Step 6: How to Find Free Electronic Parts

Buying electronic parts may be very expensive, but I know a few tricks on how to get free electronic equipment which has lots of valuable electronic parts!

Getting free electronic stuff is easier than you thing, you just need to look around...


  • Schools - If you nicely ask your headmaster that you can have the electronic stuff they might throw out, they might give it to you...
  • Computer Repair Store - If you ask the manager nicely for blown electronic equipment, they will usually give it to you. If you get a blown DVD/CD burner, you are very lucky, you had got a laser that cost several hundred bucks! Check out this instructable if you do get a burner.
  • Skips - For those Americans that does not know, it is an english word for huge trash containers, what you would call dumpsters. And that is where I thrive, I find not only electronic stuff, but a lot of other great stuff as well. In England it is legal to collect stuff from skips, you just only need to watch out for the territorial people, you don't want to see them...
  • Trash Days- Go for a drive or walk around on your trash day, you can find a lot of great stuff as well. I had even found a still-working 400 british pounds ($800) pressure washer!

- Plasmana

CRT monitors!!!

What you can get:
They have a variety of parts inside them for example:
  • Crystals
  • Microchips
  • Capacitors
  • Resistors
  • Diodes
  • Mosfets
  • Transistors
  • Relays
  • VGA cable
  • Electromagnets
  • Potentiometers/Variable resistors
  • Fuses
  • Inductors
  • Buttons/Switches
  • Bridge Rectifiers
  • Transformers
Dont' know what any of those are? Then you probably won't need them...
Though if you are into electronics and high-voltage, they can be very useful!ahem AND FREE

How to get it:
Have a look around, If you see a CRT monitor (the one that isn't a flatscreen) be sure to pick it up. They are usually found at landfills, in dumpsters/garbage bins, outside places with lots of computers etc. They may not be as easy to find as other stuff on this site, but keep looking! They'll be well worth it!

If you wanted, you could modify it to be a oscilloscope, Use it for parts, Use the screen as a vacuum bomb (don't do this at home, not enviromentaly friendly either) and you can even make a high voltage powersupply out of the flyback transformer here's how

<p>Majority now, the dumpster is enclosed, with a compactor, and they <br>deliberately destroy (read SMASH, rendering the item inoperable) the <br>items before discarding. I agree, it's appalling how much is <br>discarded.. Up until they began 'Mandatory Electronics Recycling', the <br>town I lived in was collecting electronics into a watertight shipping <br>box, with box bins inside.. They were being sold off (???) to an <br>electronics recycler who supposedly was paying them for the items.. <br>Unfortunately, this is what has happened with 'Gold-Miners', is they'll <br>collect the items, grind them up, subject them to caustic acids &amp; <br>chemicals to dissolve the gold, then subject those to neutralizing <br>chemicals to extract it.. But, the part no-one seems to understand, or <br>realize, is the cost of disposing of now caustic and VERY poisonous <br>chemicals also containing heavy metals. They may extract $1,000 in <br>gold, but they're still left with $10,000 in toxic waste. Also, <br>despite being discarded, there are still working components inside, that<br> are still being needlessly destroyed. I've rebuilt computers discarded <br>by others (in fact, sending this from one now.) hard drives can be <br>ERASED, but some treat them as if data that has been erased, can somehow<br> be miraculously reconstructed and pose a national security risk to a <br>small-time company. (I've wiped plenty of hard drives, and believe me, <br>It IS scary what some people leave. Social Security info, Personal data,<br> Personal (Not to be shared, I.E. Nude) pictures...) But, wipe them, <br>format them and the data IS removed! LCD screens, I've repaired plenty <br>of laptops with the discarded screens on laptops that were scavenged for<br> their hard drive, memory, and discarded the rest. LCD Intact! (though <br>majority the screen is either accidentally smashed, or deliberately <br>smashed.)</p>
&nbsp;I've heard from friends that if u wait until best buy gets new models in you can get computers out of the dumpsters behind the place. &nbsp;Anyone ever tried this?<br /> <br />
I dunno. Seems unlikely that they'd do that and lose thousands of dollars. I would think they would sell them at a discount, or maybe to an overstock place.
<p>I know this is an old thread comment area, but, I know it is hard to believe but the amount of merchandise they throw away is appauling. The above person was telling the truth</p>
no but it might work ill try tommorow im off of school but if not at best buy try a computer only store's dumpster in my area its canton computers...also for free food i like to sign up for newsletter for places and i usally get good coupons just found one today for free doritos.
&nbsp;would love to hear how it goes<br /> <br />
these days major companies lock up their dumpsters at night. I worked at michaels arts and crafts and they locked them up there too! Like who is gonna want a glue stick from the trash?! My supervisor told me things like vases and home decor needs to be destroyed before putting it in the trash. There was a vase i wanted, it was hidden in the store for almost a year and since it was out of their ctatlog i couldnt have it and he smashed it. Its terribly sad businesses care that i could have gotten it for a penny instead of the $12 it wasnt worth anyway.
Really? That's a shame. That's really bad business practice. Why throw something away when you can sell it and make up for some of the money initially invested?
<p>bit late on discussion, but the police in UK have no interest in peopl e removing things from dumpsters. A friendly cop quizzed me removing a shelf one evening - he told me their only concern was people filling up other people dumpsters, esp with things like used paint thinners, old motor oil etc. If the poster can find reports otherwise , not everything on net is true.....</p>
I have friends who have, from dumpsters: -A longbow -Several swords and machetes -Laptop -Bikes -Tv -Longbow
you kinda said longbow twice, just to point it put. btw, awesome instructable!
Maybe he got 2 of them. LOL
I have gotten ring binders and wastebaskets out of the dumpster near my apartment, behind an office building, but not a laptop. I would check it for viruses before using it if I did.
I have found a brand-new(2005Ish) Dell Laptop with built in wifi and a very good battery,and a bunch of other stuff too
ohhhh wow... the things people throw away...
Ah the joys of electronics. A few years back I decided I&nbsp;was gonna teach mysefl a little about electronics. I decided i would start with a &quot;camra tazer&quot;, all was going well untill I forgot to take out the AA batteries and got my thumb stuck in the &quot;shocky area lol&quot; and got electrocuted untill the charge ran out..... good times, good times.
Oh thank you! That gave me a good belly laugh.
<p><strong><em>&quot;shocky area&quot; <br /> <br /> </em></strong>Nice of you to include the Scientific term.</p>
yeah it's hard not to get shocked, unless you have gloves<br />
are you sure that somebody hadn't just left their pressure washer out beside there bins
Where I live we have a program so that you can leave items that others may want under a poll shed at our county dump,people throw away alot of nice things.
My 'graphics/Photoshop' workstation here is a Macintosh G3 &quot;Desktop&quot;. Someone replaced the 233 Mhz G3 CPU with a 500 Mhz G4 CPU. Found it in Cambridge (MA) on the curb, a few steps ahead of the trash pickup. The ViewSonic CRT was also a curbside find.<br><br><br>The keyboard is an Apple Extended II, purchased at a local Goodwill for one dollar. The mouse is an eBay find.<br><br>I have a USB 2.0/FireWire 400 PCI card (cheap find on eBay) in the computer.<br><br>A Wacom ArtzII pad, again from eBay is the most expensive item. US$30.00.<br><br>The Apple Color OneScanner 1200/30 was another curbside find, and the LaserWriter 4/600 PS was a gift.<br><br>So, for about US$50.00, give or take, I have a dedicated Photoshop machine.<br><br>The OS is Mac OS9. For my modest graphic editing needs, it's perfect.<br><br>
hah, is that a coil from a car in that picture?
I Googled dumpster diving and here is the link that found most useful <br> <br>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumpster_diving <br> <br>Most of the topics that came up were theft and health. <br> <br>Theft: Depending on the State in the U.S. or country determined whether DD was illegal. <br> <br>Health: I'm not going into details but food poisoning is on top. <br> <br>Safety: <br> <br>Top of my list. <br> <br>Do you know what's really under there? <br> <br>I'd hate to end a fruitful day of treasure hunting with a visit to the hospital because I was impaled by sharp pointy things I couldn't see. <br> <br>I admit that I've pulled a few things from a dumpster. The only difference is that I would never climb into one. If I can reach it safely, I'll grab it. <br> <br>Shortly after pick-up day I'd use a long stick with some sort of hook on it. The one thing I try to avoid is struggling with the object. Sure, you might have struck it rich, but if you have to go through that much effort to extricate your find, it mean you rarely have a complete visual on the thing. The part you're looking for is buried under junk, or it may not even be attached to the end of the stuff you think is there.
<br>I was running errands one day and encountered road construction. The traffic was rerouted through sides street. As I drove down one of those streets I saw a make-shift shelter of hastily assembled lumber and a large blue tarp. As I drove passed, I saw a very large sign that read, &quot;FREE&quot;, and on either side were sitting two nearly complete PCs. The only parts that were missing were the mouse, keyboard, monitor and power cables. Obviously, a shot at more PC parts, or even better, new additions to my collection of PCs. When I got them home, I connected then, and they worked. Now I have two 800 MHZ PCs sitting under my &quot;PC table&quot;. <br> <br>It just so happens that I have an interest in astronomy, so I help UC Berkeley's SETI@Home project by sorting through millions of bits of data searching for extraterrestrial intelligence (i.e S. E. T. I.). The other one is storage.
Maybe you should mention the cartoon is from xkcd<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://xkcd.com/18/">snapple</a><br/>
yeah, sure, but most people already know...
of course... I was just thinking of the legal implications... should have mentioned earlier - great instructable! got my 5* :-)
thanks! but, the thing is... on instructables, most projects are "attribution-sharealike-noncommercial, blah blah blah... in other words... we can use any pictures, and we don't make profit, and they don't mind...
xkcd is CC attribution-noncommercial, so you have to acknowlege it
Here in Norway they are called containers
&nbsp;Hooray&nbsp;for Politically Correct! (Sarcastic) Why don't you just call them trash cans, what harm does that do?
You do realize that in other regions of the world, there are different words for different items? Geez, I mean cmon already! Why don't we call them rubbish bins?
because they're dumpsters
That's not PC, PC Is calling it a &quot;Cylindrical refuse receptacle.&quot;
I'll help u with the referral but don't forget to help me with mine too!!!
here is a tip: if you see a large capacitor it most likley still has at least a little electricity still in it, so hold a screwdriver with the plastic part in your hand and touch the leads with the metal part to discharge it so it wont shock you. make sure there are no power connected to the thing or it will recharge. there may be a spark or a tiny lightning when you do it, but that is better than being electrocuded. You should also do this to parts you are unfarmilliar with just to be safe.
oh yeah i do that sometimes too
another thing you can do is (if your over 18) use free product testing sites like product-testing.com. companies usually let you keep what you try. ;)
It isn't free if you have to buy something. These websites that say free whatever then you have to participate in our offers are a disappointment
&nbsp;Swagbucks Rocks!!!<br />
i know, i already made 60 dollars worth of amazon.com giftcards<br />
Actually your lucky. Wal-Mart is ruining this nation.<br />
Call me stupid but I don't get the apple joke... sn + apple?
sn is the chemical symbol for tin, and snapple is a juice (commonly apple juice)
AnarchistAsian can you give any idea on Instructables the Movie? Thanks.<br/><a href="https://www.instructables.com/community/Instructables-the-movie/">https://www.instructables.com/community/Instructables-the-movie/</a><br/>
Ohhh... lol Thanks (Need to get a old microwave, cant find one :(
I hate to break it to you but dumpster diving and collecting or finding stuff on the side of the street is actually called "Theft by Finding" and it is a chargable offence meaning you get arrested for it. So beware when you do as your committing an offence for which you can be arested for.
really? well people still do it anyway...

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