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How to Store Electronic Components:A Guide to Properly Storing

Properly-Storing-Electronic-Components

Electronic components

Today we are here to answer a question you might not think about but is vital in your daily need. That is how to store our electronic components. Electronic components have increased their durability over the years. However, it still does not mean they are safe from mother nature.

Over the years, due to improper storage on how to store electronic components, they can deteriorate, lose effectiveness and become useless. This guide will help you prevent that by giving you some electronic component storage ideas.

Importance of Properly Storing Electronic Components

Properly Storing Electronic Components

Electronic components are delicate creatures. They are susceptible to various environmental factors that harm their performance and reliability. Components can degrade, oxidize, or accumulate moisture with proper storage, making them valuable.

You can extend their lifespan by choosing how to store electronic components correctly. They then maintain their pristine condition. Thus, ensuring they perform at their best when you need them the most.

Factors Affecting Component Storage

Temperature, humidity, light exposure, and electrostatic discharge (ESD) are the four major culprits that can wreak havoc on electronic components. Let’s explore each factor in detail:

Temperature

Drastic temperatures can have a negative effect on electronic components. High temperatures can lead to thermal stress, causing expansion and contraction of materials, which may result in solder joint failure or cracked components.

On the other hand, low temperatures can make materials brittle. This leads to cracks or fractures. It’s crucial to store components in a controlled environment to avoid temperature-related issues.

Humidity

The adversary of electrical components is humidity. Too much moisture in the air can lead to corrosion, oxidation, or fungus development on delicate surfaces.

Poor electrical conductivity, shorts, or even complete component failure might result from these problems. It’s crucial to store components in a dry environment to avoid damage caused by moisture.

Light Exposure

Certain electronic components, especially those with sensitive coatings or optics, may be harmed by ultraviolet (UV) light. Long-term UV radiation can affect an object’s electrical properties, degrade and discolor it. Protecting components from direct light, especially sunlight, can be beneficial to keep them in good shape.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

Electrostatic discharge, or ESD, is the sudden passage of electricity between two electrically charged objects. ESD can cause irreparable damage to electronic components, leading to their failure.

To prevent ESD-related issues, handling components in an ESD-safe environment and using proper grounding techniques is crucial. An electronic component rack could be a great solution if you are not good at grounding your furniture.

Best Practices for Electronic Component Storage

Now that we understand the factors affecting component storage let’s explore the best practices to ensure the longevity and reliability of electronic components. Whether it is an electronic component at home or in the workplace, these best practices must always be followed.

Best Practices

Temperature and Humidity Control

Maintain a controlled environment with optimal temperature and humidity levels. Ideally, components should be stored in a cool and dry place with temperatures between 14-26 degree Celsius. Relative humidity should be between 30%-60%. Use a dehumidifier or humidity indicator card to monitor and control humidity levels.

Protection from Light Exposure

Shield components from direct light, especially UV light. Store them in opaque containers or antistatic bags that protect against light. Use UV-blocking materials or keep components in a dark environment to prevent light-related damage if possible.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Prevention

Create an ESD-safe environment using antistatic mats, wrist straps, and conductive storage containers. Ground yourself and the work area before handling components.

Avoid working on carpets or other materials that generate static electricity. By taking these precautions, you can prevent ESD-related damage.

Labeling and Documentation

Properly label and document your stored components. Mark each container with the component type, part number, and storage date. Maintain an inventory system or database to keep track of the components, ensuring easy access and identification when needed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Storing In Sunlight

You may have read the words “do not store in sunlight” multiple times before. But have you ever wondered why these words are so prevalent? This is especially true in the world of electronic components.

Heat and sunlight can cause components to degrade over time, leading to premature failure. Sunlight can also cause components to overheat and degrade. Rare cases may see explosions happening due to metal rapidly reacting and expanding with nowhere to go.

Not Sealing Storage Containers

Moisture and contaminants can corrode components and cause them to malfunction. Even a insignificant amount of moisture can damage components, so it is essential to seal containers tightly.

Make sure the seals are intact before you seal any containers. If the seals are broken, pollutants or moisture can enter the container.

Desiccant packs that are already inside containers are also available for purchase. The desiccant pack will aid in absorbing moisture and guard against harming the parts.

Not Inspecting Stored Components Regularly

Regular checks should be made for damage or contamination in the storage environment. Components may prematurely fail if their surroundings are not kept in good condition.

Check the storage area for any indications of dampness, dust, or other pollutants. If you notice any signs of harm or contamination, take action to fix the issue. You should replace the storage containers or clean the area where the electronic components are kept.

Storing Incompatible Electronic Components Together

When stored together, some components that are incompatible with one another may react. For instance, a magnetic field created by storing capacitors and inductors together could cause damage to the capacitors.

Components should be organized in groups that complement one another to avoid this. The component’s documentation has a list of compatible parts. Usually, the components that shouldn’t be stored together are listed in the documentation.

Suppose you are still determining whether two components are compatible. In that case, it is always best to go cautiously and store them separately.

Troubleshooting Storage Issues

Even with the best storage practices, issues may arise. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common storage problems:

Identifying Damaged Components

Inspect components for physical damage, such as cracks, discoloration, or visible corrosion. Test their electrical properties using suitable equipment to ensure they are functioning correctly. Discard any damaged components to prevent potential issues in the future.

Dealing with Moisture or Contaminants

If moisture or contaminants have entered the storage containers, remove the affected components and inspect them for damage. Clean the components using proper methods and materials, such as isopropyl alcohol or specialized cleaning solutions.

Once cleaned, ensure the components are completely dry before returning them to storage.

Assessing ESD Damage

If you suspect ESD damage, conduct thorough testing using appropriate equipment. Look for signs of electrical abnormalities or malfunctions in the components. If ESD damage is confirmed, replace the affected components and take steps to prevent future ESD incidents.

Conclusion

To retain their performance, dependability, and durability, electronic parts must be stored correctly. By being aware of the factors that affect component storage and following suggested methods, you may ensure that your components remain in excellent condition for future use.

Remember to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels, shield electronic devices from light, prevent electrostatic discharge, and maintain accurate records.

Avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly, and fix storage issues as soon as you can. By adopting these safety measures, you may retain quality and utilize your electronic components’ maximum potential.

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