When you’re in the habit of ordering a lot of items from China, you’ll quickly learn about the effects holidays have on delivery times. Two periods in particular stand out – the weeks leading up to Christmas, and the days surrounding Chinese New Year. Packages seem to disappear into a black hole, only to emerge weeks later.
I first ran into this issue in December 2014, after placing 6 separate orders with Banggood and a few eBay sellers. Instead of the usual 10-14 days, some items took as long as 5 weeks to get here. It’s pretty common for mail to be a few days late around the holidays anywhere in the world, but I didn’t expect having to wait this long. I’ll definitely make sure to avoid ordering anything during those periods this year. Now that everything has arrived, I can finally take a look at what I received in this combined mailbag post.
In my quest to organize the large amount of components piling up on my workbench, I’ve gone through dozens of Chinese websites and eBay listings in search of the perfect storage cabinets. What I came across was either perfect but too expensive, or low cost but mediocre quality. Surprisingly I ended up finding what I was looking for at an unlikely place for cheap stuff – Farnell element14.
Today’s mail is a pretty mixed bag, which came from several different eBay sellers, consisting of LEDs, SO to DIP adapter boards, tactile switch caps, a distance sensor and a flux pen. I ordered these items during my initial 2-month long buying spree with the primary goal of getting all of the basics, and sampling any interesting sensors and gadgets I came across.
Today’s mailbag is slightly out of order. I still haven’t caught up with all the mail I received over the last few months, but it feels wrong to keep the new shipments lying around for so long. I think I’ll just intersperse the pile of waiting mailbags with these newly arrived ones to keep things more current.
This is another mailbag from Tayda Electronics, one of my favorite cheap electronics companies from Thailand. The best thing about Tayda, besides their low prices, is their packing method. Each component type comes in its own labeled plastic bag. All of the smaller bags are combined in a larger plastic bag, and shipped in a padded envelope. My Tayda orders are a great source of spare bags and bubblewrap.
For the first few weeks, organizing my components mostly consisted of storing them in separate bags. This works well for larger parts like jumper wires and LCDs. Smaller components require a different approach, or you’ll either end up with shelves filled with piles of plastic bags, each tiny bag containing just a few LEDs or tactile switches, or large bags full of resistors that you’ll have to dig through for 10 minutes whenever you need a specific value.
Shortly after I started experimenting with electronics, I discovered my fascination with LCDs and other displays. For me, these screens are not just about providing a convenient way to display visual feedback. Any green backlit 16×2 display will probably suffice in most situations. It’s more about expanding my collection, and playing around with all the different colors, form factors and display technologies. I love having shelves full of screens, and thinking about possible projects I could embed them in. Perhaps one day I’ll have a use for them all, but for now the pile just keeps growing.
One of the first displays I bought was this 1.3″ 128×64 monochrome white OLED display from Adafruit. I was aware of the cheaper options on eBay and sites like Banggood and AliExpress, but since this was my first try at working with one of these screens, I wanted to make sure that any issues would most likely be caused by my own mistakes, and not related to product quality.