jamesh
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:47 am

Indeed, one does have to wonder at the competency of some seemly well organised and really quite large companies sometimes. And not just the ones being talked about here.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Please direct all questions to the forum, I do not do support via PM.

danringer
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:24 pm

I just got this reply from an email last night:

Hi there

Sorry to disappoint, we have decided to remove the Gertboard from sale. Don’t worry we are planning on producing a fully assembled board but this will not be available for another few weeks. So with this we have cancelled your order for the Gertboard.

If you go to www.element14.com

We shall release information about the forth coming release and not to mention other technical related issues.

Many thanks

Michael



From: DANIEL RINGER [mailto:danringer
Sent: 23 October 2012 12:18
To: UK Sales; Support-UK
Subject: Gertboard

Farnell,

I have an existing order below for a gertboard and it is still listed as back ordered til 11-29. A couple of days ago my invoice added " no longer available " when I called Newark support they said it would be cancelled with no replacement available. I see almost 200 in the uk store and wanted to know if I could have my existing order filled with one of those or if I could order from farnell.uk for delivery to the u.s.

Thank you,
Dan





Order Date
Sep 25 2012
Order Source
INT
Order Confirmation Number

Newark/element14 Account Number

Customer CID

PO Number

Phone Number

Order Originator
Dan Ringer


Sent from the new iPad

zenbike
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:42 am

It's apparently completely removed from UK and Export sites, at this point. As noted elsewhere, a search turns up only references in forums and blog posts.

jduggins
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:04 pm

danringer wrote: From: DANIEL RINGER [mailto:danringer
Sent: 23 October 2012 12:18
To: UK Sales; Support-UK
Subject: Gertboard

Farnell,

I have an existing order below for a gertboard and it is still listed as back ordered til 11-29. A couple of days ago my invoice added " no longer available " when I called Newark support they said it would be cancelled with no replacement available. I see almost 200 in the uk store and wanted to know if I could have my existing order filled with one of those or if I could order from farnell.uk for delivery to the u.s.

Thank you,
Dan
My situation is very much like Dan's (though I'm in the US): I have an order that was placed in mid-August, that had been showing backordered with an expected shipping date of early November. The expected shipping date moved to 11/29 just in the last few days, at the same time that the "No Longer Available" tag appeared in the product description. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether it will actually be delivered at some point. The other interesting bit will be to see if Newark ever bothers to tell me that they're not going to fill the order if I don't contact them about it.

Since I have a number of other options for electronic parts and kits, I doubt I'll be ordering anything from Newark again. Their lack of communication on both this and my Raspberry Pi orders has soured me on doing business with them again.

Jeff

domesday
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:48 pm

I spent a lot of time on the phone today trying to get to the bottom of this and here is what I found.

1. Farnell have some Gertboards in (UK) stock that are being used to fill backorders, my guess is that the selection of parts for kits are being put together in the UK and sent in batches to various countries that would account for the different expected shipping dates for backorders.

2. They are adamant that they will not take any orders for the kit version and will now only be selling a pre-assembled version when it becomes available.

3. No date is available for when the new assembled version will be available to order but current estimates are 4-6 weeks.

So it would seem unless all of the UK Farnell staff have been given false information that it is indeed the end of the road for the kit.

el10t
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:51 pm

Hopefully Tandy won't make such a silly decision.

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alexeames
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:39 pm

el10t wrote:Hopefully Tandy won't make such a silly decision.
As long as Farnell would continue to supply them with the boards, that is. As I said in my silly pseudo python code above, I think a preassembled board would be great for the education market. It seems a little bit weird the way it's been handled though.
Alex Eames RasPi.TV, RasP.iO

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Tandy
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:42 pm

el10t wrote:Hopefully Tandy won't make such a silly decision.
We would be more than happy to continue supplying kits given the opportunity but regretably our hands are tied. The only place we can get the boards from are Farnell and if it is the case that they will not be re-stocking the kit as it seems, then we will not be able to get further boards.

You may have noticed that the Gertboard Deluxe kit is currently out of stock and the dissapearance of the kit from Farnell has prompted an influx of enquires asking if and when we will have some more. At the moment we do have a small number of boards but have run out of one of the key components that will not be in stock until the end of the week and low on a second that should be available a few days later. We clearly hadn't anticipated that Farnell would withdraw the kit from sale and the resulting influx of orders that followed. As a result we will have a limited number of kits available in the two batches over the next week or so.

Once the limited number of boards we have are exausted the future is entierly in the hands of Gert and Farnell. If Farnell no longer wish to sell the Gertboard as a kit then we would be happy to continue to supply it in kit form while Farnell concentrate on a ready assembled version if Gert is interested and Farnell are agreeable.

We extend an open invitation to Gert to get in touch with us so that we might be able to find some way forward for the many people who would prefer a kit.
Tandy - The home of electronics - www.tandyonline.co.uk

richardtowyn
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:20 pm

Hi All,

I received my kit today (24th October) after ordering it on the 17th October, there was no manual supplied with the kit so I'm a bit puzzled as to where all the components need to go. The A5 sheet that came with the board refers you to www.element14.com/raspberrypi. There are some videos there showing how to solder (with Gert showing the comprehensive manual that comes with the board).
On further investigation I've found an electronic link to the assembly manual which requires me to agree to marketing e-mails from element14 (confused as I thought I had paid £30 already!)

Its a shame that Farnell are supposedly not going to supply Gertboard kits as it is all part of the experience!

Any well done Gert looking forward to getting my soldering iron out! :D

Rich

Regards

Rich

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alexeames
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:40 pm

richardtowyn wrote:Hi All,

I received my kit today (24th October) after ordering it on the 17th October, there was no manual supplied with the kit so I'm a bit puzzled as to where all the components need to go.


Rich
I started this thread earlier in the week.
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... p?p=197523
It's now got bumped off the first page. I suggested it be made a sticky, but if there's to be no more kits, perhaps there's no need? It has direct links to the manuals and software (as long as they haven't been removed).
Alex Eames RasPi.TV, RasP.iO

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MuddyDogs
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:17 pm

I wonder if the logistics of supplying the boards in kit form have just turned out to be too much of a headache for Farnell.

Certainly when my kit arrived I was amazed at the number of of plastic bags in it. Creating those kits, cutting up the SMD tapes, making sure each kit has all the parts must be fairly labour intensive.

Fortunately as far as I can work out my kit is complete (I'm still building it), but I know other people have had parts missing. And other people have raised the problems of losing an SMD parts and having to order a 10's or 100's just to get 1 replacement. All of which means Farnell will have been having to deal with, possible annoyed, people as a result of their order.

The ideal from Farnell's point of view is for a customer to place an order, they fulfil it, and the customer goes away happy without contacting them again. If there is too much labour to build the kits AND too much follow up & hassle from each order, they may have decided it's a bold experiment that isn't working out.

If that's the case they need to communicate it. But I suspect the reality is they haven't decided what to do yet. They've got through the first batch of kits, and they are now trying to work out what to do. Some people are saying simplify and supply only complete, tested, hassle free kits. Others are saying go with the vision and keep supplying the kits. Probably a thrid group are saying how about we compromise and supply kits with the SMDs and other fiddly components in place but leave the easier components for people to do themselves (SparkFun do this).

The sensible thing would be to communicate this. The reality is a large company won't do that until they have made their DECISION. And making the decision takes time. Meeting must be held, views must be sought, managers must be involved, reports must be written, assessments must be made.

And no one will dare talk to the end users until all this due diligence has been done. They probably won't even dare talk to Gert until it's been done.

In the mean time we'll get lots of different answers depending on who you talk to in the company, which department they work for and what their manager thinks the solution should be.

:lol:

thekitty
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:03 am

MuddyDogs, you have summarized this unfortunate situation rather well. My elation at receiving my Gertboard kit yesterday turned into a fear I have a limited edition dinosaur. And I just spent another $95 on top of the $65 for my GB to get a new Hakko soldering iron to put it together. Farnell, you will be getting the bill for my psychotherapy.

Blog post on the subject: http://21stdigitalhome.blogspot.com/201 ... ility.html

raven_squire
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:29 am

I started a new post before I read this one but I noticed that Element 14 are no longer accepting orders and will not be stocking in the future.

http://au.element14.com/jsp/bespoke/bes ... tid=301444

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rurwin
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:51 am

It sounds to me as if the decision has been made, and that they have decided that it is cheaper to have a pick-and-place machine make the boards up than to pay people to fill little plastic bags and answer phones.

If that is the case, then Tandy and Gert should be able to get them to continue selling the bare board. If they get stuck in a hell of middle-managers, it might be worthwhile to consider suggesting that they make the bare board available in 20 or 100 off batches only. That should see their profit and stock levels looking decent and would not interest the hobbyist (so no annoying phone calls.)

paultnl
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:39 am

I think Farnell must be made up of trainee politicians, their FAQ is a classic example of a non-answer. Lots of noise, vague promises of something shiny without ever actually coming close to answering the question.

"Q. Why is the Gertboard Kit now unavailable?
A. Thank you for your interest in the Gertboard Kit. Due to overwhelming popularity, we have sold out and will no longer be accepting orders for the Gertboard Kit. However, we will have new and exclusive products coming very soon. We will announce it on the Community as products become available. We will also be launching a few new groups to help you with your Raspberry Pi builds. So stay tuned. "
I don't like Russian dolls, they are so full of themselves

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piglet
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:02 am

MuddyDogs wrote:...Farnell...communicate...
Oxymoron.

They would really benefit from customer service lessons from CPC.

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Burngate
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:00 am

piglet wrote:
MuddyDogs wrote:...Farnell...communicate...
Oxymoron.

They would really benefit from customer service lessons from CPC.
.... Who are part of Element 14!

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Melvb
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:04 pm

I got my kit from Tandy a couple of weeks ago, assembled in 2-3 hours last weekend and it was fun even educational. I am not new to soldering having assembled through hole kits 30 years ago as a teenager and the odd custom interface cable in my job, but never any SMD. It is nowhere near as difficult as you think, and I only borrowed a temp controlled iron from work (as I only have my 35 year old Antex x25 uncontrolled iron but even that could probably could have done the job) and bought some tweezers and didn't use a magnifier. If your going to use the board for interfacing then you will probably be going to do other electronic/electrical soldering for that anyway.

I think Farnell could just sell the bare board and let people select there own components, and/or completed boards. Farnell will sell SMD resistors in 50s at less than 2p each, so the issue of cutting off rolls and bagging, is an issue they have now regardless of the Gertboard kit.

Let Tandy do the kits as they seem to want to. If the board is open hardware (is it?) then anybody could get boards made but maybe Tandy have not got the capital to do that.

But please Farnell sort yourself out, people want these and you seem to be holding everyone back, even Gert does not appear to be happy with the situation.

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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:32 pm

Melvb wrote:Farnell will sell SMD resistors in 50s at less than 2p each
0.7p in fact http://uk.farnell.com/panasonic/erj3gey ... dp/2059601 those same resistors cost 0.3p each in bulk so they are effectively charging arround 20p minimum for the service of cutting some resistors off the roll and putting them in a bag. Further for credit card customers there is a minimum order value of £20 which is often met by cranking up the quantities of parts. So on most orders for each low profit bag of 50 resistors there are probablly some other lines of higher profit components soi'd guess farnell averages about 50p in "small quantity fees" for each line.

The gertboard kit OTOH has by my count of the unofficial parts list 32 lines. That would mean if the "charge" for bagging up parts for the gertboard was the same as for other parts (in reality I would expect it to be a bit lower because doing lots of the same bagging is probablly less effort than doing lots of different bagging) then bagging up costs would be making up half the price of the kit.

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Grumpy Mike
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:51 pm

I have been using Farnell for over 35 years and have always had excellent service until the last 9 months or so.
In that time there have been more errors in my orders than there has been in the last 34 years. Orders being lost, wrong parts, missing parts and so on.

Something is going on, I feel all is not well at Farnell. I suspect what has happened is that they were attracted by the Pi tie up but were not prepared for the vast increase of customer support it required. Especially dealing with customers who were not professionals and don't know how things work. They are not set up to deal with the public. If something is not in stock they tell you a delivery date and that is it. They don't send out PR emails and such, it is professional buyers they cater for.

I suspect that they might possibly be planning a rip off clone. I think there will be a big backlash against them if they do.

All this quibbling about price and mark up, everyone knows that a Farnell price and a real bulk price is a matter of at least one and often two decimal places. You pay for the convenience of being able to order small quantities. I wish people would get over that one.

lordoxford
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:12 pm

Three days ago Tandy sent me an email to say they had a few board kits. I responded evidently three hours after they had sent their mail but got "No stock" I telephoned them to learn that all had sold but one had been returned - I bagged it.
It arrived yesterday. A "De luxe" board at £24.99 + VAT.
The kit is superb - just three items: a wrapped bare board, a wrapped cable and a single strip of partitioned components arranged in the recommended order of assembly.
If Tandy can settle an arrangement with Gert the result will be a superior kit of top quality parts at a great price.
Go to it, Gert!
lox.

paultnl
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:27 pm

Another vote for the Tandy kit. The strip packaging is a great idea.
I don't like Russian dolls, they are so full of themselves

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k4gbb
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:08 pm

Something is going on, I feel all is not well at Farnell. I suspect what has happened is that they were attracted by the Pi tie up but were not prepared for the vast increase of customer support it required. Especially dealing with customers who were not professionals and don't know how things work. They are not set up to deal with the public. If something is not in stock they tell you a delivery date and that is it. They don't send out PR emails and such, it is professional buyers they cater for.
The seem to have the basic Email promo down... I get at least one "offer" a week from them.
The Grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but it still has to be mowed.

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mahjongg
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:26 pm

Grumpy Mike wrote:I have been using Farnell for over 35 years and have always had excellent service until the last 9 months or so.
In that time there have been more errors in my orders than there has been in the last 34 years. Orders being lost, wrong parts, missing parts and so on.
Cheers grumpy!
I hope not! I just ordered something like a 300 different parts for a project (some €1500,- worth of stuff) today. Never had any problem with them before, of for that matter recently.
Their site did have a small problem yesterday when it lost a "shopping cart" with several hundred items, but fortunately it was simple enough to upload a comma separated database file (from my spreadsheet) to re-generate the carts contents. I still take their site over for example DIGI-KEY's site any day! Anyway, their site has little to do with whatever impact the Raspberry PI has on them.

I can't say I used Farnell over many decades intensively though, just on and off. As (when I needed to procure components myself) I normally dealt with the likes of Arrow company. For bulk sales Farnell is much too expensive!

I hope I will get my components from farnell correctly and promptly the next day, as usual.

P.S. I do sympathise with Gert right now! I can imagine him gritting his teeth over all this.
I hope he isn't legally bound to Farnell over the rights to the PCB, or he could just "open source" it so that you simple can (re)-order a PCB from a location like Eurocircuits, where you can also order boards like the most recent Elektor boards and such off the shelve.
Like this: http://be.eurocircuits.com/basic/Offthe ... ?s=elektor

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michele.x
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Re: No more Gert... kits

Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:30 pm

Grumpy Mike wrote:I have been using Farnell for over 35 years and have always had excellent service until the last 9 months or so.
In that time there have been more errors in my orders than there has been in the last 34 years. Orders being lost, wrong parts, missing parts and so on.
Same happened with RS components.
Something is going on, I feel all is not well at Farnell. I suspect what has happened is that they were attracted by the Pi tie up but were not prepared for the vast increase of customer support it required.
My idea is that they thought that was another Beagle board or Arduino board. The pi started to sell like a Nokia 3310 and to a kind of hobbyist, very different from the electronics amateur they're used to have. Same thing I suppose is happened with the Gertboard: they ran out of stock in few days and found that they're unable to sell a kit in the quantities requested.
I suspect that they might possibly be planning a rip off clone. I think there will be a big backlash against them if they do.
Maybe they're exploring if it's possible to build finished boards with a profit outsourcing them to extra european countries. let's see what happens.

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