Beware of how stores pack your chips for shipping

I just found out the hard way that I have an estimated 25% (from 125) ATmega chips with severely bent pins, which I bought from Cool Components in the UK. I would expect such store to know how to pack chips appropriately, and not just sacking them inside a bag where they apparently "kick" each other during shipping bending pins on the way. The pins are quite thin and won't have the original strength once re-bent in place in the cases where that's possible, not to mention that they'll never meet their mechanical specs again. I'm a retailer, these are unsellable goods - talk about prejudice!

Unfortunately I made this buy 5 months ago, and the store terms and conditions would only allow me to have the issue corrected if reported within 2 weeks of arrival. That will teach me to open and inspect everything on arrival and to always ask before hand how things are packed for shipping on every new store I try from now on.

Have you ever received chips improperly packaged like this? All of you store owners out there, chips and chip supports MUST be shipped inside their original plastic boxes or attached to appropriate foam!!

Another thing to watch out for (especially in retail stores) is static-sensitive devices that are not stored and supplied in antistatic packaging.

Received a batch of ATTiny 2313's mounted on good old fashioned styrofoam last week. In plastic bags, packed in styrofoam peanuts. The package was so static-y that the peanuts clung to the bag. Only paid a couple bucks and got free shipping, so chalked it up as lesson learned and moving on. Keeping the batch for blinkies, don't think they'll be useful for much else.

Just buy from Mouser, digi-key, et al. Some of the online discount houses do a decent job as well, for example electronic-goldmine ships chips on proper static foam in individual antistatic bags.

May be an obvious point, but did you point out the damage to the vendor? I've found a lot of the smaller shops to be quite accommodating when it comes to damaged items. For example, purchased an LCD shield from RobotShop; the item arrived damaged (inductor was shattered), sent an email and they overnighted a replacement to me, no questions asked.

Some of the online discount houses do a decent job as well, for example electronic-goldmine ships chips on proper static foam in individual antistatic bags.

It's been my past experience that All Electronics ships their stuff properly as well.

Just buy from Mouser, digi-key, et al.

Mouse and Digi-Key go way into the other extreme. I've received shipments where each item was in an anti-static bag (even soldering iron tips for some reason), everything was bundled into a bigger plastic bag, which was wrapped in a single layer of bubble wrap, which had an outer layer of cardboard packing material, finally placed into a box.

Only slightly bent pins in some directions are fixable, that’s all (and as if I needed another task to keep me busy). Unfortunately the estimated 25% are severely bent ones.

Of course I did complain to those gentlemen, but as I mentioned it was a few months after I received the packages so they refused to do anything about it as per their selling conditions. I’m really pissed of with this, I would really like to go there and slap the face of who decided to package this in this way, it’s not like they are new to the business. It was a really stupid idea, they don’t (didn’t, 'cause I already told them) have a clue on what they’re doing. This just shows complete ignorance.

I know the big houses pack things properly, I’ve shopped on a few. Many smaller retailers do it also. But what’s the problem of shipping chips to customers in their original boxes? I’m a one guy retailing on part-time to my “day-job” and I always send chips in the boxes, even if it’s only 1 chip. They come on those boxes for some reason. Now got to thing what I’m gonna do with some 30 pin bent megas. I guess I’m gonna have a autumn unusually full of projects… arrrrrg!

I once ordered a 12 inch long CFL lamp for a laptop screen I was fixing from one of them (probably Mouser) - they left it in its original packing tube, wrapped it with bubble wrap, then stuck it inside one of the 36 inch triangle tube shipping containers with more bubble wrap at each end to fill it up. Needless to say, though, it didn’t get broken! :smiley:

I know the big houses pack things properly, I've shopped on a few. Many smaller retailers do it also. But what's the problem of shipping chips to customers in their original boxes?

DIP ICs usually come packed in IC "tubes" (which are C-shaped, squarish in cross-section); several to the tube (the number varies depending on the device, of course); they aren't usually in individual boxes that I have seen. I know that other devices come packed in "trays", several to the tray - not individually broken out. There really isn't an "orginal box". In the cases I've seen with places like All Electronics, they'll put the DIP ICs either on anti-static foam in an anti-static bag, or they'll use a cut-off bit of an IC tube (and tape the ends to keep the ICs from falling out).

Generally, though, for most places unless you are ordering an amount that would fill or mostly fill an IC tube, you won't get that tube as packaging. In the cases of the larger retailers, they can afford spare tubes (or they re-use tubes - they probably have a ton spare).

I cut a piece of the tube with a good x-acto knife, do small cuts and bends at the ends and/or taped them. It takes me a few more tens of seconds to do that instead of just opening the tube a drop the chips on a plastic bag, but I do care for the goods good condition! No need for extra spare packaging materials, just re-use.

There is no excuse for this unless a vendor has NO clue…

In China, center of the Shenzhen electronics market, there are 900 electronics shops. 2 of them have nothing but good antistatic foam, bags etc… for shops to ship stuff… And it’s NOT expensive; we buy stuff there all the time.