Is RadioShack that confused?

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dtief
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by dtief » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:24 pm

This reminded me of the story told to me by an engineer from a large high technology company. - Seems someone in incoming QC inspection was testing all of the fuses. And yes, they all worked... And put the now tested, open fuses into the stock room.

Dean Huster
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Dean Huster » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:45 pm

You do know that there are both positive and negative
versions of this family? The positive and negative
versions have different pinouts
.

Sorry. I couldn't find a little emoticon that had its cheek being pushed out by its tongue.

Dean Huster wrote:
Look up the datasheet on the illustrated regulator

Citation needed
Sorry. I didn't notice that a citation was a required field on the reply form. Since the entire post was tongue-in-cheek, I saw no need to spend an hour finding an on-line datasheet* for a device of which 98% of readers have the pinout memorized.

Dean

*Personally, only about 1 out of 1000 datasheets I need are sourced from the Internet. I find that using one of my scores of paper databooks for the ancient devices I'm always using is much, much faster -- and I have something I can write on without wasting a piece of printer paper and its associated tree.
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

Bigglez
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Bigglez » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:09 pm

Dean Huster wrote:
bigglez wrote:You do know that there are both positive and negative
versions of this family? The positive and negative
versions have different pinouts
.

Sorry. I couldn't find a little emoticon that had its cheek being pushed out by its tongue.
Don't bother. I have emoticons turn off and always
ignore them. Anyone that needs a cartoon to communicate
should probably read more literature or take an English
Language course.

I noticed that you didn't quote the two links I included in the
prose you quoted above? I have done the heavy lifting for
you, and presented the results.
Dean Huster wrote:
bigglez wrote:Citation needed
Sorry. I didn't notice that a citation was a required field on the reply form. Since the entire post was tongue-in-cheek, I saw no need to spend an hour finding an on-line datasheet* for a device of which 98% of readers have the pinout memorized.
In my experience people that take the bloody-minded view
you just expressed (I didn't notice that a citation was a required
field on the reply form.
) have served in the military or another
situation with inflexible rules and regulations. Am I right about
Dean Huster?

I'm still not clear if you know there are more than one pinout for
the three terminal TO-220 package fixed voltage regulators, or not?
Dean Huster wrote:Dean Huster wrote:
Personally, only about 1 out of 1000 datasheets I need are sourced from the Internet. I find that using one of my scores of paper databooks for the ancient devices I'm always using is much, much faster -- and I have something I can write on without wasting a piece of printer paper and its associated tree.
Each to his or her own. If one adopts only a portion of a new
system the overall results may be incomplete or dissatisfying.

I have made a complete transition from paper data books
and paper on vellum drafting that I was instructed to use over
twenty-five years ago. I do much of the actual circuit
design
in SPICE, and a CADCAM tool chain for schematics
and PCB layouts. I use an internet browser to get PDF datasheets
and app notes as needed, which I read on line and seldom if ever
convert to paper docs.

I use the same browser to place orders on line for commodity
components and custom services (PCB fab, metal fab, etc.),
including on-line payment and delivery status tracking.

I'm not suggesting that every old dog try any of this stuff,
I'm just pointing out that an old dog like me can be retrained
to take advantage of the new world, and I'm very satisfied with
the results. I have chosen this path for my hobby instead of
armchair quarterbacking and generally complaining to my peers.

YMMV, and if one finds a better solution please share it here instead
of bitter war stories about one's glory days or bitching about how
the new stuff doesn't work like the old school ways (which it
was never intended to do, anyway).

Learning to use the HTML tags on a forum like this one would be a good start...

Bigglez
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Bigglez » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:28 pm

dtief wrote:This reminded me of the story told to me by an engineer from a large high technology company. - Seems someone in incoming QC inspection was testing all of the fuses. And yes, they all worked... And put the now tested, open fuses into the stock room.
When I first visited Japan I was a little taken by their aggressive
incoming QC. Everything was tested. Vendors that didn't pass the
agreed upon standards were shamed by having their names on the
chalk board and their 'errors' placed in the lobby for visitors to see.

Every week vendors that were on the list were expected to attend
meetings with the buyers to explain their failures. These meetings
were not pleasant.

Over time the vendors unable to stay off that board (and deliver
adequate product) did not receive repeat orders.

While at Sony HQ in Tokyo I was told that finished goods product
that did not pass 100% power up checking was crushed in the dumpster.
There was no end-of-line repair or FA (failure analysis). The cost
of fixing something was greater than the cost of good QC on the
lines. Sony may be arrogant, and their products sell several percent
above their competition, but few if any Sony customers complain.

Whether you find this story silly or not, the US has lost most of
it's high tech domestic manufacturing to countries that engage
in the QC program described. I have since visited Korea and
Taiwan, where the same practice has been adopted. My visits
to China have somewhat different results, but the top tier vendors
are clearly on board.

And yes, fuses are destructively batch tested. The sample is
used to determine the health of the shipment by statistical
analysis. If your fuse testing story is true it speaks volumes about
the staff training and oversight in that particular company.

BTW, here's a spoof about SONY from the Onion. Warning: language.

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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by SETEC_Astronomy » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:36 pm

dtief wrote:This reminded me of the story told to me by an engineer from a large high technology company. - Seems someone in incoming QC inspection was testing all of the fuses. And yes, they all worked... And put the now tested, open fuses into the stock room.
Sorry but I have to ask. Do you know when was this discovered? If you do was it before the fuses were installed in product?

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dtief
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by dtief » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:58 pm

I don't remeber if it was discovered during one of the testing steps of a production run, or an R&D project turned them up.

The error must have been made by a new hire. For the kind of high reliability devices they make, it would have been normal to test SAMPLES for incoming QC....

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Lenp
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Lenp » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Enough blasting Radio Shack!
They are a simple retail store, just like McDonald's
Think not? .. Did you ever get a burger that looked like the pictures on the wall?
So why would you ever think the pictures should match the product.
I had a catalog that said in small print (product shipped may not be represented by photo shown)

About fuses again..
Years ago the company was assembling a product with chassis mounted fuse holders, the type with an outside cap for replacing the fuse. Some bright production guy decided to load the fuses, into the holders before they were installed in the chassis.
Anybody want to guess how many fuses failed from the heat of soldering the #12 wire onto the back lug of the fuse holder.

Len
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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MrAl
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by MrAl » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:47 pm

Hi again,


Len, i'll take a shot...100 percent? he he.

Good points about Radio Shack. Everybody puts them down for this and that reason (and i am not saying
that they are perfect either) but when you need something in a hurry and you have one down the
street it turns out that they might have it, even though their supply is limited.
We got a few things from them a couple weeks back when we needed them and although the prices are
a bit steep at least we were able to get them.

One product where this rule didnt seem to apply though...we needed another RS232 to USB cable due to
a recent new computer purchase that didnt have any RS232 ports...the 'cables' they had at RS to do
this were priced at 35 dollars each! On the web they run from 4 dollars up to maybe 22 dollars. We
got ours for 4 dollars each. For some reason RS wanted to sell one that was gold plated.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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MrAl
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by MrAl » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:24 am

Hello again,


Made a visit to RS today, picked up a couple of those small 'experimenters' circuit boards.
Too bad they went up to $1.99 each when they used to be $0.99 each (USD).
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

Robert Reed
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Robert Reed » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:00 am

I agree that we have been a little overzealous in "blasting" RS, but its been fun and there is a lot of truth in what we say. But the complaints are not just limited to RS. When I go into Home Depot, Lowes or a number of other big box stores, I get the same treatment from their clerks. When asked a question about a product, they grab the item from your hand and start reading the labels ( which of course I have already done). But worse yet is that when they can't understand what they are reading they interject there own thoughts (which invariably are wrong) as though it was fact.
I guess it is just a way of life now so its always buyer beware and figure it out for yourself.

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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Bigglez » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:59 am

Robert Reed wrote: But the complaints are not just limited to RS. When I go into Home Depot, Lowes or a number of other big box stores, I get the same treatment from their clerks. When asked a question about a product, they grab the item from your hand and start reading the labels ( which of course I have already done). But worse yet is that when they can't understand what they are reading they interject there own thoughts (which invariably are wrong) as though it was fact.
Okay, I'll bite. What are you suggesting as the solution to this
widespread retail problem?
Robert Reed wrote: I guess it is just a way of life now so its always buyer beware and figure it out for yourself.
Let's stick with RS for the moment, although it has been quite
some years since I stepped into one of their stores. Your
premise, echoing that of other posters here, is that the in-store
staff are unable (or perhaps unwilling) to learn their product lines?

Also, that at a corporate level the product mix has shifted from
the DIY’er or hobbyist, and the remaining selection is weak.

At what level of service would you be happy? If providing that
service increases the price of goods sold, would you pay more?
(Assumption here is the chain recruits to a higher level of competency,
or reduces retail hours per associate to provide training and testing).

Scenario One:
I visited the newest Lowes's last week, having spotted it from
the highway en route to SJC airport. I doubt the store was open
more than a week or two - had that "new car smell"...

First shock was that most of the in store signage is in Spanish
(with American English subtitles). I made one lap of the 'racetrack'
after checking out the item on my shopping list (replacement
basin for our pool house bathroom). I was in the store for
perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes. I was greeted by three
different associates each asking if they can help me. Clearly
the store has the right level of service on opening day, and
this reflects the store's priority to engage with guests.

Scenario Two:
What is the expected level of service in a more technical
purchase? Suppose I want to buy a camcorder in a store.
Should I go to a specialty store? Expect to find these products
in a grocery store? Or, a home improvement emporium?

Should I expect to demo the product? Should I expect the
sales associate to know the feature set? The major performance
specs? The comparative strengths of the models in their
line-up? Should the associate know the contents of the box,
and sell me on needed accessories (disks, tapes, SDHC cards,
additional batteries, carrying case)? What if the associate
offers an extended warrenty or service plan?
Its unlikely the associate is the camcorder champion, she
might also be expected to cover other products (digital cameras,
iPods, TVs, DVD players, computer accessories, and know the
titles and prices of the new release DVDs and music CDs for
that week).

Don't be surprised if your time with the associate is shared
with walkie-talkie traffic and interrupted by the department's
telephone. Associates are expected to "multi-task" with guests.

The price of a camcorder locally is about $300. If the store
marks up their cost by 50% the GM is now $100, if the sales
associate is on salary (not commission) and takes twenty
minutes to serve me, can the store profit from the
transaction? If the sale generates $100, would that cover
all the store overhead? I don't know. I think its a tough situation.

Scenario Three:
I use tools on my home computer to research the camcorder
purchase at home. I also visit a review site (Consumer Reports)
and a comparative pricing site (Nextag) and go to the local
store as an informed customer. During the demo I get to
touch (and operate) the target equipment, leading to my final
choice amongst competing brands and models.

I ask on-topic questions of the associate - not to trip them
but to speed up the process. The associate asks the more
knowledgeable co-worker to answer the tough questions for her.
The item is not in stock at the store, but the associate uses
a PDA to locate stock at a store across town. There's only
a few pieces in the other store's inventory - the item is a
strong seller. The associate phones her counter-part in the
other store and they do a physical check. The item is pulled
from the other store's back room and held against my first name.
All I have to do is drive over there before they close that night.

In the other store I decline the in-store extended service plan,
but learn that I have ninety days to 'add it on' if desired, and
I also have ninety days to return the product if I'm not happy.

This not fantasy. This is how retail electronics works in national
big-box stores. I could have got a better price at a local electronics
chain but the experience would have been combative and likely
quite frustrating.

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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Robert Reed » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:56 pm

MrAl
"Made a visit to RS today, picked up a couple of those small 'experimenters' circuit boards.
Too bad they went up to $1.99 each when they used to be $0.99 each (USD)."

Those little boards you mention, if I am correct are the ones with the DIP pattern and come in two sizes. These are great boards and RS is one of the few places you can get them. It is one item that I always shop for there and usually "clear the rack" as they only seem to have just a few in stock at one time.

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Lenp
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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Lenp » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:02 pm

An Aside...

My wife needed a DMP printer for work, for forms processing. They HAD to buy from Office Depot because of a procurement contract. When she called the 800 line to talk to a printer specialist, about an Okiidata printer they proudly informed her that it could do 540 copies per second. I sure hope that it comes with a bolt down kit. The 540 is really 'characters per second'.

Enough said!

Len
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by Bigglez » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:14 pm

Lenp wrote: When she called the 800 line to talk to a printer specialist, about an Okiidata printer they proudly informed her that it could do 540 copies per second.
...
The 540 is really 'characters per second'.
Enough said!
More than enough said! So you ran into someone that is either
not technical or lacks the mental power to comprehend copies
(pages) compared to characters.

Laughing at them is not helpful. In fact it is quite tragic that
the person either doesn't know any better, or lacks the curiosity
to reason it out. If they are the specialist, how many others in
their workgroup are just as ignorant?

Either way, their gross mistake shouldn't affect the transaction
at hand.

Look on the bright side, someone with that wisdom is probably
going to value a movie ticket or a video game, and in a very
small way contribute to the country's economic recovery by
spending all of their next paycheck.

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Re: Is RadioShack that confused?

Post by sofaspud » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:16 pm

A bit odd, this discussion. Hopefully mine is a positive addition.
First of all, we're all human. Humans make mistakes. For each of those
retail associates and technicians making embarassing blunders, there
is a manager or engineer who must share the blame.
When training is considered an expense rather than an investment there
will be less of it.
I have to give RS credit - it never fails that someone will ask to help me when
I walk through the door. But like others have experienced, my request was
often met with a blank stare. Or an "I don't know what that is." So now,
unless I'm after something simple, I just decline their offer to help and say I
already know what I want. Saves us both from any grief.

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