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There's cheap and then there's cheap...

Thread starter #1
A microcontroller for less than 3 cents. Datasheet here as a pdf. I saw this on another site a while ago and just now saw my bookmarks. Originally, I spent several hours looking into it because, I am a glutton for challenges. Eventually, age-based wisdom prevailed. Still, it is kind of interesting. It is OTP and I could not find documentation of programming specification other than references to more expensive commercial programmers. Has anyone had any experience with one?
 

alec_t

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#2
And if that isn't cheap enough the web-site states "You can contact sales person to apply for a better price." :D
 

schmitt trigger

Well-Known Member
#5
Lately I've become aware of more and more Chinese and Taiwanese companies which I hadn't run across before, even though they appear to have a growing portfolio of components.

In hindsight, it should be no surprise. How else can the Far East companies offer the myriad ultra-low-cost consumer products, without access to some ultra cheap components?
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
#6
they have a warning the microcontroller is NOT for use with power supplies that use an RC network to drop the AC line voltage down (i.e. the cheapo "supply of death")... so for a microcontroller that only costs 3 cents, you have to spend the money you saved to make a real power supply that has isolation. my guess that somebody somewhere is going to ignore that warning, and build that controller into something that runs off a capacitive divider supply, just to prove they can (do design contests give posthumous awards?)...
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#7
they have a warning the microcontroller is NOT for use with power supplies that use an RC network to drop the AC line voltage down (i.e. the cheapo "supply of death")... so for a microcontroller that only costs 3 cents, you have to spend the money you saved to make a real power supply that has isolation. my guess that somebody somewhere is going to ignore that warning, and build that controller into something that runs off a capacitive divider supply, just to prove they can (do design contests give posthumous awards?)...
What microcontroller is designed for use with a transformerless power supply?
 

schmitt trigger

Well-Known Member
#8
I also read that warning and scratched my head thinking about the technical reason to include the warning. I could not come with any plausible theory.
Ideas anyone?

In the end, these cheap controllers will be most likely used with battery-powered equipment, like singing Christmas ornaments and other similar crap which we are inundated this coming season.
 

MikeMl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#10
I especially like having "Sophisticated colleagues help you solve problems" .
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#14
Unsophisticated colleagues who help you solve problems using a baseball bat are the most valuable.
Bizarrely enough we used to teach defending against been attacked with a baseball bat, despite the fact they are pretty rare in the UK - somehow 'defending against a cricket bat' just doesn't seem right?.
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#16
That hardly seems cricket!
(Hoping that translates ok) - sorry, could 't resist ;)
It does, that was my first thought as soon as I read it.

Unsophisticated colleagues who help you solve problems using a baseball bat are the most valuable.
Like the old saying:
"When you have a fault that you can't fix, hit it with a hammer until there is a fault that you can fix."

JimB
 
#17
There are different versions of this story.

One day, a consultant was called by the locomotive engineer to examine a locomotive that was making a loud noise. The staff couldn't figure out what was causing it.
The consultant walked over, ran his hand over the noisy section, and asked the supervisor to bring him two things: a large sledgehammer and their biggest guy to swing it.
The supervisor was accommodating and brought both over to the consultant within 10 minutes.
The consultant ran his hand over the noisy section again, marked an 'X' on the dirty steel, and looked up at the guy with the sledgehammer and said "Hit it right there!"
Both the supervisor and large man shrugged. The large man swung and connected the sledgehammer with the side of the locomotive. Immediately, the noise stopped.
Everyone was amazed as to how he used the "sledgehammer" approach and quickly fixed the problem.
He submitted his invoice to the client for $5,000. Standard procedure.
A week later, the consultant receives a letter in the mail to itemize the invoice for tax and auditing purposes.
The consultant immediately sent a revised invoice back that explained the following:
$10 for the time of materials and labor (sledgehammer and resource) and $4,990 for knowing where to hit!
 

ronsimpson

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#19
Point of view from the man who carries the "hammer":

I spent 30 hours trying to get this company to hire me to fix the problem.
I get up at 3am and drive 2 hours.
Stand in line at airport security for 2 hours.
Fly for 2 hours next to a fat man and a lady who is sick.
Then I must do this all over again to get back home.
The company has spent one man-year of effort to fix the problem.
The company has millions in loss revenue.
First hour is convincing the chief engineer I don't want his job.
Then next 15 minutes fixes the problem.
The next hour is showing how to prevent this next time.
Then 15 minutes to write up the bill for one days work at 2X of a "staff engineer" wages.
Must sit and listen to the CEO complain about the "7 minutes I worked", "the 2X price", and how people just don't understand the value of money these days". (two more hour of my life down the drain)
I get home after midnight.
And now I realize that working at McDonald, flipping hamburgers, would have netted more money. (in this country both a consulting engineer and a hamburger flipper do not deserve health care)
AND I spend the next 40 hours looking for the next job.
 

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