Saturday, July 12, 2014

Off-Topic: Getting Organized

Lately it's been driving me a bit crazy having to hunt for resistors, capacitors, and other components that I know I have somewhere in my electronics collection. The real problem is that the "collection" is really more of a disorganized mess consisting of about 4 or 5 large boxes with no real method for determining what goes in a certain box. It's very haphazard, and I've had enough. If you're like me and you really enjoy working with electronics and plan on doing so in the future, you'd probably prefer a more organized collection for future projects.

$12 plus free shipping -- 2500 resistors
I'm tackling it a bit at a time. First up, my resistor collection. For about $12 and free shipping, I purchased a mega collection of resistors not too long back in a variety of values. Each value came as a string of 100 resistors each as you can see in one of the photos. It was a great buy, and probably way more resistors than I'll use in a decade or more, but again... $12 for 2500 resistors and free shipping.

I'm one of those who prefers to be a bit mobile when I'm working on any projects, not just electronics. So I'm always looking for smaller toolboxes and ways to organize visually while also keeping things portable. I know some hobbyists who keep their resistors separated by values in small drawer/trays that are labeled and inserted into a box or wall-mounted system. It's a great system, but not that portable. My solution uses nothing but a few small boxes and some card stock for separators with the value at the top. It takes two boxes to keep them all, but as I continue to work through projects I'm finding that I always reach for certain values and those values are slowly but surely getting moved to a single box, with lesser used values going in the other box. At a glance, I can see the value, reach down and grab the plastic bag, and pull out the quantity I need. Here's a photo.

One habit that I'm trying to develop is that after pulling apart a circuit I immediately put the resistors back in their proper bag. For those times when I don't do this, I've got a small Altoids tin where they go for me to one day (ONE DAY...!) pull out the multimeter and take a reading and file them properly.

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