secondhand part sourcing

Hey all, I'm new to arduino, just recently having finished my first project, which was a Temperature and Humidity Data Logger, I could really see myself diving head first into the world of Arduino... But that's obviously not free. But the 'duino bug bit me and I wanna build!!! lol

long story short, I act as the caregiver for my Mom, but I don't get paid for it. That being said, funds are beyond tight. I was wondering if anyone happened to know of a place to get boards and/or components secondhand? I figure it's unlikely there's anything of the sort, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. I'm salvaging parts here and there when I can but it seems like it would be near impossible to find enough of the right components to actually complete a project.

Any help is appreciated. I could come up with shipping if anyone happens to have parts or boards that they won't be using anymore.

Really, it depends on whether you want to make a specific project or just any project. Most places in the world there is a huge amount of e-waste. If you keep your eye out for things being thrown away, you can get a lot of free parts. It could be fun to design projects around available parts rather than determining the parts you need to buy from the project you want to do.

Just do some research about the dangers of large charged capacitors you might find in some electronics salvage.

If you're persistent, you can get some ridiculous deals by placing low bids on eBay auctions with free shipping. There are so many auctions that sometimes parts end up selling for pennies. You need to expect to lose a lot of auctions for every one you win, and the Buy It Now prices from the Chinese sellers are already so low, so it's definitely something for someone with more time than money (or set up an automated bidding system if you want to get fancy).

I don't know how generous vendors are nowadays, but I used to get free samples from IC manufacturer's. I remember Maxim as one vendor that was hobbiest friendly.

Microchip is hobbyist-friendly WRT samples, at least if you have a professional or educational email address.

I have ... scrounged and harvested parts of a long time, and I have started to think that it was never worth it. You wind up with a lovely collection of parts, many of which are obsolete by the time you retrieve them, you're not quite sure whether they still work, they aren't the parts that you need for a particular project, and if you bought them new from one of the discount dealers you would only have spent the cost of a meal, anyway :-( And the parts used for typical arduino projects tend to divide into "esoteric stuff that probably isn't available used" (like the humidity sensor), and common "jelly-bean" parts that are very cheap.

pert: Really, it depends on whether you want to make a specific project or just any project. Most places in the world there is a huge amount of e-waste. If you keep your eye out for things being thrown away, you can get a lot of free parts. It could be fun to design projects around available parts rather than determining the parts you need to buy from the project you want to do.

Just do some research about the dangers of large charged capacitors you might find in some electronics salvage.

If you're persistent, you can get some ridiculous deals by placing low bids on eBay auctions with free shipping. There are so many auctions that sometimes parts end up selling for pennies. You need to expect to lose a lot of auctions for every one you win, and the Buy It Now prices from the Chinese sellers are already so low, so it's definitely something for someone with more time than money (or set up an automated bidding system if you want to get fancy).

I have a couple of projects in mind, but I'd be happy to build damn near anything at this point lol I'm aware of capacitors needing to be 'unloaded', I may or may not have looked into a disposable camera stun gun at one point, which suprised me when I learned it was just a capacitor. Thank's for the heads up though, that's the type of thing that could easily be overlooked.

westfw: Microchip is hobbyist-friendly WRT samples, at least if you have a professional or educational email address.

I have ... scrounged and harvested parts of a long time, and I have started to think that it was never worth it. You wind up with a lovely collection of parts, many of which are obsolete by the time you retrieve them, you're not quite sure whether they still work, they aren't the parts that you need for a particular project, and if you bought them new from one of the discount dealers you would only have spent the cost of a meal, anyway :-( And the parts used for typical arduino projects tend to divide into "esoteric stuff that probably isn't available used" (like the humidity sensor), and common "jelly-bean" parts that are very cheap.

Yeah I've been there. Years ago I was tearing apart electronics like TVs, etc, to take the copper out. I ended up saving a bunch of parts I thought might be useful one day... After holding on to them a year or two they ended up in the trash... If I would've only held onto them for another 6 years or so lol

I'll have to look into that, do you happen to know the website for microchip?

My favourite items are older printers and faxes along with older radios and TV's and computers. Quite often the older the better as the components were often superior to many of today's parts.

Investing in a good soldering iron is a big must for de-soldering many components. I no longer purchase much by way of wire as I often get all I need from the tear-downs.

A good solder sucker is also a must ;)

ballscrewbob: My favourite items are older printers and faxes along with older radios and TV's and computers. Quite often the older the better as the components were often superior to many of today's parts.

Would you say it'd be worth it to pick up any junk computers or printers from craigslist if I can find em?

ballscrewbob: Investing in a good soldering iron is a big must for de-soldering many components. I no longer purchase much by way of wire as I often get all I need from the tear-downs.

A good solder sucker is also a must ;)

I've got a decent trigger-styled soldering iron, it could probably use a new tip but it works for now. That being said I am lacking a solder sucker. I considered trying to make a wick of sorts from thin stranded Copper and rosin, but wasn't been very successful... though I only made one quick half-ass attempt lol

Solder wick is mostly for surface mount. Solder suckers are good for getting the solder out of the through holes. You can buy the syringe style solder suckers on eBay or aliexpress for super cheap if you don't mind waiting for shipping from China. They seem to work fine to me but I've never tried the more expensive version.

I dont pay for old stuff but roadside junk is always worth snagging. A quick trip on garbage day around the neighbourhood quite often pays off.

I also dont like the "wick" style for solder removal ...tried it a few times then got a cheap sucker...then I knew I had to get a better one and wont look back. Good tips are a MUST to help get rid of old solder but I also sometimes use cheap plumbing flux to help it re-flow and maybe on occasion actually ADD solder to some joints first.

A set of old cheap dental picks especially with hooks is very very useful too.

Not a fan of the big old trigger type irons but they will do in a pinch.

ballscrewbob: I dont pay for old stuff but roadside junk is always worth snagging. A quick trip on garbage day around the neighbourhood quite often pays off.

I also dont like the "wick" style for solder removal ...tried it a few times then got a cheap sucker...then I knew I had to get a better one and wont look back. Good tips are a MUST to help get rid of old solder but I also sometimes use cheap plumbing flux to help it re-flow and maybe on occasion actually ADD solder to some joints first.

A set of old cheap dental picks especially with hooks is very very useful too.

Not a fan of the big old trigger type irons but they will do in a pinch.

Yeah I know what you mean, my Dad is an electrical engineer, I had a solder sucker he gave me years back but it didn't make it to the new place when we moved, moving day is always hectic. Using the sucker made it SO much easier to desolder the parts before pulling them off... Not to mention that satisfaction when you push out that extra big cylinder of solder from the sucker lol

I'll give adding some solder a shot, I'm actually planning on making a business out of my arduino hobby, my 'indoor gardening' friends all really liked the idea of the Data logger I built, once they saw you could graph your results, they suggested adding it to my business plan. I was originally going to build and sell hydroponic systems, but there are lots of choices for hydro systems, none for a diy grow room data logger kit.