Sourcing Components for Electronics.

DaktologistDaktologist Global Moderator
edited November 2011 in Life
In this text file I will talk about places to get parts and components for electronics. First of all, Find a box or container to keep your parts in. This helps keep your collection in a easy to find place.

I work on the following rule: Don't throw stuff away. Just because it no longer works, doesn't mean it doesn't contain useful parts. Things like old VCR's computer PSU's, Kitchen appliances. TV's, basically anything electronic contains parts that will work in other projects. If it shits the bed, put it in that box of yours and when you need parts look inside your junked electrical stuff before going down to your local electronics store to buy them. Chances are you will find something that will work for that particular application.

So what useful things are inside household appliances:

Microwave oven: High voltage transformer 110/230 - 2000 volt out, HV capacitor, HV diode, 110/230v lamp, motor, fan, assorted wire.
VCR: Motors,resistors, capacitors, transformers, diodes, transistors, wire, rotary transformer in the video head which can be used in certain projects.
CRT TV: Flyback transformer, diodes, resistors, heat sinks,capacitors,leds.
Computer PSU: MOSFETS, transformers, diodes, resistors, wire, ferrite inductors, heat sinks, rectifiers.

Basically there are usable parts in most household appliances.

Good places to find cheap or free appliances include:

Second hand shops
Kerb sides on rubbish collection day

Once you build up a collection of parts it becomes easy to build things without having to go out and buy what you require.



  • MarineBoatMarineBoat Regular
    edited November 2011
    Can I add to this? I assume so. The things the things are in are in bold to make it easier to figure out what to do with your pile of junk.

    Mechanical / electromechanical:

    Printers are a great source of stepper motors and associated circuitry. CD drives for DC motors and little inky dinky steppers with a worm gear on them.
    The motors in most microwaves (along with idler-drive turntables and some cheap bathroom fans) are synchronous. You can control the speed and available torque by controlling duty cycle and speed. A 555 into a MOSFET into a tranny might be good for this but I haven't tried it. Hard drives are good for bearings and crazy-ass motors with built in hall sensors. Tape decks are good for high-quality DC motors.

    Power things and dingalings

    Switching power supplies like in computers, laptop AC adapters, elektronik welders, etc. are good for (often grossly undervalued) caps and transistors. It's not uncommon to have a good pair of 2SC**** npn's staring you in the face in older PSUs, or a high-voltage lowish-current fet in cheap new ones. Small IGBTs in some. Motherboards are a good source of both vitamin A and surface-mount mosfets. That and high-value low voltage capacitors. Various small heat sinks and chokes too. CFL bulbs, the circuitry is at the base of the thing and you can usually find some high voltage low capacitance caps, usually some film type. Around 600-1200 volt ratings are typical. Also usually can find little tiny toroid cores and some bifilar inductors that should be able to take a kv at low current in CFLs. And some medium-duty BJTs. Anything with a CRT can be a good way to get laid and more HV caps, some (usually) bipolar power transistors. Watch out for shit that shocks you. It's not something that feels good.

    "Unusual" passive components Run of the mill resistors caps and inductors can be found in damn near everything. Caps that can withstand some ripple will be found on the ass-end (the little ones in a cluster not the ones rated near line voltage) of switching PSUs. High-voltage things that are in the 100-400v range (as opposed to kv range) can be found in tube / valve electronics. Digital electronics are a good source for surface mount parts.
  • SlartibartfastSlartibartfast Global Moderator -__-
    edited November 2011
    ya. Ive never been motivated enough to do that. De-soldering is a bitch.
  • MarineBoatMarineBoat Regular
    edited November 2011
    ya. Ive never been motivated enough to do that. De-soldering is a bitch.
    Consider getting yourself one of these. RS has them for less, as odd as that may sound. The only problem is it can ache your hand from groping the red lung thing too much.
  • SpinsterSpinster Regular
    edited November 2011
    hey no one has mentioned cars!

    relays,electric motors, flasher units, switches, wire, bulbs, fuses.

    window wiper motors are my favourite, those bastards have some torque man.
  • DaktologistDaktologist Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    The amount of people throw things away that otherwise could be easily fixed or still work but is unwanted is shocking. However there is money to be made especially if it's a quick fix, otherwise it becomes useful for the spare parts bin.

    There are some decent ring magnets in the magnetron of a microwave if you can be bothered removing them. This goes for HDD's as well.
  • PsychlonicPsychlonic Regular
    edited November 2011
    I wrote a piece of a guide I was going to make in series back in 2009 that I never completed, relevant to this thread. It can be found here for those interested. If any electronics go bad on me I at least pull the capacitors. Those are just too much fun. I like to keep parts in a huge spare tackle box. Keeps everything nice and organized. You'll notice a small one in the pictures at that link, but now I've got one of those big double decker ones that split in half. If you see one at a yard sale on the cheap, jump on it. Maybe I'll update my DIY thread someday with some of the more fun projects I've completely, like a stun glove (more like "cardiac arrest glove") and some nifty coil guns. Some day. The nature kick is going strong right now for me.

    EDIT - Actually, FUCK. The tinypic links in that guide redirect to other pictures now. Maybe I'll just rewrite it here on Totse properly sometime.
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