Raspberry Pi Shortage
Let’s talk about the Raspberry Pi shortage. Pi’s of just about any variant have been close to impossible to get since Covid entered our lives. Particularly difficult to get are the Raspberry Pi 4 of any memory configuration or the Compute Module 4 (CM4).
I particularly like the CM4 for the fact that an SSD can be added to it and that it can have a Real Time Clock (RTC) depending on the Carrier Board you use.
A few weeks ago I scoured through all my parts piles and disassembled all my old projects and found a ton of Raspberry Pi 3’s. To my utter surprise I found I owned SIX Raspberry Pi 4’s. But they were mostly 1GB and 2GB models.
I also had FOUR CM4’s. Sadly most of the CM4 Carrier Boards you see out there are either lacking in functionality or are simply vaporware. The official Raspberry Pi IO Board is almost the only real choice.
You would think this is an adequate number of Pi 4’s and CM4’s for me, but it isn’t. I’d have a couple of Pi’s in every room, doing various jobs if I could get my hands on more.
This is course is all from the global chip shortage and supply chain drivers stemming from COVID 19. The folks at Raspberry Pi swear this is just about over and in a post in December 2022 they said it would be resolved this year. I’m here to tell you it isn’t resolved yet.
Even with excellent resources like RPILocator which shows current stock of Raspberry Pi’s all over the world…….you had better literally be watching the stock hit the store and strike within SECONDS to get one. I have been trying and failing for about 2 years.
They still make lots and lots of Raspberry Pi’s. However, there are a lot of commercial entities that use Pi’s in their products. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has seen fit to ensure that businesses get first priority. Hobbyists have sadly been shut out. So much so there has been a backlash against Raspberry Pi.
Alternatives To Raspberry Pi
There are a lot of single board computers out there to compete with the Raspberry Pi. From a hardware perspective many of them are even superior to the best Pi 4. From a firmware, software, and community involvement perspective though, they fall short. Way short.
Maybe the best alternative in the interim is simply to use a Linux Laptop. Other than the huge form factor difference the experience can bridge the void until we hobbyists can get our hands on proper Raspberry Pi’s again.
How’d I Score One?
After watching RPILocater for a couple weeks I noticed that Adafruit had available stock of Pi 4, 4 and 8 GB versions almost every weekday at approximately 11 AM. But as quickly as they would indicate stock, it would go back almost instantly to a no stock status.
So I sat on the Adafruit website and refreshed it every minute or so. They also have 2 factor authorization and I made sure I was logged in and ready to roll with my 2FA code. Sometime around 11:20 or so an 8GB Pi 4 showed stock. I immediately put it in the cart and checked out. It maybe took less than a minute and then I went back to check stock and THERE WAS NONE. It was that quick.
Status Quo On Raspberry Pi Shortage
Nothing has really improved despite the promises that Pi life would return to normal by 2nd quarter 2023. As it stands the only way to get a Pi is to ask like an Obsessive Compulsive Stalker and continually refresh a page not really knowing whether stock will hit that day or not. Then if it does you have like A MINUTE to get it in your cart and checked out. And you can only buy ONE.
Well, I got my Pi……..but this is ridiculous. Ridiculous for several years now. I have been using Pi’s since the first model but if anyone comes out with a viable alternative I’ll gladly jump ship.