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Old 9th Jan 2022, 3:23 am   #1
Terry_VK5TM
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Default Parts database program

I came across this today - a database program to help with all those thousands of bits that are "somewhere" in the shed/workshop (there is a thread here on UKVRR somewhere about similar)

https://www.lazure.net/Other-Project...formulary.html

Haven't tried it yet but it:-

Allows you to put PICTURES of where the stuff is stored (as well as text)

Is not in any obscure or propriety format - ie text readable.

Has the Source Code available

Is FREE
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 7:49 am   #2
JonSnell
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Default Re: Parts database program

I see it is for windows only, no good for some of us that use Mac or Linux/Ubuntu.
Many years ago I started using a standard database as a stock list and have used it successfully for many years with no issues.
Set out the 'boxes' on screen as you like and the computer does the rest for you.
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 8:02 am   #3
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Default Re: Parts database program

This is how it looks and can be expressed in a fancy way if you feel the need to fiddle with it ...
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 9:30 am   #4
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Default Re: Parts database program

Like many of us I've tried to do this sort of thing before but have given up when I realised that it was taking longer to catalogue stuff than it was to actually find it. Now that I'm older and I can no longer remember that I had something, let alone where I put it, the idea seems more attractive.

So I've downloaded the file and given it a quick test. My first observation is an "unhandled exception error", which seems to result from not including a picture.

Seems that there's nothing else for it. I'll have to RTFM!

Hugh
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 11:22 am   #5
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Default Re: Parts database program

Hrm.. that's not good, perhaps an email to the writer might produce a fix.
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 11:29 am   #6
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Default Re: Parts database program

Good idea for some who like to have things well organised.
Unfortunately I have so much stuff I don't have enough lifespan to achieve such a project!
MOST parts/items I can narrow down to within a square foot or so, whether in my garage or shed/workshop. My indoor shack is approx 8x9ft and easy to locate items as so much is crammed in.

Things like the thousands of crystals i have are not catalogued unfortunately. The PMR ones used to be around 30+ years ago, but no longer. About half are in bags or boxes of frequency ranges. The rest are just mixed. To attempt to catalogue them would take a huge amount of time and because of very low value for maybe 99% is just not worth doing. Looking out the one I posted about the other day took around 30 minutes.

Other components are in plastic Alibert boxes and labelled and stacked as there are around 25 of them. eg, Aluminium case power resistors. Wirewound resistors. Plastic capacitors. RF chokes and coils, ceramic items etc. ICs are the biggest problem. Upto around 15 years ago they were organised in alpha numeric order. However, with many hundreds more added since then, the later ones are in tubes, or just antistatic bags, sometimes with a variety in one bag and all are in random order. However, I could gather together from different locations around 99% of what I have in maybe 10 minutes.
To summarise, my brain is my stores location list and so far has managed quite well. It is things like a one off special that I might just have somewhere eg a particular little wanted valve type, (say an ef36) that presents a problem. Things like EF37, ECC**, 6v6, 6bw6 are in identifiable boxes.
Rob
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 11:43 am   #7
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Default Re: Parts database program

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Originally Posted by Stockden View Post
So I've downloaded the file and given it a quick test. My first observation is an "unhandled exception error", which seems to result from not including a picture.

Hugh
I fired it up and it starts up fine but then clicking on "All devices" in the tree gives an error because there are no parts loaded.

Looks like there is no error handling in the program apart from those messages.
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 1:34 pm   #8
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Default Re: Parts database program

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Originally Posted by JonSnell View Post
I see it is for windows only, no good for some of us that use Mac or Linux/Ubuntu.
I've been using Linux for many years, and dropped Windows once I realized that I can live without it. While I have experience with complex relational databases, for a simple application such as this I just use a spreadsheet, Libreoffice in my case. You can even insert images into the cells, and it works on pretty much any OS.

Just curious, but what database program are you using JonSnell?

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Old 9th Jan 2022, 2:12 pm   #9
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Default Re: Parts database program

I use Open Office which is closely related to Libre. http://www.openoffice.org/?lang=en-GB
I can insert photos but have never needed to as a link to the manufacturer/suppliers stock code suffices.
Years ago, having purchased Visual Basic 3 to enable my eldest to write programmes for his Uni studies, we used Microsoft Database but found we had to re index it on a regular basis so when Open Office came along and knowing it is free ware and compatible with all of our programmes, have used Open Office ever since without issues.
Open Office and Libre can manipulate Microsoft Office files but Microsoft Office cannot read Open Office/Libre files easily unless saved as a Microsoft file. (Can have its advantages).
Mac now wants me to use their database programme Numbers. Very similar again to Libre.
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Old 9th Jan 2022, 5:02 pm   #10
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Default Re: Parts database program

Where I used to work we had that many drawers all subdivided with say 4 or 5 different transistor types in each drawer, when I started the system had been to label the drawers in rows and columns with numbers and letters, and in a small school-sized exercise book we had each line marked in alphanumeric order with the part numbers listed on the same line. Not intuitive but it was faster thumbing through the book rather than staring at a wall of drawers.

When we got our first PC we took it in turns to enter all the parts and drawers in a DOS-based database (no windows then!) which was searchable through part number with a section for notes and substitutes etc.

After I went self employed I went back to using dymo tape on my drawers (storage) with no computer involved.

I suppose where there's more than one person involved then a database external to one's own brain is necessary, I think i would use the MS-Office based excel as even a computer dunce like me has worked out how to make one (I'm sure you can use pictures with that too but I'm not that clever).
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Old 10th Jan 2022, 9:19 am   #11
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Default Re: Parts database program

Quote:
Originally Posted by markfff View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonSnell View Post
I see it is for windows only, no good for some of us that use Mac or Linux/Ubuntu.
I've been using Linux for many years, and dropped Windows once I realized that I can live without it. While I have experience with complex relational databases, for a simple application such as this I just use a spreadsheet, Libreoffice in my case. You can even insert images into the cells, and it works on pretty much any OS.
For the last 20 years, I had a Sun server running with an Informix RDB which was excellent for radio & telephone logs and all I had to do was write the front end with embedded calls to the DB. Sadly that has now finally died and I had to re-write the logs to use an RPI instead. Having to do the database stuff too, I now realise how easy the former was incomparison! Yes, there is some database stuff available for the Pi, but I never found it much good.
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Old 10th Jan 2022, 10:15 am   #12
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Default Re: Parts database program

I do this by just building TXT files listing the contents of boxes that are hard to access. That way there is no problem with any software and it is multi-platform.

I find it incredibly useful, especially for things like boxes of crystals, meters, valves etc. or anything where it takes an age to sort through to find what you want (if it exists). It makes it worth the effort to catalogue things properly because you only have to do it once rather than every time you search through it. Full pay-back on the second time you use it!

I started this before technology was handy when putting boxes in the loft. I had loads of line-printer paper boxes (all look the same). So I made a list in a book showing the ad-hoc content of each box. The great benefit is that you do not have to organise the box contents, which I find hard to do. Just randomly put stuff in and catalogue it. File box when it is full. The boxes just have letter+number label. I can find stuff in our loft that was filed 50 years ago!
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Old 10th Jan 2022, 4:18 pm   #13
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Default Re: Parts database program

I have a different approach: limit the size of my parts-holding to what will fit in a few drawers/the little flip-top-boxes with movable dividers.

RS/Farnell/Element-14 do next-day delivery; I let them serve as my 'parts catalog/database'.
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Old 10th Jan 2022, 4:29 pm   #14
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Default Re: Parts database program

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Originally Posted by lesmw0sec View Post
For the last 20 years, I had a Sun server running with an Informix RDB which was excellent for radio & telephone logs and all I had to do was write the front end with embedded calls to the DB. Sadly that has now finally died and I had to re-write the logs to use an RPI instead. Having to do the database stuff too, I now realise how easy the former was incomparison! Yes, there is some database stuff available for the Pi, but I never found it much good.
I started out at work with an obscure DOS system called Rbase and later moved on to MySql. We used the system to maintain equipment inventory and service records at a large-ish medical center. It was never my primary job, but at the time there were no decent canned options for this. We even designed and built our own LAN, since we were at the bottom of IT's priority list.

These days, for what little I do, I use SQLite and access it with SQLite Studio or write a front end in Perl. I picked up an RPI not long ago, but haven't had a chance to play with it much.
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Old 10th Jan 2022, 7:37 pm   #15
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Default Re: Parts database program

I don’t know if it’s of interest but there are several online databases that are free to use and you just need web access. I guess there is the worry that the service could disappear
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 9:40 am   #16
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Default Re: Parts database program

I remember DRDos. It came on two 5 1/4" floppy disks. My Seaward PAT Testing Software was built around DRDos, ideal for creative stuff. Then MSDos was version 3.02, full of bugs as windows is today.
We think we have got it difficult with todays software, that is because yesterdays software was simpler and the only game the kids could play on your XT computer was Sopwith Camel.
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Old 11th Jan 2022, 10:36 am   #17
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Default Re: Parts database program

Sounds like a good idea, but like so many others, I have vast amounts of stuff collected over more that 60 years, so although I really fancy cataloguing it all, it would definitely take more than my projected lifespan!
I might just try doing the component drawers, but even that's a huge job.
I started off way back in the '60's with some of the Radiospares cardboard drawers, & then added the square plastic ones a little later. Everything started out being labelled, but then there was a change in the drawer interlocking dimensions, which meant I couldn't fit all the drawers together, so they got moved to a different place. What finally finished the 'tidiness exercise', was both a blessing & a curse..
The company I was working for took over another similar organisation. I was looking for more of the square plastic drawers, & a luck would have it, I was shown a huge wall-mounted section of exactly the type I needed. The only problem was, they were full of components, all semiconductors. They had been catalogued, each drawer just having a letter & number sequence. D= Diode Z= zener & etc. However we didn't have the catalogue listing, no problem, or so I thought.

I was told 'you can have them, as long as you take them now, & with all the components'.
I was absolutely amazed, I was just expecting empty drawers. The storeman said he would dismantle the lot & put it in the back of my car.

When I drove home that day, I really felt as though I could start a new system based on the one used with these drawers. It wasn't until I unloaded all the drawers (They had been kept upright, in sections with cardboard front & back) that I discovered the whole lot had been tipped over in the stores and all the components had fallen out. Thus each drawer contained a lucky-dip assortment. That was over 20 years ago. I've labelled some drawers, as I discover each item.
They're now on my workshop wall, a conundrum waiting to be sorted.

I'm thinking of giving the job to one of my grandchildren, I think they could do a better job than I.

David.
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Old 12th Jan 2022, 5:18 am   #18
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Default Re: Parts database program

In my younger days I could have told you where each and every part of mine was stored.
Now entering my 7th decade, (And having had a ceiling fan fall from a 12' ceiling, running full tilt giving me a concussion, including major memory loss and inability to speak for a while); I find making an inventory is more important than ever for me. It is a massive amount of time to enter things, but then I can sometimes find them. Sometimes...... LOL
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Old 13th Jan 2022, 3:45 pm   #19
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Default Re: Parts database program

Many years ago I bought in a copy of Aplha 5 to set up a database for our service dept.
It turned out to be pretty easy to use, so I then used it to log all my vintage radio service sheets, adding additional information about each type (type of set, valves, date issued etc).
It is still in use today and is very easy to use in terms of designing specific reports and searches.
It later got used to store our Xmas card address list and print out labels

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Old 15th Jan 2022, 12:47 pm   #20
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Default Re: Parts database program

I suppose the awareness of physical space is why the 'memory palace' techniques work. Those who espouse having all their books, say, digitally forget that it's impossible to memorise where something is in a PDF. Everyone will have had the experience of wanting to check a reference and being able to find it by thumbing through the book by recalling that it was 2/3rds down the right page about 3/4 from the end.

It's amazing how often I'm able to think, for example, that a certain tool is behind the bicycle under the linseed oil box in the blue tray!
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