Author Topic: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....  (Read 21929 times)

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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« on: September 01, 2010, 12:07:55 pm »
OK this may not seem a big deal but anyone who has accumulated hundreds of ICs etc. will know the problem...
Most of my work is development, so over the years I've accumulated a huge stock of odd parts bought during prototyping.

Jellybean stuff like SM resistors and caps are generally in long enough tapes that a binder solution works well
Farnell sell spare binder pages for their resistor kits which are ideal. In the past I've also used film negative and baseball card binders. However these are only good for 8mm wide tape, and only lengths long enough not to get lost down the long cavities.

For through-hole parts  with relatively few values, e.g. capacitors, electrolytics, common transistors, trimmers etc., Raaco and similar assorter boxes work well, but compartment boxes don't work well with SMD tapes

That leaves all the ICs and other more random parts which are a collection of SM and DIP, in tapes, tubes, sample boxes, bags and loose, in typical qtys from 1 to 20 per type.

Over the years, I've distilled  the storage criteria down as follows :
1) You want to store them by type/function per box (e.g. RS232 drivers, voltage regulators, 74HC CMOS, opamps etc.), not by individual parts numbers as there are too many different types.
2) The container must be reasonably long in at least one dimension to accommodate tapes and cut-down tubes
3) The container must be reasonably shallow so you can stack lots of them in a reasonable space, and can easily see parts at the bottom
4) Need to be able to quickly find parts within a container
5) Need to be able to just chuck parts into the right box when clearing up after a project but be able to  find them easily later
6) Cheap - I need at least 40-50 of them to cover the range of parts I want to store.
7) Need to be continuously available, so you can expand as required. or cheap enough to buy plenty of spare.

2 precludes almost every type of cheap very small plastic box - e.g. jewelery display/sample  boxes etc.
4 and 5 preclude boxes full of poly bags - too fiddly & just ends up as a mess.
6 Precludes most of the stuff specifically targetted at the electronics industry

So just a basic undivided wide, shallow plastic box   with a lid of some sort, into which I can put a  sheet of conductive foam to hold DIPs. Once you've lined the bottom with conductive foam, the box itself doesn't need to be anything exotic like antistatic. Clear is nice, but not essential.
Not hard to find you'd think... actually surprisingly so!

I have a few of these , which are  nice and rugged but too expensive.

Many years ago I picked up a load of large ball-hinge clear polystyrene boxes (190x120x30mm) on ebay,



but have been unable to find them available anywhere since at this size, in anything less than pallet quantities. These are pretty good, but the hinges tend to break when they get stuffed too full, and aren't quite long enough to deal with lively SM tapes that want to spring out.

So during my last old-project tidy-up purge, my existing boxes were overflowing to a ridiculous degree so I had another concerted look, and eventually found these on ebay UK.
The size is pretty much ideal - long to accommodate tapes,  but other dimensions good for dense stacking



Just ordered another 50 & I'm happy now ;D


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Offline Zad

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2010, 04:05:04 pm »
Even with antistatic conductive foam I never quite trust plastic boxes. I tend to keep mine in metal tins, not very pro but easy to remember what is where. The down side is that people now buy me tins of biscuits for Christmas so I have more tins than I know what to do with. The up side is lots of biscuits :D

My favourite is the Farrah's Harrogate Toffee tins!


Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2010, 05:47:42 pm »
A metal tin is probably more likely to kill a chip than plastic. If you have static on your body when you touch a pin to pick it up, there may well be a low impedance path via another pin through the tin to ground
Never forget the D in ESD. It's the instantaneous high current that can cause damage.
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Offline TopherTheME

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2010, 06:52:49 pm »
I just use those plastic suitcase looking containers that you get when you order chips from Farnell/Newark/Element14. The jackasses always pack a single chip per container so I'm starting to build up a collection.
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Offline Zad

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2010, 07:03:48 pm »
The metal forms a Faraday cage, as soon as you pick it up, the entire container is at the same potential.

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 09:59:28 pm »
The metal forms a Faraday cage, as soon as you pick it up, the entire container is at the same potential.
That's true until you open it.
An unopened plastic container will also never produce a discharge to something inside it.

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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 03:30:22 am »
Use cardboard. The tiny amount of moisture it absorbs will make it slightly conductive, but not conductive enough to pass much current.

Another trick is to rub the outside and inside of the box with a used dryer sheet before using it, as it leaves behind a coating that dissipates static. It was a common trick to rub CRT computer monitors with dryer sheets to keep the dust off, at least until they started having antistatic coatings.
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Offline rossmoffett

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 05:38:00 pm »
I was excited until I saw that you are just using flat plastic boxes.. these are commonly available in Oklahoma, USA where I live.  They're found in the fishing/tackle section of stores that stock outdoors products..  Wal-Mart in particular sells these for use as fishing tackle boxes for only a couple of $USD apiece, and large outdoors shops such as Bass Pro Shop have all kinds of variety.

I use a few cabinets of small drawers a lot like what Dave has on the shelf in front of his bench, but I'm pretty disorganized about it and I still don't totally appreciate the solution.  Bought them from Sears a couple of years ago.  I just moved, so I'm planning my new lab layout.  A guy that recently retired at my new workplace was busy organizing his electronics before he left, it's half-finished but check out the general idea in the attached photo.  I like it - you can grab whatever values of resistors or other components in a pill bottle and return them to the cabinet when you're finished.  No big deal if you lose a pill bottle, but those little drawers are irreplaceable when they go missing.  I think I'll make one and hang it on a cabinet door for easy access and to save space.  Looks like it'll work great for resistors and small capacitors, I'll have to stick to the drawers for larger components.
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Offline Professor Fudge

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 04:31:37 am »
Thanks Zad now I really want some Farrah's Harrogate Toffee. I've never had it before but it looks good.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2010, 01:14:19 pm »
Now this is much better....!
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Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2010, 10:05:23 am »
Where did you get all of that anti-ESD foam?
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2010, 11:21:29 am »
Most of it I already had, but Rapid do it cheap You want the high density stuff.
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Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2010, 12:53:37 pm »
Excellent, thanks.
 

Offline orbiter

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2010, 01:12:37 pm »
Jeeeeez you've got alot of stuff there Mike! A chip for every job aye ;)

My stuff fits in around 6 compartment boxes :)

Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2010, 01:32:07 pm »
EEEEPROMs??
 

Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2010, 01:58:05 pm »
So, what do you guys use to store your through hole passives? I really need better storage for all of my parts...
 

Offline orbiter

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2010, 02:33:38 pm »
So, what do you guys use to store your through hole passives? I really need better storage for all of my parts...

I just keep all my resistors, diodes etc in the zip bags they come in as they are labeled, then I put those in a couple of square ice cream tubs. For IC's and other parts I just use plastic compartment storage boxes. Then the whole lot goes in what I call my Daleks, which are large plastic drawer type storage boxes on wheels.

Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2010, 02:47:14 pm »
Hmmm well that is sort of similar to what I'm doing now, but I just cant stand raking through piles of little bags and taking ages to find what I'm looking for. I've tried placing them in order, however sooner or later they all end up mixed up again.
 

Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2010, 04:53:26 pm »
Anyone else use another system?
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2010, 06:39:08 pm »
I use a wall mounting cabinet kinda thing for most of mine (and an old wooden box for miscellaneous higher power values) similar to:


Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2010, 10:14:52 pm »
Drawers for TH resistors (need drawers for long leads, and you need a decent number of drawers as there are lots of resistor values.
Assorter boxes for TH caps, inductors, LEDs, DIL sockets, presets, xtals etc. as generally fewer values per type

Quote
EEEEPROMs??
Started off years ago as a keybounce and whenever they move to a new container another E tends to appear....
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Offline rossmoffett

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2010, 03:29:58 am »
Hmmm well that is sort of similar to what I'm doing now, but I just cant stand raking through piles of little bags and taking ages to find what I'm looking for. I've tried placing them in order, however sooner or later they all end up mixed up again.

My system is that I stopped trying to save resistors. When I buy new ones, I put them in organized bins.  When they get used, they don't get saved because they cost only pennies.  Maybe not so "green" but it's pretty useless to have a box of unsorted parts, I tried for a long time to get the patience to sort the things but it just takes too much time.
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Online Zero999

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2010, 07:59:54 am »
So, what do you guys use to store your through hole passives? I really need better storage for all of my parts...
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=987.msg12987#msg12987
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2010, 10:03:48 am »
same as Zad's. but i kinda in needing for big "tupperwares" like Dave has. my parts are overflowing too.
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Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2010, 01:15:30 pm »
I want to make an addition to the collection of this thread. Got this while make a random walk on a local supermarket trying to find a household stuff. This "pinky" measures 7 x 10 x 16 inches, effective container volume 2.5 x 6 x 9.5 inches. collapsible to extend or reduce storey. pro: "multipurpose drawer" hence can be found anywhere, not just specialized EE shop. con: no mentioning on static protection. so i have to remember the simple rule to keep my body static free, as usual. Problem solved, now my Matrix LEDs stuff (3rd picture) are all in one piece after scattered around the smaller boxes and lying on the floor collecting "rain of dust"

oh and i forgot... this 5 storey structure is equivalent to USD8.67 approx current rate ;)
edit: my wife just saw this and got interested, but now i say no. maybe when i found something better, this will belong to the "kitchen" ;)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 01:20:33 pm by shafri »
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Offline Time

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2010, 03:58:14 am »
con: Ridiculously pink
-Time
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2010, 10:57:53 am »
con: Ridiculously pink
And probably not even anti-static pink...
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Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Woohoo! I finally found the perfect IC storage boxes....
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2010, 11:04:34 am »
con: Ridiculously pink
at least it can attract girls :P
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