30-Second Philosophy - Wait or Rev
Ever have your brain interpret what you are writing as something completely different from your intent - as you are writing it? Or is that just me? Clearly, the title of this post is meant to describe this post as a piece of philosophy that can be consumed in about half a minute. However, while I was filling in the title block, my head was reading back to me "32nd philosophy." Weird.
Anyway, engineers have always been presented with the "build or buy" question. Well, not always. At some point back in the murky depts of time, everything had to be built from discrete components. As more and more building block became available in module form, that build or by question became a constant part of the design process: "should I design this part of the system, or is there a premade module that will do the job for less time and money and will meet my design constraints?"
That was a difficult adjustment for some folks. We all like to think we can do a better job on a custom design than someone who is mass producing the same thing with profit first in mind. However, when everything is so complex, specialization is the only option. Know anyone who has designed their own Bluetooth engine from discrete components? Probably not.
With the current state of the supply chain, "build or buy" is being joined by "wait or rev." If you've got a component without an easy sub that has a 52-week lead time, do you wait and hope against hope that somehow it will come in early? Or do you rev the design to use a different component or component set? This can be especially painful with new chips that consolidate multiple passives into the silicon. Reving the design may mean a larger PCB and a higher bill of materials line-item count. On the other hand, a rev can mean the difference between getting your product to market next quarter vs. next year.
Like it or not, "wait or rev" has joined the engineering lexicon and design process.
"Weight or reverse"???
With that in mind, jump over to screamingcircuits.com and quote your prototype PCB assembly. Just keep in mind that no matter who is building your boards, you might have to answer that "wait or rev" question.