Recycling Electronics

To save some cash on hobby electronics I attend to salvage parts from broken or unwanted PCBs. Some parts only save you a few cents but at times it can save you a couple of dollars. When you run across parts yo wouldn’t want such as transformers, coils and even wire you can recycle them. The catch is it much be copper. I started to do this recently when I took apart a old CRT. Just unwrap the copper windings from a transformer and there you have it.

When salvaging parts be ready to google datasheets for ICs and power transistors/mosfets. Sometimes they’re worth keeping and other times if you can only find datasheets in Chinese or no info on the item you can just skip them.

Here is a short list of parts I keep. 99% of the stuff I salvage is thru-hole, no SMD crap.

Coils / Inductors (at times they cost a nice chunk since it is copper magnet wire.)
Capacitors
1Watt or higher resistors
Diodes of all shapes and sizes
Big power transistors and fets
Crystals
Audio jacks
Variable resistors and capacitors
Voltage regulators
Ribbon cable
Jumpers
ICs such as PWM controllers and so forth
Motors
Heat-sinks
Screws and nuts
Ferrites
LEDs
Switches
Piezo buzzers/discs
Power cables
Relays

The easiest way I have found to strip boards is to use a cheap soldering iron, surgical claps and solder to remove ICs. Sometimes a small jewelers screw driver comes in handy to lift IC chips. When in a pinch I’ll use a small pair of needle nose pliers to get a better grip on a part. Just make sure you don’t squeeze too much on the handle. If you have a rubber band handy you can use it on the handle to use it like vice grips.

Parts I skip when salvaging.

Small transistors
1/2 watt and smaller resistors
Ferrite jumper beads
cable connector headers (They always melt or deform)
jumper wire
Parts that have no description

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