When it rains, it pours

Ok, lots of things going on here, it’s been a very hectic month.

1:   Busy filling orders from the ‘Black Friday’ sale.   Every time I think I’m catching up I get another pile of fresh orders. I can’t seem to get under 5-6 pending orders that I have to build product for. Moving as fast as I can.

2: The new bench displays will be delayed a week in shipping. I found out that I accidentally started building with an 8mhz crystal instead of the correct 16mhz crystal. This causes it to run at half speed and may be related to some goofy problems that customers are reporting with the pre-production units. The correct part is on order, will be here in a few days, and then I’ll get shipping.

3: I’m almost out of stock on solenoid testers, special solenoid testers, and switch matrix testers. These are all due for a redesign. The switch tester I did have a small run of surface mounts style ones that I already did, and a fresh run of 100pcs is on order with revised dimensions. The solenoid and special solenoid testers are moving to surface mount parts now too, which necessitates them NOT using the same basic PCB any longer. The solenoid testers were ordered at the same time as the switch matrix boards. The special solenoid boards I’ll order next week, so there may an availability gap as I’m down to the very last one right now. It just worked out good for me timing wise due to the new pick and place being ordered. Great opportunity to move more stuff to the surface mount line due to timing, worst case I can go with tweezers for a bit too until I get the machine up to speed. You’ll like the new designs I hope. More info when they start rolling in.

4: The new pick and place machine will be here Tuesday, but I’m also waiting on a new PC to run it with, which should ship on Monday or Tuesday and be here late next week. Exciting stuff there. Heck it’s even almost paid off already too, bonus!

5: Ooops, I broke the shopping car for international customers. For the time being, if you live outside the USA, you may get some errors during checkout. If that happens just e-mail me and I can do a paypal invoice to work around the problem until its fixed.

Some Basic Housekeeping on the site

Well, I finally figured out WHERE and WHY I’ve always had problems with shipping to Australia via my shopping cart.  The default section for entering Australian addresses is completely screwed up.   None of the localization data is complete,  none of the States or Territories were input at all,  and all sorts of issues.  So I’ve been working this morning to get this all fixed,  as I ship to Australia a surprising amount of the time. So, my Australian friends,  I hope the process has become easier for you now.  If any problems persist please let me know.

Also had an issue today with shipping to New Zealand,  which of course completely unrelated both politically and also in my website.  This was an odd error a customer received about a package being too heavy to ship.  This one has/had me confused but I believe it to be fixed now.

Another thing becoming apparent to me right now is how out of date a lot of product info is on the site.  That will be a bigger project but when (if) I have time, I’ll have to go through every product page to update descriptions and photos.   That will take a bit longer.

HUGE day for the business, in a good way.

Ok, one big piece of news, and one massively huge piece of news.

First big news piece,  the regular production of the new bench displays has begun.  No more prototypes, early production, or any of that.  We’re talking full-blown ready to go units in production numbers.    They’ll go live again on the site shortly.

Second news, and this is huge.   We’re talking massive shift for the company here,  biggest news I’ve ever had.   I just ordered a brand new pick and place machine.   This has been the gate preventing me from doing more complex boards,  and I’ve been working up to this moment for a couple years now with the gradual shift to surface mount testers.

This machine is going to let me make MUCH more complicated boards, with more speed and precision, than I could ever reliably build by hand.  This un-corks a lot of the dream designs that I’ve wanted to look into but couldn’t due to the cost and labor intensive build methods available to me.   An example is the gameplan LDU-1/2 replacement.    I couldn’t do that before, in a production manner, but now I’ll be able to.

2018 is going to be a good year.