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WHAT components? :( — Parallax Forums

WHAT components? :(

I spent today trying to source components for a new P2 board. The last time I did this there were a few stragglers that were out of stock, but second-sourcing was simple. A few clicks, a few “hmmm”s, maybe look at a different supplier… and the problems got quickly sorted. Today, more than 80% of the components I need were out of stock. Lead times were frequently out into 4th quarter 2022. Second source attempts were usually unfruitful unless they were commodity passives and you didnt mind bending the specs a bit.

In a fit of desperation I started mining Parallax BOM’s thinking they might hold insights into components that were commonly available. Nope. I spent three hours flying between WebBench and various vendors just trying to get a 12 component switcher design that would work with the available components. No joy.

If it is this bad out there, how is Parallax (or anyone else!) managing to build boards? And how can Parallax sell into a market where all of the support and commodity components for their flagship product have evaporated? I definitely have a renewed respect for Ken, Chip and the entire crew in Rocklin for even being able to operate in this environment without screaming. :)

Today was an eye-opener, and perhaps a grim harbinger of the things to come. /rant


  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208
    edited 2021-11-14 10:30

    Maybe if you put up your BOM, some of us may have a reel of the parts you need. Parallax has reels of parts, That's probably why they can keep up production for the most part.

  • Every day at work is a mad scramble to change boards already in production to build with available parts. We have a whole group dedicated to forecasting/ guessing/ identifying what parts are going to be short, and what we can replace them with.. Then respinning the boards... Getting them through FCC and safety certifications with those new parts.. Changing up production and board testers..

    It's like being trapped in a real-life game of Loco-Motion.. trying to keep track in front of production so they can keep chugging along and paying all our bills...

    We came out of COVID lockdown in better condition than we went in.. (Several competitors didn't handle it well...) And now the scary thing that might send us all home is parts availability!

  • @Publison Thanks for that kind offer, but I’m going to put-on my Big Boy britches and see if I can push this along myself. The last thing Parallax needs is someone stealing time (and parts! Lol) while things are so lean.

    @r baggett Somehow I feel better knowing that the people who actually do this for a living are having the same issues. Its just nuts out there…

  • For reference, one device we are trying to manufacture at work right now has several power-MOSFETs on it. The engineer came up with five alternative parts that could be used in the final assembly, and all of them are unavailable. This especially wreaks havoc when you need to do a board-redesign because of unavailable parts, but that affects (potentially invalidates) RF certifications you've already gotten. This is really not a good time to be building electronics.

  • I ran into the part shortage problem when I designed my P2 module. So first I ordered the parts that I could get my hands on, then I designed the board. It was larger than my orginal plan, but had to use parts I could get.

  • Its really concerning for me as a hobbiest. I’m used to just doing a few clicks and there is my BOM. Now I’m ditching a perfectly good switcher design for a (really awful, inefficient) linear design because I can get the parts on Ebay if needed.

    On another front, I ordered a BK Precision 880 LCR meter a month ago from TEquipment. Apparently BK cant get parts either. My order status is now “sometime before Christmas”.

  • Just imagine what the medical device OEMs are going through. Bad enough process normally. But since this is more hobby for me, (real job medical imaging service, waiting for spares to go into the wall...) I hang onto boards with interesting parts to see what can be done with salvaged parts. With Zephtronics air tools and alloy to lower temps, I get good parts; and if not no real loss. But there was/may still be companies that salvage parts from scrap for resale. Be interesting to see if these parts start showing up beyond ebay.

  • I don't know why there is a chip shortage, did the world suddenly run out of sand? Looks like TSM controls the market.

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 12,208

    Please do not link to articles that need subscriptions.

  • I hear rumors of a looming Panettone shortage, better buy up now.

  • I hear rumors of a looming Panettone shortage, better buy up now.

    Or make it yourself:


  • I think I still have one from last year. I wasn't sure if it was a food item or ornamental.

  • Warning: humor follows. Not to be taken seriously

    **OMG! I hear Parallax chips are running short! Buy! Buy! Buy! **

    (No, they arent running short at all, but I was thinking the “Toilet Paper Effect” would cause a sudden and outrageous buying surge of all Parallax products, and this would in turn allow Ken/Chip to catch-up, hire lots more folks, and Chip could start on the P3. Hehehe.)

  • @Publison said:
    Please do not link to articles that need subscriptions.

    I'm sorry. I thought those might be within one of the categories they aren't charging for; apparently not. I'll see if I can find time to write a decent summary.

  • pik33pik33 Posts: 1,138

    There was a toilet paper effect in our project team: we bought a lot of RPis - and we are lucky now because they are out of stock now, but the project can be continued - and a lot of (40) P2 Edge - they are still available, but near 2x more expensive in Mouser PL, while I think they are still Rev B.

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