Salvaging old electronics boards - Is keeping surface mount parts worth it?

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 10, 2014
I am taking apart a lot of old electronics and computer equipment that no longer works and is mostly outdated. IDK what is wrong with most of it but I suspect most of the components are still usable so I am salvaging what I can and learning how things are built, what they do and designs, while I dissect. Most of what I am doing is pulling boards and using a heat gun to remove the components and then seperate whatever into component categories.

The issue I have is with SMD's both IC's and things like caps and resistors and whatever else is SM (those little black plastic/silicon things with 3 pins, two on one side, one opposite (often labeled CRxxx on the board). Others are 4-6-8-12 pin chips which do IDK what...

Should I try to save these things and or are they worth saving? Any tips on the salvaging process?

Note - I found that looking over the back of the board, before pulling parts, and straightening any of the leads that pass through from the other side. I use a flathead screw driver and just pry the lead so it is straight, which makes pulling it out from the other side MUCH easier. If I don't do this I think it takes maybe 2-4x as long to pull parts and sometimes it is almost impossible to pull them.


Joined Mar 31, 2012
I agree. Most of the common electronic parts, through hole or surface mount, aren't worth keeping. But that could probably go 10x for surface mount. There may be a few components that are worth the effort, but unless you know which ones to pull it really doesn't matter because even if you have a pile of salvaged components that contain a few gems those gems might as well be sand unless you know which ones they are.

But the mechanical parts can be a different story. These are often significantly more expensive than the electronic components and many can be removed with a much greater tolerance to the removal process. But, again, knowing which ones are worth the effort is most of the battle.