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'[OT]: Samples Rant'
2005\05\17@124022 by Dominic Stratten

picon face
I placed a samples order last week with National Semiconductor for some
relatively cheap parts (LM331 and LM2917). I filled out all the forms, was
honest with what I wanted and didn’t go overboard on what I requested.

The application for these has already sold many units in advance but I
needed to check it would all work ok with a couple of prototypes - I didn’t
want to go out and place the minimum orders for components with my
distributors until I'd got a couple of working units.

A few days later I got an email back for each of the three parts I'd
requested :

               Dear Dominic Stratten,
       
               Thank you for the sample request from National
Semiconductor.

               We regret that we are unable to fulfill the sample request
as follows:

                        Part Number : LM331N for 5 pieces.
                        Company Name: Picbits.
                        Application : Automotive.

               Please contact your local distributor to obtain samples:
               http://www.national.com/contacts/

               Regards,
               Regional Administrator


Undeterred I soldiered on and found an alternative from a company in the
States called Exar. The IC was pin compatible and although a couple of
tweaks may be needed could quite easily be integrated into my project. As an
added bonus it was a third of the price as well :-)

I sent Exar a request for more details and enquired if any samples were
available.
Less than 24 hours later I had a rep from a UK distributor (DT Electronics)
on the phone - he'd pop round for a cup of coffee and a chat and would post
out 5 free samples.
Now - if I'd have got the samples from National Semiconductor I'd have
probably designed the whole project around their offerings and purchased
only NSC components - I'm now going to go elsewhere for my alternatives and
save a few pennies. I'm going to make it my mission now on this project to
avoid any other items by NSC - a disgruntled customer here.

On the other hand - Maxim and Microchip seem to be two of the best
manufacturers I've found for sending out samples - the service is so good I
even feel guilty about requesting samples (for legitimate projects) - I make
a point not to abuse their service.

Anyway - rant over - time to go and cook the dinner

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2005\05\17@131249 by PicDude

flavicon
face
Shows how everyone's situation is different.  I'm sure situation, location,
intented usage, etc all factor into a company's determination of whether to
send out samples or not.

National Semi is on the top of my samples list, and I lean towards their
components first (especially for switching-regulators, etc).  I've received
many samples from them in record time and have received excellent tech
support from them.

Microchip does send me samples as well, but it takes a long time to get here.  
Maxim on the other hand is difficult to deal with and get samples from.  Then
there's also the issue of whether I'll be able to buy Maxim's parts once I
choose them.

Cheers,
-Neil.



On Tuesday 17 May 2005 11:39 am, Dominic Stratten scribbled:
{Quote hidden}

2005\05\17@134427 by KY1K

picon face
They don't have a clue.............

Ordering for a distributor (with minimum order), generating paperwork,
paying and accounting on both ends DEFEATS the purpose of a sample.

It's supposed to be....yep, we got em. I'll pop a few in a padded envelope
without hassle and you'll have them soon. Thanks from XX vendor. for
choosing our product and so on......

I just used Taos Optical over a large brand name vendor for a particular
light receiver for the exact reasons you suggested below.

When they give you more red tape and slow down delivery of samples, they
would be better off just to say NO in the first place.

By the way, I have found TI, Maxim and Burr-Brown to be exceptional with
regard to samples. I'm partial to Linear Technology for supplying an
outstanding free Spice software package that comes equipped with their
entire line of analog op amps and switching power supply chips already
included!!!!!  I hope their sample policy is as good as their Spice
simulator is, I'll know soon as I'm working on a project with their parts now.

When I submit a design for a customer, I ALWAYS specify the part I used and
suggest strongly that they don't substitute when they build it. That's
where the non sample friendly vendor loses out...and, clearly they don't
have a clue:>:

GL to all.

Art

PS:I used to work for National in the Fab Area (plasma etching and
deposition in Equipment Engineering) and live right down the road from
them. Even after I left, I never had a problem getting samples although I
was working with mostly digital parts at the time. Try putting in a sample
request with a US address, they might be more liberal. Do you have a friend
or family member that will  let you use a US address and forward them to
you? I'd send a nicely worded written (hard copy) letter to the head office
(in the US) and ask them why the hassle.
.



At 12:39 PM 5/17/2005, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2005\05\17@135731 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Tue, 2005-05-17 at 17:39 +0100, Dominic Stratten wrote:
>                Dear Dominic Stratten,
>        
>                Thank you for the sample request from National
> Semiconductor.
>
>                We regret that we are unable to fulfill the sample request
> as follows:
>
>                         Part Number : LM331N for 5 pieces.
>                         Company Name: Picbits.
>                         Application : Automotive.
>
>                Please contact your local distributor to obtain samples:
>                http://www.national.com/contacts/
>
>                Regards,
>
>                Regional Administrator
>

No surprise there.

National used to me my absolute favourite company for parts selection.
They had a great variety of parts (especially power supply stuff), most
were rock solid, and their sample program was incredible. At one point
every sample was sent FedEx!

Then they switched to post. You still got the samples, but often they
took months to arrive.

Then they started restricting which email domains could get samples, for
the life of me I couldn't find one they didn't reject. I tried my
company, I tried an account from my school, tried personal domains, none
worked.

It was at that point I decided national was off my list. Maxim is great,
but their parts are SO pricey (when 50% of the cost of the project is a
Maxim part, that's not good...) I often end up going with someone else.
MChip is incredible with regards to samples, as is TI and analog.

Cypress seems to have a good sample program, but they mislabel their
customs forms incurring taxes and duty, once had to spend $25 in taxes
and brokerage for a few CPUs. So, they're off my list too.

Sure, I may not buy 1M parts a year, but in my mind, if you're not
willing to offer samples, you're off my list.

-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

2005\05\17@143626 by Harold Hallikainen

face picon face
I haven't had much trouble getting samples from any of the companies
discussed thus far. In addition, we have orders going in to distributors
several times a week, so I just ask our purchasing person to get me a few
samples of whatever however she can. She will sometimes get free samples,
sometimes buy them. Whatever works.

Free samples obviouosly cost the manufacturer money, but it is really
difficult to design in a part if you can't test your prototype.
Manufacturers need to make sure there is a distributor or direct method of
buying small quanties of their parts for prototype use. That 5,000 piece
minimum order makes it difficult!

Harold


--
FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com

2005\05\17@163756 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
PicDude wrote:

> Maxim on the other hand is difficult to deal with and get samples from.  Then
> there's also the issue of whether I'll be able to buy Maxim's parts once I
> choose them.

I've had (like some others stated) very good experiences with Maxim
samples. But I've had very bad experiences trying to buy Maxim parts; they
seem to have very long lead times on many parts, and it's not really clear
when you sample them. Many of their parts they seem to make in big batches
for big customers, with very little for general stock, so you're only lucky
if one of these big customers just ordered a batch. Hasn't this also been a
problem with Motorola 8bit micros?

Gerhard

2005\05\17@164952 by Harold Hallikainen

face picon face
Just got a call from the Linear Tech rep. He saw my sample request from
the website and is sending them out today. Asked what other linear stuff
was in the ap and suggested a few of their parts to use, and is sending
samples.

Nice!

Harold


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FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com

2005\05\18@043805 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I'd send a nicely worded written (hard copy) letter to
>the head office (in the US) and ask them why the hassle.

Well, I would say the hassle is because he tried to sample common widely
available devices, which are cheap enough to get almost anywhere. On this
basis I can understand their reticence to supply, but equally why they
couldn't have someone go and pick some chips off the shelf as a piece of
good will - well who knows.

2005\05\18@044723 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>National used to me my absolute favourite company for parts selection.
>They had a great variety of parts (especially power supply stuff), most
>were rock solid, and their sample program was incredible. At one point
>every sample was sent FedEx!
>
>Then they switched to post. You still got the samples, but often they
>took months to arrive.

National Semi used to have an absolutely excellent agency in New Zealand
(IIRC it was Professional Electronics on Auckland's North shore). The agents
always had excellent stocks of chips, you could order them and have them
within a couple of days. They looked after the product line well, and
generally did good business. Then National decided that the agency was to be
handled as the NZ end of their Australian agents (which IIRC was Dick Smith
Electronics, a Radio Shack style company). The result was there was never
any stock, the people did not know anything, data books became like hens
teeth, and sales must have gone through the floor.

2005\05\19@065017 by Dominic Stratten

picon face
Well as a follow up - my samples from Exar (through DT Electronics) arrived
the next day.

The samples from Maxim I ordered on Monday turned up first thing this
morning.

I am now redesigning my circuit to use the Exar devices - I get them cheaper
than the NSC equivalent so the only people who have lost out by not sending
out samples are NSC themselves this time.

The issue I had was that I only needed a couple of these units - I could
have ordered them from my distributors but because of minimum orders and
postage charges it made them relatively expensive.

Dom

{Original Message removed}

2005\05\19@073239 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I am now redesigning my circuit to use the Exar devices - I get them
cheaper
>than the NSC equivalent so the only people who have lost out by not sending
>out samples are NSC themselves this time.

Well, what they did was cause you to look for second sources ;))

>The issue I had was that I only needed a couple of these units - I could
>have ordered them from my distributors but because of minimum orders and
>postage charges it made them relatively expensive.

yeah, I appreciated that, and the attitude at a lot of development outfits
would be "so what" and just order them from RS or Farnell. For us "little
guys" the costs do throw things somewhat, which is why guys on this list
talk of having heaps of "jellybean" parts in stock. I don't know if you
considered these particular parts to be in that category.

2005\05\19@084016 by Harold Hallikainen

face picon face
Speaking of second sources... Anyone have a suggested replacement for an
Allegro UCN5832 or UCN5833? I have it designed into a product and am now
being told that we need to make an end of life buy. It's a peripheral
driver with 32 open collector outputs. The serial input drives a 32 bit
shift register. The shift register drives a 32 bit parallel latch, which
then drives the outputs. Great way to get a lot of relatively high voltage
high current outputs from a PIC using 3 wires (data, clock, latch). So,
can anyone think of a replacement?

THANKS!

Harold

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FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com

2005\05\19@090237 by KY1K

picon face

>
>
>The issue I had was that I only needed a couple of these units - I could
>have ordered them from my distributors but because of minimum orders and
>postage charges it made them relatively expensive.


Hey Dom,

This is the exact problem we all face!!!!!!!!! The last thing in the world
Digi-Key and similar resellers want to hear is that the customer needs
'just one or 2'.

Some vendors have told me that they outsouced their samples to third party
sales agents and I need to contact XYZ sales etc. As soon as I hear this, I
just say 'no thanks' and look for an equivalent part. It just ain't worth
the hassle. When the manufacturer handles samples themselves, they
typically appreciate our needs, which is more than I can say for some third
party sales companys:>:

Regards,

Art

2005\05\19@090243 by William Bross

picon face
Are the new Allegro A6832 and A6833 options?

Harold Hallikainen wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2005\05\19@112031 by phil B

picon face
I've found Mouser to be really good for small orders.
No minimum order requirements.  If you take their USPS
First Class Mail option for shipping, it costs no more
than about $6 for shipping and takes a couple of days.
 My last order for resistors, relays, caps and about
10 chips was $3.85 for shipping.  I ordered it on
monday, got it wednesday.

What's really amazing, for most parts, Mouser is
cheaper than almost every other outfit.  Some times
dramatically cheaper.

phil

--- "Alan B. Pearce" <spam_OUTA.B.PearceTakeThisOuTspamrl.ac.uk> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> --

2005\05\19@115814 by Harold Hallikainen

face picon face
Definitely!  I don't think they were on the website the last time I
looked! The distributor had said "end of life, no suggested replacements."
Lotsa help!

THANKS!

Harold


> Are the new Allegro A6832 and A6833 options?
>



--
FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com

2005\05\19@125455 by Dominic Stratten

picon face
Problem is I'm in the UK.

I only live about 20 miles drive (35-40 minutes) from the main RS Components
who although pricey tend to have just about anything you want in stock.

My only other source is Maplin Electronics who are a bit like Radioshack in
the US (I used to work for Tandy - when Radioshack owned them). Maplins are
a bit better than Radioshack for components but sadly seem to be going the
way Tandy did in the uk and are concentrating more on toys than components
:-(

Dom

{Original Message removed}

2005\05\19@134715 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Dom,

On Thu, 19 May 2005 17:54:12 +0100, Dominic Stratten wrote:

>...<
>  Maplins are
> a bit better than Radioshack for components but sadly seem to be going the
> way Tandy did in the uk and are concentrating more on toys than components
> :-(

Indeed, and the thing that really gets my goat is that they seem to be ramping up their "discontinued product" policy.  I've recently found things that they didn't sell the last time I looked, but are discontinued already!  It's a right pain.  Things that have gone that I would have liked to buy are the MSF 3-hand clock mechanism (you can get a whole clock, or digital modules), EL backlight inverters, E24 resistor packs, and octal relay-bases for DIN rail mounting (they still sell the relays, just not the bases!).  On the other hand they do have dsPIC30Fs in the current catalogue.  And PIC16F84A, of course!  The latter in -20 version is £5, compared with the dsPIC30F2010 at £7...

I visited a newly-opened shop of theirs in Livingston (near Edinburgh) at the weekend, and they had "Opening Store" special offers - I had to buy the £10 temperature controlled soldering iron, even though I didn't need it, just because it was such good value!  :-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

2005\05\19@135728 by Jamie Lyon

picon face
I'm also in the UK and have found Rapid Electronics
(http://www.rapidelectronics.co.uk), no minimum order, and reasonable
delivery fees -- especially so when the delivery is free on any order
over £25 (exc. VAT).

They're reasonably priced (cheaper than Maplin in most cases), and
have a nice selection... may be worth a look.

-Jamie.

On 19/05/05, Dominic Stratten <.....dominic.strattenKILLspamspam@spam@ntlworld.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2005\05\19@140155 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


{Quote hidden}

They sucked me into buying one of them as well ;)  Probably never be able to get a new tip for it, but for a tenner I couldn't resist.

They are getting increasingly rubbish though.  When I started getting interested in electronics ~22 years ago, the Maplins catalogues were amazingly usefull, every IC they sold had a pinout and sometimes even an example circuit, and they concentrated on components and usefull bits and pieces rather than cheap and nasty car audio and PC components.  Ho hum, that's progress for you.

Mike

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2005\05\19@151904 by Dominic Stratten

picon face

-----Original Message-----
From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu [piclist-bouncesspamspam_OUTmit.edu] On Behalf Of
Michael Rigby-Jones
Sent: 19 May 2005 19:01
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: RE: [OT]: Samples Rant



{Quote hidden}

They sucked me into buying one of them as well ;)  Probably never be able to
get a new tip for it, but for a tenner I couldn't resist.

<SNIP>

I bought a couple of these - gave my dad one. I had the hindsight to buy a
set of 3 tips for it (about £5) - they are still available as a 3 pack for
about this - might be worth stocking up.

I found the tip supplied was ideal for SMT work - fine enough and hot enough
to do anything I've thrown at it.

The build quality of the base station is a bit poor - who makes base
stations for soldering irons out of meltable plastic (especially where you
put the cleaning sponge !!!) and the tip needs tightening up after every
use. Oh and I had to adapt the bakelight ring where the iron slots into as
everytime it got hot, it sprang out neatly depositing the iron on my lap
!!!!!

But for a tenner .............. ;)        

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2005\05\20@042323 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Things that have gone that I would have liked to buy are
>the MSF 3-hand clock mechanism

I bought one of these about a year ago from an outfit that sells all sorts
of add-on bits for the amateur woodturning fraternity. will see if I can
find the details if your interested.

Alan

PS - haven't forgotten about the pins you sent, will something on way soon.

2005\05\20@042929 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I'm also in the UK and have found Rapid Electronics
>(http://www.rapidelectronics.co.uk), no minimum order, and reasonable
>delivery fees -- especially so when the delivery is free on any order
>over £25 (exc. VAT).
>
>They're reasonably priced (cheaper than Maplin in most cases), and
>have a nice selection... may be worth a look.

They can also be cheaper than Farnell - and that is after the "Academic" 14%
discount we get from Farnell!!!

2005\05\20@080145 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Michael,

Maplin...

On Thu, 19 May 2005 19:01:12 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:

> They are getting increasingly rubbish though.  When I started getting interested in electronics ~22 years
ago, the Maplins catalogues were amazingly usefull, every IC they sold had a pinout and sometimes even an
example circuit, and they concentrated on components and usefull bits and pieces rather than cheap and nasty
car audio and PC components.

Yes indeed - my history with them goes back to when they were mail-order only, and the catalogue had amazing
space-ship scenes on the cover.  My customer number was something like 180,000 until I lost it - now it's 4
million-odd.  I used the catalogue as a reference document - much better than wading through books of
datasheets trying to find the pinout of a 4066!  And which idiot decided to have the semiconductor index in
strict alphanumeric order?  Previously they had the "base number" idea, where devices were listed by the
numeric part of their reference, which worked well.  Now 5V regulators appear in three seperate places, under
7805, L7805 and LM7805 - stupid!  I wonder if I should write them a "Mr.Angry" letter?

Cheers,



Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2005\05\26@173808 by Dwayne Reid

flavicon
face
At 10:39 AM 5/17/2005, Dominic Stratten wrote:

>We regret that we are unable to fulfill the sample request
>as follows:
>
>                         Part Number : LM331N for 5 pieces.
>                         Company Name: Picbits.
>                         Application : Automotive.
>
>                 Please contact your local distributor to obtain samples:
>                 http://www.national.com/contacts/

<catching up on old email>

I've run into this from National before - and talked with them about
it.  All it means is that they want you to contact your favorite Nat Semi
distributor for the samples.  In my case, I simply call the local Arrow
office and they send out what I ask for - free of charge.

dwayne

--
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Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
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2005\05\27@051346 by vasile surducan

picon face
Hi Dominic,

How do you think it fels someone which is at least the same honest
like you are and the National answer is:

"With regret we inform your country is not included in our  sample
request policy"

?

Vasile

On 5/17/05, Dominic Stratten <spamBeGonedominic.strattenspamBeGonespamntlworld.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2005\05\27@060052 by Jinx

face picon face
> "With regret we inform your country is not included in our  sample
> request policy"
> Vasile

But you have the good Santa ? Write a note to the North Pole and
wait until Christmas. Then you get out of bed early, run down the
stairs wide-eyed, full of boyish glee, and unwrap your chips

As you so correctly pointed out, NZ has a bad Santa. He left me
chips alright, but then he stamped on them and did something nasty
on the remains

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