If semiconductors are the heart of most electronic designs, then components like resistors, capacitors, inductors, interconnects, switches, sensors, LEDs, and displays represent many of the other body parts needed to complete the design. Each of these components comes in a wide variety of flavors.
Last year, we covered components in our “EEPN in Electronic Design” department, while this year we changed the name of the section to “Electronic Design Products.” During the past year, we also covered products on our Web sites (www.electronicdesign.com and www.eepn.com) and via our Products of the Week (POW) e-newsletter. Of all these avenues of coverage, POW gives us the most feedback from you, our readers, since we log every click you make. We used this information to compile the top 101 components for the past year.
By the time you click on a product for more info, such as a datasheet, that product has already survived quite a selection process by the editors. First, we glean all of the products released on a given day and select the best of them for publication on our Web sites. These products can be any you might use in your designs, such as semiconductors, components, boards, modules, software, or test equipment.
At the end of the week, we select six products to be published in POW. Two are selected for the Components section of the newsletter. Any given week, the Components section may contain information about a power source (e.g., a dc-dc converter), an interconnect (e.g., a microUSB connector), a display (e.g., a monochrome LCD), or a motor (e.g., a brushless dc motor).
POW goes out twice a week, once on Monday and again on Thursday to readers who did not open the first mailing. A week or so after these mailings, we receive reports telling us how interested you were in our selections. In other words, the reports tell us how many times readers clicked for more information.
Regarding the second mailing, products typically receive another 25% to 40% more clicks. Advertisers in the newsletters also receive the same benefit. We change the subject line for the second mailing, if warranted. The first time we mail out the newsletter, we promote its first item, which is always some kind of IC such as an analog-to-digital converter, op amp, or microcontroller.
In many cases, that product also garners the most clicks, since it usually is a compelling device (best of the week for the most part) and the first that readers see. Sometimes, though, one of the components further down in the newsletter receives the most clicks. When this happens, we change the subject line of the newsletter to incorporate the headline from this product.
This can produce a quite an effect on clicks. Even though the component wasn’t promoted in the subject line of the e-mail for the first mailing, the compelling nature of the product caused readers to notice it—either in the table of contents or when they scrolled down the newsletter. Then they clicked enough times for more information to make it the number one product for that mailing.
Later in the week when the newsletter is mailed again, that product is promoted in the subject line, and it attracts even more attention. So rather than the typical 25% boost in clicks, this type of product might get a 200% increase.
This particular scenario didn’t occur that often. But three of the top 10 components on our list benefitted from this effect—the PM37223-10P PFC 30-kW ac-dc power supply from Pioneer Magnetics Inc.; the EP5368QI 600 mA dc-dc converter from Enpirion Inc.; and the Bantam 500W torque amplifier from Copley Controls Corp. In fact, the Pioneer Magnetics supply, which was number one on our list, received a whopping 310% boost in clicks.
During the year, we sort electronic components into a variety of categories. As we prepared this article, six key classifications emerged. Check out the top 10 components in each of these six categories—Interconnects (Table 1), Power Sources (Table 2), Displays & Indicators (Table 3), Passive Components (Table 4), and Sensors & Transducers (Table 5).