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The factory tours of Shenzhen: Jiafuh Metal & Plastics

Karl has been busy! The next episode of his video series “State of Electronics” is up already, and it covers a fascinating topic: how plastic parts are made for electronic products. For electronics hobbyists, most of the focus is on circuit boards and parts and all the bits that go inside a device. The idea of going to the next level and designing a custom-fabricated case or other part seems totally out of reach unless you use a low-volume, low-accuracy method like 3D printing.

In this episode Karl shows how the Jiafuh factory turns out millions of plastic parts for all sorts of products, including mobile phone chargers, product cases, and even car parts.

Maybe some time soon I’ll be able to do a custom injection-moulded case for a SuperHouse project šŸ™‚

Don’t forget to subscribe to Karl’s YouTube channel for more cool technical videos.

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The electronics markets of Shenzhen, China

If you can’t get enough of the Huaqiangbei electronics markets in Shenzhen, China, then check out this new video! My friend Karl has been very busy editing the footage he recorded on our recent trip to China, and he’s just released his latest video.

Please subscribe to his channel (State of Electronics) on YouTube if you want to see more of these types of videos.

Near the end of the video there’s discussion of some custom switches that I had manufactured while we were over there. They’ll be a major feature of an upcoming SuperHouse video about more advanced home automation light switches.

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Intermittent shipping next week: January 22 to 26

Next week I’ll be in Sydney for linux.conf.au, the big annual Linux and Open Source conference run by Linux Australia. While I’m away some orders may ship out, but it’s best to assume that any orders placed after today won’t ship until Monday, January 29.

If you’re coming along to linux.conf.au, ask around for Jonathan Oxer and come and say hi! I’ll be running the Open Hardware Miniconf on the first day of the conference so I should be easy to find. At the OHMC we’ll have a bunch of people building this little soccer-playing robot:

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The Makers Road to Shenzhen

My friend Karl von Moller came along with me and a few others on a recent trip to Shenzhen, China. Karl is a film-maker so he documented the trip extensively, and the first episode about the trip is up now:

He’ll be following up with more videos about what we saw on the trip, and my own video about our tour of ITEAD and visit to the Sonoff factory will be up soon too.

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Checkout problems in the online store

I’ve heard from a few people that they’ve tried making purchases from my new online store, but haven’t been able to complete checkout. A couple of people have reported that they couldn’t checkout, then tried again later and it worked – even though I hadn’t changed anything.

My theory is that the problem is with the Australia Post shipping calculation plugin that I’m using with WooCommerce. When you get to the part of the checkout where you enter your address, it uses the size and weight of your order to look up the shipping cost with Australia Post before you can complete the checkout. For some people this doesn’t seem to work, so it just sits there and goes nowhere.

Obviously this is really frustrating and I’d like to make sure it’s fixed, so if you have any problems with the online store please email me at jon@superhouse.tv. Having more information about exactly when the problem shows up would be a big help.

I’ve checked that all the products have weights and dimensions specified, but perhaps it has problems with some countries or specific destinations.

Sorry about the inconvenience šŸ™

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Landed in Shenzhen, China

I’ve now arrived in Shenzhen, China, which is the electronics capital of the world. I’m busy recording video and taking photos so that I can show everyone what it’s like here in the most high-tech city in the world.

This was the view from my hotel room window when I arrived last night:

Click the image for a larger version. It’s worth it!

The octagonal building you can see to the left that disappears above the top of the photo is SEG Plaza, the heart and soul of the electronics industry here. Every other commercial building you can see in that photo (and going out many blocks in every direction) is directly related to electronics manufacturing. There are entire buildings full of nothing but LED vendors. Buildings for case manufacturers. Buildings for cell phone parts. Buildings for LCD panels, both bare (OEM) and retail ready, and every stage in between.

If you’re interested in electronics and you haven’t heard of Shenzhen or the Huaqiangbei markets before, the next few videos that I upload will be eye-opening.

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Intermittent shipping during November while I’m in China

I’m heading off to Shenzhen, China, on Friday November 10th and returning on the 18th.

During that time I’ll have someone looking after shipping, but it will probably only be processed every few days.

Any orders placed today will be shipped before I leave, but after that there may be some delays until I return.

Hopefully I’ll come back with plenty of video of one of the most amazing cities in the world.

Thanks for your patience!

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Latest chapter in State of Electronics: The Rise of the Maker Movement

For many years now my friend Karl von Moller has been interviewing people within the Australian electronics industry to build a picture of the state of the industry, and to report on where it’s going.

The latest chapter is now up on YouTube. It features many local engineers and Makers, including myself, so you can see what I looked like when I briefly had the start of a beard! Karl will be travelling to Shenzhen, China with me at the end of next week, and this episode is a prelude to what will be reported back after that trip. The video thumbnail is actually me watching my DIY pick-and-place machine populating an ESP-8266 based PCB, and much of the background footage (including footage of Angus from Espressif working on that same board) was recorded in my lab.

Enjoy!

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Interfacing Arduino with MATLAB

MATLAB is a very popular tool often used by engineers for technical computing, data visualization, simulation and algorithm development. What many people donā€™t know is that it is possible to connect an Arduino compatible board to MATLAB. This can be achieved through theĀ MATLAB Support Package for ArduinoĀ which allows MATLAB to communicate to the Arduino through the USB cable. Not only does this give you to power to blink LEDs from MATLAB, but you can also configure your Arduino to easily collect data and send it into the MATLAB environment where it can be processed using the full power of your PC. Using the MATLAB environment it is also possible to create graphical interfaces to control hardware attached to your Arduino board, and much more! If you want to learn more about how this can be done there are many tutorials available including thisĀ oneĀ from fromĀ All About CircuitsĀ or thisĀ videoĀ series fromĀ MathworksĀ (the creators of MATLAB).

MATLAB

Want to keep in the loop about the latest in home automation? Subscribing to SuperHouse Automation onĀ YouTubeĀ is the best place to start!

Inspired to start work on this project? Are you working on a project you would like us to feature in this blog? The team at SuperHouse Automation would love to know! Tell us about it in the comments section below or onĀ FacebookĀ andĀ Twitter.