Used Components Can See New Life

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  Before throwing away some old parts, books, or magazines ask around to see if any one else would want it.

Used Components

by

Johnny McCown

3/24/2013

When I was a kid and joined my first ham radio club, some of the older members in the club donated some of their used components, maganiznes, books, and equipment to me.  I was given a few boxes of old circuit boards and bins filed with parts.  At first I didn’t know what to do with these parts, but after I started learning more about electronics I was able to puts some of these parts to use.  As for the resistors, capacitors, diodes, LEDs, etc., I found a method for organizing them and placed them into bins or ziplock bags.  Another good type of storage compartments is old plastic food contaniers.  Try to stay away from glass containers, because of the dangers of them breaking.  Considering that a lot of these components are used I don’t usualy use them on final products, but I do use them in prototyping.  On the subject of hand me downs, I also have enjoyed used books and magazines from friends; talk about a great avenue for learning.  Looking through old Nut and Volts or QST issues can sparks a young person’s interest in build projects.

Sometimes we foget that one man’s trash is another man’s tresure.  This past week a friend visited me at work and said that he was cleaning out his ham shack, appently his work area was full of “rubbish”.  He asked if I wanted to sort through this “rubbish”, obviously I told him “yes”.  The next day he brought a bucket full of stuff to me.  It turns out that amingst this “rubbish” was a type of resistor that I needed for a switching power supply project that is on my to do list.  Also, he had some heavy duty relays that I could use for another project, some small stepper motors that I could learn with, an optical switch that I would like to experament with, and a rottery encoder that I would love to try out with a microcontroller.

If you are building a project and would like to do it on a budget, there are a lot of ham radio operators or other electronic enthosiest that have “junk bins”, don’t be bashfull, ask around and one of your friends might have the part that you are looking for.  Don’t forget though, to pass on the good deed.  Another great place to look for parts is at ham fest or other flee markets.  Every time I go to ham fest, I like to stock up on part that I think I will need through out the year.  I find this is a great time to get RF connectors and Coax; though I buy new when it comes to transmission lines.

Today 26 Mar 2012, I was reading this month’s issue of QST and enjoyed Dual-Band Homebrew by Gregory Charvat.  In his artical he spoke of how he got his encosure for his project, and it made me think of the radio that Dell-Ray and I are building.  We are building a software defined radio that uses a Raspberry Pi Computer to handle the processing, and a 7 inch touch screen display to control the radio.  One of my requirements for the project is finding an encloseure.  Reading the above arcticle gave me an epiphany that I have an old radio enclosure in storage that I can use for my project.  All I would need to do is build a front pannel and mod the enclosure as needed.  Yes, this enclosure was a hand-me-down that I got years ago and has been in storage.

 

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