Canada is NOT for electronics hobbyists

Thread Starter

CVMichael

Joined Aug 3, 2007
419
I am trying to find materials/parts and electrical parts for months for my Robot, and it's been unbelievably difficult.

There are stores where you can buy parts, but the selections are unbelievably limitted, and unbelievably expensive !!

For example: PIC16F877, I bought it for $20 + tax = $23 (CAN)
I just bought this same microcontroller from MicrochipDirect.com for $5.44 (US)
A PIC16F84 is $14 (CAN), on MicrochipDirect.com is $3.92 (US)
A 10K variable resistor is between $12 to $20 here !!! a perforated board is between $5 to $15 depending on size...

And besides that everyhing is very expensive, if you want more than the basic stuff, it is almost impossible to find... For example, microchips, here, I only found PIC16F84 and PIC16F877 that's it !!! and even those are in limmited supply, I went to 4 stores (wasting half a day becuase they are far from each other) and all said they have these chips, but none of them had them in stock !! and on their websites they don't display what they have in stock (and if they do, it's not accurate), you have to call them, and then you have to ask for EXACT part, you can't say "Do you have ANY PIC16 in stock ?", because I get the reply "which one exactly", so I have to say "Let's start with first PIC16F84" and then I have to wait 5 min until they look it up, and they return to say "no we don't have it", then next chip, another 5 min, and so on....

I hate this !!! :mad: :cry:

PS. I just bought like 20 microcontrollers from MicrochipDirect.com, I can't wait to receive them :)
 

Thread Starter

CVMichael

Joined Aug 3, 2007
419
I wish I could, but to drive it will take about 2 hours just to get to the US border, then more until I get to a city/place where I can buy the stuff....

So, it takes too long just to drive to US to buy some cips... and besides... I don't drive yet :p, I don't know why I was always scared of driving, and I never really needed to drive... yet.... (but that's another story)

I don't mind ordering off the internet, as long as the delivery charnge is a small part of what I need to buy. For example, if I need to buy something that is $5, and I pay $15 for delivery... I don't think so... So when I do buy something off the internet, I have to get in large quantities to become profitable...

Now I bought 20 Microcontrollers, with $13 delivery by FedEx, with a grand total of $87.77 (US), If I were to buy the same chips from here, I would probably pay between $300 to $400 (CAN)
 

recca02

Joined Apr 2, 2007
1,214
If you are building circuits as a part of school/college projects, many companies (viz;Texas Instruments) provide it free for students.
 

Thread Starter

CVMichael

Joined Aug 3, 2007
419
No, i'm doing this as a hobby...

Also, some companies give samples for free to other companies... but not individuals, so I'm out of luck for that too...

I started to learn electronics as a hobby since I was 11 years old, for ~5 years, then I came to Canada, and stopped for like 10 years, while I did programming. Now I work as a programmer for a database marketing company.

Last year I felt the need to remind myself how it is to do electonics, and I realized that I have the skills to make a robot. I know programming, I know basic mechanics, and I know basic electronics (from memories I have to bring back), therefore I thought that I can make a robot. So I thought how I would like it to be, made a small sketch, and started...

What I did not realize is how much money this thing takes, and how much time I had to spend just to find the parts.

The robot does not even have a shape right now, I am at about 5% of what I think/hope the final thing will be.

And by the way... I did not set myself a simple task, this robot will be VERY complex compared to the "follow a line" type of robot...

To give you a preview of how it will be:
It will look kinda like a rover, but with a quad core computer inside it, with lots of sensors and voice recognition & speech, and 3D mapping of the environment (using laser, I hope, not the crappy sonar), with GPS, and it will be completely autonomous.

Simple right ?

Good luck on me :D :D

Actually, I don't care when I will finish, and I dont care if I will finish at all... I just want to do this for learning purposes & the experience, and for FUN !!
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,155
You haven't asked the question, but there are sources that are incredibly cheap, such as Dan's Small Parts. I suspect this guy does it just for folks like you, his stuff is pretty old though, so I have had some solderability issues, but 2N2222's for 25 cents each, 4 cents each for plastic cases in packs of 100.

Just checking the prices Dan's is down for a while. He has posted that he's broke both shoulders and 6 ribs (OUCH!) and is unable to fill orders, but will resume when he can.

My point is there are other sources. The flip side is your going to need a way of converting to American currency to take advantage of them.
 

Thread Starter

CVMichael

Joined Aug 3, 2007
419
Thanks for your info

The only things that matter are:
Do they have a website with a list with all the items they have, and where I can choose what to buy ?
Do they deliver to Canada ?
Can I pay with Visa ?

When I pay with Visa, the currency gets converted automatically, Visa takes care of that so i don't have to worry.

The exchange rate is about the same as Canadian right now, so i don't worry about that either...

Is the website for "Dan's Small Parts" that you were talking about ?
http://www.danssmallpartsandkits.net/
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,155
Does he have a 2 broken shoulders?

Yeah, he's an odd duck. Has an internet website, but only take orders through the mail and with money orders or checks, the way orders were done when I was a kid.

His prices and products are worth the effort though, especially for those with a tight budget.
 

bloguetronica

Joined Apr 27, 2007
1,372
Dan's website has very interesting and really cheap components. Unfortunately I live in Portugal and can't order. If I were you I would catch this opportunity. It is even cheaper than most components sold in Portugal.

But well, Canada and Portugal have a free health care system, and being healthy is the most important thing. You will always have the opportunity to get cheap parts for your project.

...
Yeah, he's an odd duck. Has an internet website, but only take orders through the mail and with money orders or checks, the way orders were done when I was a kid.
...
He seems to be an old fashioned guy. By posting that message in the front page of the website he risks loosing his Google rank. It is the kind of thing that a webmaster shouldn't do.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,155
Yeah, I know, but it is the honest thing to do. Too little of that by far nowdays.

I like the guy, and have never met him. Got lots of his parts though.
 

bloguetronica

Joined Apr 27, 2007
1,372
At least he didn't shut down the site for good, like many people I saw.

I wonder if he accepts orders from Portugal. That drill bit set is a real bargain.
 
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