Help from electronics members on potential donation

We got an email from someone wanting to donate stuff to the electronics lab, but we want to make sure we don’t end up in the same situation @buzmeg just worked to get us out of. I got a few pictures from the donor of many bins of labeled items, but there’s a lot of stuff (it’s a similar situation as the last big electronics room donation where it is someone’s estate being cleared out). This person was into robotics, computers, and building small electronic items. Here’s a robot the donor sent a pic of:

Is there a group of members that would be willing to work together to determine if we want to accept these items? @buzmeg @carldec @bridgesderek @mark999 - apologies if I tagged the wrong Mark! - @dash3811 come to mind off the top of my head.

New member here! I would be interested and checking out the potential donation. For my own context, what happened last time?

In a nutshell, we wound up with a big pile of junk taking up half the electronics shop.

It’s not an effective use of space for us to maintain a pick-your-own-parts electronics scrapyard.

Send me the pictures. If I have to go onsite, I can make some time.

Equipment is way more useful than parts. Although, I generally save robotic actuators.

What happened last time was that we wound up with a bunch of obsolete stuff that was effectively useless. It would have been fine for a young teenager with way more time and motivation than money (I would have killed for all those parts as a kid), but for anyone who can cough up 40 bucks for a DigiKey order, it was worthless. I bagged it–but it mostly just got thrown out because nobody wanted it.

Electronics parts will suffer the same fate as small parts like machine screw bins, unless we have a full-time steward to dole them out and keep things organized, eventually it devolves into chaos.

yes i would like to see the pictures as well please. I’m also intrigued to know what the robot does…

You got the right Mark, and I’d be happy to help.

I would like to see more equipment and supplies/components in the lab - on my last visit (a month ago) I was disappointed with the amount of equipment and supplies; a number of things that I remembered from previous visits (pre-pandemic) seemed to have been removed. Equipment, tools, and components.

$40 at digikey can buy a lot of stuff, but
a) waste, and
b) $40 (or even $400) at digikey won’t deliver anything in the hour or less that it takes any of us to drive to asmbly.

If equipment or tools are missing, those went before I came on scene. For example, a digital oscilloscope seems to be missing that I have never seen. I don’t believe I chucked anything like soldering irons, oscilloscopes, or basic tools. Certainly I didn’t intend to.

As for components, guilty as charged, I chucked a lot (to be fair–I bagged and dispositioned it–nobody claimed anything so it just went to trash). It would have taken 24 hours to find something in that disaster–and then you would have had to test that it worked (electrolytic capacitors, for example, go bad over time). We can’t maintain a small parts bin of screws without it getting scrambled–electronic components are way worse.

If you need something in an hour, sorry, maintain your own reserve. I have several kits of properly-indexed 1206 and 0402 components sitting at my house for exactly that reason. I, however, don’t maintain kits of axial/radial components anymore.

Although, I may have a couple axial/radial kits still at work–if you want I can check, donate them to you and designate you as the person people can contact if they need an axial/radial component.

I do weep for the fact that Fry’s is gone–they were my “go to” when I needed something NOW. However, the fact that Fry’s is gone shows that people really don’t care about having things in less than 24 hours.

1 Like

The book value of a discretes inventory is low, but the carrying cost is high.

We do have a long way to go on equipment and supplies. The GoFundMe hasn’t reached the electronics shop goal, so at some point we’ll have to spend some operating funds on getting the electronics lab usable.

Or- donate! :slight_smile:

1 Like

It would have taken 24 hours to find something in that disaster

Sorry, I didn’t mean the entire pile of junk (which I never saw) should’ve stayed. I don’t doubt that it had little value, particularly if hindering access to the room.

Things I remember seeing that are no longer there include some National Instruments devices (for prototyping, IIRC). I also thought there’d been some chip programmers. The component bins were far emptier than I remembered as well, and this stuff would’ve predated the junk pile. If it got used, great… but I’d be really surprised if that much stuff actually got used up.

I would’ve at least looked through the stuff being thrown out if I’d been aware, but I missed that announcement.

I don’t see the point of purchasing my own component kits when the space could have shared ones. It’d take me forever to work my way through such a kit on my own, whereas with shared stock everyone benefits.

These are the other pics the guy sent. I imagine there are probably more items not pictured as well.



Nice! I’m sure the space can use some of it, and I’m not opposed to adding overflow to my horde :wink:

Are they planning to deliver, or do we need to pick up? Depending on the day, I can help haul.

Yeah a lot of that stuff seems much more up to date than the pile that was previously in the electronics lab. If the space isn’t interested, I as well wouldn’t mind having some of those things on hand.

I’m not seeing many pictures of equipment–which is what would be actually useful. If you PM me the contact info, I can coordinate to go over and look at stuff.

These are much more up-to-date than the components we had. However, it’s still components and not worth carrying.

Here’s the problem with those components, this Arduino kit is $25:

This Arduino and components kit is $35 from Amazon:

All the components in those are “brand new”. They haven’t been soldered/desoldered. They haven’t been reverse volted, heated, abused, etc. They will mostly work with the occasional hiccup.

It simply isn’t worth the time wasted storing, organizing, searching, and possibly debugging components that are that cheap.

Let me go even further, many of the RF development boards (Bluetooth, 2.4GHz, 433MHz, WiFi) are actually FREE. The sales representatives for the companies selling these kinds of IoT RF boards (TI, Nordic, Dialog, OnSemi, etc.) will pretty much hand one or two them to you for free if you’re nice to them and willing to meet them in person–they’ll probably even buy you lunch, to boot. If you’re actually teaching a class, they’ll probably give you a couple dozen just to get people using their stuff.

(Side Note: Microchip has always been an odd stingy exception to the rule.)

It’s simply not worth the space carrying cheap components like these.

To be fair, I did keep an eye out for useful components while I was dumping the piles of junk. I have a very old Mesa Boogie guitar amp that I desperately need to overhaul–so I will recognize audio/guitar amp stuff when it bites me in the nose. I was keeping an eye out for strange but useful stuff that might not be microelectronics (audio taper pots, mechanical dial pots, switches with digit indicators, etc.), but there really wasn’t much of that (I kept some old diode/triode/tetrode tubes–that’s great but they’ll need to be run through a tube tester to do a quick check that they’re not bad (ie. still have vacuum)–exactly where am I supposed to find that nowadays?)

I just wanna rummage through this stuff and see if I can source parts for my Vacuum Forming table build lol . Do we know where it’s gonna go if the makerspace doesn’t take the donation?

I’m going to call these NI systems out explicitly because they keep getting mentioned.

One, they were broken in several ways–I checked. Two, they were old. Three, they required a computer to be linked to them. Four, that computer had to have an OS and driver compatible with the boards. Five, these aren’t like simple power supplies–who was going to do the training?

I suspect that those boards had bad electrolytics that had to be diagnosed and replaced–that’s what almost always goes first. That’s an annoying process without schematics or repair manuals. Some of the rows of the integrated breadboard were heavily damaged (if you leave wires in too long it breaks the springiness). Many of the pots were flaky. I can go on.

If you really want NI equipment, call up your friends who work at NI, have them figure out where their marketing/educational development/training department is and have them donate a couple systems like TechShop used to have. Those are actually useful. They still have the downside that we have to allocate a computer per station–but at least those will run on a computer made in the last decade.

I did save those, but most are VERY old (we’re talking 20+ years). I strongly suspect that I’m the only person for a pretty large radius who has both equipment and operating systems old enough to make use of them.

Hey y’all, not currently a member, but if anyone needs/wants help working on that robot, let me know.

If the space doesnt want it, I will certainly add it to my collection and use it for Bot Party (another 501c3 btw). Right now we are in stasis due to the global pandemic. Dont want to plan public improv performances while everything is in flux. But we are still working on the robots to prepare when we can have public performances again

That being said, I will defer to members who want to take up robotics, and will support you in any way I can with my knowledge and experience.



Did someone send contact info and I missed it?

Haha, no @buzmeg you didn’t miss it, it’s just been less than 24 hours since that request was made and I have a job along with several other things I’m juggling. I’m not watching this thread all day and jumping to respond.

Returning to my original post for a moment, I would like the handling of this donation to be collaborative. I don’t want to pass this to a single person and see others in the community who use this part of the space not get a say in the matter. I see several members (and former members) on this post who have expressed interest in taking whatever is not deemed needed for the space which is great. I’m sure the donor will appreciate seeing her late friend’s stuff go to a home that wants it. Which brings me to the next point I want to reiterate here…

Someone had a friend die and is trying to carry out their last wishes. I don’t know any more details about the situation than that, but I think that’s enough info to want to be sensitive and respectful in the way we handle the donation.

I think probably the best situation for this donation would be for someone who is willing to keep the extra stuff that we don’t keep for Asmbly to take point on handling the donation. The donor said the friend’s apartment is near the space and she can meet someone there on Sunday. If there are a few people available to go together, that would probably be ideal so that hauling stuff out goes quicker. Let me know who is interested and available for this.

Also keeping in mind that the person taking point who keeps leftovers should coordinate with anyone else who expressed interest in leftovers as well so that things are spread out nicely.

I once heard sharing is caring. It can be fun :awesome:

This is a hackerspace. I’d be very surprised if only one person had the necessary equipment. What are we talking that’s so hard to find, something predating ISA or the parallel port?

Why are you so certain there is no value in asmbly keeping things like this or acquiring components? Your wording makes me wonder if what you’re saying is the official opinion of asmbly. If it is, please just say so.