IC Storage - Preferably of the safe type

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by PerryMakes, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. PerryMakes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 28, 2012
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    Hi everyone -
    I'm always a little nervous when first posting to a new group (technically this is my second post... and it really can't get any worse than the first...)

    So I'll start off with something simple here.

    In the first few weeks of beginning my journey into the land of electronics I've picked up a few introductory texts and the associated tools/components they call for. A few companies are nice enough to create bundles that go well with the educational material. We're talking various resistors, capacitors, diodes (including a few LEDs), 22awg hook-up wire, a speaker, and your basic run-of-the-mill ICs: 555, 324/339/741, AD5220, etc. Being new to the hardware side of things (been a career software dev for over 20yrs now), I'm not comfortable with what's sensitive to static and what's not... I've seen people refer to ALL ICs being susceptible - but the way many things have been shipped to me either indicate that this is not the case OR that some vendors are simply careless (my guess would be a little of both). I've always seen MOSFETs indicated as especially susceptible... I just don't really know which ones in this pile qualify as such! :confused:

    But I do have a tangible question to be posed here: is it safe to store these basic ICs (or really anything mentioned so far) - including MOSFETs - in the plastic Plano Stowaway bins you find in the tools/fishing section at your local Big Box? I'll add one thing here: Is it safe for them to be stored "bare" meaning not stuck in the anti-static foam some of them came in? I appreciate any knowledge the group cares to disperse with! ;)

    Cheers ~ Perry
     
  2. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Most commercial ICs have pretty good ESD protection structures on the pins and can take a pretty amazing amount of static before going bye-bye. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take as many precautions as you reasonably can.

    MOS transistors are very susceptible to ESD damage and bare transistors are particularly sensitive, though even most of these have protection diodes built in.

    The plastic bins you refer to are not static safe; in fact, they are pretty bad about allowing the buildup of static charge. I would recommend against storing static sensitive parts in such bins unless they are stuck into anti-static foam. When possible, I prefer to store ICs in the tubes they are typically shipped in. I've cut down a bunch of these tubes to lengths that let me store them in a convenient box (which has changed over the years, but has at times been a Plano fishing tackle box).
     
  3. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    This topic has been covered many times in the past but it does not hurt to keep bringing it up.

    There is no right way or wrong way. There is a wide range of practice ranging from being absolutely careless to being paranoid.

    If you are a hobbyist you can toss all of your chips into one baggie and forget about it.
    In most cases, you may never encounter a component that was destroyed by ESD.

    What is more important is knowing that components can be weakened by ESD and may fail years later in the product in the filed because of the damage sustained.

    I am a professional and would prefer not to take the chances of having damaged stock in my products. Hence ALL semiconductor components, diodes, transistors, ICs are treated with due respect for potential ESD.

    If a commercial outlet is shipping components without proper ESD protection, they ought to be notified, should accept the returned components, and would no longer get my business.

    The best thing is to keep all sensitive components in the shipping anti-static bags or rails, and store them in proper storage bins.

    High humidity also causes corrosion on IC and transistor leads. I keep components in the original anti-static bags in zip-lock bags with the silica gel packages in the bags.
     
  4. PerryMakes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 28, 2012
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    I imagine it has - so it would help if you pointed out the search terms that would have brought up these past threads. Searching for previous discussions is the FIRST thing I do before asking a question - mine specifically has to do with whether or not storing ICs in the Plano Stowaways is acceptable - and my searches came up empty.

    Suggestions are appreciated. Very much so.
     
  5. PerryMakes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 28, 2012
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    Well... damn. Anyone need a really nice $80 tackle box? If not, I should probably start looking for that receipt... :D
     
  6. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    You could line the tackle box with aluminum foil or spray anti-static spray on it.
     
  7. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
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  8. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    I have a balanced approach. I routinely store ordinary components in ESD foam in Plano and Rubbermaid polypropylene containers but expensive components and CMOS devices stay in foam or rails in shield bags.

    If anyone's interested in some explanation of the differences between static dissipative materials and static shielding materials, check out this EEVBlog episode.

    http://www.eevblog.com/2012/02/25/eevblog-247-anti-static-bag-myth-revisted/
     
    Stuntman likes this.
  9. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I use static foam, but a lot of people are telling me it will destroy my ICs eventually. I have static tubes, but they are awkward to handle. Aluminum foil works.

    For my resistors I used something different. Resistor Parts Storage

    I've started something different with my caps and diodes.

    For my ICs and transistors it looks like this.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I tend toward casual on my handling, though I don't generally have shoes on. Shoes are insulators.

    It got my pictures (they are mine) from this thread...

    Proper Storage for Logic and other ESD Sensitive IC's

    ESD is always worth talking about...

    ElectroStatic Discharge
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  10. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    For my run of the mill resistors, I have a box with 30 drawers. I labeled 24 of the drawers with the E24 sequence and put all resistors with the same color values into the same drawer and then I only have to look for the right multiplier band. Since I frequently only have two or three of most values, this means most drawers only have about ten to fifteen resistors in it and it is easy to look through, especially since I always orient them so the tolerance band is toward the front. I use the other six drawers for the handful of resistor values that I stock larger quantities of and that I use for almost everything.

    For SMT and other small parts, I bought a box of ziplock bags over a decade ago that I still have barely touched. They are about 2"x3" (maybe a bit smaller) with a region on the front specifically intended for writing on. Those small bags I then stack into drawers in a typical small parts cabinet. They are not anti-static, so I don't put ICs in them. For ICs, I either just put them into drawers loose if I have enough of them to warrant it or, if I just have one or two of something, I stick them onto a sheet of anti-static foam that is cut to be letter sized and I have a small box that I can stack three or four stocked sheets into. I think my odds-and-ends box currently has nearly two full sheets. There's no strong organization on those parts; it doesn't take long to look them over since I always make sure I put the ICs in so that the labels face the same way. I have another box that I do the same thing with except only put SMT ICs in it, just so that I know I have to handle it a bit more carefully when it is open. As mentioned in a previous post, I also use tubes and original packaging as much as possible and I cut down tubes so that I can carry some in my portable parts kit.

    I have an acquaintance who has every part in his inventory entered into a database that he set up over thirty years ago and he makes no effort to physically organize his parts. If he buys a new part and has some left over, he finds a drawer that isn't too full and assigns the part to that drawer. If he needs a 10k resistor, he may know right where they are located, but he doesn't take one until he has removed it from the database. If he were to ever lose his database, he would be screwed big time as he has a very large collection of parts. But he knows this and so that database is extremely well backed up. I'm not recommending that system to anyone -- I doubt I could have the discipline to make it work -- but it sure works for him. He always knows exactly what he has and if he says he has five of something, he has five of it. A couple times a year he will cull his stock of things he doesn't want anymore and he does so by going through the database making the decisions and then going to the parts cabinets to get the parts. He then either sells the parts or will frequently give them away. He said it has been years since he went to get parts and found a count mismatch between the database and the drawer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  11. davebee

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
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    I've been keeping ICs in some conductive foam that I've had for about 25 years, and has worked great. I'd describe the foam as sort of stiff and crunchy, so when an IC is pressed into the foam, the metal IC legs readily break their way through the surface of the foam.

    But over the last few years the foam has starting to crumble, so I've been looking for some replacement foam.

    Recently I bought some foam to try as a replacement, but it turned out to be so tough and rubbery and springy that many ICs will not seat into the foam.

    Has anyone tried that Jameco foam? Does it work for IC storage? Any reviews?
     
  12. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    433
    106

    Yes, I have the foam and use it for the storage of all my IC's. I think it works good. Not too rubbery or springy and holds the IC's well. They go into the foam fairly easily and you can hold it upside down and shake it a little and nothing falls out.
     
  13. monster_catfish

    Active Member

    Mar 17, 2011
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    I have only been using the Jameco conductive foam sheets for a few months, but it does work as advertised. Spent hours sorting hundreds of linear and digital ICs from Jameco's "grab bags", and lining them up in grid patterns on the foam sheets. Checked a few recently for corrosion, since ambient humidity is a big concern here, and so far there is no sign of any.

    To be on the safe side though, I did leave an equal number of ICs sealed in the double layered plastic bags in which they were shipped. I'm keeping an eye on those as well, just in case condensation inside those sealed bags ever becomes a concern.
     
  14. chrisw1990

    Active Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    543
    41
    iv never bothered with static storage.. granted on lets say a £18 GPS IC i might take a different approach but some opamps that are a penny a dozen? meh.
    might be different if i was a company making commercial products.. apparently static damage can lead to failures in the field.. something to bear in mind depending on your application
     
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