Light The Way To Every Component

How do you organize your stock of components and modules? If an unruly pile of anti-static bags and envelopes from China stuffed into a cardboard box sounds familiar, then you need help from [Dimitris Tassopoulos]. He’s organized his parts into drawers and created a database, then linked it via an ESP8266 and a string of addressable LEDs to light up the individual drawer in which any given component resides. It’s a genius idea, as you can see in action in the video below the break.

Behind the scenes is a web server sitting atop an SQL database, with a PHP front end. It’s running on a Banana Pi board, but it could just as easily be running on any other similar SBC. The ESP8266 has a REST API to which the webserver connects when a component is sought, and from that it knows which LED to light.

The LED strip is not the tape with which most readers will be familiar, but a string of the type we might be more used to as Christmas lights. These have a 100mm spacing between LEDs, allowing them to be easily positioned behind each drawer. The result is a very effective parts inventory system. We’re not entirely sure that it would entirely banish the tide of anti-static bags here, but we’re impressed nevertheless.

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FindyBot3000 Is Listening And Ready To Help

It’s a problem every maker faces at one time or other – how to organise the ever-growing mass of components in the workshop. Some give up and just live with box upon box of disordered parts. That wasn’t good enough for [Inventor22], though – who created FindyBot3000 to tackle the job. 

The first step is to source a set of those tiny component drawers we all know and love. These are then combined with WS2812B LED strips, which act as indicators for each individual drawer. A Particle Photon is used as the brains of the operation, and drives the strips. So far, so good.

Of course, blinking LEDs are great and all, but it’s the voice control where things get really interesting. Through Google Home and IFTTT, it’s possible to give commands to the Particle Photon. This can be used to manage the parts in the drawers, as well as to quickly highlight the location of various components. It’s backed up with an Azure backend, which manages the component database and keeps track of everything.

It’s a tidy build that does away with tiny sticky labels, and is reconfigurable on the fly as parts come and go. Of course, if you’re mostly storing SMD parts, you might prefer a reel based solution. Video after the break.

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