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Thoughts on "encapsulating compound"

5/16/2003 8:37 PM
Thoughts on "encapsulating compound"
I'm seriously considering using such compounds for circuit protection. I wonder if anyone else has? I used to think a trademark was the way to go, as an effect would be known by it's trade name eventually.  
What I'm finding out is that it's very easy for someone to copy and market intensively your unprotected circuit, give it a trade name and eventually it will be known by that trade name, leaving you in a quagmire. The encapsulating compound I'm thinking of is supposed to be explosion proof which I guess would be good advertising also.  
Patents are a bigger pain as there only good for the country their issued in. It's up to you to defend them also, which means you could be up against multi national corporations with a battalion of lawyers. From what I'm gathering off the internet their is a mob mentality that believes all circuits are public domain because some choose to not protect their intellectual property.  
Unfortunately this has spurred a clones of clones of clones feeding frenzy with every tom , dick and harry offering their version.Which isn't bad I guess, lots of variety of the same thing. However do you want your baby to be a super clone? Any thoughts ?
5/16/2003 9:23 PM
Tim Escobedo Re: Thoughts on "encapsulating compound"
Can't you just trademark "Roland" and be satisfied with that? ;)  
I'm curious about this, too. I worked for a place that potted several products using this nasty black epoxy, effectively turning the circuit into a hard black brick with a terminal block sticking out one end. The components of the stuff came in drums and was mixed and applied using a expensive pneumatic apparatus. Sticky and stinky. I'm guessing a smaller time builder could get away with a more modest epoxy blob over critical parts.  
The problem is such protection methods are sometimes counterproductive. Some view it as a challenge to hack it, and if it turns out the mystery circuit is, say, a fuzzface clone, it could end up with a "emperor has no clothes" scenario. Either way, the circuit is still outed. Still, a potted circuit does offer some protection against casual hackers.  
Unfortunately, all the epoxy in the world won't stop someone from cloning the *functionality* of your designs. It's very easy for someone to copy and market intensively any idea, give it a trade name and eventually it will be known by that trade name, leaving you in a quagmire. Protected or not. Every successful idea will be copied. For the smaller builder (who wishes to remain smaller), the best defense is probably to offer great service and good marketing. Just make desireable objects.
5/17/2003 2:25 AM
Dr Krumpet
Some people have claimed that potting a transformer changes it's sound for the worse. The argument goes something like: the potting material has a high dielectric factor and therefore increases stray capacitance and degrades sound. My own feeling is that the same thing would happen to a potted circuit.  
If I was a consumer, potting would turn me off. How can you fix something that is potted. Very difficult.
5/17/2003 6:16 PM

I did find one matterial that once the solvant has evapourated the matterial will not react with anything including the solvant. Esentially you have to chissel/sandblast the stuff off which would probably destroy the board itself in the process. For a number of reasons I will not go through with that. I rather have the abilty to repair/maintain my customer's gear.  
The one method that does slow tracers down is using something with multiple parts inside it, like ICs, and defaceing it markings (i.e. sanding). You could use weird ICs and sand off the marking but then you have to source those parts and potentially have problems if the manufacture stops making them.  
If someone is truely determined to trace your design then they will. The *only* way to completely protect your design is to not put it into the public domain. That is the conclusion I have reached and accept whenever I sell something.  
5/18/2003 4:32 PM
A Colman

I agree with Tim,I think people don't just want to hide their "amazing" new circuit but also hide the clone of a clone derivative nature of their product.  
One thing I have a problem with is the cost to retail price ratio of the gadgets.  
I can make your average box for $20 bucks,how can it cost $250 or more at the retailer for a Super Boner Erection Plus.  
5/16/2003 11:00 PM
A Colman
Re: Encapsulating
I think that treating guitar effects as if they were somehow cold fusion is a little over the top.  
Tubes are 100 years old and transistors are...what?..50?  
There's nothing new you can do to a FF I think,new effects are just tweaks of old stuff.  
The way the industry is going is micro surface mount DSP and in a few years there is not going to be a transistor in sight.Yeah,tubes were almost extinct and they came back but at a premium price and partly we have the military to thank for not upgrading as quickly.  
Patens are for the BIG things or true innovations not for an anal retentive tweak.I have yet to see a schem on the net that I could not trace back,in it's elemental functioning to the original applications.  
If a multinational wanted to know your secret sauce they would xray it of use a dentist drill to clean the goop or just call golden-ear-guy and simulate it digitally with the next PEA_POD.  
I think,personally,we should relax a bit with the paranoia.  
If you have a really good idea maybe you should approach a multi and let them build and market it for a royalty.  
Somebody in another forum did just that and got a royal send-off.I think they are not buying.  
This is in no way a flame,I wish computers could give inflection to the words,this is just a friendly conversation and it's in that spirit I contributed.  
5/17/2003 2:20 AM
Dr Krumpet
IMHO, transistors will always be around because discrete components sound better than IC's. That's why a FF still sounds different (and to my ears better) than a TS.  
Making simple transistors is not rocket science. As soon as the big manufacturers quite making them, smaller labs and offshore outfits will fill in the void. Same happened with Tubes.
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