Resistor Organizer and Storage

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About: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with.

One of the things you find quickly when making your own circuits is resistors can be a real pain to organise. Resistors come in many different values so it's essential to have a way to organise them to find the value you want quickly.

I hit upon the idea of using test tubes to store the resistors. They are cheap to buy and using a test tube holder, easy to store.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Parts

1. 60 X Plastic Test tubes with lids– eBay. The ones I used have a 16mm ID

2. Test tube holder – eBay

3. Piece of dowel – Hardware Store. I think it was 10mm but to be sure, just take one of the lids from the test tubes to the hardware store to work out the size

4. Resistors – buy them in assorted lots on eBay

Tools

1. Some type of saw to cut the dowel

2. Hot glue

3. Sander

4. Marker

Step 2: Cutting the Dowel

The lids that come with the test tubes are hollow on the top. To be able to indicate what the value of the resistors are on each of the test tubes, I decided to fill-in the tops with some dowel. That way I could write the value on the tops.

Steps:

1. Place the end of the dowel into the lid and mark where the top of the lid is. Give yourself a few extra millimetres so you can sand down the wood to make it even later

2. I used a band saw to cut the dowel so I just set it up so I could just multiple pieces at the same length.

3. Cut enough to fill all of the test tubes

Step 3: Gluing and Sanding the Dowel

Steps:

1. Add some hot glue inside the top of the lid and push in a piece of the dowel you have cut.

2. Keep on doing this until all of the lids have a piece of dowel stuck inside of them

3. To clean up the finish, sand each of the lids with the dowel so the wood is flush with the top of the lid

Step 4: Adding the Resistors

Steps:

1. Assemble the test tube rack

2. The resistors come in lots of 20. Grab one of these and take note of the value which is stamped on the paper holding them together. If it isn’t, then just use a multi meter to find the value

3. Roll-up the lot of resistors and place them inside the test tube

4. Write on the lid what the value is

5. Place each test tube into the test tube holder making sure that you have the values from smallest to largest so you can find the value you are looking for easily.

That’s it! You will be able to store 50 different resistor values into the holder. If you have more, then just buy another lot of test tubes and a holder.

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    39 Discussions

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    wjcarpenter

    3 months ago

    Thanks for giving all of us the idea! I like it much better than what I was using up until now (sheets of card holders in a loose-leaf binder). As others have suggested or tried, I bought some 16mm ID x 150mm plastic tubes and accompanying racks (from Karter Scientific, 207B2 for the tubes, 208U2 for the racks; available from them, from online retailers, and from ebay). I was lucky (or an excellent planner) to get screw caps that I could write on with a permanent marker. I also put a label on the side of the tube (permanent marker wiped off of the tube itself but was OK on the caps). A few days later, I discovered some colorful reinforcement rings that just happen to be the right size for the tube caps. Here's a picture of the end result. The writing on the rings is pretty easy to read. Not enough colors in the rings to be useful for any kind of coding, though.

    IMG_20190116_101548.jpg
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    Orion Maker

    3 months ago

    Nice one! I love it.

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    ajoyraman

    3 months ago

    I use little boxes. But your idea is much better. Thanks for sharing!

    IMG_20190114_202039.jpg
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    Medylife

    3 months ago

    Good Job Done.Keep up the good work

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    rjkorn

    3 months ago

    I love it. Now I wish I had bought more of those unblown 2 liter plastic bottles when I had a chance.

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    wb8nbs

    3 months ago

    You should label the tubes themselves also so if you have several open it will be easier to find the right cap.

    1 reply
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    Phil_S

    3 months ago

    Test tubes with white screw caps make life a lot easier, but have been harder to find of late. Labelling cap and body essential.
    Smaller versions sometimes called micro-centrifuge tubes are good for very small stuff like small outline SMD chips.
    TicTac containers useful too as are 40 x 100 mm "money" manilla envelopes.
    Whole projects go into things like plastic tubs (coleslaw/houmous type) or fruit (grapes) carriers.
    If you have to use the plug type closure on test tubes, plastic screw covers in white plastic fit the plugs a treat and give you something to write on.
    And that's before devising a system to locate everything. All my stuff goes into a very large Excel database. The hard bit is getting the suppliers part numbers etc. in. Farnell are the best for this with orders available in CSV form

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    Johenix

    3 months ago

    Resistors, Capacitors, and Inductors have six 20% values between 10 and 100, or 100 and 1000. Ten per centers have twelve values in that interval, and five per centers have twenty four values in that same interval, while one per centers have ninety six values in the same interval. The values are spaced by the ratios of the sixth, twelfth, twenty fourth, or ninety sixth root of ten.

    The ratios allow voltage divider networks to be scaled up or down for minimum current demand.

    1 reply
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    JeffF48Johenix

    Reply 3 months ago

    I put all the decades together then search by multiplier,tradeoff is fewer partitions with easy search.

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    BobM9

    3 months ago

    I used prescription bottles for mine. It's best to use the ones that taper near the top, and set the cap with the tab aligned at the bottom - which moves the bottle at a small angle in the rack. I use the larger deeper bottle for small tools or drills. The labels can be bought from Avery. The small bottles are good for most things like resistors and ceramic caps. And for those haters - yes, not all of the bottles are labeled correctly, but they are for me. On the backboard - take your time, drill slowly with a hole-saw, use a dremel to open them up properly. Move back and forth between holes to keep the wood from overheating. Hope that helps. Oh, and I used a small strip of fabric on the lower half of each hole for the large bottles since the hole saw is a bit oversized at that diameter. The lip on the back bottom two-by-four is there to be clamped down to your table. if you use aluminum rail on the upright this is very solid.

    20160320_162900.jpg20170801_202104.jpg20170908_182117.jpg20170801_202233.jpg
    2 replies
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    lonesoulsurferBobM9

    Reply 3 months ago

    Great solution! Pill bottles look a whole lot easier to label as well!

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    BobM9lonesoulsurfer

    Reply 3 months ago

    Drilling the holes take a while, and the holes don't match the bottle sizes - but a dremel and some patience works really well using the sandpaper dremel round. And since the labels are from a page of labels you really need to run it just once through the printer - so, make sure you have them all planned out ahead of time. I have a good source for these labels - labelsbythesheet.com. Lots of colors and sizes, and you can buy sheets at a time instead of a whole pack. On the whole, I found that the layout I used was more effected by the number of bottles I had. Now I have two garbage bags full of bottles and don't want to throw them out. Mostly the small ones, but some large. The Meijer Pharmacy ones are the ones I use - perfect for this. So the board is from Menards - find one that is between 1/4 and 1/2 thick and use that, precut. The rest I used aluminum rail to make it more solid - most likely didn't need to though. And the base is two by four and a skinny baseboard for locking it down with a small clamp to your table.

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    LittlestWorkshop

    3 months ago

    Screw cap plastic test tubes are good for this and have flat tops so you can write on them directly.

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    3 replies
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    lonesoulsurferLittlestWorkshop

    Reply 3 months ago

    Good idea.
    I did try and find ones which were similar but unfortunately I could only find them with small ID's. The ones I use have a 16mm ID which seems to work well (for me anyhow)

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    tem494

    3 months ago on Step 3

    Nice idea will see if I can use them for my small caps also.
    Thanks for a nice project

    1 reply
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    lonesoulsurfertem494

    Reply 3 months ago

    I think the tubes would work perfectly with ceramic caps as well.

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    Wingloader

    3 months ago

    I will be buying test tubes today. It is amazing how some of the most simple solutions are the most awesome. Thank you for this