The Mouser catalog hits 2294 pages
Paul Rako - March 21, 2011
Well, I just got the March-August 2011 Mouser catalog. If print is dead nobody told the fine folks at Mouser. Actually, its not just Mouser that knows we all love our print catalogs. When I talked to Jameco marketing maven Greg Harris, he told me that there were no plans to limit or discontinue the Jameco paper catalog.
- The latest Mouser catalog hit 2294 pages and every page can teach you a little electrical engineering.
I took all 2294 pages of the Mouser catalog to St John’s for a little team-building session with my semiconductor applications pals. They were amazed that I sat there for a couple hours and just leafed thought the Mouser catalog. I wonder how different the life experience of these semiconductor guys are to the systems engineers I grew up with. There was a good reason we called the Newark catalog “the Bible”. All my consultant pals and systems engineers would regularly leaf through the Newark catalog. Distributor catalogs tell you many important things. One of the most important is the price. These days you can even go online after you find it in the catalog and learn if it is in stock and how much the distributor has on their shelves. This helps you learn the “high-runners”, the popular parts that your fellow engineers have selected after doing due diligence. Just that a part is in the catalog tells you that it is a runner. Catalogs represented the wisdom of crowds long before the Internet was invented.
The other reason you should at least leaf thought your catalogs is to learn about the new stuff coming out. Mouser has a whole section on RF chips, for modems and remotes, as well as complete RF modules. This is just part of their embedded section that tells you what other microprocessor products your fellow engineers are using. The LED section followed that section. It is always illuminating to see what LEDs really cost and how many lumens they put out. There is a whole section on analog chips in the Mouser catalog, and especially interesting section for an analog editor like me. In that section I noticed that Linear Tech does not distribute through Mouser and neither does National Semiconductor. I did see that Mouser just added Maxim and they had a ton of parts. Also of note were the analog chips from STMicroelectronics, a huge company with a giant portfolio that American engineers sometimes forget. Texas Instruments was in the Mouser catalog, and you should always check to see if they have a part that gets the job done at less cost, as well as checking for those Burr-Brown parts that have a unique combination of specs that you can’t get elsewhere at any price. I was pleased to see the Mouser catalog had a section for Silicon Labs, especially after my consultant pal Walt Bacharowski told me he was really loving the Silicon Labs 8051-compatible microcontrollers since they had so many good analog functions built in.
When I got the Supertex section, I just had to check to see if my favorite discrete parts, the depletion-mode high-voltage Supertex MOSFETs where there. Sure enough, 450 volts, 200mA current. Being depletion mode they are normally-on. You turn them off by putting a negative voltage on the gate, like a JFET. I like to use them for start-up circuits in Harley generator voltage regulators as well as off-line switchers to get the chip started and then you can cut the 5W dropping resistor out of the circuit. And the great thing about the Mouser catalog is that you can see these cool parts cost 60 cents in thousands.
I will admit that when I got the capacitor section, I started taking chunks of pages, since that market is pretty stable. It is always a good idea to check the price of tantalums, maybe 47uF and 35 volts ($4.25 low ESR from AVX). That gets you to look at the AVX niobium oxide caps for lower cost but then you learn they don’t come in 35V, just 10V. Its also good to check out how big a ceramic capacitor you can get in a 1206 (1uF at 16V from Kemet).
I tend to breeze thought the connector section, as well as switches, but slow down again when I hit sensors. I like to look at the enclosures, but that is just me. I also dig the test equipment and tools section. Top it off with a scan of the index, and while all your pals have been getting drunk, you have been making yourself a better engineer. That is why I love catalogs. Here is a blog from years ago when I had my Newark, Mouser, and Jameco catalogs, and the Digi-Key and Allied catalogs are on a shelf as well.