Time for another blog post – today it is about quality components.
The quality of an item is completely dependent on the quality of its individual components. We live in a world where there is so much copying, and there are counterfeit components available everywhere, and with counterfeiting comes quality issues.
Take for example, the Real Time Clock (RTC) Integrated circuits that I use. My clock designs use a Dallas Semiconductor DS1302 chip to maintain the time. These components are awesome, I simply provide a quality crystal, and a backup super capacitor, and it keeps track of time to within 20 parts per million forever. No issues at all.
When I was developing the clock, I used eBay as a part supplier for quick samples of components – and I discovered that there was a person selling DS1302 chips for about $1 each, instead of the $7 that Dallas wanted to charge – Needless to say that in my nativity and youthful exuberance, I jumped and purchased 5. That was a complete mistake. It turned out that the components kept awful time The test clock lost seconds every hour. I swapped RTC chips to see if that helped, but it didn’t so I looked at the sofware thinking that I had missed something, rewriting routines carefully, all to no avail. Finally, I did a search of some online forums, and discovered that I had purchased fake components. The chips worked, but not well enough.
So – to save $31 I ended up costing myself time and frustration. But I learnt one of the most valuable lessons available. Don’t scrimp on quality because it bites you back later.
Now, all of my components come from primary source suppliers. The microprocessors are from Atmel, the RTC chips are from Dallas, the driver chips are from Texas Instruments, the super capacitors come from Cornell Dubilier and even the resistors come from KOA Speer. All sourced through reliable, guaranteed supply channels. In exchange for that, I have beautiful reliability figures and happy customers.
Happy customers who keep coming back to buy unique hand made birthday and Christmas presents.