Will from FriedCircuits.us has been working on a new daisy-chainable LED Matrix Link prototype which makes use of a Maxim MAX7219 (which he will feature in his upcoming May wedding — fascinating!), so he has been investigating cheap sources for the IC suggested by friends and colleagues. His conclusion? Buyer beware when buying under market value on eBay. Learn more how to spot the fakes from his MobileWill blog:
I have been receiving feedback that I can use eBay suppliers to lower my price on the MAX7219. I had previously considered that option, but after some research I have found that a lot of people are receiving counterfeits on eBay. While some counterfeits may work, their reliability is questionable and that would make my product unreliable. I do not believe that it is “good business” to support businesses and companies which pirate technology and sell it as if it were legitimate. I sincerely hope everyone understands why I am skeptical about using an unknown supplier for parts. Here is a good forum post about coming across the fake variety: http://www.picaxeforum.co.uk/showthread.php?22481-Real-or-fake The more units I can sell initially will increase my per-part discount, which will allow me to lower my selling price.
For example if you look at the picture above, the line across the top is inline with pin 2. f you do a search on eBay or even Google image search you can see that they line up with pin 3. Also mine has a notch and the eBay ones all have a dimple. Not to mention there is no way someone can go to Maxim and get a price much lower then their lowest price they have.
You can buy [my new LED Matrix Link] on my Tindie shop here.
Each week on the Adafruit blog we post up about amazing companies, people and articles about being a MAKER and a business. Over the years we’ve shared how we run Adafruit, published code from our shopping cart system and given presentations on running an open-source hardware company. Every Monday we’re going to try to collect some of these resources and tag them #makerbusinessmonday & #makerbusiness. They’re in our popular Maker Business category as well, enjoy!