You can buy electronic components in Europe even on vacation. Shopping experience on Mouser in Bulgaria

    Problems with the procurement of foreign electronic components and we almost didn’t have almost anyone else who was professionally engaged in the development of electronics in our country. A number of comments, to my latest article on technology startups, have confirmed this.

    The fact that there are warehouses in Moscow, the situation is just wonderful. Whether you live in the Moscow region or Samara, the order will be filled in 2-3 days, and even delivered by courier to your home for a very reasonable fee. Here we are ahead if not all of Europe, then a significant part of it.
    But what to do if you are engaged in electronics not only for the sake of a hobby and in your projects you have to use the latest or exotic components?

    Summary of the article:

    How I ran into sanctions
    What can and should be bought on Aliexpress? (open answer to the comment to the previous article )
    Personal buying experience on Mouser from Bulgaria
    For those who are annoyed by fiction. Short tips as a matter of fact

    How I ran into sanctions

    In recent years of work in Russia, I began to have problems with the purchase of individual components and especially demoboards. As it is not surprising, the most serious has arisen during the development of a prepaid electricity meter.

    Severe residents of the Caucasian Foothills and remote settlements of the rest of our vast country do not like to pay electricity bills. Wind or solar energy sources are not considered by them as an alternative, but in the field of creative correction of meter readings they are ahead of the rest. Electricity providers are trying to deal with it as they can - one of the ways - fixing the meters to the electrical wires still on the way to the house - next to the pole. I just received the proposal to develop such a counter at the beginning of the next economic crisis, in 2014. Moreover, the counter had to be prepaid, owed too much - chop off the switch, and ideally pay in advance, and the information from it should flow to the hub via electrical wires, for which he had to have a built-in PLC modem. That's it with him that the problem arose.

    It all started just fine - two samples of the chip and even a PLC modem demo board lay in stock at Promelectronic. I bought and put the chip in development, but as I moved to the testing stage, I decided to order a second demobord. I decided to compare the quality of communication between the two purchased demoboards and between their devices. At the same time I ordered a dozen chips for an experimental batch. As is usual in such cases, I had to send the dealer information about the project. Chips received quickly, but with a demoboard pulled. I decided to duplicate the order in Micro EM. Once I worked in it as a brand manager and since that time there have been friendly relations. A couple of days later I was invited to drink tea and talk about delivery. The thing was this - even for the purchase of one piece of goods, it is now necessary to issue a document for customs, according to its classification. The PLC modem demo board fell directly under two “heavy articles”. Not only does it work with a 220-volt network, which means it is life-threatening, it is also capable of secretly transmitting data, which may be of interest to the all-powerful FSB. And still it is necessary to prove that the level of interference from this thing fits into our standards.

    Three weeks later the manager of Promelectronics sent me a letter from the manufacturer. It was reported that I won’t get any demobord, the chips were sent to me by mistake, those responsible for this outrage were punished, and in general it would be good to return them. Here they are - the sanctions in action. It was a shock. The fact that MicroEm after 3 months returned the money to me, I already took for granted. I had to crawl away to the old chip implementation. Officially, it is possible to solve a similar problem, but it will be worth such an effort and money, that it is easier and cheaper to travel outside our homeland for a couple of months - To Tai, China, or say Bulgaria. At the same time combine rest with work.
    In my further practice, there were problems with radio frequency modules — in particular, inexpensive BLEs when they first began to appear. Remembering the story of a hapless farmer who was convictedseemingly conditional for trying to trace my little cows, I take special care with the order of such goods.

    A few words of the usefulness of Aliexpress

    In the comments to my previous article, one authoritative comrade urged never to use the services of this site.
    “A and yes - as it is banal, forget about Aliexpress! I hope no need to explain why. ”
    I can not agree with these statements. In some cases, it is very useful. For example, I bought a four-beam Rigol, which is not bad for my money, besides with unlocked additional functions, an excellent microscope, a winding machine ... So you can buy instruments.

    You can and should buy specialized components when focusing on the assembly in China. For example, the same current transformers for the meter I took there.

    The strengths of ALI are whales - sets of resistances, air conditioners, connectors, fasteners and accessories - are very useful in the design and assembly of prototypes.

    Aliexpress can help you out when buying exotics. When developing devices with battery-powered and ultra-low consumption, which are mostly in sleep mode, but occasionally wake up and begin to consume two to three orders of magnitude more, it is very useful to determine their average consumption and behavior over time. Tester is not enough. An attempt to order a specialized NORDIC production fee in the United States was unsuccessful. They did not want to deliver to Russia.

    To my surprise, I found it at one of the sellers on ALiexpress, and almost twice as cheap. With the delivery of the slightest problem did not happen. As far as I understand, in China there are official dealers of many large offices and sometimes they trade through ALI.

    We combine the useful and the pleasant. Holidays with the purchase of components

    In conclusion, I want to share my experience with the purchase of components in a country that many consider backyards of Eastern Europe - Bulgaria. It shows that even during a weekly and certainly two-week vacation, it is easy to have time to overstock with exotic, and save on it.
    First, how I ordered the components in Bulgaria, more precisely in the city of Varna and what nuances can occur in this process.

    In Varna, as in Sofia, there are stores selling electronic components, there are online stores with fast delivery, but their range is significantly inferior even to our chip with a dip. This is offset by the much greater availability of monsters like Mouser. It was there that I decided to test the logistics for the delivery of electronic components, the good reason was found - my good friend and I decided to launch an open retroproject, which I hope to tell you more about later , and it took exotic components missing from warehouses in Moscow, Particularly high-performance microcontrollers from Atmel and logic in outdated DIP packages.

    Initially there was registration. This is a fairly simple procedure, which you must pass from the national site, in this . As it turned out, this does not require a document certifying that you are a citizen of a country that you have scored in a form or have a residence permit status. A Russian passport is quite suitable. Theoretically, it is also possible to score any phone, but I chose Bulgarian just in case.

    Since lately I have been reading a lot of horror stories about customs clearance of goods from Aliexpress in Europe, I previously contacted Mouser’s representative for Eastern Europe via e-mail. It turned out he is based in the Czech Republic. In the reply letter I was assured that I would not have to pay any fees, but I, as a private person, are obliged to pay VAT. In Bulgaria, it is equal to 20 percent, as in Russia from next year.

    The process of “packing into the basket” of components does not make sense to describe, I just want to note that, depending on the chosen currency, free delivery starts from 50 Euro or 60 USD (DigiKey has a similar policy). Considering the fact that delivery of an order at a lower price to Europe will cost more than $ 20, think that you can take it in reserve.

    We make an order and wait. My, exotic, collected a week. I made it on Friday evening, November 30, and he went to Europe from the city of MANSFIELD on December 7.

    Most likely, if the component list was more homogeneous, the assembly process could take less time, and I was not very lucky with the logistics. So we can assume that with the availability of the ordered components in stock, my term is close to the maximum.

    The delivery service that Mouser used produces very detailed tracks. The interface of Mauser is minimalist, a huge amount of information is opened after you click on the active references.

    It is worthwhile to dwell separately on the delivery. If there are no complaints about the track during the travels of my package in the USA, then the travel track of the goods on the territory of Bulgaria not only looks strange, but also misled me.

    If I decoded it correctly, then the parcel did not leave Sofia, and I received it there. Although physically I did it in Varna.

    The situation was as follows:

    I was told the expected delivery time - December 14. I was not in a hurry, so I relaxed and stopped checking the tracking.
    In the afternoon of 13 I went for a walk and, on my return, at the entrance to the courtyard of the house, even before the gate, I came across a beautiful sticker.

    Having called the telephone number indicated in it, I hardly managed to find out that the courier allegedly tried to deliver the parcel to me personally twice, but in vain, and now I have to go for it myself. It is characteristic that during these two days no one called me, not a single SMS arrived. I think this fact can be explained by the national peculiarity of the Bulgarians. They do not like to overwork themselves.
    The seller of a small shop can easily close it in the summer in the middle of the day for about three hours and go to the beach. I doubt that in fact there have been any attempts at least to open the gate.

    The office of the delivery office is 15 minutes away from me, it took another 5 minutes to find the house and the entrance where they settled. In Bulgaria, signs with addresses are not abused, and Google does not always understand the abundance of houses, especially with the same number and differing only in subsequent letters, so I had to search a little. Getting the package on the spot was easy and simple. Only a passport to present, no problems with customs as promised.

    In order not to get into a similar situation, I recommend the next day, as the parcel arrived in the country of destination, contact the delivery company by phone and clarify when the delivery process is planned. If there is a language barrier, you can try to use text chat.

    Important.When receiving packages from the USA or China via ALI or eBay, be prepared for additional problems. The customs level in Bulgaria is now 150 Euro, and VAT is starting to take from everything that is more expensive than 15. If your parcel is too large in size or for some other reason has attracted the attention of a customs officer, it can slow down, even in the case of a lower price declaration. In Bulgaria, it is fraught with the fact that it is stuck in the capital - Sofia. If you live outside of its borders, you will have to use the services of a customs broker or go to rescue her personally. This will rise to a minimum of 3.5 Euros of fees for broker services, plus a surcharge of VAT and duties, if the guys decide that the goods in the package cost more than you declared them.

    Buying components in Europe. The shortest possible case tips

    • To avoid problems with customs, order from large distributors who have regional offices - MOUSER, Farnell, DigiKey. C Ali is only a trifle, from eBay only inside the European Union.
    • Individual countries have different restrictions on purchases from outside the European Union. In Bulgaria, parcels with a value of up to 15 Euros are not subject to VAT. Parcels from 15 to 150 are subject to VAT (20%) but not subject to customs duty. Over 150 are subject to both. The duty depends on the type of goods.
    • Fill out your profile on the local website of the selected country. In the case of Bulgaria and Mouser - You can enter the hotel as an address. If you do not have a local telephone, you can indicate the telephone of the same hotel.
    • A Russian passport will suit your ID.
    • When making an order, pay on the price with which free delivery begins. As a currency, it is better to choose Euro.
    • Order products only from those that are in stock and are available in the quantities you need.
    • Keep in mind that when delivering from outside the European Union, you may have to pay VAT (usually when placing an order is taken into account automatically) and the final amount will be higher than the price.
    • If you want to buy parts during the holidays, then it makes sense to make an order 7-10 days before the expected departure for a vacation, depending on the length of the vacation. In the extreme case - the parcel will wait for you at the destination for several days.
    • With payment by VISA and MASTERCARD cards issued in Russia, there should be no problems.
    • Track the tracking of the parcel. Use to clarify their location chats delivery companies. In the case of language barriers, it is easier and cheaper than talking on the phone.
    • Messages like this: “On FedEx vehicle for delivery”, say that they tried to you or allegedly tried to deliver the parcel. Even if tracking says that it is located in another city, this may not be the case. It is necessary to contact the delivery company and find out the storage address of the parcel. It will be more reliable to pick it up during a personal visit. Passport and track number required.

    Thank you for your attention and good shopping. In conclusion, I will ask you to answer the traditional poll in my articles. I would be glad if you tell in the comments about your problems in this area and how to solve them.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Sign in , please.

    What difficulties have you experienced in your practice when buying foreign components that are absent in warehouses in Russia?

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