Introduction: Electronics Components Salvage

Picture of Electronics Components Salvage

If electronic parts are not in your local electronics shop, you would probably salvage parts from old electronic appliances. I salvaged components mostly from old and damaged appliances because I don't bother to tamper the WARRANTY VOID stickers and I don't want to destroy the working appliances.

Warning: No power should be applied while dismantling the appliance and watch out for big capacitors.

Tip: Put one hand on your pocket if you are working with electronics that store high voltages.

Here is a list of things where you can find electronic components:

- Computer power supplies

- Motherboards

- TVs or CRT monitors

- Amplifiers or sound systems

- Radios and Car Stereos

- Electric fans

- Automotive

- Microwave Ovens

- Bulbs (like CFL and LED)

- Christmas lights

- Flashlights

- Cellphone chargers

- Digital / Analog Clocks

- Toy Robots

- Telephones and Networking equipment (like Routers)

- AVR(Automatic Voltage Regulators) and UPS(Uninterruptable Power Supply)

Step 1: Tips on Salvaging Electronic Components

- You should have a bag or a case where you put all your tools in there.

- These are the basic useful tools when you are salvaging:



-Wire cutters


-Soldering iron

-Desoldering pump or solder wick

Step 2: Computer Power Supplies

Picture of Computer Power Supplies

You could salvage its transformers, regulators, ICs, Inductors, capacitors, heatsinks or anything that you need.

Step 3: Motherboards

Picture of Motherboards

You could salvage all those conectors, sockets, heatsinks, capacitors, and inductors. I won't salvage the ICs because I have no need for it.

Step 4: TVs or CRT Monitors

Picture of TVs or CRT Monitors

I'm planning to salvage some of the connectors and other components inside like the capacitors, speakers, wires and any other components that you are needing. But be careful, older tv's and crt monitors have high voltage picture tubes inside.

Step 5: Amplifiers or Sound Systems

Picture of Amplifiers or Sound Systems

The inside of these sound systems has many components like: capacitors, switches, knobs, potentiometers, jacks, LEDs, chips(if you need them), big heatsinks, cooling fan, and anything that you would need. Here's a use for the cooling fan you have salvaged:

Step 6: Radios

Picture of Radios

Salvage all those things that you want like the knobs, pots, transistors, jacks, speakers, and even the casing.

Step 7: Electric Fans

Picture of Electric Fans

Salvage the knobs(if there is), selector switches, wires, and even the motor(if it will still work)

Step 8: Automotive

Picture of Automotive

You can salvage all those fuses, relays, halogen bulbs, horn, and all other things that you can salvage from an old car.

Step 9: Microwave Ovens

Picture of Microwave Ovens

There are parts in the microwave oven like capacitors, transformers, power resistors, relays, and even the digital timer module (if it has one). You can reuse the digital timer module as an appliance timer. I made a digital timer only from the microwave oven's timer. Link:

Step 10: Bulbs (like CFL and LED)

Picture of Bulbs (like CFL and LED)

The parts to be salvaged in these bulbs are the transformers, inductors, capacitors, and transistors.

Step 11: Christmas Lights

Picture of Christmas Lights

You can salvage bulbs and a plug from a string of Christmas lights.

Step 12: Flashlights

Picture of Flashlights

Salvage all those LEDs, capacitors, switches. These parts are most likely to be found in a rechargeable flashlight.

Step 13: Cellphone Chargers

Picture of Cellphone Chargers

What you can salvage from a charger is a small transformer, capacitors, wires, and a usb port(if it has). There are diodes and resistors but I do not salvage them because they have short leads.

Step 14: Digital / Analog Clocks

Picture of Digital / Analog Clocks

If it is a digital clock that would be plugged into the mains, you would most likely salvage the red seven segment displays. It also has capacitors and resistors. If it is an analog clock, you could salvage its coil. The clock on the picture can have piezo elements if it has a mini alarm tone.

Step 15: Toy Robots

Picture of Toy Robots

You could salvage the motors, speakers or an IC from a talking toy robot.

Step 16: Telephones and Networking Devices

Picture of Telephones and Networking Devices

Telephones that don't work anymore can have those piezo buzzers also and their handsets could have a electret microphone and a small speaker.

Routers and networking devices can have plenty of those leds and you can use their beefy wallwarts for powering your other projects.

Step 17: AVR and UPS

Picture of AVR and UPS

Automatic Voltage Regulators have relays, indicator LEDs, switches, a volt meter and those comparator ic's.

Uninterruptable Power Supplies can have plenty of relays and power transistors. Aside from that they also have quad-comparators like the LM339 ic. They can also have those big heatsinks.

Now you already know where to salvage all those parts and components that is not available on your local electronics store. Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment below if you have ideas and suggestions.


EsorP1 (author)2016-02-29

Is there voltage regulator in computer power supply

RobertC2 (author)EsorP12017-03-26

Yes, there are at least three (3.5V, 5V, 12V) in most ATX power supplies.

Suraj Grewal (author)EsorP12016-03-07

yup, but mostly its either a zena diode or inbuilt into an smps driver.

master-maker (author)2015-07-01

how do i pull stuff off electonics

fifty_ohms (author)master-maker2017-01-31

You should buy a cheap soldering iron just for the salvaging purpose, but if you intend to take electronics seriously, I suggest you invest on a temperature controlled iron.

rah187 (author)2017-01-06

Great instructable! I salvage stuff too, and you covered basically anything that a person new to salvaging would need to know. I take things apart all the time to extract the useful components. In fact, two out of my three instructables that have been published have to do with dismantling electronic devices and taking out the components. One is on CFLs, and the other is on CRT televisions.

deswiger (author)2016-06-18

I love doing this, wish I had a warehouse. Thanks for the share, nice job. Semper Fi

HermieG (author)2016-04-25

looking for an amplifier module for a Mackie Thump 12' powered speaker

sanjeev.saxena.9231 (author)2015-11-30

Great article... Based on quality research ?

Panfishman (author)2015-11-23

Very good ideas! Thanks! I am getting into salvage, and you provided some good tips!

Gelfling6 (author)2015-04-08

My only gripe, lately, is some towns with dumps and transfer stations, are opting to "Electronics Recycling", and basically taking instant possession of ALL electronics for profit selling them to metal salvages (read Miners, mainly looking for gold, platinum, Neodymium.) The drawback I see, is these Miners usually use caustic and corrosive chemicals to dissolve the metals they want, but it leaves non-recyclable, and contaminated scrap, to say nothing of the chemicals that are still poisonous, and ladened with heavy metals. My home town is pretty much one of these towns, and if you attempt to remove any device from the storage bin, You are essentially stealing from the town. This has pretty much cut off the supply of functioning devices I was once able to salvage... You should check with your town's laws on recycling...

On a side note, One handy tool I found, was a small butane blow torch. (Like they use for fancy cooking.) Though brutal, I found it works best for fast melting all solders (lead/tin, copper/tin, & silver solder.) but quick action is needed to remove the components, using a pair of pliers, a wire hook. (grab a single side of a resistor or capacitor) gloves, safety glasses or goggles are always key for protection!

jplaiss (author)Gelfling62015-10-19

I cannot agree more.
I have enough to share, but won't hand it over to a "scrapper".
Live near Southern Indiana?

Neel Dhebar (author)Gelfling62015-05-21

What I suggest is you buy a small bin for electronics that people want to throw away and label it. Put it near those recycle bins and chain it to the building or the ground. The label should tell people to put electronic waste there and tell the town not to take it. A flap can be installed or slit can be cut to deposit items and the box should be locked. You will tend to get good yields. If you're good with electronics, build a circuit that will give a dollar(or quarter) for every electronic item.

BeachsideHank (author)Gelfling62015-04-10

You are correct, it is considered an alternative revenue stream, and also allows municipalities to present themselves as very "green". Your only chance to beat the system is to make- what I call "asset recovery sweeps"- of your neighborhood. I find late Sunday afternoons good for pickin's as many garage sales have ended earlier, and the owners just short haul the leftovers to the curb.

Yonatan24 (author)2015-08-07

I made an Istructable with a huge list of what components I keep when taking apart electronic devices, and where they are usually found, If anyone is interested:

simon.w.nordberg (author)2015-04-08

This is great! NOTHING that is broken is 100% broken. The majority is still perfectly usable. Since electronics is an expensive hobby (several dollars for some parts) I encourage everybody to use broken/discarded/thrown away parts to salvage and use in their projects.

Most people just don't know the value of 'broken' electronics. If you know a bit about electronics it's just a transistor that needs to be replaced lots of times and it can be fixed very cheaply. The components can be sold if your not a hobbyist yourself online.

Neel Dhebar (author)2015-05-21

Most ICs salvaged from computers are not very popular with hobbyists and circuits are not easy to find. Also, finding a BT66 or NE555 is difficult in computers but there might be programmable microcontrollers.

iffee (author)2015-04-07

I have been doing since decades but according to my experience it is difficult to manage and find from the parts already salvaged. Now I keep boards and likewise things on their boards and chassis. when ever I need any component, I look them and find easily and salvage the parts required. Specially the small parts like resistors/diodes/zeners and transistors are easy to find.

rbusch (author)iffee2015-05-13

ive been doing this for a long time as well and you are correct. sometimes its best to keep the parts on boards until your ready to use them... might save ya some necessary work too in the long run if you never use half the stuff you pull off boards :) part of the reason i love taking things apart is to see how it works anyways.

pfred2 (author)iffee2015-04-07

You're absolutely right. I used to wholesale strip circuit boards, but I'd always end up with mystery parts doing that. Parts that by themselves I could not quite figure out what they were out of circuit. You lose information removing parts from boards. Often that does not matter, sometimes it does though. When it matters it matters too.

bukars (author)2015-05-05


protoproff (author)2015-04-07

Damn magpies we're all the same deep down! lol

BeachsideHank (author)2015-04-07

Far too much useable stuff is simply pitched for lack of knowledgeable salvage methods. I use a singing hat module as a simple continuity tester, it trills out "jingle bells" and flashes a light every time I have a circuit detected, it's a lot more fun than hearing a boring piezo chirp.

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