Where Can I Find a DigiKey Catalog?

There was a time when you could find a DigiKey catalog on the desk / workbench of nearly every electrical technician and engineer. This paper catalog was a window into the world of electronics helping us locate and the then order our electrical components. It was also a way to learn about new technologies.

Like many of you, I cherished the old catalog such as the well-loved example in Figures 1 and 2. How many hours did we spend perusing those pages thinking about our latest project? How many hours did we spend closely exploring the new products? How integral was the DigiKey catalog to your learning experience?

Figure 1: Picture of a well-loved DigiKey catalog. At 13 years old, the pages are torn, and the cover is held together with tape.

DigiKey catalog availability

Things change. Our reliance on paper gradually diminished starting sometime in the 1990s with the advent of the internet. The acceleration continued with digital-commerce provided information that we could only dream of in the past. A prime example is the datasheet. Instead of purchasing entire bookshelves full of datasheets and application notes, we could retrieve the latest information with a click of a button. Things further changed with credit card purchasing, real time inventory, and fast shipping.

As a consequence, the DigiKey catalog fell out of favor. It was largely redundant, as we had all the digital information at our fingertips. The last DigiKey paper catalog as pictured in Figures 1 and 2 was shipped in 2011.

Figure 2: Pages 682 and 683 of the 2011 DigiKey catalog showing Nuvoton Voice Technology and the Parallax Basic Stamp modules.

What catalog alternatives are available at DigiKey?

The DigiKey catalog is now online. Everything that was originally included in the catalog is there along with a wealth of information on the individual product description pages. This includes links to the essential manufacturer provided datasheet.

We can find a great variety of resources on DigiKey’s primary page. The “catalog” is replaced by the prominent search bar as shown in Figure 3. You can also “peruse the pages” using the PRODUCTS section located on the upper left of the large central window.

Our forward march with digital progress allows access to things that were previously available. This Tech Forum is one such resource. While DigiKey has always had a one-to-one call center (1-800-344-4539), tools such as the forum allow one-to-many communications. It also leverages the goodwill of a larger community to help you solve your technical questions.

While you are on the primary page, be sure to see the FEATURED PRODUCTS section (just offscreen and below the Figure 3 area). This scrolling bar provides pictures and a summary of new products. Also, be sure to see the TOOLS, SERVICES, and CONTENT sections. There you will find a variety of content describing individual products and how to integrate them into your latest design.

Figure 3: Picture of the primary DigiKey webpage showing the location catalog related functions and the location of the help window.

Conclusion

DigiKey has come a long way since I first met them 36 years ago. As a young man, I remember driving to DigiKey’s front door to purchase a resistor for a radio. That was a wonderful experience, I left with my resistor and a small ½-inch catalog in hand to begin my windows shopping and dreaming about new projects.

Today, I have the pleasure of writing articles on this tech Forum. While the catalog was a wonderful tool, I wouldn’t trade it for the wealth of digital information available today. The ability to access the datasheets alone is light years ahead of the old paper system. Also, the community building and social aspects provide a welcoming environment conducive to learning.

As we conclude I kindly ask you to post pictures of your old DigiKey catalog. If you don’t have a catalog, perhaps you could send a picture of a DigiKey PCB ruler on your workbench.
I hope to see you in the forum.

Best Wishes,

APDahlen

About this author

Aaron Dahlen, LCDR USCG (Ret.), serves as an application engineer at DigiKey. He has a unique electronics and automation foundation built over a 27-year military career as a technician and engineer which was further enhanced by 12 years of teaching (partially interwoven with military experience). With an MSEE degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Dahlen has taught in an ABET-accredited EE program, served as the program coordinator for an EET program, and taught component-level repair to military electronics technicians. Dahlen has returned to his Northern Minnesota home and thoroughly enjoys researching and writing educational articles about electronics and automation.

Highlighted experience

Dahlen is an active contributor to the DigiKey TechForum. At the time of this writing, he has created over 138 unique posts and provided an additional 464 forum posts. Dahlen shares his insights on a wide variety of topics including microcontrollers, FPGA programming in Verilog, and a large body of work on industrial controls.

Connect with Aaron Dahlen on LinkedIn.

An archived copy of the US 2010 catalog can be found here.

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