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Electronic Parts Storage

Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 12:00 pm
by parkview
I rediscovered Electronics back in 2005 after a long hiatus. At first I was just buying the odd small Arduino add on sensor board or two for different projects. Things ramped up in 2012, when the first Raspberry Pi was released. For a while I was starting to make my own add on boards using Vero boards, but things took off in 2015 after my first trip to China and really took off after the 2016 visit. Initially I was buying things very cheaply from and then my world exploded with By 2017, I was in full stockup mode, with hundreds of purchases of electronic components per year, 0805 and 0603 resistors, capacitors, LEDs and Integrated Circuits etc.

So as you can imagine I have to store all this gear. At first it was very easy with one 7L plastic Bunnings tub, that turned into 2, 3 and 4 of them. In 2017 and 2018, this turned into larger 13L tubs for boxes 4, 5 and 6. In the Shenzhen markets I found lots of lovely pill style trays that where great for SMD components:
parts-trays.jpg (89.65 KiB) Viewed 400 times
These started piling up as well.

In 2018, I discovered cheap PCB Chinese manufacturing. This took off in 2019 as I was spending more time in China and working and sharing ideas with other international people. I have now started buying my parts from This means I have a more reputable source of valid components.

Earlier this year Stephen linked me to Sayanee Basu YT Channel and she talks a lot about KiCAD and low and behold, she did a video on how she handles her parts: She has now moved beyond using spreadsheets and is using and has a separate video on this.

Back in 2016, I started tracking my purchases in Excel. the information tracked has grown over the years and even includes conditional formatting to show shipping time and overdue parts etc. Now all my purchases go into this system and I find it is great to be able to look up previous purchases and costs etc. I don't like the limitations of the Cloud based partbox, so I have added a location field to my spreadsheet and purchased 400 15cm x 23cm zip-lock plastic bags and some standardised 13L Bunnings tubs. The plastic bags fit nicely inside. I number each plastic bag 1-40+ and these repeat for each tub. I will colourise each tub and their label. I offset each masking tape bag label from the previous one - in blocks of 10. This makes finding each one a bit easier. Now I can do a spread sheet search and easily find the relevant box and bag for the part I need:
parts-tub.jpg (63.3 KiB) Viewed 400 times

Re: Electronic Parts Storage

Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 12:18 pm
by parkview
So before I assemble components onto a new PCB, I like to print out the BOM and layout each of the components in rows onto the paper BOM sheet. This can take some time, as I have to search 16 odd components trays and 7 x 13L tubs of components that have grown haphazardly over time, ie: not all MOSFETs are in one tray. I do the assembly out in the shed, yet my BOM and parts database live in my computer room, and I didn't want to take my laptop out to the shed. I have a very old laptop out in the shed for my laser cutter. It doesn't have any Office software installed, but it does have a browser.

In the back of my mind, I thought it might be fun to write a simple python Flask utility that would lookup a sqlite DB and display a table of search results. It didn't take long to massage the yearly spreadsheets into one coherent CSV file and import the data into a sqlite database. Then it was grabbing a copy of my Conversation Comment code: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=188&p=3390 and adding a search section to the template. This is the quick result:
PartsDB.jpg (39.16 KiB) Viewed 399 times
It's very light weight with less than 60 lines of Python code and fast and can do partial lookups etc. It's good enough for the moment, but one day I might get around to installing: or maybe writing my own system? Enough for now, I have some PCB's to go and make up :)

Re: Electronic Parts Storage

Posted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 11:48 am
by parkview
Yay! It took 2 days for me to figure out how to write an edit function for my simple Parts Management Database! This is just kludged and hacked together Python code until it worked. A lot of wasted time wondering why it wasn't working as per on-line examples - until I realised that my Input fields needed a 'NAME' field. You could say most of the wasted time was getting my head around the basics. Mine is just put together so I can lookup parts from anywhere around my home. Happy to share my closed off project via Gitlab, but the code is to embarrassing to share publicly :oops:
edit-part.jpg (27.6 KiB) Viewed 126 times

Oh, and Stephen has started writing his own Parts Management project: