#qi-hardware IRC log for Tuesday, 2012-07-31

wpwrakwolfspra1l: btw, how do you go about properly pricing components, for volume production ? do you ask adam to get quotes ? do you ask around yourself ?05:27
wolfspra1lnot sure what you mean05:28
wolfspra1lmostly I focus on how I can actually get the components, not the price05:28
wolfspra1lat low volumes (that can go into the thousands), any sort of overhead associated with sourcing is typically more expensive than a component price difference05:29
wolfspra1lother than that I think you know the whole sourcing situation quite well05:29
wolfspra1lofficial distributors in us, taiwan05:29
wolfspra1land then the special case china where 47% of all global semiconductors are being sold nowadays05:30
wolfspra1lso maybe it's not the special case after all, we can assume it to go >50% this year? :-)05:30
wolfspra1lin china competition is so crazy intense that I can get the 'volume' price down to volume of 1, more or less05:31
wpwraki'm more thinking of millions. find out what chips really cost in the end. digi-key sometimes only go to tiny quantities, like 100 units. most distributors stop at a few 1000 - a bunch of reels, not more.05:31
wolfspra1lwell, that's a different matter05:31
wpwrakthat's why i ask ;-)05:31
wolfspra1lin those quantities depending what it is you need to hookup with the manufacturer anyway05:31
wolfspra1lfor forecasting etc.05:31
wolfspra1lotherwise you can order 5 million but you won't get it, plain and simple05:32
wpwraksure :)05:32
wolfspra1lfor large quantities, really large - contact manufacturer directly05:32
wpwrakbut do you have a means to obtain a rough estimate of the price without actually committing to anything ?05:32
wpwrakcould be digi-key price * factor05:32
wolfspra1lif they don't know you they will probably not waste 1 minute talking with you05:32
wolfspra1lno, difficult05:33
wolfspra1lyou can calculate from raw material costs upwards05:33
wolfspra1ldigikey is a totally different world then05:33
wolfspra1lif I want to order 10 million lcd controllers from ilitek, for example - they assume I know all raw materials and manufacturing costs anyway05:34
wolfspra1lthere is not 1 buyer who would not know05:34
wolfspra1lwith a little research you can find solid pricing on wafer starts etc from tsmc, umc, etc.05:35
wolfspra1lif you are really buying in those quantities you know all these numbers05:35
wolfspra1land that's the bottom of your negotiation :-)05:35
wolfspra1lthen there are lots of chips also with special manufacturing, special materials, special whatever05:35
wpwrakwell, the materials per se are a given. it's most likely tssop-20. the rest depends on how much value the respective company puts on what they do with the silicon.05:36
wolfspra1lbut again, if you are a serious potential buyer for such chips in millions of units, you will also know exactly05:36
wolfspra1lin large quantities, you can definitely think raw materials/processing up05:36
wolfspra1llarge = millions at least05:36
wolfspra1lthere's a lot of competition05:36
wolfspra1lso why would they not take your money, even if their profit is just 10k usd...05:37
wolfspra1lthe only exception are chips with really unique and valuable ip05:37
wpwrakso, attiny167 or attiny87. first, it would be interesting to know if there's a significant difference between the two.05:37
wolfspra1lthey are priced by whoever holds the ip :-)05:37
wolfspra1lyou would need to talk to atmel sales05:37
wpwrak(difference ... in terms of price)05:37
wolfspra1lhow about die space etc?05:38
wolfspra1lthe problem is most likely those sales guys will not talk to you, or me05:38
wolfspra1lbecause they know as much as we 'inquire', most likely we will not buy05:38
wpwraksame package. the rest would have the be found out by x-ray if we're expected to bring that information to the table05:38
wpwrakwell, or solvents :)05:38
wolfspra1lI cannot talk to atmel sales anyway05:39
wpwrakwhy ?05:39
wolfspra1lthey won't answer05:39
wpwrakyou tried ?05:39
wolfspra1lbut it's always the same, and makes lots of sense05:39
wpwrakor did you make enemies already ?05:39
wolfspra1la buyer for large quantities doesn't just appear on the street05:39
wolfspra1lno enemies in business05:39
wolfspra1lif someone can make money from me, they will overcome any difficulty, right? :-)05:40
wolfspra1lyou can try05:40
wolfspra1lbut like I said, all semiconductor sales I know work with short lists05:40
wolfspra1lshort lists of known customers05:40
wpwrakthere are a lot of people who can pay a few USD 100k (for, say, 1 M chips). they can't possibly expect to know them all.05:40
wolfspra1lfor the type of question you have, I'm afraid only the semiconductor sales people themselves can help05:41
wolfspra1lthe distributors won't05:41
wpwrakatmel isn't that niche. i could imagine a very restrictive policy for things like telephiny chips, but an avr ?05:42
wolfspra1lthey have a set discount table, and if someone can really outgrow that they will outgrow the distributor anyway05:42
wolfspra1lI have not seen 'restrictive policies'05:42
wolfspra1lit's just about money05:42
wolfspra1lhow many sales staff do they have, and how much revenue does each have to generate each day?05:42
wpwrakrestrictive policy = they won't talk to you05:42
wolfspra1land how many chips have to be sold to make that happen05:42
wolfspra1letc. etc.05:42
wolfspra1lno of course not05:43
wpwrakof course, at 1 M you may still be too small for the manufacturer05:43
wolfspra1lthey just want to find the money, the real money05:43
wolfspra1land as we know well, there must be about 1 million times or more talk in the world than money, right? :-)05:43
wolfspra1lthe nature of money maybe05:43
wolfspra1lyes, maybe05:43
wolfspra1lit's all just pennies05:43
wolfspra1lbut does it matter to you?05:44
wolfspra1lyou can work with raw materials costs anyway05:44
wolfspra1lor do you depend on some specific atmel ip?05:44
wolfspra1leverything can be changed...05:44
wolfspra1lso it's just "how much money does it cost you to switch to ip from vendor x?" vs "how much above cost of raw materials is atmel?"05:44
wolfspra1lit can't be that much05:45
wpwraki need to know which MCU i can use. changing MCUs is a bit effort in this case.05:45
wolfspra1lthere are few semiconductors with enough strength to really stay away from this raw material comparison05:45
wolfspra1lor maybe only for a short period of time, like a few months05:45
wolfspra1lyeah a 'bit' effort, fine05:45
wpwrakit's not the MCU's IP by itself, but what's built on top. and that's very architecture-specific05:45
wolfspra1lbut you talk about money05:45
wolfspra1leffort so what05:45
wolfspra1lyour effort05:45
wpwraktime is money05:45
wolfspra1lif you save/make money, it may still be worth it05:46
wolfspra1lyes, but it sets a limit as to how much above raw materials atmel can be05:46
wolfspra1land can be sustainable05:46
wolfspra1lthe digikey prices are on a totally different level05:46
wpwrakso you're saying Atmel don't put an unusual margin on top of raw materials, for their AVRs ?05:46
wolfspra1lin large quantities, if there is a dollar difference, that's a lot of engineering potential to change chips :-)05:46
wolfspra1lI doubt they can05:47
wolfspra1lyou tell me05:47
wolfspra1lswitching costs how much?05:47
wpwraki.e., going to TI, microchip, or NXP would yield roughly the same result ?05:47
wolfspra1l100k usd?05:47
wolfspra1lso that's very little05:47
wolfspra1lit depends on the chip and what's special about it and what of that you really need05:47
wpwrakswitching costs = 2-4 months05:47
wolfspra1lyeah, so all zero in relation to anything 'large volume'05:47
wpwrakwell, de facto betting on the wrong chip would mean the project will not materialize05:48
wolfspra1lbut again, there is nothing special in those chips from your perspective05:48
wolfspra1lI wouldn't know why you couldn't get them < 1 usd05:49
wolfspra1lwhat's your price now?05:49
wolfspra1leven less, why not. but the issue at some point becomes whether it's worth for anyone to talk about another 10 cents less05:49
wolfspra1lilitek sales told me they are now negotiating over 0.5 cents :-)05:50
wolfspra1lbut think about it, even for a volume of 10 million, that's just what...05:50
wpwrakabout 1 USD. but digi-key only go up to 100 units.05:50
wpwrakthey don't even have T&R05:50
wolfspra1l50k usd, right?05:50
wolfspra1lcan you imagine at a volume of 10 million (!) how many things can go wrong that will immediately cost more than 50k usd?05:51
wolfspra1lso someone having the patience/guts to sit down and squeeze those 50k usd out, that is quite extreme05:51
wpwrakit's all noise + offset :)05:51
wolfspra1lmaybe changing one word in the headline of an advertisement will make a bigger difference05:51
wolfspra1lbut anyway they will still sit down and try to squeeze those 50k usd out as well05:52
wolfspra1lif it's 1 usd at digikey, then I am sure in really large volume it can easily be 50 cents or less, 30, 2005:52
wolfspra1lpackaging becomes a big issue then05:52
wolfspra1land someone needs to think that taking the time to sit down with you and talk about another 5 cents reduction is worth it for anyone (!), including you05:53
wpwrakheh, good point :)05:56
wpwraki also need some LEDs. they're trickier, because there may be .cn equivalents that are cheaper than the ones digi-key have.05:57
wpwrakand a USB connector. same thing.05:57
wolfspra1lnot sure, wait05:57
wolfspra1lusb connector - don't buy one from a mainland chinese company05:57
wolfspra1lthe only advantage they have is that it's really really lousy quality05:57
wolfspra1lso pretty much any serious brand company will buy one from a taiwanese or japanese manufacturer05:58
wpwrakit doesn't have to have to be premium quality05:58
wolfspra1lwhich may very well have factories in china, of course05:58
wolfspra1land they may sell them primarily in china05:58
wolfspra1lbut just trying to steer you away from mainland brands in this case05:59
wolfspra1ltheir niche is the rusty niche ;-)05:59
wolfspra1lfor those connectors...05:59
wpwrakyeah, you mentioned connector issues before :)05:59
wolfspra1lbut of course, for those you can get pricing only in china05:59
wpwrakoh, if the thing corrodes after a year in the field, that's perfectly fine05:59
wolfspra1lwhat if it corrodes after 2 weeks? :-)05:59
wolfspra1lstay with taiwan/japan brand on those06:00
wpwrakthat would be bad. should last at least 3 months06:00
wpwrak(of light use)06:00
wolfspra1ljapan are the best but also a little more expensive, so then taiwanese06:00
wolfspra1lleds don't know06:00
wpwrakalright, leds and connector aren't so critical at the moment, because they're trivial to swap06:01
wolfspra1lsure so it's again raw materials price06:01
wolfspra1land processing/manufacturing overhead06:01
wpwrakmcu is a different kind of beast06:02
wolfspra1lthat's why the mainland companies cannot take market share from taiwan/japan brands on the connectors06:02
wolfspra1lthey could never recoup their investments06:02
wolfspra1lso they focus on the rusty niche instead :-)06:02
wolfspra1lhire a few guys from the street, and start producing something...06:02
wpwrakthe leds have one special requirement: they should be in the "knee" for brightness vs. price. the brighter the better - as long as the price doesn't explode06:02
wolfspra1lleds don't know, this is an area of extreme investment and competition right now06:02
wpwrakyeah :)06:03
wpwrakat least the color is simple: red :) and they're in a standard package, 0603. no fancy lenses or anything.06:03
wpwrakactually, even the color doesn't matter that much, as long as the forward voltage is around 2 V and they're bright. but red seems to be the most likely candidate. nothing else is as good as red.06:08
wpwrakone issue with the mcu is that it'll run outside specs. the oscillator is supposed to deliver 8 MHz but can be calibrated up to something like 13 MHz. i need 12 MHz. but it seems one can get away with that fairly reliably.06:12
wpwrakand that ability exists in a whole range of similar chips (by atmel), so it's unlikely to change over night06:13
wpwrakparticularly not in such an ultra-conservative product line06:14
qi-bot[commit] Werner Almesberger: bacon/prog/Makefile: remove references to C2, inherited from f32xbase (master) http://qi-hw.com/p/wernermisc/7fe9ae113:04
gargonhello. sorry for this newbie question: how can I set syntax highlighting in vim for eg. python language? For the :syntax on command, I get "cant open file /usr/share/vim/vim73/syntax/syntax.vim"18:22
pangdid you ask google?18:26
viricin the nanonote you mean?18:26
viricgargon: it should tell why it can't open it.18:27
gargonit simply does not exist18:28
viricyou should ask people of the distribution you use.18:29
viricor whoever was in charge in your system of having put those files there.18:29
gargonviric: it is the "official" distribution18:33
viricah, so in the nanonote?18:33
gargonviric: yes, on the nanonote, I forgot to say it 18:51
viricgargon: maybe #openwrt people can help better, I don't know. I don't use openwrt in the nanonote.20:37
gargonviric: just for curiosity: what are you using on it?20:38
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