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Topic: Is the Arduino Due going to disappear? (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic

kroussel

Jun 11, 2018, 11:00 am Last Edit: Jun 11, 2018, 11:16 am by kroussel
Hello everyone,

We are developing some embedded device, and plan to use the Due as the base hardware platform, since it's powerful enough (in terms of computational power), has a lot of hardware extensions readily available, and doesn't consume much power (i.e.: much less than Raspberry Pi or other similar platforms).

Problem is, the microcontroller on which the Due is based (SAM3X8E) is now described as "not recommended for new design" by its manufacturer (https://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/ATSAM3X8E).
Usually, a chip "not recommended for new designs" is at its end of life, and its production can be terminated anytime... If this happens, then the Arduino Due is doomed.  :(

Honestly, we can't afford to choose a hardware platform that could disappear in a couple of years (or maybe even earlier).

Does anybody know when the SAM3X8E could disappear? Is the Arduino Due's end already planned (and if yes, will arduino.cc design a replacement)?...

westfw

Quote
we can't afford to choose a hardware platform that could disappear in a couple of years
It is a significant engineering problem to "guess" which platforms are going to survive.
Microchip has a pretty good track record of continuing to manufacture "NRND" chips for years and years (you can still buy PIC16F54 chips, for instance.)  (There's some question as to whether they'll be this "good" with the acquired product lines from Atmel.)  But you increase your risk substantially if you're also dependent on a board-level product manufacturer.  (And "Arduino" isn't nearly as reliable a hardware supplier, compared to Microchip.)
On the other hand, the design is "open soucre", so at least in theory you could have new boards manufactured for yourself.  Or use board-level clones (from even less reliable vendors?)

pert

Arduino actually retired the Due a while back and then sometime around the remerging of the split .cc and .org branches of Arduino after Arduino vs. Arduino was resolved the Due reappeared. I know .org was producing a few different products that had been retired. In fact the stock pictures on the Arduino Store listings for the Due have "arduino.org" on the silkscreen.

So I would definitely not be confident about the continuing availability of official Arduino Due boards. It could well be that they just inherited some stock from arduino.org and once that's gone it will be retired again.

Arduino has been focusing on the SAMD boards recently but these are certainly much more limited in IO than the Due.

There are Due clones available.

Of course even the clones will go away once the MCU is no longer available.

The only way to be absolutely secure is to do a lifetime buy. Really that applies to any item you rely on, but especially to things that the manufacturer has already EOLed.

kroussel

#3
Jun 11, 2018, 11:35 am Last Edit: Jun 11, 2018, 11:37 am by kroussel
Hello westfw, and thanks for your response.

As you noticed, Microchip didn't design the SAM3X8E, it inherited it when Atmel was (alas) devoured.
And I fear that Atmel products could be easily sacrificed, especially if it helps other Microchip products (the SAM3 family seems to be quite similar with PIC32, for example).

My problem is not really with Arduino: there are indeed many Due clones available (though I'd honestly much prefer working with the original). But if the microcontroller is terminated, all of these clones will vanish as well.

The other problem is that if we choose the Due (or a "Due-like" board), we will develop code for the SAM3X8E... All of these developments will be lost if this MCU disappears...

I was hoping that since Arduino is probably of the biggest "user" of this MCU with the Due board, they would know if Microchip plans to "pull the plug" anytime soon. I was also wondering if they were planning a replacement for the Due should such an event happen (for example: with a non-Atmel/Microchip MCU).

ard_newbie

We have no special insight into the inner workings of Microchip, or their commercial plans, BUT, from : http://www.microchip.com/about-us/company-information/our-practice-on-product-longevity

A History of Product Longevity
At Microchip we have a 25-year practice of not putting our clients through the pain and cost of redesigning for end-of-life. We call it client-driven obsolescence, and the idea is very simple: we will supply a product as long as there is a customer somewhere who wants it. Five years? Ten Years? Twenty? You decide.




david_prentice

Atmel SAM3X was one of the first Cortex-M3 chips on the market.
ST Micreelectronics STM32F103 Cortex-M3 appeared at the same time.
Luminary LM3S Cortex-M3 were good at the time

They have all been superseded by better M3 chips.
Cortex-M4 chips leave the M3 far behind.

M4 will get superseded in years to come.

The M3 is 11 years old.   In 10 years time it will be 21.
The M4 is 6 years old.   In 10 years time it will be 16.

The Uno's ATmega328P is 12 years old.   I suspect that the Uno format board will still be around in 10 years time.    But it sells a lot more than  the Mega/Due format board.

I will not be around in 10 years time.

David.

All birthdays are guesswork.   Visit Wikipedia for accurate birth of a chip.

MartinL

#6
Jun 11, 2018, 04:49 pm Last Edit: Jun 11, 2018, 04:49 pm by MartinL
In the short term at least, I don't think that availability of the Arduino Due is an issue.

At the time of writing, RS (Radio Spares) here in the UK currently have 1604 offical Arduino Due boards in stock. Farnell also in the UK is due to receive 476 boards in June, plus more in July.

david_prentice

I often wonder how many items are shifted by RSWWW and Farnell.    They often have stock of elderly products.

A Due board might be sold by Farnell,  Ebay, Amazon, Adafruit, ...

Local Distributors sell boards e.g. RS, Farnell
Local hobbyist retailers shift quite a few boards e.g. Cool Components
Local Big Shed Retailers sell boards e.g. Amazon

Arduino itself must sell a lot of boards.

Chinese Ebay and Aliexpress vendors must sell large quantities.

If I want something quickly,   I buy from a Local company.    Farnell is normally next day.  Even if it has come from Belgium.

David.

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