While working on a project recently, I required a capacitor of around 1000 μF and went rummaging through my collection of parts. No luck there. At that point I’d usually go through my collection of junk electronics and computer motherboards, but I had recently gone through and tossed the stuff that had been laying around for as long as I could remember. No matter, I thought. I’ll just head over to RadioShack and…
Now, I have been accused of many things over the years, but “deep” is certainly not one of them. Yet, at this moment I had what could only be described as an existential crisis. There is no RadioShack, not in my state at least. I don’t live in an area that’s blessed with a maker “scene”, so no independent shop or even a hackerspace within reasonable driving distance of me either. I could order it online of course, but everyone’s trying to sell them in bulk and shipping will take a few days at least. A few days? Who knows where my interests will be in a few days. How can I get anything done under these conditions?
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I got in the car and took a ride to the only place I knew where I could by electronic components for cheap: Goodwill.
Second Hand Salvage
If you aren’t familiar with Goodwill, it’s a second hand store where all manner of goods are sold, usually for a pittance. While the stock at Goodwill tends to be largely clothes, each one of their locations I’ve ever been into has had an electronics section in a back corner somewhere that has piles of crusty old VCRs, tape decks, tube televisions, etc. Basically any antiquated piece of consumer electronics that the owner felt too bad to just throw in the garbage: you’ll find it here. Of course, Goodwill is not really unique in this regard. If you’ve got a local second hand or thrift store, it’s likely they have a similar area.
In a RadioShack-less world, I suggest you become well acquainted with these types of stores and the wares they tend to deal in. It might be time to start checking in every week or so if it’s not out of your way. Because if you aren’t lucky enough to live in a hotspot of makers or hackers,…
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