KiwiSDR production status and availability



  • I put in an order with Massdrop two days ago and today got a notice that the product was on indefinite back order and they refunded the amount. Don't know what's up with that.
  • jksjks
    edited January 2019
    I don't either. Checking..
    We're about to hit Chinese New Year / Spring Festival which shuts everything down for almost two weeks which doesn't help.
  • John, keep us posted.
    I was about to purchase a second one until i saw N8UR's comment.
  • jksjks
    edited January 2019
    The reply from Seeed is that they expect to restock Kiwis by Feb 20.

    The latest build was started with parts procurement on December 10 (I had known this). Seeed didn't specifically say so, but I know that the MLCC (capacitor) shortage problems are continuing to cause trouble within the industry. That plus the Chinese Spring Festival have pushed the schedule out a bit. But there is no fundamental long-term problem with Kiwi production.

    I exchanged some nice emails with the Massdrop folks and we're going to try and add the aluminum enclosure as an orderable drop option in the future.

    But remember that if you can't wait for the next drop the Kiwi is in-stock at distributors worldwide (except Seeed) as listed on the website (albeit without that sweet Massdrop discount).

    Thanks for your understanding and patience about this.
  • Feb 20 has come and gone and I have an email into Seeed asking about the production status (email unanswered so far).

    But some indirect news. Mouser has been out of stock for some time. But as of this morning now shows 10 units available. And you can successfully add them to your shopping cart. So I have to believe they exist (Mouser is good about not showing stock unless it's actually orderable). I'm hoping this means there was a Kiwi production run and they are being delivered with distributors getting priority. The Seeed website still shows "no stock" however.

    I've added a link on the page to Octopart, the distributor search engine.
  • Seeed finally got back to me about the Kiwi production situation. They said they were not able to find ADC chips. I didn't understand this at all as a single click on a bookmark with my mouse showed hundreds of chips in stock at the usual suspects. The only thing I can think of is that Seeed's purchasing department didn't quite understand that Linear Technology had been acquired by Analog Devices back in 2017. And rebranding of the parts may have occurred causing them to think they weren't the same as those called out by the Kiwi Bill-of-Materials. But that's just a guess. Trying to get detailed information out of Seeed is like pulling teeth and seems to be one of the pitfalls of doing business with China.

    Anyway, they are supposed to receive 350 parts tomorrow and hopefully production will resume shortly thereafter.

    I must mention however that I am extremely grateful for Seeed's involvement with the Kiwi. Their production quality is top notch. And their efforts to develop the distributor network has helped the project tremendously.
  • I had an email late this Sunday evening from the test engineering people at Seeed. Apparently they had never seen the "Click to start OpenWebRX" overlay screen before and wanted to know if that was normal behavior. There was also another question related to the waterfall max/min/auto-scale adjustments.

    But these questions came up because they have built another batch of Kiwis and are now testing them. So that is good news.
  • Seeed says the Kiwi will be back in stock at Seeed on March 31. Hopefully that means a Massdrop could happen soon thereafter.
  • I see mouser ( have listed the KiwiSDR as "end of life", that may be due to the ADC availability mix up?
  • jksjks
    edited April 2019
    I've asked them to remove the EOL designation. No idea how that happened. Probably some automated process screwup.

    The Kiwi "board only" version is back in stock at Seeed (30+ units available). I hope the kit version will follow in a few days.
  • I split these comments out of the ongoing Massdrop thread as it seemed like they deserved their own topic.
  • That makes sense.
    Mnnn could add another cape to my spare BBG(s), will have to see if mouser UK shows stock after the "11 on order".
  • jksjks
    edited April 2019
    The Kiwi "kit" version (board + BBG) is finally back in stock on Seeed's website and on their Amazon listing. Mouser has some on order. Of course the regional distributors (mostly non-USA) have had stock during this entire period.
  • No stock currently at a lot of the usual suspects (Seeed, Amazon, Mouser). Some of the EU distributors have stock.

    But about 100 boards are in final test at Seeed. And many of the distributors indicate they expect stock to arrive by end of April / early May.
  • jksjks
    edited April 2020
    Kiwi "kit" version now showing stock at Seeed. Mouser (USA) now showing stock for the board-only version. Regional distributors ML&S (UK) and Distrelec (DE) showing kit stock. See the page for details.
  • A large number of Kiwi kits are available at Mouser (USA) now. And WiMo (DE) shows stock again. Seeed's website has a few.
  • I had a bunch on order since January, said they'd ship at end of April but kept being delayed, now just received word from Seeed that the product was unavailable (EOL) and that I should cancel my order and get a refund.
  • jksjks
    edited May 2020
    Nah, someone's confused about it being EOL. Could you forward that email to please? How many were you looking to get?

    There were 100 units built about a month or so ago. We get telemetry from the factory when they are in final test.

    But interestingly the double-digit number of kits and boards that were available at Mouser (USA) a few days ago are now completely gone. I know of one person who was about to place a large order, but I didn't think he was going to clean them all out! lol

    The other problem is that the Seeed IT systems are famous for screwing up stock quotes and probably also things like EOL notification to distributors and their own support people (hence what you were told). Mouser showed the Kiwi as EOL sometime last year. I had to quickly straighten that out..
  • email has been forwarded...
  • Hi Don. Thanks for that. I'll follow up with my primary contact at Seeed.
  • So this is a case of East/West misinterpretation of engineering/marketing terminology. The Kiwi is not "end-of-life" (EOL) from a western engineering understanding of the term, but rather "production on hold because the price of one of the components has gone through the roof" (I don't know of a simple term or acronym explaining this condition). However Seeed is saying "EOL" because they don't know any better.

    If Seeed starts up production again because the part becomes available at a reasonable price, or gets designed out of the product, the Kiwi will magically reappear on their website and available for distributors to order. And the previous "EOL" designation will have been totally improper. Perhaps this is why all the units, kits and boards, on Mouser were suddenly bought up. Someone who has been steadily buying over time (e.g. government agency) saw the EOL designation and thought "Gosh, I better make a lifetime buy of everything I can get my hands on". A "lifetime" buy is a term semiconductor manufacturers frequently use to warn customers well in advance of making a part EOL so they can stock up and not disrupt their own production plans.

    Right now I am working with Seeed to understand exactly what the price increase has been and what the production situation is. We'll get through this, but it will take a little time.
  • jksjks
    edited May 2020
    I'd also like to point out that there are a number of options available to keep production going in the short term. For example, would I be willing to give up part of our per-Kiwi royalty payment to cover the increased cost of the part? Sure I would. It's worth it to me to avoid a long period of non-availability. There are other similar tradeoffs as well. You can probably think of a few. If you're in the industry you know very well that they are! lol
  • we are already feeling some of this at our place and have contracts to fulfill...
  • At some point a price increase to cover the increased cost of the component is not unreasonable, either. The KiwiSDR is insanely popular (and for good reason, it's great value for the money) and would probably still be so even at a higher price.

    I understand this could be a key component without any direct equivalents that could be substituted, so if the increase is due to that component no longer being made, and the available inventory drying up over time, this might continue, and eventually become unobtanium. It's unfortunate that components don't have the lifetime that they used to, something I've sadly observed since I became a EE back in the late 80s.
  • many of the cool components we enjoy are a results of the Cellular phone industry and those designs evolve and cause obsolescence. I see that in work all the time.
  • jksjks
    edited May 2020
    So the Kiwi is no longer marked "EOL" by Seeed and hopefully that new status is picked up by distributors and Seeed's own sales department. The part we're talking about is the ADC of course (other than the FPGA it really couldn't be anything else). They would not tell me the precise prices they pay, but if you look at US distribution there is obviously some serious shenanigans going on:
    That part was $23 in any quantity you wanted for years and years. Now all of a sudden twice the price in small quantities? WTH?

    One of the reasons I picked Linear Technology (LTC) for the ADC was their policy of non-obsolescence for their parts. But I never suspected they might be the target of a takeover by Analog Devices (AD). Sure, I'm grateful AD continued to produce the LTC parts. But to put a price squeeze on customers with no notice really sucks.

    Seeed was apparently not aware that all the North American sources has been wiped out of stock. So they're going to see if a small manufacturing run can be organized sooner rather than later.
  • edited May 2020
    Good to hear, John. I was kinda guessing it was either the ADC or FPGA :smile: I always liked LTC back in the day when I did hardware design for a living, for similar reasons. Speaking of ADCs, I remember in particular a Burr Brown 16 bit ADC I designed into a HV power supply for X-Ray tubes (for industrial control purposes, not medical) that for a period of time became nearly impossible to buy. But... you could still get samples :/ So I had virtually everyone in the company requesting samples. I think even the cleaning staff. Got us through until you could buy them again. Weird times.

    As a developer of SDR related software, I have quite a collection of SDRs (netSDR, SDR-14, AirSpy, AirSpyHF+, Airspy Discovery, several SDRPlay units, a few RTL dongles and probably something I am forgetting about) in addition to the KiwiSDR. But I have to say, for convenience, it is difficult to beat the KiwiSDR. No software to mess with. No drivers. I can use it all over the house from any computer or tablet. I can take my iPad outside and tweak an antenna and see what is happening in real time, no running in and out, in and out... etc).

    Speaking of unobtanium parts... spare parts for appliances, like what I need for my 24 year old GE fridge. Which I spent 2 hours working on this afternoon. Oh well, now I will go outside and take out my frustration on some weeds.
  • jksjks
    edited May 2020
    Alright, so as soon as I mentioned the idea of taking a royalty cut to fund the increased component cost Seeed's attitude about the production situation changed instantly. We're working now on getting another 100 units built.
  • And to further confuse this issue: 50 units were ready to build, but were held up due to a component incoming-inspection issue. I determined with Seeed's engineer that this was not a problem and now those 50 units have been released to production (i.e. they're ready to go). So hopefully we see those sooner rather than later.
  • As of today 10 of the $299 kit version are available directly from Seeed:
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