Feature request: Part availability


KiCad isn’t AD and I don’t think that it will be.
A very nice feature is the so called avtive BOM.
The avtive BOM allows you to see who has the the parts in stock. It can also handle predefined alternative parts.
This feature will make a lot of work but it’s worth it.
The same is possible while creating a new part.
In this case you can see who has the part in stock too.

Don’t misunderstand me. I just want to enhance KiCad.

Best regards


I seem to recall that there is an app or a website where you give it a BOM and it searches LCSC for matches. I suppose an enhanced version could handle multiple suppliers. The point is it doesn’t have to be incorporated into KiCad, it can be done by separate software. Certainly this is not a Layout issue.

There are many labor-intensive features that could significantly improve KiCad, but linking the library to some part stockists is not one of these IMO. Seems like a feature to rave about in marketing materials, but not really helpful in real life. I don’t care about today stock when I’m designing a device to be manufactured for years?


Dear fred4u

I must disagree.
It’s a real good feature if you design in a part and while doing this you might see that no distributer has this part in stock.
AD looks in all the stocks of the big distributors.
This is not a nive to have.
This is a must have for every developer and it reduces redesigns.

Best regards


Dear etiredfeline

yes you can go to octopart or findchips but this is an additional efford.

Best regards


It was easier than that, I think you uploaded the BOM to the website and it showed matches. With Python scripting you could probably invent a plugin to do this from the schematic. Anyway KiCad is free software and there are always more features than developer effort for. But if you are keen you shoud put in a feature request at Gitlab. Otherwise this is just a discussion amongst disinterested observers.

Me, my parts seach involves shaking my junk box to see what chips I have to make the next toy. :rofl:

Normally not, but these days it can be necessary. I just redesigned a board, based on parts where “in stock” was a major criteria. In a normal situation I would choose otherwise.
Digikey, Mouser etc. can import csv and xlsx-files. I use that function sometimes. It’s not real time, but it saves me a lot of work still. Export bom from Kicad, import bom to Digikey. No manual typing, less chance of errors. Digikey and others have a very high interest in making such functions work. The easier and better, the more money they make.

My wife says I have a junk ROOM to choose from … :laughing:

If this feature is integrated into KiCad, we can add your room there.

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We all know that we can use DigiKey, Mouser, Arrow…
In pre corona times DigiKey was a good indicator whether a part is available on the market or not.
These times are gone…
Today the design in process looks like this:

  • You need a part thats not in your lib
  • You search for it and find it.
  • That means nothing as long as you can’t be sure that you can buy it.

Today I prove the availability at the design in and create a purchasing ticket for the part before the schematic is finished. This is the only possible way to get parts today.
It’s a shame but thats the truth.

A feature where you can see how many distributors have a part on stock while designing in the part is usefull.

Having a part in stock, or even 1000 doesn’t mean there will be the 1000 available next week.

Kibom does this

Insert char

Today it’s more complicated than that. Today you order what’s available and more or less matching your design goals, and then design around what you actually have.
What’s the point of design based on todays stock, if these parts are not available further down the road when need to complete parts for assembly.

I went one step ahead :slight_smile:
I agreed BOM with contract manufacturer. He ordered all parts. When we were sure we have all we need I redesigned the PCB.
It was to avoid the situation that parts that are available today will be not available week later when I will have documentation ready.

That seems the right way to go, Piotr! I’m also using a contract manufacturer, and don’t usually handle the parts directly myself. Just sending gerbers and BOM, getting finished boards back. At the moment I’m waiting for them to get answers back from warehouses in China. There’s a holiday in China right now, so no answers until next week possibly. And I need boards NOW, to deliver systems to our customers. I can find some parts at places like https://www.win-source.net but I’m a bit sceptical, to say the least.

Isn’t submitting the BOM after you do the board too late in the process if you are checking availability? You pretty much have to check for the part BEFORE you insert it.

The way the number of parts is artificially inflated is quite redicilous. It’s quite common that the same die for for example a microcontroller or a small FPGA is sold with different part numbers. Some microcontroller vendors appear to have 1000’s of different microcontrollers, but which are only based on a handful of dies.

I also fail to see how a few extra timers of UsARTS or other peripherals would have any significant influence on die area or price. And then you hear that some microcontrollers have twice the FLASH, as advertised by the manufacturer. I think that this market would be a lot healthier if those manufacturers just sold a handful of different parts. That would make it a lot easier to just buy a bunch of the same uC and use them for different projects. But the part manufacturers do not like transparency in the market.

And as Naib already wrote. KiBom is (was?) a search engine that took KiCad’s bom and compared prices and availability of a bunch of sources but development was frustrated because the sellers of electronic parts do not like it if you compare their prices with the competitors too much. Or they want to get paid for that info if the volume becomes too big, and this excludes it from KiCad, which is a FOSS program.

It is the marketing, not engineering. There’s often almost none manufacturing cost difference to manufacture different products (fully featured vs crippled). But on the market side, you can be competitive (low price) with basic product and charge premium for customers needing extra features and willing to pay for them.

E.g. Intel initially sold QC non-compliant parts as low-end spec’d parts (like Celeron and proper Pentium) but later finetuned the process so almost no fault parts were manufactured and still needed to market their Celerons. So took perfectly fine Pentiums, artifically crippled them and sold as low cost Celeron.

This is way easier and cheaper than maintaining separate designs for basic and premium product variants, and still take all profits from market polarization.

I used to do that. After accumulating parts in random boxes for 20+ years I finally inventoried everything using one of the online parts management services.

I wrote this a while back. It is linked to PartKeepr.

It uses Octopart to get stock info and costings. Octopart used to be an open access API but now needs a subscription (there is a “free” tier). Octopart is now owned by Altium and there lies the problem.

KiCost uses a web scraping approach but that ends up in an arms race with web sites trying to make it difficult to get at the data.