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A datasheet, data sheet, or spec sheet is a document that summarizes the performance and other technical characteristics of a product, machine, component (e.g., an electronic component), material, a subsystem (e.g., a power supply) or software in sufficient detail to be used by a design engineer to integrate the component into a system. Typically, a datasheet is created by the component/subsystem/software manufacturer and begins with an introductory page describing the rest of the document, followed by listings of specific characteristics, with further information on the connectivity of the devices. In cases where there is relevant source code to include, it is usually attached near the end of the document or separated into another file.
Depending on the specific purpose, a datasheet may offer an average value, a typical value, a typical range, engineering tolerances, or a nominal value. The type and source of data are usually stated on the datasheet.
A datasheet is usually used for technical communication to describe technical characteristics of an item or product. It can be published by the manufacturer to help people choose products or to help use the products. By contrast, a technical specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service.
An electronic datasheet specifies characteristics in a formal structure that allows the information to be processed by a machine. Such machine readable descriptions can facilitate information retrieval, display, design, testing, interfacing, verification, and system discovery. Examples include transducer electronic data sheets for describing sensor characteristics, and Electronic device descriptions in CANopen or descriptions in markup languages, such as SensorML.
Typical electronics datasheet information
A typical datasheet for an electronic component contains most of the following information:
- Manufacturer's name
- Product number and name
- List of available package formats (with images) and ordering codes
- Notable device properties
- Short functional description
- Pin connection diagram
- Absolute minimum and maximum ratings (supply voltage, power consumption, input currents, temperatures for storage, operating, soldering, etc.)
- Recommended operating conditions (as absolute minimum and maximum ratings)
- DC specifications (various temperatures, supply voltages, input currents, etc.)
- Maximum power consumption over the whole operating temperature range
- AC specifications (various temperatures, supply voltages, frequencies, etc.)
- Input/output wave shape diagram
- timing diagram
- Some characteristics are only given at a specific temperature, typically 25°C (77°F)
- Physical details showing minimum/typical/maximum dimensions, contact locations and sizes
- Test circuit
- Ordering codes for differing packages and performance criteria
- Liability disclaimer regarding device use in certain environments such as nuclear power plants and life support systems
- Application recommendations, such as required filter capacitors, circuit board layout, etc.
- Errata, often published prior to subsequent correction and relevant datasheet revision
- Number of ports
- Expansion bays
- 5.25 inch bays
- 3.5 inch bays
- CPU socket
- Random-access memory (RAM) slots
- Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) and PCI Express (PCIe) buses and slots
- Floppy, ATA (IDE) and SATA interfaces
- Fans and temperature monitoring
- Integrated graphics controllers
- Integrated LAN interfaces
- Firmware (BIOS)
- Form factor
- Graphics card
- AGP type
- Audio card
- Hardware compatibility requirements and basic setup details for computer device drivers
- Operating system and other installed software (if included)
Although a datasheet may include a "typical use" circuit diagram, as well as programming examples in the case of programmable devices, this sort of information is often published in a separate application note, with a high level of detail.
Historically, datasheets were typically available in a databook that contained many datasheets, usually grouped by manufacturer or general type. Today, they are also available through the Internet in table form or via downloadable (usually PDF) documents.
An application note is a document that gives more specific details on using a component in a specific application, or relating to a particular process (e.g., the physical assembly of a product containing the component). Application notes are especially useful for giving guidance on more unusual uses of a particular component, which would be irrelevant to many readers of the more widely read datasheet.
Application notes may either be appended to a datasheet, or presented as a separate document.
Chemical data sheets
Material Safety Data Sheets
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), Safety Data Sheet (SDS), or Product Safety Data Sheet (PSDS) is an important component of product stewardship and occupational safety and health. These are required by agencies such as OSHA in its Hazard Communication Standard, 29 C.F.R. 1910.1200. It provides workers with ways to allow them to work in a safe manner and gives them physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. The MSDSs differ from country to country, as different countries have different regulations. In some jurisdictions, it is compulsory for the SDS to state the chemical's risks, safety, and effect on the environment.
The SDSs are a commonly used classification for logging information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. The SDSs often include the safe use of the chemical and the hazardous nature of the chemical. Anytime chemicals are used these data sheets will be found.
There is a need to have an internationally recognized symbol when describing hazardous substances. Labels can include hazard symbols such as the European Union standard black diagonal cross on an orange background, used to denote a harmful substance.
The purpose of an SDS is not so that the general public will have a knowledge of how to read and understand it, but more so that it can be used in an occupational setting to allow workers to be able to work with it.
Data sheets and pages are available for specific properties of chemicals in Chemical elements data references: example, Melting points of the elements (data page). Specific materials have technical data in individual sheets such as Ethanol (data page): this includes subjects such as structure and properties, thermodynamic properties, spectral data, vapor pressure, etc. Other chemical data sheets are available from individual producers of chemicals, often on their web pages.
Data sheets for automobiles
Data sheets for automobiles may be described under several names such as features, specs, engineering data, technical summary, etc. They help communicate the technical information about a car to potential buyers and are useful for comparisons with similar cars. They might include: critical inside and outside dimensions, weight, fuel efficiency, engine and drive train, towing capability, safety features and options, warranty, etc.
- Personal computer
- Specification (technical standard)
- Transducer electronic data sheet
- Open ICEcat, open catalog project with free datasheets
- Datasheets.com, world's largest free resources for electronic component datasheets and purchasing information