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Topic: Harvesting components from devices (Read 18 times) previous topic - next topic

GlitchBoy

OMG copiers are great for components.  Especially the bigger ones that have a lot of paper handling i.e. many paper feed trays, document feeder, finisher (stapler).  Find a nice big one and you'll find all kinds of motors (steppers, servos, 3-phase DC), solenoids, sensors, clutches, and of course the appropriate components to control them (IC's).  Some of the motors are fairly hefty.  The components are 24v but naturally there'll be a beefy power supply in the copier to put out all the necessary voltages 24v, 5v, and sometimes others.  Lots of wires, connectors, microswitches too.

Depending on the machine there'll also be pulleys, belts, gears, bearings, bushings, rollers, shafts, etc.

If you go to your local copier dealer I'm willing to bet that at any time they're going to have one or more that they're ready to just throw in the dumpster that they'd be more than happy to give you. 

I know all this because I have a copier dealership and I've always found it a great shame seeing all that stuff go to waste.  Lately I've been trying to harvest as much as I can from them before the scrap guy picks them up, but I have a hard time keeping up.

copiertalk


OMG copiers are great for components.  Especially the bigger ones that have a lot of paper handling i.e. many paper feed trays, document feeder, finisher (stapler).  Find a nice big one and you'll find all kinds of motors (steppers, servos, 3-phase DC), solenoids, sensors, clutches, and of course the appropriate components to control them (IC's).  Some of the motors are fairly hefty.  The components are 24v but naturally there'll be a beefy power supply in the copier to put out all the necessary voltages 24v, 5v, and sometimes others.  Lots of wires, connectors, microswitches too.

Depending on the machine there'll also be pulleys, belts, gears, bearings, bushings, rollers, shafts, etc.

If you go to your local copier dealer I'm willing to bet that at any time they're going to have one or more that they're ready to just throw in the dumpster that they'd be more than happy to give you. 

I know all this because I have a copier dealership and I've always found it a great shame seeing all that stuff go to waste.  Lately I've been trying to harvest as much as I can from them before the scrap guy picks them up, but I have a hard time keeping up.




I set them out on the loading dock in hopes someone will come finish them off for us. Most times the scrap metal guys come and pick them up for the frame but if someone wanted a motor or cluch I would let them have anything they wanted out of it. They are afterall scrap to me and its cheaper to have someone haul it off for scrap than it is to pay someone to take all the stuff off and take it to the scrap yard.

ckiick

I just spent about a week cleaning up my workspace, which included harvesting parts from a number of devices.

R/C toys are pretty easy. Most abandoned RC toys do not have a remote.  If you do have a remote, try it with other RC stuff, it might work.  Keep the remotes - you never know when they may actually be useful.  The RC device itself will yield motors, gears, axles and wheels if you want them.  Keep an eye out for rechargeable batteries.  Each RC toy will have a small circuit board in it which you should keep because it will have one or more H-bridge circuits in it which can be used to drive motors.  Also the receiver chip can be used for communications if there is a paired remote.  I have a robot with an RC receiver board in it for just this purpose.  The plastic shell and other junk can be recycled. Sometimes the battery compartment is modular enough to dremel off and re-use.

Printers and scanners have tons of good parts in them.  Motors, gears, sensors, cables, connectors, rods and optical parts.  My favorite is the photo-interrupters. Most of the bulk of a printer or scanner is plastic and metal dross that can go in the recycle bin.  What's left takes up a lot less room.  Speakers can be useful so keep those intact.  LCD displays are generally hard to re-use unless there is a driver chip for them, but LEDs and 7-segment displays are easy to re-use.
Buttons and switches also come in handy. I always keep the screws and other small hardware from a tear down.

Other devices that have good salvage in them: VCRs or DVD players, copiers, mice, fax machines, old motherboards and dead computers.  Anything which does something interesting but no longer works is generally on my hit list.  I recycle the metal and plastic, salvage the motors and gears and throw the PCBs into a box.  Note that tossing circuit boards into the trash is not a good idea. Things that are not so good for salvaging are cell phones, hand-held video games, TVs and CRTs.  They either have no good reusable parts, or they leave you with bulk dross that you can't throw away or recycle.

Things that can be salvaged from an old PCB are voltage regulators, power plugs, connectors, buttons, generic ICs, sensors, cables, resistor networks and jumpers.  Most chips have identification on them, so you can look up the data sheet (if available) to see if it's worth keeping.  For large-scale salvaging I recommend a heat gun or something similar which can melt off a lot of parts at once.  Trying to desolder components from a motherboard is just too painful.  Generally, surface mount components, large ASICs, unmarked chips and large connectors are too hard to get off and not worth the effort.  Small parts like resistors and capacitors are also usually not worth the effort since new ones are so cheap.

Organizing the salvage is essential. Large ziploc freezer bags work fairly well: you can see what's in them, write on them and keep piles of them in boxes.  Sometimes I create a salvage bag for a device with all the useful parts in it.  Write useful information on the bag, like what kinds of battery or power supply the device used, or the exact model number.  I also have bags for motors, gears, cables, wall warts, connectors, speakers and other large parts.  Smaller parts can go into coffee cans or sandwich bags.  I have a can of screws and nuts that I can search through when I need to replace or fix something.

Have fun disassembling!
Chris J. Kiick
Robot builder and all around geek.

kriss-38

I often get lot of components from discarded devices.
My last one was a little clock which was on my kitchen wall.It is only a very little printed circuit with 2 inputs for power supply and 2 outputs for the power to coil. On each of these 2 outputs , you can have pulses separeted by 2 seconds and if you combine both you can get an accurate timebase at 1 second. To power it (1.5V) you can use a resistor from, lets's say 5v, to a red LED of which the cathode is at 0V . between anode and cathode of this LED you can measure approximately 1.5V which is perfect.
It is possible to drive a transistor from the outputs to get a 1second period timebase at a TTL level.
I have also got several 7 segments displays from panel of microwave ovens , and in those panels i have also taken relays and very often a quadrature encoder in the size of a classic potentiometer.
I discard every "exotic" component and for every component i can salvage i use google with the search criteria : "part_number AND datasheet". By this way i have a lot of components i can use in many projects. Like this I could build a little LCmeter i found on the web site of an Italian OM , LCmeter i can connect to my old frequency counter i built 35 years ago. These two things together with a little BASIC programm let me measure a lot of capacitors or inductors with a very good précision.
I salvage also every power supply and power cord , ribbon cable and also wire which is very useful for cabling.

Techone

@kriss-38

The clock idea is a good one, that can be use in an Arduino project.  And a LC meter, that is a very interresting project to do. That is possible with an Arduino also.

Right now, my basement room is full of harvest parts and devices ready to be harvest ( from the garbage - of others peoples ) and yes I am a bit overwelm to how to store and "clean" my basement room.

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