Photon Manufacturing/Shipping Update

Hey all,

My name is Will, and I’m the Head of Supply Chain at Particle. I know that a lot of you are waiting anxiously for your Photons, so I wanted to give you a quick update on the current status of manufacturing. The anticipated schedule is below:

  • Shipped to date: ~3K orders with only Photons
  • Shipping week of 6/22: All remaining orders with only Photons and/or Maker Kits
  • Shipping week of 6/29: All remaining orders with Shields and/or Buttons

Last we updated the community, we were in the final stages of material procurement and were looking at a straightforward schedule through PCB assembly, testing, and packaging before shipping tens of thousands of Photons to all of you. Unfortunately, we encountered an issue during IQC (incoming quality inspections) for one of the components on the Photon that has thrown a wrench in our gears, and which we are racing furiously to resolve.

The RT8008-33 is the voltage regulator on the Photon, produced by a manufacturer named Richtek. We purchased stock for this part through a couple of authorized distributors near our manufacturing facility in China. The initial shipment of modules, which we used to manufacture a small batch of about 3,000 Photons that were shipped in late May, passed IQC with flying colors. The following shipment, however, had abnormally high quiescent current draw (current consumption when the Photon is in deep sleep) which would mean significantly reduced lifetime for projects running on batteries.

What does this mean for our manufacturing schedule? We’re working quickly to resolve the miscue, and have identified several alternate suppliers for the part in order to unblock production. We’ve obtained enough stock to satisfy all existing pre-orders, and are in the process of completing thorough testing on the regulators to make sure they meet the manufacturer’s standards. As soon as the parts have been verified, we’re going to head straight into assembly for all remaining pre-orders. We currently expect fulfillment to resume the week of June 15, with nearly all pre-orders to be shipped by the end of June, pending the successful resolution of this sourcing issue.

As always, we will do our best to be transparent with issues and challenges as they arise. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and know that our small team is working extremely hard to make the Photon a truly stellar dev kit.

We understand that delays are disappointing, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with feedback at hello@particle.io. We’re always looking to help members of our community, so let us know if there’s an opportunity for us to do so.

Will @ Particle

17 Likes

Hey everyone. It’s been a week since our last update, so here’s the latest info on our manufacturing effort!

The new regulators we’ve sourced and purchased have passed incoming inspections and we’ve begun mass production at one of our two facilities. The second is scheduled to start production/assembly within the next day or two. We’re still on track to meet the updated schedule we posted a week ago, and will provide additional updates as we have additional information to share.

As of now, though, we’re enjoying the calm between inevitable storms that pop up during the manufacturing process. :sunny:

8 Likes

Hey friends! It’s been 9 days since the most recent update, so here we go!

Things have been progressing smoothly now that our sourcing issues have been resolved, and we’re still on track to start shipping out Photon and Maker Kit only pre-orders at the beginning of next week (week of 6/22). Shipping will continue throughout that week from our fulfillment center in California.

Pre-orders with shields and Internet Buttons are still currently on schedule to begin shipping sometime during the week of 6/29, and we will provide updates if that changes in the future.

In the world of manufacturing, boring updates are good updates, so I’m ecstatic we have so little to share :smile:

9 Likes

Hey guys,

Another weekly update for all of you on the status of manufacturing and shipping. Thanks again for your patience as we close out fulfillment of pre-orders and transition to real time shipping. We acknowledge the process has not been without setbacks, so your understanding and support have been greatly appreciated as we work as quickly as possible to get you your Photons!

Our fulfillment center in the US received a batch of 3,000 Photons in matchbox packaging yesterday, and is expecting to receive another 6,900 units today. They should also receive all module finished goods today (P0 and P1). These goods should be shipping out to customers starting today or tomorrow. We’ll also be receiving all open Maker Kit orders in the next couple days (currently in transit), so Maker Ship fulfillment will also begin by the end of this week, continuing into early next week.

We’re expecting a third shipment of a little more than 4,000 units arriving at the beginning of next week, so we won’t be 100% finished with Photon-only fulfillment by the end of this week. In our pilot shield run, our manufacturer discovered that they had purchased incorrect parts for the Shield Shield, Power Shield, and the Internet Button. For the Shield Shield, it was an incorrect package for an NXP buffer part, for the Power Shield, it was an incompatible JST connector for the batteries we’re shipping, and for the Internet Button it was a through hole button part instead of a surface mount part. We expect that these purchasing issues will be resolved on short timelines, unlike the regulator issue, but it will cause a ~1 week delay for those accessories.

In summary, this is where we stand, and our updated projected fulfillment schedule as of 6/24:


Shipped to date: ~5K orders with Photons only (Matchbox, Photon Kit)
Shipping by end of this week: Additional 11K units with Photons, Maker Kits, and P0/P1 modules only
Shipping week of 6/29: All remaining orders with Photons only, Relay Shields, Programmer Shields
Shipping week of 7/6: All remaining orders with shields

12 Likes

Hey everyone,

It’s been 7 days since our last update, so here’s the latest.

Update on Photons - The good news is that over 10K Photons were shipped out in the last 10 days or so, and another 5K shipments will continue to go out throughout this current week (June 29) and next. Customers who were part of our Cyber Monday pre-order special have been appropriately prioritized within our pre-order stack–shoot us an email if you have any additional fulfillment questions.

Unfortunately, we’ve run into a potential issue with one of suppliers of the voltage regulator part that I spoke to earlier in this thread. We’re concerned that one distributor may have provided us with genuine samples with the intention of delivering a large shipment of approximately 20,000 fake units once we transferred payment (we haven’t). This means that Photon manufacturing is currently on hold until we can locate further supply or confirm the intent of the original distributor.

Update on Shields - In my last update, I mentioned part purchasing issues for a few of the shields. The updated delivery timelines for those replacement parts are as follows:

  • Shield Shield - 7/4 in factory
  • Internet Button - 7/4 in factory
  • Power Shield - 7/6 in factory

Due to the relatively smaller volume of the shields compared with the Photon PCBs, our CM has counseled that we need to align the PCB assembly and production schedules for the projects. We’re aiming for the following schedule for the shields:


  • PCBA - Week of 7/6
  • Shipping to US - 7/11 to 7/14
  • Fulfillment from US to customers - beginning 7/15

Especially regarding the Photons, I will post an update on the sourcing effort in advance of the usual 1 week interval if there is news to share, since it is the central issue driving the rest of our fulfillment schedule.

Thanks again for the patience, everyone. Feel free to reach out to us if you’ve got additional questions. Our goal is to provide as clear and as transparent feedback and updates to everyone as possible, so let us know if there’s something we can be doing better.

8 Likes

Another 7 days have passed! Here’s the latest on the manufacturing effort:

Update on Photons - Many, if not all of you, following this thread probably received emails from the Particle team in the past few days detailing the status of your Photon orders. As the communications mentioned, in the next two weeks, we’re going to be shipping out another ~3,200 orders or so. I’ll copy the relevant text here, for reference:

  • As of today, we have shipped 3,300 of 9,300 Photon pre-orders, and we are shipping thousands more boards every week. Each order includes, on average, 2.2 Photons.
  • Orders are going out in the order in which they were placed and in the order of availability of the items that were purchased. Photons are finishing manufacturing first, prior to shields, so orders that include shields and accessories are taking a bit longer to get out the door.
  • We are currently expecting 3,200 orders to ship within the next two weeks, 1,000 orders to ship by the end of July, and the final 1,800 orders to ship within the first two weeks of August.

The great news is that we’ve finally identified stock of over 40K regulators that we strongly believe to be authentic (currently pending testing). This will fully unblock production for the near and quite distant future, so it should only be a matter of weeks until all Photon pre-orders have been fulfilled, and we’ll have product shipping immediately after orders are placed. In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide weekly updates in anticipation of receiving the raw materials and resuming production.

Update on Shields - While we wait for the regulators to arrive, we’re moving forward with manufacturing for the shields and accessories with no major roadblocks. We’re still on track to meet the schedule that I communicated in my previous post. Specifically, we’ve finished assembly for the Programmer Shield, Power Shield, and Programmer Shields. The Internet Buttons are scheduled for manufacturing starting tomorrow in China, and the Shield Shields the day afterwards. Fulfillment to customers is still on schedule to begin 7/15 (one week from today), with shipments being sent out at a rate of about 1,000 orders per day.

As always, we’re happy to field specific questions about updates on the community, through PMs, or emails to our support team at hello@particle.io

Thank you for your patience. We’re very proud of the Photon, and as Particle’s Head of Supply Chain, I’m especially excited that so many of you will be receiving them so soon.

4 Likes

Hey everyone! I figured a nice shipping post would be a good follow up to Will’s lovely manufacturing update.

Update on Photons with headers - We have shipped 4400 orders as of last night out of our California warehouse and we continue to ship hundreds every day. We sent out a shipping email update last night with a latest ship date for each of your orders. I am very sorry that there have been a few confusing emails going back and forth but we have hopefully clarified everything. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding your order. After this week, we expect to have about 1500 orders left to fulfill. These orders will be fulfilled after we receive the next batch of Photons from our manufacturer, and they will ship out of our California warehouse around 8/17. We will continue to send out individual order updates every week until all pre-orders are filled so stay tuned for next week!

Update on Photons without headers, Maker Kits, and Modules - We have shipped out all orders with only Photon without headers, only Maker Kits, and only P0 Module strips and P1 Module strips. The only remaining orders with these items are orders that have either a Photon with headers, shield, or Internet Button with them. These orders will ship as soon as we have inventory to ship the orders in full.

Update on Shields - We are currently expecting the first shipment of shields to arrive by July 17th and we will proceed to ship all orders with only shields or shields + Photons without headers, Maker Kits, and/or Modules by July 24th. Any shield orders that have Photon with headers or Internet Button units will ship once we have all inventory in the US to ship the order in full. Once again, we will keep you updated each week as we receive inventory.

Update on Internet Button - The voltage regulator issue that Will described above is holding up the last batch of Photon with headers pre-orders and the Internet Button pre-orders. We expect to receive this last batch of Photons with headers and Internet Buttons by August 10th, and we will ship all of them out of our warehouse to you by August 17th. Will and I will continue to update you on this batch as we know more about voltage regulator supply.

Thanks everyone so much for your patience. We know this hasn’t been an easy wait but we are very excited for you all to start playing with your new Photons. Please reach out if you have any questions at all.

3 Likes

Hello everyone,

It’s been a week, so here’s another manufacturing update! All of you have been and will continue to receive individualized order updates each week, so I’m going to focus on the behind-the-scenes status of production in China in order to provide additional context.

Photons - The stock of regulators that we mentioned in our previous post is currently on the ground in Hong Kong, and is being verified by a third party testing facility for quality and authenticity. We’re optimistic that they will pass verification, which means they should be imported by the end of this week or early next week at the latest. Once our contract manufacturers receive the materials and have a chance to build a production schedule, we’ll update everyone with more detailed production dates, including:

  • Start of assembly
  • Start of testing
  • Start of packaging
  • Shipment from China
  • Start of shipment from the US

Relay Shields - Relay shields are currently en route to the US and have an expected delivery date of 7/16. We expect them to start shipping out of our fulfillment center by end of day 7/17.

Programmer Shields - Programmer shields are currently en route to the US and have an expected delivery date of 7/22. We expect them to start shipping out of our fulfillment center by 7/24 or so.

Power Shields - Power shields have completed manufacturing and are pending shipment to the United States due to atypical complications around shipping goods with batteries. We expect shipment to the US to occur before 7/31, and fulfillment to end customers to begin immediately afterward receipt (approximately 8/7).

Shield Shields - Previously, we mentioned that stock of the NXP buffer part mentioned here was 7/4 to our factory. Supply was located from an international distributor, but the shipment was held by Chinese customs for a full week before being delivered to our contract manufacturer yesterday. Production should resume immediately with a target shipment of next week, but we can’t confirm a finalized production and shipment schedule until we hear back from our contract manufacturer. We are communicating a conservative date to ship to our fulfillment center by 7/31, with fulfillment to end customers to begin immediately after receipt (approximately 8/7).

Thanks again for your patience, everyone. Please know that we are continuing to work as hard as possible to bring you your pre-orders, and are are anxious to hear your feedback on a product that we are extremely proud of.

4 Likes

Hey everyone!

Another week, another update! Here it is, hot off the printing press:

Photons - The large stock of over 40,000 regulators have passed third party inspection and are en route to our contract manufacturers. This is great news–everything is proceeding according to plan, and we’re very close to getting the pick and place machines fired back up for our second major round of Photon manufacturing. We don’t have a production schedule from our contract manufacturer yet, but we expect it in the next 24-48 hours, so I’ll come back and edit this post once that schedule is made available to us:

  • Start of assembly - TBD
  • Start of testing - TBD
  • Start of packaging - TBD
  • Shipment from China - TBD
  • Start of shipment from the US - TBD

Internet Buttons - The schedule for shipping Internet Buttons is directly dependent on the availability of Photons, so ship dates will mirror the schedule immediately above. Again, I’ll make sure to update this post when we have finalized timelines for the second major round of Photon manufacturing.

Relay Shields - Relay shields have been shipping out to customers for nearly a week. If your order contains only a Relay Shield and some combination of the following products, your order should be shipped by tomorrow (7/23) at the latest:

  • Photon Kits
  • Maker Kits
  • Photons without Headers

If your order contains a Photon with Headers or a Power Shield/Internet Button/Arduino Shield, it will be held until your entire order is ready to ship.

Programmer Shields - Programmer shields have been received by our fulfillment partner in California, and are already shipping out a couple of days ahead of our previously communicated schedule. Hooray for small victories! If your order contains a Photon with Headers or a Power Shield/Internet Button/Arduino Shield, it will be held until your entire order is ready to ship (estimated between 8/7 and 8/14).

Power Shields - Power shields are in the final stages of export approval with UPS, and are pending shipment to the US. So far, we’re still on schedule for shipment to the US before 7/31, and end-customer fulfillment beginning by 8/7.

Shield Shields - We’ve received the NXP buffer parts in our factory, and they’ve already begun mass production. They’re due to begin packaging today, and we’re forecasting an optimistic ship date from China to the US of 7/24. We’re still well on track to begin fulfillment to end customers by 8/7.

Thanks again for your patience everyone! Feel free to reach out to us with questions about your order, our manufacturing process, or to communicate any other concerns you might have–we welcome any and all feedback.

6 Likes

Hello everyone!

I’m a little late with the Manufacturing/Shipping update this week, but I hope that the the good news largely makes up for my tardiness :blush:

Photons - In the nine days since our last update, we received all the missing voltage regulators, completed manufacturing on over 10,000 Photons, processed them through our testing regimen, and boxed them up for delivery to the US! So, pending any issues with export out of China / import into the US (which occasionally happens), we are on track for fulfillment of all Photon pre-orders ahead of our most recently communicated delivery date of 8/14. We’ll keep you posted on progress, but I’m sincerely hoping that next week’s post will be the last of these fulfillment updates.

Shields - Programmer Shields, Relay Shields, and Shield Shields are all live shipping. Hooray!

An early shipment of Internet Buttons, large enough to fulfill all existing pre-orders, has been sent to the US via express delivery and will be arriving at our fulfillment center early next week.

Power shields have also been shipped out of China, and will be received in California early next week. Fulfillment for Internet Buttons, Photons with Headers, and Power Shields will occur throughout the week of 8/3 to 8/7. Fulfillment for Photons with Headers will likely continue into the next week, with all pre-orders shipped by our previously communicated date of 8/14.

Thanks again for bearing with us through these last several weeks as we worked to resolve some issues that were preventing us from shipping out your pre-orders. Now that the roadblocks have been largely resolved, we intend to ensure that, once pre-orders are shipped, immediate fulfillment will continue uninterrupted for the foreseeable future. Your patience and support has meant worlds to our small team, and we sincerely hope you enjoy your Photons!

7 Likes

Hey guys,

I’m a little overdue in providing a shipping/manufacturing update, so here’s the latest.

Photons - A shipment of over 6,000 Photons with Headers was received today at our fulfillment partner in California and is being prepared for shipment out to all remaining customers with open pre-orders. If you have not received a tracking number by early next week, please let us know!

Internet Buttons - We had a slight delay for delivery of Internet Button pre-orders because of an issue with the master carton packaging. A “drop test” is a standard evaluation of robustness in the operations world in which a package, product, or device is dropped from a predetermined height onto a hard substrate to determine whether or not the enclosure or packaging is sufficient to prevent damage to the product. In preparation for final shipment last week, we found that a small number of units were damaged during our drop test. In response, we needed to rebuild the master carton delivery boxes that are used to ship quantities of the product from the China to the US. Below, you can see the packaging strategy before feedback from the drop test, as well as the repacking method afterwards.

Pre drop test

Post drop test

In addition to adding a protective bubble bag around the buttons, we’ve also created a buffer zone between the edge of the box and the product to prevent denting by direct contact. Although it took us a few days to rework the units, they are now en route to our fulfillment center and scheduled for delivery on 8/13. After processing, we should be able to fulfill all open pre-orders by early next week (8/17 or 8/18).

Programmer Shields - Live shipping.
Shield Shields - Live shipping.
Relay Shields - Live shipping.
Power Shields - Fulfillment of open pre-orders in progress.

6 Likes

Hello everyone!

It is my pleasure to announce that as of today, all existing pre-orders have been shipped, and we’ve transitioned to real-time shipping of the Photon in our store. You’ll see the infamous purple “Pre-order” button has now been replaced by a happy green “Buy” button.

If you haven’t received a tracking number or shipping information your Photon, please reach out to us at hello@particle.io with your order number and let us know–we’ll take care of it.

Now that Photons are live shipping, we’re going to retire this thread as a pinned update, and will no longer be posting to it. Thanks for your patience throughout the last few months–we sincerely hope you enjoy the experience of using the Photon, and look forward to seeing your questions, comments, and feedback in the community.

:wave:

Will

9 Likes