No matter if you’re an electronics hobbyist or a professional, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of having your resisters, transistors, capacitors, and switches strewn about the workspace while working on an electronic project. It causes a headache, and you don’t want your parts to get mixed up and lost in the shuffle either. Fortunately, storing them is simple! The right storage techniques can keep your parts organised and protected from the elements, allowing them to last for an extended period of time. It only takes a little forethought and organisation. Following this, your electronic components will be safe and easy to locate when you need them.
Method 1 Storage Container Types
1. Invest in a storage cabinet if you have a lot of small parts to keep track of. If you’ve been collecting parts for a long time, you’re likely to have a large number of them to organise and store properly. In this situation, electronic storage cabinets are the most appropriate solution. This type of cabinet is large, about the size of a file cabinet, and it has numerous small compartments that can hold a variety of different parts. Investing in one of these will significantly reduce the amount of clutter in your workspace.
Electronics, hardware, and office supply stores should all have a wide selection of storage cabinets available to their customers. You can go out and look for the perfect one or search online for one.
A large amount of space will be required for a storage cabinet. Some professionals prefer to place them on a workbench so that everything remains in the same location.
Many small compartments that slide out like drawers are found in most storage cabinets, which have an open front design. Parts of the same type can be stored in each compartment.
These cabinets are also useful for storing small parts such as screws, bolts, nails, and other similar items. Just make sure that each piece is placed in a different slot.
2. Organize your parts in a carrying case to make them more portable. For those who don’t have a large number of electronic components, or who need to transport them frequently, carrying cases may be a better option than an entire cabinet in some cases. In addition, they take up significantly less space. These plastic cases, which resemble small toolboxes, are divided into slots for storing various components. After that, you can store the case on a shelf or in a drawer to keep your space looking tidy and organised.
Most electronic stores have a plethora of different carrying cases that you can experiment with. Look around for one that has enough space and is durable enough to meet your requirements.
The slot walls of some cases are removable, allowing you to adjust the slot size to accommodate larger pieces. This type may be the most appropriate if your parts come in a variety of sizes.
Due to the fact that this case is portable, take care not to lose it! Always store it in the same location so that you can locate it quickly.
3. For a quick fix, use a regular plastic box as a makeshift solution. You are not required to use a special case or cabinet for your components. It is also possible to use a plastic toolbox or tackle box. If you have any extra boxes like these lying around, they’ll come in handy for keeping your parts organised as well as your workspace.
To keep similar parts together, use a box that has sections rather than one that does not. The use of a tackle box is an excellent option in this situation.
Individuals who wish to create their own compartments can do so by cutting out cardboard walls and glueing them to the case. This creates individual sections to prevent parts from becoming messed up.
4. Individual parts should be protected during storage by using plastic bags. You only require sealable plastic bags if you have a small number of pieces or if you want to give the pieces you’re storing a little more protection than usual. Bags protect the components from static electricity and dust, as well as keeping them together.
If you put different types of parts in the same bag, you will have difficulty finding the part you need. One bag should be dedicated to a single part type.
Even if you use plastic bags, it is still preferable to store items in another type of container, such as a cabinet or case. You’ll be able to keep them organised and get the parts you need more quickly this way.
5. Continue to store parts in their original packaging until you’re prepared to utilise them. In the case of new electronic components, all of this sorting and labelling has already been completed for you. If you simply store the parts in their packaging until you’re ready to use them, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort.
In addition, the original packaging is intended to protect the parts from static electricity and dust, which is an added bonus.
Even if you keep the parts in their original packaging, it’s a good idea to have some sort of protective case for them to keep them safe. This helps to keep them organised and in order.
Method 2 Organization Tips
1. Sort all of your pieces into groups that contain other pieces that are the same as yours. This is a great way to get your parts organised before storing them in a storage unit. Take some time to organise all of the parts into categories. Assemble all of the transistors, resistors, chips, and capacitors in a single assembly. You’ll be able to locate all of the parts you require in a short period of time.
Depending on the number of parts you have, you may need to further subdivide these groups of parts. If you have resistors in a variety of different values, group them together into groups of the same value.
Information about the value of an electronic component is usually printed on the component, so look for any markings that will assist you in sorting them.
2. Dust all of the components to keep them from corroding. Dust can attract moisture, which will eventually begin to corrode the parts of your vehicle. Always dust them off before putting them away to ensure that they remain clean and safe while in storage.
A blast of air from a can of compressed air should suffice for larger parts. If there are any smaller parts that might fly away, use a microfiber cloth to wipe them off.
3. Anti-static foam or bags should be used to protect static-sensitive parts before storing them. A number of electronic components, particularly transistors and integrated circuits, are sensitive to static electricity.  Always place the leads for these pieces in anti-static foam and then wrap them in an anti-static bag to keep them safe from damage while in transit or storage.
If you are unsure whether a component is sensitive to static electricity or not, it is best to be safe and wrap it.
4. Wires and cables should be rolled up to prevent them from becoming tangled. Untangling wires when you need them is essential, whether you have loose wires or parts with wires protruding in the wrong places on your machine. Roll each wire neatly to prevent it from becoming tangled, and then store each spool in its own slot to prevent anything from wrapping around it.
If you roll with wires too tightly, you may cause damage to them.
You could also roll up each wire individually in a spool to make it even more organised.
5. Separate each type of part into its own bag or slot. It is not dangerous to store different parts in the same slot at the same time; however, it will be much more convenient for organisation if you give each part type its own slot. Regardless of whether you’re using a storage cabinet, a carrying case, or plastic bags, make sure to put one type of part in each compartment.
6. In the slot that holds the piece, write the name of the piece that is being held. In addition to making sure the parts are properly organised, you must make certain that each one can be easily identified. The most effective method of accomplishing this is to label each slot with the type of part that it holds. All of this information should be written down with a permanent marker so that you can easily find the parts you need without having to look too hard.
In the event that you do not want to write directly on the slot, you can place a piece of clear or masking tape down and write on that.
If printing labels and taping them to each slot is more convenient for you, you could do so as well. Label makers are inexpensive and readily available at office supply stores.
7. Keep a running list of all of the parts you have and where they are located in your home. If you have a large number of parts, you may find yourself spending a significant amount of time trying to locate the correct one. Maintaining an organised list of your possessions will save you time and effort in the long run. Make a note of the part type and the slot in which it is stored so that you can locate everything quickly.
While a paper list is perfectly acceptable, some professionals prefer to use spreadsheets. This can assist you in organising a great deal more information.
Method 3 The Storage Environment
1. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific storage requirements that may be necessary. There are some general guidelines that apply to the majority of electrical components. Some components, on the other hand, may have specific temperature or humidity requirements. Always check the manual to see if there are any instructions on how to properly store the item before proceeding.
If you don’t have access to a manual, you can try contacting the part manufacturer for assistance.
2. Maintain a cool environment in your storage area to keep the parts safe. The combination of heat and electric components is not harmonious. High temperatures can cause parts to degrade and may even promote corrosion. In general, keep your storage area at a temperature of no more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) to ensure that your parts have the longest possible shelf life.
Some electronic components are extremely resilient and can withstand temperatures as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Higher temperatures, on the other hand, are not ideal, as the parts will begin to degrade at higher temperatures. It is still preferable to keep your storage area cool in order to ensure that each component lasts as long as possible.
3. Keep the components away from direct sunlight. Sunlight, on its own, is unlikely to cause damage to electronic components, but it can degrade plastic housing. The sun can also be used to heat electric components. It’s best if you can keep your parts away from direct sunlight and in the dark.
4. Maintain a relative humidity of less than 60% to avoid corrosion and mould growth. Rust, corrosion, and mould can begin to form on your electronic components when they are exposed to high humidity. The best way to protect them is to maintain a relative humidity of approximately 60% in the area, which will keep the components dry.
If your components are located in a humid environment, you should use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry.
Because of the high humidity levels in your garage, it is almost always the worst place to store electronic equipment. Preferably, you should keep your parts indoors, where you can regulate the humidity level.
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