[vcf-midatlantic] How to best store vintage ICs

Henry S. Courbis info at reactivemicro.com
Mon Dec 16 23:28:39 EST 2019

Hey John.

Foam is better than nothing. Might hold up if sealed in a bag with a
desiccant pouch. You can get static bags, desiccant, and an impulse sealer
from eBay for cheap and one stop. From my experience, I had ICs from when I
was a kid (1990 or so) in some ESD foam I got from my IT internship. I
still have it in a static bag in an ESD box. The foam is much less dense
these days and starting to really show it's age. And it was well used when
I took it from work. So it's held up pretty well considering. 30 years now?
Crap I'm old. It's also hasn't been used more than 20 times since I placed
ICs in it. So if it's going to be low use then I think you could get away
with it. And the desiccant might help with tarnish on any really old NMOS
silver tinned leads. I see a lot of old Apple II 16k, trivoltage DRAMs with
tinned silver and blacked these days.

Tubes would be better I feel also - if stored well. I have some old tubes
from the same 1990 time and they are a bit brittle now. If I'm not careful
I feel I could crush them with my hands now. And I no longer use the
plastic pins in them. Only rubber stoppers. Not that many of these tubes
remain. But I think I have one next to the old ESD foam in the box in the
same tote I never use. IIRC they were from 1Meg x 1bit 80ns DRAMs from
1989, and have a sticker when they were $21 each. Yikes!

For my own business needs I use both foam and tubes. Less tubes however
since they take up more room and don't store as well I feel. I have boxes I
keep stock in. So most tubes won't fit, where some foam and a bag always
fit and can be cut to shape. I can also fit ICs on both sides. I feel a
shoebox and some foam could store a few hundred ROMs for example. I don't
think I can get a hundred ROMs in tubes in the same box. Not that I store
that many anyway. For my main ROM storage I used USPS tube boxes (triangles
really) and taped them together and wired them under a shelf. Long tubes
fit well in them and don't take up any shelf space. Simple to segregate by
type and size, and simple to add to if needed. USPS might frown upon the
few tubes of theirs being 'misused'. However I digress from the ethics and
morality angle. I'm sure I could probably find tubes or similar boxes at a
store if I wasn't lazy or repurposed old boxes I had laying around.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Henry S. Courbis

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On Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 4:47 PM John Heritage via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> Hey folks,
> I'm looking for some advice.  I have a number of old CPUs -- 8088s, a few
> 286's, some 486s and early Pentiums sitting in a box stuck in some packing
> foam from years ago.
> I'd like to store these a little better as some now have bent pins and
> they're a little haphazardly in the box.  I kept most of these because
> these (at least pre-Pentium) CPUs were keepsakes from my BBS that didn't go
> to Microsoft and Novell when they raided my BBS :).
> What's a better way to store these?  I assume just get some anti static
> foam of some kind from Amazon or another source (Mouser?).  I see some
> plastic boxes with anti static foam in them that seem like a decent idea
> for keeping them protected..
> Thanks..
> John

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