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I am beginning to organize my collection of electronic components and parts but have run into a roadblock of not knowing how to properly store anything that is ESD sensitive. I have been using ESD shielding bags that I have acquired over the last few years to store those components and parts, but now that I have implemented a drawer system I would like to keep those parts accessible in the same manner as my passive components.

By perhaps lining the the drawers with the ESD shielding bag material would the components be safe from ESD, or will another approach be necessary?

For reference:

enter image description here

Oh and as a side note, if anyone has a good schema for keeping resistors quickly accessible I would love to hear it!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Next time, don't upload a multimegapixel image. The host doesn't scale them down, and certain senior users of this site will become homicidal with rage. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 9 '13 at 22:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ similar question: Basic ESD common sense for breadboarding and 300+ component storage? \$\endgroup\$
    – Phil Frost
    Jan 9 '13 at 22:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @Madmanguruman for editing the post. That is exactly how I had it set up initially, but as this was my first post I couldnt have the picture embedded in the question for anti spam reasons. \$\endgroup\$
    – lakechfoma
    Jan 10 '13 at 1:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're > 10 rep now so you should be fine. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 10 '13 at 4:10
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I store my ESD sensitive parts by sticking their leads in ESD foam, then putting them in an ordinary bin. The foam looks like this:

ESD foam

I've never purchased it; I've just acquired it over time from ordering parts. This scheme probably isn't up to spec for a manufacturing operation, but for storing cheap parts for tinkering at home, quite sufficient.

There are also ESD plastic tubes molded for bigger components. They look like this:

ESD tubes

I've collected quite a few for DIP and TO-220 packages, and store some in a pencil cup, or rubber-banded together.

For resistors, see if you can find one of these gems:

Ohmite resistor drawer

Ohmite made them years ago and I've never seen anything better. No longer in production, but you can find them on ebay with "ohmite resistor drawer".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a comment: some/most rails like those you've posted are anti-static. These are designed to prevent charge buildup on the rail/components, they don't necessarily protect the components inside from external ESD discharge (same goes for anti-static bags). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 9 '13 at 22:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ While I knew that foam existed, I have yet to actually get any so I didnt even think about it as a solution. Thats a perfect solution for IC's in the bins as well because I could probably stack them by types and keep rows and columns of devices on each level! What about something like RAM though? \$\endgroup\$
    – lakechfoma
    Jan 10 '13 at 1:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @lakechfoma There are molded plastic boxes for all types of RAM you can imagine, designed to store just one or many pieces. Some are designed to hang from a peg for retail display; a pegboard would work if you have a lot to store. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phil Frost
    Jan 10 '13 at 14:59
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[This is more of a comment. I'm posting this as an answer, because I'd like to add a picture.]

Storing SMT resistors and capacitors in a binder provides the quickest access. I've tried several methods for storing SMT component kits, until I started to use binders.

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ That looks beautiful. How exactly are the strips held in the pages in the binder though? More specifically, what are those pages? \$\endgroup\$
    – lakechfoma
    Jan 10 '13 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for using a binder... It's what I use for resistors too. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 10 '13 at 2:01
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Keeping the sensitive components in an ESD shielding bag is still a good idea. You can get a bunch of small ones fairly cheap. Even better, most parts come packaged in one with the part number printed right on it. Why expend more effort and subject the parts to unnecessary handling?

There are treatments to create a static dissipative surface on plastics, but those treatments only reduce the static generated by the plastic. They don't provide shielding from discharge, and the chemical has to be reapplied every month.

If you really want to make your bins conductive, you could apply HVAC tape (the heavy duty aluminum foil+glue kind) to the inside surfaces. The parts will still be less protected than in a bag because they aren't completely enclosed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Will a conductive bin provide ESD protection, or just add another object which can store and receive charge? I was always thought ESD protection was provided by things which are just barely conductive so that the charge could flow to equalize potential, but slowly, and gently. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phil Frost
    Jan 9 '13 at 21:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PhilFrost ESD protection comes from directing the discharge away from the sensitive device, rather than through it, and from preventing discharges in the first place by keeping everything at the same potential. Greater conductivity is better, but the moderate conductivity of ESD shielding bags is sufficient for the kinds of discharges seen in handling. Wrist straps and shoes are barely conductive to reduce the risk of electrocution. Conductive shoes for working around fuel/explosives are highly conductive because the risk of even a small spark outweighs the electrocution risk. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theran
    Jan 9 '13 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree that its a good idea to keep them in the bag but some didnt come in bags and its harder for me to store parts in arbitrary sized bags than it is to keep them in drawers. @PhilFrost provided an excellent answer that allows me to continue organizing IC's in a convenient matter, though I am still using the bags to store RAM. For the time being at least. \$\endgroup\$
    – lakechfoma
    Jan 10 '13 at 14:55
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Old post but my $0.02 as an EE...

I prefer Black conductive foam. As long as you keep the parts away from the sides, it should not be an issue. The metallic bags would give you more protection, but I find it is a hassle to store them.

As a note there are several misconceptions about ESD storage materials. You will find two terms "ESD Dissipative" or shielding, and "ESD Safe".

ESD Dissipative materials conduct and prevent static from damaging a component. Black ESD foam, back bags, silver bags, and ESD mats fall under the "ESD dissipative" term.

ESD Safe simply means the packaging won't create static, but provides no protection to the components. This would be the parts tubes, pink bags and foam. They will allow a static charge to pass right through them.

The challenging thing about ESD, is it often won't brick an IC. But will cause damage that will result in a shortened life. For a company its a big issue, for home projects not so much.

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