scavenging equipment

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by RussG, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. RussG

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 25, 2011
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    0
    I'm fairly new to electronics and as such funds are limited. I haven't found any posts that give some guidance as to from what kind of equipment parts are scavengable (?). ( I think I spelled it right) any suggestions? like best way to remove them? cutting? desolderizing them? figuring out at what cost (other than free!) would make it worthwhile. Some guidance would be appreciated.

    Thanks much.

    RussG
     
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,770
    970
    anything electronic has parts that can be salvaged/reused...
    use whatever method works to get the parts out.. (not a hammer though)
    Beware.. wives/girlfriends typically hate clutter/junk
     
  3. justtrying

    Active Member

    Mar 9, 2011
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    350
    I am new too. We were talking about this yesterday with guys who work at the tech center at my school. Everything is good as long as you take care when taking it apart. Especially considering that many things are becoming more difficult to find and are only obtainable through a salvage operation.
     
  4. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
    141
    I've taken a goodly bit of old stuff apart; that's where a lot of stuff for projects come from. I especially like old HP stuff and scientific equipment. I took an old lock-in from the 70's apart and got some good components from it. HP meters often have superb 50 μA meter movements in them. Some of my standard resistors come from old measurement equipment. HP equipment often had a superb tinned stranded wire in it in the 20-25 gauge size. This stuff is fabulous for projects because it strips easily and solders like a dream. You also can get lots of good hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, washers, etc. I'm still using some nice brass screws from a PPI radar indicator that came from a destroyer's bridge from World War 2. Also got some switches and pots from that PPI unit -- and they're better than anything you can buy today.
     
  5. jwilk13

    Member

    Jun 15, 2011
    228
    12
    Like mcgyvr said, pretty much anything is worth taking apart. Personally, I stay away from desoldering surface mount parts, but everything else I pretty much consider fair game. Just yesterday I took apart my wife's old broken stereo with a subwoofer and all and was able to salvage some good MOSFETs, a transformer, some high current diodes, and some other odds and ends.

    One thing I would recommend is that if you're salvaging parts from something that's broken, know how to test the stuff you're taking off. You may have salvaged one of the reasons the thing doesn't work anymore, if that makes sense :p.

    And yes, wives hate clutter, although mine is very supportive as long as I clean up after I'm done :D
     
  6. Llamarama

    Active Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    62
    2
    I would say stay away from modern small electronics like phones, tablets etc. Desktop computers are good for general hardware, LEDs and connectors as well as miscelaneous odds and ends. Old audio equipment tends to be good for passives and transistors.

    It really is more of a luck of the draw type affair though, I scavanged 2 set top boxes once. In one I found a hard drive and little else useful, in the other I got a multi voltage DC power supply, LED displays and a handfull of connecters.

    I'd suggest keeping boards in a box and only desolder components as needed, but only if there is a few components of use, if not take what you want and chuck the rest. :)

    Hope this helps, Happy soldering!
     
  7. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    It's printers for me for a good range of mechanical and electronics.
     
  8. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,284
    6,797
    Surface mount tantalum caps are worth the effort.
    Don't forget the nuts and bolts when you scavenge pots. If you can't mount them, you can't use them.
     
  9. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,120
    3,046
    I've been taking stuff apart since before I went to kindergarten. I'm sure my mom was smiling when that day came. Anyway, I recommend VCRs and CRT monitors. They're pretty easy to find free and contain all sorts of stuff. Motors and sensors in the VCR, copper magnet wire and lots of transistors and MOSFETs in the monitor. Old computers are good for their power supplies if you need one on your bench, but often not all that much else on the boards.

    Most of the parts I scavenge have only a few leads, since it's tough to desolder multi-pin chips. If you really want to do that, look into specialized tools. For desoldering I've found it easier to use a large "gun" type iron that heats quickly and has some mass. It won't work for tight stuff (for which you use your good pencil iron), but the hot tip really melts stuff fast and can span a couple pins or more, so you can pull the component all at once following just a touch. Despite the big heat source, I think the component actually sees less heat this way because it's so much faster.

    BTW, solder fumes are toxic and irritating, so think about venting.
     
  10. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
    230
    I use a hot air gun for surface mount. Solder fluxes are typically washed off a board after reflow, however the conformals can be very noxious.
     
  11. RussG

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 25, 2011
    4
    0
    Thanks for the insights! I agree wives can really get upset when it comes to clutter. you've given food for thought as to what I have around and what I may be able to salvage. Thanks again for the input!

    RussG
     
  12. JingleJoe

    Member

    Jul 23, 2011
    185
    10
    Hold on, do you mean components? Equipment to me means, meters and oscilloscopes and things like that, which I have gotten mostly from ebay but also from a closing down television shop and a privately owned electronics shop - valve O-scopes! :D Bring on the apocalypse!
    I scavenge the vast majority of my components from dead tellys and technology from the 90's when things were still "through hole", all by de-soldering from the original PCBs.
     
  13. Llamarama

    Active Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    62
    2
    Sometimes in old fashioned electronics shops they may have a few old surplus electronic components they'll sell for a song.

    When I was a kid there was one such shop that I'd go to every few saturdays and I would walk out with a big brown paper bag full of tiny bulbs, switches, battery holders, wire, connectors, Mysterious old power supply boards with MOD stamped all over them. Basically everything that 6 year old me thought was great. Shame it's closed down now, and a chip shop's (Edible kind) in it's place.

    My prize find though was an enormous magnet from a speaker. Easily 12 inches across (Goodness knows how big the speaker was!) and very powerful. Still used today for my magnet experiments. Happy times, I'm all nostalgic now. Product of a mis-spent youth, I wouldn't trade it for the world.
     
  14. JingleJoe

    Member

    Jul 23, 2011
    185
    10
    I want that shop to exist still ... and be in liverpool :p There is one here called PRS electronics, run by this older chap who's hands are often black with oil and dirt from repairing goodness knows what machines :D I would hope that is all I need to say about that shop for one to get a good idea about what it's like ;)
     
  15. Llamarama

    Active Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    62
    2
    Anyone from South Shields will probably know about Gough's. Used to be great but then moved into home electronics and it was never quite the same. But never fear! A shop very similar is in North Shields called ESR Electronic Components. Run by a middle aged bloke and his brother, great stick of parts and great for advice too. You can always tell it's him running the shop for the day cause of his old ex electric board landrover.:)

    Most of the time you only have to mention what the blokes like and how big the rack of bits is on the wall behind him to get an idea of what they're like! :D
     
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