Author Topic: How is Chipageddon affecting you?  (Read 160061 times)

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Offline VK3DRB

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How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« on: May 26, 2021, 01:36:51 am »
What a fiasco.

I did two commercial designs using the BQ24250RGET (VQFN). The world has run out of them unless they are being hoarded by brokers. Lead time is sometime in 2022 :wtf:. I could replace it with the BQ24250YFFR (DSBGA), but that requires a PCB re-spin and the chip package is much less preferred. And for all I know it too will soon become scarce. I trusted TI as a great supplier. That trust is diminishing.

The 4kV isolated switching transformer from Wurth 750315240 I used on one product. Nil stock world wide. No lead time. No alternatives.
The Bosch BNO055 used on another design. Nil stock world wide. No lead time. No alternatives. (So much for "Cherman excellence".)

I feel the electronics industry is now severely crippled due to Chipageddon. I feel like getting out of this industry. Too many companies promising you the world in their great datasheets but delivering nothing.

Have I just been unlucky here or are other engineers in the electronics industry also feeling the pinch? If so, what parts/manufacturers should be avoided?
 
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Offline sleemanj

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2021, 03:09:44 am »
As a seller of Arduino stuff... Pro Micros from China (ATMega32U4) have basically doubled in price, that's if the vendor actually has them rather than just saying they have them.
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Offline Whales

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2021, 05:07:20 am »
aps65111 (little 6-pin buck controller, synchronous so you need less parts)

I needed to make 6 devices but I only ordered 5 of this part (woops).  By the time I noticed: all online retailers were out.  Lead times ranged from late 2021 to 2024.  A find-chip service said they could get '2nd hand' ones (I assume this means spare cut tape), but at something like 100x the cost.  I went "stuff it" and glued a pre-assembled off-the-shelf buck converter onto my PCB instead, then ran some flying wires :)

I suspect that profit-per-part is a good criteria for determining what parts are going to be affected.  Low profit parts, like cheap-but-good-quality buck ICs, are going to lose out fab space versus higher margin parts.  Parts that have little competition are probably less likely to be affected.

Offline tooki

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2021, 05:13:36 am »
TPS61178. Today is actually earmarked for designing a PCB with an alternative…
 

Offline JPortici

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2021, 05:45:04 am »
At the moment not affecting, we felt this coming since october when lead times became even longer (and the contractor suggested we sourced our own silicon just in case) so we rand the numbers, bought the required MCUs, mosfet drivers, whatever couldn't be substituted with relative ease.
We can make it through if it ends by the end of year, which sounds reasonable

Actually i have a project i can't build because tens of thousands of smart high side switches disappeared overnight, but it's okay because the client hasn't confirmed and even if he will, he had six months to do so, he can wait longer.
But its MCU will be used by another new project that came up in the meantime
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2021, 07:22:05 am »
The company that I work for two years ago:
We have too many components on stock, we are switching for Just in time delivery, that will reduce operating costs, and increase weasel ratio and bla bla synergy bla bla waste management.
Two days ago the CEO announced that he managed to get a few modems, so our production line doesnt have to shut down again. :-//
 
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Offline woodchips

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2021, 09:15:55 am »
Is this a case of short memories? Been here before.

When I started on my own in early 90's some chips were unobtainable, I remember the Maxim 7219 display controller being one. Before that there were DRAM shortages, and other chips. I chap I worked with went bust because he couldn't buy the chips he needed, the message I got was doesn't matter the price, buy. I ended up paying several times the previous price for the 7219's, but even then it was only a fraction of the selling price, and it got product out and money in.

I bought enough components to last for months, and still have many of them after changing to different parts. My beef now is LED displays, use the old HP HDSP-A101, but changed to rubbish single die displays so the bars look like they have the plague.

Remember that there is a real difference between sales and cash flow! I can recommend the book Lights Out by Gryta about the fall of General Electric.
 

Offline Jackster

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2021, 09:39:45 am »
We had to change out 2 components on our boards as there was 0 stock.

1 I found pin for pin replacement, the other was easy to replace for something else with a board respin.

But I bought out LCSC, Farnell and TI on multiple parts. Some with lead times till September.
Tempting to buy some more low stock parts now we have some cash. But the Farnell part won't be in stock for a while. Luckily we can pick up an alternative but will have to adjust some resistors and capacitors to fine tune the performance.

Overal, nothing major but I am planning on spending another couple grand on hording stock.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2021, 10:31:58 am »
TPS61178. Today is actually earmarked for designing a PCB with an alternative…

OH DAMN! Your line about the TPS chip reminded me to check out the TPS22918 which I used in a design recently. There were many thousands around around a couple of months ago. Now... nil stock everywhere |O. I had done all the regulation testing, transient testing etc. I feel like we are wasting our time and we should send Texas Instruments a bill.

I have a friend in compliance testing in the USA. He said things are so bad, companies are not sending product for testing because they cannot even make engineering test samples of their product.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 11:24:31 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2021, 10:34:11 am »
How the fuck are we supposed to design anything when parts simply vanish overnight without warning?!
 
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Offline tooki

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2021, 10:44:28 am »
TPS61178. Today is actually earmarked for designing a PCB with an alternative…

OH DAMN! Your line about the TPS chip reminded me to check out the TPS22918 which I used in a design recently. There were many thousands around around a couple of months ago. Now... nil stock everywhere |O. I had done all the regulation testing, transient testing etc. I feel like we are wasting our time and we should send Texas Instruments a bill.

I have a friend in compliance testing in the USA. He said things are so bad, companies are not sending product for testing because they cannot even make engineering test samples of their product.
o_O

We are also stuck waiting for the Bluetooth modules (BM83) we selected.


How the fuck are we supposed to design anything when parts simply vanish overnight without warning?!
Wishful thinking? Thoughts and prayers? :p
 

Offline DC1MC

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2021, 10:50:57 am »
How the fuck are we supposed to design anything when parts simply vanish overnight without warning?!

Get NOW what little is available in stock and try do do something with it, if no customer is available sell the stock three months latter for 300% profit  :scared: !!!

 Also the I2C 64Mbit PSRAM is gone and will (most likely) never come back :(, I have to live with the EEPROM for logging.

 
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2021, 10:55:05 am »
I'm not held up (yet) but it is becoming increasingly frustrating to source parts, and increasingly I find myself using brokers, and often the pricing of parts is inflated.

Some brokers (eg Rochester) are demanding that you purchase full reels, with the excuse that because they're so busy they don't have the resources to split reels. Of course, this only exacerbates part availability.

Other brokers (eg Win-Source) are just taking the piss with bait-and-switch, they advertise at one price, take your money, then tell you "the engineer found problems with that batch, but we still have stock at 2x/3x the price, please send more money" and if you accept, they take your money but won't send you an updated invoice. What's more they take a week to tell you, so holding you up even further. Avoid Win-Source unless you're absolutely desperate: when they finally deliver, the parts are kosher IME.

I have started to order enough for several batches in advance on parts that have become difficult to source, I am sure I am not alone, but again this only exacerbates the problem.

Interestingly, the problem covers older process nodes just as much as the single-digit nanometre feature size state-of-the-art stuff.

On the plus side, I'm finding that some advertised availability times way out in the future are frequently over-pessimistic. However, equally, parts that seemed to have plenty of availability last month are unobtainium this month.

Another plus is that it's made me look further afield for parts, and I've found that sometimes I've actually been able to save money on some parts.

One thing's for sure though, as another poster mentioned, just-in-time manufacturing is history for now.
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2021, 10:58:21 am »
For some years now I have been contemplating a career break, like a year off, just in case I don't make it to retirement in good health...or at all :P
Seems like now would be a good time for that :-DD
 
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Offline VK3DRB

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2021, 11:07:47 am »
...
One thing's for sure though, as another poster mentioned, just-in-time manufacturing is history for now.

I just got news from TI that the BQ24250RGET and the TPS22918 are now 35 weeks lead time. This is woeful. I can find an alternative vendor for the TPS22918.

I agree, Just in Time is dead. Just in Time is more like OUTTATIME from Back to The Future. Forget the Sports Almanac, Biff would make a bigger fortune finding out what chips have become nil stock with 35 weeks lead time.

The political boofheads in China, Germany and the USA can talk all the rhetoric they want, but they better get off their arses, cooperate for once and fix this problem quick smart.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 11:23:17 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2021, 11:30:49 am »
The 4kV isolated switching transformer from Wurth 750315240 I used on one product. Nil stock world wide. No lead time. No alternatives.

Have seen similar parts like this,
https://productfinder.pulseelectronics.com/api/open/product-attachments/datasheet/ph9185.034nl
though not the low inductance.  If you're desperate, maybe slap an inductor in parallel with one winding? ::)

At least for transformers, there's nothing stopping you quoting a custom run from someone else in just a few weeks.  Oh, or hmm, Coilcraft might have an equivalent, no idea.

Tim
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Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 
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Offline penfold

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2021, 12:58:13 pm »
All I can say is I'm hugely glad I don't work with medical devices anymore, my experience of those has been of total inflexibility to ANY part obsolescences or availability issues without a formal revision update to the BOM (including FMEA and sign-off by several people). My experiences do not reflect medical-devices as a whole, but that one company was a total nightmare!

On an unrelated note, I've scored a pretty lucrative package of work from a former employer... doing some obsolescence management and design updates.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2021, 01:14:32 pm »
Have I just been unlucky here or are other engineers in the electronics industry also feeling the pinch? If so, what parts/manufacturers should be avoided?
Probably you are best off to stay away from any part... Although I must say all parts for a design I'm currently working on are still available. It is not all bad. OTOH I have some boards in production and no confirmed lead times yet and for several of these I have started ordering parts early this year which didn't prevent needing to re-design some boards to use a different package. Fortunately these boards needed a respin anyway otherwise it would have added more costs. Like all part shortages: it will go away at some point.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline Tomorokoshi

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2021, 01:47:01 pm »
We were switching what we can to software, but now that's unavailable too.
 
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Offline madires

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2021, 02:08:57 pm »
I'm just doing hobbyist stuff, repairs for my family and a few friends, and also an OSHW project. Even my "cottage industry" has to deal with the shortages. A while ago I started converting a few old NiCd/NiMH battery packs for professional drills/drivers to 18650 Li-Ion and the price for 18650 cells has nearly doubled, as well for the BMS and charger modules. And you can't expect your preferred 18650s to be in stock.
 

Offline jrs45

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2021, 02:18:43 pm »
We should be OK for a while, we did stock up at the first signs of problems, and it's paying off.

However, I am wasting a lot of my day chasing down suppliers, and it makes future development very difficult, as we don't know what's going to be available.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2021, 02:19:44 pm »

This is bound to cause huge price inflation, eventually...  which is what the central banks all want.  Coincidence?  (cue X-factor music)
 

Offline Gribo

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2021, 02:37:04 pm »
TI 74LVC1T45DBV (SOT23-6) No stock, changed it to another buffer in a compatible package.
Diodes Inc AP63203 No stock, had to use the adjustable version.
Just in time supply chain is a mess.
I am available for freelance work.
 

Offline IDEngineer

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2021, 02:56:58 pm »
It's not just semiconductors, or even electronics in general. It's everywhere in the supply chain.

For example, we're having trouble sourcing certain kinds of connectors. We finally found some pockets of stock as far away as the Netherlands and brought those in. (Related warning: Arrow is inconsistent about informing you of tariffs! When you order via their website they don't always tell you where in the world the parts they're offering are stocked, and if they happen to fulfill from overseas you can get hit with a substantial tariff by the shipping company which Arrow will deflect, deny, and ignore. In this order I'm talking about FedEx hit us with an unexpected 25% tariff and Arrow would do nothing about it. Other vendors have this figured out, and in talks with other Arrow customers we are not the only ones to be surprised this way.)

Our experiences with chips is similar to what others have reported here. We have purchased from the grey market in the past and a couple of those vendors have been able to help us, though at a 3-4X markup.

But by far the worst one for us is the hydraulics industry. We have a new product line, five years in development, which includes some hydraulics and was due to enter production this June. Back in 1Q2021 we started working with the hydraulics supply chain to prepare for production to start in June and were informed that components which generally have ~4 week lead times were (direct quote) "26 weeks and no promises". Translation: They might be able to get you some of your order in six months but don't count on anything. Since then we can't even get prototypes nor Engineering samples of otherwise off-the-shelf parts like pumps and motors. That's no way to introduce a new product line, so we have lost an entire year's production thanks to these supply chain effects. It's maddening.

I personally dug into the hydraulics problem and learned that it's all ripple effect. Back at the start of COVID-19, the hydraulics industry - just like the automotive industry - tapered their forecasts and cancelled orders because they expected demand to fall. What are their vendors going to do, let their factories and foundries sit idle? Nope, they sold that capacity to other industries who were more than delighted to absorb it. Fast forward a few months and demand never fell off, but when the manufacturers went back to their vendors the ripple effect had done its damage. In the case of hydraulics, pumps and motors have casings which are made from cast metals. The hydraulics companies had cancelled orders with the casting houses, so the casting houses had cancelled raw metal orders with their foundries, so the foundries contracted that capacity to other industries. Now the casting houses can't get metal, so the casting houses can't provide castings to the hydraulics manufacturers, so the hydraulics manufacturers can't get castings to make into pumps and motors.

Here's another example. Some of our customers manufacture boats. They're production lines are stalling and can't ship product because of random shortages. One day it's windshields. Another day it's billet aluminum parts. One casually mentioned a while back that they had otherwise completely finished boats filling the parking lot because they were missing a single component: A $6 horn that comes from China. These are ~$100K+ products being held up by a six dollar part. That industry is also having trouble finding gelcoat, resin, and other things related to fiberglass partly due to the Texas power outage which shut down refineries that produce such things.

Just In Time manufacturing sounds great, until a single link in the chain hiccups. Then the entire house of cards falls and the ripple effects can take weeks or months to sort out. What's sadly funny about this is that I've had discussions about JIT with our customers many times when things were "normal" and their comments inevitable get to "We spend more than JIT saves us on expedite fees and overnight shipping". JIT makes the MBA's and beancounters happy but it's a nightmare for Purchasing, Production, Sales, Customers, and Engineering (the latter when we get sucked in to "find an alternative NOW!").

We've always been a little obsessive about planning for shortages so we've been a bit better protected than others, but we're struggling too with several parts. In one case where a PCB revision was scheduled anyway, we are going even farther than normal and putting in 0R "jumper" resistors which we can selectively stuff to accommodate footprint-compatible, "almost" pin compatible alternatives for certain IC's. It's a kludgy way to design things but if we can't ship product we won't have a company. The one thing to avoid is overreaction - like others here have said, this has happened before and you can get whip-sawed redesigning for what's available today only to find that the shortages have moved tomorrow.

The takeaway message here is that we are in a technically advanced industry that has many, extremely interdependent tendrils. Disruption in any one of them can cause ripple effects to your whole company. Wise Engineers will design products to accommodate multiple sources, which isn't a guarantee but can soften the effects. For example, we've been known to have multiple footprints on a board for the same basic part from different vendors... we buy what's available for each production run and revisit that decision with each run, and the firmware either determines today's configuration or the boards are selectively flashed based on the parts installed. This isn't the first, nor the last, time this has happened so when possible, design accordingly.
 
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Offline IDEngineer

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Re: How is Chipageddon affecting you?
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2021, 03:01:15 pm »
This is bound to cause huge price inflation, eventually...
Inflation was already baked in due to the huge deficit effects of printing money for the "COVID Bailout" programs in countries across the globe. It's a fundamental rule of Economics: When there are more units of currency in circulation, each one has less purchasing power and prices rise accordingly.

It used to be that the political parties out of power at the moment decried deficit spending for political advantage. Now it appears everyone is jumping on the short-term gravy train. "Spend Money" is the mode o' the day. In the very short term a cash infusion may make you feel "flush" but prices catch up eventually, and it's a one-way ratchet.

Inflation is coming. Plan your personal financial life with it in mind.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 03:05:42 pm by IDEngineer »
 


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