Art of Schematic / Manufacturer Part Search
Click if you find this content useful

Art of Schematic

Manufacturer Part Search

In addition to your cloud and local component libraries, Altium Designer has a very large component storage database based on Octopart technologies and the combination creates a uniquely comfortable approach to components and BOM management in ECAD systems. The design task of searching for and choosing the most suitable component parts for PCB designs can be performed in the Manufacturer Part Search panel. As a replacement for the Part Search panel, the Manufacturer Part Search panel offers a powerful search feature based on categories and parametric filtering that allows you to zero in on the exact manufactured components you need, and also select a preferred supplier of that part based on cost and availability. This panel also allows you to add components that are not in your library by simply dragging and dropping. It's incredibly fast and convenient; you should definitely try it!

To access the Manufacture Part Search panel, click the Panels button at the lower right corner of the design space then select Manufacturer Part Search.

Manufacturer Part Search panel
Fig. 1 - Manufacturer Part Search panel

In the main region of the panel, there are icons that represent the various component categories. Clicking on one of the icons opens a list of all available components in that category with filtering options. Click on the Connectors category to open all available connector parts.

List of all available connectors
Fig. 2 - List of all available connectors

Tip: You can return to the top menu with all categories by clicking the drop-down at the top of the panel then selecting All.

There are several ways to search for the required component depending on the input data. For example, we need to place an HDMI connector on the PCB. Based on this, we have three different cases.

Case #1 - We know the required part number. In this case, we need to enter the part number in the Search field then press Enter. As an example, enter 47272-0001 in the field then click on the relevant component from the resulting grid.

Component found based on part number
Fig. 3 - Component found based on part number

Case #2 - We know the part application. In this case, we can perform a search using the component description. We know that we need a surface-mounted HDMI connector, so enter HDMI SMT in the search field to find all relevant parts. The currently-selected filter options are shown above the parts list and can be removed (via the associated X icon) to modify the active search filtering.

Search by part description
Fig. 4 - Search by part description

Case #3 - We know the part parameters. We need to place a surface-mounted receptacle connector with 20 pins. Open the Filter menu by pressing the filter icon at the top-left corner of the panel. You will see an extensive list of all parameters available for component filtering. Enable Surface Mount in the Mount region, 20 in the Number of Positions region and select Receptacle in the Gender section. The list of components will automatically update each time a check is placed or removed. This allows you to quickly narrow the listed choices to the most suitable manufactured parts that are sorted by a combination of model availability, supplier stock, and price. The currently-selected filter options are shown above the parts list and can be removed (via the associated X icon) to modify the active search filtering. Similarly, individual choices in the Filters list can be removed by unchecking an entry or deselecting an option button.

Search using filters
Fig. 5 - Search using filters

Using the described filters and options, we found the required component. You may notice that some of the components in the list have the ico icon. These components are identical to the managed components and are ready to be placed in your design.

Components 826656-3 and 693071010811 do not have component  models and cannot be placed instantly on the schematic
Fig. 6 - Components 826656-3 and 693071010811 do not have component
models and cannot be placed instantly on the schematic

You can choose to display only components with attached models in the filter menu by locating the Has Model option in the Filters region and selecting Yes. Parts with associated models can be used in your projects by a simple drag-and-drop function, i.e. just drag the necessary component onto the schematic sheet. Also, you can right-click on a required component then select Place from the context menu. In addition, you can download the component for local use by clicking the Download button to get a zipped Integrated Library Package. Parts placed through the panel are normally downloaded or acquired then re-used in designs as library components or Managed Components.

The Manufacturer Part Search panel also allows you to compare components with each other in real-time. You can do this to compare electrical and geometric parameters, application conditions, dimensions, pitch, and much more to help you make the right decision with part selection. You can expand the panel horizontally; the lower part of the panel with part information will appear on the right side of the panel. To compare components, first specify a search query or define the filter settings so that you can select components to compare. As an example, enter HDMI in the Search field. In the search results, hold down the Ctrl button and click on components that you want to compare. After each click, a new component will appear in the Select Part Details region of the panel. This region will display an image, the name, a short description, and the price of the selected components side-by-side. You also can quickly open a datasheet (if it is available) for each selected component by pressing the Datasheet button. The component parameters that are different between the two display in red text; similar parameters display in white text as shown in the image below. To exit comparison mode, click on one of the components in the search list.

Real time part comparison: different parameters display in red text and similar parameters display in white text
Fig. 7 - Real time part comparison: different parameters display in red text and similar parameters display in white text

Each part entry in the list also includes a link to the online manufacturer's data, as well as a link to a tabular list of supplier choices, sorted by their price and availability. The supplier entries provide a snapshot of the current (live) stock level, pricing and supplier part number. To see all options from suppliers, select a component then click the down arrow associated with the underlined xx SPNs text under the Part Number and Manufacturer. The current prices and availability of components will be displayed. All this information will also be available when creating the ActiveBOM document even if you didn't place the component using this panel.

Current prices and availability of components
Fig. 8 - Current prices and availability of components

In addition, the current lifecycle is displayed for each component. It is displayed when you hover your mouse cursor over a colored bar to the right of the Manufacturer Part column. There can only be a few stages in the lifecycle:

  •     Active - This is the main stage of the lifecycle; the device is being manufactured and use is supported.

  •     Obsolete - The component is no longer available.

  •     Not Recommended For New Designs (NRFND) - The component is still active, but not recommended for new designs due to completion of the lifecycle.

  •     Unknown - The current component lifecycle stage is unknown.

Was this article useful?
Yes No
Thank you Glad to hear it