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Topic: Component prices (Read 6275 times) previous topic - next topic


Admittedly, I'm back in the electronics game after a long time away, but as I have been picking up items for my son's Arduino rig he's getting for xmas, I've been stunned at how LOW prices are getting on stuff, especially from surplus suppliers.

Now I'm in the USA, this might not be the same wherever you are, but I suspect it would be.  Admittedly, I've had to wait for shipping, but even that duration (packages in less than week by normal postal mail from Hong Kong to Boston) is bearable easily.  Several have also been in the USA.  Most I found by price-shopping on Ebay and then going to their online stores.  A few are ebay only.

Example:  I got Optrex 40x2 LCD's, standard 4/8 bit serial, for $1 each.  I got six of em cuz I'll shelf them for that price.  Including shipping, under $15 for half a dozen brand new, brand name LCD's.  $5 for White on blue 16x2.  Fifty 3mm LED's for $3 shipped.  Etc etc

Anyone else find these prices a little scary, industry wise, I mean?  Are the warehouses for stuff really so backed up that fire sale prices like these are the norm now?  I love getting toys cheap, but it makes me wonder how long the toymaker might stick around if he's losing money..


In my experience fire sales have always been the norm at surplus distributors (All Electronics, MPJA, etc.) but eBay has really broadened the field and driven down prices. Companies love getting rid of old stock (it's cheaper to sell it for $0.01 than to have to pay tax on inventory). For hobby/fun work, go for the deals! It's a great time to be playing with electronics.

For serious work, I'd never trust eBay or surplus dealers. There are just too many counterfeit components out there, even bearing brand-name logos.

The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, light sensor, potentiometers, pushbuttons


Are the warehouses for stuff really so backed up that fire sale prices like these are the norm now?

The difference is that the Internet has allowed the manufacturers and surplus dealers in Asia to sell directly. This has the effect of forcing the US-based suppliers to lower prices when possible, but it allows you to cut out an additional middle man.

Components are cheap, handling them is not.  Especially in small quantities (like hobby work).
Capacitor Expert By Day, Enginerd by night.  ||  Personal Blog: www.baldengineer.com  || Electronics Tutorials for Beginners:  www.addohms.com


Dec 24, 2010, 08:56 pm Last Edit: Dec 24, 2010, 08:56 pm by retrolefty Reason: 1
Yes, never a better time for electronics hobbyist as far as component selection, availability, and prices. Also the internet has opened up so much information and help for those needing it.
Only downside I see is the gradual elimination of DIP packaged ICs on newer chips, but that is gradual and SMD can be mastered somewhat for those willing to try I guess.


Well, how did you think that (assembled) consumer electronics ended up being so cheap?  China apparently hasn't installed the multiple layers of distributership "officialness" that cause parts to be very expensive in the US.  So various small companies or individuals can buy up large lots of such parts and sell them to the US.

At best, you're buying the same parts that go into consumer electronics from creative entrepreneurs and sneaking capitalism into China :-)

At worst, you're smuggling semi-functional counterfeit or stolen parts past customs in a way that hurts US hobbyist vendors.


Dec 25, 2010, 02:59 am Last Edit: Dec 25, 2010, 03:01 am by focalist Reason: 1
I suppose that is the case-  it's just amazing the prices being found, inside and out of the USA.  I have noticed that much of this is "NOS", "New, Old Stock".. it's been sitting in warehouses.  Those 40x2 LCD's that I got for a buck came from California for example, and were NOS.  Some company had em probably, went out of business- and I get to pick the carcass I guess.  Just wondering that if in the long run, so many companies failing may restrict rather than enhance the hobby market.

On the other hand, things like resistor assortments are not industrial surplus- that's a hobby-only item, and still very cheap.  I actually had gotten used to paying a buck for five 1/4w 5% resistors at Radio Shack.. but an assortment from China of the same resistors, all 61 (I think, isn't it?) basic values, five of each- for five bucks... that's a HUGE difference.

If in fact "hobby" suppliers locally ("You Do It Electronics" is based here, one of the oldest retail component suppliers for hobbyists) were closer in price, I might use that.. but they've gone to Velleman kits and components priced as ridiculously as Radio Shack.

There's not really much left that I've seen, in terms of a "local" hobby electronics supplier anymore, anywhere.. maybe in Silicon Valley.  Once you aren't driving there to shop, it's all the same where you order from... UPS delivers...

Hmm.  Time for less Musing over Nog and more Wrapping, so says Mrs Focalist... Happy holidays, all!


I recently bought a 1967 Allied Electronics catalog on ebay. (I used to work there then.) Looking at the prices for components back then is pretty interesting . . .
2N2222 $3.98 (in a metal can)
1N4148 $0.45
1/4W 5% carbon resistor $1.00 /10pk
12AT7 (tube - remember them?) $1.43

These were 1967 dollars, so I guess we don't have it too bad.
Happy holidays!
"Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom."
~ Clifford Stoll


12AT7 (tube - remember them?) $1.43

Tube prices are crazy because a lot of musicians like the sound of tube gear.  Google 12AT7 and see prices from $7 to over $50.  NOS tubes are like gold.


Jan 05, 2011, 08:01 pm Last Edit: Jan 05, 2011, 08:01 pm by Divyanshu Reason: 1
There will be a time when we'll have an Arduino with a 1GHz processor :P
How cool is that!


How cool is that!

Most likely not cool at all as it might likely require a heatsink/fan the size of a shield board.  ;)



Have you ever seen the OMAP ARMS from TI that have 2 ARM cores running at almost 1Ghz each?
they are smaller than one Atmega128.


I was going to mention that but I don't think we'll get an arduino with a 1Ghz processor - it would completely destroy the point of an arduino...



I was going to mention that but I don't think we'll get an arduino with a 1Ghz processor - it would completely destroy the point of an arduino...

I agree. Such boards will have many uses, but I think there will always be a nice nitch for a simple controller board that doesn't require a OS and all the software overhead that has to be learned and mastered. For simple interfacing to many real world components a mega328 is more then enough.


For simple interfacing to many real world components a mega328 is more then enough.

I dunno - there's been many-a-time that I've wished my arduino could run opencv.


With 1GHz you're probably going to need special skills to lay out PCBs for standalone projects or shields so most of us won't be able to design PCBs for our arduino projects and wind up just playing video games instead cause it's easy.
Serial LCD keypad panel,phi_prompt user interface library,SDI-12 USB Adapter

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