Generic components (IC's) from local store - are they just as good as ST/Fairchild?

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 1, 2008
you know what I mean. You need a part in short order so you head over to the local fry's or that dingy electronics store and you look for a couple LM317's in TO-220 package.

If you're lucky you find the overpriced NTE stuff, at least they have datasheets..

Then you see this 10-pack just labeled "Jim-Pak" with no real copmany name and no indication of pinout on the box. The IC just says "China" on it.

This recently happened to me. I needed them in a hurry. LM317's in TO-220 come in two popular pinout configurations so I had to test the damn thing before I could even use it. What's the deal with these parts? Are they inferior to a part from ST or Fairchild? Are they made in the same factories? Do you trust them?


Joined Jul 17, 2007
I avoid buying NTE components whenever possible, because you don't really know who made the parts to begin with; NTE has a manufacturer make a custom run of a component with their own markings put on them.

Then NTE sells them for FAR more than the original component sold for. Their on-line cross-reference only works one way - from a competitor's product to an NTE product.

Last year I went to pick up a dozen LM3914N's at an electronics store in Michigan. They didn't have the LM3914, but they had the NTE equivalent, an NTE1508. They wanted $10 and change for a single IC! :eek:

I went online and ordered them from a major supplier; I got them for around $1/ea.

I haven't bought many Jim-paks; just some 2n4401 and 2n4403 transistors on that same trip. They seemed to live up to specs.

But, in order to be sure you're getting the "real deal" nowadays, it's best to either order directly from the company, or an authorized distributor.