Author Topic: How do you organize your components?  (Read 10275 times)

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Offline Sea Moss

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How do you organize your components?
« on: May 28, 2015, 02:53:51 am »
I wasn't quite sure where to put this, but I figured here would be a good spot since it's kind of a beginner question.

So, I'm an EE/CE student and I've been doing a lot more hobbyist electronics in my dorm lately. Naturally, the majority of my parts are salvaged; however, since I am still in a dorm my components and boards-to-salvage have been piling up quite a bit. I have a small bin that I try to keep parts sorted in but it isn't working out. How do you all organize your components, boards, and test gear when limited on space?
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Offline kolonelkadat

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 03:20:53 am »
bankers box

filled with those manila folders
each folder contains a bag of parts, the bag is of course the one it came in from mouser so that it has the specs and part number and barcodes and stuff so i can easily locate datasheets and reorder when low

I also have one of those component boxes with all the little drawers, but it only is for things that dont need datasheets, eg batteries, screws, switches, sockets, dev boards, solder wick, heatshrink, etc.

old pc cases make nice shelves/risers/cubbies for test gear and such with only minor modification. the sheet steel gives a lot of strength for very little thickness, so you save a few cm of desk space.


 

Offline w2aew

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 03:38:12 am »
When I was in college I used a fishing tackle box to store components.  Just like this one:
http://hookitfishit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/tackle-box-1.jpg
And, I still use it to store most of my leaded resistors.
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Offline redshift

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 03:56:23 am »
Shoe boxes:

This is so far from ideal but I can't decide how I want to sort things and I'm stuck in a state of analysis paralysis.

Ideally I might put small parts in something like this:

They have clear tops to see what's in them at a glance, they have modular compartments with registrations that keep everything in place, etc. But they are so expensive.

Otherwise I could go with the standard drawer organizers:

But as more of my components become SMT less things fit nicely into drawers or compartments. I also like to keep parts in the bags they came in to keep the part number handy but it makes them hard to fit in drawers.

The bankers box/manila folder idea is brilliant! Reels, tubes, and trays still wouldn't have a place though. And I certainly don't have enough reels to necessitate proper racks.
 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 11:42:52 am »
Harbor Freight has these at $15 - nothing compares.. (especially if you're serious on EE).
www.harborfreight.com/40-bin-organizer-with-full-length-drawer-94375.html
You may want to insert some foam into a few drawers too.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antistatic-Foam-Pack-for-Component-Storage-/291458094053
 

Offline madires

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 01:05:20 pm »
And a package with 1000 small zip bags which fit into to the cabinets's drawer is just 3 bucks. Very handy for small parts or things like BC547A, B ,C.
 

Offline djQUAN

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2015, 01:23:52 pm »
I had different means of storing junk :)

Drawers, tupperware, plastic bins, boxes.

I just finished labeling the tiny drawers. The plastic bins aren't sorted yet.
 

Offline tombi

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2015, 03:49:03 pm »
I went for index cards and stapled zip lock bags to them. The cards are stored in boxes indexed by component type and part number or component value.

Static sensitive stuff goes in a static safe bag and then goes in the zip lock.

So far so good.

I bought some bags of mixed components and this was the only way to stop myself going insane when building stuff on a breadboard.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2015, 06:46:34 pm »
Quote
bankers box

good idea - I have a couple of empty ones - and they stack good.   I have been folding up the datasheets and putting them with the components into zip lock bags.  Your way is better.


Quote
analysis paralysis
  boy this is going to save me a lot of money (on a psychiatrist)
Quote



I went for index cards and stapled zip lock bags to them. The cards are stored in boxes indexed by component type and part number or component value.

any chance you could show a picture ?

 
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Offline rqsall

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2015, 06:48:44 pm »
old pc cases make nice shelves/risers/cubbies for test gear and such with only minor modification. the sheet steel gives a lot of strength for very little thickness, so you save a few cm of desk space.

Do you have an example/picture of how you use old pc cases for this purpose?

Thank you.
 

Offline kolonelkadat

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2015, 08:08:03 pm »
old pc cases make nice shelves/risers/cubbies for test gear and such with only minor modification. the sheet steel gives a lot of strength for very little thickness, so you save a few cm of desk space.

Do you have an example/picture of how you use old pc cases for this purpose?

Thank you.
Basically just pull off the plastic stuff, drill out the rivets on the hard drive cages, then cut off one of the sides. I cut the bottom off because it only required cutting along one side since the other side was riveted together.

Steps could be taken to make this look a lot nicer, but I dont have the inclination. I really prefer this to the commercial offerings I have seen and used.  The commercial ones all use metal tubes that always seem to get in the way.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2015, 08:13:53 pm »
I would've just used two more bits of wood and maybe some braces.. A lot less work and a lot neater.
 

Offline wagon

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2015, 08:19:11 pm »
I've got lots of 'drawers', 'Fischer' boxes on hooks, travel cases and also dozens of chinese food containers.  I also use heavy paper envelopes for many of my resistors.  It's never enough....
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Offline Monkeh

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2015, 08:20:31 pm »
Yes, the chinese containers are good. Also, essentially free.
 

Offline rqsall

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2015, 09:12:53 pm »
Basically just pull off the plastic stuff, drill out the rivets on the hard drive cages, then cut off one of the sides. I cut the bottom off because it only required cutting along one side since the other side was riveted together.

Steps could be taken to make this look a lot nicer, but I dont have the inclination. I really prefer this to the commercial offerings I have seen and used.  The commercial ones all use metal tubes that always seem to get in the way.

Thank you, looks inspiring  :-+  :-/O I was just wondering if you meant the skins, the chassis or both somehow...
 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2015, 09:35:51 pm »
...I also use heavy paper envelopes for many of my resistors.  It's never enough....
Power resistors take up too much space! I'm calling NASA to see if they can invent something new...
I've got most parts that won't fit into the plastic drawers into these handy plastic ice-cream tubs  8)

I rarely eat the sugary stuff, but my teenage kids do.
 

Offline Fat

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2015, 10:26:09 pm »
Holy Moly, I really need to work on my parts supply.  That's a lot of components.
 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2015, 11:06:06 pm »
Holy Moly, I really need to work on my parts supply.  That's a lot of components.
Don't rush it, use it and don't collect much more than you can use. My mom used to have a 70's hair-dressing salon in my home; as a boy I used to get her customers to bring stuff in for repair. Time's past, and I am near retirement so yeah, I give lots away too (but I've never had a good scope until recently.. go figure!).
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2015, 11:23:49 pm »
I have plastic and cardboard bins. Trays for sorting projects and prototypes. In total, about 500 small plastic bins, 200 cardboard bins, and about 50 trays. All are on rolling carts.

Here is a terrible photo.

I have LOT of hardware in addition to electronic components.


The 'Bakers Rack' is how I keep in process projects undisturbed when I need to clear the bench for something else. They are like portable bench-tops.
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Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2015, 12:07:24 am »
I have plastic and cardboard bins. Trays for sorting projects and prototypes. In total, about 500 small plastic bins, 200 cardboard bins, and about 50 trays. All are on rolling carts.

Here is a terrible photo...
That was great, I love it! (and more space on the bench too)
Where did you manage to snag those tray carts?
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2015, 01:16:23 am »
The bakers rack came from Global Industrial (USA)
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Offline Electric flower

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2015, 09:51:21 am »
I don't
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Offline Jeroen3

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2015, 10:44:57 am »
The 'Bakers Rack' is how I keep in process projects undisturbed when I need to clear the bench for something else. They are like portable bench-tops.
That is genius. Lots of project, as-is, on a small surface area.
 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2015, 10:58:26 am »
The 'Bakers Rack' is how I keep in process projects undisturbed when I need to clear the bench for something else. They are like portable bench-tops.
Some trays have grey foam mats on them, is that anti-static?
Geez-Louise, you had to have shelled-out a grand on the rack and trays, so why stop there?
 

Offline zerorisers

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2015, 02:20:44 pm »
Pill bottles
 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2015, 04:03:46 pm »
Pill bottles? Meh, I'd loose 'em. While we seem headed in a traditional direction:
Gerber baby food jars.. Done for ions: Screw lids under strong shelf and twist jars to open contents.

This is the idea, but the smaller Gerber jars are better. They don't break so easy or make things too heavy.

Here's the ones I meant. Do not buy them unless you like awful food. (ask a new mother to collect them for you).
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 06:34:11 pm by Cliff Matthews »
 
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Offline Jeroen3

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2017, 06:49:19 am »
If only it had WiFi.  :-DD

It's an interesting concept.
 

Offline madires

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2017, 10:43:54 am »
The boxes are way too small for me. I like large boxes with enough room for TH and SMT. By putting SMT in small zip bags I can keep different sizes/types in the same box. A quick look and you know what's available.

Edit: This comment is referring to a removed post about https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3dfacture/chipseasy-smart-electronic-component-organizer
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 01:06:57 pm by madires »
 

Offline tron9000

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2017, 11:39:35 am »
In tackle boxes and Tradesmans boxes (boxes you usually fill with screws and rwal plugs).

I have also got an ongoing list of Component stock - click on link in my signature
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Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2017, 12:42:04 pm »
If only it had WiFi.  :-DD

It's an interesting concept.
Jeroen3 was commenting on a removed post.. (why do they troll like that?) found it in my history - a new parts organizer..  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3dfacture/chipseasy-smart-electronic-component-organizer
 

Offline HoracioDos

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2017, 01:32:32 pm »
I'm not a Pro, but plastic organizers are pretty handy.
I guess the cheapest way could be letters envelopes in different sizes for the smallest components into a shoe box. You can label them and store the box under the bed.

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Offline Buriedcode

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2017, 04:58:54 pm »
I an hopelessly disorganized. I have a large number of those 'plastic drawer with compartments' as well as shoe boxes with multiple parts in them specific for individual projects - because I rarely 'put them back' into the drawers, I end up with lots of boxes with seemingly random components in each.  Safe to say, sometimes it can take me an hour to find anything.

But knowing *what* you have, rather than where it is is half the battle. First thing I did was to copy invoices from orders into a large spreadsheet.  This saves me hunting for something I think I bought, but didn't.  At least then you know you have something.  There is probably soft ware specifically for this, a good spreadsheet with database organisation and search function, with quantity (updated with use), and even distributor (so you know what kind of packaging to look for) helps a great deal.

I also have a toolbox with small compartments which is the 'default' storage I go to for prototyping (resistor packs, common IC's, connectors, caps, inductors, breadboards etc..) which is a complete mess, but means I can know up a prototype idea fairly quickly.  Every few months this gets reorganised.

The only silver lining of my haphazard approach (believe me there are many frustrating negatives.. start organizing now!) is that I'll dig out a container box and find hidden gems - sometimes its like Christmas - other times it just highlights money I ahve wasted on things I will never use.
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2017, 05:14:17 pm »
OP'er said he was in a college dorm so not a lot of room for apartments.  I used (and still do use) a lot of fishing type storeage
http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/tackle-binders-utility-boxes/_/N-1100380/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_104620680

and http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/tackle-bags/_/N-1100378/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_104619780

You can slide the bags under a desk or bed or on a shelf out of the way.
 

Offline packetbob

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2017, 07:49:12 pm »
I use small plastic totes (for larger parts, tools and such) and plastic organizers (for small parts)..
I was able to setup some adjustable shelving with the shelf's set at heights that allow stacking them without wasting too much space...

Originally my parts were all over the place so just getting them condensed into one storage area helped considerably. Right now they are not in any particular order or arrangement. I more or less just filled each container as I emptied the various original containers.

What helps immensely is that I starting using PartBox (https://partsbox.io/) to manage what I had. I was a little reticent to start but I have to admit it did not take as long as I thought it would to enter the data. Being cloud based I don't have to worry about hosting it. If it disappears into the startup ether then I still have backs ups of the data that I may be able to migrate to a new system.  And it is free for hobby users.  I can't say enough good things about PartsBox

The only thing I really needed to do was put an identifier on each storage unit (I used a letter to denote the shelf it is on and a number for each container)...
And then sort through them all...
 
 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2017, 12:18:09 am »
And now for something really modern... back in the 60's and 70's these interlocking bins were popular. My buddy's dad taught me about color-organs and electronic kits back in the day. He passed-on a few years back and today these 5 were handed down to me. I'm not sure how to use them (not being transparent), but my eyes did a historical double-take and now I'm in some stupid time warp..
 

Offline vpetrog

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2017, 09:00:13 am »
i am using partsbox.io, which is an online service (it has both free and paid services,i'm using the free ones) to keep an online database. The components themselves, i keep them is the plastic containers you see in the pictures.
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Offline tron9000

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2017, 09:21:47 am »
i am using partsbox.io, which is an online service (it has both free and paid services,i'm using the free ones) to keep an online database.

Well that's just made my google doc redundant! ;D
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Offline vpetrog

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2017, 09:31:28 am »
i am using partsbox.io, which is an online service (it has both free and paid services,i'm using the free ones) to keep an online database.

Well that's just made my google doc redundant! ;D

 :D Glad to hear that :P i believe you can upload your Spreadsheet to partsbox.io and it will auto create your Database, but I haven't tried it
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Offline tron9000

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2017, 09:27:26 am »
Had a look and it mentions something about generating a list from a database using SQL-dump, but can't see anything about importing from spreadsheet. Oh well
Partsbox.io - orangise your parts!
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Offline rfbroadband

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #39 on: February 15, 2017, 05:21:33 am »
see attachments
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2017, 12:37:20 pm »
i am using partsbox.io, which is an online service (it has both free and paid services,i'm using the free ones) to keep an online database.

Well that's just made my google doc redundant! ;D

Either google doc or partsbox.io are online and while you can export a local backup you still have to keep it in sync.  How do you access when your internet connection is down?
 

Offline packetbob

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2017, 03:17:26 pm »
Either google doc or partsbox.io are online and while you can export a local backup you still have to keep it in sync.  How do you access when your internet connection is down?

While you can export your data from PartsBox (via a json file) I don't know of anyway to view or manipulate the data.

However you can also export your parts list in a .csv file. This will include all the parts information from the database.
If you keep a recent copy of this file on your PC then you can always access the info should you not be able to connect to the hosted site..

Not perfect but considering it's cost (free for hobbyists) I haven't found anything easier to use than PartsBox..
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 06:16:12 am by packetbob »
 

Online RoGeorge

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2017, 03:25:12 pm »
Pill bottles? Meh, I'd loose 'em. While we seem headed in a traditional direction:
Gerber baby food jars.. Done for ions: Screw lids under strong shelf and twist jars to open contents.

This is the idea, but the smaller Gerber jars are better. They don't break so easy or make things too heavy.

Here's the ones I meant. Do not buy them unless you like awful food. (ask a new mother to collect them for you).


Brilliant idea, thanks!  :-+

Offline mleyden

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #43 on: February 16, 2017, 12:10:49 am »
Came across these: http://www.5thpostulate.com/wentai-snap-boxes - you can find them on ebay & aliexpress



 

Online KL27x

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #44 on: February 16, 2017, 05:15:56 am »
Quote
Gerber baby food jars.. Done for ions:
I bought a few of these when perusing the grocery store for something to store a working quantity of flux. I figured the size and shape was good for refilling syringes from.

Well, I noticed right away that the lids on these jars don't have any proper threading. There's just a thin foam layer that takes the shape of the threads on the glass jar mouth. I suppose they will last long 'nuff for most purposes. But if you try to store certain volatile solvents, the foam swells and melts, and the threading and seal are gone. You'll notice the lid doesn't look like it's screwed down all the way. Then you'll find the lid just pulls straight off without turning, and that a little smear of gooey "marshmallow" is all that's left of the threads.  :palm:

I found something better for my purpose (vinegar bottles and mustard jars are built to contain acid). But these Gerber jars are cheap as chips for holding screws or whatnot. I tossed em all, though. I didn't like how the lid doesn't go back on, positively. They're easy to "cross thread," as it were. Sometimes I just ended up mashing the lid down.

For component storage, most of the components I use in any quantity or frequency are SMD caps, resistors, diodes, and trannies. I use a test tube rack for those. And/or a reel rack for stuff I use a really lot of. The larger stuff might include some voltage regulators, power resistors, pin headers, switches, and what not, stored in small baggies and put into a boxes. But most of the stuff that doesn't fit several hundred parts to a test tube is just random crap. I don't have a storage system for transformers, solenoids, inductors, 20A relays, motors, et al, lol. It might fit in a shoebox. It might fit in a bankers box. It might fit in a 5 gallon bucket. But this stuff isn't going to fit into a neat organizer or mini drawer system. I'll hopefully find the few leftover of specific [IC, large electrolytic, connector, etc] when I need them. But I'll just as soon order that part plus all the other specific parts I need, if/when I am designing a new circuit. In the meantime, I can usually keep busy for the 2-3 days for shipping with prototyping/testing/debugging the control circuitry and/or designing the PCB.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 05:47:40 am by KL27x »
 

Offline JS

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #45 on: February 16, 2017, 05:28:58 am »
Pesonal card folder, I don't know who has that many personal cards but they are useful for holding components  :scared:
I have that folder with a great deal of different components, when sourcing big quantities they don't fit but is useful to have a nice selection when you go out and you need to carry some components, I hate is so usual for me but nice to have my folder in my backpack when I do need them.

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Offline mdijkens

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #46 on: February 16, 2017, 01:17:33 pm »
I don't have the space for a lab or big storage solutions. I always have to take everything out of my drawers and put everything back in again when finished. Therefore I use mostly small plastic zip-bags sorted in small cardboard boxes and a few plastic compartment boxes for bigger and diverse components where I only have a small quantities of.
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #47 on: February 16, 2017, 01:49:19 pm »
I don't have space either or even a workbench.  I fell back on my college process where I have a bunch of tackle storage boxes stacked in a toolbox.  I have a simple plastic toolbox with the tray holding protoboards and such, then you lift it out and there are the tackle storage boxes, one for resistors, one for capacitors, etc.  Mechanical stuff (bolts, nuts, heatshrink, connectors, standoffs, etc) are in similar in a tackle storage bag.  tools all go in one of those tool bags with slots for everything.  Then specialized stuff, say PIC or Arduino each have their own box.
 

Offline Teledog

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Re: How do you organize your components?
« Reply #48 on: February 16, 2017, 06:49:43 pm »
It's getting messy, as I've been lazy lately, but..
 


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