Finding a PCB Electronic Search Engine for Your Component Needs

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: July 27, 2020
Finding a PCB Electronic Search Engine for Your Component Needs

Maintaining proper components within your circuit board necessities becomes much easier when you have a real-time updating electronics search engine.


PCB design software built for your electronic component search needs.

When the time inevitably comes in every design journey, part data management will become a critical system that will require the utmost of ease and editability. Getting caught up in the manual editing web of part changes within multi-level BOMs will clutter the workflow, increase the risk of errors and cost far too much. Having a PCB electronic search engine enables PCB designers to get the electronic components to complete their circuit board.

With Altium Designer’s combined data management architecture and electronic part search engine capabilities (namely utilizing Octopart), you will effortless be able to cruise through libraries of real-time part databases seeing pricing, quantity status, and much more all while easily switching out a discontinued part deep in a multi-level HDI BOM. This PCB design software maintains accurate printed circuit information and helps track components.

Data-Management Architecture

Early on, many designers have great depth and understanding of their inaugural circuit. They start designing, similar to a house, from the foundation up. But at a certain point, the house plans will become more and more complex, too complex for the designer to carry on remembering. Enter Altium Designer’s data management solutions.

Taking napkin sketches to schematics with hierarchical part design, have access to global editing for PCB footprints for easy design reuse, then to PCB with an active and integrated BOM structuring, Altium Designer handles part management from top to bottom and everywhere in between. Utilizing then the advanced part search engine (to follow), you will have advanced capabilities at your fingertips.

Unified Library Management

As we develop more and more, the tedious task of building up localized libraries, again and again, become the weak points in the chain. Taking thousands and thousands of part libraries under one roof, Altium Designer takes the pains of library management far and away. Easily add or remove large common part libraries into your PCB design allowing for more time to be spent designing and less time searching.

Keeping Bill of Materials Under Control

While we progress later in our designs, the issues that arise when incorporating designs into the real world (i.e. availability, pricing, etc.) often lay waste to an originally drafted BOM. We’ll then be left without an easy task of going through the whole part search and selection process often affecting PCB layout designs, and so on down the ladder of the design tree. Conducting all of this manually throughout various platforms would cost far more in time, open risks along the way, and you may not have even found the best market solution.

Taking BOM management as a priority, Altium Designer has dedicated a majority of their efforts to BOM integration. Integration not just back into schematics, but into layouts, real-time part libraries, etc. This integration effort is what brings your design into the world in a seamless transition. No more getting caught up at the finish line.

Planning for Effective BOM Management

Regardless of the ease of the BOM management structure, effective planning on your part will assure your BOM victory. Planning your BOM at the infant stages of the design throughout the life of the product is often practiced. Altium’s management capabilities will keep things running smoothly along the way.

Altium Designer’s components within Bill of Materials

Altium Designer’s Bill of Materials can speed up output time periods considerably

Advanced Part Search Engine

Newer to the market comes an incredibly powerful part search engine that has been incorporated directly into the Altium Designer platform. Pulling from many other massive part search queries, Octopart technology gets you real-time data of almost every PCB part you will need including pricing sheets, availability, datasheets, etc.

Altium Designer’s search engine is integrated directly with Octopart capabilities, giving you the real-time data previously mentioned. With the common parts library, you’ll be able to quickly surf through the more typical parts lists specifically designed for prototyping development. Simply put, integrating the power of Octopart data to the Altium Designer platform adds just another powerful tool to your designer belt to help you make informed buying and design decisions.

Powerful Features to Backup Your Search

Simply having the library of parts available isn’t good enough. There have to be features added within the Altium Designer interface in order to easily access, edit and maintain them for longevity. Altium Designer has incorporated more than a handful of database features that keeps your BOM fresh and clean throughout its design.

Altium Designer component parameters

Supplier parts information can be massively helpful for purchasing

Part management has and always will be the most critical piece in the design puzzle. Bringing your design into the world is a journey fraught with design tree errors, overpriced BOM parts, and general part sourcing risks. Removing the risk that can be avoided, Altium Designer has taken huge steps in providing clean and seamless solutions. Utilizing their efficient user interface for data management along with integrating the capabilities of Octopart into their search engine, you’ll have it all under one, unified platform.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 1000+ technical blogs on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, American Physical Society, and the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), and he previously served on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee.

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