The effects of the recession on Asian electronics suppliers are being felt across the electronics industry, from cell phones to smaller firms like us and Sparkfun. This article explains what the root causes are, but the effect is that you're seeing more and more products going temporarily out of stock from many suppliers as we wait for components. In the case of ArduPilot Mega, which is currently out of stock, Sparkfun is waiting for a shipment of Atmega1280s to come in (ETA not currently known, but probably a matter of a couple weeks. UPDATE: Sparkfun says next week).
Our magnetometer board is also waiting for a shipment of new sensors, which will be arriving at the end of November (the good news is that we got a good deal on them by buying in massive quantities, so the price of the board will be going down).
Most other major products, such as the original ArduPilot board, the ArduPilot Mega IMU shield, ArduIMU and both the MediaTek and uBlox GPS modules are still in stock, albeit with limited inventories (act now!).
One of the components that we're having a lot of trouble sourcing is the 16MB dataflash chip that is used for on-board datalogging on the APM IMU shield. We've managed to find another 300, but at a very high price (around $15 each), so we may have to temporarily increase the price of the board by $10. Around the end of the year, we have been promised access to a larger supply, but at an even higher price!
We really don't want to pass these costs on to you and are looking for a cheaper source. Can anyone here help? The part number is AT45DB161D-SU. Does anyone know where we can get hundreds or more of them at a cost below $8 each? (We've considered other options, such as switching to micro-SD cards, but the production complexity and cost of that is no better. We are, however, willing to consider DIP chips and a socket rather than the current SMD chips)