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Sample Programs

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After dave’s video on free samples, also after the contest for the DMM, I wanted to share my experience on such programs because there are many problems for an EE student in a small country such as Greece to get parts. The university don’t care about the students and even if they take funds for making better our labs, the labs are in a big mess. The funds goes to the pockets of the teachers or to buy equipment for the Master/Doctor students for their own needs. As I’m in the category of the students that they don’t have enough money to spend on new parts (I’d prefer to buy some equipment to build my lab), I find my way through sample programs, disassembling old devices and not using the university sources (because it is much more trouble to have access to the labs than contacting companies for parts, believe my it is).
Greece has not very stable law about imports from countries outside European Union, so this is the biggest problem not just for samples but also purchases from USA. Many packets are held in customs and they charge VERY high taxes, for my latest sample packet(8-10 ICs) from TI, I had to pay taxes of 130 Euro, this was the most that it occurred to have seen (of course I didn’t payed and didn’t receive the parts :( )
Now for the companies

Texas Instruments - http://www.ti.com/
TI has a very good online sample program you can order up to 8 different items however they cannot be from the same family of chips, the limit of each ic is different but they don’t give out more than 5 of the same ic. There is free shipping with FedEx including Greece. They may ask you some more info about your project but no big things. Other say that you can email them for more than 5 of the same ic but I didn’t so far so I don’t know if they are more curious then. Too many ic to sample but they restrict the versions of the ics. They never used any other information such as email, address.

Maxim-IC - http://www.maxim-ic.com/
Many categories to choose for ics, many from the Dallas that are the same company now. Up to 6 different items, each item has his own max limit. May cut your order into pieces and backorder some parts. Instant shipping with normal post (I think) which is much better for Greece because there are no checkups for small packages. Instant accept of order.

Freescale - http://www.freescale.com/
It hasn’t any so useful part for a student that cannot solder difficult packages but the sensors. Max different parts 3, each item has a limit of 5 items. For my case I have to pay 5 to 15 dollars to have samples parts because of the email even though it is not a common one, it is from university. Can ship with normal or priority with the same price, I heard that priority packages have higher chance to be checked for taxes. Never being in a hurry, never tried.

Analog - http://www.analog.com/en/index.html
Instant accept of my order, instant shipping, 3 days to have the parts. Must ship the order to an address of a company so I had some problems, because I didn’t put a real one, shipped with TNT from within European Union. Max different parts 4, each item has a limit of 2 items. Newsletter email every week. Very good however.

Microchip - http://www.microchip.com/
Can order 2 times per month, each order has a limit of 2 different parts. They may backorder one part, don’t ship you ever the other and such problems. They don’t ask anything however. Their password system have problems so everytime I need to login I have to request a new password. The good is it is home delivery.

Zilog - http://www.zilog.com/
I wanted to make a retro computer but they must not even read the comments that you put on the order and where are you gonna use their parts, they just accept everything. Max different parts 3, each item has a limit of 2 items. Fast delivery, very good if they read.

There are also many other sample programs (National,Cirrus and others) but i'm most satisfied by these
If others know good sample programs, share your expirience with them


--- Quote from: CryptLordGR on November 21, 2010, 10:25:43 am ---As I’m in the category of the students that they don’t have enough money to spend on new parts

--- End quote ---

I hear that often, but interestingly there is usually enough beer money to get drunk every weekend. Also, there are thousands of parts in the 10 cent range which can be used to build an endless amount of projects. It doesn't have to be the latest and greatest ICs. Or, as someone told me when I was studying decades ago  "Parts you can't afford you don't need."

I agree totally with you so i have the philosophy that i try to use each part that i can get hold of. I collect all the old devices i find on the road. And a little problem is the shipping to greece, so i usually use chinese parts from ebay.
haha about the beer that's a little true, but we are no stupid like tourists   ;D

Very good listing!  You are very motivated and that's a major plus for your career.

Are there places that salvage electronics?  When I was like you I would find old electronics in the trash and take parts from there.

A key to your education is working with as many parts as you can and understanding their parameters, and then build something to demonstrate that to good effect.

Leave production and PCB design to school work.


--- Quote from: BoredAtWork on November 21, 2010, 11:01:41 am ---"Parts you can't afford you don't need."

--- End quote ---
you cant afford to buy electronic part? dont mess yourself with electronics :D, i'm a little luckier than OP in term of tax, U fund etc, but i will value any scrapped electronics around even in the very smelly place... if its worth salvaging it. (yea! wanna call me a nerd? go ahead!) most of the time i can find a hard to get or expensive items onboard ;)

ps: sometime i feel like a homeless myself, but who cares! my need is not like what they need. and further i can appreciate/understand how the homeless felt, to get a lesson.


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