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  • EEVblog #124 – A Tour of Apex Electronics

    Posted on October 30th, 2010 EEVblog 41 comments

    Dave dropped by Apex Electronics in Sun Valley just outside LA, the biggest and oldest surplus electronics store in California (and probably the US?) . Come on a tour through the aladdin’s cave of surplus electronics and hardware. It’s actually pretty sad to see all this old technology just lying on the scrap heap :-(

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    • http://www.danielbjohnson.net Daniel

      Man dies by electronic equipment land slide. News at ten.

      Dave maybe that would be your dream way to go. But I can just see 25 feet of scopes ready to tumble.

    • Hypernova

      I wouldn’t want to be in that warehouse during an earthquake.

      As for the back yard a lot of the stuff there don’t appreciate being left out in the elements for decades either.

      • Michael Thompson

        I know at least two people who might consider death by being buried in that stuff a cool thing.
        Scary.

        Fun, inspirational, but scary.

    • Michael Thompson

      Oh…oh my…

      Living on the east coast, it makes me want to put together a cross-country tour of such places with Apex being the final stop in California.

      I work for a company that deals in surplus industrial stuff, and while by NO means as messy and dangerous, our scrap area sees waves of similar stuff come in from various auctions and such on a regular basis. (not so much the drop tanks and parabolic reflectors)
      I tend to visit that area at lunch with a multi-tool.

      Serious props to your wife if she was handing the camera again.
      If she’s into this stuff, then it may have been difficult to focus on camera duties, and if she’s not then she’s simply a trooper!
      :D

      Great stuff as always.

    • Curtisbeef

      Holy crap thats the place you wanna hit up after the zombie Apocalypse!

    • AussieMark

      I’d wouldn’t waste my time going to Apex… rather if you want to check out some very cool electronics shops take a trip to Akihabara in Tokyo Japan.

      Check out this site for some videos of Akihabara.. http://www.tokyohackerspace.org/akihabara/

      • Ivan

        Akihabara is just way too cool! You can find stores only for capacitors!

    • Richard C

      I live a closer to Silicon Valley, and we’ve got our share of fun surplus warehouses up here, too. But they’re smaller, and much more oriented toward computer gear, and not as much video editing. I’ve never seen any rockets or drop tanks in the stores up here, either. If you’re ever up this way, check out Halted Supply Company and Weird Stuff Warehouse.

      • Scott

        I once saw a Lockheed Martin torpedo at Halted, that was pretty fun.

    • http://Www.radiodoneright.com Matt Gholston

      So the $64000 question, did you buy anything? Or did the wife talk you out of it…

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        I was lucky she let me take the freeway exit and stop, she was hungry and wanted to get to Sequoia…
        I didn’t wan’t to push my luck.

        Dave.

    • http://tronixstuff.wordpress.com John Boxall

      Craptacular! :) However there seemed to be a lot of good stuff there. That place is begging to have a team of people go through, catalog things of worth and get the stock moving.

    • http://www.toddfun.com/ Todd Harrison

      I’m glad you took the time to shoot the video. But I get vertigo really easy and those tall long corridors and the camera going up, down, up, down , left, right my stomach was going BLOOP BLA HARF! I was sick for 3 hours after watching it. I can’t watch roller coaster video either, I’m so pathetic.

    • Anthony

      It looked like what I imagined the ‘Hall of Prophecies’ to look like in “Harry Potter”. =).. Your wifes a Harry Potter fan, she can probably appreciate that assessment.

      • Aaron

        At ~6min Dave finds the Holy Grail, but puts in back down.

        • Joakim

          Naah. I bet he’s already got one of those. ;)

          • Ivan

            And sold it on Ebay for $4.67

    • Matt

      Dave,

      You missed one sensory description that you cannot get from video. What did it smell like! Did it have that old time electronics smell of Bakelite and machine oil??

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Oh yeah, it smelled like a real surplus electronics shop!
        Descriptive words cannot do it justice.
        Dave.

    • Justin

      Thanks for the walk down memory lane, when I was building my first computer (OSI SB 400 S100 buss)I needed some dip silver capacitors and Apex had the parts I needed to finish my computer.

    • walter delbono

      awesome…

      :)

    • ScottE

      I have been going to Apex since the mid 70′s and it has not changed. I have always felt that is a place that I would not want to be in an earthquake. It is a little less scary now that the shelving rows have some supports connecting at the top, but this does nothing for the stuff on the shelves. Even with all they have it seems you cannot find what you are looking for. It is the best place to get wire of any kind. I once found a bunch of transistors in original 1953 packaging for $1.

    • Raff.

      Hey Dave, There used to be a place a bit like that in Brisbane called Direct Disposals, the ‘Alladin’s cave’. I went there many times in the 80′s and 90′s, sadly it’s long gone. It used to have huge amounts of ex military and ex government stuff, from bomb bay door rams, which a mate loved and bought several, to weather balloons. I bought things like an old Solartron oscilloscope that uses germanium transistors to a CT160 valve tester. It was heaven, in an old dark and dusty big wooden shed…Wish I could find another place like that!

    • Ludwig

      I’m awestruck. If I ever entered such a place, I’d never, ever be seen again.

    • http://www.schulmerichbells.com Steve

      I’ve often wondered what would happen if one of these places got a letter in the mail: “Your lease will end on December 31 and will not be renewed. You must vacate the premises with all merchandise and fixtures within 60 days.”

      • Karl (not that Karl, the other Karl)

        This year it happened to a surplus company in Germany called Rainer F

    • Randy AB9GO

      Hey Dave,

      If you ever find yourself in Dayton Ohio you have got to visit Mendelsons. http://www.meci.com/index.php/about_us
      They have their store in an old General Motors manufacturing building. A massive 1,000,000 square feet of electronic and other surplus stuff. You name it, they have had it at one time or another. The link has a picture of the store. Love the blog!

      Randy AB9GO
      Milan Indiana USA

    • Randy AB9GO

      p.s. The website only lists 0.00001% of the items available!

    • Eddie

      ‘Thats a shit load of cable!’

      Brilliant, like heaven.. can’t wait to get over there from the UK

    • Tony

      I just love places like this. For some reason my wife isn’t nearly as excited as I am… She can however browse your typical flea market stalls (clothing, glassware, whatever) for hours while *I* get bored out of my mind.
      Whatever floats your boat, I guess…

    • Alex

      I love watching your blog Dave. Keep up the great blogging.

      Is that an Apple 1 @8:15 (just kidding though it reminds me of that)? And @14:34 not to be picky but those 50 cal bullets look more like 30mm rounds (like in the A10 Worthog’s gun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAU-8_Avenger). The 50 cal looks like a baby compared to that (http://mybloggityblog.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/dscf1389largeon2.jpg). Like you said Dave its the US. Go big or go home :)

    • http://rival-corp.com Kevan

      Well I had no idea a place like this was so close near me so I went to check it out. Wow is all I can say about this place.

      http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs413.snc4/47654_479026839634_684664634_5948217_202612_n.jpg

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        I think Apex in turning into a nerdy holy shrine!

    • Chris

      I am Swiss and once a year I make a trip to California, where this is a must-stop place for me. At Apex you can find awesome stuff if you know what you are looking at. i.e. I found a bunch of unused Magnet Bubble Memories made by Intel.
      By the way, Don (the owner of Apex) can’t be thrown out of his warehouse – he owns it!

    • Justin

      I live in Sun Valley. I go to Apex all the time. I once found a giant mound of roller blade wheels in the back yard. Haven’t ever seen it since.

    • Michael A

      I love this place. Bought an ancient Harrison / HP dual tracking lab supply there a few years ago — from your video I see they still have at least one left. Bit beat up but works great. It weighs about 50 pounds — the front panel is something like a half inch of solid steel. They don’t make ‘em like that any more. :)

    • Ivan

      I wouldn’t want to be there if an earthquake hits the town.

    • ftransform

      how expensive is old equipment in these sorts of places?

    • http://diablo3info http://laohall.podbean.com/

      Anyone know the exact release date of Diablo 3? Well let me tell you! Its finally out! Yay

    • Lagger

      At 13:33 you found my Oscilloscope 8-| , i knew was old…

      Nice Tour Dave.

    • http://orionrobots.co.uk Danny S

      This place is the stuff of wet dreams… Imagine using a place that for some cross between scrapheap challenge and robot wars – fixed time to build from the junk, and then you get to smash them in an arena…