Monday, April 29, 2013

Get A Hobby, Hit The Yard Sales

Since I started up with hobby #32516, Electronics, I’ve been slowly accumulating parts that I may or may not need for projects in the near or far future. The usual assortments have been bought from Ebay, Amazon and Jameco, special bits bought from Mouser and Newark. But I have a definite lack of random crap stored up for use. In the past my usual remedy has been to rely on luck. Several years ago when I started the airgun blog I hit a yard sale that had a large collection of broken pellet guns. Last year I hit a yard sale with a pile of extremely inexpensive and relatively modern computer parts. Yesterday I hit a sale that took partial care of my electronics spare parts problem.

At first glance there was nothing at the sale of interest. I had flagged it on my list (yes, I make a list of yard sales to hit in order of importance and location) as it said “electronic kits”. I was about to leave but started talking to the young guy having the sale. It turned out that he had put away all of the electronic parts and books because of a perceived lack of interest. So he dragged them out again and I bought what he had. “Make offer”, so I gave him a $20 bill and loaded up the van. He had received them from the estate of an old friend/neighbor (?) and wanted them to go to someone who would use them. Well, I’ll use a lot of what I got.

Now those of you with no interest can turn away as there will be a number of incredibly boring pictures of objects. Those who like looking up datasheets will have fun.

A pile of stuff from one box.

Retail packages of components. Before the internet you would go into Radio Shack or your other friendly electronic store and buy a couple of caps, etc.

I can always use more transistors.

Yes it is.

Pots, you need lots of pots for experiments.


Dip switches.

Jacks and plugs!

I like this one, it illustrates how a phone connector works. I can bore many people with this.


Some numerical displays.

Some unassembled LCD displays.

Bulbs and LEDs.

ICs! Lots of them. Some useless and some useful.

I can use these.

I don’t think I’ll use these.

Nor these.

Lovely packages.

Some are not in anti-static foam, so I don’t know if they are good or not.

LEDs and resistor arrays.

Op amps, etc. That isn’t anti-static either.

Old chips. I may frame the Z-80 and hang it on the wall.

I don’t know why this socket has a chip.

More chips. Feel free to disparage them.

ZIF sockets.

More sockets.


A pile of random loose components. That’ll be fun to sort out some evening.

I got two of these, one looked like the guy was fixing it. They’ll go to a friend who does DC power stuff.

Two more power supplies/chargers of some sort.

Old CB radios.

A nice gauge.

Now I have two Timex Sinclairs

And the printer! Oh how I wanted one way back when. It cost as much as the computer and we never bought one.

Anyway, a good haul.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Admit I Have No Power Over My Addiction

After months of striving to avoid the OSU surplus sale, I’ve hit it twice in three weeks.
Two weeks ago I went with Max (after the Maker Festival) and they had an Easter deal where you would pick an easter egg and get a discount coupon. Max picked a 25% off one. I found a Dell Optiplex 745 “for parts” at $9 after the discount. Opened up the case and the PSU had a tag that said “bad power supply”. I replaced the power supply, stuck in some ram, a HD and upgraded the processor with a 2.2Ghz C2D I had laying around, fired right up. Like I needed another PC.
I then spied this:DSC02906
It’s an Optical Chopper controller. I don’t have an Optical Chopper.* See what it is here (.pdf). It was $4.00 and has a neat LED display and multi-turn locking potentiometer I might use for another project. Or I’ll let it sit in my junk box.
*( Actually I do have an optical chopper, but it's broken and not the same make. Guess where I bought it? Yeah, several years ago at the OSU sale)
A neat voltage selector (see the manual for details).

Full of parts.
I love pictures of circuit boards.
Today I hit it again…DSC02913
$10 for a Datavac with a bunch of extra filters. It is the Cadillac of computer vacuums.
This was $6.00 and I couldn’t resist. Here’s their archived website as they seem to no longer exist. I could really use the software or a manual if anyone has one.
Anyway I have a feeling akin to that when you eat too many potato chips, and need to not go every week or the house will fill up with all sorts of interesting and/or useless items.