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View Full Version : Hobby King: He Who Hesitates $ave$



erco
09-06-2011, 05:28 PM
Looking at a 1/4 scale servo at the Hobby King website:

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=16643

I was checking specs, comparing it to another servo on another webpage. After a few minutes, a popup window from Hobby King says:

"One time only offer!

Hello shopper!
We noticed you've been looking at this product for a while and we would like to offer you a discount. If you click on the add to cart button below we can offer you this product for $8.72.
This offer will only show once.
If you leave this page or close this window you will not see this offer again."

The regular price is $9.22, so this would save fitty-cent, or 5%. So next time you're shopping at Hobby King, don't be in such a big rush to "click & order".

Ken Gracey
09-06-2011, 06:16 PM
This is very normal for HobbyKing. I've been buying loads of quadcopter parts from them - the value is truly very high. The quality of some motors and ESCs may vary, however, but they're still a tremendous value compared to the other leading European brands.You can get 90% of the motor for about 25% of the price of leading brands. And these motors have performed without failure in my quadcopters.

The biggest problem with HobbyKing is their lack of stock and long delivery times. I'm watching them evolve, and it won't be long before they solve these problems too. They're literally dominating the electric R/C market these days - not sure how some domestic suppliers are going to keep up if they don't get on the electric wave.

Ken Gracey

Spiral_72
09-07-2011, 03:43 PM
Very nice Erco! That's a monster servo.... order me a few while you are at it :)

Gosh, at that price, I could rebuild my robot arm to lift 5lbs!!

erco
09-07-2011, 04:36 PM
Yep, it's a cheap & affordable brute. I use as-is and also modified for continuous rotation.

RonP
09-07-2011, 05:32 PM
My opinion on Hobby King and other such sites is don't buy from them. So much of what they sell is cloned and inferior I don't like the idea of supporting such company's. When you buy the real thing the money goes back into R&D of the original maker. HK is just ridding other company's coat tails not cool IMHO. I also buy local whenever I can to support the Mom and Pop shops so they might be around in the future when I need something in a pinch. Just my opinion. I know everyone has one.

-Ron

Ken Gracey
09-07-2011, 06:51 PM
My opinion on Hobby King and other such sites is don't buy from them. So much of what they sell is cloned and inferior I don't like the idea of supporting such company's. When you buy the real thing the money goes back into R&D of the original maker. HK is just ridding other company's coat tails not cool IMHO. I also buy local whenever I can to support the Mom and Pop shops so they might be around in the future when I need something in a pinch. Just my opinion. I know everyone has one.

-Ron

Ron, I understand the dilemma and truly respect your position. It's often a one-way trip to a bad future when everything is outsourced, sent offshore, and maybe cheapened up. I attest to having made many financially impractical decisions just to keep manufacturing in our Rocklin, CA office. The list of reasons is substantial and the benefits outweigh the additional costs in our view. Some of our parts simply have to be made in China due to massive cost discrepancy, though.

Avoiding HobbyKing would be a challenge for me, best shown by an example. I've been using these $13 Turnigy 2217s (China) and the $49 Hacker A20s (Germany) in my quadcopters. The specifications of the two motors are similar, and I've found that the Turnigy motors have no noticeable performance difference (extensive analytical comparisons are on the net). Turnigy motors don't sound as smooth as the Hackers and they both fly the quadcopter equally well for at least 20 hrs so far. For my personal quadcopters I probably prefer the Hackers but have been using the Turnigy motors without hesitation. Plus, I sense that most people will only pay for the Turnigy motors so I should understand their operation. As Chinese suppliers climb the quality curve it will become more difficult to justify the price discrepancy because the value of the Chinese motors is so much higher than the German ones. At least this is the way it looks on the surface.

I've also got some trigger points on domestic vs. overseas sources. I will not buy any Chinese food imports - I'm regularly seeing Talapia fish and candy from China in our local grocery stores. I won't buy any machined parts from China. With very rare exceptions I refuse to buy any Chinese tools - I'll pay whatever I have to in order to buy American-made (or Eurozone) tools or I will forgo having the tool. I guess I put these brushless motors into more of a commodity category along with consumer electronics, so I'm willing to buy Chinese.

The concerning part about globalization is that as cheaper goods become more available world-wide the wage structures in competing economies will eventually need to come closer to some form of equalization to make domestic products affordable. In other words, our wages will go down and their wages will go up. . . unless we make hard decisions to pay more, and what we're paying for is really a better value.

Ken Gracey

Spiral_72
09-07-2011, 07:01 PM
My opinion on Hobby King and other such sites is don't buy from them. So much of what they sell is cloned and inferior I don't like the idea of supporting such company's. When you buy the real thing the money goes back into R&D of the original maker. HK is just ridding other company's coat tails not cool IMHO. I also buy local whenever I can to support the Mom and Pop shops so they might be around in the future when I need something in a pinch. Just my opinion. I know everyone has one.

-Ron
I would agree with that for all cases but poor guy robotics. I'd never use the HK servos in my airplanes, or in something I designed to sell. For a robot arm, a guy might need six of these (or more) and at $60 apiece for the comparable Hitech, that's a pretty expensive fun project.

Hitech is my favorite, but for general playing around with the BS or Prop, there's no way I'd use a quality and expensive servo. Pilots or drivers anything beyond pure beginners know enough not to use a cheap knock off and for this reason, I don't think the big boys are in any danger. Hobby King is what it is, inexpensive and generally marginal quality; It's kinda like building a robot out of cardboard and styrofoam..... once you get the concept down, THEN you go for the nice laser cut aluminum.

RonP
09-07-2011, 07:27 PM
Ken,

I completely understand your position with your Quad project and your need to source from them. All the stuff I have done I haven't found it necessary to buy from them and I am not saying I never will. I just prefer not to. I don't consider what they sell a bargain, just sub standard.
When Hobby Robotics becomes more main stream and HK clones my favorite Company Parallax's line of products I'll really be upset.
Beware of who you chose to support.

Ken if you think Hacker is smooth try a Neu Motor (http://www.neumotors.com/Site/About_us.html) pricey but well worth it. Steve Neu a great guy designs them and they are in San Diego(for your personal Quad).

-Ron

Ken Gracey
09-07-2011, 07:38 PM
Ken,
When Hobby Robotics becomes more main stream and HK clones my favorite Company Parallax's line of products I'll really be upset.
-Ron

This has already happened. This is very similar to the Toddler: http://www.arexx.com/arexx.php?cmd=goto&cparam=p_yeti There's also a direct copy of the Boe-Bot in China, cloned as far as somehow using the Parallax BASIC Stamp IDE.

If Apple and Microsoft are copied in China then Parallax has no business trying to defend our intellectual property in that country.

And I'll contact Steve about getting some Neu Motors!

Thanks,

Ken Gracey

RonP
09-07-2011, 08:03 PM
@ALL,

I must admit my opinion on this issue is very biased one of my best friends owns a hobby shop. I don't pay retail for stuff, if I did my opinion would probably be a little different but not by much. Spiral_72 if I needed a bunch of servos for a project that didn't require quality I guess I'd be in line at Hobby King.

Ken didn't know they where copying Parallax stuff. Shame on them.

-Ron

Cats92
09-07-2011, 08:09 PM
I begun to build quadcopters because I found this Hobbyking Turnigy 2217 motors.

German motors are good but way too expensive for me.

Jean Paul

sylvie369
09-07-2011, 08:39 PM
@ALL,

I must admit my opinion on this issue is very biased one of my best friends owns a hobby shop. I don't pay retail for stuff, if I did my opinion would probably be a little different but not by much.

I strongly suspect that even those of us who don't take your position still admire it. The strong desire to avoid cheap knockoffs is not something to "admit", but something to be proud of. I aspire to move in that direction, though I'm currently as guilty as anyone.

erco
09-07-2011, 09:42 PM
This has already happened. This is very similar to the Toddler: http://www.arexx.com/arexx.php?cmd=goto&cparam=p_yeti


Fortunately that looks like a small-time operation. The website for their US distributor Mojorobotics.com is suspended. BUT it is quite telling that someone wants to rip off the Toddler. I keep looking for one on Ebay, they still command high prices. Walking robots are inherently cooler than rolling ones. Now that your Penguin is gone, there's a truck-sized opening in your product line for a neat new walker. I hope you guys are working on filling it before someone else does. Even a simple 2-3 servo walker such as http://www.kronosrobotics.com/Projects/WalkerP1.pdf would be a popular kit. Unfortunately, there are fewer scratch builders every year. Many people don't have shops, training, know-how or even the desire to bandsaw a simple shape out of plywood (yeah) or plastic (hiss). But you have the resources to knock out the plastic parts in short order. I think Matt G has some time on his hands... :)

Roy Eltham
09-07-2011, 10:52 PM
I buy from hobby king because the prices at local hobby shops are ridiculous. Especially for batteries. I can get good batteries for 1/4th the price. These maybe made in china or considered "cheap" but they work just fine for me (and have for months). The quality of the stuff from Hobby King is pretty darn good.

That said, if I could get stuff locally for a reasonable price (even 25-50% more) I would, but it's not even close. The batteries I use cost $15-20 from HobbyKing, and $80+ at the hobby stores nearby. The ESCs cost $10 on HobbyKing, and $50 at the local hobby stores. Even buying "name brands" from HobbyKing is cheaper.

I think the root of the problem in America is that we have allowed things to get into a situation where everything HAS to cost more because everyone has to make more money to live here because housing prices are stupid (even after the crash) and everything costs more. It's a circle that will eventually cause a huge collapse. We need an across the board reset. Lower housing costs, fuel costs, and food costs and everything, then we could have all the same American made quality for a reasonable price, and we'd all be happier with a lot less money involved. :)

Roy

RonP
09-07-2011, 11:28 PM
@Roy,

Price is exactly the reason people by from HK just like you said, but the only reason HK has prices like that is because they copy others technology. They don't have an R&D team to support for the most part. HKs top selling items are clones. I know people wont stop buying from them because of the price. But buying from them only fuels the copy-machine even if what you buy isn't a clone. Roy I know you are a Programmer how would you feel if someone exploited your work for profit without even a thank you. I for one don't want to fuel the copy-machine.

Edit: The extra cost is associated with R&D and the fact that the products touch American hands. Now is a time to feed our economy, not turn our backs on it. I also understand that many people wouldn't be in an RC hobby without Hobby King, but it doesn't make what HK is doing right. Its just wrong in so many ways I don't know how they get away with what they are doing. Again just my opinion.

-Ron

RonP
09-07-2011, 11:58 PM
My apologies to erco for trashing his thread. Sorry its just something I am passionate about. Done talking about it.

-Ron

erco
09-08-2011, 12:10 AM
@RonP: No apology necessary, there is not one of us who does not agree with your principles.

Reg: “There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.
Dissenter: “Uh, well, one.
Reg: “Oh, yeah, yeah, there's one. But otherwise, we're solid.

RonP
09-08-2011, 12:26 AM
Reg: “There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.
Dissenter: “Uh, well, one.
Reg: “Oh, yeah, yeah, there's one. But otherwise, we're solid.

LOL :lol: