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Another Molex Order Needed
Posted on 01/23/2016

Geez, I'm beginning to think I should just buy stock in Molex. I'm on the verge of having to make another order for Molex parts, after I already made one toward the end of December for near $500 in various connectors, pins, board-to-board connectors. I've said it before, but it's amazing how quickly a little amount of parts add up. I'm really hoping that sales pick up a bit once I get a few new products out there so I can start getting some of these parts orders paid for. Anyway, I'm looking at another $300 order in parts because I need board-to-board connectors for the BallyStern Solenoid Output Tester and a few other designs. I could cut it down to about $200 probably, but enough of this stuff goes OOS everywhere for a while -- like they only produce it certain times of the year or when there's enough distributors back-ordering that they can justify a run of 100,000 units of a part. So although I'll probably sit on 100x or 200x of various connectors for a bit I don't want to chance having a Molex part hold up selling something. So I'm trying to split the difference and order "enough" so I'm not running out in a few months, but still keep it somewhat "sane" to not have it take years to pay off. I already have a few big boxes with Molex parts -- much of which I could probably have for 5-10 years because of the niche products I'm using them in. I actually hate thinking about how many thousands of dollars are probably wrapped up in those parts. Ideally I can sell enough of each product to offset material and design costs, and then it doesn't matter so much.. but that doesn't always happen very quick =P Well, here's hoping on this next round of parts!

First 2016 PCB Order In!
Posted on 01/19/2016

Been working some over the last week or so to get the first PCB order together. It should have gone relatively fast as some of the boards are just re-orders, but I had a few tweaks to just about everything & then wanted to get one of the newer designs mentioned on the Pinitech Lab thrown into the mix. So although it's not incredibly popular (per the waitlist), the Bally/Stern Solenoid Output Tester made the order. I've also ordered more MPU-200 Adapters and WPC Dedicated Switch Tester Boards since I ran out of bare boards for kits, so they have been unavailable except as assembled boards (which I'm low on anyway). Included some more of the Bally/Stern bench display boards as well. So look for some of those things to go back-in-stock as kits/bare boards sometime early February!

Yikes. New USPS Shipping Rates Take Effect
Posted on 01/19/2016

The new USPS rates have taken effect as of Sunday, 1/17/2016. Rates have gone up across the board and I've updated shipping rates for the shopping cart accordingly. I probably have some things to tweak for weights of some things going forward, but the bottom line is once again USPS rates are up -- near 20% in many cases. Unfortunately it looks like international rates went up even more than domestic rates -- they have been doing that over the last few years and there gets to be some pretty ridiculous shipping rates even for lighter items. I'll be taking a closer look at this soon to see what I can do to minimize the impact of these types of things -- maybe offer some shipping discounts on very large orders and just eat some of the shipping costs. What a pain!

New PCB Order Soon & A Few Other Updates
Posted on 01/09/2016

I've decided I'm going to split up a PCB order I had planned on making in January into two separate orders. The first order will be [mostly] items that I'm running low on. Ordering enough quantity of some of those boards about justifies a separate order in itself. I'll be trying to *squeeze in* the Bally/Stern Solenoid Output Tester in there as well (one of the newer designs on the Pinitech Lab page). And maybe another smaller board I haven't discussed yet. So at this point I'm shooting to get that in by the end of next week. Then I'll take some time wrapping up some designs for the 2nd PCB order that will likely occur closer to the end of January or sometime in February, which should hopefully include a few additional new designs I had been working on over in the Pinitech Lab.

The Universal Tester project -- that one is going to be a play-it-by-ear type of thing. I'll be trying to squeeze in some time to work on it in January/February but I also have quite a lot of project machines to work on that **need to go** to gain space back. So my plan there is to use a bunch of the equipment I've built over these last few years to start making headway through project machines over the winter months. Intertwined in that will be continued work on some new projects and most likely inspiration for some more one-off testers that can help making diagnosing of machines easier. It sounds good on paper at least, so that's going to be my direction for early 2016.

Time To Get Serious
Posted on 01/06/2016

It's time to get serious. Okay maybe not **too** serious, we're trying to have some fun here at PINITECH too and keep the overall mood light! Our case studies have shown that our workers are at their best when they're having fun ;-)

Anyway..

December was a bit of a whirlwind. Seems those happen pretty often. I've been working on my house A LOT still over the last year -- putting on a new deck. Luckily warm temperatures held out through early December.

As far as business goes, I've been fighting most of 2015 with inventory. It's non-existent for the most part. I have parts to build most things, but the "getting ahead" I did in early 2015 with building up inventory -- 5x or so of the lower volume sellers or a dozen or more of the couple of things that break out of single digit sales through the year -- all of that is pretty much gone. So instead of having an easy-go while working on house projects, I had to fit assembling/building things on-demand in there. Most things still shipped within a normal 2-3 day time frame. I'm pretty good with prioritizing what needs to be prioritized & I also put up notices on product detail pages for anything I expected a longer-than-usual delay in getting out. But the moral of the story is, the majority of what was shipped from about May/June 2015 thru January 2016 was built on-demand. Ran some holiday specials in December and had a good handful of orders go out up until I took the shopping cart down. Really didn't get a chance to get back into any of the new projects I had been working on since I was still building a lot of things on-demand.

So.. about being serious :) Yeah it's about time I get back into finishing up some of the new designs I had been working on. I had a few orders to wrap up from the beginning of the New Year & today I'll be shipping the last order that sold. Then my plate is clear [until the next order comes in anyway].

So it's time to organize workbenches, clean up workspaces and balance time between getting inventory levels built up so I'm not building everything on-demand (you waste so much time to doing that) and can get back into design. The first few weeks in January I'll be using to build up inventory and clean up some. Then I'll be getting more heavy into design and wrapping up a few of the projects that are close to being finished. There's also a few boards I'm very low on - MPU-200 Adapter Boards, WPC Dedicated Switch Testers and Bally/Stern Bench LED Displays. I don't make massive board orders for this stuff, usually just a few dozen boards at a time for designs. But I'm going to evaluate sales and see if I might as well just order 50x of certain designs so I'm not having to order them again in 6-12 months. This stuff sells relatively slow but you can still sometimes be caught off-guard as you deplete inventory.

I'm also changing the website a bit more and creating categories for the "BLOG" so I can separate what I want to appear on the main page versus just as part of the blog. Then I can update more frequently and not have the posts that don't need to go to the main page (ie. project updates, random thoughts, etc) going there. There's always something to improve with the website.

That's it for now. I might come back and update this post a bit more over the next few days, but at this point -- it's time to get this last order shipped off & start organizing / getting ready to go into "design mode" for a bit. I figure building inventory out is going to help immensely instead of having to break away from what I'm doing to build something on-demand. The catch is, I can't sacrifice 2-3 weeks doing only that and not get a PCB order in. So there's just going to be some splitting of time between some of the major priorities so a little of everything can happen.

GIVEAWAY CONTEST (Customer Appreciation)
Posted on 12/12/2015

Want to win some free PINITECH gear? Now through January 8th you can enter into the PINITECH GIVEAWAY CONTEST over at https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pinitechcom-december-sales-on-diagnostic-tools It's easy to enter, just post to that thread with a picture of the diagnostic equipment you previously bought *OR* just say what you bought and how it's helped you with diagnosing/troubleshooting pinball machines. Contest is open from now through January 8th. One entry per customer.

New WAITLIST for new projects (Pinitech Lab)
Posted on 12/04/2015

Forgot to mention this a few weeks ago, but moving over to doing a waitlist for new projects to gauge interest & ultimately decide which projects get priority. This is all happening over at the Pinitech Lab section of the website, where you can find out about new projects being worked on, read about them and decide if it's something you'd be interested in when if/when it's available. Since many of these pinball projects are pretty niche, I've felt this is a better way to go about judging interest & ultimately deciding priorities on which projects happen first. Some projects may not happen at all if there's not much interest in them. So check out the Pinitech Lab & if a project tickles your fancy, get signed up! Just need an email and name, which will only be used for unique database entries & possibly at some point in the future notifying those interested in a project when it becomes available.

Universal Lamp / Solenoid Tester (Project Info)
Posted on 11/15/2015

Added some project info on a Universal Lamp / Solenoid Tester (for pinball machines) I've been working on over in the Pinitech Lab.  Currently under development and always looking for suggestions and feedback on new designs, so if it's something that interests you or if you have any suggestions on it -- let me know via the contact page or this Pinside thread.

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