Originally Published MPMN
Originally Published MPMN April 2004
My Favorite Bookmarks
Allan Knox, Program Manager FlexOne Technologies
The number one site for me is definitely DigiKey (www.digikey.com).
What is fantastic about this site is
the search engine. DigiKey has done a masterful job of allowing the user to first find the component he wants quickly, then get price, availability, and technical specs with just a couple of clicks. For example, you type in "resistor" and a whole list of subgroups comes up. Select a subgroup, such as "chip resistors," and the next screen has all the parameters that might be associated with chip resistors. You can select the package style, power rating, packaging (bulk, tape-and-reel, etc.), vendor, resistance, tolerance, or any combination.
You can also enter multiple selections if you know exactly what you're looking for, or "drill down" by first [choosing a specific size]. Select that and only the vendors, values, and parts that are available in that size are shown. If you select a value, only the vendors and parts that still meet your selection are shown. If you get to a point where there are fewer than 20 or so selections, all the information about price, vendor, and availability are shown. Click on the part number and you get quantity pricing. Click on it again and you get all the technical specifications.
Another really useful site is Martindale's Calculator (www.martindalecenter.com/calculators.html). Ever wonder how to figure interest on a loan? Convert Btu to kilocalories? How many pecks of apples will fit in a boxcar? If it's not on this site, it probably can't be done. There are more than 18,000 calculators here.
Agilent, formerly Hewlett Packard, has a site called "Educator's Corner" (www.educatorscorner.com/index.cgi), with a wonderful set of tools for engineering education. It has experiments, lectures, and slide shows about all sorts of topics, as well as links to similar sites, book listings, and project suggestions. They even have an engineering cartoon.
Kemet, a capacitor vendor, also has a very good site (www.kemet.com).
Not only is it easy to locate product specifications, but the site also has a wonderful selection of technical articles. There are papers on virtually every aspect of capacitors, including failure, leakage, aging, and interpretation of all the various specifications. It's a great way to educate yourself if you use capacitors frequently.
Williamson Labs (www.williamsonlabs.com) is another great conglomerate site with articles, reference materials, project suggestions, and even humor, all relating to electronic engineering. It has a wealth of useful information, such as suggestions on building and testing prototype circuits, and anecdotal references to noise and electromagnetic interference problems and how to prevent them. It's sort of a candy store for electrical engineers.
Everything PCB (www.everythingpcb.com) is another one-stop site for technical details, links to vendors and suppliers, and manufacturing information about printed circuit boards. This site includes industry forums where people and companies can exchange and debate technical details. There is also an offer for free classified advertisements. This has to be one of the best bargains on the Web.
There are also some really amusing Web sites that only an engineer could truly love. Bert's Quarter Shrinking and Can Crushing Gallery (http://220.127.116.11/frames/shrinkergallery.html) is the site on shrinking quarters, a fascinating application of high technology for its own sake. After all, with inflation already nibbling away at our savings, do we really need a quarter the size of a dime? This is one site
you have to see to believe, and even then you wonder.
In a shameless bit of self-promotion, I also am fond of the Knox Associates Design site (www.knoxassociatesdesign.com). This site has a links page that includes many of the previously mentioned sites. Among the links there is a heavy emphasis on two areas--tutorials and wireless sites, specifically those pertaining to IEEE802.11.
FlexOne Technologies (San Jose, CA; www.flexone.com) is a small contract manufacturer in the Silicon Valley specializing in prototypes and low- to medium-volume production. The company provides printed circuit layout, electronic design services, parts procurement,
and design review for manufacturability and reliability.
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