# Free Samples

A

#### Abstract Dissonance

Jan 1, 1970
0
I'm supprised to find that many manufacturers give out free
samples(competely free!!). I'm wondering if anyone has constructed a list of
all the companies that do this. Right now I have only have microchip and I'm
waiting for the confirmation letter from National Semiconductors.

Maybe a nice informative list would be helpful?

http://sample.microchip.com/
Pic Microcontrollers, DSP's, Memory, Regulators, ADC/DAC, Linear, Power
Management, Misc.

Jon

S

#### Stef Mientki

Jan 1, 1970
0
Abstract said:
I'm supprised to find that many manufacturers give out free
samples(competely free!!). I'm wondering if anyone has constructed a list of
all the companies that do this. Right now I have only have microchip and I'm
waiting for the confirmation letter from National Semiconductors.

Maybe a nice informative list would be helpful?
Did you use you own mail address,
I mean at hotmail ?
Because a lot of manufactures require a "real" email address.
These manufactures all keep a log on shipped free samples,
so don't start requesting free samples just because you get them for
free, but order only when you need them.
AFAIK, all manufactures send free samples.
Stef Mientki

A

#### Abstract Dissonance

Jan 1, 1970
0
Stef Mientki said:
Did you use you own mail address,
I mean at hotmail ?
Because a lot of manufactures require a "real" email address.
These manufactures all keep a log on shipped free samples,
so don't start requesting free samples just because you get them for free,
but order only when you need them.
AFAIK, all manufactures send free samples.
Stef Mientki

No, most won't take hotmail I guess... atleast microchip won't. I used my
edu address. Right now I have gotten free samples from TI, National
Semiconductors, and Microchip. Each one seems to have a different way of
doing it but most allow you to order a few samples in a certain time period.

Microchip lets you order max 2 times in a span of a month max 5 different
types of samples of usually a maximum of 3 or so.

TI lets you order a maximum of 8 of varying quanities depending on the
sample type... doesn't say how often you can order though(says depends on
who you are basicaly).

NS lets you only order only 1 free sample order of a maximum of five samples
per week.

Any other sites I should check out?

Jon

A

#### Abstract Dissonance

Jan 1, 1970
0
I tried vishay and fairchild but they won't let me get any samples ;/
(Fairchild says I'm denied and Vishay says they can't find a rep in my area
or some shit).

C

#### Chris

Jan 1, 1970
0
Abstract said:
I'm supprised to find that many manufacturers give out free
samples(competely free!!). I'm wondering if anyone has constructed a list of
all the companies that do this. Right now I have only have microchip and I'm
waiting for the confirmation letter from National Semiconductors.

Maybe a nice informative list would be helpful?

http://sample.microchip.com/
Pic Microcontrollers, DSP's, Memory, Regulators, ADC/DAC, Linear, Power
Management, Misc.

Jon

Hi, Jon. Take a second and look at what the manufacturer is trying to
do here.

First, they're looking for design wins, those projects that result in
orders of thousands to millions of the part every year over a period of
years. A sample part is a small investment here, and all manufacturers
are willing to make that investment. I've had both positive and
negative experiences here.

Second, you have the aspiring student. If they have mercy on a poor
churchmouse of an EE major, they know that someday that undergrad may
become a design engineer, who might be predisposed toward their parts
because of a good experience in school. Again, possibly a good
investment, but chancy. I had a good experience from National
Semiconductor that actually caused me to lean toward their parts in my
later years.

Then you have the hobbyist or contriver of contrivances, who's
primarily interested in a one-off, and has little or no future sales
potential. These are a PITA to them, and are disposed of when
possible.

One issue that somewhat complicates things is that many manufacturers,
especially of passive components, will only issue samples through their
sales representatives in their area. You were talking about Vishay --
they're one of those -- I last got some samples for 1% SMT caps in
2004, and had to go through a rep because they were oddball parts that
could only be ordered in 1K quantities. But since I'm in the Chicago
area, there was a rep fairly close. I actually had a visit from those
folks, and got the project together with their samples without problem.
And they did get a "design win", although a small one. The customer's
revised BOM had the Vishay P/N on their print, and they will buy a
couple thousand of those parts a year. Their rep was not completely
unhappy with the time spent.

Obviously, there are ways to game the system. But, you have to ask
yourself if it's worth it.

1) The investment of your time is far more valuable than the cost of
any gumball parts like a PIC ($2) or an LM317 ($0.75).

2) You don't have any control over shipment on samples, because they're
"free". You may wait long for a "free" sample, which has slowed you
down by quite a bit. The loss of time is far more costly than the part
itself in nearly all cases. If I need something now, I'll have it sent
FedEx or second-day. I had a bitter example of this back in the '80s,
when I had a project on hold for a couple of weeks waiting for a
"sample" from a respected IC manufacturer. It didn't kill the project,
or my job, but it was a lot closer than I'd like on both. I had an
irrational bias against their parts for a while after that. They're
now in the Digi-Key catalog, so I don't have to worry about stock or
getting small quantities.

3) If there are enough people gaming the system, the manufacturers
will have to reevaluate their samples policy. It's a considerate thing
to only go to the well when you have to.

I'm not sure whether you're an electronics student or just a hobbyist.
Either way, get out your screwdrivers and soldering iron, and have at
every piece of electronics junk that comes your way. Once you've
"junk" for you rather than throw it out. You should soon have a
bountiful supply of transformers, transistors, and passives limited
only by your storage space and the time you have available. You might
even learn something about construction techniques, and if you're
lucky, you may be able to start fixing some of the stuff. That's
another part of your electronics education.

The costs you're incurring by going to the well and scrounging samples
are greater than the money you're saving. Even if you work at
MickeyD's, your time is more valuable.

Good luck
Chris

J

#### Jonathan Kirwan

Jan 1, 1970
0
In general, I don't see that much to comment on -- good overview.

There are still several very good sources for small quantities of
parts that most hobbyists can reasonably need access to, such as BG
Micro, Digikey, Mouser, and so on. Unlike the case I now find myself
in, regarding finding suppliers for various kinds of hobbyist
quantities of raw, unfinished optical glasses, the electronics
industry continues to have good distribution channels that are
supportive of hobbyists. Fewer, perhaps, than two or three decades
ago, and largely centralized and non-local for most of us (local
store-fronts are finding that part of the business too expensive to
stay active in, now) -- but better in some ways and still very, very
supportive. Digikey has a $25 minimum, without an extra ordering charge (last I checked on it, anyway.) But that is a reasonable minimum. You almost can't buy a dinner out for that, anymore. I guess the upshot of that is there isn't really a need to scarfing up free parts from manufacturers, unless you cannot otherwise buy the parts in any small quantity from anyone and they are unique and you need one for your hobby needs. In those cases, you must do what you have to do (ask for samples) or else try and get enough folks interested in the idea to make a group buy of the parts, so that it becomes worth the distribution chain's trouble. In some cases, you'll never be able to get there. (For example, there are some absolutely wonderful parts for hobbyist use that are a 16x16 grid of three-color bright LEDs at 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm spacings, with fantastic capabilities in current control, pwm brightness control, etc., etc. But they are specialized and bought by only a few key customers in huge quantities and are _never_ sold through distribution channels, at all. I've got a sack or two of them by working on testing systems for the manufacturers.) And that's life, too. Chris, your point about the value of your time is pretty good, too. Years back, parts cost more and labor less, as a general ratio. And it would definitely help to get free parts. But today, with labor expensive and parts so darned cheap and capable, its about right that one should just buy them and get about the business of learning. That pays off big. When I went to school, I had to work jobs to pay for everything -- I had no help from family, at all (too poor.) So I paid for my place to stay, paid for my schooling, paid for my food, etc., and worked jobs while attending school. In that context, I would have definitely asked for free parts, as every single dime meant something to me, and having access to more parts would have meant I could have been more exposed to learning. Paying for them would have also meant spending more time working to get that money, so I'd lose time and money in the trade. But things are probably enough different today that this equation wouldn't nearly so much favor seeking free parts rather than just buying them. That's all I have to add, though. Jon J #### John Jardine. Jan 1, 1970 0 Abstract Dissonance said: I'm supprised to find that many manufacturers give out free samples(competely free!!). I'm wondering if anyone has constructed a list of all the companies that do this. Right now I have only have microchip and I'm waiting for the confirmation letter from National Semiconductors. Maybe a nice informative list would be helpful? http://sample.microchip.com/ Pic Microcontrollers, DSP's, Memory, Regulators, ADC/DAC, Linear, Power Management, Misc. Jon Most all firms now seem to offer them as a matter of course. Though until recently, trying to get anything out of them was like pulling teeth. From a design-for-production point of view though and having been burnt once too often, I'd be wary of using anything that isn't easily available from a stockist. Only device sample I've ever requested was a DDS from Analog. Resulted in a fascinating phone conversation with a Mr Chris Heapy and samples turning up 2 days later!. john J #### John Fields Jan 1, 1970 0 Most all firms now seem to offer them as a matter of course. Though until recently, trying to get anything out of them was like pulling teeth. --- Not true. I've never had problems with getting samples, but maybe it's because I wasn't interested in, say, a dead-ended application where I was interested in controlling my garage door and I wanted to get the chips for free. --- From a design-for-production point of view though and having been burnt once too often, I'd be wary of using anything that isn't easily available from a stockist. --- What do you mean by "having been burnt once too often"? --- Only device sample I've ever requested was a DDS from Analog. Resulted in a fascinating phone conversation with a Mr Chris Heapy and samples turning up 2 days later!. --- Yes. If you have an application which is even marginally marketable, obtaining samples doesn't usually present a problem. If it does, then just buy what you need and get on with it. B #### Bob Masta Jan 1, 1970 0 I'm supprised to find that many manufacturers give out free samples(competely free!!). I'm wondering if anyone has constructed a list of all the companies that do this. Right now I have only have microchip and I'm waiting for the confirmation letter from National Semiconductors. You may be embarrassed when the sales rep calls you to discuss your application, and figures out that you are not a prospective sales lead. Best regards, Bob Masta dqatechATdaqartaDOTcom D A Q A R T A Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis www.daqarta.com Home of DaqGen, the FREEWARE signal generator C #### Chris Jan 1, 1970 0 Jonathan said: In general, I don't see that much to comment on -- good overview. There are still several very good sources for small quantities of parts that most hobbyists can reasonably need access to, such as BG Micro, Digikey, Mouser, and so on. Unlike the case I now find myself in, regarding finding suppliers for various kinds of hobbyist quantities of raw, unfinished optical glasses, the electronics industry continues to have good distribution channels that are supportive of hobbyists. Fewer, perhaps, than two or three decades ago, and largely centralized and non-local for most of us (local store-fronts are finding that part of the business too expensive to stay active in, now) -- but better in some ways and still very, very supportive. Digikey has a$25 minimum, without an extra ordering
charge (last I checked on it, anyway.) But that is a reasonable
minimum. You almost can't buy a dinner out for that, anymore.

I guess the upshot of that is there isn't really a need to scarfing up
free parts from manufacturers, unless you cannot otherwise buy the
parts in any small quantity from anyone and they are unique and you
need one for your hobby needs. In those cases, you must do what you
have to do (ask for samples) or else try and get enough folks
interested in the idea to make a group buy of the parts, so that it
becomes worth the distribution chain's trouble. In some cases, you'll
never be able to get there. (For example, there are some absolutely
wonderful parts for hobbyist use that are a 16x16 grid of three-color
bright LEDs at 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm spacings, with fantastic capabilities
in current control, pwm brightness control, etc., etc. But they are
specialized and bought by only a few key customers in huge quantities
and are _never_ sold through distribution channels, at all. I've got
a sack or two of them by working on testing systems for the
manufacturers.) And that's life, too.

Years back, parts cost more and labor less, as a general ratio. And
it would definitely help to get free parts. But today, with labor
expensive and parts so darned cheap and capable, its about right that
pays off big.

When I went to school, I had to work jobs to pay for everything -- I
had no help from family, at all (too poor.) So I paid for my place to
stay, paid for my schooling, paid for my food, etc., and worked jobs
while attending school. In that context, I would have definitely
having access to more parts would have meant I could have been more
exposed to learning. Paying for them would have also meant spending
more time working to get that money, so I'd lose time and money in the
trade. But things are probably enough different today that this
equation wouldn't nearly so much favor seeking free parts rather than

That's all I have to add, though.

Jon

time I miswired the LM317 (pinout IN, ADJ, OUT, BOOM) and had to get an
emergency replacement on a Saturday. I paid over $8 for the part, when the minimum wage was two-something. The OP can get an LM317K from Mouser for$0.65, where the minimum wage is $5.15, and more in most states. It just isn't worth the time to scrounge for gumball parts any more. And Mouser (which has gotten much better for this kind of thing the past several years) has much more lenient rules about minimums than Digi-Key, and I believe they will even ship Parcel Post for the most patient of churchmice among us, although they don't publicise this, for obvious reasons. I kind of wish I had half your gumption during my misspent churchmouse youth. But I scrounged for any components I could get for free, too. The economics were different. Note that I alluded to "gaming the system" for free samples above, but didn't go into any detail. Further defendant sayeth not. ;-) Cheers Chris J #### John Jardine. Jan 1, 1970 0 John Fields said: --- Not true. I've never had problems with getting samples, but maybe it's because I wasn't interested in, say, a dead-ended application where I was interested in controlling my garage door and I wanted to get the chips for free. --- My "recently" means about 5-7 years ago. A little less recently (say 10 years) it was 'God how I hate the taste of suede', when looking to get even basic datasheet info from the sales people. (maybe just a UK thing?) By selecting on (say) newly arrived, tasty, interesting, neat, price sensitive, problem solving type components. Building a new product around said items, then after a few months, noticing the makers silently withdrawing said items. My "once too often" was actually a new Philips, 16 bit ADC chip ('96). Tempco spec' subsequently proved to come from planet Zog. We wasted hundreds of manhours bodging the kit to meet type approval testing and eventual redesign using a trustworthy ADC. Philips denied all knowledge and gave us the runaround. For one off bits of kit I can live with it. If it jeopardises a product range and people's jobs it's thoroughly inexcusable. J #### Jonathan Kirwan Jan 1, 1970 0 Hi, Jonathan. You're right about the tradeoff. I remember the first time I miswired the LM317 (pinout IN, ADJ, OUT, BOOM) and had to get an emergency replacement on a Saturday. I paid over$8 for the part, when
the minimum wage was two-something. The OP can get an LM317K from
Mouser for $0.65, where the minimum wage is$5.15, and more in most
states. It just isn't worth the time to scrounge for gumball parts any
more. And Mouser (which has gotten much better for this kind of thing
the past several years) has much more lenient rules about minimums than
Digi-Key, and I believe they will even ship Parcel Post for the most
patient of churchmice among us, although they don't publicise this, for
obvious reasons.

Good to know.
I kind of wish I had half your gumption during my misspent churchmouse
youth. But I scrounged for any components I could get for free, too.

I remember when our first (and so far, last) tornado came through the
area and demolished a bowling alley at one corner of a four-corner
store area in a farm-like area I lived (lots of cows, fields, woods,
etc.) It had made a nice little stripe down the hills earlier where
you could see trees knocked down leading up to the area, but it
apparently lifted at some point and then came back down right on this
corner area. Blew out the windows on an Albertson's store on another
corner. Etc. Anyway, I immediately tracked down and called the owner
of the bowling alley, while the building was still a wreck the next
day (a Sunday, I think, or it seemed like that to me being in high
school, at the time) and begged for permission to go through the
wreckage and find parts. I got it!

It was a wonderful bonanza for me.
The economics were different. Note that I alluded to "gaming the
system" for free samples above, but didn't go into any detail. Further
defendant sayeth not. ;-)

Jon

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