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