This page explains the different concepts of Part-DB and what their intended use is:
A part is the central concept of Part-DB. A part represents a single kind (or type) of a thing, like an electronic component, a device, a book or similar (depending on what you use Part-DB for). A part entity just represents a certain type of thing, so if you have 1000 times an BC547 transistor you would create ONE part with the name BC547 and set its quantity to 1000. The individual quantities (so a single BC547 transistor) of a part, should be indistinguishable from each other, so that it does not matter which one of your 1000 things of Part you use. A part entity have many fields, which can be used to describe it better. Most of the fields are optional:
- Name (Required): The name of the part or how you want to call it. This could be a manufacturer provided name, or a name you thought of your self. The name have to be unique in a single category.
- Description: A short (single-line) description of what this part is/does. For longer information you should use the comment field or the specifications
- Category (Required): The category (see there) to which this part belongs to.
- Tags: The list of tags this part belong to. Tags can be used to group parts logically (similar to the category), but tags are much less strict and formal (they don’t have to be defined forehands) and you can assign multiple tags to a part. When clicking on a tag, a list with all parts which have the same tag, is shown.
- Min Instock: Not really implemented yet. Parts where the total instock is below this value, will show up for ordering.
- Footprint: See there. Useful especially for electronic parts, which have one of the common electronic footprints ( like DIP8, SMD0805 or similar). If a part has no explicit defined preview picture, the preview picture of its footprint will be shown instead in tables.
- Manufacturer: The manufacturer which has manufactured (not sold) this part. See Manufacturer entity for more info.
- Manufacturer part number (MPN): If you have used your own name for a part, you can put the part number the manufacturer uses in this field, so that you can find a part also under its manufacturer number.
- Link to product page: If you want to link to the manufacturer website of a part, and it is not possible to determine it automatically from the part name, set in the manufacturer entity (or no manufacturer is set), you can set the link here for each part individually.
- Manufacturing Status: The manufacturing status of this part, meaning the information about where the part is in its manufacturing lifecycle.
- Needs review: If you think parts information maybe are inaccurate or incomplete and needs some later review/checking, you can set this flag. A part with this flag is marked, so that users know the information are not completely trustworthy.
- Favorite: Parts with this flag are highlighted in parts lists
- Mass: The mass of a single piece of this part (so of a single transistor). Given in grams.
- Internal Part number (IPN): Each part is automatically assigned a numerical ID which identifies a part in the database. This ID depends on when a part was created and can not be changed. If you want to assign your own unique identifiers, or sync parts identifiers with the identifiers of another database you can use this field.
A part can have many stock at multiple different locations. This is represented by part lots / stocks, which consists basically of a storage location (so where are the parts of this lot are stored) and an amount (how many parts are there).
The purchase information describe where the part can be bought (at which vendors) and to which prices. The first part (the order information) describes at which supplier the part can be bought and which is the name of the part under which you can order the part there. An order information can contain multiple price information, which describes the prices for the part at the supplier including bulk discount, etc.
Parameters represents various specifications / parameters of a part, like the maximum current of a diode, etc. The advantage of using parameters instead of just putting the data in the comment field or so, is that you can filter for parameters values (including ranges and more) later on. Parameters describe can describe numeric values and/or text values for which they can be filtered. This basically allows you to define custom fields on a part.
Using the group field a parameter allows you to group parameters together in the info page later (all parameters with the same group value will be shown under the same group title).
A category is used to group parts logically by their function (e.g. all NPN transistors would be put in a “ NPN-Transistors” category). Categories are hierarchical structures meaning that you can create logical trees to group categories together. A possible category tree could look like this:
- Active Components
- Logic ICs
- Passive Components
A Supplier is a vendor / distributor where you can buy/order parts. Price information of parts are associated with a supplier.
A manufacturer represents the company that manufacturer / build various parts (not necessary sell them). If the manufacturer also sell the parts, you have to create a supplier for that.
A storage location represents a place where parts can be stored. This could be a box, a shelf or other things (like the SMD feeder of a machine or so).
Storage locations are hierarchical to represent storage locations contained in each other. An example tree could look like this:
- Shelf 1
- Box 1
- Box 2
- Box shelf A1
- Box shelf A2
- Box shelf B1
- Box shelf B2
- Shelf 2
Storage locations should be defined down to the smallest possible location, to make finding the part again easy.
In electronics many components have one of the common components cases / footprints. The footprint entity describes such common footprints, which can be assigned to parts. You can assign an image (and an 3D model) as an attachment to a footprint, which will be used as preview for parts with this footprint, even if the parts do not have an explicitly assigned preview image.
Footprints are a hierarchically which allows you to build logical sorted trees. An example tree could look like this:
- Through-Hole components
- SMD components
By default, part instock is counted in number of individual parts, which is fine for things like electronic components, which exists only in integer quantities. However, if you have things with fractional units like the length of a wire or the volume of a liquid, you have to define a measurement unit. The measurement unit represents a physical quantity like mass, volume or length.
You can define a short unit for it (like m for Meters, or g for gramms) which will be shown, when a quantity of a part with this unit is shown.
By default, all prices are set in the base currency configured for the instance (by default euros). If you want to use multiple currencies together (as e.g. vendors use foreign currencies for their price, and you do not want to update the prices for every exchange rate change), you have to define these currencies here.
You can set an exchange rate here in terms of the base currency (or fetch it from the internet if configured). The exchange rate will be used to show users the prices in their preferred currency.
An attachment is a file that can be associated with another entity (like a Part, Storelocation, User, etc.). This could for example be a datasheet in a Part, the logo of a vendor or some CAD drawing of a footprint.
An attachment has an attachment type (see below), which groups the attachments logically (and optionally restricts the allowed file types), a name describing the attachment and a file. The file can either be uploaded to the server and stored there, or given as a link to a file on another web path. If configured in the settings, it is also possible that the webserver downloads the file from the supplied website and stores it locally on the server.
By default, all uploaded files, are accessible for everyone (even non-logged-in users), if the link is known. If your Part-DB instance is publicly available, and you want to store private/sensitive files on it, you should mark the attachment as “Private attachment”. Private attachments are only accessible to users, which has the permission to access private attachments. Please not, that no thumbnails are generated for private attachments, which can have a performance impact.
Part-DB ships some preview images for various common footprints like DIP-8 and others, as internal resources. These can be accessed/searched by typing the keyword in the URL field of a part and choosing one of the choices from the dropdown.
Most entities with attachments allow you to select one of the defined attachments as “Preview image”. You can select an image attachment here, that previews the entity, this could be a picture of a Part, the logo of a manufacturer or supplier, the schematic symbol of a category or the image of a footprint. The preview image will be shown in various locations together with the entities name.
Please note that as long as the picture is not secret, it should be stored on the Part-DB instance (by upload, or letting Part-DB download the file) and not be marked as a private attachments, so that thumbnails can be generated for the picture (which improves performance).
Attachment types define logical groups of attachments. For example, you could define an attachment group “Datasheets” where all datasheets of Parts, Footprints, etc. belong in, “Pictures” for preview images and more. You can define file type restrictions, which file types and extensions are allowed for files with that attachment type.
Each person which should be able to use Part-DB (by logging in) is represented by a user entity, which defines things like access rights, the password, and other things. For security reasons, every person which will use Part-DB should use its own personal account with a secret password. This allows to track activity of the users via the log.
There is a special user called
anonymous, whose access rights are used to determine what a non-logged in user can do. Normally the anonymous user should be the most restricted user.
For simplification of access management users can be assigned to groups.
A group is entity, to which users can be assigned to. This can be used to logically group users by for example organisational structures and to simplify permissions management, as you can define groups with access rights for common use cases and then just assign users to them, without the need to change every permission on the users individually.
A label profile represents a template for a label (for a storage location, a part or part lot). It consists of a size, a barcode type and the content. There are various placeholders which can be inserted in the text content and which will be used replaced with data for the actual thing.
You do not have to define a label profile to generate labels (you can just set the settings on the fly in the label dialog), however if you want to generate many labels, it is recommended to save the settings as label profile, to save it for later usage. This ensures that all generated labels look the same.