Author Topic: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?  (Read 1231 times)

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Offline rx8pilot

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Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« on: August 10, 2018, 06:29:36 pm »
For most of my designs - I place a high priority on how easy the part vendors are. Mostly, I design based on what is available from the usual big distributors like DigiKey, Mouser, Arrow, etc. That allows me to quickly order sample qty's and work through prototype builds and testing as well as small volume pilot runs.

There are some vendors like Coilcraft that generally sell direct, but are VERY easy to deal with so I don't care.

Maxim Integrated, on the other hand, is a major pain. They hide pricing, make sample orders and small production orders an ordeal, they require NDA's for data sheets! WTF?

I was looking at a new product that is a USB charger/emulator (very common non-exotic part) - but I found myself running away since I have no idea how much it costs and have to submit an NDA just to get a data sheet. Even if I did all of that, I end up with a part in my design that is a problem for purchasing.

Who is willing to put up with this?
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Offline Bassman59

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2018, 06:32:10 pm »
For most of my designs - I place a high priority on how easy the part vendors are. Mostly, I design based on what is available from the usual big distributors like DigiKey, Mouser, Arrow, etc. That allows me to quickly order sample qty's and work through prototype builds and testing as well as small volume pilot runs.

There are some vendors like Coilcraft that generally sell direct, but are VERY easy to deal with so I don't care.

Maxim Integrated, on the other hand, is a major pain. They hide pricing, make sample orders and small production orders an ordeal, they require NDA's for data sheets! WTF?

I was looking at a new product that is a USB charger/emulator (very common non-exotic part) - but I found myself running away since I have no idea how much it costs and have to submit an NDA just to get a data sheet. Even if I did all of that, I end up with a part in my design that is a problem for purchasing.

Who is willing to put up with this?

The usual rule with Maxim is just avoid them, unless you are in a position to order 100,000 parts at a time. Their catalog is full of parts which look pretty neat, and have variants one might find useful, but they only sell one of those variants. The only way to get the others is to contact the factory and buy a fab run, it seems. Oh, and the one variant you can find in distribution? Don't count on it staying there for very long.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2018, 06:38:55 pm »
The usual rule with Maxim is just avoid them, unless you are in a position to order 100,000 parts at a time. Their catalog is full of parts which look pretty neat, and have variants one might find useful, but they only sell one of those variants. The only way to get the others is to contact the factory and buy a fab run, it seems. Oh, and the one variant you can find in distribution? Don't count on it staying there for very long.

I had a Maxim USB charge emulator that was stocked in fairly large numbers at Digikey. Then it wasn't. Still in production, but no longer in distribution. I had no idea that was going to happen and already had boards that needed to be assembled. I went through the process of ordering from Maxim which was a pain, but I got the parts.

The next round of boards - they had taken the part out of production.  :-//

I guess the business model solely caters to the ultra-volume customer?
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Online james_s

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 06:58:42 pm »
Maxim used to be quite liberal about sending out samples, but then they cracked down on that. They make some neat parts, but they tend to be so expensive that it's hard to justify. In a few cases there are gray market Chinese parts, maybe clones? I don't know, but some work just fine. The MAX7219 for example, I've tried a known genuine one and several dirt cheap ones from China of unknown origin and I can't find any difference in performance.

If I were designing something commercial I would just avoid them unless they offered something truly unique.
 

Offline In Vacuo Veritas

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 07:02:14 pm »
Eeep! Avoid. They might have been the bee's knees back when Don Lancaster was pushing PostScript as a general purpose language in his Hardware Hacker column... (ie, 25 years ago?)

But these days? Design them out ASAP.
 

Offline georges80

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 07:35:45 pm »
Due to maxim being generally a pain to deal with on various levels, I don't even look at their products when doing a new design. That makes it simple to avoid them :)

They are very proud of their stuff - way too expensive for what it is. They utilize old fab geometries that are super cheap to fabricate with, but charge a significant premium. Probably why they have pretty decent profit margins, good for the investor, not good for designing in (as least for low/medium volume).

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Online Ian.M

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 08:25:45 pm »
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/maxim-love-_em-or-hate-_em/

They must be doing *something* right to still be in business, but it certainly isn't acquiring, retaining and developing low and mid volume customers.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 09:18:42 pm »
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/maxim-love-_em-or-hate-_em/

They must be doing *something* right to still be in business, but it certainly isn't acquiring, retaining and developing low and mid volume customers.
True and they have been this way for over 20 years!
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Offline KE5FX

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 09:32:37 pm »
With Maxim, the middle ground is where the danger is.  Low-volume customers can just buy their parts off the rack from distributors.  High-volume customers have their own contracts.  Mid-volume customers are up the creek with no leverage.

And obviously it's a terrible idea to do business with anyone who requires an NDA for data sheets on production parts.  That should go without saying.
 

Offline senso

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2018, 09:55:54 pm »
Maxim used to be quite liberal about sending out samples, but then they cracked down on that. They make some neat parts, but they tend to be so expensive that it's hard to justify. In a few cases there are gray market Chinese parts, maybe clones? I don't know, but some work just fine. The MAX7219 for example, I've tried a known genuine one and several dirt cheap ones from China of unknown origin and I can't find any difference in performance.

If I were designing something commercial I would just avoid them unless they offered something truly unique.

I still have an 800€(at the time was the price shown on Maxim website), op-amp in ceramic packaged with gold leads, sampled 2, used one in a amplifier/signal conditioning board that went between a seismographic sensor of some sort and some fancy 24 bit DAC, this was for a university project of a friend, I dont consider that I "abused" and I wrote in the use text box what I was doing with it and that I wouldn't buy another, had the parts in 3 days.

 

Offline schmitt trigger

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 10:01:12 pm »
Have had the same nightmares as the other posters. No need to elaborate, the gripes are identical.

The worst case was a customer-designed board which was piggybacked into our product. And you guessed correctly, it had a Maxim part.
Of course since we were not the original OEM but a subcontractor, we could never obtain parts unless we begged the OEM to source them for us...at a price.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 10:18:31 pm »
I still have an 800€(at the time was the price shown on Maxim website), op-amp in ceramic packaged with gold leads, sampled 2, used one in a amplifier/signal conditioning board that went between a seismographic sensor of some sort and some fancy 24 bit DAC, this was for a university project of a friend, I dont consider that I "abused" and I wrote in the use text box what I was doing with it and that I wouldn't buy another, had the parts in 3 days.

I got a bunch of random samples from them over the course of a few years, never had the balls to request a $800 part for a personal project though. Sounds like a very interesting IC, is it mil-spec or something? I didn't know op-amps got that expensive.

I've requested samples for personal projects from a lot of different suppliers but I've always made an effort to only request stuff I was actually going to use. I think the reason a lot of companies cracked down is that word got around and hobbyists started abusing it and requesting samples of anything they could get their hands on. Now if it's for something personal I usually contact the rep and tell them that up front and ask nicely if I could have a sample of this or that and often it works.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2018, 11:08:29 pm »
I got a bunch of random samples from them over the course of a few years, never had the balls to request a $800 part for a personal project though. Sounds like a very interesting IC, is it mil-spec or something? I didn't know op-amps got that expensive.

I've requested samples for personal projects from a lot of different suppliers but I've always made an effort to only request stuff I was actually going to use. I think the reason a lot of companies cracked down is that word got around and hobbyists started abusing it and requesting samples of anything they could get their hands on. Now if it's for something personal I usually contact the rep and tell them that up front and ask nicely if I could have a sample of this or that and often it works.

People have been getting samples and re-selling them on ebay, especially high value op-amps. It was easy to spot as the quantity available was 5pc (same as sample limit). But it would be easy enough to set a price limit on the sample parts, and if you need a high value part then you take the time to call in.

Dave pointed out a few times that the samples "budget" shows absolutely no direct return on investment, so it is hard to argue cutting it. But without knowing the details of actual cost and what percentage of samples went to business vs. hobby its hard to argue anything.

If Maxim did cut samples, their stock is still soaring so it seems to have no effect on their business.
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Offline Marco

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2018, 11:18:33 pm »
Dave pointed out a few times that the samples "budget" shows absolutely no direct return on investment
I don't understand why manufacturers do it for anyone but grad/phd students. Companies can afford to pay. Students are poor and working on tight budgets, but you can get your part mentioned in a paper at least.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2018, 11:20:06 pm »
I have absolutely zero problem paying for samples, including shipping.

My primary criteria is that it is easy, I have access to design resources, and a projected product life cycle.

As I am going through a design cycle where I am using dozens of unfamiliar parts..... any resistance from a vendor sends me running away. I just cannot justify a 'special case' vendor unless they have something truly unique or special.

I am looking at USB charger controllers / emulators - not exactly an exotic application to be sure.

Short and misplld from my mobile......

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Offline amyk

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2018, 11:25:34 pm »
It sounds like they're trying to, but not quite as uptight as two companies whose names end in "com" and "comm"...
 

Online james_s

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Re: Is designing with Maxim worth the effort?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2018, 12:07:53 am »
I don't understand why manufacturers do it for anyone but grad/phd students. Companies can afford to pay. Students are poor and working on tight budgets, but you can get your part mentioned in a paper at least.

In many cases it's a cheap way for them to drum up business. I've designed a few commercial products and the companies that were generous with the samples are the first place I went for parts to use in higher volume things. Compared to what it costs to advertise in a magazine or something sending out free parts costs peanuts.
 


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