Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Two lousy caps

In Hardware on Jan 18, 2011 at 00:01

A couple of Ether Card kits have escaped into the wild without these ceramic 20 pF capacitors:

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And a few probably also had no RJ45 MagJack (where you plug an Ethernet UTP cable into).

I’m very sorry about that. Turns out that we had a couple of kits prepared at a time when these components were out of stock. With the intention to add them into the bag before shipping.

In retrospect, placing those bags in the box was of course an urgent invitation for Mr. Murphy.

I’ve already sent out 2 sets of caps to people who’ve emailed me, but in case you recently got an Ether Card kit and these components were missing, pleasee email me. I’ll send them over asap, of course. I suspect that about a handful of these incomplete kits were sent out.

Stock levels are starting to return to normal here at Jee Labs, well at least to the point that most orders from 2010 have been processed (not all!), with a dozen single-item back-orders pending. Most of these are waiting for 2×16 character LCDs and Carrier Boards – both these are expected later this week. I’m also still behind w.r.t. the wooden base in the JeeNode Experimeter’s Packs.

On related news: there is a world-wide shortage of ATmega328 DIP chips, as you may have noticed. I’ve still got a couple to go, and more orders queued up for February and March, but it’s hard to tell right now when this is going to hit another of them atom-related walls around here.

On the plus side, all these stock issues have helped me better understand how to track what’s going on in the shop. I really wouldn’t mind adopting some sort of ERP and SCM systems at JeeLabs. Well… if they were a couple of orders of magnitude cheaper, that is :)

Two other interesting and related TLA’s are GLP and GMP – which describe ways to track exactly what goes on in laboratory cq. manufacturing processes. I’ve been involved with those in a previous life – the neat part is that if you get them right, then you can answer sort of “inverted questions” about a product, such as “what ingredients is it made of?” and “which batch of ingredients were used in this particular item?”.

Having such systems in place would have helped me figure out exactly who got the incomplete Ether Card kits, and then I would not have needed to publicly sollicit your help to fix this particular Murphy-case!

Oh well… one can always dream, right?

  1. Missing components is always annoying, even for a hobbyist like me. This weekend I was working on a project on a breadboard, and I figured out I missed 2 op-amps. As there are no electronics shops in my town, I had to put the project aside and wait for another internet delivery to arrive :-(

    The same happens to JeeLabs but in a larger space.. guess we’ll just have to live with it!

  2. Tips to beginners in electronics:

    Buy “service boxes” whit 10 components of each value of caps. and resistors. Buy some sets of diods and transistors as well. http://www.velleman.eu have god ones but it might pay of to shop around. This is a must when you start design your own circuits on a bredboard, repair old PCB or if a kit miss some parts.

  3. Sparkfun reports that the shortage of ATmega328 DIP chips is so bad that Arduino has responded by releasing the SMD Uno which uses an SMD ATmega328.

  4. I see they are out in Farnell and Digikey… Damn, I should have bought a shed load in the summer! I could have been a chip baron now!

  5. If you want “cheap” ERP then there is plenty of OSS stuff out there. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ERP_software_packages#Free_and_Open_Source_ERP_software

    Of course the costs will not be in the license but in the time to implement it :-)

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