Octopart And Altium Join Forces

Octopart, the search engine for electronic parts, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Altium.

This acquisition is neither Altium’s first parts database purchase, nor is it Octopart’s first interaction with Altium. Ciiva, a parts and datasheet search engine was acquired by Altium a few years ago, and Altium Circuit Maker features an interface to the Octopart database.

Under the deal, Octopart will remain independent of Altium and operate out of their NYC office, and plans are for the part search engine to remain free and open.

Disclosure: Hackaday’s parent company, Supplyframe, also runs FindChips.com and Parts.io, component search tools.

9 thoughts on “Octopart And Altium Join Forces

  1. I gave Circuit Maker a quick go a couple of weeks back thinking that maybe now I wouldn’t have to create footprints on my own (I really, really, really hate doing it for some reason). But alas, no joy, I got stuck on the second component I tried which I thought would be simple enough, a 16 segment LED display from Kingbright. I found the actual part but no ready made footprint for me to use.

    Why does it have to be so hard to be lazy ;(

    1. As someone who does PCB design for a living, this is the number one thing people need to get over. Making your own footprints is just part of the experience. I have found that I have only wasted time looking for footprints instead of learning to use the tools for making footprints.

      1. This.

        After 2 or 3 boards where I used random footprints from the internet… that someone bungled the pinning on, I make everything myself.

        At least I can be pissed off at myself when something is wrong :p

      2. I have the same experience. Pretty all of the footprints out there are pretty bad. I have used one that was supposedly a rev 3 footprint and yet it is still wrong! I have seen metric footprint badly done in imperial, wrong hole sizes, bad tolerances, silkscreens over SMT pads, not enough separation on silkscreen. Also depending on your design rules, you might want to make sure that the soldermask, past layers are within what your assembly needs are.

        I am pretty much making my own these days.

  2. I have used Altium Designer all the way back to Protel 98, drug screaming, kicking and scratching after Altium bought Accel who bought PCAD. I started with Bishop Graphics (yes…taping circuit boards at 2X camera ready artwork). Where Altium is today is leaps and bounds ahead of CAD packages that cost much more. Oh sure 11 grand a seat is pricy, but I use it at work and we have floating licenses so we can use it at home as well.

    Eagle is as Eagle does. However, Altium has been able to integrate enough 3D CAD in and out and they are working closely with Solidworks. Footprints? LOL. A 1206 resistor is a 1206 resistor is a 1206 resistor. A SOIC14 is a SOIC14 right? NOPE!

    We have to be able to show customers realistic renderings of PCB assemblies and products. So do you want to guess how many 1206 “footprints” I have? Hundreds. Why? We show the actual resistor value on the 1206. We show the correct IC details on SOIC’s. Why? Well, for one thing, the production floor can look at our realistic drawing and check the values without having to refer to a reference disignator AND a bill of material. Just look at the board and look at the rendering.

    A footprint is no longer a simple graphic representation of copper pads on a PCB. It has mechanical data as well. It is integrated with a schematic symbol that has SPICE data. Between the two there is placement cost, part cost, acquisition cost, lead times, internal company part numbers, and component part numbers just to name a few.

    I can walk in to a meeting with my laptop and when they ask me, “how long before we can build our first prototype?” I still can’t answer that. The reason being, a part that was in stock yesterday may have been bought up and have an 8-12 week leadtime (or worse). If they can integrate stock data with component numbers, I would be able to answer that. Even if all I can answer is, “Well, once it is in production, production lead time is X based on component Y”, it would be a Godsend. Will it happen in a year? I doubt it, but Altium is very forward thinking in what we product design engineers go through. Their push and shove manual routers (I still don’t autoroute anything other than test fixtures) are leaps and bounds above what Intergraph offered in the early 00’s at a price of $150k a seat.

    So yeah, Eagle is good for hobbyists, but for anyone that has to play “connect the dots” as part of their career, look at Altium. I am no Altium fan, all CAD packages have their good points and bad points, but the productivity enhancements we get from them pay for each seat we need within a year. And no, I don’t work for Altium.

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