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Opening a hobby electronics store: help needed

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by dashy1981, Apr 7, 2014.

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  1. dashy1981


    Jun 19, 2013
    Hi All,

    I have been pondering over opening a hobby electronics store for a very very long time(around 4 yrs...). I need help from experts here regarding feasibility, basic components to be stocked and whom do i contact to get suppliers.

    I am a SW engineer by profession and have worked on device drivers for real time systems and linux. I am a hobbyist at heart, and have always have pursued electronics in my spare time.... and electronics projects are my only hobby. I come from India, and a bit of dilemma is there as my current job is paying me well(rather at the higher end compared to market salaries) :confused: . So I do not want to leave the job right away and am planning to setup this shop in parallel with my current job.... possible ???? maybe online to start with ???

    I love teaching. I am even planning to organize workshops for electronics projects.... will that be a good idea?

    What are your thoughts and inputs on my situation ?

    last but not the least, as I mentioned earlier.... where do i get components and from whom so that I can sell them at marginal profit. I tried searching through the web but could not get much help on the ecosystem of a hobby electronics store.

    Pls help !!!:)
  2. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

    Dec 18, 2013
    Where are you based.
  3. dashy1981


    Jun 19, 2013
    Im based in bangalore, India.
  4. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

    Dec 18, 2013
    For starters.

    Some items I would consider, But there are many many more. There are lots of component suppliers like. RS components, Farnell, CPC, Mouser, Digikey.
    Resistors: metal film and carbon of the common values E24 and E96 series in 1/4W, 1W, 2W, 5W etc.
    Wire wound resistors
    Resistor POTs of different power ratings
    Capacitors: Ceramic, Electrolytic, Tantalum in various values and voltage ratings. Too many to list
    Diodes: silicon and Shockley various power ratings
    Mains Transformers for small projects.
    Small sounders, buzzers and piezo discs
    NPN and PNP transistors, small signal, Darlington’s and some higher current versions.
    Various MOSFETS, N-Channel and P-Channel, again some higher current versions.
    Voltage regulators.
    Various coloured LEDs
    Various batteries, rechargeable and primary cells.
    Battery holders
    Prototyping PCB: Varo board
    Various bulbs
    Crystals various frequency popular one like 4MHz, 8MHz, 16MHz, 20MHz and 32.768KHz.
    CMOS and TTL logic gates like AND, NAND, OR, XOR, NOR, NOT, INVERTERS.
    IC Counters, flip flops, JK and D.
    PIC microcontrollers, 16 and 18 series. 8pin, 16pin, 28pin, 44pin.
    Audio amplifier ICs
    555 Timer
    IC sockets
    Faston terminals and crimp tool
    Various equipment wire. Tinned linking wire, enamel coated wire
    Mains Cable
    Mains plugs
    IEC leads
    RG type-Coax cable
    Various connectors
    Choc-blocks: 5A, 10A, 15A
    Soldering irons
    Solder braid
    Various hand tools, cutters, pliers, screwdrivers, wire strippers, solder suckers.
    Helping hands
    Bendy Lamps with and without magnifier.
    Bench top Power supplies
    Fume extraction units
    Digital Multi-meters.
    Heat Shrink and Tubing
    Electrical tape
    Small nuts and bolts and screws.
    Craft knifes
    Static mats and wrist straps
    Various enclosures for projects
    Various ready to build project like Velleman Kits
    Various Test equipment
  5. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    I'd consider trying to be a distributor for a large electronics manufacturer (or a few of them)
    to start out with. That way you wouldn't have to stock too many parts to begin with, as
    long as you have access to the manufacturer's supply chain to quickly obtain requested
    parts. Your inventory could grow from there.
    Good luck with the idea.
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    One major consideration is your market. Can you support them? Can you sell to them at prices they can afford and which are competitive with what is available through the internet?

    Have a look at what Colin Mitchell of "Talking Electronics" did in Australia many years ago. This guy combined a newsletter with projects and was successful for many years. There is no reason why that model can't succeed, and even succeed better with the assistance of the internet (one of his major costs was printing/distribution).

    My understanding is that it can be disproportionately expensive to import things into India from some sources, and that bodes well for a business that can provide a "local" option.

    Perhaps you can start with some kits and see how you go. That would be compatible with working and something that your family or other (relatively unskilled) people could assist with. Be aware of the need for good quality control with kits -- the worst thing is getting a kit and having a part missing.

    Maybe I'll visit you when I come to Bangalore and see how you're going :D (I don't actually have a trip planned, but I do want to go to Bangalore)

    What amount of experience do you have with electronics?
  7. jpanhalt


    Nov 12, 2013
  8. dashy1981


    Jun 19, 2013
    Regarding visiting bangalore, you are most welcome... its a nice place with a even climate.
    Let me know ur future plan in adv ... I'll possibly give you some tips and a visit to electronics components market :D

    My plan is to enter this field not to make money only by selling components... but to know the ecosystem.... End goal is to develop some product(which at this point is not even conceptualized).

    Regarding my experience:
    Having worked for around 11 yrs in embedded systems programming and being a hobbyist I want to work for my hobby and create something of my own. Office work although very complex does not satisfy the former, as you are working on a small area of a larger plan/product.

    My experience includes 8 bit Micros(8051), 16 bitMicros(XC2k from infineon), ARM.
    Drivers for PWM,ADC,Watchdog,SPI, I2C, CAN.
    Bootloader development on ARM based systems.
    Pre and Post silicon validation of ASIC blocks.

    Although I go through schematics provided by HW engineers in my org for all above roles but I do not do much in board design there. But due to my hobby I am familiar with basic components, circuits and can follow leads if provided by experienced people. For example i never use a dev board for 8051, rather i assemble all components on a breadboard always....

    so I need a start to understand the ecosystem, and even though not able to generate profit at start, it should atleast keep getting on with my minimum intervention and effort. I plan to add/design
    small hobby kits/breakout boards for beagle/adruino/raspberry etc... finally some day a world class product ;)
  9. dashy1981


    Jun 19, 2013
    John... there's no such formalized plans as of now... but my reply to steve has the basic facts and underlying thoughts which i have.

    Rather than following Welch's, at present I am working on below principle have read it by many guyz, crux of the idea is:
    "make your hobby your profession... that way work will be fun and you'll give 100% to it.
    Money will follow sooner or later"
  10. dashy1981


    Jun 19, 2013
    thx for that exhaustive list. How did you think of all of them in a single breadth. but that was wonderful....
    My plan was to see what online stores have to offer and then make a list out of it which should also fall in line with boards/kits I decide to sell and their daughter/supporting boards etc

    But how should I approach to wholesellers in my location ?
    These items and in what quantity.... considering faulty parts... courier service charges... packaging....

    I see lot of guyz selling on ebay based in india.... how do i get to know their modus operandi... from where they get stocks.... where they store... how do they manage quality control ?

    If you could throw light on these it'll be a great help....
  11. dashy1981


    Jun 19, 2013
    that sounds nice and thats what I am planning to start with... small addition could be some small motors,buzzers,resistor kits, wiresetc....

    Whom should i start interacting with considering steve's comment that sometimes it may be cost inefficient to get them in INdia....

    Recent work I have done on mini2440(samsung ARM9 boards) and beagle bone. Would it be a good idea to have them in stock ?
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