Thanks to the existence of numerous engineering –related websites, one can easily download a variety of parts libraries for free. Startup companies using open source parts can still create amazing products without the need of purchasing costly BOM software. As a result, they can effectively gain sizeable market shares through high-quality products and competitive pricing.
Due to the internet’s free entry and exit nature, some software developers decide to upload and share bogus parts libraries. Without proper guidance, one may end up wasting time and data on downloading outdated parts or incomplete lists of materials.
Below are guidelines to help you spot genuine parts library online sources.
Post a question in an online forum
There are at least 20 active online forums targeting engineering students and professionals. You won’t pay anything to join these forums and the best part is that you can belong to all 20 of them. Unlike Facebook groups, members in these online communities can create new topics where they can post questions.
In case you’ve come across a relatively unknown open source parts library website, you can post questions in your online community. The members will provide honest and comprehensive details as compared to reading online reviews from a bunch of scattered websites.
Do a credibility check of the website
Scamadvisor allows people to verify the safety of any website through using sophisticated web-based analytical tools. The results display the domain’s age, owner’s address, website’s location, and, online reviews. Scamadvisor also reports websites containing malware and other computer viruses to protect you from malicious hackers.
Downloading part libraries from a credible website will enable you to contact the customer care team whenever you need technical support. It’s also easier to keep track of the parts’ lifecycles.
Search for similar projects
Most engineers usually upload their PCB schematics online for reviewing or just to help out another engineer who’s working on a similar project. Product engineers can learn about all the components required for their project by simply referring to shared PCB designs available in their respective engineering online-based forums.
After downloading a PCB design, you can use the list of items as criteria for choosing an ideal open source part library. If you come across new parts, add them to your pre-existing list of materials for future reference.
Consult with your manufacturer
Consulting with your manufacturer in advance helps engineers to avoid making costly mistakes. Manufacturers advise electrical engineers on suitable substitutes for parts that are approaching the tail ends of their product lifecycles. He or she will also advise you on where to download parts that match the industry’s needs.
Check compatibility with your current BOM version
Advancement in PCB design leads to the development of new BOM software and parts libraries. Check whether the website offers an open source parts library that is executable on your BOM software.
Summing it up
Identifying suitable websites for updating your parts library will enhance your versatility to work on a variety of PCB designs.