Dollar Store Project Hardware

Just starting a post on sweet dollar store hardware. I tend to go to Dollar Tree and Goodwill more than Radio Shack these days. The stuff you get at Dollar Tree is easy to disassemble and the leads aren’t even cut down on a lot of the components.

Here’s a quick list off the top of my head…

Red, Green and Blue individual LEDs. Some of the cheesy night lights have one of each color (pretty bright too) for $1.

MC34063 DC to DC regulator (buck or boost!). Check out the crappy I-Pod car chargers for $1.

Piezo, plus push button switch, plus batteries. Self defense doodad for $1.

Nice holder for 3xAAA batteries, plus a red, a blue and an amber LED. Check out the little plastic lighted nick nack display boxes for $1.

Weatherproof project boxes. Check the knock off tupperware department for $1.

One thing I like to snag at Goodwill are the old Furby toys. They are like 50 cents and have an LDR, a dc motor, an IR emitter/receiver, etc, etc…

Hot glue sticks, super glue, tie wraps and other consumables are at the dollar store too.

I don’t have anything against the Shack. I just don’t like paying $2 when I need a blue led in a pinch…

Sometimes I think I help to personally keep Goodwill afloat.

I can’t tell you the number of things I have bought there over the years.

I love to get old RC toys there, as well as WowWee bots. There’s always a ton of old synthesizers if you’re into circuit bending or similar. I’m always on the lookout for old computer components (as in 1980s era or earlier). Old laser printers and scanners can be had cheap (an HP LaserJet 6 is a workhorse and good for PCB art). Sometimes you can find really old laser-disk players that have a ton of interesting parts in them.

I’ve bought two roombas for cheap from Goodwill. Plus almost 20 different Polaroid cameras for the ultrasonic ranger components. Then there are the video cameras (various parts plus the viewfinder can be hacked for a head-mounted display). Sometimes you can find really weird toys; I once found this “SpyKids” wireless message sender thing that had this cheesy 8 character LCD display and monocle head mount viewer…

Sometimes you can find some strange computer hardware; I once picked up a small embedded PC that was designed to be a firewall based on BSD (when I booted it). Its a small form-factor PC with a low-power Pentium-like processor, with a compact flash memory “hard drive” (connected to an IDE port), 256 MB of RAM, plus serial and parallel ports, VGA, keyboard, mouse, sound, USB, dual ethernet; you name it, its on there. I think I paid $20.00 for it.

Then there are the tons of joysticks, pads, gaming controls, etc - great for the dual-axis analog pots, vibration motors - or leave it together and use it as a controller - as is. Heck - last week I picked up a desktop laser bar code scanner for $5.00 (plugs into PS/2 keyboard port).

At goodwill, you never know what you’ll find for hacking or use!

:slight_smile:

MC34063 DC to DC regulator (buck or boost!).

How hackable are those ipod chargers for someone who doesn’t usually do SMT work?

I do a fair amount of stuff with 12V equipment, and it’d be nice to have a switching regulator to cut the 12V down to 7.5 or so, to limit heat dissipation by the Arduino’s regulator.

No SMT parts on any of the dollar store stuff that I’ve cracked open. The regulator is a DIP and it’s easy to desolder. Maybe too easy… Don’t huff those fumes!

You can probably use it as is if you resize the inductor/resistor combo. They’re through hole too.

My son’s school had a robot war competition with others in the area, at a local mall today. I took quite a few shots, nice turnout… MIT and WPI showed up, cute for what it was. He’s shown an interest and he’s getting an Arduino for xmas… so kinda hard to cop out and take a nap rather than drag my carcass over there for some old geekfun.

In any case, after browsing the hardware and watching a few RC quisanarts beat each other to components, I walked over to the Dollar Store, which happens to be right next to Radio Shack. Almost $2 for a single NPN darlington. Sheesh.

However, in the dollar store next door, found two gems:
Teflon-bladed self-adjust wire stripper (that’s a real deal), and these “6 function light and toolkit” deals. The “toolkit” consists of a junk pen/awl and some nail clipper type scissors. However, it did come with two button cells which power three high-brightness LED’s, one of which is on a flexible gooseneck, and a second button that emits a 5mW 650nm red laser… but this whole thing is 1/4" thick- that laser and driver isn’t in that annoying brass tube thing that’s impossible to work with easily. Going to crack it open (got two, what the heck) in a few minutes to get a good look at the laser diode rig… if it’s set up how I think it may be, these are going to simple to remove and use for projects… easy to work-with red laser module for a buck? That’s a win in my book…Yay dollar stores!

12$ mini toaster oven from family dollar (FTW!) ;D

Red, Green and Blue individual LEDs. Some of the cheesy night lights have one of each color (pretty bright too) for $1.

MC34063 DC to DC regulator (buck or boost!). Check out the crappy I-Pod car chargers for $1.

Piezo, plus push button switch, plus batteries. Self defense doodad for $1.

Nice holder for 3xAAA batteries, plus a red, a blue and an amber LED. Check out the little plastic lighted nick nack display boxes for $1.

Weatherproof project boxes. Check the knock off tupperware department for $1.

One thing I like to snag at Goodwill are the old Furby toys. They are like 50 cents and have an LDR, a dc motor, an IR emitter/receiver, etc, etc…/quote]

Chinese also have hugh another 1US$.Like mini batteray torch,toys,etc.

Jeckson

I’m offering barter or trade.

http://www.avrfreaks.net/index.php...c&t=100189

I just went and checked out the local Dollar General and Family Dollar, and didn’t find anything even vaguely resembling any of the goodies mentioned above.

There’s a Dollar Tree in town. I’ll check it out when I make my next grocery run.

I took quite a few shots

Um, Robot Wars is a spectator sport: you’re not supposed to participate. :sunglasses:

Our robotics club just had an epic sumo bot (6"x6" bots) battle. Most of the bots were based on Goodwill RC car bits.“TRS sumo” on YouTube.

For smaller NPN (9014) transistors in a pinch check out the personal alarm doodad at the Dollar Store. There’s one in there. On a side note you can also turn those personal sirens into a Joule thief that will fit in the barrel of an old mini mag lite and run off of a single AAA or AA battery. You can squeeze a few hours of light out of batteries that were bound for the trash. Or in my case you can make little LED night lights for your kids. :slight_smile:

Sometimes 1 US$ interesting person who’s have limited moneys.
Congragulated your robotic project with limited cost…well done

Jeckson

I’m offering barter or trade

http://www.avrfreaks.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=100189

Dollar stores (or £1 for me) are fantastic for wasting money at. Even if
I don’t need or want it, I might still get it. There is masses of things just
praying to be dismantled, or, with a little thought, project ideas too.

Whoah! The dollar store is only a good deal for those of us spending the current US dollar. You guys with strong currency might be getting ripped off. Hey, I just realized that even when the US dollar is worth 1/2 as much the dollar store has the same old crap.

**Be sure to check your current currency exchange rates before you visit the dollar store… :wink:

I just realized that even when the US dollar is worth 1/2 as much the dollar store has the same old crap.

Say “xie xie, Beijing” :wink:

Despite all the kvetching about China keeping the Renminbi weak, it does mean good deals for us American cheapskates at Wally World and other stores that get their “same old crap” from the mainland. Sucks to be one of their competitors, though: have you noticed how seldom you see something marked “Made in Taiwan” lately?

It illustrates the truth of the old adage: “If you owe the bank a thousand dollars you can’t pay, you have a problem. But if you owe a million you can’t pay, the bank has a problem”. If the Chinese float their currency, the value of the hundreds of billions of U.S. they’re carrying will plummet. Makes you wonder about the people who can’t seem to figure out why they’re so reluctant…

btw, I made it to the Dollar Tree in town: nothing but the alarm gadgets. And me with a lifetime supply of piezos on hand :frowning: