Electronics - FREE SAMPLES
Updated Dec 3, 2011
The resources in this wiki page are suppliers that provide free electronics components samples. Please do not abuse the suppliers providing these valuable resources! The following are suggested ethics for requesting free samples.
- Only request samples you are interested in studying or prototyping with. Avoid requesting samples that will be discarded.
- Do Not Resell the samples on the eBay, Craigs List, or other Internet web services.
- When your project is visible to the public, acknowledge which manufacturers and suppliers provided the free samples used in the project.
- Reference the manufacturers and suppliers in project documentation and publications.
- If and When your project makes money, consider purchasing the components.
- Manufacturing companies and suppliers with ISO certifications actually Use feedback they receive from surveys and thank you letters for qualification for ISO certification. Free samples are worth answering a survey or writing a Thank You Letter.
- If you received free samples from a company representative, be sure to send a Thank You letter to that representative.
- If the project will be really visible in a trade show or competition, ask a company or supplier representative for marketing materials, etc.
- Obtaining samples almost always requires creating an on-line account. Use your real name, address, and only use one account.
- Manufacturers will rarely call you on the phone.
- I have never detected that my information was ever released to a third party from the companies in the initial list below.
- Using your real name, address, and honestly answering any other questions when ordering samples is valuable if you need to contact engineers for additional technical information.
Free Samples by On-Line Ordering
- Fairchild Semiconductor
- Fox Electronics - Oscillators (sales rep may call, lead time may be in months)
- Linear Technology
- Maxim - Dallas Semiconductor
- Microchip (excellent technical support)
- National Semiconductor
Free Samples by Written Request
Free Samples by Contest and by Lottery
- Circuit Cellar Magazine (subscription to the magazine is required)
How to Request Samples
Even in this economy, an honest and polite letter requesting samples goes a long way. Most electronics components manufacturers provide samples for free, or for the cost of shipping and handling. Don't feel bad if they decline, but if you don't ask, it will not happen at all. And most important, if you or people you might know (e.g. next year's team) need samples from them in the future, make sure you send a Thank You Letter!
The following are Request and Thank You letter examples. You can probably do better!
- Be as specific as possible to make it as easy as possible for the company rep to place the sample order for you. Try to have complete part numbers, catalog numbers, and correct description.
- Don't forget the Quantity you need. Keep it low, but allow for mistakes.
- Check retailers like Digikey to see if the parts are in stock, if not, provide alternative part numbers that comply with your needs.
Example Samples Request Letter
My Name Date My Address My Phone Number My email address Subject: Request for Samples for my Student Project Dear [XYZ Company] Sales, I am working on a student project [insert your project title here]. I have reviewed the technical specifications and data sheets for the following components that I think will work perfectly with my project. * component #1 part number/catalog number, package type (e.g. PDIP, thru-hole), quantity requested, part description if #1 part is not available, #2 part [part info] will also work. ... Is it possible for me to obtain samples of the above components for my project? In appreciation for this service, with your permission, I will include direct references to [the company] and explain the functions and benefits of using the parts in the project. An abstract description of my project is enclosed [enclose a brief description or abstract page for your project]. If samples are available, please ship my address at the top of this letter. Feel free to call me for additional details about my project and how the parts will be used. Thank you sincerely for your consideration, [your name] [Student Type or other Title]
Example Thank You Letter
My Name Date My Address My Phone Number My email address Subject: Thank you for your product samples! Dear [XYZ Company] Sales, I am writing to thank you for the product samples [Company] provide me for my project. We one first place!!! Enclosed is a photo of the finished project. The project documentation includes [Company] information, a listing of the parts used, and your contact information. The documentation is available for download from the project website at the link: [http://www.unallocatedspace.org/wiki/...]. Sincerely, [your name] [Student Type or other Title] PS: Notice that we display your company logo on the right side of the circuit board. It is easy to see through the plexi-glass cover.