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I recently joined a lab that is still in the process of getting set up. Our approach to acquiring electrical components (e.g. resistors, caps, opamps, etc.) so far has been to just wait until we decide we need something, and then when we do need it we buy a bunch of that component, along with maybe some related components. Unfortunately, I'm finding that this work flow leads to a lot of time spent waiting for parts to arrive. So my (soft) question is: What's the best way to stock a new lab with (standard) electronics components? Are there e.g. kits one can buy, or should I just go systematically through a vendor website and buy 20 of everything I could possibly need? (Or perhaps the approach we are taking is best, and we should just suffer with it for a month or two until we are eventually all stocked up...)

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Bence Kaulics, PeterJ, dim, Olin Lathrop, Daniel Grillo Jun 23 '16 at 11:33

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "buy 20 of everything I could possibly need" - so cost is not an issue then? \$\endgroup\$ – Roger Rowland Jun 23 '16 at 7:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ See here and here. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Jun 23 '16 at 7:23
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Search on ebay or aliexpress and very often the price for 2 pieces is the same as for 100 pieces. SO search what you want and enter something like: "50 pcs" or "100 pcs". And mostly they are not much more expensive and you get 100 pieces instead of 2 for the same price.

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It completely depends on what type of components your lab needs.

If we are talking microprocessors, motors, servos, transformers, high voltage relays etc. It will be very expensive to keep all you need in stock. However if we are talking passive components, transistors, wires, diodes etc, then I would recommend going onto Mouser or Farnell or similar store and buy a 100-1000 of each of these inexpensive components, that will not cost you much.

However apart from this cheap components I would not recommend keeping anything else in stock unless you are planning to go big. Delivery times from Farnell and Mouser etc. within Europe and US are 1-2 days.

My suggestion overall is: buy basic components for your lab and keep them in stock, and do some planning before each project, this way you should be able to order things and get them to your place in reasonable time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with NoobPointerException, get basic components such as resistors, capacitors kits. It depends on what you are working with. When I first started, I was prototyping with throughhole componetns. So, I had range sets of standard resistors and capacitors values (about 20 pcs each). However, I soon moved to surface mount components and do not use the throughhole anymore - they just stay in a drawer. Unless I need to make a quick check on something (which in many cases can be simulated). If you were more specific about what kind of work your lab performs, it would be easier suggest. \$\endgroup\$ – Nazar Jun 23 '16 at 13:36
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For passive components you could easily find a kit with wide range assortmets of a common value resistor, capacitor (plastic film, electrolytic, ...) etc.

If you talk about professional lab (I think it's the case), I prefer to buy from secure channel, like RS Components, Farnell, Digikey, etc, Also the delivery time is short.
For a home lab you could buy from ebay or similar without problems. With less than 20 euro I bought a lot of assortments from AliExpress (resistors, capacitors, button, AVR programmers, etc). I done a little lab.
But the delivery time is really long, one month or more.

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