You know Zeno’s paradox? There are a few variations, but the gist is that motion is impossible, because to traverse any given distance, you must first traverse half of it, and then half of the remainder, then half of that, and so on, meaning that you must clear an infinite number of intermediate milestones before you reach any end, which in turn means that you’ll never get anywhere in any endeavor in a finite time. Of course it’s false, but that doesn’t mean the anxiety of the final steps can’t make you believe it for long moments at a time.
After a final push of forms and statements “on company letterhead,” my shipment cleared customs last Thursday afternoon. It arrived in my yard today. I opened a carton containing controllers to see whether the physical layout was as specified. Check. But the connectors were new and unfamiliar, as have been the connectors of almost every previous shipment. The new Hall effect sensor plug appears to be of high quality–is it a stainless body? But of course it won’t mate with connectors of any previous generation, nor will it with any in the future if this keeps up. Do I have to withhold units from each and every shipment to support customers needing replacement parts? I noted that the connector was female. I opened a motor case to find the mating connector, but found … another female connector. They are all female! I kept remarkably calm. I have requested express shipment of double-ended male patch cables. I already replace the high-power connectors I receive from this supplier with better ones, but I have left the delicate data connectors alone. Eventually, I think I will need to supply all of my own cables and connectors, or maybe I need to travel to China to impress upon my supplier the importance of such details.
There’s been a flurry of activity on the Stokemonkey mailing list following my announcement of preliminary pricing. It appears that my first small stock will sell out as soon as I can assemble it. That’s just an infinite number of steps away now, but sooner than ever!
[update: I have a tracking number on the express patch cables from China, hours after receipt of my email. And I'm told that standard RJ-11/45-style cables and connectors can happen, too, which will make repair or replacement supplies and tools universally available.]