Keep connectors organized

-September 16, 2013

How many of you store all your connectors and coaxial adapters in one large box? After years of dealing with the jumble of connectors and adapters and the wasted time in pulling out what I needed, I finally decided to make this part of my "spring cleaning." After rooting around multiple locations for small stashes of these connectors, I cleared off the workbench and sorted them all by size and type. I also decided to collect and sort all the small coaxial connector-related modules, such as combiners, power splitters, amplifiers, etc., as well as other small everyday electronic sub-assemblies I routinely use for experiments.

Once all the various components were sorted out, I paid a visit to our local Walmart and found these five-drawer units (8-1/2" x 7-1/4" x 11-1/8", model 2075) made by Sterilite, which were just the right size to hold the multitude of connectors, adapters, and modules. The drawer modules are stackable, so I can double the storage pretty easily, if required. Because the drawers are clear, I can see at a glance what I need.

If your spouse is an expert in origami, they can make several of these drawer dividers to hold each type of adapter! Otherwise, small cardboard boxes should work well. Each drawer holds a specific type of adapter or connector (SMA, BNC, N, etc.).

[figure 2]

So, the larger drawer modules work well for the workbench, but what about the adapters I need while on the road during EMC consulting gigs? In this case, a visit to your local hobby shop and drug store will reveal several smaller storage options. On the left, below, is a general-purpose hobby box with dividers. This holds all my attenuators. On the right is a standard seven-section pill container, available from most drug stores or pharmacies. This one holds a variety of small adapters and attenuators. Both these boxes are a part of my EMC troubleshooting kit, which is contained in a standard Pelican 1510 roller case. This contents of this kit is described more fully on my web site and in the multi-part series here at The EMC Blog.

Not only is it much more efficient to find the connector or adapter I need, but when visiting clients well-organized gear just looks more professional in their eyes. So, have you discovered other ways of organizing your connectors, adapters, or other small parts? I'd love to hear your ideas.

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