Building out your lab



what are those storage units on the shelving behind you in the videos? I could use some of those.


What are you building right now?

Hey Mike, thought i’d move this to a new topic.

Those are actually the “diode kit” shown on this page:

I am not sure it’s a necessity to have that many diodes around, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt either. I also have the transistor kit.

I normally recommend that people do not over-buy for a lab as the parts will likely just sit there. But if you’d like to have a discussion about parts to possibly have on hand, this might be a good place to do it.


If it’s just the bins you’re looking for, my wife scolded me for falling into the trap of getting electronics specific ones when you can get all sorts of bins for cheap at Walmart or if you’re in the states probably Target and places like that.

I got myself a couple of these and a label maker and have tonnes of storage:


With the quantities of SMD parts I get I could not justify the bench space taken up by these sets of drawers. I ended up with an alternative solution to use binders and plastic holders for post cards. In my situation, it works a treat.


Oh yeah, I love that solution, I have that on my bench as well for my project parts.



that’s what I was looking for. It’s not for my electronic parts it’s for stuff sitting on a cabinet in the garage. Though I could use them for parts I guess.



One piece of equipment I would like to get soon is a good bench power supply. Two channel would be nice, don’t think I need three. Something with 0-3(5) Amps and 0-30 Volts. Three digit decimal display might be good for work with lower power devices. I’m sure there are other things to consider.

What are folks using and what are they looking for in a power supply?



I have this GW Instek GPS-3303 that I picked up used for $100, it works great, has the 2 channel 0-30V, 3A and a third channel that is fixed at 5V,3A which to be honest is what I end up using the most.


Nice! that looks in very good shape too.


For power supplies, I use 2 different supplies instead of 1 supply with 2 outputs. At the time, my requirements were for small and portable. Both work great. I prefer the Tenma because of the output on/off button and the significally smaller form factor.

For small part storage, I splurged a bit and went with the Wen Tai boxes. They make it _very_convenient to find parts, grab them with a tweezers, and place them directly on to boards. I have about 9 “trays”/configurations of these that are 9"x7.5"x7/8" each. The bins come in several sizes and have a pretty easy to assemble way of sliding them together in the configuration you are looking for. I have been doing this for about 4 years now without issue. These parts bins are out in my non-heated/non-A/C garage 24x7x365. I do put LEDs in in the same part boxes, but then they are put in an air tight container with a bunch of dessicant so I don’t have an issue when I reflow them. I do choose to remove all of my small parts from the tape/tubes/etc and place them directly in the bins. This saves a ton of space. I started with enough bins to make maybe 2 or 3 trays and built up from there.


How much time would you say you spend on organization for that sort of thing?



If you are asking me, it is generally about the time it takes to inventory all the parts that come in from DigiKey for a project - meaning the time it take to make sure I received the parts I ordered - triple that. So maybe if it took me 10 minutes to inventory, it takes me maybe 30 minutes total to inventory, take the parts out of their tape/tube, put them in their bins, and create the labels. That can vary greatly depending on the types of parts ordered. If all of my resistors ordered are the same physical size and come from the same manufacturer, creating labels for each value is very quick after the first one.

If I have to move the bins around to get the sizes/types/features/capabilities in order again, which I do once or twice a year, that process takes 10-15 minutes per a “tray”. Generally, I just add the new sizes on the bottom row until I re-organize. At this point, I have a decent selection of many jellybean parts, reducing the need to re-organize often.


Yes, sorry, I should have tagged you @hedrickbt :slight_smile:

Have you seen any issues with parts not behaving as expected when you pull them from the bins for later use? Like
any antistatic issues?



Not yet! But I only have about 3-4 years in on many of the parts. If you are worried about static, they have black ones listed specifically as anti-static.

I prefer having different colors making it easier to grab the right tray.
Red = Resistor
Cyan = Capacitor
Blue = ICs

Did you, by chance, see any part failures when you were in the basement that you thought might be due to static, humidity, etc?


No, never did, but always wonder about it. We never were using super sensitive chips though, nor were we doing enough build volume to really suss out problems like that (ie. we were normally dealing with so many other issues)



I am sure if we made 10,000 of something we would have had an issue somewhere. But then, I would wondered if the environmental conditions were the cause or just general entropy/Murphy.


We used to produce a small 24V to 12V converter for Volvo Cars. It was used for car radio backup. Suddenly we had a 30% reject in our final tests. We track the problem to a solder iron that was not grounded. We then used the mosfet transistor BS170. Static from the solder iron killed them :rage:


Whoa! How long did that take to figure out?


In production you have to solve a problem like that quick. Within an hour i guess. After grounding the solder iron, zero defects. Thats why you always should have 100% final testing. Volvo Cars will not tolerate even 0,1% failure within warranty.


Hi Steve,

I was looking for a simple and cheap way to store some of my SMD parts – this looks great!
Thanks for sharing.