Chinese electronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

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Downunder35m
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Chinese electronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

Post by Downunder35m »

With the pandemic still making the life of a tinkerer a real nighmare I had to wait far longer than expected on vital electronics.
Nothing available locally at reasonably prices so I took the wait.
And with not much to do in lockdown I went through some of my electronic junk collections to fill the bin.

For some stupid reson I decided to take a lot of things apart, you seperate metal, plastic and so on to help our environment.
The more stuff from China I dismantled the more confused I got.
I found Triac dimmers with on board recitfiers but no filters.
Switch mode power supplies where I simply could not make any sense of how the damn thing is able to provide a stable output.
But also electronics that seemed to have a lot of "missing" parts.
You know, you see and recognise a part of a circuit and realise parts you know YOU would need here are not present at all.
Or circuit boards for remote controls that seem to have no antenna anywhere.
On the WWW you often find teardown videos and Chinse products somehow seemto be a prime target here.
But apart from often obvious shortcuts to safe costs more and more people seem to struggle to understand how the guys in China manage to come up with ever new ways to make things work without blowing them up.

My personal favourite and subject to salvage operations are induction cooktops.
All started when I tried to develop my simplified induction heating circuit.
With them you you see two totally different approaches.
For those coming from top brands of the western world we see highly compley circuit boards filled with all sorts of electronic gizmos and computer power.
And then you get a simple $50 thingy off Fleabuy, open it up and find basically nothing in there at all.
The electronics serve the timing and touch input nothing else.
The entire power stage works with just a hand full of components.
Often configured in ways that make you wonder why it won't blow the fuse all the time.

For a long time I though it is all only about money.
Every single part you don't use makes a few cents.
And taking shortcuts on safety and certifications is nothing new for Chinese products anyway.
But to me it looks as if in China the approach is not really only about taking shortcuts.
It is about finding new ways to get the same result.
Where we now even use some Arduino to creat a simple flashing LED in China they simply put the two tranistors and other crap into the LED housing and call it a flashing LED....
And where we need tons of electronics and micropocessors to create an IGBT inverter welder, in China take it all from mains power syncronsition and also add cutting and TIG welding options while at it....
Where we develop more and more complex, the Chinaman simplifies.

Am I imagining this trend or did I just pick the wrong rubbish?
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
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Orngrimm
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Re: Chinese lectronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

Post by Orngrimm »

I think you are quite on spot(welding) there... Hahaha
If you want a nice exanmple of "This cant possibly work, but yet, it somehow does. And well at that!" check out this Video of a fello swiss engineer:


China long passed the stage of "Copy blindly" but moved fast into "lets see how we can make this smarter and simpler. Simpler means cheaper and less error prone often".
Builder of stuff, creator of things, inventor of many and master of none.
Tinkerer by heart, archer by choice and electronics engineer by trade.
Jack A Lopez
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Re: Chinese lectronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

Post by Jack A Lopez »

On the topic of taking apart Chinese electronics, I want to mention the Big Clive Youtube channel,

https://www.youtube.com/c/Bigclive/videos

because that guy does a really good job of taking things apart, and deciphering how they work, including drawing circuit diagrams of what he is seeing.

In response to the question of what is driving these deceptively simple, low-parts-count designs, I think it is mostly economic; i.e. make the product cheaper, in order to make more profit, per unit sold.

There are other occasions where I think it is better ICs (integrated circuits) that are making cheaper designs possible.

I am going to link to a popular topic, at that other place,

https://www.instructables.com/community ... -replaced/

and an archived version of the same page

https://web.archive.org/web/20200810210 ... -replaced/

because it has an example of a clever LED driver IC, the "CL1221", which makes possible a low-parts-count, mains-powered LED driver, which found its way into a line of cheap, mass-produced, lightshow toys.

It is a company named, Gemmy, selling these toys in the Former United States. It seems to seasonal usually, like near Halloween and Christmas, when these things are available at the local Walmart ( a popular FUS retailer). But it might be different named company selling the same thing, in your country, for whoever is reading this topic.
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Orngrimm
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Re: Chinese electronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

Post by Orngrimm »

Who hasnt Clive subsribed already?? :D
Just yesterday i watched his water vaporizer video. Another cool gadget fitting the "Smartly designed with super low cost"-vibe of this topic:
Builder of stuff, creator of things, inventor of many and master of none.
Tinkerer by heart, archer by choice and electronics engineer by trade.
Downunder35m
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Re: Chinese electronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

Post by Downunder35m »

You can't help but admire both the guys taking things apart to show us what is inside and those coming up with ever new way to make things work in ways that should not work.
We should make it a think and make a topic for the best tear down videos of a month ;)
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Jack A Lopez
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Re: Chinese electronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

Post by Jack A Lopez »

I had not seen this one, with Big Clive examining a portable water mister gizmo. Strangely, something about this one, reminded me of the intro, I-want-song, from Disney's "The Little Mermaid." The song was titled, "Part of your World."

https://genius.com/Jodi-benson-part-of- ... aid-lyrics

In particular, I was reminded of the lyric,
I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!
Why was I reminded of this? I dunno. It was probably because this particular gizmo, a pink plastic, ultrasonic, mister, for moisturizing skin... it seems rather girly, and the Little Mermaid, was definitely a movie with a feminine, girly vibe to it.

Or maybe it is the nature of the appliance. A portable humidifier - that seems like something appropriate to a mermaid... outside of the ocean that is.
Downunder35m
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Re: Chinese electronics - mystery work or just crappy engineering?

Post by Downunder35m »

Although mostly just fancy anf of no real use for the owner these mister do have a real world use.
A lot of people suffer from the abuse effects of nasal sprays.You know, every time you nose blocks up slighty give it a spray and enjoy....
Downside is that nose no longer is able to provide enough moisture and it can take years to recover.
Other people have problem with their airways because they live or work in very dry, desert like environments.
For them being able to get a quick sniff at really moist air, preferably with a nice scent to it can make a real difference.

The girly,kiddy approach is something very common for Chinese products.
I ordered a cheap 3D printing pen for model repairs - or so I thought.
What I got was screaming pink thingy with screaming green highlights.
Was advertised in black and claimed to be for "proffessional" use LOL
For many Youtube videos with royalty free sound track you will find many similarities to popular songs and music.
Remember the good old days when we downloaded ringtones for our phones because they could not handle MP3 let alone video?
Same concept.
You take a popular tune and change it slightly so it sound different but still has enough left to recognise.
avoids paying the real artist the fees while you take money for a "bad" copy.
Unless you make your own music you will have a hard time not being banned for "copyright violations".
Uploaded a simple video showing my rotating platform for 3D scanning.
Almost impossible to hear in the video, the kitchen radio was playing in the background.
took me three weeks with Youtube until they finally gave me the claim and song/artist in question.
Then it finally dawned on me....
The copright violation was not for the platform having a sticker on it with a brand name - it was for the kitchen radio....
had to remove the sound track and do a voice over to have it published....
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
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