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Topic: Your last free sample? (Read 7787 times) previous topic - next topic


Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


Mine:  2 - MAXIM MAX6674


Hmm.  So tell me, how does one go about getting free samples of electronics?  I've tried to BUY things from Texas Instruments, right now I'm dealing with them regarding items they have charged me for but never shipped, including an order for a couple of launchpads back in July.  Suffice to say, TI is not getting my business as we go forward; right now I have my bank involved providing them with the records proving their charges to my credit card.  Incompetent, obnoxious, and worse than useless... who knows if their hardware is any good, and more to the point, who cares, after having to deal with that level of BS?

I'm not exactly in the industry, so it's not like I end up at trade shows or things like that.. what are you doing, just contacting the company with a "Hi, can I have one of those, for free, for keepsies?" email?


Usually you must have one university or corporate email to have an aproved account.
My last samples, well 6 ARM cortex m3 micros from ST, before that 3 dsPIC30F4014, before that, things from maxim, before...
I have about 100-150 sample chips eheh ;D


The last time I did any "free samples", it was for some 8-bit ADC chips from National Semiconductor; back then I had to call them up (pre-public internet days); they sent me out a tube of 5 that I never used (I was going to make an audio digitizer for my Amiga 2000, and never got around to it - that's how long ago it was!).

It used to be on some vendors sites (maxim and microchip, especially) you could easily request a sample online, without too much hassle. Since then, things got abused by dorks who used it as a supply point (maybe even reselling them on ebay) without actually purchasing a quantity afterward. Things have been tightened down, since then.

I think its still possible, but you might want to call the places up instead (go old-skool), talk to a real human, explain your need - they may take pity on you. Another route might be to look into chinese suppliers for certain parts and/or components. A friend of mine who was working on my robot project with me a couple of years back scored us a donation of a 200 or so mW green laser pointer from some chinese supplier (this was pre-ban days) we planned to use for a LIDAR system (it still may get used!). You might try that route (I'm still not sure how he pulled it off).

I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.


how does one go about getting free samples of electronics?

It's easier if the company has an on-line sample-request form, of course.  You can also contact the company's sales force or distributors directly.

Some companies will send samples to pretty much anyone, but most would prefer to send them to legitimate companies or students (read that as having an email/website address in .com or .edu, and not just yahoo/gmail/etc) (WAY too many offerings on eBay of chips in sets of ... exactly the quantity limit for free samples from the website.)

Most companies are very supportive of students, BTW.  If you can't get a sample on your own, your teacher might be able to get one pretty easily.  That may extend well beyond "cheap chips" to normally-expensive development systems.

It's a myth that free samples are only for big companies; it's essentially part of the marketing budget, and relatively low in cost compared to magazine advertisements or running a web site.  If  you ARE a big company (of the sort that might sell millions of dollars worth of a chip that goes into one of your products), you'd probably be able to command vastly more expensive assistance...


Dec 10, 2010, 06:52 pm Last Edit: Dec 10, 2010, 06:54 pm by focalist Reason: 1
When I get hardware, it's much more likely to be something on it's way to a recycling lot... a couple of old PC's, or an hour with a screwdriver when I've gotten a call from a buddy to tell me "you can rip out this phone and tech stuff if you get down here like, now.."  I'm not exactly a student, more like Mr. Mom keeping hobbies to keep me kinda sane other than watching Oprah.  Really- Arduino or Oprah.  It's not a tough call.

This is good for building minimal PC's, also great for servos, steppers, and that kind of thing.. as well as AWESOME commercial telecommunications power supplies.  I've got a Toshiba rackmount supply with 12 individually breakered 5v 5A lines, six 12v, a pair of inverted for both, as well as 24 and 48v at respectable currents, all flatter power than a battery.  At least I know I have a decent power source ;)


Hmmm.... the last free samples I got were from TI, some TLC5940's.  Some went to
a buddy and I kept two, one of which will go into an electronic candelabra.   The good
thing about getting samples from TI is that I could clearly state that this was for a
hobbyist effort.


analogdevices.com and maxim-ic.com both have online sample ordering. I only ask for 1 or 2 for things I am working on.  I tried 3 different 7-segment display drivers before settling on the MAX7221 for my current project.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


My last free samples, 2x Maxim DS3231 RTC :)


Dec 12, 2010, 02:53 am Last Edit: Dec 12, 2010, 02:53 am by pwillard Reason: 1
Hint: You can actually get stuff from MAXIM.


Dec 12, 2010, 08:24 am Last Edit: Dec 12, 2010, 08:26 am by westfw Reason: 1
You can actually get stuff from MAXIM.

Hmmph.  You can actually get SAMPLES from Maxim.  That have a somewhat bad reputation for not being able to provide volume quantities in a timely manner (hmm.  Rather like Atmel.  Only worse.)

(the other thing to watch out for is designing a project around free samples, only to discover that your target market can't support buying the chips at actual list price.  I guess that Maxim LED controller is nice, but ... sticker shock!)


Ah... yes, very good points.  I agree.


Maxim is not allowing me to request free samples from my yahoo id                              


Maxim is not allowing me to request free samples from my yahoo id

That's to stop any random person just getting freebies.

You need to have an email at a non-generic domain name.
Then you're more likely to be a business customer who may buy a few thousand in the future.


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