In the past few weeks, I’ve received a couple of parcels which tickled me. They demonstrate the different ends of the packaging spectrum, so I thought I’d share some pictures.

Firstly, some Mega8A tqfp’s that I bought on eBay from a Hong Kong seller. The are the cheapest Mega8’s I’ve ever bought – superb value at around 80p each (including postage). As you can see, they’re minimally packaged. A padded envelope containing a zip-top plastic bag with the bare chips loose inside. Amazingly, all the legs look undamaged and relatively flat (important for reflowing).

Secondly, a couple of XMegaA3’s I bought from Farnell – one XMega192A3U and one XMega256A3U. These are 64 pin 0.8mm pitch tqfp’s. Farnell aren’t the cheapest supplier of these chips (especially in small quantities), but they have a low minimum order limit and have a UK base, so are pretty quick to deliver (a couple of days). These arrived in a huge cardboard box. In the cardboard box, surrounded by crumpled brown paper, were two waffle-trays, each vacuum packed in metallised plastic anti-static bags.
vacuum packed metallised bags.

desiccating bag

Just one chip per waffle tray

I am NOT complaining about inappropriate packaging here – quite the opposite. Each supplier delivered exactly as I expected. I’m delighted to have these diverse sources of parts available to me.

Re-sealing the metallised plastic bags
Since I’m not going to be using the XMegas for a couple of weeks (I’m waiting on a set of boards from iTead), I re-sealed them in their bags using a smooth-tipped soldering iron on high. Running the iron along a metal ruler gives a nice straight edge.