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# 236330 29-May-2018 08:21
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I have been designing PCBs for some time, and I am increasingly encountering Integrated Circuits that appear to have not only been made, but designed in china as well. Often times, these ICs work fine and come at an extremely cheap price. Unfortunately, I can not find them listed on any of the standard supply sites: Digikey, Mouser, Element14 ect.

 

Example part numbers:

 

DP817C

 

FE1.1S

 

How are these parts traded in China? Is there basically a China Digikey I am unaware of?

 

I understand you can find individual chips on Aliexpress, but i would assume circuit designers in China who use these chips would need a site like Digikey that provides the data sheet, and allows you to filter parts by property.

 

Any thoughts on this mystery?


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  # 2024469 29-May-2018 09:54

Guess that you have already looked on the sister website to Aliexpress- Alibaba.com which deals with bulk orders.







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  # 2025043 29-May-2018 18:17
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Thank you for your suggestion. Yes, I have looked on Alibaba.

 

I am mostly curious about how businesses that design electronics in China go about finding and sourcing the chips that they need. Do they really look for individual parts on Alibaba when designing?

 

Anyone with experience designing electronics in China care to contribute your knowledge?


 
 
 
 


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  # 2025073 29-May-2018 19:28
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Taobao is the main market in China for things. Anything. It's like both AliExpress and Alibaba combined for their domestic market.




Richard rich.ms

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  # 2025109 29-May-2018 20:13
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IOTEE:

 

Anyone with experience designing electronics in China care to contribute your knowledge?

 

 

 

 

What sort of quantity do you want for production?

 

John





I know enough to be dangerous




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  # 2025213 29-May-2018 22:49
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John - I am not looking to purchase anything presently. I am just curious how things are designed in China.

 

Uber Geek - So designers in China pick out individual chips by part number on Taobao? Wow, that would take quite a bit of time. There is no equivalent to Digikey for Chinese chips?


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  # 2025270 30-May-2018 08:00
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Simply put: you have a design idea, you find components to do the job, in some cases you use a field application engineer ( FAE ) to get access to product that you dont know about.

 

Without knowing the end game it is very hard to know to get you there.

 

Quite often some of these parts are custom made in limited production runs for mass produced product, this slows down people copying consumer product. 

 

Not every part is available to the public, you often have to prove you can support the MOQ / MOV requirements along with a bunch of other requirements to the manufacture before they will even release the data sheet let alone any samples or mass production quantity.

 

John





I know enough to be dangerous


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  # 2025431 30-May-2018 10:33
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I suggest you check out http://dangerousprototypes.com/blog/ and the dangerousprototypes forum, and the associated dirtypcbs.com and other dirty services sites. There you will find out all the trials and tribulations of building stuff in China, including sourcing parts. Have fun. It's a bit of a rabbit hole.

 
 
 
 


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  # 2025593 30-May-2018 12:28
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Talk or email someone like elecrow.com or pcbway.com.

 

These people do fabrication and assembly.

 

 





Gordy


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  # 2025600 30-May-2018 12:36
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The parts you list are fairly readily available from around the world.

 

If you are doing serious design and product development I would want a cast-iron assurance on the quality of the no brand parts from China.

 

 





Gordy


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  # 2025819 30-May-2018 18:07

And a cast iron assurance of the long term availability of the parts you are using.

A complete board redesign half way through a production run is going to eat up any savings on parts.







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  # 2025839 30-May-2018 18:41
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Many of the comments have focused on the engineering risk around using Chinese parts (minimum order quantity, guarantee of quality, guarantee of supply).

 

Does anyone know how designers/manufacturers in China organize and maintain their supply chains? Do they really have people constantly searching Taobao for the parts they need in order to guarantee continued product? - that seems inefficient. Are Chinese firms doing single massive runs of boards and then shutting down production? If so, how do they secure the capital for such an enterprise when their margins must be low (for example: hobbyist relay board sells for $2USD, with parts that if I sourced them off Digikey would easily cost $10USD).

 

Speaking of margins, does anyone know what margins Chinese manufactures are getting on the sale of hobbyist type low cost electronics? Here in NZ, we generally demand 2.5X the cost of the bill of materials in order to consider it a worthwhile business enterprise. Can Chinese costs really be that low? Or are they taking a much smaller margin?

 

Thanks for all the comments!


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  # 2025861 30-May-2018 19:30
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taobao is just how they get in touch with places. I know that they also have other sourcing methods over there including just asking people at the markets if they have any of something.

 

Remember they have giant malls full of kiosks that are basically displays and sales reps for all the different manufacturers, the people at the kiosk might not be able to work out finer details of a sale but they can get people in touch with those that can, then they just get on wechat to each other, the reps know people from other companies that might have things they can get and put a small margin on etc.

 

Its amazing how well in touch they are over there.





Richard rich.ms

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  # 2026432 31-May-2018 18:28
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China just works different to the west.

 

There is a lot more direct face to face negotiation, you only have to look at the electronics markets to see that, a massive multi story building full of little highly specialised component sellers ("this shop sells switches, specifically toggle switches, specifically panel mount toggle switches" sort of thing), those kiosks are not just (or even mainly) there to sell you components over the counter, but to act as the showroom, databook, website and advisory all in one.  Would never work in the western world, but in China that's how it's done.

 

Assuming you can't get your feet on the ground in Shenzhen, then taobao.com (B2C, like Aliexpress) and 1688.com (B2B, like Alibaba) are probably the best bet.  It can be useful to search for the simplified chinese of what you are looking for (once you've found one, you can use the translation of it's title to figure out what keywords might be useful) and sort by # of sales to figure out what's popular, then once you've found a store with something interesting, look at all their products sorted by sales.





---
James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...




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  # 2026561 31-May-2018 21:54
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James - thank for the answer, I think I understand now.


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  # 2029285 4-Jun-2018 15:02
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sleemanj:

 

China just works different to the west.

 

There is a lot more direct face to face negotiation, you only have to look at the electronics markets to see that, a massive multi story building full of little highly specialised component sellers ("this shop sells switches, specifically toggle switches, specifically panel mount toggle switches" sort of thing), those kiosks are not just (or even mainly) there to sell you components over the counter, but to act as the showroom, databook, website and advisory all in one.  Would never work in the western world, but in China that's how it's done.

 

Assuming you can't get your feet on the ground in Shenzhen, then taobao.com (B2C, like Aliexpress) and 1688.com (B2B, like Alibaba) are probably the best bet.  It can be useful to search for the simplified chinese of what you are looking for (once you've found one, you can use the translation of it's title to figure out what keywords might be useful) and sort by # of sales to figure out what's popular, then once you've found a store with something interesting, look at all their products sorted by sales.

 



I too find "sorting by sales numbers" to be extremely useful when hunting down items to purchase from China. 
Basically taping into "the wisdom of the crowds" by seeing what has been popular with others.

Of course isn't so helpful if I'm trying to search for something very obscure indeed that not too many other people may have purchased. 





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