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Sorting resistors

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Ivan Vegvary, May 14, 2013.

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  1. Ivan Vegvary

    Ivan Vegvary Guest

    Trying to sort through 100's of resistors. Do you all sort them by the third color band, or do you get down finer than that?

    Thanks for answers.
    Ivan Vegvary
  2. Daniel Pitts

    Daniel Pitts Guest

    At my school, they are "sorted" by value (3 bands). The problem is that
    students don't always know the bands, or they don't look carefully, so
    you'll find resistors off my a magnitude or more.

    It depends on how you use resistors. If you find more often that you
    need one of a specific magnitude, rather than a specific value, sorting
    by the third band makes sense. I don't yet have enough that I need to
    worry about sorting, but if I did, I think I'd sort by the first two
    bands, if not all 3.

    It also depends on how many "buckets" you have to sort into. If you have
    only 5 buckets and don't have anything higher than 9.9MΩ, then that's
    your answer ;-)
  3. Daniel Pitts

    Daniel Pitts Guest

    I should mention to take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm only just
    starting on this adventure myself ;-)
  4. We buy 1% TH metal films for something less than $0.02 each.
    I calcualted what my time is worth, (salary+benefits+overhead+profit)
    And how long it takes me to identify a resistor and put it away in the
    right bin..(say one or two seconds with a DMM)
    I save the $0.50 caps, and sweep the R's into the trash.
    I always feel a bit guilty, they're fricking 1% resistors!
    I could save them all in a bag and mail 'em to you at the end of a

    George H.
  5. Ecnerwal

    Ecnerwal Guest

    How finely you do it sort of depends on how many you have, how many
    drawers or boxes or bags you are allotting, and how much time you want
    to spend looking for one when you need it, and how obvious you'd like to
    to be that you don't have some values.

    Right now, I have a mess. I hope to dig out of it, but I haven't wanted
    to invest too much in storage hardware, so I have a mess.

    At a job where it was more a part of the job, they were sorted into 24
    drawers by the 5% first two bands, and then dividers in the drawer
    sorted the third band (possibly only completely separate for common
    values, with others lumped & sorted out by third band as needed - it's
    been a couple decades.) I wanted to have stock of every value on hand
    for that job, and that arrangement made it easy to tell if I needed to
    order any. 1%, power etc were special cases beyond this system.


    10 11 12 13 15 16
    18 20 22 24 27 30
    33 36 39 43 47 51
    56 62 68 75 82 91

    I color-coded the drawers for good measure, as I recall.

    I've thought about using large test tubes or culture tubes as a cheaper
    method to rack and organize than the plastic organizer drawer things.

    Better yet, I should cook something up in the woodshop - it will be more
    satisfying, if I can find the time.
  6. To be fair, in the old days when the resistors all came from Big Name
    companies, the resistors were all brown, and the color coding on top of
    that, it was pretty easy to read the color code.

    Then the imported resistors, more like a sealed package, the color was no
    longer consistent. It was obvious if you had the close together colors
    together, but by itself it became harder to tell.

    The big mistake beginners make is to try for some scheme. All those
    mneominics and color wheels and such, when they should just be learning
    the color code. It's not unlike learning morse code, if you look up on a
    chart rather than hearing the sound of the character, you waste time and
    can't catch up. If you don't do a direct translation, "there's red,
    that's two" not even thinking that much, then sorting will be a tedious
    process. A look up table, such as a mnemonic, just has the sorter
    spending time remembering the mnemonic.

    That said, if the color isn't clear, I'll just pull out the DMM. I often
    tend to do that anyway, worried that the cheap resistors have been coded
    wrong, or changed value.

    It's easier to check parts as you solder them in than try to figure out
    why something isn't working.

  7. Baron

    Baron Guest

    Hi Tim,

    Tim Wescott Inscribed thus:
    Since you mention it, how do you decode the value for the ones that have
    four numbers ?
  8. Bill Bowden

    Bill Bowden Guest

    I put the common values, 100, 1K, 10K, 100K, 1M in their own drawers.
    The rest are sorted in ranges, so most all 1/4 watt values are in 20
    drawers. I stumbled on some 8 pin SMT resistor packs with four 10K
    resistors each. Each one of those can be arranged as a single 10K,
    15K, 20K, 30K, 40K, 5K, 2.5K, and a few others. I haven't worked out
    all the possibilities.

  9. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    I go finer, I sort to E6
  10. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    Another factor is the lighting in your shop. When the lab
    where I used to work started stocking a lot of 1% values
    (which had a light blue body) everyone noticed that it was
    hard to tell brown from red. One guy (avid photographer)
    started looking into lighting, and replaced some of the
    overhead fluorescent tubes with a special daylight-balanced
    type. Presto! Suddenly the reds jumped out and looked
    nothing like the browns.

    However, the room as like "perpetual sunrise". Sounds
    good, but after a while it got to be "too much of a good
    thing". We ended up with the special tubes just over the
    resistor cabinets.

    Best regards,

    Bob Masta

    DAQARTA v7.21
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
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    Frequency Counter, Pitch Track, Pitch-to-MIDI
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  11. haha, 50% resistors. never heard of that one. Russian equipment?
  12. I assumed from the early days. People complain about the "odd" steps of
    resistors and capacitors, but up to a certain point the values were much
    weirder. I recall an article saying there was no real standardization at
    all. 50% resistors are just higher precision resistors before they are
    sorted properly.

  13. "Tim Wescott" wrote in message

    You may have some undiagnosed color blindness at work, too. The most
    common color blindness is a complete or partial inability to distinguish
    green and red (the red cones are actually missing, or are sparse, or the
    pigment is too close to the yellow cones' pigment, I'm not sure which).

    When that happens violet and blue look the same, as do green and gray,
    and red and orange (or orange and yellow, or red and brown). Basically
    the blues and yellows work just fine, but blue + (red or green), yellow +
    (red or green), and gray + (red or green) don't.

    I have this condition in the partial form. For the E96 series I can
    usually get the first two digits because not all of the bands are used,
    but I need to use a meter for the multiplier band (and 220 looks like
    330, and 120, etc.)
    I have enough bins to cover 47 to 470k in the 20% value range. Within
    that I just look at the bands.

    Besides, these days resistors don't have color bands -- if you're lucky
    they have numbers, and if you're not they're just little black rectangles
    with silver ends.

    My liberal friends think I'm a conservative kook.
    My conservative friends think I'm a liberal kook.
    Why am I not happy that they have found common ground?

    Tim Wescott, Communications, Control, Circuits & Software

    I have heard that a good slap up side the head can correct vision problems.
    Tim, I'm sure you have had a few of these ;-)
  14. Fred Abse

    Fred Abse Guest

    My labs have all had daylight fluorescent tubes for years, including the
    circular things in the magnifiers.
    Never found it to be a problem.
  15. It is pretty amazing how some flourescent bulbs are missing

    GE Chroma 50 bulbs are always a safe bet. CF and LEDs can be
    some of the worst.

    The most garish and controlled lighting I've ever seen is on some of the
    public transit busses in Chicago. They have 4 foot LED modules in place of
    flourescent bulbs. Not only did they use the cheapest, crappiest "white"
    LEDs that are just blue/purple only in color, the strips they're mounted
    on jump around and wobble like a jumprope in the fixtures causing
    everything to flicker. It's was definitely amatuer night over at the
    Chicago Transit Authority.

    I'm guessing the crappy busses they're mounted in will rattle apart in the
    not too near future and those horrible things will be gone.

    Over in the real business world, they installed LED lighting in the
    elevators at work as part of some those two faced "green" campaigns. They
    tell the tennants about how they love the earth, but the building
    engineer simply stated that not replacing bulbs all the time saves a ton
    of money in labor costs. It's a union building so there's one guy to push
    the lightbulb cart around, and another to carry the ladder. The ladder
    porter stands around when the cart pusher replaces the bulbs. There was
    probably a third guy at one point. I suspect this "team" is billable time
    to tennants once they enter an office and are not doing work in common

    Then a week later they actually installed hand cutout plastic filters to
    make the lighting more balanced, and elevator like, and less like the
    inside jewelry display case. It's better looking than the original
    incandescent bulbs they originally had. At least somebody still pays minor
    attention to details.
  16. T

    T Guest

    Don't blame CTA per se. Blame the bus manufacturer. One of the two
    biggest doing business in the U.S. right now is Gillig and Nova.

    Both use the cheapo LED's.
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