Electronic Design

Compiling The Top 101 Components List

Compiling a list is often a matter of combining subjective judgments with objective data, and so it is with Electronic Design’s Top 101 Components. But before we explain how we developed our list, it’s probably a good idea to let you know how we define components. Electronic components often bring to mind passive components such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors. But if we were to define components this narrowly, we wouldn’t have much to write about over the course of the year.

Our definition of components is broader and encompasses such devices as connectors, LEDs, switches, motors, and power supplies. You’ll see coverage of these components every day on our Web site, every week in the Components section of our Products of the Week e-newsletter, and in every other one of our print issues in our Electronic Design Products section.

How did we develop the list? Each day, Components Editor Mat Dirjish selects the best six or so new products that come across his desk. These may be components, but they also might be semiconductors, boards, or test equipment. From the components he selects during the week, two make it into our Products of the Week e-newsletter. So Mat does the subjective part of selecting the best new components of a particular week to appear in the newsletter.

Now for the objective data. Each week, we mail our Products of the Week e-newletter to about 50,000 subscribers. In the newsletter, we provide a short write-up and a link to further information, typically the product’s datasheet.

Whenever a reader clicks for more information, our back-end software records the click. We then use these clicks as “votes” for the products that appear in the newsletter. We send out the newsletter on Monday and again on Thursday. We find that each product receives about 25% more clicks on the second mailing. To construct the list, we add the clicks for the first and second mailings. When all is said and done, we sort the list based on the total number of clicks.

This year for the first time, one company, Micropower Direct, debuted products that received enough clicks to take the top two spots in the list. Coincidentally enough, Murata Electronics North America took the next two spots. From what we can gather, power sources—especially those with small form factors—are particularly attractive to Electronic Design readers. These products garnered five of the top 10 spots on the list.

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