Impact of US tariffs on makers/educators


Interesting post on the potential impact that the 25% tariff on Chinese products could have on makers and educators. Repairers too?

Stiff new taxes on simple components, sub-assemblies, and tools like soldering irons contrasted against a lack of taxation on finished goods pushes business owners to send these “last screw” operation overseas.

Unfortunately, both of those items – simple circuit boards and LEDs – are about to get 25% more expensive with the new tariffs, along with other Maker and educator staples such as capacitors, resistors, soldering irons, and oscilloscopes. The impact of this cost hike will be felt throughout the industry, but most sharply by educators, especially those serving under-funded school districts.

Gotta say though, I quite like the retro Ethernet card that Brazil produced when they were reliant on domestically-produced components.


… thus screwing the rest of us, of course.

Tell us more!


One of the most striking features of the card was how retro it looked – straight out of the 80’s, a full decade behind its time. This is a result of Brazil’s policy of protectionist tariffs on the import of high-tech components.

(It’s mentioned towards the end of the original article)


Wow! That looks like the kind of circuitry I saw in a 40-year-old amp at a Repair Café recently…

Out of interest, is that kind of tech often easier to repair?
(asking as a non-expert)

Also, found this bit of the article particularly interesting:

Significantly, it’s not that the Brazilian engineers were any less clever than their Western counterparts: they displayed considerable ingenuity getting a network card to work at all using primarily domestically-produced components. The tragedy is instead of using their brainpower to create industry-leading technology, most of their effort went into playing catch-up with the rest of the world. By the time protectionist policies were repealed in Brazil, the local industry was too far behind to effectively compete on a global scale.


The upside is that people are less likely to bin perfectly good boards and supplies, and reuse, repurpose and get creative, right? I mean look at Brazil’s “metareclicagem” project - which emerged out of this era as well


Wow! What was the date of that board? Makes me feel really old! I actually recognise most of those chips from the 1980’s - Z80 CPU as used in many 1st generation home computers and the Z80 counter-timer and serial I/O support chips, a couple of 32k x 8 static RAMs, a couple of EPROMS (labels on covering the type codes) and a load of 74-series logic chips. Even a PAL! (Programmable Array Logic) - probably doing address decoding in order to select RAM, ROM or support chips according to the address.


According to the original article, it’s from 1992, but they suggest that due to the lack of components for import that it’s more akin to something from the 1980s - which chimes with the age of the chips that you recognise @philip !

Lots of further discussion in this other article about it that you might enjoy: