TL; DR: DataSheets.com is a free, comprehensive source of electronic component datasheets and purchasing information — but the site offers so much more than that. In addition to a database with multiple search parameters and methods, its online content includes everything from podcasts and ebooks to schematic tools and calculators. With transparent monetization and unbiased information, Datasheets is helping facilitate trusted connections in the electronics industry.
Datasheets — or instruction manuals for electronic components — are essential elements in any design engineer’s toolkit. Also known as spec sheets, these documents lay out component specifications so engineers can confidently integrate them into their systems.
Databases of these manuals are a gold mine for engineers, sparing them the hassle of rummaging around the web for datasheets from specific manufacturers. While a handful of such resources now exist on the web, AspenCore — one of the largest media and SaaS groups in the electronics industry — is supplementing its database with media, tools, and inspiration via Datasheets.com.
“We wanted to create an ecosystem where engineers can not only find component data but play with tools — as engineers are naturally inclined to do,” said Omar Aslamy, Global Strategy & Data Intelligence at Arrow Electronics, AspenCore’s parent company. “At the same time, we want engineers to learn and grow when they come to our site by searching through the latest news and media resources.”
The website’s free tools include everything from schematic capture instruments and circuit simulators to calculators for printed circuit board (PCB) measurements and converters for radio frequency (RF) units. Media resources include podcasts, ebooks, videos, technical papers, opinion pieces, and curated news.
Of course, users can explore millions of components, including servers, semiconductors, and optoelectronics, across hundreds of manufacturers.
Ultimately, the site provides design engineers and electronics purchasing agents the data, tools, and educational resources they need to achieve professional growth and success.
AspenCore: Engaging the Electronics Industry
Datasheets is a space built on thought leadership in the engineering community. “It’s helping people stay connected through the largest electronics industry media group in the world, AspenCore,” Omar said. “The backbone of the data is powered by SiliconExpert, a leader in providing electronic data.”
Through SiliconExpert’s component database, Datasheets arms readers with the insights they need to make data-driven decisions and work through difficult business challenges.
The site also leverages AspenCore’s unique collection of media properties to connect the electronics community with reliable news, authoritative analysis, and daily information. The Electronic Engineering Times (EE Times), for example, is part of the AspenCore network. The media outlet, established in 1972, has renewed its focus on investigative journalism since being acquired by Arrow Electronics.
“Our mission was to create a collaborative platform to help engineers and datasheets interact, learn, play, and grow,” Omar said. “Whether you want to find the latest news, the coolest schematic simulation tools, math calculators, gadgets to play with, or informative articles, Datasheets is the place for you.”
The idea is to leave readers who expected nothing but component and parts discovery pleasantly surprised with valuable tools and thought-provoking communications in the background. That way, they’ll have multiple reasons to come back for more.
Access Podcasts, Digital Books, and Technical Papers
In addition to providing streamlined workflows through easier component discoverability, the Datasheets website offers plenty of educational benefits. The site delivers a range of tutorials, DIY projects, videos, and ebooks, the majority of which readers can access for free. The company offers a handful of paid and free ebooks on topics such as product alternatives to Multi-layer Ceramic Capacitors (MLCCs) and simplifying radio access network clocking.
Readers can also check out technical papers on topics like distributed programmable logic device (PLD) solutions designed to reduce server cost and increase flexibility. The paper compares approaches used with older generation server designs with modern server designs where PLDs are used to integrate certain functionalities. It also discusses reducing complexity and costs with other functions commonly found in servers integrated into other programmable devices.
“Our communications channels definitely help us stand out beyond specifications on a datasheet,” Omar said. “The ecosystem is built on thought leadership in the engineering community. If you’re looking at some of the ebooks we have on our site, we’ll send you to EE Times, where you can buy them. Or you might choose to listen to a really cool podcast.”
Omar recommends checking out the latest podcasts from AspenCore Network sites, such as PowerUP. The series focuses on Gallium Nitride and Silicon Carbide-based integrated circuits. These power devices are revolutionizing electronic system performance in markets like industrial automation, renewable energy, and the Internet of Things.
Omar’s personal favorite podcast show is “Embedded Edge,” hosted by Nitin Dahad, Editor-in-Chief of embedded.com. In it, engineers and executives opine on the challenges and opportunities inherent in embedded systems, technologies, and products. The first episode, for example, focuses on how edge autonomy and automated information is shaping the future of edge computing.
“It’s just fantastic,” Omar said. “I also enjoy ‘AI With Sally.’ I’m a data geek, so I’m drawn to machine learning and artificial intelligence.”
For a 30-minute update on the latest in the electronics engineering space, check out ‘Weekly Briefing’ from the EE Times, which features a lineup of discussions between leading subject matter experts. Users can listen to all podcasts directly through the Datasheets site or subscribe through Apple, Google, Blubrry, or Stitcher. Transcripts are available for each episode at no cost.
Transparent Monetization and Unbiased Information
In a world where it’s normal to second-guess the motivations of publishers, the media resources on the Datasheets site stand out for their a commitment to editorial independence and integrity.
While the site’s target audience is primarily engineers, the quality of its news, authoritative analyses, and daily information also attracts C-level executives from various parts of the industry. (HostingAdvice readers might want to check out the AI & Big Data, IoT, and Security categories, in particular.)
“A lot of people come here for the latest news associated with multiple categories such as Automotive, Power Management, and Sensors,” Omar told us.
As part of a pledge to keep things honest, the company doesn’t partner with any manufacturers on products that are mentioned on the site. Instead, the website is monetized through a straightforward banner advertising model. “We don’t point anyone toward any of the manufacturers; we don’t allow them to up-rank or sway people in any way,” he said.
As for what’s next, the team behind the Datasheets site is working hard to bring forth new and intriguing developments throughout 2021 and beyond.
“Right now, we give users different language capabilities, access to bulk searching, and searches by taxonomy,” Omar said. “They can create diagrams and perform circuit simulations. But we also have some cool things happening from a development standpoint.”
One of the handiest products in the lineup is an on-page part simulator.
“Say that on the part detail page, you put in LM317LILPE3 (the part number for a Standard Regulator from Texas Instruments),” Omar said. “There will be a button reading, ‘Start Simulation.’ And then the other properties that we have will allow you to start simulating and building your schematics and save information for any kind of product that you want to design.”
The team also has several developments it’s keeping under tight wraps — so make sure to check back often for updates.
“Some of the plans that we have for 2021 are next-level,” Omar said.
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