Datasheets are an important tool in any engineer’s arsenal. Also called data sheets and spec sheets, these documents provide an easy to read list of information about the product, part, component, machine, or software - they can also include information related to chemicals, geography, and among many more. Using a datasheet allows you to do your job more effectively as it gives you all the facts that you need in easy and concise manner.

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A good data sheet should have all relevant technical information listed - everything from average, nominal, and typical values, along with ranges and tolerances of the specific product. Regardless of the item in question, there should always be a spot for the manufacturer’s name, list of device properties, product number or name, and a functional description. From here you can expect data sheets to have different characteristics listed that can vary tremendously based on the nature of the item. For instance, microchips will have technical specification detailing things like the maximum and minimum ratings of voltage and power usage, diagrams on the pieces of the chip, along with DC and AC specifications that give a list of temperature and frequencies. This is going to be much different from data sheets related to potentially hazardous chemicals in the form of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) - these documents contain information related not only to the composition of the material, but also safety guidelines related to it.

There are millions of these different sheets out there, and plenty of search engines that are specifically designed with these sheets in mind. The most famous of these is Alldatasheet.com - and while this is a great tool it shouldn’t be treated as a one-stop shop for your datasheet needs. There are plenty of website alternatives to alldatasheet.com that can do the job better depending on what you specifically need or want.

1. Octopart

Octopart is a search engine that specializes in electronic parts. This datasheet collector picks across thousands of manufacturers and hundreds of distributors, making Octopart one of the fastest ways to find electronic components easily. With a mere click, you can use the optimized search to find millions of different parts and components, giving you all the technical information you’ll need. The parts they incorporate are based on an algorithm that works to cut out all the unnecessary static, not clogging up lists with components that are irrelevant to your needs. The Bill of Material (BOM) tool is easy to use, giving you the ability to save and compare. For a lightning-fast selection, there is the Common Parts Library - this section is composed of products that are most highly used and sought after. This website also incorporates excel and Google Docs add-ons giving you more flexibility.

octopart-website
Website of Octopart

The Octopart search engine has a large team to make sure to keep everything streamlined. Despite this, you’ll never be charged for one of these datasheets because every time they send traffic to a distributor they get a kickback from them. While no account is required, it is highly recommended as this allows you to save your preferences and BOMs for future use.

2. Freedatasheets.com

This simple website was created and designed by a computer scientist and electronics hobbyist. The idea behind it was straightforward: give people a no-fuss way to search spec sheets without any of the annoying banners, fees, or nonsense that typically bogs down most datasheet websites. Because of this Freedatasheets.com doesn’t have many of the frills of others like it. This allows navigation to be an uncomplicated procedure, with most parts being only a few clicks away from the homepage.

freedatasheets.com
FreeDatasheets.com

This website specializes in electronic components and has coalesced all the manufacturers down to help you search through all of them at once. Rather than using an inline viewer, which can distort the datasheet, this website allows you to download directly to your hard drive in Portable Document Format (PDF). Each spec sheet is unmodified in any way and is exactly how the manufacturer intended them.

3. Datasheets360

By pulling from over 3,400 companies, Datasheets360 is able to be a comprehensive source of millions of electronic component spec sheets. All of these documents are searchable based off of availability, pricing, among many more identifiers. You can pinpoint the product you want with the exact product number, or go through a short list if you only have a partial number. Organized into over 400 different product categories, all datasheets are available in PDF format allowing you to print and share at your leisure.

datasheet360
Datasheet360

This straightforward website has pricing supported by Electronics Components Industry Association (ECIA) to give you accurate information every time. Content is provided by IHS CAPS Universe and the Engineering360 digital media platform, making sure you have access to the latest and greatest components. Because Datasheets360 believes in leveraging manufacturers to build brand awareness on their website, they are able to provide all these datasheets completely free of charge.

4. Datasheet Archive

One of the largest and oldest online datasheet providers, Datasheet Archive boasts a gargantuan 30,000 manufacturers giving a total list of 27 million datasheets. While they have been archiving all this data for the last 20 years don’t think for a moment that they don’t continue to improve their website. In 2017 alone they improved searching and databases by integrating direct data feeds to manufacturers. To increase searching speed they decentralized to localized mirrors, reducing the likelihood of bottlenecking.

datasheetarchive.com
Datasheetarchive.com

The homepage has a simple search engine that allows you to search by part name, number, or a brief description. Below this is the ability to pinpoint their stock based on manufacturer. To keep you informed on all the latest information, Datasheet Archive has electronics news feed that updates regularly. This large website works through Supplyframe and has offices located on three different continents - North America, Europe, and Asia.

5. eService Info

eService info is a unique website that brings together professionals and amateurs alike to upload guides and information on a wide range of equipment. You’ll find everything from schematics on TVs, DVDs, automobiles, cameras, computers and many more. You can download all of these data sheet files in pdf, djvu, zip, or rar. There are over 50,000 different types of datasheets, manuals, and diagrams within the website, along with things like software packages that are great at diagnostic work.

What sets this website apart from other is that you don’t have to just search directly, but you are given the option to peruse through all the folders yourself. All you have to do is click on the folder that you want and branch out from there. Another interesting part of this website is the included forum, which is great for getting feedback on how best to run diagnostics, what part works best with others, and datasheet requests. There are also other subsections within the forum on things related to repairs, unlocks, and reviews.

Final Thoughts

A good datasheet collecting website will be easy to use and provide the information you require with little or no charge. Generalized datasheets related to electronic components can be found on Octoparts and Freedatasheets.com - while the former of these two-sport more integrated features, the latter does have the distinction of having an extremely simple and efficient interface. More obscure components and machines can be found on eService Info, with the ability to request different datasheets available on the forum. Datasheets360, on the other hand, has super accurate pricing and available content as they are powered by multiple different specialized organizations. From here is Datasheet Archive - one of the oldest datasheet websites on the internet and thus having the most prodigious amount of spec sheets available.

While alldatasheets.com is an incredible resource, it shouldn’t overshadow many of these other great websites as they each have their set of features and niches that make them viable.

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