a few parts I am thinking of, I'll most probably reduce quantities if the cost is too high.

The years spent salvaging serve me well. It is always a good time to salvage, not necessarily when things go expensive as now - you do it years ahead for times just like this.
 
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I order from Digi-Key and mouser all the time. Make sure you have it set for $CDN currency, duty and taxes (DDP) get included as part of the sale. Just make sure it over $100 to get the free shipping, you have to select the free shipping too. Mine always defaults to ups, so I change it the free fedex express, get it delivered in 1-2 business days. I use PayPal which is linked to a chequing account.
 
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Filipinos have taken over a lot of the jobs done by Indians in the Gulf, and the Chinese have entered the retail sector, building huge malls, staff is Chinese.
There is a 'Dragon Mall' in Dubai, 1.5 kilometers long, nearly a mile...

Fedex has a standard box, shipping is very low on that.

My friend buys parts from Mouser USA, shipped and duty paid they are still cheaper than Mouser India!
And he is able to get some parts which they do not sell in India.
 
There are a lot of parts in Mouser that they won’t sell in India. But what would one need with ITAR/EAR parts to build audio gear? Unless youre playing with silicon carbide or GaN?

If there were places on the street in the US where you could pick up electronics parts a 2N3904 (or rather NTE123AP) would cost $6 - so one would end up ordering them from Mouser anyway.
 
BTW, you can get a lot of parts for cheap if you spend some time looking for amplifiers and other similar gear in thrift stores.
The years spent salvaging serve me well. It is always a good time to salvage, not necessarily when things go expensive as now - you do it years ahead for times just like this.

Earlier this year I posted with some recommendations for older scientific/industrial gear to keep an eye out for, that have particularly-high content of interesting, high-quality, and useful parts for audio. I have a couple thousand sq ft filled with such items. Said post drew nothing but criticism. Funny how perspectives change when inflation hits.
 
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Was just discussing the circuitry of some Philips high voltage tube lab power supplies of 50 years ago.
What struck me was the relatively small number of parts for the performance, these were real designs.
So maybe the answer to parts shortage/high prices is to get back to really thinking about a design, solid engineering rather than copying app notes and whatever you find on the 'net. We're so used at throwing opamps etc. at any function or signal you need, maybe now is the time for Intelligent Design ;-)
It will be harder, need more effort, but probably generate more satisfaction. The real diy.

Jan
 
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Earlier this year I posted with some recommendations for older scientific/industrial gear to keep an eye out for, that have particularly-high content of interesting, high-quality, and useful parts for audio. I have a couple thousand sq ft filled with such items. Said post drew nothing but criticism. Funny how perspectives change when inflation hits.
I also remember your seminal investigation in lowest and closely-matched impedance, and some people found a way to criticise even that.
 
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Friend buys avalanche diodes, and so on.
Sometimes in 10 k quantities.
Product is controller for motor brakes and clutch motors.
Clamp and release time has to be fast and consistent...

Nothing to do with audio.
He has me fix his audio stuff if needed.
The avalanche diodes made in USA are cheaper delivered by Fedex than the same part sold by Mouser in India.
And yes, some parts are not sold in India, but as a multiple thousand unit count buyer they did offer to import those just for him.
He has an account with the US division, says much cheaper.
 
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Was just discussing the circuitry of some Philips high voltage tube lab power supplies of 50 years ago.
What struck me was the relatively small number of parts for the performance, these were real designs.
So maybe the answer to parts shortage/high prices is to get back to really thinking about a design, solid engineering rather than copying app notes and whatever you find on the 'net. We're so used at throwing opamps etc. at any function or signal you need, maybe now is the time for Intelligent Design ;-)
It will be harder, need more effort, but probably generate more satisfaction. The real diy.

True, true. There are old supplies of the 'vibrator' design which can be interesting. These were used in some Tube gear, but they could even power cars.

For the engineering angle, check out how to DIY an R-2R macro-DAC with arrays of resistors and a few other chips instead of buying a similar DAC chip.

And yes the chaining of op amps - so common and easy to do, but what does that do to the end audio signal?

It is also interesting to see how to DIY some tools.