How many of you are component hoarders? How do you store it all?


#1

The longer people have been into electronics their part inventory seems to grow. Outside of some components to prototype on a breadboard with. We can get parts overnight for free a few distributors. If you work on old equipment with out of production parts then it’s reasonable to buy up what you can.

I’m often guilty of window shopping for parts even when I’m not actively using them in a design. Unusual or unique parts get added to my cart when I make an order. I also like to collect things with unique architectures but those are few and far between.

I’m still looking for a better storage system for parts. The Chipseasy is interesting but it’s questionable if they’ll be around for the long term. I’m currently using standard parts drawers for larger parts and a couple of Box-All boxes one for larger parts, and one for small, and tape strip binders for SMD.


#2

AI keep my through hole parts in those sets of drawers from the building supplies. There are also those utility boxes that are good for keeping sets of bulky items together - i.e. Connectors. For SMD I use ringed binders and experimented with various storage pocket types. I settled for postcard holder pages. They are big enough to tske the ESD packaging from The likes of Digikey, which also means the barcode and reorder info is intact.
I wrote more about it on my blog.


#3

Great question! A recent change in my philosophy has forced me to look at this situation. I used to have a HUGE parts stock. LOTS of stuff. little draws, boxes, shelves all over the place. If I needed a part, with a little digging I likely had it. Every sample I ever got, every chip or part I was given from (electronics friends), parts from college, etc… I had it. Then I moved into a small city apartment. In THAT situation I had no place to store stuff, so I put most if it in storage and therefore had very little on-hand.

After a couple years of this I realized it was EASIER for me to just order the parts I needed when I needed them. Amazon sameday/next day shipping is an amazing thing and it was much easier than driving over to my storage garage in the rain/snow/heat/humidity and digging through boxes to find a sub-$1 part. A click on Amazon was much easier.

What this taught me was, I don’t need to have a billion parts in stock to do the type of projects I do. The downside was a day or two waiting for a part could, and did, cause me to get out of my groove and loose momentum in the project. Lost motivation. Other things wedged in etc. So I do stock parts, but just not a ton. I’ve since moved (again) into a larger place I have the room for more stuff, but I kinda liked keeping it minimalist.

What DO I keep in stock? I keep a good stock of common things on hand, LOTS of LEDs, LOTS of switches and buttons especially simple toggles and PCB mounted push-button. A good stock of resistors of the most common values, some POTs of varying styles/values, caps, and some common chips/devices (555’s, 7400 stuff, op-amps, voltage regulators) and as many Arduino pro-micro’s as possible :slight_smile: The goal is to be able to be able to mock-up almost any project or test/dev circuit around any new fancy chip I can without having to run to the store or order something. THEN, if my experiment needs to be built into a permanent form-factor THEN I buy the parts I need to build it and do that.

This has helped me keep tighter control on my parts sprawl. I physically organize in two ways really. Those little component drawers and also little parts boxes.

These are larger things like POTs with BIG knobs, switches, buttons, motors, couple of bare transformers, even some small water pumps, larger relays etc.

These are just resistors, transistors and diodes.

The right side is more/less what I call (in my head) common stock. LEDs, chips, etc. The left side is what I call “niche” or “interesting” parts. Some analog switches, or a part I found online that was neat that I wanted to play with and had extras. That sort of thing.

So because my inventory is small, and grouped in a way that I know more/less where to look for things I don’t really need to inventory stuff. Anything else I just order and wait for it, or run to fry’s (now that I live close to one again!)

That’s what I do…

Brian


#4

My approach is basically along the same lines of what others have been using. I definitely started out as a component hoarder. But now that I’m running out of room it’s becoming increasingly harder to clear off enough space on my bench to work on projects. So I turned to those compartments similar to what @Brian is using above for my through hole components. It’s surprising though how fast those things get filled up. I’m starting to look for a more efficient means of organization. For SMD stuff, like @Steve_Mayze I’m just now organizing those components with the 3 ring binders and 9 pocket baseball card holders. I was thinking of ordering a few of these anti static bags to fit inside the pockets: https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/scs/30023/SCP403-ND/3430453. I may buy a few of the larger post card sized pages like Steve mentioned for the larger inventory. The trick now will be to organize the components in a way that makes them easy to flip through and find when I need them.

Like @Brian I’m trying to cut back on the amount of extra stock I buy when I make an order. For my latest builds I’m essentially just ordering enough components to make that one thing. There are exceptions though. For example, if I’m ordering components on digikey and I need, say 6 of something for a project, sometimes it’ll actually be cheaper to order an extra 4 of that thing because ordering 10 or more provides a special discounted price. I find this a lot with resistors, capacitors, leds, etc. But sometimes it also applies to other SMD components. It’s an estimate of risk vs reward in that you have to gauge how long am I willing to wait for this component to reorder it if I happen to lose or destroy this one somehow.


#5

I do what Steve does for part storage (got the idea from him), using part binders. However if I get more space for my lab in the future, I’ll likely borrow the idea shown here with the snapping cases inside shelving:


#6

I use envelopes and a box. but I keep only the bare essentials. You know the 4 or 5 resistors you use over and over, the same with caps LED’s and inductors. After that it’s buy as ya require. I did a small spread sheet of how much per sq meter my garage is… and how much the components are… and what do you know it’s not cost efficient to hold components (not even close).

I also have a max project of 3… once I have 3 on the go. I have a rule I’m not allowed to start the next till I finish all 3.

So I try to plan x3 and build x1, but meh, who likes planning.


#7

I have never done the sums… I think I save on the delivery costs by slightly over ordering parts on one project for what could be common components (and taking advantage of the quantity breaks). Then I don’t have to order the same things so often.


#8

WEN TAI SMT Parts bins - user configurable.

Amazon Search


#9

I use the same sort of trays but most of my parts are PTH and not SMD. My foray into SMD is a relatively new thing. I label the cases by generic content e.g Resistor or Caps etc.

I love his rack system, kind of appeals to my ever so slightly O/C need to classify and tidy. :relaxed: