EEVblog #737 – World’s Biggest Collection Of Electronics Components

Dave uncovers that has to be one of the world’s biggest and most meticulously sorted collections of vintage electronic components!
And all this sold for $405 on ebay!
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  1. That was amazing and inspiring. You should have just bought the house! Is he still alive? I’d love to hear his story.

  2. Interview him if he’s still alive.
    If he is dead, did he die of lung cancer? I assume that after some thousands of hours desoldering components, his lungs are full of nasty things.
    (As a teenager I also desolder and collected old components. Some times it smelled awful. I stopped when my brother told me what the fumes contained.)

  3. Jérémie Faucher-Goulet

    Wow… As you said, this is indeed crazy! The Disneyland of nostalgic electronics. You’ve got History with a capital “H” there!

    That would make an awesome interview to track down this guy!

  4. When I was a kid in the US East and Mid-West during the late 1960’s, various kinds of repair shops (electronics, appliances, cars) were everywhere, though only car repair shops persist today. To save money for both themselves and their customers, the proprietors would harvest parts from irreparable gear.

    In my neighborhood, the local TV/radio/”Hi-Fi” repair shop was also the rough equivalent of a mashup of today’s maker space, a Radio Shack and a flea market (swap meet). Members of the local ham radio club would also hang out there

    It was nirvana for aspiring geek-nerds. It was also a total mess, well organized, but not nearly as well as Dave’s find. I remember stopping by on my way home from school, to peek over the shoulder of the owner while he was troubleshooting something, then foraging through the bins to find the part he needed. That was what ignited my desire to not only find out how things worked, but to repair and even improve them.

    As everything became transistorized, more complex, and made overseas, it also became less repairable, and the lower price made the cost of repair higher than replacing the failed equipment.

    One by one the repair shops closed, and most hobbyists had to switch to Heathkit catalog shopping or Radio Shack. But some of the closed shops were moved to the owner’s basement, to be reincarnated as a retirement hobby repairing “vintage” or “antique” equipment.

    There are still some of these folks around, buying junk on eBay, repairing it, then reselling it. But eventually the original proprietor becomes unable to continue, and the family is left with rooms of equipment and parts to liquidate.

    Most often, the inventory is simply discarded, or sold locally though an estate sale. But occasionally a trove will appear on eBay.

    Every time I see this kind of thing happen, I remember my youthful days spent at the repair shop, and I mourn their passing.

  5. Obsessive/compulsive comes to mind. All of those take away boxes were meticulously organized and populated by this David Sparks and not simply purchased and put on the shelf. The amount of effort must have been astounding, but would leave little time left to be creative or inventive (i.e. making stuff). As Dave points out he also bagged the components before putting them in the box. Yes, it is important to be organized, but organization for organization’s sake only seems to be an obsession in itself.

    • Well, one reason to bag them would be to separate them by tolerance. A bin full of 10K resistors may have individually bagged 1%, 2%, 5%, 10% resistors which makes it easier if you need to find one with a specific tolerance.

      Then add in the type of resistor (carbon, metal-film, etc) and that multiplies the bags once again.

      Add in new/salvaged doubles it again. (You may want new if the salvaged ones don’t have long enough leads).

  6. I knew an electronics surplus shop here in Oklahoma City that was about like that without being quite so meticulous. He just used the cardboard bins. Lots of old parts and tubes. I think he bought a lot from military auctions.
    Sad thing is, when he passed away from cancer, his wife just had everything hauled away to the dump.

  7. Somewhere in Australia someone has bought a piece of history for $405. I hope it went to a good home 🙂

  8. How do you spell O.C.D. ?

  9. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style and design. “Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation.” by Benjamin Disraeli.

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