Inventory controlled parts storage bins
To everyone who has answered (so far):
I Never expected to get this much response. The original post was inspired by the fact that I am trying to clean and organize my Maker Space, and I ran across a string of LEDs about which I knew nothing, and couldn't remember what box, bag, bin or room they belonged in. My (obvious) packrat memory dredged up a project I thought I had seen somewhere, which would at least use up these LEDs so I wouldn't have to figure out where to put them. When I get everything in order, I will probably do as everyone suggests (except for the laser) and build a proper data base.
Which leads to a more serious question. When it's Sunday and the 113k erective resistor blows out on the solar-powered subsonic hyfrecator you are testing, where can you get one before Monday evening. Oh, I know, someone else mentioned in a web post that he had bought some from Amazon. But the problem is, they are b/o'd at Amazon, and this guy lives in Borneo.
Like you, I imagine the bulk of your parts are the 99 remaining of the 100 you ordered just to get one for a project. Don't throw them out, because "ya never know"...and besides they cost money. Most towns I know of no longer have electronic parts stores, since Amazon combined with Radio Shack's own arrogant attitude toward their costomers has killed of the local retail business.
My idea is this: some builders in town get together and set up some sort of marketing co-op, open to the public and maintaining its physical inventory in a warehouse, or (preferably) a member's home. If there is a Maker Space in town, maybe that would be the place. 24/7 presence on a website for ordering parts, arranging swaps and purchases among members. Physical inventory acquired by purchasing at a percentage of the retail cost paid by the original purchaser, and resold at a substantial markup to a purchaser who only wanted one or two of the item. Anyone want to pitch in with ideas of how such a system could work? I have no problem with how Bezos does business, and I wish him all the best with his rocketry. He, Musk and Sir Richard are showing the world how capitalism should work, but I get tired of trying to figure out how to get just a few of a part, at a reasonable price, tomorrow at worst and today if possible, and without adding to the environmental load. I hate unnecessary waste of perfectly good commodities, just because they're cheap and it's too much trouble to look for other solutions. Yes, I AM old, and when I was a kid, people were starving in China, and Europe too. Some of them were even relatives of mine. I did my best by always eating what was on my plate. I was told by my Mother that was why I should finish my Brussels sprouts. I think she was right...I love Brussels sprouts.
@woodnboats The thing with electronic parts is you can get them cheap or get them fast but you simply can not get cheap and fast. It's basic economics. What I and a few members I know do is order one from the fast source (Amazon) and 5 or 10 or 100 from the cheap source (AliExpress). This is not a bad trade off, when you figure out the average cost it is pretty good and you got the one (or more if needed) part to work with fast. Also check out some USA suppliers if you live there, sorry I forget their names but someone will chime in. Their prices may be cheaper than Amazon sometimes with fast delivery but not always and sometimes expensive delivery but not always. It's a JOB sourcing materials.
Arduino says and I agree, in general, the const keyword is preferred for defining constants and should be used instead of #define
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon
My experience hours are >75,000 and I stopped counting in 2004.
Major Languages - 360 Macro Assembler, Intel Assembler, PLI/1, Pascal, C plus numerous job control and scripting
I gave some thought to the "parts database" concept when I first organized my component collection, in fact, the Google Sheets spreadsheet I made for the labels also had columns for the inventory.
But the spreadsheet was clearly designed for the labels, as it was in four sheets, one for each label type. And I gave up counting components early in the game. I just didn't see the point in it, I'm a hobbyist, not a business that needs to track its assets. The spreadsheet, coupled with Avery's online label maker, was all I required.
Had I gone ahead with the "parts database", I had planned to use Airtable to build it, as I definitely wanted an online product that I could access from any device. Especially as my workshop, office, development area and parts area are in four different locations, with different computers. And if I ever dare to venture out of the house to my local electronics store, the ability to access my parts database with my phone would be handy.
If I need an inventory I just open a drawer LOL! Not that high-tech, but it gets the job done.
It helps that I have everything in what I think is a logical order:
Sorry about the poor photo quality, my good cameras are in use filming a video, and I was too lazy to take out some video lights!
What you see here are a few sections, on the left top is "Digital & Analog IC's" while the left bottom is "Microcontrollers". The larger bins above and below also carry related components, like Raspberry Pi's and Arduino Uno's. The right side is "Power and Interface" on the top and "Transistors and Diodes" on the bottom. Same concept with the larger bins.
Many drawers have two components (in fact most of them do), and I have space left over for future purchases.
However, I do have to admit, I have no idea how many 555 timers I own. But I DO know where to find them (in the aforementioned "Digital & Analog IC's" section)!
"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak