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Old 27th July 2005, 03:26 AM   #1
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Smile how to save money on experimenting with Electronics

Hello Everyone, As i don't have large amounts of money to spend on my electronic projects, one way i save money is to ask all my friends, relatives and family that when they are getting rid of their monitors, video recorders, printers, computers etc etc that instead of putting them with the rubbish to pass them on to me.

You would not believe the amount of heat sinks, large value greencaps, high wattage resistors, mount brackets, screws etc etc not forgetting the transformers of different voltages that come in useful to drive my smaller projects.

The best thing about using secondhand components in that when an experiment goes wrong and goes up in smoke, who cares as the components cost nothing.

Once i have the design right, i build my final project with new components, knowing that my project will work.
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Old 27th July 2005, 04:58 AM   #2
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Many of us started that way. When I was a kid I used to go out behind the local TV repair shops and raid the trash bin. I would haul old TV chassis home and strip them for parts. CLose to 50 years later and I still have some of those old parts around here somewhere. Like the old resistors with body color and dot for resistance code. And I also gained an appreciatioin for parts as art. I always liked the design simplicity of the innards of a 1B3 HV rectifier tube. And the squatty little 6H6 metal octal dual diode. And I am still very much appreciative that we no longer use wax capacitors in anything. OOky mess, those were.

I appreciate surplus to this day. I am not far from Michigan State University - a college with about 45,000 students. Big place. MSU, like many universities, has a "salvage" facility. Nothing is discarded, any surplus gear is sent to salvage for liquidation. You can go in there and find all manner of stuff. Cheap test gear. Plenty of electronic things good only for parts. I once bought a large polygraph machine for $10. A five foot tall rack on high quality casters. The wheels alone were worth $50. Very nice equipment rack. The rack was full of amplifier modules and things. Many vrey high quality parts for next to nothing. SOmetimes they have things like ph meters from the bioilogy labs. Nice sloping panel box with a very large needle meter on it. Cost? a dollar or two.

In any case, it might pay to explore the local institution of higher learning to see if they have a disposal facility for obsolete gear. I bought a door there once too.
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Old 28th July 2005, 12:46 AM   #3
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I started that way as well.

Also got lots of parts from things being thrown away at my old tech school. I got a really large transformer that can change 115V to 220 or 240V also has 190, 200, 210 volts on the secondary and 75 or 90 also on the primary. Completely free, and comes in handy for testing things at a lower voltage, like when you first test a new amp just built.

From various folks, got computer monitors (GREAT for HV small signal transistors) VCR's, TV's, etc. Also got some power transistors from a dead car amp.

Now along with my numerous used parts (always test with meter before using) I ordered 25 of each MJE15034/MJE15035 and also MJL4281/4302 and 5 each of MJL21195/96. Having all those old parts previously makes you appreciate the high end parts such as these.
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Old 28th July 2005, 07:37 AM   #4
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Hello EWorkshop1708,
i know a lot of people who don't want to use secondhand components in their projects. I always get warned about using secondhand polarized capacitors as they can dry out and can explode. As i only use them for testing and at voltages way below their rating (EG : 200v electrode's running at a rail voltage of 40v ) and only for the testing period, i can't see any problems with that.
also with the money i save on discrete components i can buy better transistors for my testing.

When i was young on weekends my father used to pay the garbage man about 10 cents for any old radio, tv when we took our rubbish to the tip. This would keep me quiet for the whole weekend and when he went back to the tip he would take the remains of the tv and buy me another one to pull apart.
amazingly i still have some old valves from that time.

the thing that got me looking for electronic stuff people didn't want anymore was while i was down the rubbish tip dropping off some garden waste, i noticed a large pile of computer monitors from the telephone company. i asked the rubbish man if i could have one and the amount of useful items i found inside made me realize how much good useful stuff is getting buried in land fill every year.
out of that one monitor i got at least 6 handy size heat sinks that would have cost me about $20 which are perfect for mounting driver transistor on.
i wish i have piled the lot in a trailer, had i known what was inside.
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Old 28th July 2005, 08:32 AM   #5
mzzj is offline mzzj  Finland
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Sometimes local junkjard is real treasury hunting. I am living in northern part of Finland but what I have heard from fellow DIY-people from south, junkjards are even better there. For example 100V 10mF caps mounted to busbars with invidual 20A fuses (high-breaking capacity ones$$), 48 beer-can size caps per unit! weery nice. 220/220 isolation transformers, 2kW variacs, rack hardware. Big heatsinks are difficult to find, always full of holes or silly shape. Actually i was planning to buy full 6 meter aluminium extrusion heatsink because you get full 6 meters with price of 40cm at electronics supplier.
And couple of years ago lots of NMT450/900 base station stuff, avesome power supplies and so on. Top quality telecom grade, off course. Or induction welding machine, water cooled IRFP460 mosfets, 30 pieces per side of aluminum bar, both sides, 2 aluminum bars per pcb, total 120 pcs big mosfets per pcb and a dozen of these pcb's in a housing.

What pisses me really off is that one specific company in my area is sucking all the electronics waste from electronics industry and they cant sell anything, everything goes trough mill to thousands pieces. Last time i visited there was 19" monitors, full truckload. And new golded SMA and BNC connectors, couple of hundreds . Some guy was just loading 5mm red and yellow leds to "meat grinder", had to be thousands of them send to destruction.
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Old 28th July 2005, 09:30 AM   #6
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Hello MZZJ,
Because the companies know that if they let people have access to these redundant components, they won't be buying new stuff from them, so they'd rather destoy it then see it put to good use.

it's always about profits, if someone found a way to make money by feeded the poor, there be no poverty in the world.
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Old 28th July 2005, 10:24 AM   #7
mzzj is offline mzzj  Finland
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Biles
Hello MZZJ,
Because the companies know that if they let people have access to these redundant components, they won't be buying new stuff from them, so they'd rather destoy it then see it put to good use.

it's always about profits, if someone found a way to make money by feeded the poor, there be no poverty in the world.
More likely in this case that local hitech-companies(Nokia for example) are affraid that their prototypes, firmwares and so on are leaking trough waste bin and they specify everything to be smashed, easier that way than start separating everything to classifield and non-classifield.
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Old 28th July 2005, 10:49 AM   #8
DRC is offline DRC  United Kingdom
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Lightbulb Another low cost source of parts ...

I tend to source my components as unused 'surplus' / 'end of production' or 'bankrupt stock'. This costs me a tiny fraction of the normal price and is a lot less effort than salvaged components (but not quite so low cost !!). For me, the initial cost of doing this was not insignificant but it has paid back many times over in the long run as buying in small quantities (in the UK) is very expensive.
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Old 28th July 2005, 10:53 AM   #9
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hello MZZJ,
Good Old Nokia,
My wife and her Sisters are crazy about Nokia, like it's the best mobile phone you can buy.
My wife has learned from experience that their not all their cracked up to be, but her sister's keep changing over ever few months to the latest model and Nokia will get bigger and bigger.
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Old 29th July 2005, 02:20 AM   #10
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My uncle once went to the university's surplus auction. He was very proud of himself because he thought he bought an electric piano for $50.00. But when he went to pay and pick it up, he found that he bought 12 electric pianos. 2 were unrepairable, and 2 had minor problems, but 8 worked perfectly.

He sold 9 of them for $75 to $125 each and kept the best one for himself.
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