Let's Make Robots!

This was FUN!

Last week I got a little (shall we say) exhuberant at the fact that I had a job and disposable income again and I started searching all sorts of eBay terms I wouldn't normally have.  I got to thinking about when I was a kid and first getting into electronics and robotics, and I remembered going to the shack and finding a $5 grab bag of parts.  It was an exhillerating experience for a 12-year-old, opening up the (literally paper lunch-) bag and being treated to a buffet of unassembled technological flotsam that I could hardly have made heads or tails of, but which I ended up at least playing with. I think I got a Z80 processor and some photographic flash capacitors, a handful of chokes, a few neon lamps and some floor-sweepings of diodes, resistors and capacitors in that childhood memory.

This was the auction I eventually settled on. $6 plus shipping was about what I figured the sense of ennui was worth.  (It looks like he's keeping the auction open if you want to try this.)  I sprung for two of them, then contacted the seller and asked a favor-could he, if it weren't too much trouble, send me one of the bags with some larger caps (as in one of the auction photos?)

He wrote back that he'd be assembling the bag for me and would be sure to do that for me.

Let me tell you, this seller does not disappoint.  Look at those babies!  In the photo, one bag (the big caps) is on the left, the other "surprise" bag is on the right.

This was even more fun than I hoped it would be.  Especially now that I can do the detective work of deciphering the semiconductors online.  Also, I now have a fighting chance at making use of at least some of these parts!  If I were to buy just the most useful ones separately from RS/Mouser/DigiKey (things like the switches, barrel jacks and huge caps) new I'd end up dropping around $30.

Here's a partial inventory of the more interesting stuff:

Semiconductors-large to small

  • Lowrance Mitsubishi M5L8049-614P EEPROM
  • Motorola MC1402 14 bit binary counter
  • 5 x TI UC3573 Buck PWM Stepdown Voltage Regulators
  • Motorola 2P5M Thyristor
  • PN3563 RF Amp
  • PN5139 PNP Transistor

The biggest caps were 2400μf, 2200μf and 1000μf on down.  There were a couple of SMT ones too.

Buttload of resistors/diodes/crystals in weird frequencies (like 10.43 Mhz.)

About half a dozen rheostats.

Some panel mount neon bulbs and paired panel mount LEDs.

Tact switches, a DPDT, 2 N-barrel jacks, some SATA rails, red DuPont pins, chokes and a processor breakout.

The caps have their uses-I may make a stun gun or something.

Part of the fun will be organizing everything, I guess.  Maybe that's dumb. Also, if anyone has an immediate or probable use for any of the semiconductors, let me know.  I'll mail you what you want/need/are amused by in exchange for a promise to hit the "Donate" button (and follow through of course) here on LMR. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

If you are looking for large caps, you should pay a visit to your local Walgreens or similar. I went to the section where they develop film and asked if they had any used disposable cameras that they were throwing out. They gave me a box of about 30 used disposable cameras that had 330v flash caps from 80uF - 160uF and they each came with a board containing the charge circuitry.  ;)

If anyone decides to take the cameras apart to harvest the caps. MAKE SURE YOU FIRST SHORT THE CAPS LEADS TOGETHER TO DISCHARGE THEM!

High voltage can be dangerous/deadly!


Glad to hear your working again. As a kid I also use to like these "surprise" bags of surplus electronics.

I said <eom>!  Why are you looking here?


Cool Max! Is that a metric or imperial buttload?

First one, then the other.