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Electrical component storage

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Rusttree

Member
I'm curious how other people have solved the electrical component storage/inventory issue. I'm talking about the tons of IC's, resistors, caps, pots, LEDs, etc that one accumulates in normal circuitry development over the years. I'm thinking something along the lines of a tackle box, but maybe someone has a more ingenious way. And, once everything is stored neatly in some kind of container, what's an intelligent way to keep track of where stuff is for easy retrieval?

-Dan
 

HiTech

Well-Known Member
I use several of these:

**broken link removed**

I also make use of reinforced small boxes that are appropriately labeled and then stacked on a large 4'x7' bookshelf unit. All drawers are labeled in detail so I can quickly locate a needed part. I test the parts prior to their storage so I'm not building or repairing a project using defective parts, wasting time. I also use pegboard hooks since two of my walls are sheets of pegboard. I have many blister packs of new components that I've purchased through closeouts. If you can locate a WalMart near you, they sell similar parts cabinets for around $10 ea. in various sized drawers. Lowe's and Home depot also sell them. You just have to determine what types of components you may have more of and use the proper sized drawer. As for IC chips, the CMOS and so on get stored on a piece of conductive foam. I have a box of heatsinks that stores a variety of sizes and within that same box, is a smaller one to store small heatsinks so I don't have to dig through the larger ones to find them. I apply that same method to other components like switches, potentiometers, relays, tuning/trimmer caps, speakers. The smaller box holds the miniature sized components so it's not damaged nor lost amongst its larger cousins!
 
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philba

New Member
Lots and lots of storage options. HomeDespot and bLowes have them for reasonable prices. Here's some examples:
**broken link removed**
get at least 2 or 3X the capacity you think you will need. Make sure all the cabinets have interchangable drawers (my biggest mistake) so you can move them around. I thought "I'll just go back and get more when i need them" but they are always changing them and newer ones don't fit in the older parts bins. sigh. Also, for really big stuff, I use stacking clear plastic storage bins so i can see what's inside. tar-jay has lots of them. storage stores usually have good selections.
**broken link removed**

The organization is harder. I am only moderately satisfied with my system as it requires constant care and feeding. Here's what I have done. I have about 30 drawers for ICs: transistors, mosfets, comparators, audio amps, op amps, inverters, PICs (2 drawers), AVRs, several specific logics (like 74hc595s), misc logic, leds, crystals... I have 7 drawers for resistors: 3 leaded, 3 smt (hi, med, low values) and one for random Rs (power, etc), 7 drawers for caps of different types and values. sensors, diodes, inductors, connectors and so on all get multiple drawers. Larger drawers for things like programmers, power supplies, motors, etc.

When one drawer gets too full, I split it into 2 or 3 drawers. at least that's the theory. It takes time and attention - right now, it's a mess and I need to put about 3 hours into a full clean up to regain control. I try to have sections that roughly track a typical catalog organization. I use small, clear address labels and print the names in a large and dark type as possible so I can read them from a distance.

edit: sigh, ya beat me to it HT
 

Rusttree

Member
Thanks for the input guys. I was leaning towards that style of storage system. I'll probably hit up a hardware store today after work and see what's available. Thanks again.
 

moody07747

Member
HiTech said:
I use several of these:

**broken link removed**

I also make use of reinforced small boxes that are appropriately labeled and then stacked on a large 4'x7' bookshelf unit. All drawers are labeled in detail so I can quickly locate a needed part. I test the parts prior to their storage so I'm not building or repairing a project using defective parts, wasting time. I also use pegboard hooks since two of my walls are sheets of pegboard. I have many blister packs of new components that I've purchased through closeouts. If you can locate a WalMart near you, they sell similar parts cabinets for around $10 ea. in various sized drawers. Lowe's and Home depot also sell them. You just have to determine what types of components you may have more of and use the proper sized drawer. As for IC chips, the CMOS and so on get stored on a piece of conductive foam. I have a box of heatsinks that stores a variety of sizes and within that same box, is a smaller one to store small heatsinks so I don't have to dig through the larger ones to find them. I apply that same method to other components like switches, potentiometers, relays, tuning/trimmer caps, speakers. The smaller box holds the miniature sized components so it's not damaged nor lost amongst its larger cousins!

i really must get some of those...heres my storage

https://s2.photobucket.com/albums/y...onics/?sc=1&multi=3&addtype=local&media=image

I have just started keeping invatory of all my parts so when im building i can see if i have a part and dont order more of what i allready have.
 

HiTech

Well-Known Member
Yipes Dave! My LED/LCD inventory alone would barely fit in those! It's amazing how much room one needs when you start to amass a serious collection of parts. I even scavenge and save SAW filters, coil forms, small resonators, ceramic filters, etc. Power transformers and speakers take up alot of room too!
 

hjames

New Member
I've been using 2" binders, 3 hole business card holders and small 2"x3", 4 mil plastic ziplock bags for holding large assortments of SMT parts. It's nice being able to have a single binder with a couple *hundred* resistor and capacitor values.

Slightly bigger stuff goes into 3"x5" or larger ESD bags, which get tossed into some 11x17x2" cardboard boxes which have self-inserting tabs. I can fit ~50 of these boxes into a standardish 6' wire-rack shelf.

I've got a bit of an adversion to the plastic drawer stuff since I've managed to knock down at least 1 fully populated stack of them at some point.
 

Dean Huster

Well-Known Member
Those 60-drawer parts cabinets, if stacked, will give you six columns of 24 drawers each, perfect for storing six decades of 1/4-watt resistors. I tried a tackle box once. It couldn't even handle my expanding collection of tools for more than six months, let alone parts. I now have about 600 plastic drawers in various parts cabinets for the smaller parts and most of my hardware and a set of steel drawers (each drawer about 3" high, 16" long and 5" wide) for storing all my capacitors, pots, switches, connectors and any non-1/4-watt resistors as well as my metal film resistors (2 drawers, in coin envelopes). When you've collected parts over the last 40+ years by harvesting from old equipment, you built up quite a stock, and added to new part purchases, you'd better have some pretty organized storage for it all. I have one binder that has my diode, transistor and IC inventory in it organized by type number and referencing the cabinet and drawer where it's stored. I long ago gave up trying to keep solid state parts in any kind of sequential order in the cabinets and instead refer to a look-up index sheet.

Dean
 

Dr.EM

New Member
I have a mere 12 drawer unit containing most my parts, others are in bags. Needless to say the organisation isn't great, basically resistors of ohms, resistors of Ks, resistors of 10s of Ks, 100s etc. And all my ICs are in a partitioned drawer, analogues at the front, digital behind :O

Just don't have space for much more, but I do get by with it quite well. Its probably quite seldom used compared to a lot of you.
 

moody07747

Member
HiTech said:
Yipes Dave! My LED/LCD inventory alone would barely fit in those! It's amazing how much room one needs when you start to amass a serious collection of parts. I even scavenge and save SAW filters, coil forms, small resonators, ceramic filters, etc. Power transformers and speakers take up alot of room too!

i used to have that and one other packed to the top because i never tossed anything

i went though it a few months back tossing anything i never used.

now its getting full again but this time im keeping all the parts and getting more storage

im going to get a few 60 drawer units and put every type of capacitor and resistor made in there from lowest value to highest...im always ordering resistors...this time i will have all of the most popular ones so when i want to make or mod a guitar FX pedal ill just go for the parts bins. :)
 
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Dean Huster

Well-Known Member
Moody: "i went though it a few months back tossing anything i never used."

I can't imagine ever doing that now. I did it once back in 1970 when I first joined the Navy because I woudn't ever need all those "old parts" (knobs, output transformers, etc.) and NOW I like to restore antique radios and would kill for all the old push-pull output transformers I threw away.

I keep all diodes and transistors and have them sorted. I have them all high-lited in my D.A.T.A. Transistor book and it makes for easy substitution or I'll have a direct replacement because of all the different stock.

Sometimes things have disappeared when I didn't want them to. Termites got into some poorly stored (I was between houses) Tektronix in-house catalogs and all my ancient Hewlett-Packard application notes. They ate everything but the binder rings. I was sick. Every bit was irreplaceable.

Dean
 
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