Author Topic: "Grab bags" and such  (Read 6778 times)

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Offline Weez

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"Grab bags" and such
« on: March 06, 2014, 05:50:35 am »
So these component grab bags/assortments/whatever that you see...are they worth it, or just a waste?

I've been thinking about picking one of these up, but are they typically filled with stuff that just hasn't sold, or do they largely contain useful items?

I'd only be getting it to tinker/learn, but another option is to buy the dedicated "kits" of ic's, opamps, caps, etc., which is obviously more expensive...but I don't mind going that route if it's a better deal in the long run.  Any suggestions?
 

Offline TheBorg

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 06:01:46 am »
Sometimes they are good and sometimes they can be pretty bad. I once got a cheap one from electronics goldmine and it had a large assortment of parts, but many, many, many of them were unlabeled, and there were 200+ of a few things (mostly switches and ceramic caps). A big mess to sort through, but it definitely pays to have a good multimeter so you can at least ballpark value unlabeled components.

Of course, different kinds of grab bags are available, I know Sparkfun sells a SMD one from their pick and place machine misfires...
Usually worth the cost of the components though... You just never know what you're gonna get! I reccomend buying one from a company aligned with your interests- e.g Sparkfun would have more beginner and easy to find components, but Electronics goldmine would have a lot of old stock parts and rarer stuff.
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Offline Neganur

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 06:19:22 am »
I found they were great when you needed components to train soldering. Some 20 years back you could buy grab bags with 5000 or so assorted  axial-lead resistors (1/4 W through-hole) and they were great for practicing the color code as you had to sort that bird's nest of resistors.

You're probably better off buying kits of passive components like THIS ebay link and then look at getting some of the very common ICs you want to fiddle with.

Of course, this depends on what you want to do with it.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 07:09:52 am »
So these component grab bags/assortments/whatever that you see...are they worth it, or just a waste?

We talk about bags just saying 100 diodes or 200 semiconductors? They have become a clever way of electronic waste disposal. You pay "them" for the privilege of receiving their waste.

Quote
I've been thinking about picking one of these up,
Do so. Not because they provide great value, but because you make the experience first hand on your own. And since they are cheap that experience doesn't cost you much. See first hand what you get. Maybe have fun playing with the stuff a bit, sorting it and guessing what you got. And maybe, really only maybe, you are lucky and there are a few useful parts in the bag. Of course, part of buying someones electronic wast is the same reason people buy lottery tickets. Maybe, just maybe they are lucky ...

Quote
but are they typically filled with stuff that just hasn't sold, or do they largely contain useful items?
It is usually stuff that would otherwise go to the landfill or material recycling center for various reasons. Stuff stored to long or stored wrong, NOS suddenly reappearing in a corner of a warehouse, surplus, floor sweeps (ok, stuff the P&P machine dropped), stuff failing some quality check.

The criteria for ending up in the bag is not if they are useful per-se or not, but if they can't be reasonably used in a production.

Quote
but another option is to buy the dedicated "kits" of ic's, opamps, caps, etc., which is obviously more expensive...but I don't mind going that route if it's a better deal in the long run.  Any suggestions?

The kits are also not the absolute best value for money. You essentially pay for the convenience of not having to order all the things separately. But that is sometimes a valuable service.  In the long run buy the parts you need for a particular project. Parts do accumulate entirely on their own from projects you don't finish or where you changed your mind. Up to the point that the wife starts telling you that your stuff takes up too much space :)
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Offline mariush

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 08:57:12 am »
Sparkfun recently did a video and showed what's typically in some of their "dumster dive" bags:



Basically, 1.5 pouds of various stuff ... i don't know the price they sell this for so I can't say if it's worth or not.
 

Offline Kohanbash

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 02:46:34 pm »
When I first started in Electronics I got a few bags which provided me with a bunch of stuff to start out with and experiment with.

However, now I don't want to sort through a bunch of unknown parts and I just order what I need. That saves time and gives me known components.
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Offline saturation

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 05:44:16 pm »
I still buy grab bags to stock up on parts for experimentation or fast repair.  However, my lab is also equipped to test the parts to its spec or to failure.  There are several types that B@W suggests.

Testing unlikely required:

Old stock, lost stock, overstock: the best types.  Usually sold as the same type of component such as bag of one value resistor, semiconductor, caps etc., even better still in their rolls or dispensers.  They are never assorted unless repackaged by the seller.


Testing Optional:

"Trash": really are parts that fall off the assembly line and are swept up.  They are assorted mixed of various parts from passives, connectors, switches etc..


Testing recommended:

Reclamation: clearly desoldered and could have been damaged during reclamation. 

Testing Required:

Quality control rejects: the worse of the bunch type, assorted but one type of component of various sizes, values, and packaging: resistors, diodes, transistors, ICs, etc.,.   Check the uniformity of the labels, often if inconsistent or missing, they are this type.

These are not hard and fast rules, it depends on who makes the 'bag'.    I find many good sources from eBay are the old stock type compared to a Jameco grab bag.

Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline cybermaus

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 06:04:34 pm »
Sparkfun recently did a video and showed what's typically in some of their "dumster dive" bags:

Code: [Select]
SparkFun 2-28-14 Product Showcase: Dumpster Dive Dos
Basically, 1.5 pouds of various stuff ... i don't know the price they sell this for so I can't say if it's worth or not.

I do not know what price they go for, but I very much doubt that was a random and representative box. Its sold out, so the price is not displayed, but I would like to hear from people that bought them.

I mean, come-on, some enclosures, a whole breadboard. That stuff looks useful. No experience with Sparkfun specifically, but unwanted garbage is my experience.
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 09:11:19 pm »
makes me think of that old electronics seller, poly paks.  anyone remember them?

"what's in our barrel?  we don't know!  that's for you to find out!"

lol
 

Offline saturation

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 09:24:11 pm »
Yes, those were the days ...



More here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oskay/4455981283/#


makes me think of that old electronics seller, poly paks.  anyone remember them?

"what's in our barrel?  we don't know!  that's for you to find out!"

lol

Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2014, 09:43:53 pm »
I take them only if they are cheap and I can see usable stuff that is less than the cost of the pack that I will use. Got a lot of power resistors in odd values that way, along with some 470uF 50V axial caps in a bag.
 

Offline Stonent

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2014, 10:53:54 pm »
You know, you never really think about switches until you need some for a project, then you find out just a simple switch can sometimes cost you a few dollars each.  So I used to think of switches as an afterthought, but now a grab bag with a lot inside would really be useful.
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Offline uwezi

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2014, 11:11:19 pm »
Many many years ago I bought one such bag from a local electronics store in my hometown. It was a bag of resistors, all thrown in. I then started to sort them and this is how I learned the color code.  :phew:

The store is long gone, they are only still marketing the bags, at least here in Europe: Kemo.

I also used to buy these bags sometimes in Conrad stores in Germany - the last one from a couple of years ago was a real good buy, but it also contained a lot of stuff which better had stayed in the dumbster.
 

Offline Weez

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2014, 04:42:47 am »
Thanks for the replies.  I'll mill around the net and pick up something relatively cheap, and post my findings.
 

Offline electronics man

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2014, 11:50:13 am »
Maplin here in the uk sells 'lucky bags' whitch are assortments of components, they have an electrolytic cap one, a mixed cap one, a transistor one, an led one, Ic socket one, resistor one and a diode one, some of the packs come whith lists of possible components they contain. I think they are well worth it, they sometimes have hundreds of components in them for only a few £.
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Offline Radio Tech

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2014, 01:49:25 pm »
Radio Shack here in the states used to sell a "Surprise box" many years ago. About 5 US bucks then. man I miss those. has cool stuff in them.

Offline jimjam

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2014, 12:05:20 pm »
I saw some grab bags from Jaycar in Australia. They At $20-$25 a bag....not sure if they're worth it.
 

Offline all_repair

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2014, 12:25:28 pm »
Unless your time is free, grab bag is not worth it as one spend too much time sorting and labeling the assortment.   I built up my assortment by buying them in min 5 quantity from farnell, after that they stop selling in such a low quantity.  But was a very good deal for me considering the labeling and sorting time.
 

Offline george graves

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Re: "Grab bags" and such
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2014, 12:34:02 pm »
Blah!  Sorting all the trash someone is trowing out.  Heck.  I don't even "salvage" components - unless it's some huge heat sink, or a nice transformer, or something I might use as a one off.

I guess there are two types of people on this forum, those that make things for sale, and need a reliable source if they need to make 2, 5 10, 10,000 of them.  And guys that tinker, or are only into design. (nothing wrong with that) - but I laughed when Dave was doing a tear down of some photocopier..."Oh, this stepper morotr I'll totally use!)  LOL.  Nope.  You'll never use that stepper motor. Put it in the trash.

I stopped collecting random parts, when I realized that no one pays me to use random parts.  I get paid when I can source parts that are in stock.

It's a false economy.   Spend 2, 4, 6(?) hours sorting parts, that you have no clue how to source again?  That's my nightmare.

It's bad enough all the parts I have on hand that I know projects I want to use them on!
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 12:37:40 pm by george graves »
 


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