What items at an Ontario dollar store will get me 2 or even more SPDT switches?

I'm working on a simple BEAM style robot to entertain my kittens and keep them from attacking each other, so after I have demolished a combo dvd/vhs player to which we had lost the remote (recycled for a reason) I found all needed motors (2 similar voltages) but am still lacking the sensors to give it enough 'brains' to navigate around the kitchen and not get cornered. If anyone has seen an item in the buck or 2, dollar giant, etc, stores that contains 2 or more SPDT switches (If its a dollar, i wouldn't expect greatest of quality) or any other nifty gadgets (bright led's, small voltage motors, etc), it would be a great hint for other bug-bot builders on a budget. I am out to search for such a device, even if I find SOMETHING thats useful in store before I receive an answer, I might just answer my own query as I'm sure someone out there has pondered the same stump, you all know you are a cheap recycling opportunist and instructabl-er at heart.

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TheZuke!7 years ago
A Dollar Store I used to frequently visit had 1 # bags of "floor sweepings" from electronics manufacturers.
I probably bought about 20 of the bags.  They contained random amounts of IC's, LED's, switches, resistors, capacitors, inductors, sockets, standoffs, headers, connectors, transformers, relays, nuts and bolts, and plastic doo-hickeys.  The bags were clear plastic so much of the contents could be seen before purchase...
But that was about 17 years ago.  "Floor sweepings" is term for parts dropped during assembly, the time to pick the part up exceeds the value of the part or increases assembly time$, so they are "swept up" and sold to a salvage company.
Here's an example... Gold Paks
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/products.asp?dept=1053
fightthemachine (author)  TheZuke!7 years ago
If this could be found in my locale, and of this time period, I would drown it in milk and eat it for breakfast. I am tearing apart a phone book asap, thanks!
I found this item at a dollar-store in the Former United States.  It is a 2-pack of flickering led candles.  So that is:
  • 2 SPDT switches
  • 2 yellow LEDs (size T1+3/4 )
  • 2 melody/flicker chips
  • 2 coin cell batteries + battery holders (size CR2032)
  • some wires, and plastic crap
All for one FUSD. 
led_candle_2pack-front-back.jpgled_candle_inside-2.jpg
fightthemachine (author)  Jack A Lopez7 years ago
I'm Canadian, but I have seen these around so I think that my buck store my have them. Former United States? Should I exchange all my old U.S. coins quickly before you guys switch names and avoid your creditors? (What is F.U.S. about? Sounds like tasty dirty politics...)
It is now the USSO    United Socialist  States of  Obama
It's really not the same place it used to be, the United States of America that is, I mean: that was.  That is to say things have changed, and the changes are significant enough that I think it would be disingenous to keep using the old name, "USA", or its variants,"US", "America", "USofA" etc, because, like I said: It's really not the same as it used to be.

Historically speaking this happens all the time.  Countries change (politically, economically, ideologically, culturally), and the names change too. I don't know if you remember the old Soviet Union.  For years people called it "USSR", or the "Soviet Union", or the "Evil Empire", or something like that.  Then for a for while, circa 1991,  they were calling it the "Former Soviet Union", and now, now I think they call it "Russia", "Ukraine", "Belarus", "Kazakhstan", and a bunch of other places. 

I can't say if the Former US is headed for also headed for a similar "Balkanization" type breakup into a handful of independent states.  I'm not really expecting some specific historical analogy.  All I'm saying is that both countries have the word "Former" in their name.

Also I should note that the FUS is not the only "Former" country in the world today.  There's also a Former United Kingdom (FUK).

Regarding the pocket change, I'd hold on to it. Coins tend to have some intrinsic value just due to the metal content, and if you can hold onto them  for a really long time, they may even become collectible.   Paper might be a different story, if you have any large quanties of those green colored FR notes, or any old FUS sucker bonds, I mean savings bonds, then yeah, trading those for something tangible (Like electronic junk from the dollar-store!) might be a good idea. Like you were saying, it's probably only a matter of time before the staff at the FUS Treasury Department skips town and leaves the keys in the mailbox.
fightthemachine (author)  Jack A Lopez7 years ago
Excellent reply man, and solid info from borders past, I always grab change as pocket metal, lasts longer than paper and the new worlds digitized credit, CASH IS ALWAYS KING!
fightthemachine (author) 7 years ago
From what else I have read and come across on instructables computer mice may contain spdt switches. I think I have seen cheap mice at a dollar store in my area, but "Jack- A- Lopez" has proof that those led candles have the parts and others that may be more useful, such as the melody chip could be useful for twitchy robotics.
fightthemachine (author) 7 years ago
When I visited a few local bargain stores, all I could think to look for was those old battery powered cars that drive bouncing off hallway walls, but everything is wind up or friction engines. I'm working on modifying a simple ball-bearing puzzle that will provide me with 4 direction whisker style wall/motion sensors with a simple s.p.d.t. homemade switch design. The toy is flat and disk shaped, on a key-chain and has 2 sizes of ball bearings that are inside an X shaped maze. My idea is to slip 4 zip ties together so all the ends hook up and form an X, each can be wired seperately to provide different actions. This is then centered in the toy, wires placed to act as touch sensors on the toy and the other end of the connection is the zip-tie. So far the prototype seems to work well enough, we will see how it is versus the kittens, Pyromaniac and Face-Eater.

On a side note I might pick up another few styles of bearing puzzles, drill a few different contact points and experiment with random actions accomplished by knocking the toy and having the bearings randomly complete circuits causing sporadic actions. Its very similar to www.instructables.com/id/Tilt-Activated-Switch/ but with more than 2 contact connections, these could operate a few LEDs or motors, and because they are slim and $1, they can be stacked, and with different shapes of puzzles, can have different actions and reactions, the possibilities may be endless! If the prototype makes it, I will post my first 'structable on both 4 way whisker sensor and random action single dollar devices that could have applications for micro walking robots to provide autonomous random interaction without programming or complicated circuitry.
jeff-o7 years ago
No need to buy anything, just go out on garbage day and see what people have thrown out.  Often they'll stack electronics on the curb in the hope that someone will pick them up before the truck does - that person could be you!
fightthemachine (author)  jeff-o7 years ago
Hey not a bad clue, that's how I got my oscillating fan for the summer. I haven't been looking that long yet, only about since noon of today, but come next heavy trash day I will keep my eyes peeled for older harvest electronics, great tip! (p.s., we share a name and an interest in instructables, great names think alike.)
Bartboy jeff-o7 years ago
but he/she's asking what appliance would have some