Color coded SMT tape

September 19, 2010 8:11:44 PM CDT

Just a quickie this time:

As you can see from the photos of previous projects, I use a lot of SMT components. I like 'em.. they're cheap, compact, the passives often have better precision than you can get from through-hole components, and they're easy to store.

Storage is the topic for today.. specifically "how to tell the darned things apart without having to haul out the magnifying glass."

The solution is simple: Sharpie markers. Whenever I get a new batch of resistors, I run color bands to match the value along the tape. That way I can tell the tapes apart at a glance.

I also cut the tapes down into shorter chunks -- 10 components per chunk -- because short strips are easier to work with on the bench. SMT tape has a tendency to curl, and I don't need to wrestle with a garden hose while I'm trying to pull an 0805 component out of its well.

The chunks also give me a quick way to keep track of my inventory. When I'm down to two or three chunks, I know it's time to reorder.

The container is a double-sided five compartment tackle box from the fishing supplies aisle at WalMart.