Electrical engineers are, most of the time, under the gun to get a circuit working and don’t have the luxury of ordering parts and waiting—even a day.

The problem is that loose parts in the tool box can be nearly impossible to read, even under bright light and high magnification. Same goes when trying to repair an existing device or take a photograph.

To solve this problem, simply apply ordinary cellophane tape over the body of the IC, transistor or other component. Be careful though, as tape can generate considerable ESD, so avoid touching the actual pins of the package.

20170718_EDNA_Reading-IC-part (cr)

Notice the dramatic difference in the photos. Both were taken under identical conditions, the only difference being the components on the right have cellophane tape applied.

Jay Davis is a Senior Electrical Engineer in Outdoor Products Engineering at TTI.

First published by EDN.