Keeping track of common parts

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This is maybe more of an off topic question, but how does everyone keep track of their most commonly used parts?

I have quite a few items that I am familiar with and I know work well so I want to keep using them. My method right now is just going into the BOMs of previous projects and finding / copying the part numbers. It's not a terrible system but as my project portfolio increases it is getting a bit more messy.

Anyone want to share some good ideas or methods they use?

Dan

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I think you have the right idea. Build a master Excel sheet from your BOM's that contains part description, value... mfg. part #, supplier and a reference to a pdf data sheet. Organize by part type for example resistors, capacitors, semiconductors ...

I then store parts in zip lock bags, semiconductors in static bags. And spend much time finding what I know I have. :)

It all starts with a mental vision.

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KitCarlson wrote:
I then store parts in zip lock bags, semiconductors in static bags. And spend much time finding what I know I have. :)

Yes. Me too. What is a static bag? :shock: :wink:

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

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larryvc wrote:
What is a static bag? :shock: :wink:
One who won't take the hint and go shopping with her girlfriends ... :lol:

... and yes it is actually called an anti-static bag.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Quote:
Build a master Excel sheet

I keep intending to do this...

But since I don't do electronics full time I find pulling up the BOM for prior projects for unique or non-standard parts to be easier.

I do have a separate folder on the computer with all of the part's data sheets.

JC

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AVRfreaks member mike32217 created a tool named WinHeist (Windows Hobbyist Electronic Inventory SysTem).
Likely something out there for Unix/Linux or OSX.

Some people keep a box per project.
Inside a project's box are:
1. the prototype, or, PCB(s), or assembled PCB(s).
2. parts (bagged), or free, or, somehow contained ("pill"-boxes, etc.).
3. paperwork - user manual, design document(s), BOMs, invoices, pieces of paper/post-its/envelopes/napkins ;-)
4. USB stick or SD/MMC card containing - schematic, software (source and binary), whatever;
this data is a copy of what's in the configuration management system (CMS) you use (if any; else from your PC).
When the CMS or PC crashes or dies there's a local backup.
Static dissapative or anti-static box or bags as needed.
Could use the distributors' BOM tools per project.
When someone needs the item, you hand them the box.

Another way is a simple manual method.
Periodically look in your storage containers to see what's low then place an order(s).
One of many storage containers: http://smtzone.com/
For static-sensitive parts, there's appropriate containers sold by a lot of distributors.

BTW, quality guru W. Edwards Deming would keep scraps of paper in his pockets with his notes on these.
One could do same; just remember to empty your pockets into an appropriate container.

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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gchapman wrote:
Some people keep a box per project.
Have you been looking in my workshop? Only difference is that I don't use a usb stick per project.

gchapman wrote:
BTW, quality guru W. Edwards Deming ...
Pleased to see that he is recognised by a fellow countryman. For a long time after WW2, he was ignored in the US but "adored" in Japan. Well adored might be a little strong but it rhymes and contrasts well with ignored.

Cheers,

Ross

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Larry, you caught me with error, I meant to write anti-static. I have found what I think, does not always match what I sometimes say or write. A type of brain fart. My wife blames it on the air quality, very prolonged hot, stale air weather here.

Back to topic, I have worked with electronics since the mid 60's. I have kept most of my parts stash. Things change, silver leads tarnish, and parts become obsolete. I think there is some sentimental attachment. Now days it is easy to order new, some suppliers enable you to develop a project BOM, on their website then order from that. They also warn by email, if part becomes no-stock.

It all starts with a mental vision.

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KitCarlson wrote:
Larry, you caught me with error, I meant to write anti-static. I have found what I think, does not always match what I sometimes say or write. A type of brain fart. My wife blames it on the air quality, very prolonged hot, stale air weather here.

No, there was no error, I knew exactly what you meant. I asked that question to make fun of myself as many of my old parts are not in ASBs (Faraday cages).

Maybe the stale air is not only from brain farts? :wink:

I was in the middle of posting this when the world went dark.

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

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Quote:
I was in the middle of posting this when the world went dark.

Oh Man! Now I guess we know who brought the system down! :wink:

JC

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DocJC wrote:
Quote:
I was in the middle of posting this when the world went dark.

Oh Man! Now I guess we know who brought the system down! :wink:

JC

It wouldn't be one of Bill's henchmen would it (snicker, snicker) ?

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Don't want this to sound like a fanboy comment, but Altium lets you make a BoM template which you can reuse for every project you make. It auto updates price and availability from your favorite supplier, and links datasheets automagically. Also lets you include whatever parameter you like. You can then import this into an Access or SQL database, and keep track of everything in a single file.

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Altium? Pfft. Actually, I have never used it, so it may be fantastic.

I use OrCAD Capture CIS (the CIS portion is the Component Information System). A few hours to set up the database. Adding parts now takes a few seconds. You can add as much info as you like (i.e. local inventory, linked vendor inventory, etc).

Downside: $8k price tag.

Attachment(s): 

Science is not consensus. Science is numbers.

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I gotta admit, yours looks better than Altium's. I have always wondered why Altium doesn't have an actual database support. I guess they can probably supply it as an add-on at additional costs....

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I was a dedicated Mentor Graphics (DxDesigner/Expedition) user. When I switched to a new job, they asked me to pick out an ECAD tool for the company. I wanted to stick w/ MG, but couldn't justify the price to myself (~30k). Cadence lets you start small and upgrade as required for price differential only. I have been using Cadence now for about 10 months -- I am far more comfortable in it than I ever was w/ MG. In my opinion, it is a really good tool, especially for the price.

Science is not consensus. Science is numbers.

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OTOH I have this, so really in the end I don`t have a huge need for a parts database... :)

http://wiki.altium.com/download/...

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hugoboss wrote:
I gotta admit, yours looks better than Altium's. I have always wondered why Altium doesn't have an actual database support. I guess they can probably supply it as an add-on at additional costs....

Altium can use a database (at least Summer 09 and Release 10, I haven't used anything older). Just use an appropriate ODBC instead of the Access connection they outline in the tutorials on creating a dblib.

I set up a nice MySQL database for my company. We've got about 500 parts right now, with a lot of them sharing footprints (e.g. most resistors use the Res_0402 footprint)

Once you've got that set up, you can generate a BOM for the project which will include all the pricing information from Digi-key and Mouser (the only suppliers we currently use). It's really slick, and well worth the time.

Jeff Nichols

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Well it does use a database for libraries, but it does not let you set up a project repository database does it, other than the paid Altium "cloud" repo's? I guess what I meant was I would love Altium to have an integrated repo database platform, so I wouldn't have to use a SQL DB for part libraries, a SVN repo for project files, another separate database for projects, etc. I guess you will tell me to just include whatever files in the actual project file, but the problem is if you are elsewhere and need to consult a file related to a project, without actually having Altium installed, you are fresh out of luck. Or if you need to cross reference parts between different projects, etc etc...

Unless there is some godly functionality that I haven't seen yet.

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I'm not sure quite what you mean. I'm confused about your distinction between projects and project files.

I've one part database which contains a table for each part type, and a row for each part number. And I have a single SVN repository which contains everything else (projects & workspaces, library footprints & symbols for the database parts, DRC defaults, schematic templates, notes on installation of the ODBC driver, a list of USB product ids, and other such things).

Jeff Nichols