During the course of purchasing electronic components to fulfill a Bill of Material (BOM), it is possible to come across a requirement that cannot be sourced. Either the component has been listed as obsolete by a manufacturer or has a significant lead-time which jeopardizes a PCBA project timeline. Now what? Numerous options exist to try to keep the PCBA timeline. An evaluation of the situation can be accomplished by following some of these suggestions.
1. For passive components, can a tighter tolerance or a higher voltage be a simple option?
2. Can the component be crossed to another component the original manufacturer may have designed to be a supersession; such as an upgraded component with additional features, etc.? Open and compare the datasheets to ensure the Form, Fit, and Function are similar enough to pursue consideration. Often, the manufacturer will note the supersession and will outline the additional features on the newest datasheet.
3. Can the component be crossed to a “like” component from a different manufacturer?
· The easiest source is the “like” component manufacturer themselves. Search the manufacturer website for a Cross Reference page. By entering in the original component, the Cross Reference may indicate a comparable component.
· Use an authorized distributor’s website to see if a suggested alternate is listed by doing a search for the original component part number.
· Subscribe to an electronic component search authority. Several online organizations exist which sell subscriptions to their services and have engineering approved alternates available.
· Use an authorized distributor’s parameter search to locate potential alternates. This is the most difficult of the search options, as the datasheet comparison must be thorough and approved by the original design engineer. (Keep in mind that some component packages identified on datasheets may be manufacturer specific. Always compare the footprints.)
4. Can the component be found with an independent distributor? If pursuing this option, proceed with caution but keep in mind that some OEM’s have discontinued or reduced the use of a component and have too much stock. They need an outlet to move the excess inventory.
When challenged with fulfilling BOM requirements issues will often occur. Hopefully, you will find the ideas provided to address these issues helpful.
Overcoming issues is a challenge the Project Coordinators at California Integration Coordinators, Inc. face and overcome daily. We are professionals focused solely on electronic component procurement and kitting for the assembly process.
We are always seeking additional ideas for dealing with the challenges of sourcing electronic component for an upcoming PCB assembly projects. Please share your ideas with us with an email to Cherie@cic-inc.com or calling (530) 626-6168.