Author Topic: Altium component database providers  (Read 2159 times)

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Offline click

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Altium component database providers
« on: December 16, 2017, 03:09:29 am »
Hi everyone
This is my first post on this forum. I work for a mid size company with a relatively small electronics department.
Our current electronics development environment is Orcad, and our component database is managed by an external company.

We are looking to do the switch to Altium since we feel that it would benefit us, the database we currently have and the integration in Orcad CIS has several flaws and many of us prefer Altium over Orcad.

What we are looking for is a company that can provide and maintain an Altium component database for us. We have been searching a bit and asked the local Altium retailers but we have not found an obvious solution yet.

I know that Altium provides their vault, and it is a good source of components, but in my experience you always have edit the components before you use them, there are also several features missing that we require.


Do you have any suggestions on companies providing and maintain component databases? If they also provides layout consulting that would be a bonus.


/Fredrik

 

Online julianhigginson

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2017, 06:23:46 am »
Are you looking for someone to create all the schematic components and footprints? How about all part details? Or just someone to set you up with a basic process, then manage the service that you build the design information up inside?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 06:27:45 am by julianhigginson »
 

Online mrpackethead

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2017, 05:00:14 pm »
As a user of Altium, and someone whos put a lot of effort in my parts database i'd seriously suggest that you need to do your own component databases yourself. Getting it done outside will cost you massive amounts of time ( and money )..  I'd hate to have to wait for someone to add a new part to my librarys when i need it.

You'll probaby find that you'll only actually need a very small number of parts and the job is not that big.
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Offline click

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 02:32:09 am »
Thank you for your replies!

Are you looking for someone to create all the schematic components and footprints? How about all part details? Or just someone to set you up with a basic process, then manage the service that you build the design information up inside?

All of the above basically, I guess we could create our own symbols, and footprints (I know, its easy with Altium) and just have some third party serve the database. The tricky part however is to come up with a good standard for how the components should be created and to adhere to it.

As a user of Altium, and someone whos put a lot of effort in my parts database i'd seriously suggest that you need to do your own component databases yourself. Getting it done outside will cost you massive amounts of time ( and money )..  I'd hate to have to wait for someone to add a new part to my librarys when i need it.

You'll probaby find that you'll only actually need a very small number of parts and the job is not that big.


Same problem there, keeping a nice and tidy database for yourself is a quite enjoyable task, trying to make several colleagues follow a standard might not be so easy, especially in a quickly growing company with employees and contract workers coming and going.
We can afford the service, we already have the same thing but for Orcad, also I'd rather wait a day for a component and be sure that it is properly done.

Also even if the database is small, someone will have to maintain it, we don't have the resources to do that ourselves.

There must be a bunch of companies providing this service I would think?
 

Online julianhigginson

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 03:01:40 pm »

There's certainly a bunch of companies that will make you part data on demand for Altium designer.

But the issue with "build and maintain company wide Altium component library/database" is that there's a bunch of different approaches (starting from Vault, svndblibs, dblibs, dblinks, managed intlibs, managed libs in a version control system, all the way down to just having a ad-hoc sch and pcb library files for each project) each valid for different purposes. Altium is extremely flexible in this area.

And then the particular conventions/standards you want for the component and footprint parts are another whole thing to consider.



Knowing the business requirements and then having an overall workflow that designers are happy with is the key to understanding the details of what you want to build.


First up, it would be good for you to have a think about what kind of work your business is doing - how many designs they plan on  making a  year, how big and complex the designs are, if the designs will be related by parts and even circuit structure,  are they for internal use or contracted designs, and how info related to them needs to be tracked and maintained, and what info is important for a parts database. Also, will you stock parts, and therefore  also need stock tracking functionality somewhere? And since you have an orcad library/database, does this new altium library/database need to be linked with or copied from, or even sharing live/verified data back and forth with the orcad one?

Then with the business needs in mind, you chat with your existing engineers and ask them what things they find are important for the workflow that they want to follow, and how that workflow will meet the company's needs. And then document that workflow & its business requirements coverage.

Then you can talk about options for what the solution might need to look like, and start to look for some company who can implement from there.

 :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah:
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2017, 03:30:02 pm »
install a vault and import your orcad database.
appoint 1 person to be in charge of creating parts.

works like a charm. (note: i maintain a vault serving 200+ users with 12K components in it. )
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Online mrpackethead

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2017, 08:09:05 pm »
I use a dblib that runs on a MySQL database, that lives on AWS.   theres a python/flask front end that lets me manipulate parts ( add etc ) and add what ever data i need. We then extended that, and track stock against it...   so when a reel of parts, ( which will be in the library ) it gets recorded into the stock, ( and given a QR code ) and its location tracked.. It goes a bit further than that, I can then create pick lists for a job..  ( i export BOM's to the database ) and it will also tell me what needs to be added/moved from teh PNP line..  This has saved weeks of manpower..    I just cna't see how this would have ever happened  if it was done outside.
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Offline click

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2017, 02:21:14 am »
Thank you for the suggestions provided. With this thread I was hoping to get a list of companies to evaluate.
We have discussed this and we know what we want roughly, sadly we have not found any companies serving these type of databases. If we would have, we could look at their options to see if the soloution they provide would fit us.

The Idea was to not have to set it up our selves, since we currently don't have any resources for that.

/Fredrik
 

Online julianhigginson

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2017, 05:38:58 pm »
Hi Frederick,

maybe this is OK for you? but from memory it's an altium owned product, and it sort of conflicts with vault, so in that case I'm not sure how good an idea it would be to get used to this... there's a plugin for AD that works nicely, apparently. And the BOM option looks like it could be useful, too.
https://ciiva.com/smart-parts/overview

other than that, you have vault... talk to your altium support person about it and see if they can convince you it'll do what you want?  if you have money but no time, maybe it's useful. but my experience with vault is its workflows are extremely over the top (but the company I saw using it did have heavy compliance requirements - maybe that aspect can be turned down..)

Anything else, well, is going to be ad-hoc because there's so many ways to do it, and businesses need different things from their databases, and I don't know anyone who specialises in just making all the different Altium parts management options work.
 

Offline olkipukki

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2017, 02:30:42 am »

Do you have any suggestions on companies providing and maintain component databases? If they also provides layout consulting that would be a bonus.


Not excatly company with dedicated service, but I tried UltraLibrarian (www.ultralibrarian.com) that basically a huge database for major vendor neural formats and you can export parts to your CAD/CAE (include AD).

 

Offline pcbguy1927

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2017, 05:28:41 am »
 

Online mrpackethead

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2017, 05:42:27 am »
Check out these guys. http://www.optimumdesign.com/pcb-Library-administration.php

"With Optimum , have your parts back to you in 24hrs **"  <--- this would drive me nuts!     You coudl drive a project out by weeks, by not being able to add parts as you need them. and putting in 24 hour delays.

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Offline dav888

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2017, 09:18:33 pm »
@mrpackethead

Which database adapter do you use for your MySQL + DbLib setup?
also curious how you mange the schlib, pcblib, 3d files.


We use a git + .csv dblib currently, mainly to get a full history of who added or modified a component "row" etc. It's a bit of pain though having to update the .csv though and manually typing paths to the linked lib files.
 

Online mrpackethead

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2017, 05:19:20 am »
MySQL ODBC 5.3 ANSI Driver

You have to set up an ODBC data source first, then connect altium to it.  Works well.

As for the schlib/pcblib,3d files..  Its git to to shared repo.      Unforuantly bceuase the lib files are binary, its pretty hard to check that parts actually exist before you create them.
We have built a web front end to create new parts..    All of my library parts have cataogorys   ( resistors, caps, inductors, microprocessors etc ), and i use that to sort the libary and create a bunch of views in the database,  which you cna then access via the table browser.   Its been a bit of an effort, but worth it eventually.


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Online julianhigginson

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2017, 01:41:42 pm »
Check out these guys. http://www.optimumdesign.com/pcb-Library-administration.php

Lol... Check out fine print on thei 100% accuracy guarantee they have headlining the page about their service....

That's some pretty unethical garbage in their marketing.

"Note: Although we strive for 100% accuracy and consistency, there are times where a mis-
take may occur. If at any time you become aware of a library entity that we created incor-
rectly, please inform us immediately and we will correct it at no charge to you. Beyond cor-
recting the incorrect library entity, Optimum is not liable for any damages. Please review "
 

Online mrpackethead

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2017, 07:57:47 pm »
and that is why you simply can't afford to use 3rd party librarys without comprehensively checking them.  the consequences of bad libarys run to many many $$$$ very quickly.   Its seriously not a big job to do in house and I cant' see how sending it to a 3rd party can be economic in any scenerio.
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Offline click

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2018, 07:55:00 pm »
Check out these guys. http://www.optimumdesign.com/pcb-Library-administration.php


This seems like the typ of service we are looking for, thanks!

We have also started to look into managing the database our selves, it might be doable after all, seems like it is the standard route with Altium.
 

Online mrpackethead

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Re: Altium component database providers
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2018, 09:10:57 pm »
Happy to chat about what we did and how it worked.  Id even give you a copy of my data structure if you wanted  pm me if up are interested
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