1. Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.
    Dismiss Notice

Why does UK get so many Switch mode power supplies done in the Far East?

Discussion in 'Jobs and Careers' started by Flyback, May 4, 2015.

  1. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    39,320
    Likes:
    653
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    My problem with University graduates (or even worse drop outs), is that most of them start an Electronics degree with zero knowledge to start with, what happened to the Electronics enthusiasts who would blitz a degree easily?.

    One of my daughters Uni friends was doing Electronics at the same Uni she was doing Chemistry (and Chemistry is one of the toughest courses), she hardly saw him for close on three years as he was far too busy and struggling with his course. In the end he dropped out, just a couple of weeks before his finals :(
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Cicero

    Cicero Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    337
    Likes:
    36
    Location:
    UK
    Yes, that is true. Maybe it would be worth asking for a portfolio of work/hobby projects prior to registering, similar to prospective art/architecture students?

    I finished mine less than 10years ago, so in relative terms to people here...very recently :p, haha. There are some people who get through relatively unscathed, but they're few and far between. The majority (that finish) take 5-6years for a 4year degree. Out of my starting year, about 25% finished in our 4 years. My only advice to people who are considering doing it, is to make sure they form a very close group with people who they can work and study with, and make sure they align with some bright people at the same time - you can't study alone. They should also forget about making any serious money as well as a graduate, leave that for the finance guys.

    I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I was into hobby electronics in school, and also managed to take electronics as a subject to what's similar to A-levels. In 5 years we did simple things like small signal amplifiers, BJT transistors to the electron level with doping and all that, resistor, cap and inductor theory, opamps, making and hand etching our own PCB's etc. But, in the degree we ploughed through all those 3-5 years in less than a semester or so. Granted I had a step up on the others in terms of initial understanding but that's all.
    In similar fashion, the guys who had done programming courses prior also had a massive advantage, as nowadays that is a HUGE focus of the degree.

    I wasn't joking about the plug thing either, mid way through the degree we had a practical workshop 'course'. We were making housings by bending sheet metal and all sorts of practical skills, but one of the tasks was wiring a plug.... The amount of morons who didn't know how to do it was mindblowing. :wideyed:
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  3. tvtech

    tvtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,167
    Likes:
    348
    Location:
    South Africa
    Well said. People like you are a pleasure to work with. Have the knowledge but know the practical basic stuff too :)

    You are going to do great things in your life still. Your approach and thinking is bang on target.

    Regards,
    tv
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 1997
    Messages:
    -
    Likes:
    0


     
  5. tvtech

    tvtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,167
    Likes:
    348
    Location:
    South Africa

    Flyback: here is why you are farting against thunder.....http://www.meanwell.com/profile.html

    Quote here from Meanwells Website:

    Established in 1982, MEAN WELL is a leading standard switching power supply manufacturers in the world. MEAN WELL currently operates under five financially independent but cooperating companies in Taiwan, China, USA and Europe. The five companies include MEAN WELL Enterprises Co., Ltd., MEAN WELL (GuangZhou) Electronics Co., Ltd., SuZhou MEAN WELL Technology Co., Ltd., MEAN WELL USA, Inc. and MEAN WELL Europe B.V.. Our product lines include AC/DC switching power supplies, DC/DC converters, DC/AC inverters and battery chargers.

    "Total Quality Assurance and Customer Satisfaction" are the central goals of our company. We believe that our industry is one where reliability in long-term use, functionality and cost are all of great importance, but that it is reliability that differentiates the truly superior products. So, every product in the MEAN WELL range is the result of rigid procedures governing design, design verification test (DVT), design quality test (DQT), component selection, pilot-run production, and mass production. We have recently implemented a new and highly efficient computerized management system. This system allows improved administration of sales, manufacturing, purchasing, fabrication management, shipping, customer service, and quality analysis, allowing us to ensure the best QCDS (Quality, Cost, Delivery Time, Service) for our customers

    [​IMG]

    Our goal is to offer total solutions that satisfy our customer's requirements. We have earned a good reputation based on the quality, competitive prices and punctual delivery of our products. Currently, we have around 200 distributors and thousands of customers throughout the world. We have formed long-term associations with most of our customers, working together for many years, developing many treasured relationships.


    We have over 5,000 standard models widely used in automation, communication, LED lighting, medical, moving sign, and office automation fields. Our 15,000m2 modern facility and the intelligent information management system allow us to keep enough stock for 95% of standard models, enabling prompt delivery. To meet customers' demands, MEAN WELL can deliver orders ranging in size from 1 to 20,000 units. Small and medium quantity orders are offered through our local MEAN WELL members or authorized distributors, helping to save time. Large quantity orders can be sent directly from MEAN WELL.


    For more customized demands that can’t be found in our standard product lines, we also can offer CDM (Cooperate Design Manufacturer) solution to combine your specific requirements into our newly design standard products. Thanks to our extensive library of circuit solutions, we are confident that we can promptly provide satisfied samples for your review and approval. Unquote.

    Food for thought.

    Regards,
    tv

    Edit : I purchased one of their products...and me as anti SMPS as I have always been am loving it. These guys know their stuff. Seriously know their stuff.

    Maybe Flyback you should try to forget about doing your thing in the UK and learn from Guys that know churning out everything SMPS related and reliable :cool:
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes:
    34
    Software is huge now and that's why ee grads are not hardware centric any more. I did EE degree and passed it 13 years ago.
    I used to work for a uv led curing co and we bought in shedloads of 600w, 48v meanwells, but we had to design the 150w switch mode led drivers which ran off the meanwell outputs...as such ,there are huge numbers of smps that need to get designed in-house and cant use a meanwell etc..there are loads of smps's that just cannot be gotten off the shelf....often for shape or size reasons, or some extra control cctry on it etc.

    A company that makes the whale gulper pumps wants a smps for its pump....according to people here, they should just buy a meanwell, but they cannot do that, they have to do it themselves, there, in house....there are loads of other similar situations...loads, and loads.....Whale gulper cant use a meanwell....gotta do it themselves.

    SMPS and the skills of it in great demand.......more power supplies than any other cct.......every electronics needs a power supply...hence the course.

    uk uni for ee degree is ok if youre gonna be a phd supremo....but if you are suited to designing smps, then you would never find this out, because most get "lost" in the huge quantity of different subjects which fill an ee degree these days.......most ee grads, even those that qualify , never even find work in the electronics industry. I know people here say I am no good in electronics or smps, but my self-designed SMPS's are switching away in customer premises right now.

    As I said, there are loads of electronics consultancies out there who will tell you that only they are capable of doing smps design, and that you must pay them the fortune to do it.....but tell me, talk of a 30w offline flyback......what is "rocket science " about that?...I tell thee that there is no rocket science there, not to be able to design a perfectly satisfactory one.

    My course will revolutionize the uk, and maybe other countries who wish to have it.
    SMPS are so common, and the skills of it are transferable to all of analog electronics, except perhaps not so much rf and microwave.
    And I know plenty of non ee grads who work as sucesful smps designers.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  7. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    39,320
    Likes:
    653
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Sorry, but utter crap - why would greatly increasing costs 'revolutionise' anything - or perhaps you're thinking of the October Revolution where greatly increased costs didn't matter :D
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  8. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes:
    34
    I know you agree with me that there are a certain amount of smps's, that cannot be done by meanwell off-the-shelfers, and need to be done in house.
    I know you agree with this, maybe it is just the number of these that we disagree on.

    One thing that is for sure, is that smps engineers will all benefit, by the increase in jobs in smps. But to begin with , smps engineers will want me and my course to die a quick death, because the last thing working smps engineers want is to hear of loads of new junior engineers coming in to their trade. But trust me, it will end up better for everyone.
    We know that training up of junior engineers hardly ever happens in uk........all seniors are too insecure of their job to want to train someone else up to do it.

    Do not let us be fooled by our insecurities.....the smps trade is massive, and it will create the wealth needed by the country.

    Whale gulper doing smps themselves....English shower companies doing smps in the shower units themselves...that's a lot of smps..every house got 1+ showers. No meanwell in there. No Far eastern imports. -And they would have gone Far East if it was cheaper, because they get them all manufactured in the far east.
     
  9. tvtech

    tvtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,167
    Likes:
    348
    Location:
    South Africa
    Jurre I am tired = a response.

    Flyback, I don't know you but you seem like a good person. You see that what you are trying to do is what SMPS specialists do daily. That is what they do.

    Man, I feel for you. I really feel for you.

    I promise you if you take your ideas, thoughts, designs over to China and speak with their Engineers (they have proper ones that know stuff)...you are going to learn HEAPS. You don't have to work there...just watch them.

    I know SMPS is a real B with an itch to deal with....can drive you insane...

    You are young. Learn from the Masters before you try and conquer the SMPS world :)
    Good place is here: http://www.meanwell.com/

    That's all,
    tv
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Triode

    Triode Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    936
    Likes:
    22
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Where did you hear of a US law that there is some percentage of US parts you have to use to make something here? You can make a product from 100% imported parts if you like. In some cases for government use there are various laws about some portion of a product being US made, but for the most part there is no such restriction. I'm not sure where you get the thing about the US using almost no foreign power supplies either. I am currently in a design lab for a US manufacturer, and not 20 meters away from me is a cabinet full of MW power supplies of all sizes, and several others made in China, Korea, Japan, ect. I don't recall ever seeing one from the US or a non-Asian country. Well, except one time when I was fixing a radio that my dad got from my grandpa, it had a supply stamped as being from Akron Ohio.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes:
    34
    it is the consultancies that don't want anyone to believe that smps's are possible for the masses to design.
    Speak of say a 10W automotive switch mode led driver....what is hard about that?
    I designed a 10w automotive warning flasher, 10-30VIN, 24-40vout, schematic was done in 3 hours, all current and voltage calculated, checking simulation done.......pcb layed out, etc, and it was done and dusted.....no magic.....consultancy offered to do it for £35K....
    The product is out there now..successful.
    Don't believe the consultancies, or those who don't want you in their trade territory.
     
  12. Triode

    Triode Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    936
    Likes:
    22
    Location:
    Bay Area
    I don't really understand the focus on SMPS. They are not that hard to learn how to make, but why are you focused on this particular component? There are a lot of devices that are primarily made in southeast Asia, which would be easy to design elsewhere but more expensive to manufacture. If you want Europeans and Americans to start working on these it would be more a matter of making automated manufacturing cheap enough to do it in those places.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes:
    34
    How much longer will china and the far east do it super cheap for us,.......let me tell you, as long it takes for us to become that complacent that we forget how to do these things...then they bang up the price......you believe that far east likes gifting uk and usa and eu with dirt cheap products?...you think they like working for nothing but a slice of bread and a few beans a day?
    Power supply is the most common component..every product has one.......I walk into uk companies making smps and find them making ridiculously simple mistakes that they wouldn't make with my course..

    Only the consultancies don't want my course...its their trade territiory..or they think it is.
     
  14. Tony Stewart

    Tony Stewart Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,152
    Likes:
    281
    Location:
    Richmond Hill , ON Canada near Toronto
    Chinese engineers are what Japanese Engineers were in the 60's, clever but cut corners and ignore margin testing.

    Soon they will meet customer expectations for reliability as the Swiss and Japanese and some German sources do.

    i guess you are saying UK sites you saw were rookies, so there may be a need for skills training, but I would expect the teacher ought to have 10yrs of high MTBF experience. Even here the Murata SMPS Eng Mgr told me the young US designers had no idea of margin testing.

    Its normal learning curve, long and deep into the failure modes of every component, process control and tolerance stackup.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes:
    34
    I don't think these guys were rookies......I worked alongside the guy who designed all the smps for a major worldwide telco base stations...you will know the name of the telco......I saw him using the Basso book equations to work out his feedback loop when it went unstable in the field...due to an optocoupler manufacturer change. (same part number, different manuf). This guy couldn't do state space or pwm switch model to do the feedback loop., there was one equation in his excel doc where it was "2 / 2.pi.R.C" instead of the usual "1/2.pi.R.C", and he wrote next to it, "I don't know why the equation takes this form , but it does in the book". -It was for a pole in a smps transfer function.
    But all engineers need not fear the training agency, it will actually boost there job prospects...more jobs will be created.......not like now where in uk , scores of consultant level smps engineers cannot find work for long periods.

    And SMPS all need to be designed and manufactured in Far East??...so why does Tridonic, an absolutely enormous lighting company, exist at all?.....Tridonic design and manufacture switch mode led drivers by the millions and millions in EUROPE.
    By the accounts of some here, Tridonic should not exist, but I assure you, it does exist....can all its products be made cheaper in china??.......I doubt it, else it would not exist.

    Is anybody going to accuse Tridonic of having no economic sense?, and being dilusional?

    ....I never underestimate uni dropouts. On my EE degree, after the first year exams, this guy came up to me and told me he hadn't been able to answer any of the questions on his electrical paper.....he asked me what the answer was to one question which was pretty much just a potential divider!!......I was pretty convinced that the poor chap was going to get kicked off the course...and indeed he did fail his exams, and he re-took them in a summer vacation......he also then did a year-out at Goodrich Aerospace, and then did his re-take, passed it, and then started the second year of the ee degree.
    He eventually finished up with a PhD in switch mode power supplies, and he now works for a well known world brand developing power supplies....and to think he very nearly got kicked out at the first year point because he couldn't do a potential divider, and other similar simple stuff. (he works for a well known automotive place now.....technical head of development...you will have heard of the name of the company)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  16. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,737
    Likes:
    433
    Location:
    SCOTLAND
    Why would we make our own power supplies? We dont even generate our own electric but leave that to the french and buy our reactors from China (free P&P)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. RichTheDude

    RichTheDude Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    304
    Likes:
    53
    Location:
    UK
    Basic switch mode power supply design is typically taught in most BEng programs in the latter half of the first year.

    I have run my own tech company and I would never contemplate going to the effort of designing my own switch mode supply.
    Unless your company is sufficiently large enough or has specific form factor requirements, there is absolutely no reason to do so when they are available at low cost from any distributor.

    To boot, I have yet to ever have one fail.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes:
    34
    if you buy-in smps, and then make your mechanical enclosures to fit it in, then it can cause problems if it goes obsolete.
    Also, when North sea oil runs out, (soon) the value of sterling will plunge massively, and the uk will no longer be able to afford to buy-in SMPS’s from the other side of the world, we will have to make them ourselves.
    Also, with great respect to all I say, the great people of the Far East, who now make all these SMPS’s cheaply for people in the UK…..they are going to start wanting more wages soon for their efforts. As you know, the engineers of the Far East do not get up in the morning and think “hooray , I can go and make some real cheap SMPS’s for the guys in UK.”….soon , they will want fair pay for their excellent efforts on our behalf..when the UK has finally forgotten how to design SMPS’s, (due to not having had to do it for so long), the Far Easterners will up the price BIG TIME, and make us pay them fairly for their excellent and heroic efforts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  19. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,737
    Likes:
    433
    Location:
    SCOTLAND
    Say you make 100,000 widgets a year and use won hung low SMPS, lets just say they go bust........You go on Alibaba and look for another one from another supplier. I genuinely cant see a company making its enclosure just to fit the smps, most just leave a standard gap for something thats pretty standard in size.

    From day one since you joined you have had a thing about SMPS and leds and assorted nonsense, seriously mate we are talking smps not rocket science.
    As for designing them you just fill in the form on alibaba and no end of far east suppliers can have 100,000 units to your door following morning, they copy Rolex watches no problem so what makes you think a smps couldnt be resourced?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes:
    34
    ok but when the north sea oil runs dry as it will soon, buying stuff from the Far East wont be possible.
    There is big shortage of SMPS designers in UK, I went to a big co' once, and none of their big team had heard of interleave winding of flyback transformers to reduce leakage inductance.
    In another place, there was a PhD power electronics guy trying to make a synchronous buck work….he still hadn’t succeeded after a week….it turned out he didn’t realise the CST was in the wrong way round, he measured the “primary inductance” as 3.8mH and thought that was fine!
    Also, it was a unidirectional CST , which obviously wouldn’t work in a sync buck where the currents in it could go both ways.
    Also, even if it had been a non sync buck, it still wouldn’t have worked as there was only a diode across the secondary..nowehere near enough to reset it.
    These stories are mega common throughout uk.
    And yes, let me tell you about a huge uk company (you will know it) that had a 100w flyback made by external consultancy…….they made it with a primary clamp that was nothing more than an SMB size TVS! (and obviously a diode to go into it, that was SMB too)
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  21. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,737
    Likes:
    433
    Location:
    SCOTLAND
    I will give you a chance to read what you put before I reply, take heed what was said about employers reading what you put online ;). If the oil ran out tomorrow do you seriously think we could only buy from the UK? you forget we were trading with China way way way before oil came along.

    Something about those devices is making me uneasy the more I read your posts

    I was flying a kite the other day in the high wind, I wonder if you could somehow attach that to say a boat????? Hmm food for thought I might see what I come up with, if it works well you never know people might even use it fun and stuff
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page