Shenzhen workshop April 3-5, 2014

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Have you ever wanted to visit Shenzhen, home of the world's largest electronics market? This year, just prior to the Shenzhen Maker Faire, join us for a hardware hacker soldering workshop and market tour April 3-5, 2014.

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The main event is a two day soldering course at Shenzhen's cell phone repair school. They'll teach us how to solder tiny QFN and BGA chips using minimal tools, just like the cell phone repair shops in the market.

We'll also tour the Huaqiangbei electronics market with a group of pros who source tools and components there on a regular basis. Meet freight shippers who can box your treasures and send them home at amazing prices. If you send us Gerbers and a BOM we'll make your PCBs and try to locate suppliers of all the components.

Each day starts with a talk relevant to hacking in Shenzhen: how to bargain, what to eat, getting around, how to import/export, and how to find an office/home once you fall in love. Each day ends with a group dinner at very local food place.

Cost is yet to be determined, but a sample budget is:

  • Workshop cost: ~$250 (repair school, discussion rooms, goodies, PCBs)
  • Group hotel (Jie'en) 4 nights: ~$60-$100 (total)
  • Food: ~$25/day
  • Transportation: ~$10/day

If you're interested in joining please comment below or hit us up via the contact form. We'll be in touch with final details in about a week.

Contents

1 Week prior

Submit PCB gerber files and Bill of Materials

PCB package

Send a set of Gerber files and a bill of materials, get 10 copies on the first day of the workshop.

  • You’ll get 10 copies of the PCB on the first day of the workshop
  • We’ll make an effort to locate part sources during the market tour so PCBs can be completed before the end of the workshop
  • 2 layers, maximum 100mm x 100mm

Optional- DAY 0 (02/04/2014)

Sign shops

Optional day for early arrivals. See some cool non-electronics stuff that’s easily made in Shenzhen:

  • Tailors in Louhu Commercial City. Meet Jery and have a suit tailored and ready to pick up in a week for less than $200
  • Sign makers in Dongmen. Shenzhen’s biggest single source of glowing, blinking, molded, laser cut, and generally cool outdoor signage. A custom sign can be made in a week for $50 and up. Includes a trip to the Dongmen food street and soup dumpling man.

DAY 1 (03/04/2014)

Start with an introduction to Shenzhen and a tour through the Huaqiangbei electronics market. Get to know your fellow workshop hackers.

First day greeting 10am-12am

A light and simple welcome to help you navigate Shenzhen.

  • Simple language lesson
  • Neighborhood and food overview
  • Get a bank account
  • Quick subway map intro
  • How Ian bargains
  • Huaqiangbei sourcers introduction
  • Hand out PCBs
  • Hand out Seeed Studio Huaquiangbei map

Hacker Lunch 12am-1pm

A group lunch following the first day introduction. Try Southern Chinese food in a local canteen. Cantonese food is almost never spicy and vegetarian options are available.

  • Cantonese restaurant on Songling Rd.

Huaqiangbei Tour 1-6pm

SEG building in Huaqiangbei

Hit the world's largest electronics market with a group of pros. Find out where to buy tools like soldering irons, hot plates, reflow ovens, even a pick and place machine. Check out the components buildings selling a huge range of parts, connectors, and other electronics supplies. Even see the sketchy cell phone building selling random clone, look-alike, and bizarre custom cell phones. Meet shipping agents who can box up your goodies and send them home for unbelievable prices.

  • Tools and components buildings
  • Shipping agencies introduction and overview
  • Ghetto cell phone buildings
  • Find parts for PCBs

BBQ 8-12pm

End the first day with a group dinner at the local barbecue place. Vegetarian options, spicy or not.

  • Songling Rd Barbecue place
  • Shaizi lesson. Learn an extremely popular dice game played everywhere in China. A great way to make friends with Chinese people - even if you don't speak a word of Chinese!

After party

Jetlagged and still awake after BBQ? Grab a drink and talk at the local bar street. A short metro ride or 25RMB ($4) taxi ride away.

  • Drinks and lots of fun @coco park

DAY 2 (04/04/2014)

Part 1 of the advanced soldering workshop at Shenzhen's cell phone repair school located near Huaqiangbei. Learn more about setting up your own shop and working in China.

Second day greeting 10am-12am

Get down to business. Interested in working from China? Learn how to import and export goods, and how to start a business to secure a work visa.

  • Import/export talk
  • China work visa and Hong Kong/China business formation overview
  • Labour supply for small scale and short term kitting

Soldering workshop 2-5pm

Soldering equipment

The main event - part 1 of the soldering workshop. Learn how to solder tiny QFN and BGA chips from the pros at Shenzhen's cell phone repair school. Everything is provided, just bring yourself.

  • QFN, BGA reballing, mounting, removing and soldering, etc.
  • All of the equipment and parts are provided, just show up

Hot-pot dinner 7:30pm

Charcoal hot pot

Finish the day with a group dinner at the best local hot-pot joint. Hot pot is a not-to-be-missed Chinese traditional meal. Grab your food from plates of meat and vegetables and cook them in the boiling soup. Soup can be a mild stock, or a fiery spicy broth. Try both in a yuanyang (half-half) pot. Vegetarian possible.

  • Cook your own fresh vegetables and/or meat in metal pot of soup heated by charcoal. Mix your own dipping sauce at the sauce bar. A traditional Chinese style of eating.

DAY 3 (05/04/2014)

More soldering goodness, and learn what it's like to make the move to Shenzhen from local expat geeks.

Third day greeting 10am-12pm

In love with Shenzhen and ready to move here? Find out what to expect when looking for an apartment and office in Shenzhen. Local expat geeks share their experience living in Shenzhen.

  • House and office hunting
  • Living in Shenzhen

Soldering workshop 2-5pm

Workshop classroom

Part 2 of the soldering workshop continues. Learn how to solder tiny QFN and BGA chips from the pros at Shenzhen's cell phone repair school. Everything is provided, just bring yourself.

  • QFN removing, soldering
  • BGA reballing, soldering, etc.
  • All of the equipment and parts are provided, just show up

Hacker BBQ Dinner 7:30pm

Hacker shaokao

Closing hacker BBQ on a local food street. Lots of hackers from around the world will be in town for the Maker Faire, they're invited too! Bunnie might even play Chip Girls on the guitar while Akiba breakdances on the street. Not to be missed!

  • Hacker Shaokao at Window of the World with all hackers in Shenzhen. Mingle with Maker Faire participants, hackerspace members, and workshop participants

Equipment

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The cell phone repair school has three classrooms with around 60 workstations in each room.

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Each student is equipped with a hot air rework station (ATTEN 850D or Wylie 858D), soldering iron (Wylie 939 or no-name 936), and power supply unit (UD 1501A or ATTEN AT1001A).

Getting there

Here's some logistical issues you might encounter attending the workshop.

Hotels

  • Workshop hotel: brand new hotel near Jie'en (200RMB/$34 per night)
  • Jia Zhao Zhong Xin apartments (160RMB/$28 per night)
  • Jie'en apartments (150RMB/$25 per night, likely full booked)
  • Huaqiangbei Plaza Hotel (600RMB/$100 per night)

Chinese visa

Most people need to apply for a Chinese visa before leaving their home country. Plan in advance for at least for ten days processing time. Our best guess is that you will need a tourist visa (L class), listing Shenzhen as your sightseeing city. Most likely, you will need to provide:

  • Flight itinerary (copy of flight ticket)
  • Hotel reservation (we can provide this if you stay at Jie'en - the group hotel)
  • A trip itinerary (listing Shenzhen as your sightseeing city, as well as any other cities you may visit during the trip)

We use Wooee Visa as our visa processor. Most Americans should be able to get a one-year multiple entry visa without problems.

Airport transportation

Most likely you'll arrive at the Hongkong airport. Flights to Hongkong are cheapest, and it's just a few minutes from Shenzhen.

Hongkong Airport Limo to Shenzhen

Not actually a limo, but a van that can take 6 people to the Shenzhen Huanggang border checkpoint.

  • Follow the signs to mainland transportation in Hongkong airport
  • Buy a ticket to Huanggang at any counter, usually a hawker will spot you a take you to a counter. We prefer the W company
  • It is 150 HKD or RMB for the van to the Huanggang checkpoint. The trip is about 30 minutes
  • The van drives you through the Hongkong border, but you need to get out and walk through the Chinese side
  • After customs, walk outside, cross the pedestrian bridge, and get in the taxi queue. Show your hotel address card to the driver. They will not speak English. The ride should take 10-15 minutes (for the people who stay in Jie'en Hotel), and cost around 30RMB ($5)

Hongkong MTR to Shenzhen

Carnitas pork soft shell
This is the long route and can be confusing for the first time. However if you'd like to grab a taco and visit the Apliu Street electronics market this is the way to go.
  • Take the Airport Express train from Hongkong airport to Hongkong station (100HKD)
  • Exit at Hongkong station
  • Optional: follow signs to the Mid Level Escalators, the worlds longest escalator. Half way up is Taco Loco - grab a carnitas pork taco soft shell. Go back down to Hongkong Station
  • Take the metro red line towards Tseun Wan
  • Optional: take the red line to Sham Shui Po and exit to Apliu Street Market. Check out the electronics, cell phone, and computer market, buy a cheap Hongkong SIM card (we like One2Free). Get back on the metro towards Central
  • Transfer to the green line at Prince Edward towards Tui Keng Leng. The trains line up, walk directly across the platform to transfer to the green line
  • Transfer to the East Rail line towards Lo Wu at Kowloon Tong. Make sure the train is going to Lo Wu and not the Lok Ma Chau crossing. This will be a long ride so we always take the first class train. Find the line for first class and upgrade at the yellow validator using an Octopus stored value card
  • Get off at Lo Wu and follow the crowd through Hongkong customs and into China
  • On China side exit customs and take the escalators directly ahead into the Shenzhen metro. Find a service window and buy a stored value smart card - 50RMB should last half a month
  • Take the Shenzhen metro green line (Loubao) into the city. If staying at the group hotel (Jie'en) get off at the Science Museum stop

Shenzhen Airport arrivals

Shenzhen has a brand new airport terminal and flights directly to Shenzhen are becoming more common

  • Grab a taxi: A taxi from the airport to the Huaqiangbei area is around 70-100RMB ($11-$16) and can take an hour or more
  • Take the metro: The green line (Loubao) goes from the airport with stops at Huaqiangbei and Science Museum (group hotel and workshop location). The ride takes around an hour and costs around 10RMB ($2)

Workshop location

Coming soon, a map with locations and directions for:

  • Jie'en workshop hotel
  • Morning discussion space
  • Soldering school
  • Workshop eating events and food places
  • Huaqiangbei and significant buildings
  • Where to get a SIM card
  • Google Maps data layer

Cost

We estimate the workshop will cost $285. This includes:

  • Soldering workshop tuition
  • Translation services
  • Copies and printed materials
  • A few drinks at social events
  • Wire fees and other overhead
  • A few extras

The cost estimate will be public when complete.

Payment will likely be via our Free PCB Store using Paypal or credit card.

Everyone is donating time to plan, organize and host the event. We will likely operate at a loss. No group or other discounts are possible. However, we will take extra money if you'd like to sponsor the event and help defray costs!

The workshop is a package deal, it's not possible to pay for only one event. However, you may pay the full cost and attend only the events you like.

Market tour only

Depending on attendance, we may be able to accommodate a few extra people on the market tour. The fee is $200, which will be used to buy things during the tour and keep the vendors happy.

Market tour only participants MUST attend the morning orientation on proper market behavior. Cameras are a complication...some of the "better" spots are very dicey about cameras and security guards will come and watch you delete photos from your camera if they catch you. Absolutely no big honking totally unsubtle SLRs. Vendors get really nervous when they have a dozen white guys with cameras crowding around them taking pictures of their iPhone parts.