Monday, February 14, 2011

Mouser Label Fades

I have been buying parts form Mouser for a long time and have a lot of parts, one of the things that I like is the attached label for each bag of components - it is nice neat consistent label, with descriptive, reorder information, and it contains my PO number for that purchase. It is a very nice and useful parts storage and sorting label.

BUT NO!  - one year old Labels are starting to fade - Mouser what is wrong with your bag labels ?????

Most of my SMT parts are less than two years old, some labels are now unreadable. I keep like-parts in plastic tubs, in a heated area of the shop. Light is only provided via over head florescent fixtures and they are only on a few hours a day.

I am not sure what the problem is,
  • Have I caused the problem by my storage method?
  • Is it maybe, plastic out-gas that effect the print?
  • Is the ink supposed to fad away in preparation for land fill?
  • Or, is the paper, or ink just junk? or maybe RoHS?
Soon I will only have hand-written-over labels on my parts - what a BIG PAIN!

Label on the Left is OK
Label on the Right is almost GONE.

Please, Mouser replace your (environment friendly - user unfriendly) label printer, with a more permanent printing solution.

For other Mouser Customers, I suggest you save-your-own-bacon and hand-write on your Mouser Labels until this is understood and maybe fixed.

I DO NOT like having this problem.

I have placed a "Open Letter to Mouser" on the HomeBrew_PCB Yahoo Group List - many list user responses have been received.

When I order parts I always order more than I need, and therefore I always need to store the extras. In the old days, individual parts were easily identifiable with large lettering or color codes. With SMD parts, bag tag labels are very important to help manage and store parts - very small SMD parts without bag tag labels are almost worthless.

I think there are three or four solution to this problem, with my prediction of possible success:
  • 2% - Part vendors will understand the problem and update to better printing equipment.
  • 95% - We users will print on our received labels enough information to get by.
  • 10% - Part vendors will provide Tag Printing option directly from their web site. Mouser has a "Order History" page where an additional printed format could be added to print labels. Two print options already exist.
  • 20% - Someone will produce an App to extract information from an online source to produce labels
  • 40% - The first part vendor that helps solve this problem will see an up shift in market share. 

Here is my on-line Chat with a Mouser Rep (or, maybe a bot?)
Chat InformationPlease wait for a Web Chat Representative to respond.
Chat InformationYou are now chatting with 'Tamara'
Tamara: Good Morning Eldon, how may I assist you?
Eldon Brown: Hello Tamara - I have a problem,
Eldon Brown: After several years of ordering parts from Mouser, and carefully storing my small SMD parts,
Eldon Brown: in containers with the Mouser Shipping tags on each for later referance,
Eldon Brown: I now find that the Tag has Faded and can no longer read it. All other hobby people like,
Eldon Brown: myself have the same problem. 
Eldon Brown: Can Mouser Help - maybe use better ink on part tags? or,
Eldon Brown: maybe provide a Tag printing method from the order history screen, that would print labels on our own printer?
Tamara: I do apologize that you have experienced this, however at this time I am not able to print labels.
Eldon Brown: Are you real, or a bot? I do not need you to print the labels, I am asking if Mouser would concider adding a print function on the Order History Page to print laser Tags on my printer, It would help when I reorder.
Tamara: I can forward your request to my manager to see if we are able to print the labels for you.
Tamara: Can you please provide the part number and invoice number that it was purchased on.
Eldon Brown: This is an example, 12/15/2010-25011794, I would like a print option, so that I can print part labels on my laser printer.
Eldon Brown: I would consider moving to another part vendor, it they provide easy access to part label, I would like Mouser to be first to solve this problem for all user.
Tamara: I have spoke with my manager, this is a request that we will have to forward to our IT department to see if it can happen.
Eldon Brown: Thank you - that would solve a problem for many Mouser Users, See:
Eldon Brown: Thanks,
Eldon Brown: ELdon
Tamara: You're Welcome
Tamara: Is there anything else I may assist you with?
Eldon Brown: No thanks, I hope to see action soon, Good by.
Tamara: Thank You for chatting with Mouser and have a nice day.
Chat InformationChat session has ended.

Mouser has responded on Aug, 23, 2011, see my post at:



  1. Been there, done that...First thing I do now is to write the part number on the bag with a sharpie

  2. Eldon, I've had the exact same problem. My old DigiKey stuff looks fine but my Mouser stuff that's more than a year old is extremely faded. Maybe their corporate customers don't have a problem with this since they probably store their stock under their own labeling system, but it's a huge pain for use hobbyists.

    Jason NT7S

  3. I have noticed the same thing on a couple of my labels. I'm thinking about just getting one of those printing labelmakers from Walmart and labeling everything with that instead.