Disclaimer: these are my own personal descriptions and experiences.
Your experiences and opinions may vary.
electronics and hobby: new materials
- Jameco has always been hobbyist friendly
for all parts (chips, resistors, capacitors, connectors).
There's now an online Clearance Center
- DigiKey is similar
- Mouser tends to be more expensive
but has more complete lines of specific parts such as LEDs, connectors.
- JDR seems to be mostly out of the parts business
but they still have some parts such as
crystals for 69 cents.
electronics and hobby: surplus materials
- Marlin P. Jones has been in business a long time,
offering great prices on
- breadboards & proto boards
- power supplies (bench, internal, plug-in)
- GellCel batteries (as used in UPS)
- switches, tools (good magnifier selection)
- adapters, connectors (even fan power cords)
- fans, motors
- BG micro
is also a great source for LCD panels,
LEDs and such.
- All Electronics
tends to advertise in hobbyist magazines, particularly their
- American Science & Surplus (was Jerryco)
has the funniest descriptions! Just reading the catalogue is a joy!
You never know what they'll find!
- Don Lancaster
(famous for the TTL cookbook and electronics magazine columns) has an
See also his home page.
- Electronic Goldmine ummm, I've been disappointed
with their stuff: I tend to find it cheaper elsewhere and some of their stuff I can salvage myself.
- Herbach & Rademan seems to specialize in motors
and high end surplus assemblies.
Computer Shows are still held:
I ought to list hamfests since they're high tech too.
Kits Still Available
Bell Labs Kits
have been copied and are still available from Comspace Corp of Hicksville, NY.
Barbara A. Sweeney of the AT&T archives department stated that there were five titles in a series of
"Bell System Aids to High School Science Programs".
The first science kits from the program, which was introduced in 1961, included: "From Sun to Sound", "Speech Synthesis", "Energy from the Sun" and "Experiments with Crystals and Light".
In 1968, another kit was made available called CARDIAC.
Cash For Parts
- Trade in inkjet & toner cartridges for money at Staples or Office Depot!
They no longer give instant credit for recycling cartridges.
- Staples ink recycling reward program pays $2 per cartridge (up to 10 per month).
Just hand in the cartridges with your
and get a credit voucher every month.
- Office Depot credits $3 per cartridge (up to 20 per month) to your
Office Depot Worklife Rewards
issuing a quarterly credit voucher
but they now require you to BUY a matching
amount of stuff (using the loyalty card for credit/accounting) to get the rebate:
Recycling Rewards will not exceed the amount of your total qualifying annual Office Depot purchases.
(Qualifying purchases excludes taxes; shipping; postage stamps; prepaid gift, debit, phone or service cards;
and purchases made with Office Depot Reward Cards.)
Recycling Rewards will be issued as part of your Worklife Rewards mailer.
Please allow 4-6 weeks for your Recycling Rewards to be posted to your account.
- old CPUs and gold parts
Thrifty Bits of Hooversville PA
buys old CPUs for the gold pins, even 80386/486!
also: B.W. Recycling, Inc. Electronic Scrap Recycling in Hallandale, Florida.
- old HARD DRIVES have value!
- If broken, try to RMA them. I've been surprised to find some still in warranty.
Just enter the drive serial number, perhaps run a diagnostic.
web page for warranty check, RMA, download utilities.
web page for warranty check, RMA, download utilities.
- The Western Digital Customer Loyalty Program
offers discounts for submitting old drive serial numbers
(even old old drives like 20 meg are valid!)
WD's Customer Loyalty Program offers our customers the opportunity to upgrade their current WD hard drive to a larger capacity drive with the latest technology. Under the program, customers may purchase a new drive with the full manufacturer warranty at a discounted price.
Customers taking advantage of the Loyalty Program will not be required to return the current product in their possession, and benefit by the ability to upgrade into WD's latest technology and larger capacity drives. In order to qualify for the program, the following parameters are applicable to this special offer:
- The customer's current drive must have a valid serial number that can be verified in our system.
- Both out-of-warranty and in-warranty drives are eligible for upgrade to a larger capacity product at a discounted price.
- An internal hard drive can only be upgraded to another internal hard drive. An external product can only be upgraded to another external product.
- The customer does not need to return his or her current drive to Western Digital.
- I enjoy pulling them apart for the ultra strong magnets.
Most require only a few Torx screwdrivers (#10, sometimes #8, 6 or 4)
Essential and Required Reading
Donald Normans The Design of Everyday Things
(originally published as The Psychology of Everyday Things)
ought to be REQUIRED READING for all engineers of all disciplines.
It goes way beyond the user interface.
Read it and take it to heart before your former customers do!
It ranks high enough for inclusion in
this top 13 list.
Anybody who has ever complained that they dont make things like they used to
will immediately connect with this book.
Normans thesis is that when designers fail to understand the processes
by which devices work, they create unworkable technology.
Director of the Institute for Cognitive Sciences at University of California, San Diego,
the author examines the psychological processes needed in operating and comprehending devices.
Examples include doors you dont know whether to push or pull
and VCRs you cant figure out how to program.
Written in a readable, anecdotal, sometimes breezy style,
the books scholarly sophistication is almost transparent.
Essential reading for Electrical Engineers:
The best of Robert A. Pease, National Semiconductor.
the Czar of Bandgaps
Why did Bob Pease declare himself the Czar of Bandgaps??
Because a lot of people were repeating old mistakes in their new bandgap reference circuits.
Pease has been able to cut down the repetition of old errors.
From here on in, engineers have to make NEW errors.
When we have the COLUMN on CZARS up on the web, well link it up to this page.
Periodicals and Magazines
Here's a nice article addressing
The Microcontroller Debate
Having spent a semester learning the PIC-18, that's my primary microcontroller of choice.
Since they're so cheap (or free), I have plenty of
on the shelf. I find the primary obstacle to adopting a new system is the "learning curve"
for the architecture and software tools (particularly since each mfgr wants to trap you
into their own SDK (Software Development Kit), few of which are open source.
Freescale is the nastiest by taking CodeWarrior and neutering it from supporting all chips
to supporting only their chipsets and processors.