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component recognition software? Answered

finding datasheets for stuff i have lying around is a PITA!!! i also can't find datasheets for some stuff i scavenge because i don't know what they are. is there a sort of "facial recognition software" but for electronic components? also is there a program that indexes the characteristics of components i have, kind of like mouser's or digi-key's website?


I doubt that such software exists, since most are fairly obvious and either labelled or easy to measure (resistors, capacitors, switches...). For the rest you really have to look up the part number.

If a scavenged active part doesn't have the part number, all you can do is guess. If it's a three-contact device of some flavor, you can usually figure out what general kind it is from its behavior, with some hints from the case style, but you won't get much beyond that without some middling-complicated measurements. Understanding the circuit you're removing it from will also get you pretty close.

If it's a DIP or other more device with more complicated connections, and doesn't have a part number (or none you can track down), then understanding the circuit you took it from is your best bet. Trying to determine it by measurements is likely to be difficult-to-ugly-to-impossible, since if you guess wrong about what pin does what you're likely to fry it before you understand it.

dang. sometimes i find something like a 8 pin dip with 2 or more codes on it, and when i search them one gives me a result for a 8 pin dip op amp, and another shows a 8 pin dip timer or something else. o well

Just thinking around that  . . .
How long before components, ICs especially, are marked with QR codes?
Just point your reader at one and up comes the full datasheet on screen.
Would be useful for QA on auto-insertion machines too.  (At a place I worked many years ago, occasionally they'd get the tubes mixed up on the auto-insertion so you'd get a whole batch of boards with incorrect components.)

Interesting idea. Question is whether you could get enough resolution at that size without taking off the human-readable numbers (which will remain important, I think).