Let's Make Robots!

Buy at RadioShack, Really???

Harro, guys. HarroRobot here to talk about RadioShack. Try to avoid this place for buying parts. Why? Compare these prices of items that pretty much do the same thing:

Ping:                 HC-SR04:

more than $10    Around $2 on eBay

See what I mean? No offense, but those prices are ripoffs! So, try to buy parts on Amazon, eBay, whatever has the good and reasonable price.

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Although the internet has essentially neutered The Poor Shack I do feel lucky to have them around. I have one just a couple blocks away. "Crap, I'm out of 10K resistors." No problem, just pay full retail for instant acquisition at Le Shaque. I still have a bottle of etching solution from them. They have their moments.

It can be sort of a hassle, the knowledge gap between the average hobbiest and the average sales clerk there. I toasted a breadboard with a lipo short and was willing to pay top-dollar for a replacement. It took several attempts at explaining what a breadboard was and the guy showing me several versions of what he thought it was. Eventually we found one hidden away and we both were happy. He lost his joy when at the register when I informed him I already had a cell phone and I had no need for a second.

Realistic and Tandy. There still is a soft place in my heart for those brandings.

We also had a Lafayette Electronics and an Allied store. I remember looking at the expensive Hallicrafters ham gear thinking it'd be wonderful to own something so big, powerful, and sleek. At the time, I had a 5W homebrew that could only handle Morse.

I get very nostalgic looking at old magazines, too. I go to Google Books to look at past issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanix. I just wish Google also held an archive of QRT.


we have maplin rather than radio shack and in pretty much every one ive every been in there is at least one pro who really knows his/her stuff.

they make a damn fine catalogue too (for when i cant be bothered switching on the computer for the internet)

i miss tandy a little - but my little bro used to work in one and when they went bust he gave me a couple of bags filled to the brim with resistors capacitors etc - essentially the beginning of my interest in electronics - so i dont miss them THAT much ;)


30 years ago I used to use Radio Shack quite a bit. They were not too much different in price from the other companies and had convenient locations.  Over the years, though, they started getting greedy and raise prices.  This caused their sales to drop off, so they tried raising prices even more so they could make a living on what they did sell.  (Some people do not understand that you will make more sales and therefore more money by having lower prices, not higher.)

We still have Radio Shack, but I do miss Tandy.  Specifically, I miss Tandy Leather. Yes, there was a division of Tandy that sold leather; goat, pig, hare, deer, etc, etc. Right this minute I am wearing a belt which I have worn for about 20 years. The leather was bought from Tandy about 1992 as a piece of raw belt leather. I finished it myself and died it black, and as I say, it is still serving me today.  The Scottish targe which hung in my dining hall was finished with leather from Tandy also.

So Radio Shack may not thrill me any more, but I do miss the other Tandy services.


I remember Tandy Leather. When I was a boy scout, we'd to get leather for our projects from them.

Ebay sellers from china have very little profit on each part but they sell thousands per day, radioshack has more profit per part but sells maybe two per day.


Your local radioshack isn't open to the whole world unlike ebay.


It's how it works.


You can go to your loacl radioshack and ask for help with components, on ebay you're lucky if the guy speaks English.

I can use google translate to ask a question of a Chinese dealer on ebay, but there's no way to google an electronics answer out of a guy at Radio Shack whose primary skillset revolves around driving a cash register and selling cell phone. ;-)

40-50 years back you couldn't even get hired in a Tandy/Radio Shack store unless you could read a schematic and lived and breathed for electronics. Things have changed.



You're just as lucky if the Radio Shack employee speaks English anymore ;-) Also, how many Radio Shack employees can actually tell the difference between a triac and a MOSFET, let alone a resistor and a transistor? They're basically there to try to get you to buy phones and batteries, but the ones at my store like and respect me enough to keep me coming back.

My local isn't too bad then, the owner has been in electronics for like 40 years, he knows his stuff, though he usually goes for extremely inefficient stuff versus using newer more efficient components.


They sell atmega328's for 10€ each though! lol

When I asked about Arduino boards, the first two sales people looked at me like I had three heads and one was on fire. The third person knew they had them because he put them on the hooks.