My VP of Product Design, Marc Escobosa, recently directed me to four sites that he thought were particularly useful to engineers. I’d like to share them with you now, plus debut a free new Arena tool for electrical engineers—Arena PartSaver.

Let me know if you find these resources helpful—and if you have other time-savers you’d like to share, please add them in the comments below.

Arena PartSaver

Arena PartSaver is a free application designed to make finding and capturing part information easier. Arena PartSaver allows you to capture and save part information from Digi-Key, Mouser, Arrow and a growing number of other distributor sites with the click of a button.

To use Arena PartSaver, visit the Arena PartSaver homepage and drag the Arena PartSaver browser button to your toolbar. Once the browser button is displayed in your toolbar, simply look for parts on Digi-Key  or another supported site. When you find a part you like, click the browser button to instantly capture the part information. From there, you can save the part details to a Google Docs spreadsheet.

Arena PartSaver was designed to make capturing and saving detailed part information a no-brainer. We hope you find it useful (and would love to hear any ideas for other features you’d like to see).

Analog Circuit Simulator

The Analog Circuit Simulator is an applet that simulates the activity of electronic circuits, and is a useful tool for electrical engineers during the design process. The simulator shows an animated schematic of a simple LRC circuit, with different colors showing positive voltage, ground, negative voltage and current.

There is a lot of functionality available on this tiny applet. You can move your mouse over any component of the circuit to see a short description of that component and its current state, and can easily modify components as well. You can also access a “Circuits” menu, with sample circuits for you to try digitally before considering them for a project.

CalculatorEdge

CalculatorEdge is a website with hundreds of free online engineering calculators and formulas that can help you solve complex equations in the fields of electrical, mechanical, civil and chemical engineering, electronics, metallurgy, physics, math and more.

The site is extremely dense, and once you click into a particular subject area there are many specific calculations the site can help you with. For example, a quick glance at the Electronics Engineering section reveals calculators that assist with Ohm’s Law, voltage drop, air core inductor inductance, heat sink temperature, battery life and more.

EE HomePage

EE HomePage offers tools, educational materials and advice for electrical engineering professionals, educators and students. This site also has tips for managing and promoting an engineering career.

There are many varied resources on this site, and there is a dedicated “tools” section that gives quick and easy access to things like a browser-based RPN calculator, filter design software, reusable robotic software and more.

The Engineering ToolBox

As the name implies, The Engineering ToolBox is a resource guide for everything related to design, engineering and various technical applications.

There are a lot of times in the design process this site could be useful. Say you need to know more about a material you’re working with. Just click on the Material Properties link. You can quickly find anything from Prandtl’s number for air temperatures to the chemical resistance of CPVC pipes. You can also access 2D and 3D drawing tools, instrumentation and process control system information and much more.

The other helpful thing about The Engineering ToolBox is that it is customizable—you can save relevant links to a Short List, so it’s literally your own personal toolbox. Depending on your current needs, you can switch up the links and make your own reference guide.

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Comment by Firouzeh Lorzadeh on June 17, 2015 at 12:32pm

If you want a better alternative to just searching distributor websites for the right component, check out discovergpio.com. The performance data for each component is based on in-house testing, not just scraping the vendor datasheets. 

Comment by Alyssa Sittig on May 4, 2012 at 10:22am

I would add to this list too, Arena PartsList - - it's the grownup version of Arena PartSaver. Instead of just clipping parts to a Google doc, PartsList also pulls datasheets and key component attributes—like cost and availability—for all the parts in an ECAD or spreadsheet BOM.

Comment by Dave Schneider on September 8, 2011 at 3:47am
I am conducting a short survey to see how Engineers use the web and online tools. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MGYFHZG Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks.

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