Author Topic: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?  (Read 85374 times)

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Offline alexanderbrevig

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2015, 06:39:35 am »
Let me show you what I've got so far (and you also get to see how the prices per order skyrocket):



So, an order of $275 becomes $434 for me. This is fairly typical and as I tax on shipping I save money if I can keep the number of shipments down. I am probably going to add a bit more bags of ICs, just some 'jellybean' stuff.

I'd probably save a lot by taking the time to manually order each part but I'm not sure I want to spend the time...

@Chris C, at work we use a fab house that provided us with a set of symbols which linked into their registry for parts. Maybe I could do something like that... Then I could have CAD (not sure CircuitMaker allows plugins) help me manage count.

EDIT: I just found this; http://demo.partkeepr.org/ and it's open source :)

BTW: I'm still very much learning. I have some grasp on the theory now but I'm looking to experiment and build up my intuition. That's why I want breadboardable components at hand. I mean, I've never even built an astable 555 timer circuit, though I know the math. I'm weird like that.

STM stuff I'll order per project and try to do inventory in some way.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 07:09:26 am by alexanderbrevig »
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2015, 07:21:52 am »
I would say that before you pull the trigger - consider 3-4 simple projects that you would like to get through and see if you have enough stuff to do it.

A small audio amplifier, a power supply, LED dimmer, LED chaser, etc. They only take a handful of parts but I don't think you could finish much with what is on your order. For me, there is nothing more satisfying and motivating than finishing a project.
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Offline tooki

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2015, 08:37:42 am »
Alexander, for many of those things, unless you're in a hurry, I'd suggest buying them from China via FleaBay, just due to price. (But get the PanaVise and some solder and solder wick from amazon. Look at the MG Chemicals and Kester products.)
 

Offline JoeN

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2015, 08:39:21 am »
Organize organize organize -- nothing is worse than knowing you have the part, but can't find it in your stockpile.

I agree on this.  I keep an enormous inventory list in a spreadsheet.  It may seem like overkill but it helps in finding parts since I not only put in the part number but also the Digikey description (or alternate description if Digikey does not carry it) 2180 lines total.  This is not even including the separate spreadsheet of samples.

The quantities are almost never correct.  Just a rough idea and I update it if I have to buy more but rarely decrement it correctly.



« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 09:04:17 am by JoeN »
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Offline ez24

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2015, 09:16:48 am »
Organize organize organize -- nothing is worse than knowing you have the part, but can't find it in your stockpile.


I could go on and on...........

I wish you would - there is so much wisdom there that I think your message should be a sticky.

I use the baggie method thinking someday I would get a more advance system.  I think I will stay with the baggie system.  I use Costco part boxes to put them in.

I also use a label maker but until I make labels I use Post-It tape, I like yellow.

http://www.amazon.com/Post--Labeling-Cover-Up-Inches-658/dp/B00006IF84/ref=sr_1_1?&ie=UTF8&qid=1440025640&sr=8-1&keywords=post-it+tape

I totally agree with using Aliexpress for parts kits and those that are sorted and labeled.  I started with the cheapest un-sorted kits and regret it now.  I pay more for labeled kits now.

Now to re-read Chris C's response - thanks Chris
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Offline ez24

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2015, 09:38:42 am »
Quote
EDIT: I just found this; http://demo.partkeepr.org/ and it's open source :)

Looks interesting but the horsepower needed is a little too much for me

https://www.partkeepr.org/download/

Quote
You need a web server like Apache2 with PHP5.3 or higher and a MySQL database.

But looks like a good Apache, PHP, MySQL project.
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Offline JoeN

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2015, 09:42:47 am »
That database system is just way the F overkill unless you are running some sort of company and need a multi-user system.  And what the hell ever happened to a nice client-server desktop app?  All the server dependencies go away if you keep it simple.  But for me just putting it in Excel works out the best.
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Offline fivefish

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2015, 10:01:34 am »
For SMD, little SMD containers in groups, then stored in it's own drawer.
For TH, zip bags inside zip bags inside zip bags (a'la Inception)











« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 10:03:23 am by fivefish »
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2015, 11:23:53 am »
Don't fall into the trap of buying packs of assorted resistors or (especially) transistors from china IMHO, you always end up with most of it sitting in the drawer and probably being thrown out when you die, or items that are so similar you sit there for ages figuring out which would be "best" to use, when frankly any random one would have done the job.  Keep it simple, give yourself fewer choices not more.

For example, I don't keep a full selection of resistors, I don't need them, but the values I do keep are sufficient to do the job...

  Through hole 1R, 10R, 100R, 1k, 10k, 100k and a couple of other "typically good for led [and zener] limiting" values 240R, 330R, and some 0R for diy pcb purposes.  I don't use through hole much, so this rather course selection is fine.

  Surface mount, 6 decades of each these 1, 1.5, 2.2, 2.7, 3.3, 3.9, 4.7 and 5.1 (ie, 1R, 1.5R, 2.2R .... 10R, 15R, 22R .... 100R, 150R, 220R .... up to 100k, 150k, 220k...), also 1M, 0R and some useful led-limiting-values  20R, 180R, 240R, 300R, 360R, 430R.  I store these in pill organisers and use 1206 size.  If I need other values I use the resistor paralleler to get the ones I need

  Add a few trimpots also, multi turn (3296 style) and single turn.  The values aren't that important, 100R, 500R, 1k, 10k, 100k.  Something like that.  I use smd single turn.

  Capacitors: 100nF, 22pF, 10uF, 100uF, 1000uF, and that's about it for general digital purposes where you are looking to decouple, or filter power supply rails mainly - but I don't do analog stuff, if you did, a bigger selection is warranted.

  BJT: 2222, 2907, 3904, 3906 (all in SMD variants) and that's it.  Add some ULN2003 darlington drivers, they come in handy occasionally.
 
  MOSFET: One N channel and one P channel which have logic-level-suitable gate drive requirements and a reasonable current capacity (low RDSon).  Personally I use Si2302SD, AP2305, and for less demanding situations the good old 2N7002

  Diodes: 1n4007 (or 4004, whichever is cheaper at the time), 1N5819.  That's about it, anything more "exotic" buy as needed.

  Zener Diodes:  5v1, 3v3 for obvious slap-dash regulation reasons.  5v6, 3v6, 6v8, 15v for protecting against over voltage on various things (IC pins, mosfet gates).

  LEDs: 5mm assortment, 3mm assortment, smd assortment (I use 1206 size).

  Regulators: 5v, 3v3, 12v, and adjustable, in both through hole (LM78xx, LM317) and smd (various, I use 1117 series).  Also, a few cheap DC-DC converter modules from China in your drawer can save the day.
s
  As for IC's, apart from the ULN2003 already mentioned, 74HC595 and 74HC166 shift registers, 74HC4051 analog switch, *324 op-amp or other fairly generic quad op-amp, optoisolator (EL817/PC817/LTV817 are common for through hole, EL357 for SMD), maybe  some 4049/4050 hex buffers (useful for level shifting).  And of course most important of all in the modern world, microcontrollers - whatever one floats your boat.  I wouldn't bother with many other IC's than those for general on-hand supply.

  Various hardware also I like handy:
  5.5/2.1mm DC barrel plugs and sockets (panel and pcb mount, get round panel mount ones, easier to fit!). 
  Rocker switches for panels (power mainly), double throw best to maximise your options.
  Toggle switches for PCB and panel, dpdt ones to maximise your options.
  Standard 6mm tact switches, through hole and/or smd depending on preference.  Some 12mm ones too can be nice. 
  A few panel mount pots and encoders if you come across them cheap, or just buy as you need.  Again, with the pots, KISS, one value, maybe 2.  Don't forget to have some cheap plastic knobs to fit them.
  Insulated crimp terminals, bullets or spades as long as they are fully insulated.  Ring terminals too (eg for ground connections).
  Wire, get a good length of rainbow ribbon cable (comes in various widths from china in 10 way repeating colour sequence), a couple spools of general hookup wire in the AWG26-30 range, and some thicker stuff around say AWG20.  Some twin core (figure-8) red+black would be nice too.
  Misc small self tapping / wood screws, nuts, bolts in small metric sizes.
  And of course loose alligator clips, test hooks, and banana plugs make it easy to make an extra test lead when you need it.
  A generic relay rated for your mains voltage also handy.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 11:31:55 am by sleemanj »
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Offline ez24

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2015, 11:27:21 am »
Were test leads mentioned? 

The first "thing" that stopped me experimenting was the lack of leads,  alligator to alligator and alligator to banana.

Made up test leads from China are really really really crap and not worth any penny paid. They are 66 ga wire pressed to the metal clip that have a 1 ma load capacity.  Better to use your fingers.
So far these have been my only total Chinese failure.

I bought clips on ebay (and it was hard to find good ones) and made up my own leads with different size wire (12ga to 18 ga).  I had to get banana ends from china but I soldered them to the wires.

So another thing maybe not mentioned is --->  wire

FYI since I am in the US I was able to find Radio Shack alligator clips.

Also with some of the cheap ass china leads, I could not even squeeze the clip because the metal clip would slide around in the plastic.

Since you have a good GF go for the Pomona leads.

Anyway a good practice to use your new solder station is by making test leads.  ie soldering the wires

Enjoying this topic, thanks for starting it  :)
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Offline Chris C

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2015, 02:44:05 pm »
So many good suggestions, yet a few things still virtually untouched upon:

HEADERS

I stock plenty of 0.1" straight single-row 40-pin snappable male headers, and fewer dual-row, both in common black.  They let you build up any male header of any size you want on a PCB.  Before soldering header segments which are adjacent but disconnected, attach female headers to them, as that holds them straight in relation to each other.  And keeps you from burning fingers on exposed male pins.

More recently, I started stocking a few single-row in white too.  I've found them handy to visually mark certain pins.  Supposedly the plastic part of the header is nylon, and easily dyed from white to any color one might need on a whim; but I haven't gotten around to trying it.

"Snappable" female headers really aren't.  They don't snap cleanly, and they're even a pain to cut cleanly.  More recently I've started getting small ones (like 1x2, 2x2, 1x3, and 2x3) so I can build up what I need without ever having to cut.  Plus 2x4, but only because I actually use that frequently.  Again, when combining multiple female headers together, I put male headers into them before soldering, to ensure perfect alignment.

You can buy the crimp tool, male/female pins, wire/ribbon cable, and empty plastic shells to make single or multipin jumpers yourself.  And I have all these.  But I found it's time consuming, requires some practice, and doesn't always look that great.  More frequently I just end up using these:



In M-F, M-M, and F-F, each in both a short length for intra-board connections, and a long length for intra-board connections.  You can tear them apart as needed, or not.  Only complaint is that if you leave multiple wires connected for a tidy multi-pin jumper, it looks like Rainbow Brite puked all over your project, clashing with any single pin wires/jumpers you deliberately color-coded.  I've contacted several manufacturers begging for these in some neutral color like gray or black, but so far no one has done it.

SCREW TERMINALS

These things:



Get a stack of the two and three pin varieties.  They snap together securely, so you can build up any size terminal block you want, and not bother larger ones.

SPECIALTY CONNECTORS

If you want one or two of a large variety of connectors on hand "just in case", try 4UCON, at www.4uconnector.com.  They're a manufacturer, with a huge variety.  Sign up and you'll be able to order samples of many of them, from one up to a limit which differs with each part.  I went a little crazy.  Fair warning, shipping cost goes is inflated and goes up with every part, and it took 6 weeks for them to even ship.  But even including shipping it came out cheaper, per connector, than if I'd bought all those connectors anywhere else.  This is where Sparkfun gets many of their connectors, adding a 500-800% markup (based on sample prices, they probably pay less by buying in quantity).

WIRE

Yep, humble wire.  Solid, stranded, a few different gauges.  But I also like to color-code my wires, and also keeping a decent selection of wire colors would make the number of wire types needed go sky high.  Except I realized that I typically only need each end of the wire color coded.  A $10 heat shrink tubing kit, with a variety of colors and diameters, allows me to easily do that.
 

Offline Neganur

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2015, 03:22:44 pm »
I would heartily recommend only to buy what you need for your current project. The rest just sits around and collects dust.

Also avoid spending so much time on planning component storage/sorting stuff. Spend it on the project :) collect stamps or coins if you feel the need to catalogue stuff, it quickly escalated into "must have all the EXX values" without any real need.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2015, 03:24:13 pm »
Quote
HEADERS

+1

If I remember right the OP mentioned that his GF is letting him buy this stuff  so.....

my suggestion to the OP is buy everything mentioned hear while you can get it and mention to your GF that everyone "told" to you that you HAD to get all of this stuff.  You may not be able to get it later.

Also mention this will allow you to make more money in the future.

Everyone here is talking like they are masters of their own domains (lucky them).
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 03:42:09 pm by ez24 »
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Offline sleemanj

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2015, 04:46:45 pm »
So many good suggestions, yet a few things still virtually untouched upon:

HEADERS

I stock plenty of 0.1" straight single-row 40-pin snappable male headers, and fewer dual-row, both in common black.


Oh yes, how did I forget headers! 

I keep plenty of straight single row male and female 2.54mm (0.1"), if i need a dual row I just use two singles. 

Also have low profile and normal profile single male right angle (aka long-block and short-block), single row female right angle, double row right angle male. 

Rolled pin/machine pin headers in female, and also male, the female ones work for IC pins if necessary, and the pair work as a lower-profile and more easily top-solderable interconnect.

And a few different colours of male single straight.

Also shorting links (jumpers), in different colours.

Quote

"Snappable" female headers really aren't.


Normal female headers are easy to cut to length, yuou lose one pin, just score along the Nth+1 pin, snap, and then clean the cut end by whittlin' like you're Jed Clampett sitting on your porch.

Quote
More frequently I just end up using these:




If you get some dupont wires like these, get a selection of dupont shells also, I keep 1x2, 1x3, 1x4, 1x5, 1x6, 1x8, 1x10 and 1x20, if I need a 2x, I'll just superglue two 1x togethor.  The 1x1 aleady on the dupont wires is easily slipped off, just use a pin or your thumbnail to lift the tab.
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Offline alexanderbrevig

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2015, 06:51:22 am »
Thank you all so much!

I realized that if I placed orders that amount to $40 then I would not need to pay tax on it. Rules are weird...

So, I ended up ordering kits and assortments from ebay, in individual purchases. It took some time, but I think I should be able to make most of the really simple beginner circuits when the parts arrive.

I'm excited! Also, very grateful for the awesome ideas and responses from you  guys. Thanks :)

Offline JoeN

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #40 on: August 24, 2015, 02:07:55 pm »
Thank you all so much!

I realized that if I placed orders that amount to $40 then I would not need to pay tax on it. Rules are weird...

So, I ended up ordering kits and assortments from ebay, in individual purchases. It took some time, but I think I should be able to make most of the really simple beginner circuits when the parts arrive.

I'm excited! Also, very grateful for the awesome ideas and responses from you  guys. Thanks :)

That's great.  When I order kits from eBay sellers, so many throw in the shipping and it is very cheap.  Like the stuff I linked earlier, that is how I acquired most of my small passive parts, hardware, headers, etc. - $2 to $20 a time from a large number of sellers.  I have no loyalty, I find when I need and buy it from the cheapest guy - most of the sellers are selling the exact same items out of Chinese mega markets.
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Offline Stonent

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2015, 09:15:44 am »
Sample early, sample often.   :box:

Didn't your mom tell you to always cut away from yourself?   Please post the video where you slice your other hand open someday. :rant:

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Offline tooki

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2015, 05:32:23 pm »
I realized that if I placed orders that amount to $40 then I would not need to pay tax on it. Rules are weird...
You'll also find that the Chinese vendors invariably write very low customs values, like $3. :)
 

Offline JoeN

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2015, 06:13:46 am »
I realized that if I placed orders that amount to $40 then I would not need to pay tax on it. Rules are weird...
You'll also find that the Chinese vendors invariably write very low customs values, like $3. :)

Sometimes it's totally justified.   O0

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Offline KL27x

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2015, 10:43:08 am »
This problem is why Mouser is my first stop for components.

Save projects, BOMs, and any part you have interest in to your account. Give parts any name or custom ID# you wish. Name your interesting purchases by giving them a unique P.O. (Project X) so you can find them easily in your purchase history. Share your projects or BOMS with partners, manufacturers, etc with an email link.

Any project that requires volume is straight to mouser/Newark/digikey and then sort by price, anyhow.

Self restraint goes a long way. I have binned a lot of my early "stockpiles," and if I had any common sense I have a bunch more that would be headed to a landfill.

I keep an assortment of SMD resistors caps and SMD LEDs in a test tube rack. I keep one SOT 23 logic PFET, one SOT23 logic NFET, some SOT23 pnp and npns. 1 type of Schottky on hand, some boost converter ICs and inductors, some piezos. USB connectors (for power, more than for actual USB). Pin headers, tac switches. Basically just the stuff to build the brains of a circuit. For any major power handling, I scrounge/salvage/order. Don't get me wrong, I got a lot more stuff, but it's not that I would have to go out of my way to collect it.

 

« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 11:05:08 am by KL27x »
 

Offline nbritton

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2015, 07:41:00 pm »
During the through hole years as a teanager the only thing I stocked were the parts I pull out of dead equipment. I had a large bin of dead equipment that people would give me for free and a disordering iron.
 

Offline nzo

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #46 on: September 28, 2015, 08:31:08 pm »
I wouldn't lose any sleep over "what will happen to my unused parts when I die?".

Just buy a little stock from Ebay or AliBaba. So what if you don't use it! Leave a note in your will and GIVE all your  parts etc to local school electronics enthusiast(s).

I don't understand experimenters who line the pockets of overpricing suppliers like RSComponents, Mouser, Digikey etc. Why spend $200 or $400 when you only need to spend $20 or $40? Guess where they get their components from! Of course if you're wealthy you probably don't give a damn.
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Offline matseng

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #47 on: September 28, 2015, 09:22:37 pm »
I don't understand experimenters who line the pockets of overpricing suppliers like RSComponents, Mouser, Digikey etc. Why spend $200 or $400 when you only need to spend $20 or $40? Guess where they get their components from! Of course if you're wealthy you probably don't give a damn.
Are you seriously suggesting that the three companies you mentioned gets their parts from the Huaqiangbei market in Shenzhen or similar places and not directly from the manufacturers?
 

Offline wagon

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2015, 10:33:57 pm »
I've got lots of parts in drawers, many in compartment boxes, some in open boxes.  Chinese food containers are useful too.

An assortment of nuts & bolts is a must if building stuff, and various headers, etc.  I've gotten lots of good stuff out of 'grab-bags', junk-boxes, etc. over the years.  I sit on the floor at home and sort them, them stuff them back into the car and take them back to my workshop.
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Offline madires

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Re: From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?
« Reply #49 on: September 28, 2015, 11:03:31 pm »
As a teenager I bought "surprise bags", i.e. overstocked parts from production lines and such stuff. Those bags were quite inexpensive and comprised a lot of common parts used back then and some special components. IIRC, mostly Philips. BTW, good training for learning color codes ;)
 


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