I also tried contacting Tinkersphere. They initially replied, but then stopped when I gave them a quantity to quote. Also tried having the BB-AI quoted by another manufacturer, but it’s very expensive in lower volumes. Plus, some of the components are hard to find and two are obsolete. A redesign would be needed to handle the obsolete components.
Any further progress on BBAI availability? It wasn’t a stated supply issue for the BBAI, but I see the AM5729 has become an orderable part again for us mere mortals. Maybe other part supply issues are also resolved?
Historically it seems the BeagleBoard group has done a fantastic job of making the various boards available over many years. Maybe it is time to obsolete the BBAI officially if it isn’t viable so that people aren’t left in limbo.
We have parts now!
Unfortunately, we need to go back through FCC/CE testing and distributors have gotten away from orders. Do you have anything on backlog with a particular distributor?
We don’t have a current backlog order in place. I think we did have 12 or so on backlog mid-2022 but purchasing probably cancelled it because of being marked as “obsolete” at some suppliers. We generally use one of the big three in USA - DigiKey, Mouser or Newark with DigiKey as a common default. I could probably get an order placed if a supplier would take a new one, if that somehow helped “prime the pump” so to speak.
We currently use the BBAI and have enough in stock to hold us over for a while. With everyone showing it as out of stock for over a year, we figured we’d have to eventually upgrade to the BBAI64. If the BBAI starts being made again, though, that would make things easier.
Unsolicited advice, but I’d recommend getting a BBAI64 in your hands before figuring it’s a good fit for BBAI replacement. It’s awesome computationally but it is physically larger and puts out quite a bit of heat - we had a tight area to fit the processor board and it wouldn’t work without a mechanical redesign.
I can only wish we had anticipated the parts shortage better in general and specifically for the BBAI. We had a system running with the BBAI and the PRUs and were hoping to use one or more of the C66 DSPs. We dropped back to the BB Black, then I spent weeks battling SPI and I2C device changes and code space issues on the PRUs (BBAI 12k instruction RAM, BBB 8k). I haven’t expended that much effort for 2-3Kbytes of space since the 90s.
I appreciate the advice! We did plan ahead for the size of the BBAI64 and I imagine we’ll be able to handle the extra heat it puts out.