6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 14, 2020 9:57 AM by lamabrew

    So how <b>DO</b> you search the vault?


      I know we've laughed and laughed about the Valut Explorer on here before, but this is a serious qauestion now.


      I do hope the people at E14 and Altium will pay attention.

      How do you search the Vault for a component?


      As far as I can see, the Vault is only useful if you already know the exact manufacturer and part number you need.


      But I just want to find (say) an eFuse. I do not yet know who the manufacturer is.

      How can I search the vault for a eFuse? I just can't figure it out.  There are several places in the Vault Explorer called "search" and none of them seem to do anything.


      E14, and Altium can we please have a serious reply to this question? Please! Pretty please? Pretty Please with a cherry on the top?

        • Re: So how <b>DO</b> you search the vault?

          I don't use CS, but in case you don't get the answer you want, all I can say is that the general procedure with CAD is not to rely on components and footprints unless you've created them yourself.  Case in point: I use EAGLE (I'm migrating off it to a different system) and I've got at least 750 (I only checked a few of my libraries) custom components/footprints over the years (and that's not a lot). Normal PCB design procedure is to allocate time to design your own components before using them.

          It might not be the answer you want if you've paid for some component service, so the comment above is really just stating normal PCB procedures if you want to do it right. An eFuse sounds like a straightforward part, so this needs to be something you can create yourself ideally.

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            • Re: So how <b>DO</b> you search the vault?

              I agree with shabaz. I have not used CS, and have played around with Eagle. With Eagle, I found everything on Google. To date I believe this is a universal tool in general. The vault explorer appears to work with a subscription service ($$). So Altium has a locked solution which I detest. Just my two cents worth. I hope you get a good answer.

            • Re: So how <b>DO</b> you search the vault?

              I'm inclined to agree with the other contributors - if you use a component from the vault then it appears that there's no option to change the footprint (unless anyone knows otherwise) and for me that's a show-stopper.

                • Re: So how <b>DO</b> you search the vault?

                  You can change the footprint in your design.  Just copy the footprint you got from the vault into your own custom PCB footprint library and then rename it and edit it.  When renaming I prefer to use the IPC-7351 naming conventions (you can Google-search it if you need to).  If you do upgrade in the future to full AD, you will find that its IPC footprint generator uses the IPC naming convention to generate footprint names, or at least it used to when I used AD16 a few years ago.


                  Once the part instances of schematic symbol and PCB footprint are in your local design files you don't need the vault access anymore.  If you want to use these again in the future, make your own library files and copy these into them.  As Shabaz says above, you really want control of your own libraries anyway.  This is somewhat because you may want to include parameters that are unique to you such as your own internal part numbering or links.  The vault controllers and us as users don't want people to be able to change part information in the actual vault so we can have some level of trust that it is reasonably accurate.  For some designs, and especially for very small and physically tight designs, you may need to change the footprint or link the schematic symbol to a different footprint such as the ones that use least-solder dimensions.  Or maybe you are doing a design that has to withstand extra-vibration/shock force and you want to have larger pads on certain parts.


                  For the original poster: Information on how to use the vault is in this link here: Vaults | Online Documentation for Altium Products


                  Searching for generic parts on the vault is not really workable at this time.  So, how does this work to find an E-fuse?  Well, searching for efuse, Efuse, E-fuse, etc gets no results. Next search for a more generic fuse in the search box. I find 181 parts. For whatever reason, the filter pane method does not populate any parameters to search on.  However, the column based approach shows a lot of checked boxes for parameters. Painfully, uncheck the ones you don't want to search on. (N.B, really, if anyone knows how to globally uncheck these it would be helpful).  Click the wrong thing and all the search check boxes get set to checked again - sigh...

                  Alrighty then, try searching on Polyfuse.  This gets only three parts.  Search on PTC and we get better results but still tough to narrow down.  This exercise shows how frustrating it is to use the vault unless you know the part you are trying to find.


                  Contrast this with using Octopart.  Open Octopart website, search for fuse, I see more than 205K results.  Even better, search using keywords such as fuse resettable and I get 11K parts.  I can narrow this down with filters on the search and see what is in distribution and pricing.  Once I can choose a few parts than I can go to the vault and see if the part is there.  Or maybe Octopart has the footprint link already that I can use or I already have a footprint for the package.


                  Using a site like Element14 or maybe Digikey/Mouser are also good options.

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                • Re: So how <b>DO</b> you search the vault?

                  I gave up trying to use Vault after a few weeks of starting to use CS, and it's worked out well.  I just have my own library files with separate ones for each major component classification so it's pretty easy to find what I need.


                  As others have pointed out you can get footprint, 3D models, and sometimes schematics from many manufacturer or distributor's website.  You will end up making a fair number of components yourself for various reasons.  Yes, you're re-inventing the wheel in some of those cases, but Altium's Vault just creates more problems that it solves, as well as an absolutely borked UI.


                  One *huge* problem with libraries (Vault or your own) is there's no way to diff a design against the current library, so if you find a mistake in a part you have to remember to (manually!) keep track of it and recheck any project that might use the part.  The lack of revision control for libraries has cost me a few board spins





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