IC storage / anti-static foam

Dale H. Cook radiotest at juno.com
Sun Nov 30 09:13:29 CST 2014

At 3:37 PM 11/29/2014, Mike Stein wrote:

>I had a number of ceramic ICs with gold pins in old anti-static foam; ate the pins right off.

At 10:33 PM 11/29/2014, Michael Lee wrote:

>What are recommended methods for storing a variety of ICs where they are easily accessible as needed, keeps them safe and for the long term?

At 10:56 PM 11/29/2014, Kip Koon wrote:

>... have tiny bits of foam stuck to the pins and it won't come off very easily

As with many things in this world, the quality of anti-static foam varies greatly. I use foam which I bought in mats from a local electronics distributor (since closed) about 20 years ago. I have some ICs which have been stored in that foam for as long as I have owned it. Their pins are not discolored nor are they stuck to the foam.

As for storage, the majority of my IC stock must be carried in the field for work (overstock stays at home). If, for example, I am working on a transmitter and find a bad 4011 on the controller board, I can't get one at Radio Shack. The remaining parts houses in the area are closed on Saturday, so if I find that IC on Friday evening that client will be off the air until Monday if I don't have the part in stock. If it is not in my field parts storage it would be a four- or five-hour round trip (for some clients) to go back home and get one.

My main field storage for small parts (resistors, capacitors, semiconductors, fuses, etc.) is a large Plano tackle box:


The body holds four large Stowaway boxes. One is compartmented for ICs and other semis, and each IC compartment has three layers of cut-to-fit static foam holding ICs. There are currently 532 ICs in that Stowaway, plus transistors and diodes in storage envelopes, and other semis such as bridge rectifiers.

When I leave the house for work I never know what I may face in the field. Although my Explorer cannot hold all of the tools, instruments, and parts that I might need, what I carry is enough to provide a long-term or short-term repair better than 99% of the time.

Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA

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