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Hey Forums,

I've had my Adruino now for a year and a bit and unfortunately due to space constraints in my home I haven't really been able to dive into the world of Arduino hacking, however that is about to change. I am moving into a bigger house soon where my family assures me I will get a "robot room". I'm very excited. And so I come to you now with a fairly straight forward question. I have through the course of my life acquired lots of computer parts. Old motherboards, cpus, cases, power supplies, cdroms, speakers, keyboards, wires... lots and lots of wires! and I'd like to know if it's worth while keeping this stuff for future use or whether or not I should be giving it away/recycling it. As we are now in the process of packing up and moving our belongings into our new home it occurred to me that some of these old computer parts might actually not be useful in anyway to me anymore, some may even be harmful (due to hazardous materials). The computer parts age in ranges from the days of Pentium III-450mhz till current. So 1998? I don't quite recall when I began collecting all these all parts but I do know that my first computer was a PIII-450 and I still have it and it still runs!

So any advice you have will be greatly appreciated smiley-grin
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Hi,
    There will be lots thats useful - cables, connectors, switches, capacitors, CD Rom motors and sensors etc

Duane B

rcarduino.blogspot.com
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Hi,
    There will be lots thats useful - cables, connectors, switches, capacitors, CD Rom motors and sensors etc

Duane B

rcarduino.blogspot.com

Awesome smiley-grin I'm looking forward to it. Is there any parts that I should be afraid to touch? Like heavy metals (mercury, cadmium etc)
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The motherboards as well are packed full of components which, with some practice, can be desoldered and removed.  Things like inductors, capacitors, connectors, and even some of the surface mount chips on the board are useful if you can use surface mount - things like op-amps and comparators.
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I have an old XT clone case that I swear I'm going to use for something some day. LOL It weighs about 300 kilos.

I just used an old PC power supply case to house the guts of my Arduino project. I also salvaged an old mouse to use for switches on my project. It had a serial connector on it. I got some nicer switches now.

There's gold in them piles.  smiley-lol
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I have an old XT clone case that I swear I'm going to use for something some day. LOL It weighs about 300 kilos.

I just used an old PC power supply case to house the guts of my Arduino project. I also salvaged an old mouse to use for switches on my project. It had a serial connector on it. I got some nicer switches now.

There's gold in them piles.  smiley-lol

Awesome. I'm really excited.

Can anyone share any tips for removing various components? I know there is such a tool called the Solder sucker, can anyone recommend a good type/brand?
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Old computer parts can be so useful for making another things.old computer parts like old Cable can be used on other  computer.
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Awesome. I'm really excited.

Can anyone share any tips for removing various components? I know there is such a tool called the Solder sucker, can anyone recommend a good type/brand?

Don't buy an expensive one - buy a few cheap ones and throw them away when you melt the tips too much.

Using solder suckers take practice, but they are an essential soldering tool.  You will also want solder braid, or solder wick.

For some components connected to large areas of copper (like ground planes, etc) it can be easier to physically separate the components from said copper areas before attempting to desolder.  I mean hacking the board apart with a hacksaw.

For surface mount components the best thing for desoldering is a lot of solder.  Cover the entire component is solder so it melts all the solder on all the pins at once, then flick the component off.  It takes practice.  Alternatively, heating it in an oven and banging the board (don't use your mom's oven for this) will cause the components to drop off.  I have a toaster oven I converted into a reflow oven that I use for this - I have a setting that gives slightly more heat than for reflow, and works a treat.
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There are lots of very useful components on computer parts. After all, they are all made of electronic components. I have computer parts that date back to 1992, and every now and then I destroy them just to get the parts I need.

From motherboards I get: headers, jumpers, voltage regulators, op-amps, serial EEPROM, CR2032 battery holders, crystals (specially the nicest 32.768kHz xtals), a few capacitors, inductors

From really old modems (ISA bus): 5V relays, speakers, headers, capacitors

From PSUs: fans, capacitors, resistors, op amps, cool ribs, MOSFETs, diodes, wires

Basically everything can be repurposed and used in smaller projects. I've been doing that quite a lot.

LAst night I was desoldering an Intel D845GVSR motherboard, and there were a few LM317 (voltage regulator), LM358 (op amps), several headers, and several 8-128kbit serial EEPROMS, plus a few other goodies. The problem with Intel motherboards, however, is that they are a lot harder to desolder than any other brand. Out of the 40+ through-hole capacitors on the motherboard, only about 5-6 have been removed without damage.

That is not to mention that doing this is a lot more environment-friendly than just trashing the parts. Anything we're reusing is worthwhile the time and is less not-biodegradable stuff that is thrown into nature.
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Awesome smiley-grin I'm looking forward to it. Is there any parts that I should be afraid to touch? Like heavy metals (mercury, cadmium etc)

Only if you take apart a CRT monitors- the CRT can retain high voltage for a long time.  It's not the voltage that hurts, it's the reflex from being shocked that can cause you to knock or drop the CRT on your toe that hurts the most.

Nearly every parts on computer boards have very little, if any, toxic chemical. Usually the lead (in solder mostly) is the worst of all and it's easily dealt with.
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Awesome smiley-grin I'm looking forward to it. Is there any parts that I should be afraid to touch? Like heavy metals (mercury, cadmium etc)

Only if you take apart a CRT monitors- the CRT can retain high voltage for a long time.  It's not the voltage that hurts, it's the reflex from being shocked that can cause you to knock or drop the CRT on your toe that hurts the most.

Nearly every parts on computer boards have very little, if any, toxic chemical. Usually the lead (in solder mostly) is the worst of all and it's easily dealt with.

Awesome. You've all been a great help.
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Only if you take apart a CRT monitors- the CRT can retain high voltage for a long time.  It's not the voltage that hurts, it's the reflex from being shocked that can cause you to knock or drop the CRT on your toe that hurts the most.


I got shocked by a CRT once.
It was definitely the voltage that hurt.
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Only if you take apart a CRT monitors- the CRT can retain high voltage for a long time.  It's not the voltage that hurts, it's the reflex from being shocked that can cause you to knock or drop the CRT on your toe that hurts the most.


I got shocked by a CRT once.
It was definitely the voltage that hurt.

You got lucky then you didn't drop it on your feet.  That hurts a whole lot more than the initial shock. smiley-wink
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Sont forget to save any toroids and transformers you find or other things like that in case you find yourself in need later
they are kinda expensive things so you can save alot
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Keep any old trackball mouses you may have for encoders. Old printers usually have nice motors and encoders too that are great for small robots.
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