# Sorting resistors

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

1. ### Ivan VegvaryGuest

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?

Ivan Vegvary

2. ### Daniel PittsGuest

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 9.9MÎ©, then that's

3. ### Daniel PittsGuest

I should mention to take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm only just
starting on this adventure myself ;-)

4. ### George HeroldGuest

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
year.

George H.

5. ### EcnerwalGuest

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.

so:

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. ### Michael BlackGuest

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.

Michael

7. ### BaronGuest

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 BowdenGuest

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.

-Bill

9. ### Jasen BettsGuest

I go finer, I sort to E6

10. ### Bob MastaGuest

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

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haha, 50% resistors. never heard of that one. Russian equipment?

12. ### Michael BlackGuest

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.

MIchael

"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
http://www.wescottdesign.com

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 AbseGuest

My labs have all had daylight fluorescent tubes for years, including the
circular things in the magnifiers.
Never found it to be a problem.

It is pretty amazing how some flourescent bulbs are missing
colors.

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
areas.

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. ### TGuest

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.