The electronics industry has been badly affected by chip shortages, which have reduced manufacturers' ability to build products.
At BotBlox, we've generally been able to handle these problems because of the following three factors:
- We preordered heavily on the unique (non-replacable) ICs we need to build our boards.
- We can generally design around out of stock parts and find alternatives quickly.
- We use the same parts on many of our boards, which means we can reuse that alternative part on different boards.
This has meant that we've been able to continue building our core boards, while building up IC inventory for the future.
One thing we did not anticipate was the crucial supply shortage on two parts we use on SwitchBlox, the STM32 microcontroller and the NPN transistors. These parts enable management features and enable PoE respectively.
No STM32 Microcontroller
In our most recent batch we were unable to find an alternative STM32 microcontroller that would fit in the same footprint, so we decided to not populate this part and accept that this recent batch of boards would not be able to perform switch management features.
No NPN PoE Transistors
Unfortunately the part we use to perform the low side switching to enable PoE on SwitchBlox was out of stock. We did have the option to replace it with a lower current capable version, but decided it was safer to just disable this feature altogether.
What does this mean?
If you never used these features, then you will not notice any difference in performance.
If you were using these features, then the most recent version of SwitchBlox will not work in the same way as before.
What have we done to mitigate this
We have reduced the price of SwitchBlox to $70 to account for the change in functionality, and we have backordered the parts we need to re-enable this feature on the next manufacture batch, estimated in June 2022.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.