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How do you store your test leads?

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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A while ago I bought an assortment of 16 AWG silicone wire and stocked up on alligator clips and banana plugs and over the last couple of months I have made the set of clip leads I always wished I had and various sets of banana to test prod, banana to alligator clip, banana to grabber clip &c to use with the meters, power supply &c.

I was originally planning to store them in a tray in a drawer but I think I'd prefer to hang them up; I think I have found room for that if I can figure out how.

I've been looking online for ideas that don't cost more than I'm willing to spend (Did I mention that I'm on a budget? And cheap!) and the one I like best is using slotted cable duct but none of the usual online sources (mostly eBay and Amazon) have what I'd consider reasonable prices for it (I'll have to ask at the electrical trade supply place the next time I'm in that town).

I don't want to overthink this so how do you folks store yours?

BTW: Here's the clip leads, 2 each of 3 lengths in 7 colours. It wouldn't be terrible for them to be in a drawer but the banana leads are somewhat longer so they really need to hang.
42 clip leads.JPG
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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I use an electric rotating tie rack. It fits on my chrome poles for reels of wire.
Was about £8 a few years ago.
I used to use slotted vents bent in half but they take a lot of room in comparison.
If yours are not long, look up some sewing reel and bobbin storage. They work great too.
Forgot to mention, make your own slotted organiser.
Martin
 
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Harald Kapp

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make your own slotted organiser.
Easy to build from rectangular plastic conduits. Cut away the top cover, cut slots into the remaining u-shaped tube. Stick the self-adhesive back wherever it is convenient.
Or buy a slotted duct divider such as this one
upload_2022-3-3_7-27-38.png
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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Mine are neatly looped and stacked in a box, ready to be pulled out in a tangle of knots and cursing.
 

Harald Kapp

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For my assorted USB cables I use the cardboard tubes from toilet paper (don't laugh), placed side by side in a drawer. Each tube holds one, max. 2 cables. Not my idea, see here, #6.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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Part of my problem is that I live in a village so tiny that the "business district" consists of one grocery store (with a hardware section and beer & liquor franchises), a pharmacy, the post office and a pizza place.
We're not in total isolation because there are several larger towns that have more stores within half an hour's drive that we can go to for shopping. There is a large grocery store and a good sized hardware/building supply in a town only 20 minutes from here but not much else in that town. There is a bigger town half an hour away in the opposite direction that has a somewhat better selection of stores but the closest thing to an electronics store is "The Source" (formerly Radio Shack - they haven't really been an electronics store for decades). They do have the electrical trade supply place I mentioned (Sesco) too.

The other problem lately is the pandemic. Since it started we've been avoiding going to bigger towns for shopping and when we do we only go where we absolutely have to. So I sit at home and try to shop online.
I've been in the habit of ordering things that I know I will use eventually before I need them so that I don't have to wait for a long time (I have a pretty good selection of resistors, LEDs &c and I have a good stock of the toggle switches, regular & mini that I use both for electronics and motorcycle projects, not to mention various nuts & bolts, screws &c). Most of my projects aren't urgent so I don't mind ordering on eBay and waiting a few weeks for things to arrive.
But I've learned that if I don't figure out what I need and get it ordered it will never arrive :rolleyes:

The tie rack sounds neat but I don't think it would work for me. I like the idea of using toilet paper tubes and I may start doing that for some of the computer cables that have to be handy but aren't used very often.
Looped & stacked in a box sounds about as handy as the mess of wires I have hanging over a coat hook on the back of the garage shop's door :p. Most of that is an old wiring harness that I've been stripping wires out of when I need a particular colour/stripe combination for something I'm making for one of the bikes (but the 36" clip leads I use in the garage and some leads for the meter I keep there are also draped over it (I'd like to change that too eventually)...

I had a look on Sesco's website. I don't see the slotted conduit divider but they do have slotted conduit. Unfortunately they only sell it in 6' lengths. I think I'll just have to make do until I can get there and see what I can get. I'm thinking if I can get some of this in 1" width it should work (or maybe 2" and cut it lengthwise to make 2 racks)....
12560618.jpg
 

ivak245

Jun 11, 2021
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I have a piece of aluminium sheet screwed to the top of a head height cabinet, which I have mounted all those odd 4mm panel mount sockets (the ones which you could never find the matching partner for) or the odd coloured ones, to store 4mm plug leads .
I store any leads which have alligator clips on them by clipping them over the top and side edges of the panel (about 12" X 6 ").
 

Externet

Aug 24, 2009
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A horizontal string or wire near a wall serves as where to bite-hang your test leads, just as a clothes drying string.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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Now that I think about it it seems to me that I had a piece of wire to hang clip leads on over my last proper electronics bench. Or maybe I thought about it but didn't get around to it; That was over 30 years ago, I've forgotten a lot over the years and I didn't take pics.
I do remember that I never seemed to have enough of them and I always wished they weren't all red or black (I don't think that will be an issue with the new ones I've made).
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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I went shopping today and stopped at Sesco. I told him what I want slotted duct for and he thought it would be a good idea. That store doesn't stock slotted duct but he ordered me a 6' length of 1x2 from another store they transfer stock with so it should be waiting when I next go to the big town.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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They called a couple of days later to tell me it was there but I didn't get a chance to pick it up until Monday and I didn't get a chance to do anything with it until today.
It was very easy to cut with the Japanese pull saw
Slotted duct to test lead rack.jpg

What took longest was drilling the holes and bolting them onto the shelf brackets; That would have been a lot easier before I hung the drawers on the wall but at least it gave me an excuse to tidy up.
Bench with leads L.jpg

On the right end I sandwiched the 3.2mm aluminum of the bracket between 2 strips of the duct so I could hang clip leads on the near side and meter/equipment leads on the far side.
Bench with leads R.jpg

When it warms up a bit more and I start working in the garage shop I'll find a place to put up a strip for the test leads that live there too.

I've also saved some toilet paper rolls for storing some of the computer cables that live in the shop.
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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Good idea to put your leads on a bracket rather than flat on the wall taking up space.
That beige meter by the blue components bin with drawers looks remarkably like my first meter as a kid. Got it from Radio shack (Tandy).

Martin
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
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That's the "Circuit-Test" MT-20 that came with an ICS course I took in small engine repair 25 years ago (I wouldn't be surprised if RS had similar meters). I already had a couple of good (analogue) meters but our son was studying electronics/computers at the time and the school supplied a basic tool kit including a digital meter so I gave it to him so he would have both types (there are some things that analogue meters still do better than digital ones even now). It came back to me with his tools &c when he died and when my last good HC-5050E TVM died I bought an Aneng M118A full auto ranging digital one for everyday stuff and dug out this one for the times I want an analogue one. It is surprisingly accurate and I find the battery test function very useful.
BTW: The analogue multimeter in the model railroad tools (bought by my Dad around the same time) and the digital meter I have in the garage shop are from Radio Shack.
This is what I use most of the time on the electronics bench, shown when I was testing the resistors last spring after I found out that carbon comp resistors can "drift" out of spec over time.
29 - Out of spec resistors.jpg
 
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