How to get Free Electronic Components…

electronic circuits

I’m currently working on a personal project for my shop.  It’s always a pain, when you’re working with electronics to set up a proper power supply.  So, tooling around Instructables the other day, I was inspired by several posts.  Instructables has several posts for building a dedicated benchtop power supply from old desktop computer components.  You see, desktops use a spec called ATX to ensure compatibility between components and power supplies.  This spec simply ensures that that shiny new 500 watt power supply that you bought to power your AlienWare gameing system can be plugged directly into your case without worries.  What it also means is that the connections are well documented for power supplies that can generally supply 3.3V, 5V, -12V & 12V.  These power supplies also have several advanced features already built in, like 110V – 240V switching, thermal overload protection, standby power etc…  Since benchtop power supplies generally run several hundred dollars, I was inspired to build my own.  You can see some of these Instructables at:

So, I went down to my local dump and pulled out a busted up Compaq desktop and started tearing into it.  I’ll be posting my progress, and I may even write my first Instructable based on this, although there are already several existing.  Old computers are excellent sources for parts, especially CD & Floppy drives, since these contain motors, switches, etc…  Today, I just tore everything out of the case, and started sorting parts.  I’m starting to plan my system, and I’d like to figure out a nice case using parts from Ponoko.

Here’s the Picasa stream of the pics that I took.

Sparkfun Free Day

Today at 11:00 am Eastern Time begins Sparkfun’s Free Day. Sparkfun is an electronics hobby website that sells some really cool electronics tools & stuff, and today they’re giving away $100 worth of stuff per order (per household). Needless to say this is an exciting day for geeks all over the world. Unfortunately, we’re 5 minutes into it as I write this, and Sparkfun’s server is hosed. This is an excellent lesson in internet marketing, both what to do & what not to do. Of course, the promotion is an excellent idea, however if they can’t execute it, then they may wind up generating more resentment than customer loyalty.

We’ll just have to see what happens over the next hour or so. I’ll post a follow up, if I ever get through.