0

Ternary electronics kitbiz?
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Forum rules
Get help, and assist others in with open source kits and running a business! Do not ask for legal advice or for consulting services in this forum, only general biz questions!
Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by Shaos on Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:44 am

I'm trying to sell my 1st PCB through batchpcb.com (not yet a kit and for very little profit):
http://batchpcb.com/index.php/Products/47438
Design files for Eagle (I chose GPL v3 as a license):
http://www.trimux.com
Components (directly from Mouser):
http://www.mouser.com/ProjectManager/Pr ... 38f4dfdfd8

Image

This board is a dual ternary multiplexer/demultiplexer - building block for any ternary device (potentially even ternary computer)!
Currently I'm working on software (also GPLv3) that generates ternary schematics based on ternary true tables
Will it be interesting for geeks? Any suggestions?...
www.nedocon.com
User avatar
Shaos
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Long Island

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by Shaos on Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:19 am

So it looks like ternary alternative is not very popular ;)

P.S. This is ternary half-adder that is built from 3 TRIMUX devices:

Image

P.P.S. So my idea was that to build something useful you need more than one device.
It means one person who is interested in this subject potentially may buy a number of pcbs/kits, right?...
www.nedocon.com
User avatar
Shaos
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Long Island

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by brucef on Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:39 pm

Shaos wrote:So it looks like ternary alternative is not very popular ;)

It sounds kinda cool, and the parts definitely look cool, but I doubt there's a lot of people sitting around saying to themselves, "self, you need a ternary half-adder."

You'd really have to put some effort into explaining to people why they want these things, aka marketing. At a minimum, you'd need to demonstrate some sort of a practical working project using trimuxes, I would think. Something that ends with a handful of traces on an oscilloscope wouldn't be that convincing, IMO.
- Bruce

brucef
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 4:51 pm

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:57 pm

I did some ternary circuit design in grad-school. Balanced ternary math is really pretty slick. But then, it is pretty esoteric. I think maybe you need some sample projects to get people started with it.

adafruit_support_bill
 
Posts: 70075
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:11 am

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by Shaos on Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:14 pm

OK, thanks! I see your point. I have a number of simple examples in my head.
Is it enough to have application schematics as above or it has to be kind of "breadboard-like"?
Should I think about some kind of user-friendly simulation software similar to Fritzing?
www.nedocon.com
User avatar
Shaos
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Long Island

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by brucef on Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:35 am

Shaos wrote:OK, thanks! I see your point. I have a number of simple examples in my head.
Is it enough to have application schematics as above or it has to be kind of "breadboard-like"?
Should I think about some kind of user-friendly simulation software similar to Fritzing?

Is it correct to assume you're hoping to run a serious business (as opposed to selling a handful of boards to a couple hobbyists) if you actually bought that $550 PCB shear you linked to some time back? I don't know much about ternary logic, but I am a partner in a small business. Looking at your stuff, I have a few thoughts that might be useful.

On the plus side, you've got an eye-catching triangular PCB and a unique idea, which is great. Also a really nice domain name in trimux.com. That's not a bad start.

In my opinion, the first thing you're going to have to sort out is cost. Currently you're expecting people to pay $13 for a bare board and $10+ in parts. Subtract small quantity discounts and add shipping and taxes, lets call it $25/board. To make your half adder example you need three boards. Are you really expecting there's a big market for $75 DIY half adders? And remember that not only does it have to be affordable, it also has to be profitable.

Assuming you solve that, the next issue is your website. I'd scrap the big Flash page at trimux.com and build a proper website, i.e. one with content that can be usefully indexed by search engines. And for the love of all that's holy, don't make people guess what they'll get if they click on various parts of the page; I've got several copies of your Eagle files now that I never asked for.

To replace the current site, even just WordPress with a nice theme might be a good enough place to start. On your new site, explain what ternary logic is, how it works, show some simple circuits designs, talk about what advantages it offers over binary logic. Describe a few good science fair project ideas or something, if you think you could come up with something suitable.

Then there's networking. You probably need to build some parts and do a bit of a dog and pony show at local maker events so you get to know people who know this business and get some in-person feedback. If you start to feel some significant interest, maybe then you can start to think about what sort of kit combos you could actually sell.

I'm sure there's much more than that to think about, but I've jawed on quite long enough. Whatever you do, good luck. I hope something works out.
- Bruce

brucef
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 4:51 pm

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by Shaos on Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:55 am

Thank you for a long response!
It is not hope for "a serious business" yet - it is just a hobby (at least for now), because I have a good job as a system software developer (and have some spare money for such things as a shear and some spare time when I don't play with my two daughters)
I have not only that in my mind - I also have some pic boards, sx boards, etc.
Also I have WordPress - see http://shaos.net
And web-site about hypothetical ternary computer - see http://3niti.org
And web-site about balanced ternary - see http://ternary.info (mixed English and Russian)
And almost 10-year old web-site about any hobbyist-friendly electronics - see http://nedopc.org/forum/ (mostly in Russian)
And finally http://nedoel.com and http://twitter.com/nedoel
I believe that bunch of web-sites are really helping in google search results when they are talking about the same thing from different angles ;)
For example try to search for "ternary computer" or "ternary multiplexer" :)
So, yes - trimux.com was just a placeholder, I definitely throw this out sooner or later
I'm still thinking about structure of my potential business web-sites - web-site per product or web-site per approach (binary vs. ternary) or (and?) just one huge web-site with all products with sort and filter features (or it has to be one store and bunch of product specific web-sites?)
www.nedocon.com
User avatar
Shaos
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Long Island

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:48 pm

I think the biggest obstacle to sales is that most people have never heard of ternary logic and have no clue what it is good for. I think you need to have some working examples of things you can build with your board, and probably some step-by-step starter projects to get people going.

The board itself is nicely done and I like the triangular form-factor. I think you could put them together into some very attractive assemblies with blinking lights that could easily out-geek a binary clock. :wink:

adafruit_support_bill
 
Posts: 70075
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:11 am

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by Shaos on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:00 pm

adafruit_support wrote:I think the biggest obstacle to sales is that most people have never heard of ternary logic and have no clue what it is good for. I think you need to have some working examples of things you can build with your board, and probably some step-by-step starter projects to get people going.

The board itself is nicely done and I like the triangular form-factor. I think you could put them together into some very attractive assemblies with blinking lights that could easily out-geek a binary clock. :wink:


Actually I already have "ternary clock" designed around binary MCU (PIC16F870): http://youtu.be/YI9Cnodw9yc
Will it be interesting for people to have ternary emulated in binary? It's cheaper than having "true ternary" solution composed from TRIMUXes...
www.nedocon.com
User avatar
Shaos
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Long Island

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:25 am

Will it be interesting for people to have ternary emulated in binary? It's cheaper than having "true ternary" solution composed from TRIMUXes...

Maybe. As geeky desk-widgets go, an array of tri-state leds with an even more obscure encoding trumps the now commonplace binary clock. But the trimux form-factor hints at possibilities of a truly stunning bit (trit?) of desk-sculpture. Even if it turns out to be more practical to implement with binary emulation, I'd give some serious thought to the aesthetic possibilities of the triangular motif.

adafruit_support_bill
 
Posts: 70075
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:11 am

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by Shaos on Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:57 pm

adafruit_support wrote:
Will it be interesting for people to have ternary emulated in binary? It's cheaper than having "true ternary" solution composed from TRIMUXes...

Maybe. As geeky desk-widgets go, an array of tri-state leds with an even more obscure encoding trumps the now commonplace binary clock. But the trimux form-factor hints at possibilities of a truly stunning bit (trit?) of desk-sculpture. Even if it turns out to be more practical to implement with binary emulation, I'd give some serious thought to the aesthetic possibilities of the triangular motif.


"True ternary" clock with ternary seconds, minutes and hours will require approximately 60 TRIMUXes to build - I'm affraid very few geeky millionaires will be able to buy it "for fun"...

But timer that counts just seconds may be built from up to 20 TRIMUXes and it looks like more realistic target
www.nedocon.com
User avatar
Shaos
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Long Island

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by Shaos on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:26 am

I'm thinking what if I create online simulator of ternary schemes that are constructed from TRIMUXes? Kind of workbench that consists of virtual breadoards where any user may put virtual TRIMUXes, red/green LEDs, resistors, capacitors, buttons and wires to get something interesting? Will it help to sell real TRIMUXes?...
www.nedocon.com
User avatar
Shaos
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Long Island

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by itcamefrommars on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:46 pm

I think one of the big reasons alot of people would pass it up is the concept behind this all.
I mean - I only yesterday became an expert on ternary ideas (because of wikipedia of course)...

All seriousness aside though, the idea of a simulator is great to get people to realize a little bit of what is going on, and what can be done......
but putting the circuit together is not of too much interest compared to the math and logic behind it.
Now thats what I think would be the biggest reason the stumble-on button gets hit and you get passed up.

Now if you simulate the concepts, the logic involved... I'm def interested!
Too much work otherwise as it is a bit seemingly esoteric to the average joe...
and the hardcore math/EE/logic person would just go build their own.

How about a mathmatica simulation! It can be posted on their site of simu's that work with their mathmatica player...
it would cross promote you...
and furthermore... a big market you are probably missing here is education! And a conceptual simulation is what would be of interest there.

Unlike a java sim... the mathematica player needs to be installed... but for your audience - if they dont have it already, they'd prolly be happy to learn about it and have a reason to install it.

ok... i said in another post I'd be non-verbose... i don't think I'm capable - so forget that.

Last comment I'll make for now... you're product doesn't seem very viable to the hobbiest, not at all...
Now, I wouldn't be so harshly and honestly critical if I didn't see something good here...
There is nothing like this available in education... and there are many universities that would eat this up... and at the rediculous prices they pay for stuff. (i remember having to pay something like 9 bucks for 4 pith balls... - 5mm styrofoam balls with a thin coating of conductive anything... i can make about 1000 from stuff from a craft store for that price!)

There are MANY professional societies associated with so many specialized fields of academics... and they are desperate for well thought out easy to use materials for lab classes and demos. Believe me, I have alot of background in this...

I would suggest contacting CENCO... the biggest distributor for lab/demo equipment for education of math/science/engineering.
Their prices are sickening... but that's because every institution in the states has a locked in PO account with them.

I see this being very interesting and actually bringing something good to the education community... if distributed well...
if the background work is done to have examples but mostly MOSTLY some example educational materials/lab write ups for using this.

Look up OpenEducation organizations also... they exist, and will probably be MORE than happy to look at it and give some feedback.

Anyhow... I hope these ideas and perspectives help... and it's written in the assumption that you want to produce these, sell in some quantity, and even if doing as a hobby - be open to getting it out there.

I just don't think blogging it small scale to the maker community is gonna be heard but more than a blip on hackaday and similar sites.
Educationally though, I think you might just have a winner! Assuming the required legwork is done - examples, simulations that aren't stand alone (noone wants another specialized java applet... and not all lab class setups have internet access - much less open access to anyplace on the net)- hence the mathematica player idea.

There are a very wide span of markets in education that you can probably not just attract - but find eager interest.
Just heed these words - Have materials pre-prepared for demos, lab classes, and simulations to demonstrate not your product... but the concepts that your product makes it so very easy to learn with! That I think would be more of the product than the hardware, but not usable without the hardware.

Also as far as OSHW goes... it's great to go OS, but in educational markets - you don't need to worry about people just taking your work and not supporting you for it. They have funds at the university level.

Exciting to me... I hope this helps some, and when I have time I'll def buy some from ya...
and feel free to contact me if you are interested in more advice regarding educational contacts...
Cheers! and good luck!

PS.. and get some real working examples of what can be done with these! And write up simple educational materials while you do it!

- mars

PPS.. a simple abstract of educational uses and methodologies would surely (if prepared well with supporting examples) be of interest to professional educational journals - the ones that specialize in sciences, engineering, and math... and that would be a flood of orders relative to a small scale production run... :) just my 2cents! Or 0.0141 euros... hmmm 2 to 1.41 conversion ratio... INTERSTING!!! for you math nerds! sqrt(2)=1.41 for the non math nerds. what a coinkidink, huh?
itcamefrommars
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 am

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by itcamefrommars on Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:03 pm

Onemore thing...

BIG THUMBS UP for the name TRIMUX!
That's stumbling on a great interesting name even if not related to your product!
AND it's not called TRIMUXUINO! Haha... that naming style is getting a little old, huh?

AND (again another AND)
it's been trade marked... :(
1984 - muxing serial terms and modems product... everything "mux" was trademarked back then...

but GOOD NEWS IS!!! -
http://www.trademarkia.com/trimux-73476644.html

the trademark #73476644
has been:
Status/Status Date: CANCELLED - SECTION 8 6/12/1991
Good thing they went section 8 for your sake!

TM that puppy if you seriously plan on pushing it.
I used www.legalzoom.com to incorporate recently... very good reputation and service...
they do TradeMarking... and great prices!
Just be careful of their little addon's that hike the price up... get them to do the basics and you file the easy supporting paperwork/forms yourself.

EX: incorporate... with all of their bells and whistles - almost 800 bucks...
OR just have them file and pay the reg fee's in NV (everyone incorps there... mafia/banned benefits in that state for everyone)
and fill out 2 forms that are only a few pages long each from IRS - 160 bucks.

Cheers! again - i hope this all helps some in case you plan on expanding out...
- mars
itcamefrommars
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 am

Re: Ternary electronics kitbiz?

by itcamefrommars on Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:39 pm

Is there something else like a 4xxx series cmos you can use in this design?
That chip you list is pretty hardcore for what you are doing.

And pricey compared to - say a 4066 - although the 4066 is single throw...
but they can be had for the lint you pull from your clothes dryer thrown in a ziploc bag compared to the one you cite.

Not sure right off hand what different analog SPDT chips there are out there... but I doubt you need insane switch speeds that can handle high voltages. 44V!!! I think you can do with less than that. :)

Cheers yet AGAIN! ok i'm using this all as a distraction from my work on my OSHW biz...
soooo back to work.
- mars

ps. ex. http://cgi.ebay.com/ST-HCF4066BE-NEW-PA ... 0476761539
asking 10 bucks for 100... or you can make an offer... with 7 shipping...
This is where ya offer 5 bucks a lot for 20 lots and get him to combine the shipping all for 10 to post it over to ya.
This is again SPST, and I'm not sure if the BE spec fits what needs, but as an example...
Old school cmos chips can be had for near nothing... and that's great for a starting kit biz.
EX2: I found 10000 78M05's (yes ten thousand) for 0.0092 $ each... and that is factoring in shipping.
Again, great for kit startups... def not for established and thriving biz...

OK I hope these comments are beneficial... sorry to thread pirate ya... ARRRR!
itcamefrommars
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 am

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.