Finding components

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by BladeSabre, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. BladeSabre

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    105
    0
    I generally start from the requirements. Sometimes I need help finding the proper names for things. If I don't know the right words to search for, then I don't find much.

    Then I need to find examples of that kind of component. Serial numbers. The datasheet sites have been suggested, and most of those have some degree of keyword searching available. Some names are easier to search than others. Sometimes people here suggest serial numbers when I can't find any, and I am not sure how they are found.

    If I have a serial number, then the next problem is finding somewhere to buy it. Sometimes I think going through the second step is a little pointless, and it is more effective to search shop inventory by category and keyword in the first place.

    I do seem to spend a lot of time stuck on this shopping phase. Am I missing something important here? Or do I just need more experience?
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    Hi,

    I have several catalogs, each running over 1800 pages. I spend hours going over them looking for parts. Sometimes it is easier with a print catalog, as items are grouped, so you can at least look for similar items, rather than search for a vague description. Digi-Key and Mouser will send catalogs on request. Newark and Allied may also. If they haven't got it, you don't need it.
     
  3. pebe

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 11, 2004
    628
    3
    You live in the UK, as I do. Here are some sources:

    http://rswww.com/cgi-bin/bv/rswww/home.do?cacheID=ukie&returningUser=N

    http://cpc.farnell.com/jsp/home/homepage.jsp

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/

    http://www.fastcomponents.co.uk/index2.php?osCsid=f28d87eeecf982029bc47604d200fddf

    You can find almost anything using Google if you enter ‘buy uk electronic components’ or whatever.
     
  4. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
    144
    I find RS Components to be useful for such situations, although the website can be a little daunting to get around particularly if you are not sure what you are looking for. Therefore I recommend looking at a printed copy of their catalog, which as beenthere states, is sometimes easier. You can get a catalog for RS from here - you will need to create an account first.

    Pretty much like most things in life understanding exactly what you want is by-and-large down to experience.

    Dave
     
  5. BladeSabre

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    105
    0
    beenthere: Thanks for the tip. I requested a Digi-Key catalog.

    Dave: Your link's not working. On the page I found, it looks to me like they're saying they'll only send the paper catalogue to businesses with a credit account.
    "Pretty much like most things in life understanding exactly what you want is by-and-large down to experience" - OK, that makes sense =)



    Ok, so, where to buy stuff...

    Maplin - I've been using them for years. Good for small orders. Their range always seems to be getting smaller though. They only have the common components now.

    Fast Components - they look good, thanks Pebe. Looks like they have a limited range and only sell sets, but they are very cheap and also good for small orders.

    I've used Crownhill. Another small-range, small-order place. http://www.crownhill.co.uk/

    Cpc.farnell - I've never seen that before - looks like Farnell's consumer branch. I've previously used their business branch, and while strictly speaking I don't think I'm supposed to use it, I told no lies and they made no attempt to stop me. (I think it just means that the business laws apply to the transaction, so I don't get all the special treatment that consumers have a right to.) Funnily enough, the business branch has more than 10 times the range, and a lower minimum order limit. So I think I'll keep using it...

    RS Components - They seem to be assuming I'm a business too, even though I can't see anything in the rules. Annoying website. Not upfront about charges, but I think it's £4.95+VAT, which is reasonable for medium-sized orders. Looks like they have a good range.

    Digi-Key - fee of £22 on orders under £75 - currently not feasible for the size of orders I'd consider making. (Sorry for requesting a catalogue, Digi-Key people. Maybe I'll buy something next year if I can develop a product worth marketing.)

    Mouser - $31 of postage - not if I can help it =P

    And not to forget eBay. I have, occasionally, found the right thing there.
     
  6. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
    144
    Aye your right, the link is broken. Maybe you're right about the business requirement, though I've never really thought about it since when I opened an account I just stated my place of work and that was that. If you can get access to their catalog it would be worth it. There are contact details for the Customer Reception Team when you click on Open Account from the homepage - you could maybe give them a ring and see what the chances of getting hold of a catalog are personal use.

    Sorry to have lead you up a stray path.

    Dave
     
  7. n9352527

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
    1,198
    4
    Is that really the case with RS now? Because I have a personal account with them, but it was opened yonks ago. Nowadays I mainly order from Farnell, they are a bit cheaper than RS, IMHO.

    Anyway, is anyone have any idea on any UK based company that sells Xilinx and Altera FPGAs, in small quantities (< 100) and carries extensive ranges? Farnell only has a few devices and quite expensive. Digi-Key is cheaper and has extensive devices in stock but like BladeSabre, I don't like the shipping charges. Worse, I might have to make repeat orders and those charges soon add up.

    Pebe, have you ever ordered from that Fast Components? Are they any good? Their ZIF40 is the cheapest I've came across, probably not a 3M but that's not really a big problem.
     
  8. BladeSabre

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    105
    0
    Hmm, maybe I'll try phoning RS then. (Maplin charge for their paper catalogue. These things aren't cheap to make and post. The companies that give out free catalogues must think they're making enough indirect profit to keep doing it.)

    With Digi-Key it's worse than I thought. They ship from the US, and the VAT has to be paid to the carrier, which also means paying the carrier's overpriced collection charge.

    I was just imagining, what if someone took orders for rare items, bought the stuff all at once when there was enough of it, and passed it on with a reasonable handling fee? There must be large numbers of hobbyists with a small budget who are looking for rare components and are willing to wait a while for them. It sounds like a good idea for making money. Of course, my track record with that kind of thing suggests there's probably something wrong with the idea >.>
     
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