Top 101 Components 2011: Hot Components Everywhere—Which Ones Did You Choose?

May 31, 2011
This article analyzes the components most viewed by Electronic Design newsletter readers.

Of the top 101 components, LEDs, power sources, and connectors sizzle while motors and motion control products continue to chill.

“How do I submit a nomination for the top spot on your Top 101 Components list?” the desperate e-mail from one component creator decries. Another phone message from an eager PR person queries, “How do we vote for Component of the Year?”

Urgent text messages, phone calls, letters, and notes attached to radishes the size of pearls all have demanded the means and methods of getting a favorite product positioned in our Top 101 Components. But components only land our list if our readers put them there.

Yes, it’s that time again when we reveal which components from our Products of the Week e-mail newsletter drew the most curiosity and interest over the past year. Essentially, the components that garnered the most clicks made it onto the list.

It’s important to realize that this is not a qualitative analysis. Products that drew a lot of interest and scored higher than others in the same category aren’t necessarily superior in performance or any other measurable parameter.

For example, one USB connector drew more views than an HDMI connector. Both devices are interconnects. However, the results merely show that more readers needed a USB connector for their designs than the HDMI component.

The Big Picture

Obviously, components are critical to almost every design imaginable. Whereas semiconductors are becoming more integrated, so much so that a lot of discrete semiconductors are becoming unnecessary, components are still maintaining a level singularity—quite discrete, if you will. Therefore, even within a single category of component, one has somewhat more choices.

There was positive action in each component category this year, but some categories seem to be losing steam in the market, or better put, losing more steam. The categories included interconects (19%), power sources (17%), sensors & transducers (16%), passive components (14%), displays, indicators, and LEDs (13%), cabinets & enclosures (4%), motors & motion control (4%), timing devices (2%), materials (2%), and cooling products (1%).

What’s Hot?

Connectors, power sources, sensors, passive components, and displays—especially LEDs—were the hot products over the past year. The most logical explanation here is that alternative lighting, a.k.a., solid-state lighting (SSL), is quite the rage now, particularly due to environmentalist rallying and forthcoming legislation that will eliminate incandescent bulbs from the market.

Power sources really need no explanation, since they’re required in all electronic products. Ditto for the interconnects, passive components, and sensors. One minor note, though. Although interconnects and power sources topped the list, most of the components in the top 10 are LEDs. Perhaps it’s a further testament to the popularity of these “enlightening” components. perhaps?

What’s Cooling Down?

As time goes on, motors and motion control products seem to be making fewer appearances in the new product arena, at least where most consumer goods are concerned. The bulk of consumer electronics is moving away from using moving parts in their designs. The lack of a motor makes for a smaller product with less to wear out and fail.

Auto-focusing image sensors are eliminating the need for lens-driving motors in cameras. Silicon alternatives are replacing computer disk drives. And since most consumers are favoring MP3s and streaming media to CDs and DVDs, standalone players, which often use two or more motors, are starting to waltz their way to the recycling bin.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a healthy market for motion products. For example, home appliances, robotics, medical, and military markets are fertile ground for motors as well as cabinets and enclosures, timing devices, and cooling products.

LEDs Are The Main attraction

 As mentioned earlier, LEDs were number one on a lot of designers’ minds over this past year. There was no shortage of impressive offerings from the leading players.

Back in April 2010, Cree drew reader attention with LED modules employing its TrueWhite technology, which enables efficient, high-quality light in a compact, easy-to-use product (Fig. 1). The LMR4 debuted as the first product in the line, promising to overcome common design issues manufacturers face when trying to incorporate LED solutions into their lighting fixtures.

The LMR4 integrates driver electronics, optics, and primary thermal management, making it drop-in ready. Designed to last 35,000 hours while consuming 12 W, it delivers 700 lumens at a warm-white color temperature of 2700 with a color rendering index (CRI) of 90. Users can include a specially designed heatsink to accommodate specific high-heat applications, like downlights for insulated ceilings.

In October 2010, Cree caught eyes again with high-voltage, high-efficiency variations of its popular XLamp series. Entering the high-voltage domain for creating more efficient LED bulbs, the XLamp MX-6S and MX-3S LEDs fit the same footprint as the company’s XLamp MX-6 and MX-3 (Fig. 2) siblings while operating at higher voltages.

The MX-6S LED delivers a luminous flux up to 139 lumens at 60 mA/20 V in 6000K and 114 lumens in 3000K while the MX-3S provides up to 122 lumens at 115 mA/10.7 V in 6000K and 100 lumens in 3000K. As per Cree, the MX series LEDs deliver lighting-class performance for high-voltage LEDs including high reliability, high efficacy, and reliable color consistency. Dowload the datasheet for the MX-6S LEDS and download the datasheet for the MX-3S LEDs.

Elma Electronic introduced a high-brightness version of its light tubes (Fig. 3) in July 2010. Dubbed M-Tubes, the components employ two high-efficiency Dragon LEDs for illumination and rely on an aluminum body for thermal management. Tubes are available in four lengths and in three shades of white, red, green, blue, monochrome, and RGB.

Two types of connection are available: connecting leads or a plug-and-light version with a main plug. Other features include single-ended or double-ended configurations and lengths up to 2 m.

In January 2011, we saw the QuasarBrite 0404 RGB LED (Fig. 4) from Lumex set a size record in its package, measuring a mere 1 by 1 by 0.25 mm, which was then considered the smallest RGB LED package available. The component provides a 120° viewing angle and reliable performance at low current outputs, i.e., 30, 25, and 10 mA respectively for R/G/B.

The RoHS-compliant (Restrictions on Hazardous Substances)SML-LX0404SIUPGUSB specifies an operating temperature range from –40°C to 85°C. Pricing ranges from $0.25 to $0.50 each in production quantities.

In March 2011, Osram achieved a benchmark and much attention via a design win with a 150-in. diagonal LED video display (Fig. 5) that looks good from any angle. The display, developed by FormoLight Technologies, employs Osram’s compact Multi ChipLEDs. As per the companies, the display provides high brightness and high contrast with sharp, vivid images for indoor and outdoor applications and is clearly viewable from any angle.

Osram’s RGB Multi ChipLEDs take position as the smallest RGB LEDs currently on the market. Most notably, these LEDs are not put to use as backlighting sources, but are visible on the surface of the display, remaining undetected by viewers because of their compact, 1.6- by 1.6- by 0.9-mm size. For more details, visit the Osram and Formolight websites.

There probably will be no break in the action for LED makers in the foreseeable future, particularly with the increasing demand for more efficiently lit displays, homes, and businesses. Also, with the further evolution of organic LEDs (OLEDs), active matrix organic LEDs (AMOLEDs), and quantum dot LEDs (QLEDs), the possibilities should keep us occupied quite productively for at least the next 10 years.

Power Sources Place Well

Right up there with LEDs, power sources are drawing more interest, particularly with everyone trying to boost efficiency levels and keep things green, both in the environment and in their wallets. Two power sources made the top 10 this year.

In an open-frame module, Semiconductor Circuits’ Cool Power Technologies CPT7B48 12V/7A sixteenth-brick dc-dc converter (Fig. 6) delivers 84 W of output power at 55°C with 200 lfm of airflow. Suitable for distributed power architecture applications or as a regulated intermediate bus converter, the module complies with Distributed-power Open Standards Alliance (DOSA) footprint and interface standards and provides an input voltage range of 36 to 75 V dc plus 2250 V dc of input-to-output isolation.

Other features include efficiencies exceeding 93% from one-half load through full load, compliance with EN 60950, 100-V/100-ms input voltage transient and pre-biased load startup, fixed-frequency operation, auto-restart, an array of protection features, undervoltage lockout (UVLO) with 2-V hysteresis, remote sense and +10%/–20% output voltage trim using industry standard equations, and remote ON/OFF with positive or negative logic options available.

CUI’s VOF-80 open-frame ac-dc power supply (Fig. 7) delivers up to 80 W of continuous output power and is available with 3.3-, 5-, 12-, 15-, 24-, and 48-V dc output voltages with efficiencies of up to 89%. Other features include overvoltage and short-circuit protection, and the units operate up to 60°C with derating. Single-unit prices start at $30.34.

Sensor, UltraCaps, & Stereo Jacks Do well

Rounding out the top 10 spots are a humidity sensor from Sensirion, Tecate’s ultracapacitors, and stereo jacks from Kycon. Once again, their showing on our list is not a reflection of the quality of comparable, similar, or other components.

Heralded as the world’s smallest digital humidity sensor, Sensirion’s SHT21 (Fig. 8) is encapsulated in a DFN 3-0 package measuring 3 by 3 by 1.1 mm. The device is fully calibrated and communicates over an I2C digital interface. It consumes 3 mW during normal operation. Other features include an accuracy of ±2% RH over 20% to 80% RH and ±0.3°C over 25°C to 42°C plus compliance with automotive standard AEC-Q100. And, the SHT21 is reflow solderable.

Tecate Industries’ license agreement with Maxwell Technologies led to the Type PC5, a 4F ultracapacitor (Fig. 9) engineered to provide extended power availability during dips, sags, and outages in main power sources as well as to relieve batteries of burst power functions. The component employs a flat prismatic cell design incorporating hermetically sealed, stainless-steel cells.  As a result of this unique construction, it exhibits an extremely low profile of 5.1 mm maximum.

The PC5 ultracapacitor can accept charges at the identical rate of discharge. It also features accessible terminals and offers an electrostatic storage capability to facilitate more than 500,000 duty cycles with a 10-year lifespan. The PowerBurst Type PC5 ultracapacitor costs $8 each/100.

Garnering significant attention, Kycon’s STX-35398 middle-mount stereo jacks (Fig. 10) promise more flexibility for board-mount designs in applications that are continuously requiring smaller and lower profiles plus higher functions. The components comply with EIA standards and are available with a 3.5-mm diameter opening, three-pole with one open switch, and five pins.

The series includes two styles: the STX-35398A-5N-TR mid-mount with through-hole and surface-mount contacts with barrel and the STX-35398E-5N-TR mid-mount with through-hole contacts without barrel.

Top 101 Components of 2012: The List

In all honesty, you can pretty much interpret these results any way you choose depending on how helpful the data is specifying a given component for a design. If you find it helpful, or even gratifying to know what components engineers were looking at most, then we’re glad to be of service. It’s just my personal hunch that next year’s list will not vary too much from this offering, but we’ll just have to wait to see if that’s true.






LMR4 LED modules

Cree Inc.


SHT21 digital humidity sensor

Sensirion Inc.


Type PC5 ultracapacitor

Tecate Industries


XLamp MX-6S and MX-3S LEDs

Cree Inc.


High-brightness light tubes

ELMA Electronic Inc.


QuasarBrite RGB LED

Lumex Inc.


VOF-80 ac/dc power supply

CUI Inc.


Cool Power Technologies CPT7B48
12V/7A dc/dc converter

Semiconductor Circuits Inc.


Multi ChipLEDs

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors


STX-35398 series stereo jacks



Hybrid capacitor



High Temperature Air Amplifier

Exair Corp.


1590 STOMP enclosures

Hammond Manufacturing Co. Inc.


A Series dc-to-high-voltage-dc converter

EMCO High Voltage Corp.


LEDC10 series dc/dc drivers



IDC SSL connector

Tyco Electronics


VSLY5850 infrared emitter

Vishay Intertechnology Inc.


FFLI Series power film capacitor

AVX Corp.


OSTAR compact LED

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors


MiniCell series pressure sensors



AS212-C automotive socket

Memory Protection Devices Inc.


Wilcoxon Research Model 731A seismic accelerometer

Meggitt Sensing Systems


LA15-16-043Z voice-coil actuator

BEI KIMCO Magnetics


Series 6000 dc gearmotors

Ametek Technical & Industrial Products


AIS328DQ accelerometer


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LS200 Series power supplies



Model 7268C piezoresistive accelerometer

Meggitt Sensing Systems


XP-6000CA absolute pressure sensor

Epson Toyocom Corp.


Model MMP-1525-BR-24V dc servo amplifier

Midwest Motion Products


HelioProtection photovoltaic fuses



C-55605GNFU-LW-AAN passive matrix LCD

Optrex America Inc.


SFH 7770 digital ambient light sensor and proximity sensor

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors


MICROOPTO family solid-state relays

Weidmuller Interconnections Inc.


EMI filter plates

Spectrum Advanced Specialty Products



NDK America Inc.


RSF and RSMF Series resistors

Stackpole Electronics Inc.


PM102ZY3 TFT display

AZ Displays Inc.


TOPLED Compact 5630 LED

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors


SIM-030/031ST and SIM-040/041ST IR LEDs

ROHM Semiconductor


Electrically/Manually Focus-Tunable Lens

Edmund Optics Inc.


CX-18 crystal

IQD Frequency Products Inc.


AIS1xxxDS accelerometers



Industrial Mini I/O connector system

Tyco Electronics


IHLP 1212 inductor

Vishay Intertechnology Inc.


WSLP3921 and WSLP5931 Power Metal Strip resistors

Vishay Intertechnology Inc.


SC Cut crystal series

Bliley Technologies Inc.


GMPI series chip inductors

MAG Layers USA Inc.


Endevco model 2271A accelerometers

Meggitt Sensing Systems


MLTO-Series oscillators

Micro Lambda Wireless Inc.


Thermex temperature sensor film

Sensor Products Inc.






ECC100 series 100W ac/dc power supplies

XP Power


OV8820 CMOS image

Omnivision Technologies Inc.


EZ-Mate connectors



TL3300 series tact switch

E-Switch Inc.


ZWS-BAF series ac/dc power supplies



PS15 rotary position sensor

Piher North America


AR3 and AR5 Hall-effect rocker switches

C&K Components


3U VPX backplane

ELMA Electronic Inc.


Rapid Mate connector

Spectrum Advanced Specialty Products


DI Series Shunt isolator



GS2 Series desktop and wall-mount switching power supplies

Advanced Power Solutions


VPTc10-28 EMI filter module

VPT Inc.


VEAM Power VIP power connector

ITT Industries, Cannon


Stubby cellular antennas



CCR050 Series dc/dc converters

Martek Power


OV7727 VGA sensor

Omnivision Technologies Inc.


Right-angle LVDT position sensors

Macro Sensors


Tactilus heat-sink analysis system

Sensor Products Inc.


SG-BGA-7163 socket

Ironwood Electronics


RMKHT chip resistors and resistor networks

Vishay Intertechnology Inc.


Series 854-22-0XX-30/10-001101 and 855-22-0XX-30/10-001101 connectors

Mill-Max Manufacturing Corp.


G Series rocker and toggle switches

NKK Switches


01005-RK73H1F flat-chip resistor

KOA Speer Electronics Inc.


Extruded and molded silicone sealing technologies

Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics Inc.


CCE-3VX4 enclosure for VPX 3U modules

Dawn VME Products






A1200RU series dc/dc converters

Micropower Direct


DVFL, DVTR, and DVHF Series dc/dc converters

VPT Inc.


WX gearhead

Bodine Electric Co.


PKM5000D dc/dc converter

Ericsson Inc.


Sol3A family solar simulators

Newport Corp.


SOLARLOK junction box

Tyco Electronics


PSE EX piezo switch

Schurter Inc.


PM33216B programmable power supplies

Pioneer Magnetics Inc.


PL-PLCC68-S-01 PLCC package emulators

Ironwood Electronics


CHPFL Series high-pass filters

Crystek Corp.


AST4000 hydraulic pressure sensor

American Sensor Technologies Inc.


Single- and three-phase PSSRs

Weidmuller Interconnections Inc.


NVM175 series ac/dc power supplies



LCD Coaxial Embedded Display Interface (LCEDI) family of connectors

Tyco Electronics


IntelliTouch and IntelliTouch Plus displays

Tyco Electronics


HFBR interfaces

L-COM Global Connectivity


TRA(B)24/49003(P) Phantom dual-band antenna

Laird Technologies


VLP DDR3 DIMM very low profile socket

Tyco Electronics


APS303 Series switching power supplies

Advanced Power Solutions


CBT-BGA-7002 socket

Ironwood Electronics


SF-BGA352B-B-41 sockets

Ironwood Electronics


QSFP+ Active Optical Cable assemblies

Molex Inc.


CBT-QFN-7002 socket

Ironwood Electronics


CG-BGA-5009 socket

Ironwood Electronics


Non-magnetic D-Sub connectors



Micropulse AT linear position transducer

Balluff Inc.

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