buying transistors, ICs from ebay -- ant-notes for beginners

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buying transistors, ICs from ebay -- ant-notes for beginners

Postby jeepe » 03 Aug 2019, 13:13

hello,

I have, too, read countless posts everywhere about the fake transistors and ICs that we will get when we go so low as to buy from ebay...
and of course, it is clear that those warnings are well-intentioned... not to mention that buying fakes does happen, for real...

at the same time, my waiting period is over, cause my ordered transistors have arrived,
and I've just built a circuit of a jfet, 2N5952, which I bought from ebay, and it works flawless, and I'm very happy...

by making this post my intention is to help other beginners, like one ant helps the community :)
including testifying that as of 03.08.2019, buying 2N5952s was still possible :)


...............................................................................................................................................

first, let me summarise the usual arguments:

(not actual quotations)

> "I can't believe that it could be worth for someone to repaint such tiny things as transistors, what money can they make on that?"
> "in China the don't live like us, they'll go for the tiniest money, too, and faking is never a problem when it comes to that?"
> "if you buy something that mouser does not sell, you have bought fakes"
> "synonymously, if you buy something that is rare, you buy something fake"
> "just don't buy from alibaba, bagaboo, ebay, just don't (the amazon of the East is not cool)"
> "it has happened, countless times" (whatever countless means)"


(if I've missed some typical arguments, I can make it up later)

what usually happens when someone has been victim to parts counterfeiting is that she or he will publish the seller's name...
which is, clearly, not an effective method of protection... it's just desperation...
cause, for one reason, ebay sellers fluctuate, now a store is there, now it isn't anymore ...

so, the practical question is, can we handle this situation?
that is, can we, under certain circumstances buy parts from ebay or not?
sub question: should we think of ebay and alibaba and bagaboo and all Eastern sites as equals?

in other words, can we ONLY buy from farnell or mouser and the like, or we can also buy from ebay?

:::: my suggestions:

#1 yes, we can buy from ebay, absolutely, although, like in every commercial, capitalist situation, the buyer can be ripped off in no time...

(for example, you buy a bicycle, a cheap one at a mall, and its pedal crank breaks, and you take it to the service, and it breaks again, and than you turn to consumer protection board, and they'll tell you, these are cheap bikes, they can fall apart easily, you've got what you've paid for)

we have to think, though, consider a few circumstances
like:
> is the part sold for obscene cheap?
> is the part absolutely rare?
> am I going to laugh loud if the parts prove to be real, like "you know, I've just got them from ebay, from some Chinese dude, it was like 1 dollar"

cause if any of the self-test queries return YES, chances are you're going to fall victim to counterfeit, as well as to your own Western superiority complex, and greed...

#2: the fact is, we are protected on ebay

like many other web places, ebay also uses the power of "community"... and publicity..
so, the users can make their feedback...
which can make a difference...
you can browse the feedbacks... look for negative feedback...
not to mention that you can see "100% user satisfaction" at the given product's page...

these can be good signs...

#3 what we can do:

we have to leave a feedback every time...
BUT not as soon as we receive the package!!! :)
only after we have tested the parts...
when they prove to be cool,
we can give the positive feedback...

I'm only emphasizing the importance of testing because
ebay's menu-logic suggests that we should be satisfied once we've got the "item" :)
was the delivery fast enough? yes? are you satisfied? :)

in any case, if we leave feedback in a sensible way, it can help a lot,
like in ant societies, you know :)

#4 counterfeit is not good for sellers
the seller that my 2N5952-s came from has had 7000+ sales...
if they got a feedback of selling fake transistors, they would right away lose the "100% user satisfaction" on the given transistor's page...
and also have a negative review mentioning the f-word :)

and chances are that their sales will start to drop...
which, as I imagine, can mean getting 2 customers/day instead of 20...
a total no-go...
so, the joint will have to be shut down, and a new one should be built...
and building a new ebay store must be a very painstaking work..
cause when you have only had 100 sales, even 1 not so positive review will mean 1% drop...
so you cannot make any mistake, as I imagine...
which is very probably not a very comfortable business operation condition for anyone :)


#5 finally, when all looks good, it ONLY means it may be good
let's keep in mind that we are not stupid consumers who want to get a recipe of how to pass certain obstacles, and then
turn off thinking and go large, like "I've WON!!!" :)
we should be intelligent people, and remain that...

if we have bought transistors and they work good, cool!
but it doesn't mean that counterfeits don't happen... not to mention that we are immune to them :)
when a seller's status looks good, when they have their webstore name printed on the product picture,
when you see that 68 pieces have been sold @ 100% user satisfaction -- (which could also mean that one friend bought one and made a satisfactory feedback, and 67 actual buyers only have their package in the mail ...) -- you can green-light your buying, sure...

BUT that can yield you two two kinds of results, still...
you're not safe...
but you can't be, cause "safe" doesn't exist in a commercial context...


#6 your contribution
but even if you've bought fake ones, it is not money wasted...
cause with your contribution -- your feedback -- the system becomes MORE SAFE :)

and people like you will enjoy better chances to get the desired parts, if they still exist :)
even you'll enjoy better chances the next time...

PS: use your local store
local stores can be pricy... sure... but still...
there are several shades of pricy as well :)
the point is, you should use the local store(s) if they are good enough..
if not, you can make posts in your local websites about how to buy parts on ebay...
which might convince the local dealers to be more modest, if they are not (in my experience, they are absolute cool!) :)

buying a transistor for $ 1 / € 1 in a local store, while you can buy 5 on ebay is NOT a stupid thing ant all...
and at the end of the day, your goal is what? to save $ 0.8 / € 0.8 ? or to build a beautiful circuit? :) :)

also, when buying from ebay, it'll take weeks to get the parts...
whereas in your local store they'll put together your entire list overnight :)

PS 2: it is not about money

so, in short: let's bear in mind that it is NOT ABOUT MONEY
it is about viability -- that of a project that you wish to make...

speaking of which... by buying some parts on ebay -- as opposed to deterring everybody because of the counterfeit danger -- we can extend the viability of projects... and also the circle of people who can still get those parts and make that project... cause if buying a specific transistor on ebay still works, it not only means that the project is still viable... but also that it is viable for ANYONE with an internet access :)
which is beautiful...

this is why I suggest that the one-sided warnings are no good for the stompbox building culture :)

(sorry for the length)

Peter


....................... illustrations:
an instance of a 2N5952
IMG_0388.JPG


an instance of a minute circuit (by Neil mcNasty) which uses a 2N5952, and it absolutely works, produces clear sound :)
IMG_0374-2.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Re: buying transistors, ICs from ebay -- ant-notes for begin

Postby Axldeziak » 03 Aug 2019, 17:54

Ebay's feedback system overall means nothing when it comes to "power sellers". I personally have been feedback begged, offered a bribe, (and threatened!) for leaving a negative numerous times. Pay attention to certain sellers. You will see negative feedbacks disappear over time and yet the same crap items remain for sale, (They are bribing the buyers to retract their feedbacks!)
Take note of how many sellers are shills and drop shippers. Once they start getting a low seller score the items suddenly reappear under a different name. One good way to determine these types of sellers is the item picture itself. If you see the same picture used a dozen times by different sellers, you can be assured that they all are either same seller, or drop shippers acting as an agent for someone else.
You also have to account for the number of buyers who are really clueless noobs when buying and leaving feedback. Lots of folks just leave a positive when they get the item without taking the time to genuinely test it. In those cases the positive means zilch.
As well, an counterfeit item may work in a project despite being a fake. Maybe not as well as the real thing, but in that instance it's close enough. Thus any feedback by someone who got duped would mean nothing as they don't even know they have been cheated.

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Re: buying transistors, ICs from ebay -- ant-notes for begin

Postby phatt » 05 Aug 2019, 11:47

Axldeziak wrote:Ebay's feedback system overall means nothing when it comes to "power sellers". I personally have been feedback begged, offered a bribe, (and threatened!) for leaving a negative numerous times. Pay attention to certain sellers. You will see negative feedbacks disappear over time and yet the same crap items remain for sale, (They are bribing the buyers to retract their feedbacks!)
Take note of how many sellers are shills and drop shippers. Once they start getting a low seller score the items suddenly reappear under a different name. One good way to determine these types of sellers is the item picture itself. If you see the same picture used a dozen times by different sellers, you can be assured that they all are either same seller, or drop shippers acting as an agent for someone else.
You also have to account for the number of buyers who are really clueless noobs when buying and leaving feedback. Lots of folks just leave a positive when they get the item without taking the time to genuinely test it. In those cases the positive means zilch.
As well, an counterfeit item may work in a project despite being a fake. Maybe not as well as the real thing, but in that instance it's close enough. Thus any feedback by someone who got duped would mean nothing as they don't even know they have been cheated.



Plus 100 for your posting,, well said. :thumbsup
classic example right next door here:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=30027&start=20

Benson Preamp
Post by atalas » 30 Jul 2019, 00:02
Reads; "Wow, huge difference with the SMD J201!"

Any one transistor preamp will likely work much the same with dozens of any old transistor, fake or real.
You need to build at least ten identical circuits and test genuine components with fakes.
Or in the Benson case just a change of pakage can have different outcomes.
Phil.
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Re: buying transistors, ICs from ebay -- ant-notes for begin

Postby atalas » 05 Aug 2019, 19:30

phatt wrote:
Axldeziak wrote:Ebay's feedback system overall means nothing when it comes to "power sellers". I personally have been feedback begged, offered a bribe, (and threatened!) for leaving a negative numerous times. Pay attention to certain sellers. You will see negative feedbacks disappear over time and yet the same crap items remain for sale, (They are bribing the buyers to retract their feedbacks!)
Take note of how many sellers are shills and drop shippers. Once they start getting a low seller score the items suddenly reappear under a different name. One good way to determine these types of sellers is the item picture itself. If you see the same picture used a dozen times by different sellers, you can be assured that they all are either same seller, or drop shippers acting as an agent for someone else.
You also have to account for the number of buyers who are really clueless noobs when buying and leaving feedback. Lots of folks just leave a positive when they get the item without taking the time to genuinely test it. In those cases the positive means zilch.
As well, an counterfeit item may work in a project despite being a fake. Maybe not as well as the real thing, but in that instance it's close enough. Thus any feedback by someone who got duped would mean nothing as they don't even know they have been cheated.



Plus 100 for your posting,, well said. :thumbsup
classic example right next door here:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=30027&start=20

Benson Preamp
Post by atalas » 30 Jul 2019, 00:02
Reads; "Wow, huge difference with the SMD J201!"

Any one transistor preamp will likely work much the same with dozens of any old transistor, fake or real.
You need to build at least ten identical circuits and test genuine components with fakes.
Or in the Benson case just a change of pakage can have different outcomes.
Phil.


The sad part is I didn't get those from ebay. Those were from Mike at pedalhacker, a source I believed to be reliable.
I've sent him an email last Wed asking about these J201, which he did claim to be original Fairchild. He has yet to respond.
Testing with the "improved JFET matcher" yields nearly double the typical Vp and Idss for Fairchild J201.
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Re: buying transistors, ICs from ebay -- ant-notes for begin

Postby phatt » 06 Aug 2019, 12:25

Hi Atalas,
Whoops i missed that point,, either way even the honorable distributors can't really tell if parts are counterfeit :scratch:

A well written article here for anyone interested.
https://sound-au.com/counterfeit.htm
Rod Elliot has spent his life in this industry and would be in the know as to what goes on with fakes.
Rod has been a big help to me even though I've never purchased any of his kits.
Phil.
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Re: buying transistors, ICs from ebay -- ant-notes for begin

Postby guiltyspark » 09 Oct 2019, 02:31

I will say I've gotten some really nice parts off of ebay, almost all were legit. I would say to watch out for vintage carbon comp resistors, as these almost always increase in value over decades. In other words, your 100k resistor will actually measure 120k. Not good. That goes for old CC resistors anywhere, not just Ebay. I've heard that cheap metal film resistors and various LED's are often China factory rejects. I prefer to buy resistors from Mouser Electronics here in the US, they're dirt cheap from a reputable source, why mess around? I've had pretty good luck with Ebay 3mm and 5mm LED's. I think that many (most) LM308 IC's from China are fake.

But again, I've gotten cool stuff like tropical fish caps for vintage wah rebuilds, rare diodes, double sided epoxy perfboard, test leads, etc etc at great prices. A little research into the item and seller goes a long way. I also like to support Smallbear and others in the pedal community selling parts and encourage you to do the same.

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