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Tips For Managing Electronic Component Obsolescence

Tips For Managing Electronic Component Obsolescence

The number of electronic components is increasing at an exponential rate. The problem with that is as you add more parts, the likelihood of one of them becoming obsolete increases significantly. This article will discuss common ways that companies manage obsolescence and what you can do to reduce its impact on your product development. Here are some helpful design management techniques:

  • Label All Parts Correctly: If you’re using legacy PCB designs, it’s vital to make sure that all these parts are labeled correctly and identifiable. Passive components like resistors or capacitors can easily be overlooked during a design review if they aren’t marked properly; this is especially true for tiny passive parts which may not have any distinguishing marks at all! Even when the part has markings on its body due to standardization, those same marks could still confuse other circuits where there might actually exist different values with similar symbols.
  • Have A Detailed Bill Of Materials (BOM): BOM is the key to sourcing parts for your product. You must understand each part of it and make sure there are no errors or missing data because this could lead to costly mistakes when sourcing replacements on an older design. You should always review your old bill of materials before ordering anything new!
  • Supply Chain Networking: It is important now more than ever that you stay in touch with the component manufacturers and distributors to make sure your older legacy designs still have all of the parts it needs. With so many chip manufacturers running low on supply, knowing what’s going on for projected part requirements can be essential to making sure your circuit boards are built properly.
  • Keep An Eye On Your Electric Component Parts: A good way to ensure that your product is produced quickly and efficiently and ensure a high quality of production is by monitoring the parts you use for circuit boards. Working with manufacturers or distributors can help notify you if there are any changes in supply before they affect your workflow.

You will find these tips helpful for your current designs. However, you need to properly manage the new designs you create. Read below for useful tips on protecting new designs.

PCB Design Tips to Guide Against Obsolete Part Problems in New Designs

Designers should be cautious when beginning new projects. One way to ensure this is by not diving into the project without considering obsolete parts that could get caught in your newest design. Here are some ways you can avoid these problems:

  • PCB Design Libraries

Do not let your company library become outdated! You may be relying on the same parts over and over again for different designs, but those pieces might no longer work without you knowing. For larger companies with PCB librarians to monitor this, keeping up-to-date is easier than it would be if you’re a smaller business that has to do everything themselves. A third-party tool can really help though–those libraries are constantly being updated too so they’ll always have what’s needed available when an engineer needs them most.

  • Copying Circuitry

Copying circuitry means that the circuit board will have both old and new parts, but this is not necessarily bad. Copied circuits cost less to produce because they require fewer resources than making new ones from scratch-saving money for your company and boosting productivity when using proven design technology. 

However, if you notice any of these red flags while reviewing copied circuitry it’s important not to ignore them: obsolete features in newer versions of operating systems; older data interfaces or protocols (serial connections replaced by Ethernet); discontinued part numbers due to obsolescence without a suitable replacement available on the current product roadmap.

  • BOM Review

When designing circuits, a bill of materials can help you to make sure that all the parts are in place. You’ll also want to check your bills-of-materials before sending any plans out for manufacture and work with a PCB designer who will conduct an added review on behalf of your project: always double-checking if something is missing or not what it should be!


We recommend that you follow the guidelines and best practices of your industry for managing obsolescence. This will help prolong product life and prevent unnecessary expenditure on a new system when one is not necessary. With these tips in mind, you can rest assured that your business’ electronic components are well taken care of with as minimal impact from obsolete parts as possible!


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