After what seems like an eternity, the first 50 uIEC/SD units have been shipped from the assembly house. Exhibiting the longest design/manufacturing cycle I’ve ever witnessed, they’ve been unavailable since late April, 2011.
For those new to the saga, the normal stock re-order process in early May ran aground when the specified SD socket was unavailable for purchase. Though the socket had been discontinued (and the manufacturer did send me an email), the sales distributor showed (and allowed me to order) a last batch of units. I had no idea the distributor would be overcommitted and call notifying me they could not fulfill the order. That call set off a multi-week effort to find alternate stock, which then morphed into finding another option that fit the footprint, and finally resulted in redesigning the board to accommodate a new SD socket option. That delay ate up the entire month of May and part of June.
Things started getting interesting in late June, as I awaited new stock. First, the date slipped, which was not altogether surprising (it was but an estimate at best). Then, the assembly house sent word the DIN6 IEC connectors would not fit in the daughtercard footprint. This was not a showstopper, as I had sourced connectors for another project that would work. A while later, the assembly house IMed on a Thursday night that the new SD connector would not fit the design. I double-checked the PCB design and measured the sample units. Everything looked correct. I asked for a picture to view the issue. They promised one later that day. But, they are a half day ahead. I received it the end of their day, Friday morning here in the US. By that time, they had gone home for the weekend. Looking at the picture, I immediately solved the problem. They were trying to solder the old SD socket onto the new PCB design. Still, that wasted time.
Luckily, after nearly suffering heart stoppage over the SD socket issue, the rest of assembly went relatively smoothly. Complicating the shipment: most pre-orders specified a daughtercard option. Thus, both items required assembly before any orders could be filled. As well, I produced the new daughtercard design in this order.
Now, to see if my design skills are good enough to overcome the lack of prototype assembly and testing.