Clear ESD Safe 'Kit' boxes for electronic components

Thread Starter

dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
720
I have been looking for a decent ESD safe storage container for small electronic components. Something like the following:

1664804202957.png
https://www.amazon.com/uxcell-Component-Storage-Box-193x132x22mm/dp/B07MB8T1PT/ref=sr_1_7?crid=2H42DCARQJBD2&keywords=esd+safe+electronics+storage&qid=1664811330&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjU5IiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ==&sprefix=esd+safe+electronics+sto,aps,1461&sr=8-7

This is from Amazon, but it does not state anything about being ESD safe. It states it is an:
Electronic Component Container
But it has nothing to say about it being ESD safe. Are there certain plastics that are? Or is there a storage box similar to the one shown here that is guaranteed ESD safe?

Also, it has to be at a reasonable price as it is being used for a product I am selling to customers.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
389
If it doesn't state ESD safe, it's not. Those type boxes definitely aren't – that material is always static-charged.

Maybe not the best solution, but I use these pill organizers from Walmart for SMD components. Each compartment has a separate lid, so the parts don't get mixed.

I cut a cross from thin pink foam ESD envelopes (I have more than enough to last several lifetimes!), and push one into each compartment to cover the bottom and sides.

SmartSelect_20221003_114351_Walmart.jpg
 

Thread Starter

dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
720
If it doesn't state ESD safe, it's not. Those type boxes definitely aren't – that material is always static-charged.

Maybe not the best solution, but I use these pill organizers from Walmart for SMD components. Each compartment has a separate lid, so the parts don't get mixed.

I cut a cross from thin pink foam ESD envelopes (I have more than enough to last several lifetimes!), and push one into each compartment to cover the bottom and sides.

View attachment 277602
Thanks for the idea! I am storing something just slightly to large for that. Mainly small PCB boards from 0.2 inches square to 1 inch square. The boards have 0.1" on center headers that looks something like this:

1664821667537.png
I was thinking something similar like those black static safe foams that you push a DIP style IC into. Then I could put like you are recommending, that is some pink ESD foam on top or I could simply wrap them in the ESD foam and place them in the containers.
 

Thread Starter

dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
720
There are plastic containers that have carbon added to the plastic to make it conductive and ESD safe such as this, but they cost more than the one you posted.
What do you think of Chandlers idea? That sounds workable to me. Regular plastic container box but wrap parts in ESD foam and or the black foam for DIP style IC chips?
 
Last edited:

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,552
I use these for SMD parts. They claim they are ESD safe though I can't measure any conductance across them (in nS, which should show something even for very high resistance) but I don't know if that matters. Some of my ESD safe boxes are black and very low resistance, some don't appear to conduct.

tempImageP7cttL.gif

In any case, the have spring loaded clear lids that pop up when unlatched. They are about 19.5mm deep, with an opening of about 17.5mm by 18.5mm (measured to the projection coming from the side. They interlock, so you can use them in any configuration. The ones behind that link are at a good price.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,350
The whole goal is to keep the pins on a device within a few volts of the other pins. It doesn't matter if the box holds a charge or the floating voltage / static voltage is even several thousand voltage above ground - the device doesn't know or care. The only issue is any potential difference between pins.

The conductive foam had been used for years. Analog Devices has shipped sample parts or high value single parts in clear polystyrene boxes (highly susceptible to static charge issues) with the black or pink anti-static foam. To be static-dissipative, it must have a bulk resistance of a few meg-ohms or less. If graphite is used, it must be 23% graphite or more. There is a strong knee in conductivity when adding graphite to a plastic. No matter then particle size or the mixing energy added, it always starts conducting at about 23% of reasonably "powdered" graphite is used. Carbon black doesn't have the sharp knee of graphite - some conductivity at much lower concentrations - but never close to the concentration of graphite powders.
 

Thread Starter

dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
720
The whole goal is to keep the pins on a device within a few volts of the other pins. It doesn't matter if the box holds a charge or the floating voltage / static voltage is even several thousand voltage above ground - the device doesn't know or care. The only issue is any potential difference between pins.

The conductive foam had been used for years. Analog Devices has shipped sample parts or high value single parts in clear polystyrene boxes (highly susceptible to static charge issues) with the black or pink anti-static foam. To be static-dissipative, it must have a bulk resistance of a few meg-ohms or less. If graphite is used, it must be 23% graphite or more. There is a strong knee in conductivity when adding graphite to a plastic. No matter then particle size or the mixing energy added, it always starts conducting at about 23% of reasonably "powdered" graphite is used. Carbon black doesn't have the sharp knee of graphite - some conductivity at much lower concentrations - but never close to the concentration of graphite powders.
Thanks! That is very informative. In that case I plan to use regular clear plastic containers and place each device in conductive foam and then place that into the bins of the container. That is what I thought (it does not matter as long as the pins of the device are within a few volts of each other). But I was not entirely sure. Thanks again!
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,098
In that case I plan to use regular clear plastic containers and place each device in conductive foam and then place that into the bins of the container.
I've been doing that since the late 1970's.

I don't know if the black antistatic foam these days is better than some types used back then, but I have some parts that have significant lead corrosion after 4 decades or so.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
7,088
The whole goal is to keep the pins on a device within a few volts of the other pins. It doesn't matter if the box holds a charge or the floating voltage / static voltage is even several thousand voltage above ground - the device doesn't know or care. The only issue is any potential difference between pins.
Absolutely true. Static is just that - static, in that it's not moving. It's a potential charge. The danger to components comes when that energy starts to move. ESD Electro-Static DISCHARGE. That can happen when you touch a component and you have a different potential than the component does. Can even happen when you just get close to the component
Thanks! That is very informative. In that case I plan to use regular clear plastic containers and place each device in conductive foam and then place that into the bins of the container.
I've been storing resistors, caps, standard diodes and standard transistors unprotected in such plastic containers like the one you show. I also keep chips in similar containers. However, the chips are pinned into black conductive foam. Like MrSalts said, as long as the potential isn't greatly different from pin to pin you're safe. In other words, there's no charge transfer as pins try to equalize. And equalization is exactly what the foam does.

As for "Pink Polly", it doesn't produce static. However it doesn't protect against it either. Metalized bags are the best defense against unwanted current passing through sensitive chips. That and conductive foam. And I've worked with chips as sensitive as down to 50 volts static. Satellites and other space craft require ultra low power consumption and therefore they can be extremely sensitive. For what I mess with - static, though it is a concern, it's nothing that keeps me up at night.
 

Thread Starter

dcbingaman

Joined Jun 30, 2021
720
I've been doing that since the late 1970's.

I don't know if the black antistatic foam these days is better than some types used back then, but I have some parts that have significant lead corrosion after 4 decades or so.
Being I am 55, I doubt I am going to make it another 4 decades. I will have 'significant corrosion' after that time. :). Thanks for the info!
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,098
Being I am 55, I doubt I am going to make it another 4 decades.
Some of the people who put the components I have in the antistatic foam may have died by now, but that won't stop the corrosion from progressing.

If the antistatic foam you use is of a type that can cause corrosion, people using/reusing it in the decades to come may also have problems.

There are some types that state they resist corrosion:
1665084975599.png
 
Last edited:

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,350
I've been doing that since the late 1970's.

I don't know if the black antistatic foam these days is better than some types used back then, but I have some parts that have significant lead corrosion after 4 decades or so.
I had a beautiful set of vintage Intel 4004, 8008 and eight sets of Motorola 6400 chips (all the chips to make their "microcomputer" in their datasheet - 8-sets). They were sitting on a shelf, in plastic boxes, in black foam for... "4-decades or so". I started culling my collections during Covid and several pins were just power they were so corroded and stuck onto the 1970's/80's era foam. Modern foam should last at least as long as my eyesight, dexterity, interest or sanity last.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,552
There is a type of black conductive foam that attracts moisture. This is bad for IC pins because it will accelerate corrosion. Reject it if it looks like sponge impregnated with carbon. The pink foam is better in this respect.
I can attest to rotting pins on ICs stored in some black foam long term. It’s nasty stuff. I store components long term with ”do not eats”, the name I give to a desiccant pack and an oxygen absorber. I have had too may parts (expecially switches and pots) go bad even having done nothing.

As an aside, cyanoacrylate glues cure from moisture. Keeping them in s ziplock with desiccants an dramatically lengthen she’ll life and eliminate that frustrated feeling when you reach for the glue you haven’t needed for several months and find a solid mass.
 
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