Tools & Supplies for Electronic Repair and Assembly

  • Why is ESD Prevention Important?

    Our latest blogs have discussed many things involving ESD- ESD flooring and maintenance, ESD bags, and ESD devices such as heel grounders. We’ve explained how important it is to maintain an ESD-safe environment, but why is it so important? Today, we’re going to dive into why electrostatic discharge can be as simple as a shock you feel on a cold, dry day, or as serious as a shock that ignites flammable mixtures or ruins electronic components in your workspace.

    It’s true, electrostatic shock can be harmless. The sudden
    jolt you sometimes get after touching a car door or the hand of another person
    can be a little painful, but most of the time it brings a good laugh,
    especially when it startles you or the person you touched. Electricity is
    constantly passing back and forth between ourselves and objects, but the
    voltage is often times too low to feel. It typically takes a voltage of at
    least 3,000 for people to detect the shock.

    On the flip side, it only takes 30 volts to damage highly
    sensitive electronic components, while most components are at risk when the
    charge is between 100 and 200 volts. With that being said, electronic shocks
    that are undetectable to humans have the capability to damage or destroy your
    electrical equipment.

    There are two types of damages that your equipment could
    experience as a result of ESD events- immediate or delayed damage. With delayed
    damages, you could see a malfunction of your device at any point of its
    lifespan. This is also known as a latent defect. These are harder to identify,
    as the component might continue to perform its function for a certain period of
    time, but ultimately the operating life will be reduced dramatically.

    The second type of damage is the immediate damage, otherwise
    known as catastrophic failure. This is when the device is damaged and fails
    immediately. The damages are permanent and the electronic component is
    essentially destroyed. 

    If you work in any industry, there are two things you want to save- time and cost. The same could be said for the electronic assembly industry. If you subject yourself to ESD damages, you’re ultimately wasting both your time and your money. Don’t worry, though. There are many different ways to prevent ESD damages and keep your workspace controlled:

    1. ESD Mats and Flooring

    SCS ESD Floor Mat

    ESD matting and flooring work to disperse the electricity created when your feet make contact with the ground. We wrote an entire blog about the different types of ESD flooring and how to maintain it to ensure that you receive the best possible results, so check that out here.

    2 . ESD Clothing

    SCS ESD Smock

    There are also anti-static clothing pieces that you can wear that will help disperse electricity and protect the components you’re working on. You can find ESD clothing options on the GoKimco website. We also highly recommend checking out our Desco 17200 Premium Foot Grounder. We also wrote an entire blog about how these grounders work to prevent static shock, so check that out here.

    3. ESD Accessories

    Desco ESD Wrist STrap

    There are a number of additional items and accessories available that can prevent potential ESD damage. One of these is an ESD wrist strap. GoKimco offers the Desco 14401 Disposable Wrist Strap, a one-time-use strap that is perfect for guests visiting your work environment and can also be used to ship with ESD sensitive products.

    4. ESD Bags

    SCS ESD Bag

    ESD Bags are a great way to store your equipment in a safe environment. We wrote a blog on the difference between Metal-In and Metal-Out ESD bags so that you can choose the type that’s best for the equipment you intend to store. Check that out here.

    There are many other ways to control ESD, but always make sure you are in compliance with the EOS/ESD Association. Stay up-to-date on today’s standards and keep your staff educated on the risk associated with working in electronic assembly environments. As always, if you have any questions about ESD prevention or our ESD products, you can contact us here.

  • How to Choose the Best Soldering Mask For You

    If you’re new at or unfamiliar with the soldering process, you might not initially know the purpose of using a soldering mask for your PCB manufacturing, let alone how to choose one that’s right for the types of applications you’re performing. For starters, a solder mask is a permanent, protective layer or coating that is applied to the copper traces and interfaces on PCBs to protect it from oxidizing. The masks are able to withstand the extreme heat that the soldering iron creates, preventing solder bridging and short circuits.

    Now that you know the purpose of solder masks, it’s time to choose one that’s right for you! There are different types of PCB solder masks that you can choose from, including epoxy liquid, liquid photoimageable mask and dry film photoimageable mask.

    TechSpray Solder Mask

    Here is a look into the three types so you can choose which is best for you:

    1. Epoxy Liquid

    If you’re looking for the most affordable type of soldering mask, this is most likely for you. Liquid epoxy is the most basic and commonly used type of mask and is made of a thermal resistant polymer material. The liquid is silkscreened onto the PCB pattern, usually using ink or other synthetic fibers. Once the transfer of the synthetic fibers is completed, thermal curing is performed in the final stage.

    2. Liquid Photoimagable

    The liquid photoimagable mask is the most commonly used type of mask. They are the most reliable and accurate and make better contact with the board. The liquid can either be sprayed or silkscreened onto your PCB, most often by using the Hot Air Surface Leveling (HASL) method. This operation needs to be performed in a clean environment, free from any contaminants or other particles that could damage the board. Afterwards, the PCB is placed into a UV developer where the film is precisely aligned over the board. The blacked out locations on the PCB will prevent curing in areas where it is unwanted. Afterwards, the uncured areas are washed off.

    3. Dry Film Photoimageable

    This type of mask is best if your board surface is very flat. The mask must be applied using vacuum lamination to avoid defects and air bubbles, and therefore is not recommended for complex surface features. After applying the dry film, it is exposed and then developed, leaving various openings in the pattern. Copper is then layered onto the board inside the openings using electrochemical processing and followed up with tin to protect the copper from oxidizing. Once this process is done, the film is removed, leaving the copper exposed. The final step is thermal curing.

    There are also different colors of solder masks available
    that can improve the aesthetics of your PCB. While the most common solder mask
    color is green, there are also several other colors that you can use depending
    on your design requirements or preferences, including red, blue, black, white,
    yellow, orange, purple and clear. Green is most recommended because of its
    ability to adhere evenly and its higher resolution. Red typically gives the
    best color contrast between a PCB’s components. Blue is more highly coveted
    because of its rarity. Black absorbs more heat than other colors.

    Colored PCBs

    There’s no definite right or wrong answer for the color and type of soldering mask you should choose for your applications. If you still have any questions about the uses of each type and whether it would be best for you, be sure to give our experts at GoKimco a call by visiting the Contact Us page on our website.

  • Difference Between Metal-In and Metal-Out ESD Bags

    In previous blogs, we’ve discussed how important it is to take care of sensitive materials and devices by ensuring that your work environment is ESD safe. Today we’re going to dive into the differences between two commonly used ESD protection bags- the metal-in and metal-out bags.

    Both types of bags are conductive, or metalized, and comprised of multiple layers that make up a protective shield. The protective shield works to keep electrostatic discharge generated by surfaces, other materials and the user from making contact with ESD sensitive devices. With that being said, both are different in their overall makeup as well as their best uses and features.

    Metal-In ESD Bags

    The more commonly used of the two is the metal-in shielding bag. Like it’s name would suggest, metal-in bags feature a metal shield closer to the middle, or inside, of the bag. The metal shield lies within a layer of static dissipative polyethylene and polyester. Typically speaking, the metal-in bags gain the edge when it comes to cost and durability. They last longer than metal-out bags as they are less likely to scratch and they’re more commonly found on the market.

    Metal-Out ESD Bags

    In metal-out bags, the layer of metal is closer to the outside surface of the bag in between the polyester and the abrasion resistant coating. Because of this, this type of bags have a lower resistance reading and can dispel a static charge faster than metal-in bags can. They’re most commonly used in critical electronics applications and disk drive manufacturing and are most recommended for operations where faster charge decay is preferred.

    While there’s no direct answer to which type of bag you should buy, it will depend on your budget, the materials you use and the types of operations you perform. If you have any additional questions about metal-in and metal-out bags, be sure to give us a call. You can shop our inventory of ESD protection bags here.

  • Why You Should Refrigerate Solder Paste

    Solder paste is a vital material used in the manufacturing
    of printed circuit boards. It connects surface mount components to pads on the
    board through its sticky consistency once heated and forms a bond and an
    electrical connection. Inside the paste, there are ingredients that serve as
    activators that essentially remove oxides from the surface being soldered and
    the powdered solder alloy itself once heated.

    As the paste ages, however, its physical characteristics and overall effectiveness will change. Most solder pastes typically have a shelf life of around 3-6 months when refrigerated. This makes refrigeration the best and most effective way to get the longest use out of your solder paste. Once your paste reaches room temperature or higher, the six month shelf life can shorten to as little as 24 hours. Generally speaking, the ideal temperature for most pastes is between 0 and 10 degrees Celsius. Temperatures warmer than this could separate the flux medium from the body of the paste, possibly causing printing defects and errors.

    Kester EP256 Solder Paste

    While it is not recommended to leave solder paste in warm environments, freezing solder paste is also not recommended. Placing solder paste in too low of temperatures could result in the precipitation of the activators. There are many different solder paste options, but whichever paste you buy should be stored immediately as soon as it arrives.

    Think of your solder paste as a carton of milk. You wouldn’t want to leave the milk sitting out in your car for hours before you finally arrive home from the grocery store. Solder paste generally comes in a package that has insulating materials or ice packs, but it is still recommended that you choose next day shipping and move it to a refrigerated environment as soon as possible.

    Solder paste is designed to have quick reactions at higher temperatures but remain fairly dormant at lower temperatures. This is why it is extremely important to keep the paste at the aforementioned temperature range until removing for use. GoKimco offers a wide variety of different solder pastes, but each product includes details on the recommended handling and shelf life.  

    Kester R276 Solder Paste, 35gr Syringe

  • Product Feature: Loctite EQ CL32 LED Spot System

    One of the most recent products added to the GoKimco website is the Loctite EQ CL32 LED Spot 405nm. With new light intensities of up to 3 w/cm2, this system is three times greater than its predecessor and revolutionizes portable LED curing methods for all industries that need to achieve immediate operating strength on a variety of materials.

    Loctite EQ CL32

    This lightweight LED light source is small enough to be used in crowded and hard-to-reach areas while minimizing operator fatigue, yet powerful enough to take care of all the curing needs your industry might require. Depending on your project and preferences, you can either power the system through a wall outlet if you wish to use it as a mount or you can take advantage of its 3-hour battery life if you wish to use it as a handheld unit.

    Besides being small and powerful, the Loctite EQ CL32 also boasts a number of other benefits. For starters, its instant on/off makes the system easy and quick to use. Its long focus length allows the user to direct precisely into small joints or crowded areas with fast curing speeds. It also consumes little power and releases no IR emissions, which reduces the chance for thermal damage and warp.

    How does this light work? Click here for a visual explanation on how to use the LED spot system, but for now, we’ll go over the basics. For common applications, just apply a light cure instant adhesive to the parts that you wish to be mated, potted or sealed. GoKimco also offers a number of light cure adhesives, all of which are formulated for rapid light cure.

    You can still adjust parts once the adhesive is applied without breaking the initial bond since the adhesive will not become activated until the light source is used. This allows you to ensure that your parts are in the desired place before using the using the Loctite EQ CL32 to adhere them together. Then use the instant on button and either the 365nm or 405nm LED heads to complete the curing process.

    It’s that simple! The Loctite EQ CL32 is perfect for prototyping, scale up, or full production environments so you won’t want to miss out on this newly featured product.

  • How to Maintain ESD Flooring

    ESD Flooring, or electrostatic discharge flooring, serves as way
    for electricity that accumulates on a person to be controlled and discharged
    into a ground point. Why is this important? Think about how many times you can
    remember the shock of static electricity after touching a metal door handle or
    even another person. To you, the transfer of electricity and the shock you feel
    from it can be jarring and even quite painful. To a printed circuit board or
    any other sensitive electronic component, the electrostatic transfer could
    damage or even destroy the parts you’ve worked so hard to create. In addition,
    working in flammable environments without ESD flooring could put you at risk
    for spark creation and explosions, causing injury or even death in some cases.

    Desco ESD-Safe Floor Matting

    There are a variety of different ESD
    floor types to choose from including vinyl tiles, carpet tiles, rubber
    flooring, epoxy flooring, mats and floor finish. The type of flooring you
    decide upon will depend on your desired price point and the floor’s anti-static
    property levels and conductivity. Regardless of which floor type you go with,
    however, there will be some sort of maintenance required since the build up of
    dirt or dust on an ESD floor could prevent the static from dissolving properly
    into the ground.

    The cleaning process can vary
    depending on which ESD floor you choose. For example, carpet and rubber only
    require simple maintenance in the form of vacuuming and steam cleaning for the
    carpet and mopping for the rubber. Vinyl is the most difficult to maintain,
    requiring regular buffing. It’s important to note that the process of cleaning
    ESD floors is not the same as cleaning the regular floors that you might have
    in your house. Many household products contain silicone, which leaves a residue
    behind and weakens the integrity of your ESD surface.

    Staticide Ultra II Floor Finish

    If your ESD floors are already treated with an ESD finish, the maintenance process could be made easier and your floors might be preserved longer. GoKimco offers several different ESD-safe finishes that are designed to provide high performance static control on any sealed or hard surface. These finishes have a durable, non-slip formulation and a high resistance to abrasion, all for an affordable price. You can find more information about these products here. We understand that the process of deciding whether you need an ESD finish might be confusing if you’re not sure which ESD floor you wish to choose yet. If you have any questions about the maintenance or cleaning process, be sure to contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.

  • Uses and Applications of a Dry Storage Cabinet

    If you frequently work with microelectronics, having a dry
    storage cabinet in your workplace can prevent possible defects due to contact
    with moisture. You might be wondering, however, whether purchasing one of these
    cabinets is the best and most cost-efficient solution to eliminating moisture
    and ensuring that your electronics remain in perfect condition. Today we’ll
    dive into the uses and applications of owning your own dry storage cabinet and
    why it could benefit you.

    A dry storage cabinet uses a powerful dehumidifier that condenses the air and eliminates any moisture that could accumulate. The boxes contain a desiccant, or any substance that maintains a state of dryness, such as Silica Gel, Anhydrous Calcium Chloride or Calcium Sulphate. There are many other names synonymous with “dry storage cabinet” including dry box, dehumidifying cabinets, desiccators and low humidity storage. All refer to the same device which helps combat humidity issues with your equipment. Many dry storage cabinets also come with storage bins, glass windows, adjustable shelves and LED controls with temperature and humidity indicators, depending on the model.

    Dry storage cabinets are made specifically for moisture sensitive components including, but not limited to PCBs, cameras, lenses, batteries, sensors, photographs, paintings and musical instruments. They maintain an internal environment of 1-50% RH depending on which type of products you choose to store and insure that they remain safe and dry. Without the assistance of a dry cabinet, your sensitive components could become damaged or destroyed if too much humidity permeates their surface.

    The main alternative to purchasing a dry storage cabinet is using a moisture barrier bag to protect against damage. While bags are cheaper up front, continuing the supply over time would eventually cost more than a dry storage cabinet. With cabinets, your items can be placed directly onto the shelves without having to be placed in a bag first. This will end up saving you a considerable amount of labor and time. Additionally, there are risks associated with using moisture barrier bags. Improper sealing, punctures and the possibility of using an incorrect amount of desiccant could result in issues and damages to your equipment. Lastly, the cabinets require little to no maintenance and the desiccant typically lasts for 10 years or more without having to be replaced, whereas with moisture barrier bags, you will need to purchase new desiccants much more often.

    GoKimco is a proud seller of several different dry cabinets made by Dr. Storage. Dr. Storage is one of the best manufacturers of dry cabinets on the market. Many major technology companies including Apple, Sony, IBM, Philips and Panasonic use Dr. Storage as their supplier of dry storage cabinets. On the GoKimco website, you can find Dr. Storage cabinets that range in capacity from 126L to 1250L depending on the size and amount of storage you need.

    Dr. Storage F1-1200-6

    Today we’re highlighting the Dr. Storage F1-1200-6 Ultra Low Humidity Dry Cabinet with 1250L Capacity. This large unit consists of 5 shelves, airtight magnetic sealers, antistatic glass and compression handles. Four antistatic wheels create an ease of mobility while a calibration expiration reminder will prompt you when the cabinet needs recalibrating. Most importantly, this dry storage cabinet as well as all cabinets that Dr. Storage offers meets the regulation of STD-033B. Click here to see a list of all the Dr. Storage models currently available for purchase.

  • Top 6 Uses for the Maxxeon Cyclops WorkStar 800 Rechargeable LED Inspection Light

    I distinctly remember a time from my childhood when a blizzard hit our town and persisted for days, keeping everyone locked inside their houses with no electricity for the majority of that time. My family always kept flashlights around the house and considered this “being prepared”,but they quickly learned that cheap lights were exactly that- cheap… and also unreliable. Sometimes a dull glow was all a single light could muster even with newly replaced batteries. It ended up becoming a giant frustration on top of the other pains that relentless snow brings.

    This is just one scenario where the Maxxeon Cyclops WorkStar 800 would have
    been beneficial to have around. This rechargeable LED light boasts 420 lumens in a frame that’s small enough to fit nicely in your hand. It works well in a variety of different settings varying from the household to maintenance and manufacturing environments. Here’s a list of six uses of the Maxxeon Cyclops WorkStar 800 that will give you an idea of just how versatile this light can be:

    1. Plumbing

    If you work in the plumbing industry or even do some plumbing work from time to time around your own house, this light is going to be highly beneficial to you. Being an inspection light that specializes in illuminating close, confined quarters, this light will work especially well for this trade. The Cyclops is also water resistant, holding up over time against any splashes of water that might come its way.

    2. Electronic Repair

    If you’re an electronic repair person, you know that your profession requires you to work from multiple angles. You need a light that is going to help you regardless of what position you’re in. While the Cyclops can fit nicely in your hand if desired, it also comes with a handle that rotates 360 degrees with 12 indented positions. You can use the handle as a stand or hang it from a hook. There’s also a built in magnet that can attach the light to any metal surface. Bottom line is that you’re now hands free and still have a reliable light at your disposal.

    3. Automotive Repair

    In a testimonial about the Cyclops light, a buyer said, “It’s been left on cars for test drives, it’s fallen off of cars several times, I’ve dropped it quite a few times, and ran over once by an F-150. I can’t kill this light. It charges up bright as ever.” Obviously, if you work frequently on automobiles, your equipment is bound to get banged up over time. That won’t slow this light down. It’s perfect with automotive repair and restoration.

    4. On the Farm

    While you may not think of it at first, the Cyclops is a great help for those that live or work in a farm setting. Not near an outlet? No problem. The Cyclops is cordless and rechargeable. This light can run for 2 hours on high or 5 hours on low without being recharged. It’s also sealed to avoid contamination by any dirt or grit it may encounter, and once again, it’s water resistant.

    5. Camping

    The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a camping trip when you realize the lights you brought either broke or don’t work the way you expected them to. The Cyclops is a rugged, durable light. It is designed to be dropped, dragged and mishandled, yet still carry on in all its glory. It’s like “The Little Light That Could”. Go ahead and drop it in with the rest of your camping equipment because this light is sturdy enough to last through countless camping trips.

    6. For the Home

    Don’t wait until a snowstorm or your next power outage to realize that your at-home lights aren’t cutting it. While yes, this light was made with the professional trades in mind, it’s also great to have stored away in case of power outages or other emergency situations. As mentioned before, the battery life of this device will get you through for hours.

    There you have it. Who would have guessed that such a little light would have so many uses. For more information on the Maxxeon Cyclops WorkStar 800, visit the product page here.

  • Great Holiday Gift Ideas for the Electronic Enthusiast

    Picture this: It’s only a couple of days before the Holidays. Amidst all of the themed parties, plates of frosted cookies and carolers constantly bombarding your doorstep, you come to a shocking realization. Oh, no! You forgot to get someone a present. You reluctantly head to the overly crowded mall closest to you and fight through traffic and the absence of parking spots to find the perfect gift for that special someone. Now, you’re exhausted and wishing you hadn’t of eaten all of the frosted cookies before embarking on this harrowing journey, as you could really use one after that.

    Now, picture this: Instead of fighting the crowds of last-minute holiday shoppers, you grab your laptop and plop down on your comfortable living room couch. There’s an electronic enthusiast in your life, and you know just how to delight him/her. You head over to GoKimco.com, and you begin reading a blog titled, “Great Holiday Gifts for the Electronic Enthusiast”. Awesome! Just what you’re looking for. You go on to read the ideas…

    1. The Hakko FX888D Bundle

    You can’t go wrong with any kind of bundle that provides variety, let alone this one. This soldering kit includes:

    • Hakko FX888D Digital Soldering Station
    • No-Clean Flux Pen
    • CHP Cutter
    • Desoldering Braid
    • Tip Polishing Compound
    • SCS Nylon Soldering Tool
    • 63/37 Solder Wire Sample


    The Hakko FX888D is the star of this kit, and if you’re looking for more information about this particular model, we’ve written another piece specifically about it that you can find here.

    1. Daylight Company U35107 Slimline LED Table Lamp

    This is a product that is useful for a variety of different jobs and hobbies. The lamp clamps securely to any table and shines a bright LED light evenly across the entire surface, eliminating glare. There is an integrated on/off switch for easy reach and the lamp can be adjusted to whichever height you need for your latest project. Whether the person you know frequently does electronic work in a dimly-lit garage, sews for a hobby or runs a manicure business, this light is the perfect addition to their work space to elevate their skills to the next level.

    1. Kimco Alkaline Batteries

    Remember the song titled, “The 12 Pains of Christmas” and how the tenth item on the list was “Batteries not included”? Yeah, not having batteries at your disposal when you need them is a real pain anytime of the year, let alone during the Holidays when it seems as though not a single gadget includes them. If you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer or just a useful gift for an electronics lover that doesn’t break the bank, stock up on Kimco Alkaline Panasonic Batteries. We carry 9V, AA, AAA, C and D batteries that will be sure power their devices.


    4. WI-AWE-912 Wicked Awesome Wipes

    These wipes are crazy good. Oh, did you think we were going to say they’re wicked awesome? Well, they’re that too. They might resemble a simple box of tissues but rest assured, they’re much, much better. Each wipe offers exceptional strength, durability and absorbency. These robust wipes tackle and clean up a variety of liquids including solvents and oil, all while still being soft enough to use on your face and hands. They’re a great gift if the person you’re buying for works or has a hobby in any of the following industries:

    • Manufacturing
    • Automotive
    • Food
    • Printing
    • Marine
    • Laboratories
    • Aerospace


    1. Weller D550PK 120 V Professional Soldering Gun Kit

    We’ll end this list with another bundle idea because you really just can’t go wrong with a variety kit. The soldering gun heats up quickly and produces 260 or 200 watts. The features in this bundle include:

    • Professional heavy-duty gun
    • Pistol grip design, ready to use in 6 seconds
    • Fingertip trigger selects high or low output
    • Two-wire cord
    • Coil of lead-free solder
    • Flux brush
    • Heavy gauge, high efficiency, tin-plated copper tip
    • Blow molded plastic carrying case
    • Twin lights

    So now you’re still sitting on your couch but your virtual shopping cart is full. Doesn’t that feel nice? No last minute trips to the shopping mall for you this season. Suddenly you feel like making another batch of frosted cookies, this time in celebration because you have so much free time on your hands. More carolers at the door? Nope, still no time for that.

  • GoKimco Announces New Website Launch

    MENTOR, OHIO (Nov. 20, 2018) – Kimco Distributing Corp. is inviting all of its visitors to explore the newly launched website. Designed to offer a better user experience, the new site features a faster search time, a modern design and a simplified, organized layout.

    “We’ve been working hard on this redesign, and we’re thrilled for it to be live,” said Keith Cathcart, Digital Marketing and eCommerce Director for GoKimco. “The new site will ensure the best overall experience for our customers, both on desktop and mobile devices.”

    The home page has been redesigned into easy-to-navigate categories with a faster search speed. Visitors to the site can easily find featured products, featured partners, customer reviews and more directly from the home page.

    Products can be searched by type, brand name or hobby. The search bar can also be utilized to look for a keyword or part number.

    Customers can stay informed on recent product launches, sales, industry news and more through the GoKimco blog page. Customers can also find demonstrative and informative videos on certain products through the home page.

    Visitors are encouraged to explore the new site and contact GoKimco if there are any questions or concerns.

    About GoKimco

    Kimco Distributing Corp. specializes in personalized service and has offered the latest technology and products for electronic production, service, repair and testing since 1978.

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