After fighting with the shipping calculator we now have new shipping rates for USPS First Class mail. The shipping calculator refuses to offer First Class mail as an option so we added a table based shipping cost calculator that should fix this issue. For people in the UK, the shipping calculator would routinely produce $50 as a shipping charge and this is ridiculous since our most expensive item is only $59-95. We now offer world wide shipping for $6-95.
I hope the new shipping rates make shopping a pleasurable experience.
We are always looking for new products that solve real problems and are easy to use and master. We are almost done transferring the manufacturing of our existing products to the new equipment. This is a big task because all the pick and place programs were re-written on an unfamiliar machine. At the same time we built stock so we can spend time on the machine programming the production of new designs without having to stop midway and build some board because stock is running low.
The first time you build a board on a new machine there is a lot of setting up to do. You have to transfer the CAD data to the machine so you know where to place the parts. Then you have to mount the reel containing a part on the feeder, tell the machine that the feeder exists and where it can find the part. This goes quickly for one or two new parts but it gets tedious to do it for every part used in all the designs. You also have to figure out how the tape goes into the feeder, where the cover tape goes etc. Once you know, the next time is easier and by the filth one, it is easy. Then you end up learning how the matrix trays work and the optical alignment. Everything takes a lot of time the first time round. One of the strange behaviors of this machine is how it picks up parts from the matrix trays. It starts from the last position and ‘advances’ to the first position. My first tray was partially used so I carefully moved the parts to the start of the tray just to discover that the machine starts from the side that I had just emptied out. So I moved all fifty parts back to the other end of the tray. What a waste of time. Now, after having built panels of everything we sell we can move on to new designs.
The first new design is a small switch mode voltage regulator to fit the footprint of a standard TO-220 LM7805 type linear regulator. When the supply voltage is a little high and the load current more than a few milliamps then the linear regulators run very hot with small heatsinks. There are switching regulators of this type on the market but the suffer from two problems: Most need external capacitors and are very expensive, around $10 each. The new design has all the capacitors on board so you can remove and overheating linear regulator and drop this one in its place without having to find a place to hide a few external capacitors. The price is going to be less than $6 in singles.
Watch this space.