Author Topic: Radio Shack Rant  (Read 34387 times)

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Offline Rick Law

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #50 on: June 02, 2013, 10:19:15 pm »
They have some horribly priced parts selection packs. Here we have 60 resistors - yes folks - 60! - in a plastic box - for the low price of ...

$19.97  :--



http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=17085906&retainProdsInSession=1#

Yeah, but the higher price is probably because they offer gold plated leads to minimize contact resistance...

Seriously, when they are selling a pack of 5 resistors for $2.99, 60 in a plastic box for $19.97 is a good deal looking from that perspective.  I personally preferred the hand-packed no plastic box stuff from Tayda at 10 resistors for $0.12.
 

Offline jmacqueen

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2013, 01:04:50 am »
Yup a lot has changed about radio shack since I was young, the store I used to go to as a kid is no longer even there.

I live out in the middle of the country and I have two choices of radio shack stores, each 20 miles from me in opposite directions. Each in a very small rural town in Texas.

 One is a rather new strip mall store manned by young kids with blank stares when I ask about anything but a cell phone. They do have a little arduino stock and an aisle of electronics tools and components though.

The other was a shocker when I first went in there about 2 years back. It is part of an old hardware store and was manned by one old 70 year old guy and was a real radio shack, not a cell phone in sight. I picked up a channelmaster antenna and a rotator from him and some cable and connectors, I don't think the other store even carries antennas. And the old guy did electronics repair as well.

Sad part is last time I went in they had moved all the radio shack stuff out of the guys little shop into more or less regular store aisles in the corner, I'm thinking the old guy retired and they are now just going to sell out the stock. I just went in for a fuse for a DMM and they still had that and a whole lot of components but I think it's over, and was so glad to have a real radio shack again to go to. Ahh well life goes on and UPS delivers cheaper than I can drive to a bigger town anyway.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2013, 02:36:00 am »
This almost makes me feel good about living in a post communist country :) We have a long tradition of fixing everything and there are plenty of Electronics shops selling electronic components and test equipment. People working there are real engineers. I should probably do a photo tour sometime to make you all feel bad :D
Not to mention Electronic market every weekend that rivals Ham markets you get once a year :P
http://www.wolumen.com.pl/index.php?sh=0&page=infogielda
I would wager a guess this is the only place in Europe that could rival Shenzhen/Akihabara.
excapt ts full of old vacuum tubes and 5 kilowatt 2 ohm resistors...  good luck finding a chip that was designed later than the 80's...
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2013, 02:40:30 am »
excapt ts full of old vacuum tubes and 5 kilowatt 2 ohm resistors...

Those power resistors are hilarious. I've got an old signal generator that needs a 400V rail and a 20W 5K resistor to put out a 10V sine... When it's been running for more than half an hour it's genuinely uncomfortable to hold your hand on the top of the unit.
No longer active here - try the IRC channel if you just can't be without me :)
 

Offline TerminalJack505

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #54 on: June 03, 2013, 03:44:05 am »
I was in a Radio Shack just today and found a pretty good deal.  They have these AC to DC power adapters with battery backup on clearance for $9.97.  They have pretty decent specs for the money.  The built-in backup battery could come in handy.  They have several selectable voltage settings and output up to 2A--which is plenty of current for most projects.

I think they were regularly $60.  No, they're not worth that much but they're definitely worth $10.  I might try to hack one as a poor-man's switching pre-regulator for a 0V to +10v linear regulator.  I haven't taken mine apart yet put I imagine the manual voltage selector switch can be replaced with an automated MCU-controlled selector.  In which case the MCU can select the most efficient setting for the linear regulator's output voltage.
 

Online vk6zgo

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #55 on: June 03, 2013, 04:08:32 am »
This almost makes me feel good about living in a post communist country :) We have a long tradition of fixing everything and there are plenty of Electronics shops selling electronic components and test equipment. People working there are real engineers. I should probably do a photo tour sometime to make you all feel bad :D
Not to mention Electronic market every weekend that rivals Ham markets you get once a year :P
http://www.wolumen.com.pl/index.php?sh=0&page=infogielda
I would wager a guess this is the only place in Europe that could rival Shenzhen/Akihabara.
excapt ts full of old vacuum tubes and 5 kilowatt 2 ohm resistors...  good luck finding a chip that was designed later than the 80's...

Who cares?
Most of the chips I've used since the '80s were designed then,or earlier!

Not that I'm a big builder of stuff!
I'm a "ticket carrying" Old Fart,& I haven't built any tube stuff since about 1967--not a lot of solid state,either! ;D

I've changed a lot of tubes,though,some of which are a bit hard on the poor old back!(TV Transmitter PAs)
 

duskglow

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #56 on: June 03, 2013, 04:17:51 am »
Wow, ever change one of those mercury arc rectifiers?
 

Offline TerminalJack505

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #57 on: June 12, 2013, 04:01:10 am »
I was in a Radio Shack just today and found a pretty good deal.  They have these AC to DC power adapters with battery backup on clearance for $9.97.  They have pretty decent specs for the money.  The built-in backup battery could come in handy.  They have several selectable voltage settings and output up to 2A--which is plenty of current for most projects.

I think they were regularly $60.  No, they're not worth that much but they're definitely worth $10.  I might try to hack one as a poor-man's switching pre-regulator for a 0V to +10v linear regulator.  I haven't taken mine apart yet put I imagine the manual voltage selector switch can be replaced with an automated MCU-controlled selector.  In which case the MCU can select the most efficient setting for the linear regulator's output voltage.

Anyone else pick up one of these?  I bought two and think they're a great value for the money.  I'm still kind of wondering why they are on clearance, though.  I said in my earlier post that I thought their original price was $60 but it was actually $55.  (Yes, still overpriced.)

I took one apart and it wasn't terrible.  They really crammed quite a bit of stuff into a fairly small amount of space.  About 1/3 of the space is occupied by the battery.

I've been putting them through their paces and they work as advertised.  The output voltage isn't terribly accurate but they do put out the current specified for each of the voltages.  I ran nearly 2A through one at 6V and it didn't have any problems.  It didn't get hot.  Just a little warm.  There's surprisingly little switching noise on the output and no low frequency noise.  (I have another Radio Shack AC-to-DC switchingadapter that has an annoying low frequency (120Hz?) ripple on its output.  These don't have that problem.)

By the way--and this actually concerns the topic of this thread--if you pick one of these up be sure to get your free adapter plug.  When I bought the first one the sales person didn't seem to be aware that 1) you need one of these, and 2) you get one free with your purchase.  They're like $6 or $7 too (yes, overpriced) so you really don't want to have to shell-out that money unnecessarily.  Which is what I had to do since I lost my receipt for the first one I bought.
 

Offline Sigmoid

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #58 on: January 17, 2014, 04:41:55 pm »
Lol. I arrived in NYC from Europe about a year ago, and well, my experience with Radio Shack here is pretty bad. It's essentially a low-end Best Buy, selling shitty devices for unreasonable prices in Apple-inspired store interiors.
I think Radio Shack is a perfect example of how a company can implode from mismanagement and bad strategy. They apparently tried to become a competitor of Best Buy, seeing the surge in consumer electronics... and failed miserably. There is just no reason to go to a Radio Shack as opposed to a Best Buy. They have squandered their street cred and clientele, and gone from market leader in their own market to laughing stock in the market of Best Buy and Apple Store.
To my chargrin, during my brief stay in NYC, I've seen two of their stores go out of business.
Thankfully I found a funny little electronics component counter in Chinatown for last minute component needs. It looks like something you might find in China. XD

Anyway, speaking of Europe, we have Conrad. Conrad is pretty much a German knock-off of the original, 60s-70s Radio Shack. Their Budapest store offers hobbyist supplies (boards for etching, veroboards, etching fluid, solder, soldering stations, etc.), components (they have a proper component counter with a guy who knows where to find anything), kits for various trivial applications like door chimes and cheap headphone amps, and an endless hoard of Chinese electronic "novelty" (from disco lights to automatic cat doors).
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 04:52:57 pm by Sigmoid »
 

Offline rolandpenplotter

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #59 on: January 17, 2014, 06:57:46 pm »
My latest trip to Radio Shack left me pissed off, as do every one of my trips there. Today I just needed to pick up a transistor. Just a transistor.

After wading through all the TVs and cellphones and consumer crap, I find the component drawers in the very back corner of the store. I thought I'd be in and out in two minutes, but no, of course not. I open the drawer, which says 'TRANSISTORS' on the front in big letters to find...

Lightbulbs.

I spend a few minutes looking through the stupid drawers until I get fed up and ask the guy at the counter. He couldn't find them so he asked someone else. After he spent a few minutes looking, he remarked "maybe they discontinued them, we don't sell a lot".

ARGH.  |O

In the end, I got my transistor and my opinion of this company has reached an all-time low. The disorganization was caused by a retail person who gave up halfway through reorganizing the stock, which isn't really all that bad, it's just bloody annoying.

What pisses me off about Radio Shack is that they still try to sell themselves to hobbyists and DIYers-- trying to use their old reputation. In my experience, however, they've been hostile to hobbyists, and instead want to focus on selling consumer crap. There are two stores in my town, and in both, all the hobby/DIY stuff is literally shoved in the back of the store. A few times I've noticed that when I opened the component drawers, an alarm goes off in the back of the store, and someone comes out and watches me, like I'm going to steal resistors or something. When I walk in, and one of the employees asks if I need help with something, the blank look I get when I ask for an LM357 regulator tells me exactly how much the company emphasizes component sales to their employees.

/rant

I feel that Maplin have been heading this way for years now. Mind you, they have LOTS of components on shelves and in their stores, but I bet there's nowhere near as much range as there was in the 80s and 90s.

Thankfully my local Maplin is only 4 miles away, and my local RS Components is the UK head office, in Corby Northants, only around 10 miles away - no hardship :)

Junk food tech, consumer throw-away society :(
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 07:01:39 pm by rolandpenplotter »
 

Offline rolandpenplotter

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #60 on: January 17, 2014, 07:08:22 pm »
This almost makes me feel good about living in a post communist country :) We have a long tradition of fixing everything and there are plenty of Electronics shops selling electronic components and test equipment. People working there are real engineers. I should probably do a photo tour sometime to make you all feel bad :D
Not to mention Electronic market every weekend that rivals Ham markets you get once a year :P
http://www.wolumen.com.pl/index.php?sh=0&page=infogielda
I would wager a guess this is the only place in Europe that could rival Shenzhen/Akihabara.

Hello :)

Which country are you in? My sister lives in Moscow, and is returning to England soon :D
 

Offline DavidDLC

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #61 on: January 17, 2014, 07:16:01 pm »
What I hate from RadioShack is that in most of their components or parts if you need only one, you need to buy a bag of 3 o 4  :-- :-- :--

David.
 

Offline rolandpenplotter

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #62 on: January 17, 2014, 07:21:29 pm »
To all the people moaning about Radio shack, hey - at least you have Radio shack. The UK "Tandy" stores were sold off to "Carphone Warehouse" in 1999, which says the lot really. If you know anything about England, CPW group and "TalkTalk", you'll know what I mean... and if you don't, here's a clue:

 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #63 on: January 17, 2014, 07:26:48 pm »
They had a new moto: "You have questions? We have answers". The joke about Radio Shack and the new useless people staffing their stores was: "You have questions? We have blank stares".

When I worked for RS in the early 90's in south Florida, the parts bins were 3 times larger than what you find now.  You had to get certified in each part of the store including having a basic knowledge of the parts section.  You had to at least know the part names.  As for the motto now:  If you have questions, we have cell phones."  I was running errands the other day and stopped in one for a pack of fuses for my HP PSU repair project and was asked if I wanted my cell phone screen cleaned.  I should have asked him if he did windows.
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Offline mtdoc

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #64 on: January 17, 2014, 07:32:30 pm »
For all its flaws, Radio Shack fills an important niche for the relatively small portion of its customers that are electronics enthusiasts.

Yes, if I need a couple of components, I can get them much much cheaper from ebay China - but I'll need to wait a few weeks for delivery.  I can order from Digikey and the components will be much cheaper - but add on minimum shipping charge and there's not much difference - and I will need to wait a couple of days.

I rarely buy a component from RS but when I do - I do because I want something now and paying a couple of bucks for that availability is worth it IMO.  As others have said - accept that they need to charge that much to make it worth their while to sell these things -  the alternative would be no components at Radio Shack.. :(
 

Offline Sigmoid

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #65 on: January 17, 2014, 07:42:20 pm »
To all the people moaning about Radio shack, hey - at least you have Radio shack. The UK "Tandy" stores were sold off to "Carphone Warehouse" in 1999, which says the lot really. If you know anything about England, CPW group and "TalkTalk", you'll know what I mean... and if you don't, here's a clue:
Well no, not really. During my stay in the US, I've never been able to get ANYTHING I wanted at a Radio Shack beside an audaciously overpriced EU-US adaptor plug when I first arrived. Having Chinese knockoff phone stores labeled "Radio Shack", and "having Radio Shack" are two very, very different things.
Bottom line, NYC might as well lack Radio Shack shops entirely, the end result to availability of electronic components would be the same.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 07:46:38 pm by Sigmoid »
 

Offline deth502

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #66 on: January 17, 2014, 07:45:54 pm »
I remember in the late 90s, they were still selling 4116 memory ICs, 16K x1 bit, for $10 each. That was the correct price in 1980.....

Radio Shack did have a good run until the early 90s when someone decided it should just be another electronics retailer. They dropped all of their in house brands and exclusive products to sell 100s of models of cordless phones. They had a new moto:
"You have questions? We have answers". The joke about Radio Shack and the new useless people staffing their stores was: "You have questions? We have blank stares".

They even had the opportunity to dominate the personal computer market, but blew that away too.

lol, i remember that. or as a friend and i used to say, "youve got questions..............we dont know??" that was the answer to everything. "i dont know".
 

Offline denelec

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #67 on: January 17, 2014, 11:18:42 pm »
In Canada, Radio-Shack doesn't existe anymore.
Around 2005, Radio-Shack Canada went bankrupt, was bought by Circuit City and renamed "The Source".
When Circuit City went bankrupt a few years ago, "The Source" was bought by Bell Canada.
They still sell a few electronic components but they mostly sell cell phones.
 

Offline rolandpenplotter

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #68 on: January 17, 2014, 11:36:26 pm »
In Canada, Radio-Shack doesn't existe anymore.
Around 2005, Radio-Shack Canada went bankrupt, was bought by Circuit City and renamed "The Source".
When Circuit City went bankrupt a few years ago, "The Source" was bought by Bell Canada.
They still sell a few electronic components but they mostly sell cell phones.

You could have cut that down to a pun: "they mostly cell phones" ;)
 

Offline denelec

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #69 on: January 17, 2014, 11:41:18 pm »
When a was a teen (a few decades ago) I used to look forward each fall for their new catalog.
It was full of cool things like CB, scanners, stereo, computers and electronic parts.

You can view the US catalogs online at:
http://www.radioshackcatalog.com/

The canadian catalogs were very similar.
It brings back some memories.
 

Offline Homer J Simpson

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #70 on: January 18, 2014, 01:07:34 am »
Wow! Thanks for posting the link to the old catalogs.

That is a really amazing flashback for me. I was just looking at the 1981 catalog. I can remember exactly the house we were living in at the time and I was 14!

Saving up the money and having my mom take to the Radio Shack to get LED's, resistors, diodes, oh my.

Dreaming about the soldering irons and DMM's in the catalog.

Back then it was better than a candy store.

Remember the learning lab kits? 200 in 1 projects? with the springs to connect the wires.



35 years ago. Wow.

KT
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 01:12:28 am by Homer J Simpson »
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #71 on: January 18, 2014, 01:09:14 am »
I think one of the reasons people remember radio shack of yesterday so fondly and are so tweaked at what they have become is because at one point pretty much all electronics, consumer products and components, was once the domain of the nerd.  Your typical high school cheerleader would have been interested in about 0.1% of what a store like radio shack sold.  The way our world works now is that the cheerleader knows more about computers (well certainly cell phones) than her parents.  It doesn't help that even the nerds consider much of consumer electronics as disposable black boxes.  It's not economical to sell components out of a physical store, especially when none of the other things in the store could even use them.  It's not like you are going to fix your cell phone with any resistor you will find in the resistor bin, not unless they also sell stereo microscopes, ultra fine soldering irons, ultra tiny tweezers, etc....
 

Offline atw60444

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #72 on: January 18, 2014, 01:35:06 am »
There used to be a British version of Radio Shack called Tandy. It was never that great with regard to variety and range of electronic components afair. Maplin seems to have headed in the same direction?
 

Offline denelec

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #73 on: January 18, 2014, 02:18:28 am »
My first kit. 25 in 1!  :)
From the 1978 catalog...
 

Offline rolandpenplotter

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Tandy UK: I thought there were gone? :-/
« Reply #74 on: January 18, 2014, 02:33:05 am »
Weird... I'm sure they went in 1999...

http://www.tandyonline.co.uk/
 


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