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This is a weird question, but there are many embedded developers I've spoken to on these forums. So hopefully the right eyes find this.

I'd like to source say, an NXP iMX6Solo, or maybe an AllWinner H616 or some other ARM Cortex A with HDMI and at least 128MB of SRAM

My engineers balk at me if they can't get a regular supply of something years out so they don't want to just commit to say, using a Banana board with an Allwinner chip on it even if we can embed that in our device.

Problem is

A) I can't source the AllWinner H616 chip itself I found LCSC out of Asia who will source the chips but it's easy to source boards that are based on it. I feel like there's some sort of secret sauce I'm missing here. How are these people getting these chips to make these boards? They're all over the place, so the H616 must be in production. Where do i buy it?[^]

B) I can't get a regular supply of a particular NXP chip off digikey or mouser year to year, even if NXP's roadmap still has the thing in production into the next decade.

C) There are turnkey embedded solutions out there that have ship commitments through a particular year for various products, but we can't afford the buy in. Our clients won't pay for it, and we can't get them in the form factors we'd need.

How do I solve these problems? Where do I begin?

I never thought my biggest problem with embedded development would be sourcing the flippin parts.

I didn't go to school for this. I have no background in it other than throwing myself into the deep end, so I'm hoping I'm just missing something, and somebody with real experience and education in the arena can throw some tips my way.


What I have tried:

Emailing, web searches, basically a bunch of legwork to get where I'm at now.
Updated 20-Apr-23 11:33am
[no name] 21-Apr-23 12:31pm    
Knowing nothing either, I would look at a design where the "chip" (or whatever) could be swapped. And I've never shied away from saying you need to buy this to do this. (Pay me now or pay me later)
honey the codewitch 21-Apr-23 12:37pm    
It's not the cost exactly, but the payment structures that concerns me. I charge for deliverables, so I don't want to push recurring costs onto my clients unless they have a specific service need for their project.

As far as chips being swapped that's the problem. These ARM based SoCs are so diverse every single one is going to have different registers, if not a different footprint because they have different on-chip peripherals.

I think I've found a solution in the allwinner H616 even though it's meant for TV boxes like making a Roku knock off. It is Cortex A53 based w/ HDMI which is what I wanted.

Here are my notes on this solution. If you want to take a look and offer your input I wouldn't mind, but no obligation
[no name] 21-Apr-23 15:11pm    
Yes, I don't know what sort of "dimensions" and costs you're on. I worked on "device" projects that started on a 4x8 and wound up with say, less than one square foot. All the hardware was contracted out and I did the "application" programing (talking to the firmware). The costs went from over a $1000 per unit to "mid". And my software helped hardware debug their firmware (engineering needs help too sometimes).
honey the codewitch 21-Apr-23 16:03pm    
It varies, but we're trying to keep it flexible, so the idea is compact, modular, and relatively inexpensive. How compact? Dunno yet. How cheap? < $50 to manufacture the main "brain" (not including the modules), another $20-$40 for a screen. None of these prices are bulk. That way we don't have to make a ton of different devices to meet a bunch of needs. Based on the projects I've done this main brain can handle anything I've had to do for a client by a factor of 10x. I need 100mhz. I have 1Ghz. I need 512KB RAM. I have 512MB. The only thing I'm kind of lacking is flash space, but I could use SD internally for gigs of space, which i may do if I can make it reliable.
[no name] 22-Apr-23 11:02am    
Perhaps you're pricing too low. "Function Points".

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