[sdiy] Buying Parts from Questionable Sites

brianw brianw at audiobanshee.com
Mon Jun 13 06:31:14 CEST 2022

Yes, there are distributors who want to set up accounts, get tax records (if you're tax-exempt), and take quantity orders. I've done it in the past, but it seemed like the only advantage was being able to buy without paying sales taxes in order to build a product for sale (where the consumer would pay the taxes).

It's probably not worth filling out the paperwork if you have other options, but there's also really no downside unless you're worried about privacy.

All of my account like this have expired decades ago, but it wasn't really that difficult to set things up, and you can often get wholesale prices.

Another option is to buy directly from the manufacturer, or even just get samples. Once upon a time, I designed DMX512 interface with a unique chip from Maxim. Nobody carried it (Mouser does now, but I was ahead of the curve). Even Octopart couldn't find anyone with the chip. I ended up getting a dozen from Maxim, and in this case they were all free. I filled out the forms and answered all the questions honestly, so I don't feel bad. They were used for prototypes, so I never charged a customer for free parts. Usually, samples have some cost, so don't expect them to be free.

I think it all comes down to risk and time. If you buy from an unknown, there's the risk that it's not genuine. Then, if you get bad parts, there's the time it takes to test, detect, and then replace the bad parts with good ones. If nobody but you is waiting for the final product, then you can afford to take a lot of risk and wait a long time to finally get it right.

Brian Willoughby

On Jun 12, 2022, at 8:19 PM, Benjamin Tremblay wrote:
> ???
> Octopart takes me to websites that want me to make an inquiry and get “a quote”, and set up “terms”. 
> I know it’s better to buy wholesale, but I’m not buying 10000 of anything.
> I picture these companies being a dusty front office of a rundown warehouse near a dock somewhere.
> Someone waits for a fax machine while heating spam on a hotplate and making Lipton tea.

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