Author Topic: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again  (Read 3984 times)

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Offline saturation

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Offline Lawsen

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2011, 04:26:44 am »
Radio Shack is alike a convenience store in electronics.  It is not basic staple like Mouser or NTE electronics mail order here in the U.S.A.  Radio Shack is more focused in some shopping malls and local neighborhoods in Stockton, California, U.S.A.  They always have common NPN transistors and LM324 op amps and 555 TTL oscillators.  Parts costs more than surplus stores and selection is limited.  Frys is mostly in Northern California in the South Bay Area around San Jose and one store in Northern Sacramento, a fromer Incredible Universe store that was owned by Radio Shack Tandy Corporation, ironic!!! Radio Shack is very limited, that it is more of a neighborhood convenience store in California region.  They almost tried to change their name to "the shack."  The workers there are not techs or engineers and some are more into self study and others are not.  Two of the locations around here are very helpful and accommodating, that varies to who runs the store.   If you need a special oscilloscope, then it is mail order or E Bay would be better than Radio Shack.  I liked those spring clips many in one electronics projects set that I used in my youth days, before college and university.  Radio Shack cannot provide everything and they are not focused to do that.  Instead of the Micronta, Archer, or Radio Shack brands, they started to carry Sony, Casio, Olympus, Sherwood, and Apple I Pod Touch brands.  They became a consumer electronics local neighborhood store and the do it yourself or electronics technician/engineering section have reduced and limited.  You might be better driving to San Jose along Brokaw Road to an electronics surplus store or Weird Stuff in Sunnyvale store for surplus parts than Radio Shack.  Radio Shack expended their components selections, but their prices will be higher than mail order, thus increases the costs of the electronics work or project.  It is a great convenience shop.  I have advanced so far that Radio Shack is not specialized enough for me.  Most of you on this blog have advanced far enough that mail order is the way to go. 

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« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 06:45:18 am by Lawsen »
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2011, 05:31:18 am »
It is a marketing campaign they kicked-off in April. Make had a blog entry about it back then http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/04/radio-shack-decides-it-loves-diyers-after-all.html And Radio Shack got an earful in the comments.

In April they said they will do something. Now they say they will do something. Meanwhile they filled their blog with the latest cell phone crap. I don't think the really mean it. It is just a marketing campaign.
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Offline IanB

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2011, 06:35:15 am »
If Radio Shack didn't cell cell phones and other consumer electronics they would have gone out of business long ago. So don't knock what keeps them alive. I for one am glad they are still there selling some home build and DIY stuff, even if the range is limited. Some is better than nothing.
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Offline insurgent

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2011, 04:11:42 pm »
If Radio Shack didn't cell cell phones and other consumer electronics they would have gone out of business long ago. So don't knock what keeps them alive. I for one am glad they are still there selling some home build and DIY stuff, even if the range is limited. Some is better than nothing.
+1
Absolutely. They rent on most RS locations are no doubt paid by this stuff. That is their quandary with respect to the personnel they have manning their stores. The vast majority of he people wandering into their stores are state-educated morons that understand nothing but texting and American Idol. The last "real" Radio Shack that I know of went out of business many moons ago her in FL.

Quote
It is a marketing campaign they kicked-off in April. Make had a blog entry about it back then http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/04/radio-shack-decides-it-loves-diyers-after-all.html And Radio Shack got an earful in the comments.

In April they said they will do something. Now they say they will do something. Meanwhile they filled their blog with the latest cell phone crap. I don't think the really mean it. It is just a marketing campaign.
They posted the video in April and gathered the replies and have actually added a number of Velleman kits already. They promise to add other parts later and I have no reason to doubt them at this point. They took the effort to add http://www.radioshackdiy.com/ along the way as well. I will give them the benefit of the doubt at this point as it seems they are slowly but surely climbing the (albeit steep) uphill battle.

Trust me, I have been upset with the RatShack for a very long time now but I'm willing to give them this shot. I know they will never be able to meet online prices but so long as they can provide the necessary items for the electronics hobbyist, I will give them kudos and patronize their stores.

There is one downside to having the store staffed by electronics knowledgeable people: They had a clearance on a number of DIY items a while back and I went to the store to grab some. Unfortunately the employee at the store had grabbed up the highly discounted items for himself because he was an electronics nut! No doubt if the store was run by Baywatch Ken-dolls I wouldn't have had a problem!

I think they would be smart to also add some big ticket items such as Hakko soldering stations (vs the Mandell) and such to their stores as well. Perhaps a decent hot air unit of some kind, and perhaps some decent SMD resistor/capacitor/inductor kits as well. I'd rather trust their kits advertising 1% tolerance vs the kits sold on EBay from HK/China any day.
Remember kiddies: You buy local, you don't pay shit for return shipping when you aren't a happy camper!

That all said, I wouldn't hesitate to never enter one of their stores again if all they do is add a couple of kits/LED's for a few months and then just return to sending me cell phone spam.
Just as there seems to be a renewed interest in the electronics hobby by people such as myself, there is going to be a renewed interest in being able to find the components & equipment locally. One can only hope this fad is as sustainable as the local organic farmers markets!
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2011, 11:32:23 am »
There's a lot of talk about Fry's...but I have yet to actually experience one of these stores for myself...

About Radio Shack,

I don't buy any components from RS because I can get Mouser to deliver some higher quality, cheaper parts if I need them. The price winds up being around the same after shipping.

But I do buy some of my wire there, perfboard, and one or two of their cheapie tools. Their actual components are pretty much never name brand. I needed a 555 about a year ago. I think I paid like $3 for it....and it didn't have any brand marking on it. Shame.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2011, 11:42:50 am »
There's a lot of talk about Fry's...but I have yet to actually experience one of these stores for myself...
Fry's is good for a bunch of stuff, especially computer related items and consumer electronics. However, their electronic components are sourced from NTE and tend to be even more expensive than Radio Shack parts  :o
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Offline saturation

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 02:01:08 am »
If you don't live near a true electronics store like A1 in Toronto, when RS stopped selling electronics parts over 15 years ago, the only recourse one had to buy small items: solder, wire, etc., was a hardware store, and for components for repair like pot knobs, pots, electrolytics, resistors, etc., was mail order.   Because of the minimum charge made by most electronics shops, usually $10-30, and shipping of $10,  you're paying 30%-100% in shipping cost and so to leverage that you need to buy a lot of parts and keep the inventory of parts for yourself in your lab.  The cost of shipping is far more than the higher retail prices of RS and the local taxes, for small purchases.

In my last trip to RS some months ago, I bought solid AWG wire for $4 for 3 rolls, and a set of Extech probe accessories: mini clip, alligators, etc., for $20 which was sold by Amazon for $15, with free shipping if you exceed $25.
 
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 02:06:28 am by saturation »
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Online Zero999

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 06:42:21 am »
RadioShack used to trade here under the name Tandy. Still to this day I can remember how expensive they were despite only being 12, here's a price list for typical items back in 1994:

£0.99 555 timer
£1.49 LM386
£0.99 two ordinary red LEDs.
£2.99 a crappy 1W 8 Ohm speaker
£0.69 a BC548 NPN transistor

Maplin were much cheaper and still are today, although since then they've got rid of most of their component ranges and upped thier prices a bit. Tandy are on longer in business in the UK.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2011, 08:41:55 am »
RadioShack used to trade here under the name Tandy. Still to this day I can remember how expensive they were despite only being 12, here's a price list for typical items back in 1994:

£0.99 555 timer
£1.49 LM386
£0.99 two ordinary red LEDs.
£2.99 a crappy 1W 8 Ohm speaker
£0.69 a BC548 NPN transistor

Maplin were much cheaper and still are today, although since then they've got rid of most of their component ranges and upped thier prices a bit. Tandy are on longer in business in the UK.
1994 seems like modern times! I also used to enjoy browsing round Tandy as a kid in the 1970's. They had their electronic components all hanging on pegs on the wall, with say two resistors individually packaged for some crazy expensive price like 99p. I never bought anything from them because back then there were proper shops I could go to with whole ranges of electronic components stacked on shelves up to the ceiling. I could assemble the list of parts needed for a project, hand it over the counter and get back a bag of parts like pick-n-mix. Wonderful times  :)
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Offline ivan747

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Re: Radio Shack is stocking analog parts again
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2011, 11:04:02 am »
RadioShack used to trade here under the name Tandy. Still to this day I can remember how expensive they were despite only being 12, here's a price list for typical items back in 1994:

£0.99 555 timer
£1.49 LM386
£0.99 two ordinary red LEDs.
£2.99 a crappy 1W 8 Ohm speaker
£0.69 a BC548 NPN transistor

Maplin were much cheaper and still are today, although since then they've got rid of most of their component ranges and upped thier prices a bit. Tandy are on longer in business in the UK.
1994 seems like modern times! I also used to enjoy browsing round Tandy as a kid in the 1970's. They had their electronic components all hanging on pegs on the wall, with say two resistors individually packaged for some crazy expensive price like 99p. I never bought anything from them because back then there were proper shops I could go to with whole ranges of electronic components stacked on shelves up to the ceiling. I could assemble the list of parts needed for a project, hand it over the counter and get back a bag of parts like pick-n-mix. Wonderful times  :)

Cuurently I am enjoying "those times". That's the way you order stuff here. At Digi-key one-of prices. Is just so convenient. You can only find jelly-bean parts and some frequently used parts, though. Some of the "rarest" stuff you can find are HD44780 based character LCDs, analog panel meters, and PIC microcontrollers. Yeah, PIC micros are relatively harder to find here.I only buy from one place I like very much.They always seem to have what I need.

They have mostly ST, National and ON Semi parts, I haven't seen TI parts. The have lots of bare connectors below the counter, even DB-50. At the wall on the back they have a bunch of paper bags with components. They have a big assortment of relays, a "fresh selection" of fans every time I go, some speakers, LED's, you know, the usual stuff. However, they are lacking of fiberglass boards (they only have a very decent bakelite), stripboard (they only have some horrible quality perfboard with round holes. You can't even make solder bridges on them), and precision resistors. I would like to see a store focused on people that actually make, rather than repair.

The reason for these electronics shops to exist is because 80's and 90's equipment where really easy to fix, and people here, unlike most developed nations, don't toss their stuff away. We fix stuff. I can't count how many times my CRT TV got fixed (and I still use it). I can't count how many times I have seen these cheap radios with the cord stripped and fitted into other plug, home-made extension cords with a power outlet housing and a cheap mains plug on the other side, used by working class wood workers, auto mechanics on the cheap, builders and some other guys . Countless times I have seen modified Daihatsu trucks to fit some of the weirdest applications, from transport of watchmen to carrying propane gas tanks to houses (half-filled, of course, they even cheat on you). And then there's the classic "attach an old wire to the broken radio antenna" fix. And don't even get me started on stuff fixed by common people.
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