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2D barcodes embedded in electrical datasheet

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One thing that really infuriates me when dealing with PCB programs, is footprint generation. Takes bloody forever to make it, and sometimes you get the feeling you screwed something up somewhere.

One approach could be to make datasheet XML based... but I prefer hardcopy...

What I really would love is if all big electronic component manufacturers could come to an agreement on embeddable 2d barcode on datasheet.

This would be by embedding a set of Data Matrix (or QR 2d barcode) in each page.

At the very minimum, I expect that I could generate a PCB footprint by scanning such barcodes. This will get rid of most annoyance I have with footprint generation, as long as my PCB software supports such import method. If this is standard, think of all the wasted time that can be saved.

It could also store other infomation, such as data for simulating a component like a transitor in SPICE.

Best would be if the standard supports all above, and also embed metadata description on bottom right corner, which would assist an OCR transcriptor in adding the datasheet into a component datasheet search system (Helping speeding up research on suitable components on hand).

mofosyne, Feb 15 2014

QR codes for backup? http://blog.liw.fi/posts/qr-backup/
This large QR code is scannable by my phone, and store quite a bit. This is good enough for at least the schematic and footprint definitions of small pincount devices at least. [mofosyne, Dec 25 2014]


       A quick Google for "PCB footprint libraries" throws up quite a lot of hits, and I would guess that most chip footprints can be downloaded fairly easily.   

       A hardcopy barcode would save searching online, but on the other hand you'll need a barcode reader, and either software that's been written to interpret data from the reader, or a programme that generates from the code a footprint than can be imported into various formats. Would this be so much less hassle than finding and downloading footprints directly?   

       To clarify: a good idea, but it would need a lot of standardization and might be monolithically inflexible
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2014

       PCB footprint libraries do exist, and are very useful if you can locate the parts. But it’s often easier to just remake it, rather than trust that some other guy did it properly.   

       As for less hassle downloading it directly, well only if you can locate a copy in the first place. Being that component libs are not interchangeable with other PCB software, that is a futile gesture.   

       Also the barcode reader does not have to be hardware(But these days everyone got a smarphone, it can easily scan 2d barcodes), it could be a scanned document with a program that locates and vitually scans each barcodes in it. (Doesn't have to be scanned images, could be PDF as well).   

       A printed or PDF datasheet is infinitely more portable and future proof than a purely electronic datasheet. This is since it’s possible to make it a hardcopy or even shove it in an archival roll, allowing for access and interpretation 10 to 20 years down the track or more.   

       Standardisation will probably be hard to do, but at least, let’s get the idea into some engineer's head. Surely there will be enough in big companies to sympathise enough with this annoyance to worth together on an industry standard (convincing PCB editing companies to avoid vendor lock-in via proprietary library format... is another challenge)   

       As for inflexibility... Well as long as the 2d barcode encodes the metadata in plaintext format, and combines information on commonly accessed information like footprint data and general specifications, as well as opportunistic OCR for less used specs and graphics... It should be flexible enough.   

       This is meant to enhance computerised information retrieval off scanned documents, not replace it.
mofosyne, Feb 15 2014


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