Maker Pro
Maker Pro

Home Based Income as an Electronics Hobbyist

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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the last 10 years I've been making/selling curries!
Now that’s interesting and slightly off topic but can I ask, do you make authentic or (BIR) British Indian restaurant style?.
I’ve tried every single curry house in London over the years. Haven’t been up north for a curry though.
I constantly ask my favourite curry house for their base gravy ingredients. In fact, as my curry house favourite changes, I find out the chef has moved there. My bases are good but ‘something’ is still missing!.

Martin
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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Mix of three actually - BIR, authentic and some my own recipe.

Had a curry in one of Glasgows 'finest' eateries last weekend - awful. Seriously. I have no idea how they get away with it!
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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I’ll have to pick your brains for a few tips!.
Had more than my fair share of terrible restaurants. Tooting and East London have the best. Southall is too authentic for me. And dirty.

Martin
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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I’ll have to pick your brains for a few tips!.

:D sorry - I don't do tips! I've had customers wanting to pay me for my recipes and I refuse point blank! When I eventually give this part of my life a rest (couple of years time) I intend to write a book about the adventure we had creating our business and it will, of course, include all the recipes.

Until then you'll just have to come and buy a meal!

Sorry to the OP for the diversion :)
 

Nanren888

Nov 8, 2015
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Not saying it's automatically for you, but some who have done those digital courses and even microprocessors find that software, particularly embedded software is something that is easily within reach and interests.
If you look at the freelancing sites, there's a range of offers, including producing prototypes &c. The IoT space is interesting.
There are of course a million young guys out there that live to do such things.
I've had the luck to be involved in a couple of projects in art-meets-technology. Not really my thing usually, but one advantage of being connected with teams.

With the changes in electronics in recent years, it's become a lot easier to put things together, connection standards such as IIC, sort of plug and play, that are more likely to go without much in the way of calculations. It seems the embedded software is more the bottleneck, as it implements the bit that's new.
This ease of plugging things together also means there are a lot of people putting things together that sound ok, but are never going to go.
Getting connected with the need is not always easy.

I am pre-retirement, so can't claim experience.
Hope it works for you.
 

Audioguru

Sep 24, 2016
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Income? I am old so I am retired. Every day is a "Saturday" and I do almost whatever I want whenever I want.

I made some savings and good investments during my electronics career and my government pays me and my wife pensions and other bonuses for seniors. Health care is paid by the government. I ask for and get a seniors discount on many things I purchase. I paid off the mortgage on my home years ago and now its value is more than 10 times what I paid 38 years ago. Life is good.
 

John R Retired

Mar 13, 2022
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"With the changes in electronics in recent years, it's become a lot easier to put things together, connection standards such as IIC, sort of plug and play, that are more likely to go without much in the way of calculations. It seems the embedded software is more the bottleneck, as it implements the bit that's new."

If you are talking about Arduino type "so called" electronics projects that is NOT electronics. People who do that are called, "Makers"
even though they are assembling projects with electronic circuits. It's just slapping together some devices, like you would plug in some speakers on your TV console, and then programming them, like you would program a 3D printer with some software.
Electronics is different. It is actually working with electronic components, the laws of electricity and magnetism and the characteristics. of electrical circuits and some physics, to create some kind of practical device.
 

John R Retired

Mar 13, 2022
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Income? I am old so I am retired. Every day is a "Saturday" and I do almost whatever I want whenever I want.

I made some savings and good investments during my electronics career and my government pays me and my wife pensions and other bonuses for seniors. Health care is paid by the government. I ask for and get a seniors discount on many things I purchase. I paid off the mortgage on my home years ago and now its value is more than 10 times what I paid 38 years ago. Life is good.

I am happy for you.

Everyone who is old and retired is not in that situation however.
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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We've given you as much help on this as we can - it would be nice to hear some of your own thoughts on the comments made and maybe something more of your own skill set?

Fault location and repair is a 'skill' as much as it is reliant on knowing the theory - using the various senses to detect issues before even approaching with test equipment for example. Prior knowledge helps a lot and that can only be acquired over time so if this is a 'first foray' into repairs then it could be a long slog - certainly not a profitable one as you need results, quickly in most cases, to get the reputation that is key to making this a success.

Having the test gear is quite different from knowing how to use it and interpret the results too. Soldering is, perhaps, the last required skill unless you acquaint yourself with those 'magical invisible' devices known as surface-mount - people that can work those components (particularly the large, multi-pin processors etc) have particular skills to achieve it that not many old fashioned solderers have. I've been soldering for 50 years and will tackle SMD stuff only as a last resort - not least because of eyesight issues (easily resolved with digital microscopes though) but the level of investment and learning time required to handle the stuff - and that's AFTER you learn the skills at locating the fault in those kind of circuits!

So - has anything we mentioned ticked any boxes for you or at least given you encouragement? Or have we, potentially, put too many obstacles in your path?
 

John R Retired

Mar 13, 2022
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We've given you as much help on this as we can - it would be nice to hear some of your own thoughts on the comments made and maybe something more of your own skill set?

Fault location and repair is a 'skill' as much as it is reliant on knowing the theory - using the various senses to detect issues before even approaching with test equipment for example. Prior knowledge helps a lot and that can only be acquired over time so if this is a 'first foray' into repairs then it could be a long slog - certainly not a profitable one as you need results, quickly in most cases, to get the reputation that is key to making this a success.

Having the test gear is quite different from knowing how to use it and interpret the results too. Soldering is, perhaps, the last required skill unless you acquaint yourself with those 'magical invisible' devices known as surface-mount - people that can work those components (particularly the large, multi-pin processors etc) have particular skills to achieve it that not many old fashioned solderers have. I've been soldering for 50 years and will tackle SMD stuff only as a last resort - not least because of eyesight issues (easily resolved with digital microscopes though) but the level of investment and learning time required to handle the stuff - and that's AFTER you learn the skills at locating the fault in those kind of circuits!

So - has anything we mentioned ticked any boxes for you or at least given you encouragement? Or have we, potentially, put too many obstacles in your path?

Like I said in my experience with an SMD soldering job test, I could barely even see the resistor, and if I breathed too hard they would blow away. Not something I would want to work at and almost walked out of the place, but did do the regular wire and component soldering anyway. I need something I can actually hold in my hand and see without a microscope.
That being said, according to what you are saying, aside from a hobby for my own enjoyment, I probably would not be able to turn around repairs quickly as I don't have 50 years of experience like you and I really have never liked the idea of sitting around in some poorly lit repair shop like I have seen others do, pulling out my hair trying to figure out why some TV or amplifier does not work every day. Probably at best, maybe I could invent some type of device and sell it as I think I'm smart enough to do that.
As I said in the opening, I've taken some college level classes in electronics, including AC, DC, Tubes, semiconductors, digital & boolean algebra, microprocessors and had some basic electricity school in the Navy including assisting ETs in the transmitter room and working in radio communications. I've also done a lot of soldering and wiring in aerospace jobs. I'm aware of the throwaway electronics black box economy that exists nowadays so I have no unrealistic expectations and also know that so much of electronics manufacturing has moved to China. Nevertheless, I have been looking for some kind of niche as an electronics hobbyist doing
something that could earn some extra money, but maybe that avenue is dead currently, except for the vintage repair that you have talked about. Also, it seems this message board is located around the British Isles, Scotland etc., and I don't know if the market is the
same in the USA where I live, although I suspect it is similar. Bottom line is I like working with electronics, especially on my time, on my terms (in contrast to working for some corporation) and thought there might be some vista where a person could make some extra $$$ nowadays. According to you, unless someone has years of troubleshooting experience acute senses and "Skills", it does seem like "flogging a dead horse" as another poster has said here, although I don't want to give up and quit the idea just yet. There might be some opportunity out there, who knows....
 
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kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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I wasn't even aware that this forum is 'England/Scottish' based! I knew it was created by a Brit but it has a global feel to it given that a lot of posters are overseas (from my perspective). But the location of the site is irrelevant in respect to electronics as a hobby or as a whole.

With all due respect I don't feel as if your experience would be sufficient to allow you to make an income from repairing electronic stuff - stating that:
pulling out my hair trying to figure out why some TV or amplifier does not work every day.
doesn't cut with reality as anyone with suitable skill/experience won't be 'frustrated' by a repair - they'd just be following a well trodden and experienced path to the solution.

With that in mind, the restoration and potential repair of vintage electronics would seem to fit your skills and, perhaps, full-fill the requirement for financial return. I know (personally) of a previously non-electronic guy (again, retired) who took it upon himself to restore an ancient TV set (1940's IIRC) and managed to do so with massive assistance - freely given - from a vintage radio forum and the end result was spectacular. I'll see if I can find the thread..... (here it is - it's a long read but I suggest you bookmark the forum itself if you decide to go the vintage repair route as that place is a fantastic resource, full of helpful advice and clever people).

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=62371

That same guy (his online name was actually 'retired') was also a member of a DIY forum where I first met him and he even turned some parts on a lathe for a project of mine - really genuine and helpful chap.

Vintage equipment restoration has its advocates and healthy markets all across the globe and there are so many subsets of 'vintagism' that you can pick and choose since it doesn't necessarily mean electronic equipment either. Household items, toys, tools, you name it, there is a vintage market for it and since you're US-based you have a lot more opportunities to collect such stuff at garage sales, swap meets and so on than certainly I do (I'm so remote that I'm lucky to get to one a YEAR).

As an example of non-electronic 'vintagism' there are collectors of wood working tools that pay a fortune for classic wood planes and they're not difficult to restore and sometimes found very cheaply at sales/swap meets etc.

You have to make a decision on which direction you want to take this now and then do some research (books/internet) on the history and value of items then move in the direction of the skills you possess.

Good luck to you - whatever route this takes you.
 

John R Retired

Mar 13, 2022
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With all due respect I don't feel as if your experience would be sufficient to allow you to make an income from repairing electronic stuff - stating that:

"pulling out my hair trying to figure out why some TV or amplifier does not work every day."

Actually I tried to delete that sentence because I figured I would get a response similar to yours, but I could not find an edit button to delete it..
What I was trying to say was that I would not want to spend all my spare time in a "TV Repair shop" type situation, with my head buried in broken electronic equipment doing that type of work. (as I witnessed others doing). That does not mean, that I would be adverse to fixing some devices as required...sometimes....2 different scenarios.

Thanks for your advice on restoring vintage equipment. However, that seems to be a lot like the TV Repair Shop scenario I just described above only with broken vintage gear.

I see myself going more the inventor, innovator route and eventually marketing some unique electronic devices.
 

MollieBanks

Jan 24, 2023
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Hi! You may offer repair services for home electronics such as smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets. Another idea would be to sell your designs and products online through e-commerce platforms or marketplaces. You may offer your expertise and advice to individuals or businesses who need help. You may also create and sell online courses or tutorials on electronics design, repair, and construction. However, all of these plans require investments.
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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Hi! You may offer repair services for home electronics such as smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets. Another idea would be to sell your designs and products online through e-commerce platforms or marketplaces. You may offer your expertise and advice to individuals or businesses who need help. You may also create and sell online courses or tutorials on electronics design, repair, and construction. However, all of these plans require investments.
I’m in love.
 

Externet

Aug 24, 2009
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Years looking for an electronics student, hobbyist, tinkerer, retired engineer; a photocopy of me from 30 years ago, went to post ads at a couple of universities asking for someone skilled to make a few dollars helping me with soldering, prototyping, designing... Nobody interested in other than playing fu...ng Nintendos and crap. Doing it long distance is iffy; but if anyone can or is near zip 40391 I would attempt such.
Did not find even electronics technician groups in Craigslist nor facebook communities. Getting unsteady hands, poor vision, foggy thinking is the shits. Even offered my tools and test equipment. No success. Sold several oscilloscopes and testers, asked the buyers if they would engage in prototyping. Did not find candidates. And what I want done is simple and not surface mount.:confused:
 
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Delta Prime

Jul 29, 2020
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No success. Sold several oscilloscopes and testers, asked the buyers if they would engage in prototyping. Did not find candidates. And what I want done is simple and not surface mount.
Winchester Kentucky!
I remember you.I'm in California. I'll do the first 10 unit for free. Consider it a professional courtesy. After all I was the self-imposed unofficial sergeant at arms for the Brain trust! Doesn't matter what it is. It's just old hack to me. If you like my work then we could talk price.
I hope you're not a dry county. Your bourbon is most exceptional.
 

Externet

Aug 24, 2009
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Thank you ! Will message directly. I was in a dry county the first years here, moved next to Bourbon County now. And served one minutes ago. Sorry, looked at my glass and is half way gone at the moment, so it is fun in progress. :p
 
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