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During the recent month I ran out of kits (which is not really bad but actually sad for me), and over a long time I hesitated whether I should continue with them and prepare new ones or whether I should stop with that part of my hobby (and even part of my life).
The primary background for a decision not to continue is that without any plausible reason my sales became quite little during the months before so that it would make significantly less sense to continue to sell the kits. You might understand that I need to buy a minimum amount of components otherwise the kit would become so expensive that everybody would blame me that he could buy the components cheaper than I sell the kits. But it does cost work and money (not for the components only) to buy and sell them. Also, I wouldn't be happy about components lying here for 5 years or so waiting to be sold. I am not a big company - I'm not a company at all.
Moreover, e.g. TOTX177PL are currently not available. I heard they used to be produced in Thailand - I guess you know, what happened there. The information is contradictory but it also seems that they are obsolete and I do not know any reasonable alternative. Probably these parts wouldn't be the only hard to get ones and that is no motivation either.
Why even though?
On the other hand I (or, to be more precise, me and my wife Birgit) enjoyed compiling and selling the kits, having contact to other DIYs and - well, admittedly - having even some profit from it. Though with respect to the hourly wages cleaning other peoples' homes might be more efficient... Well, to a great extent this is still a hobby. Moreover, I was (too) often asked when the next kits will be available. DIYs (particularly regular customers, who I am very happy about, too) made it clear to me how much they would regret should the kits be ceased.
The new attempt
Because the biggest foreseeable problem was the TOTX177PL I searched the Internet. It looked I could get them from China from different suppliers in reasonable amounts for reasonable prices. I decided to try that and asked for offers and pricing (not only for TOTX177PL). The contact(s) I had were nice and the offers were indeed reasonable (though shipment, customs and banking fees do spoil the prices significantly).
I decided to buy at Winsome Holding (HK) Group Company limited and I think it might be interesting for you to be kept up to date about the proceedings with this deal and, in case it will be successful, the following adventures of component purchases.
When will new kits be available?
First I will await whether everything with the components from Winsome will go smoothly. BTW, wouldn't I expect that, I hadn't transferred money to China. I estimate 4 to 6 weeks until the delivery arrives. Afterwards I will start my efforts to get the rest. This will take another couple of weeks.
Thus I expect new kits to be available approximately in May this year (2012). The kits available will be AD24QS, DA24QS and DA24DS, all with the usual options.
Update: Obviously never :-( (Edit: This is not the current situation, see below)
So here starts my little blog:
I paid for the components and wait until
they arrive safe and well...
This was a week ago and up to now and I did not get the shipment information I waited for. Even though I don't want to be unnecessarily impatient I asked for the current status. The answer was:
"The goods are still arranging now, these items are lack, so we need some time to arrange them. And I'm sure I will ship out this parcel during 2 days, and then I will send tracking number to you next week. Hope you are not urgent for them."
Ok, that more or less meets my expectations
about the component's availability. And no, I'm not urgent. I
would not mind such a delay as long as I get my parts at all.
Bad news but possibly one more chance: They could not get the TORX147PL any more. Without the TORX147PL the whole project makes little sense and I would cancel it.
I had a phone call with Toshiba and I was told that Toshiba lost the whole Toslink optical audio components production line in Thailand due to the flood there and that they will not rebuild it there or anywhere else so that Toslink optical audio components will never be available from Toshiba again.
The second chance is: I was also informed about two companies manufacturing similar or compatible devices. From Everlight the drop-in replacement for TOTX177PL would be PLT133/T8 and for TORX147PL it would be PLR135/T8. It seems that from Cosmo compatible components are also available, but due to errors on their website I can't find them.
Anyway, neither Everlight nor Cosmo is
reasonably available here, so I hope for the help from China...
Bad news and no more chance: They could not get the PLT133/T8 or PLR135/T8. This is where I have to give up. I contacted a distributor but they confirmed their minimum order quantities greater than 1000 and under these circumstances their huge delivery times don't matter anyhow
I asked to transfer back the prepayment completely. I hope that at least this will work.
Because I do not expect a good fairy
to turn up this is obviously
the end of my ADC and DAC kits.
I got my prepayment completely back. With PayPal this is simple and quick.
I did not loose any money, I only lost time but I gained valuable experience and a trustworthy and helpful contact to China. I'm looking forward to a next opportunity for a deal.
Many thanks to Betty Chen from Winsome
Holding (HK) Group Company limited for trying her best, always
being available and holding close contact. I guess, we'll have
better luck next time.
New ideas and proposals are coming up where
to get these components from but this is all very vague. So every
now and then you possibly should have a look here how things
are developing and whether there are any (possibly good?) news.
Hope springs eternal...
Yes, I finally found
my Toslink compatible components. I ordered them (I had to order
up to 10 times as much as I need) and I got a confirmation for
delivery for mid of July. Quite a lot of time, but I'm
happy that I can continue. Look at ADDA24QS_Order.html
than expected the optical components arrived already today. Now
I really do believe that I succeeded! Because I expected them
not before mid of next month I also scheduled all other activities
for that date, i.e., the kits will not be available earlier.
The unavoidable disasters: As could be expected, not everything runs as it was intended.
1. Have a look at the photo above. Click on it to view it enlarged. Try to read what is written on it. What do you read? Yes: PLR131/T8 and PLT131/T8 instead of PLR135/T8 and PLT133/T8. I noticed that a few days ago by pure coincidence. The manufacturer's sticker on the box indicated the correct parts but the content was wrong! Now they are very busy to correct that, but it will take another few weeks. I was told "Golden Week" is currently celebrated in Taiwan...
2. I received the PCBs in time, but the manufacturer made a mistake (they forgot the plated through slits). All PCBs will have to be made once more. (At least I am happy that it was not my fault...)
Up to know I expect the kits during the
first half of August. I'm sorry. On the other hand: Meanwhile
almost other components have arrived, and from the few remaining
ones there are little quantities left so that they won't be a
problem for the first kits either.
Meanwhile it is almost mid of August and I still havn't got the Everlight components yet. The verbal announcement of the begin of August passed by, the written confirmation of end of last week past by, too, and now I was informed that the components will arrive by end of this week. Well, at least I am convinced that I will get them someday, and compared to the original situation where I lost hope to ever get them at all this is still an improvement. BTW, once I got everything it still takes a couple of days until I can ship kits because I need to make one "test-assembly" of each kit.
But isn't this frustrating: Before I
began with another round of kits I first wanted to make sure
that I really could get the optical components (Toslink or fully
compatible parts). Learning that it seemed to be impossible and
not relying on promises I only started to procure all other
material until I really hold these optical components in my hand.
Meanwhile I completely have all the other material but now
I need to recognize that I never got the optical components!?!
Is this a joke or what?
Ha ha ha ha! I could die of laughter! The good news is: Not
by the end of this week but yesterday already I got the awaited
parts. The bad news is (believe it or not): I got the same
wrong parts again!!! What kind of funny company is Everlight?
Don't they dare to confess that they are unable to deliver what
they promised? My distributor heavily struggles to put things
right, but my faith in any future answer, any promise, is close
to zero and I am back to the very beginning: I only will believe
that I can get these parts when I hold them in my hands!
No information, no reaction, nothing at
all, just silence in the dark...
Hey, there was a sign of life from Everlight!
I got (once again) an order confirmation, this time announcing
delivery early in October. Well, I got the wrong parts two times
- how big is the likelihood that it will be different the third
time? But let us hope the best. Maybe it will be even earlier
because the previous deliveries have been more or less earlier
than announced, too.
I received an 8D-report report from Everlight. It is not easy to read, but it basically tells that the housings they used were designed for production of the PLR/PLT131 T8 series and when this series was discontinued or replaced by PLR135/PLT133 resp., they continued to use the same housings without changing the marking which is part of the casting mold. This sounds at least plausible. Thus I obviously received technically correct parts with a misguiding marking.
Anyway, there is no indication that these parts were produced after the discontinuation of the 131 series, i.e., there is date code so that they cannot be discriminated from real 131 parts. Also I wouldn't want to sell components where I would have to declare that in contrast to the explicit marking everything is ok. But fortunately I don't need to use these parts:
By the end of this month Everlight will
change its production. The "131" as marking will be
removed so "PLR" and "PLT" will remain as
the only markings. That's ok for my point of view. I'll get the
Once again I got a shipment and once again it was PLR/PLT131. This shipment was earlier than expected and actually too early that it could be correct: Everlight did not change yet its production - this will take place next month only - so where should new components come from? Obviously my distributor routinely placed a new order, but there is no possibility to indicate "from the new production series only", so Everlight shipped from stock - and that's the same stuff again.
When you click on the photo above, you may realize that the "1" after PLR on this device (and all other ones) seems to be squeezed afterwards between PLR and 31, as if the first version of the injection mold was wrong. If so, these parts must be very early ones, produced shortly after the production start of the 131 series and thus much earlier than PLR135 were produced. The previous parts I got do look normal like the PLT131 on this photo does. This does not increase my faith that these components are really 153's inside as Everlight states. Components without a date code, components marked wrong since years, nobody who seems to care about that, shipments in spite of the known mistakes - I never experienced something similar before.
From Everlight I heard that the usual shipment time is 8 weeks, possibly in this case 6 weeks only. Should this turn out to be true, I will get the parts not before end of November. Sigh....
I'll keep you informed when there are
Just to show a sign of life (every now and then I am asked for it): I still expect to get the Everlight parts within a few weeks. Afterwards I have to test-assemble one kit each so that I am sure that everything is correct.
This weekend we started to compile kits. (Actually my wife Birgit does the work and I do not need to force her to do that - isn't that great?) Almost 50 kits will be sufficient for quite a long time but more will follow. More than 6500 components must be counted and sorted into different bags by hand. Because Birgit works very reliably, this will be accomplished without any mistake. (In other words: I get the kudos, she has the responsibility and when something is wrong I can blame her - isn't that great?)
Also I continued to work on the ADC and DAC articles where I describe the new preamplifier AD-IOA for the ADC and the connector board DA-IOP for the DAC. Though the articles are not final yet, e.g., I need to make more photos and more, I publish them by now. I think it wouldn't be wise to wait until they are really completed as this may only when or even be after I am able to provide these options.
I'll keep you informed when there are
There are real news now but I'd rather not tell them. I expected the components these days, so I asked my distributor. They asked Everlight. I'd like to copy the answer here but I'm afraid that by some law I'm not allowed to do that. Basically the answer is: "Nothing has been produced by now but we intend to start production now. We are sorry and we try to deliver as soon as possible and keep you informed about the new shipment date."
What the hack is going on there?
Didn't they intend to start production two month ago already? In fact they did schedule it exactly for the 8th of October! How many month does "start production now" mean???
Is any information about a new shipment date worth more than the last one?
And how many of you reading about my story still do believe that I'm telling the truth at all?
We (my distributor and me) try a) to
get informed when the production has actually started and b)
to avoid another delay of up to 8 weeks of shipment time by finding
a way to send it faster.
Nothing to report, no production or delivery date announced. Once again silence in the dark. Meanwhile I fear that Everlight does not intend to produce the parts at all, but for some reason they prefer not to inform anybody about this intention.
Anyway, I whish everybody a happy New
Year - particularly those who are still waiting with me. My e-mail
waiting list is growing, nobody of you is forgotten.
Today I started a new attempt with components
from Aixin Opto-Electrical Technology, directly from China. They
seem to have fully Toslink-compatible parts, too. I made an inquiry
and hope to get a (positive) answer within a few days. And in
case there is an meaningful answer, you surely can read about
It seems there are good news: Up to now, Aixin did not answer, but Everlight did. And it was not Everlight/China but Everlight's German office. They say the PR135/T8 (with correct housings!) are already in Germany and when they say so, I do believe it. They expect the PLT133/T8 after Chinese New Year holidays (i.e., sometime after the 17th of February. I hope, this will become true, too.
It will take me another couple of days
to make test assemblies of the kits in order to assure that they
are correctly compiled and then, in the near future, the kits
should be available! Of course I will keep you informed here.
Yes - it finally became true. I got my PLT133/T8 and PLR135/T8. I tested them and they are ok. Compared to the previous parts marked as PLT131 and PLR131 they show no electrical difference. That could be expected, but could I be sure? As announced by Everlight they are marked as PLT/T8 and PLR/T8 only, so that I can at least trust that they must have been produced within the recent month and that I got what I ordered: PLT133/T8 and PLR135/T8.
As a test, somebody else will now assemble one of each kit. I don't do it myself - that would not be a realistic test. I think I'll get the assembled kits back within this week so that I can test them and take photos for the articles, particularly for the new preamplifier for the ADC.
Well - then all lights will be set to green, the kits can be ordered from then on and I will inform everybody on the waiting list. I'm afraid that over this long period of time not too much DIYs remained that patient. And I would really understand that.
Slightly more than one year ago I started
my attempts to get these parts and to write about my adventure.
I had never expected that it would last as long as it finally
|Last update: February, 18th, 2013||Questions? Suggestions? Email Me!||Uwe Beis|