The spare parts bin

October 12, 2010 3:16:22 PM CDT

Got another quickie today.

When I get in a breadboarding mood, I tend to build several circuits one after the other. Sometimes it's to compare different solutions to the same problem, sometimes it's to see how a circuit responds to different component values. Sometimes it's just to work my way through the list of designs I haven't built and tested yet. The upshot is that I tend to throw a lot of components around, but tend to use a lot of the same components over and over again.

Leaving parts scattered all over the workbench is messy, and at least for me, it's a good way to lose stuff. I don't even pretend to be well enough organized to put each component back in its proper storage container as soon as I pull it out of the breadboard, though.

The spare parts bin is my compromise. It's a sort of L2 cache for hardware.

Every part that comes out of a breadboard goes straight into the bin. When I need new parts, the bin is the first place I look. That keeps my clutter restricted to an area about 4" square, and gives me a ready supply of the components I need most often.

If the bin gets too full, or I need time to let my mind wander between circuits, I start putting things away.