I am trying to find long-lasting items -- to buy in bulk. The idea is to order them for a lifetime. What are long-lasting electronic items? Which items are good idea to stock? I have tried to get ideas from this discussion.

==== YES List ====

No staling

  1. prototyping tools: breadboards

Good idea (?)

  1. 1M resistors
  2. 1k-10k resistors

No evaporation but better items may be developed, takes little room

  1. ceramic caps
  2. op amps: LM741,
  3. temperature sensors: DS18B20
  4. transistors such as BC547C

==== NO LIST ====

Moving parts, no lubrication, can get jammed

  1. pots

Modern technology

  1. FPGAs

Absorbs moisture, evaporates

  1. rosin (DIY when you need with denatured alcohol+pine cones)
  2. electrolytic caps

==== HEAVY LIST ====

Must be ordered as bulk via sea to ge cheaply, long-lasting

  1. Antistatic mat (55 RMB/1m^2, like this, but 3kg per pc. In Chinese, 防静电台垫 防静电桌垫 防静电胶皮)
  2. solid 1000' 22AWG spools (red and black)
  3. stranded 100' 22AWG spools
  4. PCB stand
  5. Magnifier glass table things such as this (in Chinese, 20倍放大镜 带灯放大镜 折叠式放大镜 台式放大镜LT-86C 20X)
  6. Ultrasonic cleaners (such as these. In Chinese, 数码型不锈钢超声波清洗机)
  7. Cabinets, lockets -- (like these)
  8. Soldering stations such as this (in Chinese, 双数显热风枪带烙铁 热风拆焊台 超)
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ I bought a few ceramic caps about 10 years ago. I still have them. Imagine my surprise when I read the news "fabulous new ceramic dielectric invented 8 years ago." Buy what you need right now, the smug feeling of "I saved $0.005 on this cap" every time you solder is going to be completely overwhelmed by "why don't I have the much better ones invented right after I bought this obsolete reel". \$\endgroup\$
    – joeforker
    Jun 25, 2010 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ joeforker: thanks not ordering caps. What about the other? No idea how long rosin will last in good ventilation. \$\endgroup\$
    – hhh
    Jun 25, 2010 at 12:56
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ joeforker's comment about obsolete components applies to other parts like semiconductors. The type of components you want depends on the types of projects you are doing. Lot's of systems in the past had a triple power supply (+5V, +-15V). Newer designs are going to single supplies. If you had a lot of dual supply op-amps (like the LM741) it may not meet your future needs. I would put the LM741 on the NO list. I would add some ceramic caps to the list but not to many since the recent improvements in dielectric have pushed the size and the cost down. \$\endgroup\$
    – jluciani
    Jun 25, 2010 at 15:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hasn't the 741 been a relatively poor opamp by any day's standards for a long time now? \$\endgroup\$
    – XTL
    Jun 25, 2010 at 16:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ please make this question community wiki as it does not have a single answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason S
    Jun 26, 2010 at 0:25

3 Answers 3


Things with moving parts might not be a good idea, I bought some new old stock pots the other week and they're almost impossible to turn.

Umm... why do you want to order for a lifetime? Are you worried through-hole components won't be available in ten or so years?

  • \$\begingroup\$ why not items with moving parts? I can see a problem if they are not held in good conditions but otherwise cannot see why-how would things such as pots stale or go unusable? \$\endgroup\$
    – hhh
    Jun 25, 2010 at 13:09
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Things like pots tend to seize up if never turned. Not all moving parts are problematic, but things like pots (which you basically can't lubricate) are going to be an issue. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 25, 2010 at 13:58

I'd expect things packed hermetically and/or in reels or such would be better protected than box/tape/strip. SMD parts are easy to store and acquire in bulk because of their small size.

Anything with exposed conductor may oxidize and that may or may not matter. Ceramic caps are sensitive to moisture, but if the case is intact, I think they should last.

Batteries don't keep well. (Al) electrolytes I think also have a very limited life.

Gold is pretty good, of course :)


You can store a 741 as long as you want, but the fact is that it's been outdated for ten or more years already.

You can keep much better op-amps, which may become outdated as well, but still with much better performance. Because of that, I cannot provide you part numbers. Just don't use 741.


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