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This reminds me, I need to buy a new soldering iron. Not for almost $80 though. Honestly it seems like all of Seeed's products are overpriced. It sucks that Massdrop's DIY section is dominated by this brand. There's some really great, affordable brands for DIY projects not to mention the dizzying array of components and accessories out there for microcontrollers. Instead we just get this soldering iron every couple months and a few other items. Massdrop, you're great, but you really need to work on this section.
Please let us know what types of brands you would like to see. We will do our best to source them.
Hey, I really appreciate the direct reply. Personally, I just got into the Raspberry Pi. I know I'm late to the party on that one, but I saw a great deal on a kit from CanaKit during Prime Day and figured I'd give it a shot. I'm really enjoying it, and there's a ton of stuff out there for the Pi and other microcontrollers like the Arduino. You guys have a few kits here and there like the Pi kit up now and the IoT kit, but as I mentioned I find Seeed very overpriced and I think a lot of people would agree with that.
This is just a suggestion, but seeing as Massdrop is very involved with partnering with companies to create their own products (or at least have enough of a hand in the creation of a product to put their name on it), why don't you guys source your own kits. Throw together a Pi, a 5V/3A power supply, a few choices of cool cases, a class 10 micro SD card and just like that you have an official Massdrop Pi starter kit. Throw in some various upgrades and it would be great. Or go for specific project kits, like put together a case/board/etc to make your own NES/SNES/console, make your own HTPC/media center, etc.
As for specific brands and vendors, I already mentioned CanaKit. As I said, I'm still new at this stuff so other people might know better brands but I've liked them. Adafruit is another one that seems to be quite a big one based on the number of products they carry. They also seem community oriented, so maybe they'd be interested in teaming up with you guys and offering some of the stuff they have? I know they source a lot of their products directly from China since, being DIY, they're carrying a lot of products that aren't being built anywhere except China.
But you guys don't seem to mind sourcing products internationally since that's where all the mechanical keyboards and keycaps come from. Maybe it's worth looking around to see what kind of sensors/boards/screens etc. are carried by other vendors? A lot of this stuff doesn't really have a brand, it's just mass produced in China and sold in batches of 100-1000+.
Hope this helps a bit.
These are certainly mass produced in China. This particular model is called the TS100, and is available from the original supplier for around $50.