Many people don’t put careful consideration into storing electronic devices. In reality, there are several ways that these units can be damaged through nothing more than improperly storing whether it’s in a warehouse or a closet. The components on a printed circuit board are sensitive to a variety of situations, any of which can lead to rendering the unit inoperable.
Cold temperatures can ultimately harm electronics over time. Devices that are exposed to ultimately low temperatures and then put into operation can experience condensation. Once moisture from the temperature difference occurs as power rapidly heats up a device, it increases the risk of creating a short internally. Unfortunately, short-outs of this kind are very difficult to troubleshoot and repair. It is this problem that can damage devices such as laptops and smartphones if left out in a cold car all night long.
Humidity within the warehouse can cause similar damage to PCBs as cold weather. Once the humidity is at a certain point, the resulting moisture could be devastating for electronics while being capable of subjecting those products and packaging materials to mildew and molds. Even if you were to store PCBs within a sealed box on a shelf, the humidity will eventually compromise the box itself. The weakened areas will then expose the PCBs to the same humidity levels over time.
Heat can be a devastating condition if your project has components easily affected by high temperatures. Without proper ventilation and air conditioning, the warehouse can become an oven of sorts throughout the spring and summer months. Any material that can be affected by high temperatures can be put at risk. While not many people utilize tape drives and floppy disks in today’s society, there are other materials that can be warped and rendered inert from exceedingly high temperatures. In fact, it’s not just the PCB that you should concern yourself with. Heated metal, plastics and other components of your product can be damaged as well.
Although the ambient environment does play a role in proper storage techniques, stacking boxes and devices improperly can put the devices at risk as well. A heavier unit could crush a light product if it sits on top while gravity can pull objects down that are not properly supported.
It is the concern of the storage environment that has led many manufacturers to design dry boxes or cabinets. These units utilize fans and temperature sensing components to keep items locked in them dry and secure from outside environmental impacts. These come in a wide variety of designs, sizes and capabilities depending on the electronic devices locked within them.
You can never be too careful when it comes to storing sensitive electronic devices and components. Too many variables can play a role in how these units can be damaged. If you’re unsure about proper storage techniques of your PCBs, allow the professionals to help you determine the best method that fits your needs.