A heads up for parts “collectors”…

Thread Starter

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,118
So today I had occasion to dig into a small drawer in one of my Acro-Mills parts cabinets, you know the kind—little plastic drawers (and some bigger ones depending on the model, hangs on the wall, &c.

The drawer I was interested in held an assortment of zener diodes, 1W, 29 values from 3V to 47V. They came on cut tape with the values and part numbers printed on them. It let me fit all the different values in one small drawer. It has generally been my habit for many years to take advantage of the cut tape packaging (paper tape at the top and bottom, looking a little like a machine gun belt) to store different parts in the same drawer.

I was in for an unpleasant surprise today, though. When I tried to take out the 3V diodes I found the glue completely dried out and at my touch the tape fell apart dropping diodes into the tangle of the 28 other values. I could see the one underneath was also falling apart. The prospect of 29 different zener values (DO-41 glass diodes with no markings!) mixed in the drawer was not appealing, as you might imagine.

So, I grabbed 29 small ziplock bags and carefully transferred the top tape with the part information and the diodes into the bags. As a result I found that about ¼ of the values would just fall apart at a touch, ½ of the values would easily come apart or would do it with a small amount of handing, and ¼ of them were more or less like new.

I have much older parts on cut tape that still have no problem but from now one they are going in ziplocks or their own drawers when I receive them. If the diodes had mixed together, I am not sure I would have bothered to try and sort them, that would be so labor intensive replacing them would be more attractive.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,792
The gum on the tape dries leaving a residue on the wire leads. This can create problems in solderless breadboards.

If it is new shipment, I remove the tape entirely.
If the tape has already started to dry up, I cut the components from the tape.
 

Thread Starter

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,118
The gum on the tape dries leaving a residue on the wire leads. This can create problems in solderless breadboards.

If it is new shipment, I remove the tape entirely.
If the tape has already started to dry up, I cut the components from the tape.
Yes, I had that problem with some parts but I usually just cut them out close to the tape. Interestingly, in this case it left nothing at all on the leads.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,039
The cut tape parts fit nicely in a 2x2 plastic bag which is what I use for all of my resistors. Then I label the bag and put them in a small plastic box labeled with the range and stack them in order on top of my hanging wall cabinet. Traveling ATM or I’d post a pic. Also in each bag I put a small bag for loose breadboard parts. If the box is full I can just add another box to split the full one.
 
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ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
2,771
I'd much rather deal with parts falling off of the tape than the issue with having to use heat to remove old parts.

Probably better to just remove the parts from the tape when you buy them, but I never do that.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,039
I'd much rather deal with parts falling off of the tape than the issue with having to use heat to remove old parts.

Probably better to just remove the parts from the tape when you buy them, but I never do that.
I much prefer taped parts over loose ones. The taped parts store far easier. What I don’t like is when I get an order that has a bunch of different taped parts in a bag together that has loose parts in the bottom of the bag. As often happens with AliX and is even worse with SMD parts.
 

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
2,771
I always try to get my parts in "bulk" as far as getting them all in one bag...that never happens with parts from Digi-Key they separate all the parts into separate bags with a convenient label that comes in handy when reordering.

That would be a cold day in hell when I order parts without knowing how they will arrive, and where they come from.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,900
The prospect of 29 different zener values (DO-41 glass diodes with no markings!) mixed in the drawer was not appealing, as you might imagine.
I find it odd that the diodes weren't marked.

A member gave me his parts when he decided to give up electronics. There was about a 4x4x4" box filled with individual zener diodes (probably an Electronics Goldmine special). I straightened their leads, sorted by part number, and put them into 2x3 zip lock bags.
I found that about ¼ of the values would just fall apart at a touch, ½ of the values would easily come apart or would do it with a small amount of handing, and ¼ of them were more or less like new.
Do you mean the diode leads came off?
 
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ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
2,771
If the diodes are unmarked, it would take about 5 minutes to set up a testing jig and not very long to sort a number of diodes.

And no need to even bend the leads to do the tests.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,451
The test setup would include a voltmeter, a power supply, and a suitable series resistor to assure no excessive current. A bit tedious but certainly workable.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,792
The test setup would include a voltmeter, a power supply, and a suitable series resistor to assure no excessive current. A bit tedious but certainly workable.
Or you could always have a transistor I-V curve tracer ready in the back corner of your workbench ready to go.
I am sure it will come in handy for tests like these many times in its lifetime.

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