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Part Search Help

Digi-Key's part search database is a powerful tool for finding the components you need quickly.

This article will provide some tips and tricks that can be used to make Digi-Key's parts search even easier to use.

Digi-Key's part search is designed to help you find the parts that fit your project's specified parameters. As an example, let's look for through hole resistors. Start by entering "resistors" into the "Part Search" box on the top of the page. (see results in Figure 1).

Search results for resistors

Figure 1: Search results for "resistors".

This shows all resistors in the parts database. We can specify the type of resistor by clicking on "Through Hole Resistors" to show all through hole resistors available.

As can be seen in Figure 1, there are over 281,000 items listed in through hole resistors. Fortunately, there are parameter filters we can use to narrow this down to a list that is more manageable (Figure 2).

Through Hole Resistors parameter filters

Figure 2: "Through Hole Resistors" parameter filters.

The best way to use these filters is to select the most important parameter first; in this case it would most probably be "Resistance (Ohms)". You can select more than one parameter value in a field by holding down the "Ctrl" key on your keyboard while clicking. If selecting a range, you can either select the first value, scroll to the second value and click it while holding the "Shift" key, or click and drag the cursor over the desired range. After all values are selected, click "Apply Filters".

After the most important parameter filter is applied, move on to the next most valuable parameter filter and repeat until all parameters you want to filter are complete. It is recommended that you filter by one parameter at a time because filtering by multiple parameter filters simultaneously could result in zero parts that meet all selected parameters.

Let's step through a real example. We want to find a N-Channel MOSFET rated for at least 50 amps and 85 volts in a through hole TO-220 package. If we enter "MOSFET N-Channel 50A 85V Through Hole TO-220" in the search box, the result is three obsolete parts (Figure 3).

Search results for MOSFET N-Channel 50A 85V Through Hole TO-220.

Figure 3: Search results for "MOSFET N-Channel 50A 85V Through Hole TO-220".

This search string is too restrictive to obtain the results we need. Let's start over and use the parameter filters.

When starting a general search for a choice of parts to compare, its always best to start out as general as possible and filter down to a reasonable number of results. In this example, we'll start by entering "MOSFETs" in the search box (Note: Digi-Keys part search is not case sensitive). This results in 52,513 items as shown in Figure 4.

Search results for MOSFETs.

Figure 4: Search results for "MOSFETs".

We are looking for single MOSFETs, so we click on the "Transistors - FETs MOSFETs - Single" link. Now there are 41,525 items left (Figure 5).

Search results for MOSFETs in the Transistors - FETs MOSFETs - Single family.

Figure 5: Search results for "MOSFETs" in the "Transistors - FETs MOSFETs - Single" family.

Now it's time to start using the parameter filters. First we'll choose the "FET Type". Since we are looking for an N-Channel MOSFET, we'll select all of the FET types that match the requirement (Figure 6). Note: Sometimes the values "*" and "-" appear as shown in many of the figures in this article. A "*" indicated that the value has not been entered yet, usually for newer parts. A "-" indicated that the value was not found on the data sheet.

Select all N-Channel FET Types.

Figure 6: Select all N-Channel FET Types.

After clicking "Apply Filters", we are left with 33,806 items. Next let's narrow it down further by scrolling to the right in the parameter filters to find the "Mounting Type" parameter. Since we are looking for a through hole part, we select that (Figure 7) and click "Apply Filters".

Select Through Hole mounting type.

Figure 7: Select "Through Hole" mounting type.

Now we're down to 8,448 parts. The next filter we will use is the "Package/Case" parameter. Scroll to the right in the parameter filters to find it and select all available TO-220 options (Figure 8) and "Apply Filters".

Select all TO-220 options available for Package/Case.

Figure 8: Select all "TO-220" options available for "Package/Case".

This cuts the available parts down to 4,111. The next thing we'll filter for is our voltage rating. Since we are looking for a MOSFET with a rating of at least 85 volts, we'll select that and include all of the parts with ratings up to 120 volts (Figure 9) and click "Apply Filters".

Select a voltage rating range from 85 V to 120 V.

Figure 9: Select a voltage rating range from 85 V to 120 V.

There are still 460 parts left. Finally, we will filter by current rating by selecting all MOSFETs rated for 50 to 60 amps (Figure 10) and clicking "Apply Filters".

Select a current rating range from 50 A to 60 A.

Figure 10: Select a current rating range from 50 A to 60 A.

We are finally down to just 43 parts. We can reduce this even further by checking the "In Stock" check box and clicking on "Apply Filters" (Figure 11).

Final filtered results after checking the In Stock box.

Figure 11: Final filtered results after checking the "In Stock" box.

Instead of the three obsolete parts we saw in our original search, we now have 23 options to choose from. These results can be sorted by using the up and down arrows at the top of the columns (Figure 12).

Part search results sorted by Vgs(th) (Max)@Id.

Figure 12: Part search results sorted by "Vgs(th) (Max)@Id".

When using the parameter filters, if you apply a filter but later decide to remove it, just click on the checked box in the "Applied Filters:" line. This allows you to modify the filter choice or just not use it for your search.

"Search Within Results" allows the refining of a search based on the previous search results instead of starting a new search.

In this example we’ll search for a 16-bit microcontroller with USB and UART connectivity and 50 to 55 I/Os without choosing the manufacturer. First search for "microcontrollers" and then click the "Embedded – Microcontrollers" link (Figure 15).

Search results for microcontrollers.

Figure 15: Search results for "microcontrollers"

This returns over 59,000 results. To narrow this down, we’ll use a few filters without showing every step. We can easily filter for 16-bit ("Core Size" filter) and 50 to 55 I/Os ("Number of I/O" filter). Next we’ll filter for "Active" parts ("Part Status" filter), check the "In stock" check box, and click on the "Apply Filters" button. This brings the total results down to fewer than 300 parts (Figure 16).

Search results with filters applied.

Figure 16: Search results with filters applied

We are still looking for parts that have USB and UART connectivity. Looking through the "Connectivity" filter we see that we can’t choose just USB or just UART. All connectivity filter parameters contain multiple entries. Here’s where the "Search Within Results" comes in handy. Entering "USB UART" in this box and pressing "Enter" on your keyboard or clicking the magnifying glass next to the field will return about 50 parts (Figure 17).

Search Within Results for USB UART search string.

Figure 17: "Search Within Results" for "USB UART" search string

This is a much more manageable number of parts to look through than the initial 59,000. You can still apply more filters or more "Search Within Results" at this point to further narrow down the selection.

Summary

Even though Digi-Key's part search engine is easy to use and get results quickly, there are some methods and tricks you can use to see more parts that will be within your specifications.