I'm reading through the meta- questions & answer here and on Hardware Recommendation site. Still it's unclear to me where is appropriate to ask for components recommendation.

HR seems to accept computer related stuff questions, while here I see a lot of closed questions because off-topic (even with some answers) because they asked about a component. Here and here seem to confirm it's not possible to ask about components selection on this site.

So, where can I ask about components selection?

Example of question: given this application and requirements, which microcontroller is the most suitable one?


To be more clear. I'm not talking about specifications only. It would be quite easy to take a tour of the major manufacturer websites and looks at their catalog.

I'm talking about experience: this cannot be found with a Google search! For example, some MCUs have caveats that you don't know until you begin to work with them, and it may be too late.

Instead, someone who already used them may warn you that for your specific application this MCU is not recommended (or viceversa).


3 Answers 3


You write where as if there is necessarily a place on Stack Exchange for everything.

Stack Exchange is not for every type of question. There are plenty of traditional forums available where you can find experienced users.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I wrote where but there were not implications at all, really. So the answer is: "you cannot ask such a question on Stack Exchange". \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ This sounds like the kind of thing you could ask in the EE chat though. I'm not active there however, so I don't know what's on topic or what kind of response you'd get. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 7:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin I guess. I'm not a fan of Stack Exchange even having a chat feature, so I don't want to encourage people to visit. \$\endgroup\$
    – pipe
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Better that they ask such questions there than on the main site, though? \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 6:26

This is a rough sort of question to ask. If I were going to ask such a question, I'd probably list the three that have found their way to the top of my list, and say why they're there. I'd state my needs, and any reason for ambivalence.

With respect to microcontrollers, though, it's even muddier. People, for great reasons, have a bunch of time and effort invested in a particular tool chain, and tend to stick with that tool chain. If your question is more about what platform should you choose, that's a different sort of question.

I think the best place to start with this is on chat, frankly.


It is true that picking a MCU is highly qualified and requires the kind of experience that users of this site got. But since subjective and/or opinion-based and/or buying recommendation questions are all off-topic, it is hard to ask such a question here.

You can do it, but only if the question is very specific and not subjective. It would be ok to ask a question where you technically compare specific parts that you have found, with linked datasheets.

You can then ask something technically specific like for examples "which one of these two linked MCUs is most suitable for PWM driving LEDs by sourcing/sinking current directly from the pins?" But you cannot ask something broad and subjective like "which one of these MCUs is most suitable when designing a toaster?"

It is probably also ok to ask design review questions like "my spec is: <technical parameters>. Through my research, I have found MCU X which seems to be suitable. Can it be used?" Where you have already done some research and gone through the part recommendation yourself.

However, as you might be able to tell, most of the specific-enough questions can be answered by checking the manual, which is something you should do before asking. If you don't understand what a parameter in a manual/datasheet means, then it is fine to ask a question about that specifically.


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