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What's In Your Parts Box?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by mlw, Jun 24, 2005.

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  1. mlw

    mlw Guest

    I have so much crap, it can't be believed. I have an 1802 SuperElf board
    dated circa 1978. I have two Digital Sharks StrongARM thin clients. I have
    a box of PC type motherboards and boxes of cards, hard disks, etc.
    Monitors, cables, discrete components, ICs, 2 osciliscopes, video capture
    cards, to 19" rack cabinets, SMP servers, table saw, drill press, engine
    hoist, weller soldering station. Lets not even talk about books!!
  2. I am crossposting this question since I think it will be of general
    interest...sorry if that offends someone.

    Now to the questions....what kinds of electronic and mechanical "trash"
    is WORTH disassembling and keeping for parts to build other projects?

    What did you keep that you should have thrown long ago?

    What did you throw that you still kick yourself for tossing?

    I look forward to your suggestions, experiences and jokes. ;<)

  3. DaveM

    DaveM Guest

    I usually don't keep circuit boards from any equipment that is to be junked,
    unless they contain exotic parts such as RF components
    (mixers/transformers/oscillators/etc), unique analog components such as
    hard-to-find op-amps, A-D, D-A converters or the like. I'll recover those
    components and throw away the rest of the board
    If you can easily identify power transformers, I suggest that those be
    marked and stored.
    I usually like to keep power transistors, heat sinks, large computer-grade
    electrolytics, potentiometers, and hardware such as knobs, handles, etc.
    I guess that in a nutshell, I tend to throw away the stuff that's easily
    purchased new, and stuff that's just too tedious to recover.

    Dave M
    MasonDG44 at comcast dot net (Just subsitute the appropriate characters in
    the address)

    Never take a laxative and a sleeping pill at the same time!!
  4. Too much, too long.

    petrus bitbyter
  5. Wanna share some of it?

    I am sure we can find good homes for some or all of it. ;<)

    What did you not keep that you wish you had?

  6. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    New cases for electronics cost an arm and a leg. If it looks like the
    case can be reused -- keep it!
  7. Grant Erwin

    Grant Erwin Guest

    I keep heavy-gauge power cords if they're long enough and have good quality
    3-prong plugs. I keep SPST and DPST switches if they're rated for real power and
    if they have screw terminals. I keep a representative sample of wall warts. I
    keep a certain amount of sheet metal in case I need some. I keep amp and volt
    gauges if I get any. From electronics? That's about it. From machinery, I keep
    stuff if I can make stuff out of it and if I can store it space-efficiently and
    if I am likely to make stuff out of it.

  8. JohnM

    JohnM Guest

    Any basic eletrical/electronic stuff I come across, especially heavy
    rectifiers, motor starters, wire, plugs, etc.

    Plumbing junk, esp. what I might need for plumbing the compressor.

    Motors, engines, gearboxes, shafting, sprockets, chain, pulleys, belts..
    anything else for power transfer.

    Complete automobiles/machinery.. 4wd stuff, transfer cases,
    transmissions, etc.

    That's a good start on a list anyway, I got a lot of junk..

  9. Don't bother with household trash. It really is trash. There isn't much
    you can do with worn out vacuum cleaners, broken VCRs etc. You can take
    the flyback transformers from TVs and the big power transformers from
    microwave ovens, but that's about it. Sure, there'll be a gem here and
    there, but if you're a serious scavenger like me household trash isn't
    usually worth your time.

    Factory, commercial and university/college waste is much more
    worthwhile. Here in England we have "skips", which are giant rubbish
    containers often hired by companies when they clear out premises etc.
    But some places have a skip all the time, and the scrap metal skips can
    offer especially rich pickings. Learn which organisations in your town
    chuck good stuff and get friendly with the people who chuck it. Usually
    you can talk them round to letting you have the stuff they chuck out. If
    not and you really want it, you can sneak back in the evening and grab
    it. Justify it by telling yourself you're reusing stuff and doing the
    planet a favour!

    In the past year or so I've scored the following (among other things):

    Sun Ultra 2 workstation, 1280 MB RAM (needed hard drive, using it now!)
    Two mechanical high vacuum pumps (pumps fine, had faulty motors)
    Two Oertling scientific balances (one fine, I fixed the other)
    Four nice 1/4 hp 1 ph. motors (all fine)
    Near-new 1/2 hp 1 ph. motor (gave to a friend for his printing press)
    Huge and heavy 1 hp DC motor (fine)
    Six or seven 3 ph. motors (look good, not tested yet)
    1 ph. watt-hour meter (fine)
    Samsung 19" CRT (scratched, but gave it to a friend who polished it out)
    1000 VA 230 V UK -> 115 V US transformer (works fine, nice condition)
    Bunch of lab. retort stands and clamps (fine)
    Hefty 3 kW Xpelair fan heater (fine, now in the workshop)
    1" Jacobs chuck (end of taper had been repaired, but otherwise good)
    Many SCSI enclosures (mostly good)
    Anglepoise lamp for lathe (good)
    SGI IRIS Indigo (now at a computer museum)
    Kymograph camera (don't know what to do with it!)
    Probably the heap of damaged/poor quality electric motors I don't use
    but keep for bearings, fans, pulleys etc. Also the hot water cylinder I
    once intended to use as a Van de Graaff generator terminal and a heap of
    broken Apple ][ hardware.
    I hardly ever toss stuff. Decent stuff I can't cope with I give to
    friends or sell on eBay. But I did chuck a wall bracket assembly for an
    Xpelair fan heater and regretted it. But fortunately last month I found
    When I was a student I kept a trolley (found in a skip) especially for
    the purpose of recovery laboratory trash. Apparently it gained me
    something of a reputation. Unfortunately it wasn't big to carry a spot
    welder and radial drill I saw being chucked once. But a friend of mine
    with a truck scored a Cincinatti milling machine a few years back.

  10. Springs! I always strip springs from mechanical devices.

  11. Guest

    TMT, I have been a junk packrat for the past 30 or so years, but now I
    am adopting the philosophy that if something is not useful in less than
    two years, throw it away.

    Storage of junk consumes valuable space that is often worth more than
    the replacement cost of junk items.

    Harry C.
  12. carl mciver

    carl mciver Guest

    | I am crossposting this question since I think it will be of general
    | interest...sorry if that offends someone.
    | Now to the questions....what kinds of electronic and mechanical "trash"
    | is WORTH disassembling and keeping for parts to build other projects?
    | What did you keep that you should have thrown long ago?
    | What did you throw that you still kick yourself for tossing?
    | I look forward to your suggestions, experiences and jokes. ;<)
    | TMT

    What on earth makes you think I can get all THAT in a BOX? Now that
    space is becoming an issue, I'm having to start figuring out what I need to
    get rid of. I'm keeping a lot of my car parts, regardless of how long I've
    had them, 'cuz that make and model are history, but a lot of other stuff is
    going. I've made two or three dump runs so far this year, so there's been
    some progress.
  13. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Or give it away, there's craigslist and freecycle lists in many areas, one
    man's junk is another's treasure.
  14. I threw away probably about a million dollars worth of stuff that we
    all paid for, as tax payers. (original cost). The items I salvage are:

    heavy power cords
    large capacitors (size of a beer can at least)
    electrical terminals
    heavy semiconductor devices
    fans (sometimes, not much anymore, as I have quite a few)
    all interesting switches
    all electric motors
    some mounting hardware, which usually is very handy

    I recently threw away a refrigerator, and salvaged galvanized
    racks. One of them now is used as a part of my chicken coop:

    (look to the right)

    I have a great pile of screws now, and a great pile of "I will sell it
    one day" stuff. All comes quite handy at various times. One is a DPDT
    30A transfer switch the size of a jumbo egg.

  15. I am most impressed.


  16. Brian Elfert

    Brian Elfert Guest

    It is probably illegal to remove material from a scrap metal bin. Scrap
    metal is worth money so someone will make less money if you take some.

    It is better for the environment to reuse scrap metal than to recycle it,
    but the local police might not like that argument.

    Brian Elfert
  17. none

    none Guest

    Here across the pond we call that dumpster diving, of which I am
    something of a grand master.
    about half the system I'm using at this moment came from toss outs.
    The 17" Sony Viao monitor with built in speakers and sub woofer.(
    owner tossed simply because they got a 19".)
    The Microsoft internet keyboard, the Canon inkjet BJC-1000 printer.
    Several PII super towers, all fully functional, as well as a couple of
    PIII's that are really loaded with big drives and lots of ram.
    A closet full of scsi scanners from pro level(scitex) to top end
    A closet FULL of hifi-vhs machines, all working perfectly.(use them
    with security cameras as well as home taping.)
    I also have a couple of mini server towers that local computer
    companies tossed, one with a rather large raid stack of scsi drives.(I
    use them as portable storage/backup.)
    Back a couple of years ago a local widow was moving and tossed her
    husbands entire electronics repair shop to the street. It took me
    several trips to get it all. Frequency generators, Tone generators,
    several scopes as well flyback testers and video signal generators.
    complete field test units for all sorts of communications arrays from
    regular broadcast to microwave. It all lines one wall of my home
    repair shop.
    I have several boxes of musical electronics from pedals(old analog
    Boss brand) to digital tuning boxes for instruments.
    Some local actually tossed a crate of JBL 15" woofers designed for
    commercial/soundstage work.(I use them in speakers I build for family
    and friends.)
    A week doesn't go by that someone tosses a lawnmower that won't start
    anymore. I just finished cleaning up a late model Honda mower where
    all that was wrong was a clogged carb jet.(self propelled 3 speed
    with 6.5hp ohv engine, about 499.00 US dollars.)
    The local sound shops are always tossing perfectly good short runs of
    monster cable or the eqivilant(ofc 14 gauge mostly.) I have several
    partial spools amounting to 200 hundred feet or so total.

    A local stage shop tossed 5 big gaffers bags of stage power cable.
    Heavy gauge designed for 400v all wired for 120 or 240 with plugs and
    breakout boxes. I'll find a use for them one day.(I used to work in
    film and pro sound myself.)

    A neighbor down the street put his house on the market and gave me his
    complete machine and woodworking shop just for helping him clear it
    all to the street.(I have several big electric motors from that as
    I have a storage room full of 15"-17" monitors as well, seems all the
    locals are going to LCD. I'll have enough crt's to keep me going till
    they throw dirt in my face.

    Like many here I also have heaps of stripped parts as well.
    Everything from heaters/pumps from one hour labs equipment to system
    components from pools and spa's
    Wall mount water coolers(good water chillers when used with a recirc
    pump, a discharge conndenser coil and a blower fan to make inexpensive
    air conditioners.) as well as a small commercial boiler.

    Seems whenever I toss something I turn around needing it the very next
    week. Hence the reason I now NEVER toss anything.
    Regrettably I missed a two lung commercial compressor a couple of
    months ago. The damn thing was SO heavy I couldn't get it into the
    back of my truck.(didn't stop me from nearly herniating myself trying
    though!) It was a real beaut tho', 12hp with a 6ft tall tank and 8
    port manifold. I'll be kicking myself on that missed treasure for a
    long time.
  18. none

    none Guest

    AMEN! NEVER let it hit the dirt!
  19. Gunner

    Gunner Guest

    Bring in an inventory crew and we can discuss mine.


    "Considering the events of recent years,
    the world has a long way to go to regain
    its credibility and reputation with the US."
  20. Gunner

    Gunner Guest

    I just brought home (tonite) 1000 lbs of mixed bar stock in 10'
    joints. Lots of leadloy, a fair amount of 303, 316, 304, 17-4, 440C,
    Brass, a few bits of bronze. Lots of tiny diameter "bars", most
    ..375-.5, some up to 3"

    Screw machine company was scrapping all the stock they couldnt find
    the certs for. Everything labeled..but no certs so it was unusable.

    And they tossed in the material racks to go with it.

    And by the good graces of Jerry M, who posts here, a scrapped pressure
    washer that will be investigated in the morning to see if the pump is
    good, then modified and reworked for here at the homestead.


    "Considering the events of recent years,
    the world has a long way to go to regain
    its credibility and reputation with the US."
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