JLCParts Falling Down To Ashes

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About 2 years ago, I started a small and dirty project – a new catalog for the search engine for the components that JLC PCB provides for their assembly service. The motivation was really personal — I liked the dirt-cheap assembly service, but finding the suitable components for my projects was really painful. So I created JLCParts – a browser-only alternative component catalog that doesn’t need any sophisticated backend. It is just served as a static page. However, on November 25th, 2022, the service is no longer useful as JLC PCB stopped providing data.

Recently, JLC PCB and LSCS reworked their backend services. However, with this rework, they also made a decision to stop providing a list of all components in their offer as a CSV table. This allowed us to build the service where we provided an offline catalog that you can use even when offline; we normalized common component attributes so you can easily search. That meant that we convert, e.g., all resistance values to a normal form so you can sort them and filter them. We also normalized multi-part values such as MOSFET Vds at given voltage and temperature such that you can filter, sort, and search by components. The solution, however, scaled badly; thus, with an increasing number of components, it got slow. There were plans, however, to change the technology in order to provide a good user experience. You can see a comparison below.

However, without data, we cannot offer this. Therefore, I am leaving the service as is. I tried reaching out to JLC, but I got a response that they have no plans to reintroduce any data source. And I should use their “very user-friendly catalog.” I’ve seen that some other developers using their component table got personal access to the table. But it is tight to their personal account, and it is protected by CAPTCHA. So it cannot be used automatically.

Personally, I don’t understand this step. For me, JLC PCB was the manufacturer to use because the ordering of PCB and the design could be automated. Preventing any integration of their services is a step that can only hurt them. Personally, I will reconsider whether to use them as my primary PCB manufacturer. And I guess many people might also do so, as their favorite and easy KiCAD plugin is no longer operational.

If JLC PCB was worried about/had problems with increased traffic on their servers (the table was nearly 500 MB in size recently), they could have provided token-based access for a daily refresh. That way, they could limit the download rate and still allow the community to build tools. Tools that simplify makers’ lives and bring new customers to JLC PCB. A win-win situation, in my opinion.

If you use any of the tooling for JLC PCB and you want them back in operation, please let JLC PCB know that you care about them providing data and API for the developers.

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