Those of you who have attempted some of the projects on Instructables or projects of your own will know that having to buy lots of small components adds up quickly. Whether it's resistors, fasteners, or raw material, the price of a project goes up quick if you don't have any of these components lying around. Places like Tayda Electronics or Amazon can normally hook you up fairly cheap, but then you've got to put your project on hold until they arrive, and the longer a project takes, the less likely you are to finish (I know this all too well).
Salvaging small, broken appliances is a good way to build up a stockpile of spare parts to avoid unnecessary expenses and hold ups. In this short series I'll be dissecting a number of small electronics and appliances to show what you can expect to find and which items are worth taking apart and which ones are simply a waste of time.
I recently picked up an older boombox and karaoke system that were both "broken" for free. I say "broken" because so far I haven't been able to find anything that's not working or not there other than the microphone for the karaoke machine. Which brings me to my first tip: if you get an appliance for free, give it a good once over before taking it to pieces. Some people are simply not very technologically inclined and mistake user error or a need for usual maintenance as "broken". So you may end up getting a perfectly good appliance or other device for free (that's how I got my latest monitor). Today I'll be taking apart the boombox, the karaoke machine will be dissected in the next installment. So without further ado, let's get started.
Step 1: The Dissection
To start dismantling, we'll need the following tools:
- Phillips Screwdrivers, #0, #1
- Small Blade Screwdriver
- Soldering Iron
We'll start by removing all of the exterior screws. This model conveniently has all the screws located out in the open, but some may try to hide screws in the battery compartment or under stickers, so check there if you can't get it open after removing any visible screws. With the screws removed we should now be able to open the housing and expose the circuitry inside. Wires can be quickly disconnected by bending the wire back and forth at the solder joint on the board, or a pair of snips will get the job done even faster. Disassembling the boombox is now a simple matter of finding all the fasteners holding it together and disconnecting any electrical connections.
After pulling out all of the individual circuit boards we can begin desoldering individual components. Simply heat up the solder and use a craft knife or small blade screwdriver to lift the component up off the circuit board. Be careful not to hold heat on the components too long to avoid damage.
Step 2: The Goods
With the boombox disassembled lets start sorting out the goods from the junk. First is the plastic housing. Unfortunately I couldn't find any recycling symbols on the case indicating what type of plastic it's made of so it got tossed. However, we can melt down any plastic made of hdpe (high density polyethylene), symbol number 2, and reuse it for future projects. About one or two dozen course thread screws can also be salvaged, good for plastic and 3D printed parts.
Next, the power cable is always a good thing to hold onto for projects that use power from the mains, as is the small transformer found inside. A number of electronic components can be pulled from the circuit boards including potentiometers, capacitors, switches, transistors, resistors, diodes, audio jacks, an led display, and even some op amps. Pots, switches, and audio jacks are useful in many projects and you can normally find the ones you need fairly easily from salvaged circuits. I've yet to try making a project using an led display, but they're easy to remove and I can think of several uses for them off the top of my head. Caps, resistors, and diodes are also useful to have on hand, but can be rather tedious to try to desolder all of them. Typically I'll take caps and resistors with values that I've used before or that I know I'll need and the leave the rest, while I'll pull diodes only when my supply of them is running low. Transistors and integrated circuits can be tricky as they are more valuable but can be much more application specific, making them harder to recycle. Two medium sized speakers were easily pulled and set aside.
Next we get into the cd and cassette players, which both contain dc motors and some gears and pulleys. I'm not overly familiar with cd reader lenses, so I decided to toss mine, but if any of you know of any cool projects that can be done with them then more power to you (also let me know if you have any cool ideas!). The cassette player isn't good for much more besides a few small springs and some stamped steel which I've rarely found useful. Lastly, we can pull some wire and possibly reuse the circuit boards. For example, the boards can be cut into various shapes for use as jewelry or decoration.
All together, I'd say this small boombox was worth taking apart. It took about an hour and a half to salvage all of the desirable components and was able to stock up on some essentials. A bigger system would probably be better worth the time, such as the karaoke system (I'll either add that on as an update or make another instructable). Thanks you for reading! If you found this useful, let me know in the comments and I'll try to make some more.