Electronics Findings

How to store, protect and organize electronic parts (updated 2021!)

Updated for 2021! Added some new products that I have found and updated existed product links. 

Over the past few years, I’ve amassed quite the collection of basic electronic components (chips, resistors, etc.), little microcontrollers (Arduinos and Arduino clones), and a few other tiny gadgets (the coolest of which I consider to be this mini WiFi module). With all of these sensitive components and modules, I sought a simple and cost-effective way to store, protect and organize electronic parts. Here is what I’ve found to work.

Resistor kit

I used to consider resistors (and possibly capacitors too) the most difficult things in my collection to organize correctly and compactly. Luckily, I’ve discovered a way to not only stock up my collection but also organize the resistors that I already have. This resistor kit: Joe Knows Electronics 1/2W 86 Value 860 Piece Resistor Kit is perfect.

Each resistor is organized into a labeled baggie, and all the bags fit into the pictured box with a resistor code chart on the lid.

Joe Knows Electronics 1/4W 86 Value 860 Piece Resistor Kit

Capacitor kit

The same company that released the resistor kit also released this awesome capacitor kit. It’s organized just like the resistor kit, with each value of capacitor in its own little labeled bag. I highly recommend it.

Jumper wires

The most annoying thing in the world is making your own breadboardable jumper wires. I refuse to do it. Instead, I bought one of these: Elenco 350 Piece Pre-formed Jumper Wire Kit. The wires are the perfect stiffness, and the box keeps the various sizes from running into each other.

Updated 2021: these days I prefer this kind instead (Jumper Assortment):

Stackable plastic boxes

I used to use parts organizers, but I outgrew them quickly. These days I use stackable plastic boxes like these:

I have a couple dozen sets of them. Each is labelled with my label maker:

Label maker

The Epson LabelWorks LW-PX300 Label Printer. Under $60 and with a bunch of options, it’s perfect for labeling my anti-static bags and bins once their contents are safely tucked away.

Anti-static foam

Integrated circuits, microcontrollers, MOSFETS, and a lot of other electronic components and modules are sensitive to static electricity. Many manufacturers ship their parts protected with anti-static foam, and you should do the same for storage. The leads of the part are pushed into the foam, which is slightly conductive. Anti Static Foam, High Density

Anti-static bags

Where do I store my microcontrollers and similar-sized items? Anti-static bags!

You can get a nice assortment here.

Barcode scanner

I’ve actually had this for a while; a USB barcode scanner. Goes well with the label maker above, since the label maker can print barcodes. I also use this to manage my collection of books. At about $20, it’s pretty cheap; in fact, it was the cheapest barcode scanner that actually projects a laser that I found. Most of the cheap ones require you to hold the scanner up directly to the barcode.

Grid-It Organizer

Here’s something that I just got recently. It’s not just for electronics per-say, but it is really useful if you want to organize electronic devices such as flashdrives and cables. The best way to tell you about it is to show a picture of it in action:

It’s basically a rigid, flat (no, it doesn’t fold up or zip) organizer with stretchy, grippy straps that criss-cross. They are a variety of sizes and lengths, and to put something in the organizer, you simply lift the strap and slide your item in. The grippiness of the straps aren’t easy to see in the image, but trust me, this thing will hold on to your stuff tight.

What you can’t really see in the picture I posted is that there are tons of other straps behind the items. It’s endlessly configurable. I bought the black one, but I thought the red was easier to see.

Hopefully you enjoy these as much as I do! Please note that I don’t own any of these images; Amazon does.

4 thoughts on “How to store, protect and organize electronic parts (updated 2021!)”

  1. Its nice to see someone else storing their components the way I do — I like the compartments with the handle on them. I have several integrated circuits since I usually buy more than 1 of whatever I need because they’re so cheap, so I decided to search for a better way to organize them now that I have a big enough variety that they’re becoming a hassle to sort through. Luckily, most (if not all) of them are still in their original anti-static packaging, so I think I’m going to compromise between this method of component storage and use the 3-ring binder solution (http://www.instructables.com/id/Ultimate-Parts-Storage/?&sort=ACTIVE&limit=40&offset=40#DISCUSS) for IC management.How do you sort/arrange/compartmentalize your ICs?

    1. I actually store ICs in one of those organizers, with anti-static foam lining the compartments. They’d probably be safer in actual anti-static bags, but the trade-off is that I can more easily see what I have. Each compartment is labeled, and if you stack multiple foam trays of ICs in the same compartment, it’s a pretty compact way of storing them. The binder is a great idea, but I don’t think I have enough distinct ICs to justify it.

    1. Hi John –
      These days I mostly use the barcode scanner when I sell items on Amazon and similar. It’s easier to scan a book than type the ISBN if I’m adding inventory. It would be nice to do some kind of inventorying of my electronic components, but I’ve never set that up.

      Chris

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