Buyers’ guide to sourcing frequency control products

In this article, ECS emphasizes the benefits of directing frequency control product sourcing requirements to reputable manufacturers and their authorized distribution partners

Frequency control products (FCP) are used to generate timing signals to ensure all processes happen in an orderly and error-free manner. When designing systems, the performance versus cost conundrum must be solved as not all budgets can support a $40 OCXO. So how do manufacturers find the right FCP that meets their application’s design requirements within budget?

There are frequency control suppliers with experienced and knowledgeable staff ready to help customers sift through choices and make decisions. Ideally, customers explain what they want to accomplish within a rough budget with the supplier responding with options for components that are in stock or can be built. This type of service is the best source of application information for crystals and oscillators.

As a rule of thumb, products in stock and continuously re-stocked are a good choice. Such components typically have many users and are readily available from multiple sources. Manufacturers should explore whether their design can be modified to use such standard products. 

A little engineering upfront will likely save dollars and engineering hours later. If a custom timing device is required, a manufacturing partner should help make the best decisions based on the specifications, including package sizes, frequency, tolerance, stability and operating temperature ranges. These specifications help identify a low-cost, long-life FCP component.

Over recent years, the electronic component industry has gone through uncharted times due to the pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues. Accurate forecasting and a close eye on the market are imperative today. Many manufacturers ignore these warnings and soon discover there is no component too small or too inexpensive that can’t derail their manufacturing schedule or, worse case, future. The best sourcing advice is prudent planning and always purchasing FCP from reputable manufacturers using authorized distribution partners. This should ensure product longevity, quality-of-service and overall satisfaction.