Electronic – the relevance of “typical values” in datasheets


When working on a design I always work with minimum/maximum values from the datasheet (whichever is worst case), never typical values. I was reminded when in another discussion the leakage current for a BAS416 diode came up: 3pA typical, 5nA maximum. That's a factor 1000! In this case I surely would dismiss the 3pA.
What's the relevance of "typical values" in general? Do you use them in a design?

Best Answer

One thing to bear in mind when reading technical datasheets, is they are finalised by marketeers!!! not engineers. If it was up to engineers to publish datasheets you would only have the min/max relevant values and more information about the statiscal variations that you can expect.

Many people are involved with the writing of the datasheets, and ultimately it is people in marketing that have the final say!

So when you read a typical value that is so far away from the min/max values that is simply marketers doing there thing. Generally when doing a parametric search typical values are what are listed and get you in to review the datasheet. Latter on you discover that 3pA is a maximum of 5 nA, sometimes latter in the design process!!

I will generally review the min/max values to really appreciate the range and perform worst case calculations/montecarlo analysis to really work out the expected performance!