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Question #126
I see on eBay gyros that resemble your Quark but they are much cheaper. Do you produce these gyros? Do they come from the same OEM? Why is the Spartan version more expensive?
Answer

All Spartan products are designed in-house and produced by us in UK manufacturing facilities. We do not buy and re-badge Asian goods nor we sell our own gyros under different brand names without making our involvement prominent. 

If a product does not display the Spartan brand name or "Designed by Spartan" on its label and packaging it is neither designed nor produced by us.

Unfortunately, it is a common marketing practice for Asian companies to produce clones, lookalike and counterfeit products aiming to mislead and entice customers by lower prices. The reality is that the RC market is very competitive and if Spartan could produce high quality gyros at a lower price we would be doing it already. As the saying goes "You get what you pay for".

 

So, how can Asian manufacturer's make the clone gyros cheaper?

Reduced manufacturing operations and Quality Control. All Spartan gyros undergo extensive functional testing, spin and vibration testing, burn-in and temperature calibration to ensure reliability and performance that meets the design specification. As part of this process a number of gyros is often rejected to maintain the high quality and performance standards. Cutting down on these operation and rejection of poorly performing products can yield substantial production savings.

Gyro sensor performance. SMM, MEMS, and similar terms are common nowadays to identify a particular sensor technology. In reality the term is very generic and whist it captures the underlying sensor technology is says very little about its performance. Spartan uses quality MEMS gyro sensors from Analog Devices each costing ~US$27. Other MEMS sensors exists for under $1-2 targeted at smartphone and gaming consoles but do not yield the same reliability and performance in a vibration environment like an RC helicopter.

Fake chips and sensors. Everything is cloned in Asia including most electronic chips. Several counterfeit versions of the Analog Devices gyro sensor can be sourced form China. At first glance they seem like the real thing but most of them are not even MEMS but old fashioned ceramic sensors.

What is really inside. Ok, they looks almost identical but what is really inside? There are countless lookalikes and counterfeits of a well known gyro that have a big rusty nut inside to make them feel like the original article. In reality they have substituted one of the bests SMM gyro sensors with the cheapest ceramic sensor and used the nut to make up the weight difference. [More info here.]

Counterfeits and clones.  Such products are illegal and violate international copyright and trademark treaties. Obviously using stolen intellectual property is a cost effective way to make quick money for companies that have no long term visions. Such companies usually disappear within months either on their own account or due to legal disputes leaving their costumers without warranty and their resellers with stock they can sell without putting themselves in legal jeopardy. Aside from cheating customers counterfeiting and cloning harms the original manufacturer and discourages further development and innovation. 

Putting the two and two together

Spartan is a manufacturer of premium RC products. At the top of our priorities is performance and reliability and this results to higher production costs. We always seek the best component prices which in return allows us to reduce the retail price of our products. However, with all the will in the world it is impossible to produce and retail top of the range gyros for $60 / €60 / etc.  In a way we are flattered that our gyros are No.1 in the clone/lookalike list; it does say something about how our our products are seen by our Asian competitors. If they have to resort in making clones/lookalikes it means only one thing... they can't start from scratch and make a good gyro on their own. So we would like to close this topic with a word of warning... If you are prepared to go down the route of the cheaper clone and lookalike gyros you need to be aware of the limitations of the product you are buying and the possibility that buying cheap may result to buying twice.

 

 

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