BeanCounter: Battery-Powered, Pocket-Sized, Open-Source Parts Counter for 8 mm Cut Tape and Partial Reels

Published  April 19, 2022   0
BeanCounter Open-Source Parts Counter

BeanCounter is a SMT parts counter that fits in your pocket and uses two IR photointerrupters to count parts about as fast as you can pull them through. Powered by a CR2032 coin cell, it works with any opaque, 8-mm-wide carrier tape up to 2 mm in height, which covers most 0805-or-smaller LEDs and passives, as well as SOT23 transistors. It can be configured for varying part pitches in either Inventory mode or Dispense mode, so you can accurately count any part that physically fits through the counter.

BeanCounter counts the feed holes and divides them by the part pitch. Because it does not detect empty pockets, you will need to make sure it begins counting after any empty tape has been pulled through and stops counting before it reaches the tail. To help with this, we’ve added a "pause" button that you can use to freeze the count while pulling empty tape.

Key Features & Specifications

  • Counts any component on optically opaque, 8-mm-wide carrier tape up to 2 mm in height
  • Adjustable part pitch
  • Two counting modes: Inventory Mode and Dispense Mode
  • A "Pause" button for starting or stopping a count mid-tape
  • No moving parts means less wear and tear over time
  • Runs on a single CR2032 coin-cell battery (or an external 3 V supply)
  • LED segment display is visible in all lighting conditions
  • A hang-hole for attaching to a wrist-strap or lanyard
  • Weighs less than 50 grams

To use BeanCounter, simply turn it on and start pulling tape through. It will immediately begin counting your parts using one of two modes:

  • Inventory Mode - Using just one sensor, BeanCounter polls at its fastest rate, allowing you to count long tapes and partial reels very quickly.
  • Dispense Mode - With both sensors active, BeanCounter can detect the direction in which you are pulling the tape. This feature allows it to count upward in one direction and backward in the other, which is useful in kitting contexts where you may be cutting fixed quantities off the end of a full reel.