Electronic – Any advice on reading datasheets


After my embarrassing mistake by having the component in backwards, I'm wondering if anyone has advice for the newbie (or expert) on reading datasheets.

What conventions are there which aren't obvious.

What's the first thing you should check when something's not working.

What can I safely ignore and what should I worry about?

Anything else?

Best Answer

Look hard at where pin one is. Make sure you understand if the diagram is a top or bottom view (top is I think most common).

To put this another way, some datasheets give you the dimensions of the part itself, and some datasheets give you the recommended land pattern (aka footprint, solder pads).

If they give you the dimensions of the part, they usually give you a top view and then bottom view. When you're looking at the bottom, imagine you flipped the chip over with your hand.