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Ethics of buying electronic modules from Chinese sites?

TCSC47

Mar 7, 2016
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Hi All
I buy a lot of the small pcb modules that are available directly from Chinese sites such as Banggood and Hobby King simply because they are so cheap. A few £ for something that would have cost hundreds a few years ago and I think -- "I'm sure I can do something with that!" Examples are a dust particle detector for £25 that really works and tells me how effective my air purifier is. Looking up the prices of the individual components I could not build the thing myself for less than twice the cost of it.

Many Arduino boards that are quite a bit cheaper than any from Amazon and such, amplifier modules with incredible specs, digital meter modules etc. etc. You have to peruse the websites waiting for the bargains and check carefully for the postal charges though.

I have to admit that many of the modules are sitting in my box waiting for me to play with at some later date, but that is a matter for me rather than the Chinese sites themselves!

So what ethics should I consider? How many of these modules are knock offs and breaking copyright? I know that my intelligent battery charger is certainly one, but it performs adequately for me. I didn't know it was a knock off until after I bought it.

Are the Chinese manufacturers trying to undermine western electronic manufacturing or are these modules simply left over from the all the modules that we find in so much of western manufactured goods?

Then there is the fact that China is an oppressive regime that is flexing its military muscle outside its boarders - but are they any worse than what we have in the rest of the world?

What do people here think about it all?
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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Whist there are undoubtedly many knock offs of western design, China is one of the biggest producers/manufacturers of these modules for the main retail outlets and the stuff you buy 'direct' is almost always the same as you can purchase for a LOT more money from the named suppliers like Mouser et al.

Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware.

At least with the 'named' suppliers you have come-back i.e. warranty you can fall back on but when you can purchase three or four modules from China for the price of ONE from Mouser the choice becomes somewhat easier.

Of all the modules I've ever purchased direct from China I have found ONE with a fault - an obvious solder parts placement error, easily rectified.

Many Chinese retailers of these modules have taken care to establish a good reputation so you can feel safe ordering - equally there are others that try to palm off 'rejects' or outright fakes that simply don't work and you have to take the appropriate measures to discover this for yourself hence the Caveat Emptor. I'm sure other forum members could recommend Chinese sources that they've found to be honest and reliable..... anyone care to jump in here? I use a seller called alice1101983 on Ebay.

Some named retailers take the pizz - charge silly prices for stuff you know can be bought real cheaply direct from China but, to be fair, they do have their overheads (I know this as I run a business too) but for the average DIY/Hacker/Builder who wants to experiment/play then there's nothing wrong with spending 'pennies' to see what you can achieve. After all, if it results in something that has true market value then you'll end up using China to have them manufactured anyway!

You will also find 'intermediaries' that purchase bulk from China and resell in your own country via the likes of Ebay and just add a 10% or 20% margin over the direct prices. Presumably, because they are UK-based (in my example) I could use Consumer Protection Laws to ensure I got a working device, refund or replacement therefore can get the 'warranty'cheaper than using the 'named' suppliers.

YMMV
 

Delta Prime

Jul 29, 2020
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What do people here think about it all?
I like it when my battery packs from China are shipped to my house fully charged...
They're innovators as well as intellectual property theaves, companies in China are spending an exorbitant amount of their own business profits in research and development.
Major US tech companies also find it profitable building there manufacturing facilities in China.
All the major innovations throughout history have been made in times of war; how efficiently
Ruthlessness, human beings have become in dispatching their own kind. Moduley...
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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I believe Maplin went out of business because they were selling the same items that you can buy direct via eBay for a fraction of the price.
1 LED used to be £1.25 in Maplin. 500 LEDs from China a couple of quid.
A cheap dash cam from Maplin, £69.99. Exactly the same item from China, £6.50. It’s a no brainer.
Ethical?, if you don’t buy, someone else will. So it might as well be you. But obviously there are fakes and some dangerous items out there.
As stated-buyer beware.
I’ll take my chances!
 

Harald Kapp

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Where do you think the expensive "locally supplied" parts and modules come from? Most (not all, I'm aware of that) also come from China. Of course the dealers in the cahin all want to make some money. On the other hand you are better off (or at least you should be) when you encounter an issue with a "locally sourced part. You can contact your dealer and get a refund or a replacement. Difficult to impossible when you buy in China.

So with respect to ethics the dealer in China may profit even more from selling a low cost part directly to you than he gets when selling it down a chain of dealers. In the end the parts and modules are probably all built by the same people or machines in the same factories.

I've had mainly good experiences with buying from B...d or A..s, but then again I have bought parts that were only reasonably lower price.
If the part is unreasonably cheap, I guess you can't expect quality. You get what you pay for.
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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My in-laws purchased a very expensive chandelier from some UK-based lighting specialists. It used around 24 LED type filament bulbs that the chandelier supplier charged £15 per bulb! The in-laws were happy with this as they also got a 'lifetime' warranty for each bulb - hardly surprising since I could purchase the very same bulbs direct from China for £1.
 

ivak245

Jun 11, 2021
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Low voltage DC operated gear is OK from China, but I don't trust mains powered equipment that is purchased directly from there. Most countries require an approval before the imported gear is sold in that country, hopefully they have torn down and inspected the samples supplied by the importer. The modules are cheap enough to be considered disposable, I have had several failures, but they were quickly replaced for pennies. I'm sure everyone has seen Big Clive's teardowns on Youtube, some are downright deadly!
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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Low voltage DC operated gear is OK from China, but I don't trust mains powered equipment that is purchased directly from there. Most countries require an approval before the imported gear is sold in that country, hopefully they have torn down and inspected the samples supplied by the importer. The modules are cheap enough to be considered disposable, I have had several failures, but they were quickly replaced for pennies. I'm sure everyone has seen Big Clive's teardowns on Youtube, some are downright deadly!
Absolutely. Low voltage DC.
However, Louis Rossman did a test of car blade fuses from Amazons top sellers. The 2A fuses finally triggered (blew) at nearly 10A!. Some didn’t at all. They were only thick metal direct to each blade.
Now that is very concerning.
 

TCSC47

Mar 7, 2016
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OK. Everybody seems reasonably happy with the Chinese products and we are probably buying the electronic modules through a lot of so called western products anyway, but what about China being an expansionist country with a poor history of human rights and presently attempting to claim land in the Pacific to extend its territorial waters.
Here in the UK our security forces have publicly stated that there could well be a problem with Chinese internet and phone electronics which are required by law to release all data including any they have of ours to the Chinese government. A friend of mine who works for GCHQ (the British electronic world wide monitoring and security group) told me that they actually consider China to be a greater threat to UK security than Putin and Russia which is saying alot!

https://thehill.com/opinion/cyberse...heft-of-your-data-is-now-a-legal-requirement/
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/05/hua...ata-to-china-government-if-asked-experts.html
 

Delta Prime

Jul 29, 2020
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Here in the UK our security forces have publicly stated that there could well be a problem with Chinese internet and phone electronics which are required by law to release all data including any they have of ours to the Chinese government
Gathering information through electronics? Collaboration, coercion among government agencies in the private sector is a common practice .
Private tech companies with big-data analytics capabilities to process massive sets of information, including data obtained from hacks, operate within a system where there are incentives and expectations .
China is just getting their feet wet... I hope well known politics does not encompass the entire scope of this topic.
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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As far as data gathering is concerned the Chinese and Russia can't hold a flag to the likes of the NSA, GCHQ, MOSSAD etc. If you don't want your information 'gathered' then don't produce information. Simples!

BTW, Putin has never been a threat to the UK or the West in general. Don't believe the propaganda.
 

TCSC47

Mar 7, 2016
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Presumably you don't know about the Salisbury poisonings.
 

TCSC47

Mar 7, 2016
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Are you just having fun here, DP or are you being serious? Ironic humour doesn't always translate through this sort of media.
 

kellys_eye

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Presumably you don't know about the Salisbury poisonings.
I don't just believe everything the MSM (especially the BBC) have to say about ANYTHING.

And, on the basis of your 'knowledge', you don't know about Dr David Kelly.
 
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shrtrnd

Jan 15, 2010
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Here's my 2-cents worth (probably an American saying, that means 'take it for what it's worth').
Most everybody seems happy with Chinese Communist electronics, and of course businesses everywhere like to have their products
made there due to cheap labor costs. TSCS47 asked about the 'ethics' of buying from the ChiComs, so here's my input:
The ChiComs undercut everybody else's prices to put their 'Western' competitors out of business and monopolize markets, which is
tried-and-true capitalism. What is capitalism, that scorned 'Western' philosophy? It's an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. Who are the 'private owners' in Communist China, why that
would be Communist China, regardless of the wealthy ChiCom oligarchs (who have to tow the party line to obtain that status).
What does Communist China do with that economic and political capital?
1) They put 'Western' workers out-of-business by substituting cheap labor by their own people who have no say in their workplace safety or protections offered to 'Westerners', while polluting their own countryside with the waste material 'Westerners' won't tolerate in their own countries.
2) They invest in military capabilities intended to control previously 'free' trade routes. If the trade routes are already 'free', why would it be necessary for them to put military hardware in-place to interdict those free trade routes?

I know the Moderators here maintain a reasoned policy about avoiding political arguments, and I don't know if this post violates their policy, but that's my take on the ethics of buying from Communist China.
Many times we have no choice but to buy 'few problem' ChiCom products. But I fear, the problems of doing so, are going to result
in a future 'problem' with the exercise of 'free trade' worldwide that does not bode well for our future.
 

TCSC47

Mar 7, 2016
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I don't just believe everything the MSM (especially the BBC) have to say about ANYTHING.

And, on the basis of your 'knowledge', you don't know about Dr David Kelly.
I am well aware of what happened to Dr. Kelly. All my life I have been trying to figure out who are the good guys and the bad guys and I still haven't come up with an answer. Hence my OP.
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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What the Chicoms do to try to undermine the West is not of any concern whatsoever.

Your concerns should be with those that PERMIT them to get away with it. Your own Governments could stop businesses off-shoring manufacture, could close borders to cheap imports (or tax them more), could attack the IPR abuses (copyright infringement).

I'm watching as our own Government (UK) uses deliberate policy to make energy so expensive that all 'nationally important' companies (steel, aluminium and heavy engineering) is offshored. I'm watching as our own Government introduce rules and regulations - not just over the manufacturing and/or products but also with personnel recruitment, equality, race, diversity (FFS) etc - that hamstring business.

I watch as our Government kowtows to Globalist 'instructions', again detrimental to the people/workers of this country - that allow foreign investors to take over critical infrastructure and allow all the profits (that originally originated from PUBLIC investment in many cases) to go overseas - that demonise petro chemicals, fertilisers, coal and gas as 'harmful'. Beyond belief and utterly ludicrous assumptions based on falsehoods.

I watch (in horror) as Government(s) push the climate change/CO2 LIE to beggar and control us all.

None of this is as a result of Chicom manufacture of cheap electronics.

This is all self-inflicted. Deliberate destruction.

Why?
 
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