Author Topic: WTF Mouser??  (Read 2108 times)

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Offline james_s

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WTF Mouser??
« on: March 04, 2020, 07:26:56 am »
So this happened again.

A few months ago I ordered a Dallas PowerCap from Mouser and it arrived packed in unusually conductive ESD foam with the battery completely dead :palm: I contacted them and they apologized, asked for a picture of the packaging and promptly sent me a replacement which was packaged properly. So this time I ordered 3 of them for another project and tonight I opened the package and was greeted by this sight, and while the batteries aren't completely flat they're all at 2.7V which is certainly less than fresh. Soooo here we go again, another delayed project and this is one somebody is paying me to do  |O

Seriously, who packs a battery in conductive foam?  :palm:

Is this common, or am I just incredibly unlucky to have experienced it twice?
 
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Online maginnovision

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2020, 07:36:07 am »
I'm not terribly surprised. I typically avoid mouser unless they're the only place to get whatever it is. They also seem to LOVE their conductive foam and small boxes. I got some rotary encoders from them and 8/10 of them had broken knobs/housings because the tiny box was forced shut and taped to hold.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2020, 07:43:53 am »
It is a nice foam though. It measures only a few kOhm with the meter probes spaced just an inch apart.
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Offline james_s

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2020, 07:46:01 am »
I've been ordering parts from them for years and never had any issues at all until recently, I guess I mostly order ICs and small passives though, whenever the particular batch of stuff I need is cheaper than Digikey or they have something in stock that DK doesn't. At around $10 each these are not particularly cheap either and inconvenience aside I hate the waste of having to throw away brand new parts to get a new package UPS'd to me.

And yes, it's lovely foam, the most conductive ESD foam I can ever recall encountering, these little boxes are great for packaging sensitive ICs. They're precisely NOT what you want to pack batteries in though.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 07:47:32 am by james_s »
 

Offline tom66

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2020, 07:49:42 am »
Unfortunately this is what happens when a product is marked as ESD-sensitive, someone packs it in an ESD-protective box...

It really seems the only distributor that is genuinely competent is Digi-Key.  They have never screwed up an order of mine, unlike Farnell, Arrow and occasionally Mouser.  Interestingly, of all the main electronics distributors, they seem to advertise the least.  Farnell are always pushing promotions and social media -- perhaps just get shipments right first?
 
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Online blueskull

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2020, 11:12:38 am »
From time to time when I need ESD boxes I troll Mouser by buying one pop of each random cheap IC. A purposely bought ESD box from Mouser is more expensive then the free one they include with an IC.
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2020, 08:20:06 am »
OP did you check if there is a passivation layer? They might actually be OK.
Some lithium battery chemistries are found under-voltaged from storage. Cell voltage comes up and stays up, after some load. Try load them with a resistor for a minute or so- see if the voltage rises or falls. I was using 500-1k ohm.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2020, 07:10:23 pm »
They're dead, this is the second time this has happened, the first time I didn't open the package with the PowerCap in it for a week as I was waiting for the PCBs to arrive, that one was drained down to less than 0.6V. I noticed that after installing it and finding that the NVRAM wasn't holding its contents without power.

I measured the foam and the resistance is less than 100k across about 10mm between probe tips, it's the most conductive ESD foam I've ever encountered. The terminals on the PowerCap are only about 5mm apart and the bottom of the cell is also in contact with the foam and has considerable surface area so it puts a significant load on the battery. I wouldn't deliver parts to a customer that had experienced this even if the voltage looked ok, they've been at least partially drained, I can't present them as new.
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2020, 08:50:45 pm »
Oh... I would say they're dead Jim.
I've had pc boards/RMA shipped in anti-static (conductive) bags which killed the on-board batteries, the black conductive bags are good for that.

It's weird the electronics industry has conductive and dissipative and Faraday-cage packaging. Three different types.
I'm not sure when the decision is to use what packaging.

 

Online amyk

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2020, 01:33:13 am »
Unfortunately this is what happens when a product is marked as ESD-sensitive, someone packs it in an ESD-protective box...
In other words, no actual thought was put into any of the process by whoever packed those batteries.

This reminds me of one time when I was with extended family, and upon asking for a set of AA batteries, was presented with a few dozen of them, neatly packed end-to-end and touching the sides of a metal biscuit tin. Needless to say, they were completely dead. When I asked why they were taken out of their original packaging and packed this way, the response was "but they fit perfectly!" :palm:
 

Offline mcovington

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2020, 03:08:48 pm »
A few years ago I got a new battery put into a wristwatch at our local K-mart.  The young girl was startled that I objected to her handling the battery with metal tweezers.

Actually, a few seconds of that won't run down the battery as much as I thought, because the internal resistance is high, but I still didn't think I'd be getting what I paid for.
 

Offline Bark

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2020, 03:40:00 pm »
I've been ordering parts from them for years and never had any issues at all until recently, I guess I mostly order ICs and small passives though, whenever the particular batch of stuff I need is cheaper than Digikey or they have something in stock that DK doesn't. At around $10 each these are not particularly cheap either and inconvenience aside I hate the waste of having to throw away brand new parts to get a new package UPS'd to me.

And yes, it's lovely foam, the most conductive ESD foam I can ever recall encountering, these little boxes are great for packaging sensitive ICs. They're precisely NOT what you want to pack batteries in though.

What were the date codes on the batteries?  It just occured to me that there should be a date code and an additional possibility could be that not only have they been improperly packaged while at Mouser, but they have also been in that state for a long time?  I believe those batteries are a low-volume item.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2020, 03:43:45 pm »
Unfortunately this is what happens when a product is marked as ESD-sensitive, someone packs it in an ESD-protective box...

It really seems the only distributor that is genuinely competent is Digi-Key.  They have never screwed up an order of mine, unlike Farnell, Arrow and occasionally Mouser.  Interestingly, of all the main electronics distributors, they seem to advertise the least.  Farnell are always pushing promotions and social media -- perhaps just get shipments right first?
Meh..Digikey still owns a share of this. I stopped buying Cypress USB SOP-56 controllers from them because they send them in just ESD bags loose with no any hard backing or tube. Needless to say, the ICs legs arrive bent . I spoke to their agents at least two times about that, still no change.
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Offline tooki

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2020, 05:34:44 pm »
Unfortunately this is what happens when a product is marked as ESD-sensitive, someone packs it in an ESD-protective box...
In other words, no actual thought was put into any of the process by whoever packed those batteries.
Do you think it's even remotely reasonable to expect a shelf picker to be an expert in electronics components?!? Mouser literally has hundreds of thousands different products in stock. It's categorically impossible for any human alive to know the details (or even the basics!) of every single one of them. Do you honestly think that kind of a genius — or even just someone highly knowledgeable in electronics — would be happy working as a shelf picker?!?!  :palm:

The product in question does not look like a battery, it looks like a relay, film cap, or IC. Nothing about it hints that it's actually got a battery secreted inside. What Mouser needs to do is have the packer instructions expressly say which packaging to use for this item, with an express warning not to insert it into black ESD foam.


This reminds me of one time when I was with extended family, and upon asking for a set of AA batteries, was presented with a few dozen of them, neatly packed end-to-end and touching the sides of a metal biscuit tin. Needless to say, they were completely dead. When I asked why they were taken out of their original packaging and packed this way, the response was "but they fit perfectly!" :palm:
Again, why is it reasonable to expect non-electronics people to understand why that's a problem? Were you taught about these things in school?
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2020, 05:59:01 pm »
Again, why is it reasonable to expect non-electronics people to understand why that's a problem? Were you taught about these things in school?

I was, we had a unit on electricity when I was in maybe 2nd grade, and then in 7th grade tech ed was a required course where there was a lesson on electrical circuits. It doesn't take an expert to know that sources of electricity and conductive objects are not a good mix and that you don't want to short anything out. This is one of those things like tying one's shoes and not sticking your finger in a light socket that I'd just kind of expect people to know.

Regarding the PowerCaps, I would expect there to be a note on the rack stating specific packing instructions, surely they have all sorts of parts with special considerations and must have a process for handling that? Especially since this is the second time in just a few months that this has happened to me.
 
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Offline exe

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2020, 08:07:25 pm »
It's funny how little it takes to annoy people and make them ranting all over the Internet. Everyone presumes that "I'm not that stupid, I'd never do a mistake like this, so the person/company/whoever who made this mistake must be $%%^^". Many problems seem to be trivial aftermath, but hard to foresee without knowing all the details. Once people know about the problem, they think that people who don't know yet are idiots and "need to be educated". Of course in a very straight and offensive way. That's how justice warriors are born.

PS Just think what your plumber, or car mechanic thinks of you.
 
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Online rdl

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2020, 08:39:19 pm »
Since not everything sold by Mouser (or Digi-key, etc.) is shipped in ESD protective packaging, there must be some procedure in place to determine when it is used and what type. I wonder how that is determined. Do the distributors take a "best guess"? I doubt it. Seems to me they would be following manufacturer recommendations. Something seems to have gone wrong in this case.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2020, 09:10:55 pm »
It's funny how little it takes to annoy people and make them ranting all over the Internet. Everyone presumes that "I'm not that stupid, I'd never do a mistake like this, so the person/company/whoever who made this mistake must be $%%^^". Many problems seem to be trivial aftermath, but hard to foresee without knowing all the details. Once people know about the problem, they think that people who don't know yet are idiots and "need to be educated". Of course in a very straight and offensive way. That's how justice warriors are born.

PS Just think what your plumber, or car mechanic thinks of you.

I'm not going around ranting all over the internet, I posted once here in the chat section of this forum mostly curious if others had the same experience. I'm not saying don't buy from Mouser and I'm not going to stop buying from them myself. It's not *that* big of a deal, I don't want anyone fired, I'm not asking for their head on a stake, I'm not advocating for new laws, I'm not demanding compensation for wasted time or the fact that I'm unable to deliver to the customer on time, I mean whatever, stuff happens.  I was just annoyed and so I posted something to vent my frustration, it's as simple as that.

Yes I was a bit annoyed, I think if you went to a business twice within a month or two and twice they made the same dumb mistake you'd probably be annoyed too. I know very well what my plumber and car mechanic think of me because they are me. Yes like anyone I make mistakes, however it's rare that I make the same mistake twice.
 
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Offline mcovington

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2020, 01:36:59 am »
Exactly. You were pointing out something that can go wrong, which managers need to know about.  I wonder if the manufacturer of the vulnerable device needs to clue in the distributors.
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2020, 03:28:48 am »
Could Maxim/Dallas be to blame?
The PowerCap datasheet has no packaging information, no formal name, it's not the "PCM".
Digikey says it comes in a tube of 19 pcs.
So how would the fulfillment workers know what to do? Usually you cut a tube to size- if you have extra.
 

Offline Munich

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2020, 04:04:23 am »
I normally purchase a full tube and can confirm that they come in a clear plastic tube.  However, the date code is still important - I don't see any mention of this but these batteries do have a shelf life, and there was a batch, maybe five years ago, I purchased several tubes and ended up replacing a good number of those less than 2 years later.  Never looked further into this, but it did not seem right.  I didn't look at the date code before/after as I didn't realize how short lived they were until the end of the year.  Math said they should have been good for more than five years in the application. 
 

Offline james_s

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2020, 04:10:20 am »
I assume the date code is one of those numbers printed on them, I don't know how to decode them but the picture shows the actual units in question.

The thing I like about these PowerCap things is that the battery is not potted and could be easily replaced. I'm surprised even expired ones were only good for 2 years, I've had some of these Dallas parts that still worked when they were 20 years old.
 

Offline Munich

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2020, 04:23:34 am »
I just looked back and those are the exact part number that I had fail early... What are the chances?  However, mine arrived in tubes.  I should have pulled the coin cell to see who made it, I realize the packaging could very likely be the cause, but you never know...  I've had numerous counterfeit coin cell problems in the past few years...

I believe that date code is the 35th week of 2018 so they shouldn't be past shelf life.   :-//
 

Offline james_s

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2020, 04:29:40 am »
Well I can open one of these up to look at the battery, they come apart pretty easily. I was looking at one earlier and noticed there's foam bits stuck in the seam around the perimeter of the battery, they've probably drained even further since I unpacked them.
 

Offline Munich

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Re: WTF Mouser??
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2020, 04:42:04 am »
What is the resistance between two points(of same distance of those battery terminals) on that foam?  You could calculate approximate charge loss over time and come up with an idea of how much is missing.

It really interests me that you had failure on this same part number as I did a while back.  As I recall, they weren't cheap, and I love free replacements  ;D
 


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