How to Choose the Best Components for Your Electronic Circuit Design

Choosing components is one of the most important considerations when developing a new electronic circuit. Designs vary depending on the application and guessing what parts to use often leads to complications. When deciding what components go into a specific schematic, having access to a comprehensive library of components and a knowledgeable partner will help guide your electronic circuit design towards the most practical finished solutions.

Selecting Components for Electronic Circuit Design

Selecting the right components when developing an electronic circuit involves looking at all aspects of its design. Though technical parameters are important in electronic circuit design, other facets are also important. It’s essential to first look at any potential technological developments in components, as manufacturers constantly tweak the specifications of their parts to suit market needs better.  

This may include performance enhancements or improvements that make components more durable. Improvements will also affect price, leading electronic circuit designers to source cheaper options for common parts like connectors or resistors. Though cost is important, it’s imperative that designers balance price with quality. Availability is also a factor, as difficulty obtaining parts drastically affects production. For all these reasons, it’s a good idea to deal with a reputable distributor or manufacturer who can help source the best parts. 

Technical Considerations for Electronic Circuit Design

One of the first things to consider when designing an electronic circuit involves looking at those components used for similar purposes, which provides a basis from which to work. Designing legacy elements such as layouts, software, schematics, and device drivers into a new system will also reduce the risk of failure, as these components have already been tested and proved in the field. 

Additionally, designers should consider the phase in which components are being produced. While components in active production will likely be easiest to source, those still in the engineering sample phase may have features that significantly augment the electronic circuit. However, designs that include components in earlier stages of development should verify production schedules to ensure sufficient availability. Designers should also look for alternatives to obsolete parts, end-of-life (EOL) or not-for-future-design (NFD), as these will be more difficult to obtain. 

Other technical parameters electronic circuit designers should consider include:

  • AC characteristics include maximum and minimum values, operation frequency, fall time, rise time, setup, hold times and propagation delay. 
  • DC characteristics like input/output voltage tolerances to determine the need for voltage translators between components. 
  • Development tools for certain components, like programmable logic devices (PLC), microcontrollers and microprocessors. 
  • Environmental conditions under which circuitry must function, like temperature and humidity requirements, and whether military, industrial or commercial grades are needed for the design to operate properly. 
  • Functionality to ensure components work within the design; for example, ensuring the power supply for an integrated circuit meets current and voltage requirements. 
  • Integrating additional circuitry to support a chip’s desired features leads to lower costs, smaller sizes and lower power consumption throughout a system.   
  • Intellectual property considerations enable designers to license their use within electronic circuits to enable quicker times to market and greater compatibility with operating systems or software.
  • Mean time between failure (MTBF) and other data statistically track component reliability to consider the dependability of new electronic circuit designs.
  • Low power consumption by using low power, idle, and sleep modes to reduce energy usage. 
  • Printed circuit board (PCB) footprints for ensuring parts fit are contained in the most recent component datasheets. 
  • Regulatory requirements constrain component choice based on international, national, and regional rules governing the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, and other hazardous substances, as well as aspects of design compliance.
  • Scalability of an electronic circuit design to enable future enhancements that both improve operations and extend its life cycle, including greater capacity in memory packages, increased numbers of logic gates, and similar improvements. 

Along with these technical considerations, the physical size of components within a design is critical, especially for portable and handheld systems. Most industries also require components to meet specifications that ensure they work under certain conditions. Different guidelines should be followed for electronic circuits designed for the automotive, medical, or military sectors. To ensure that components used in electronic circuit designs will work appropriately, it’s important to carefully peruse the datasheets for each, though working with a knowledgeable electronic parts distributor can make this process easier. 

Electronic Circuit Designs: Selecting the Best Distributors & Manufacturers

Sourcing the best parts for a specific electronic circuit design often means working with various distributors and manufacturers. Many distributors use electronic parts search engines to let designers gather all the necessary information in one place, rather than scour through datasheets or search through multiple websites.  

Electronic parts search engines allow designers to access information that includes: 

  • Computer-aided design (CAD) models in both 2D and 3D include PCB footprints and schematic symbols in vendor-specific and vendor-neutral formats. 
  • Datasheets in digital form and within search results. 
  • Sourcing data aggregated in one place, including information on manufacturers, prices, stock and lead times. 
  • Specifications include signaling standards, supply voltage, power consumption and digital components.

Any electronics manufacturer or distributor should also include a complete engineering team in its mix to assist with choosing the correct components. This team should have design experience, industry contacts who can make informed recommendations and answer specific questions on specialized functions, along with helping avoid using obsolete, EOL or NRND components within the electronic circuit design.

To learn more about our electronic components available at Solid State Inc., please contact us today!