Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)
Contact:

Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Dean Huster » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:51 pm

It's gotten to the point where I do nothing in electronics anymore other than teach the stuff. My stuff has been in storage for the last five years, what little I do have out is nearly unusable and I just don't have the room for it all and need to downsize a bunch. Remember, I'm truly an old (electronics) curmudgeon now, having just had my 60th birthday in January.

I can't imagine inventorying it all for a one-price-gets-all-but-you-gotta-pick-it-up for ebay. I mean, this is a 45-year collection of parts and equipment, folks, with the oldest part being maybe a few type 20 vacuum tubes and the newest an 8051 µP or two. I'm an organized pack rat, so I have it all and I can find it since it's all nicely sorted. But stuff goes bad after time, so if I don't get rid of it now, it won't be any good to the recipient and if I'm dead, the wife won't have a clue what it's worth ... as if I do ... you know the deal: It's mine so it's worth a lot more than everyone else thinks.

So how do you sell the stuff off? Piece-by-piece on the equipment? All the capacitors in a lump? All the resistors in a lump? All the circuit boards boxed up ready to desolder for parts as a lump? Or winner takes all?

Any ideas? Any interest?

Dean

*** And no, I don't have a terminal disease or anything ... just gotta be practical for once in my life.
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

Robert Reed
Posts: 2276
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:01 am
Location: ASHTABULA,OHIO
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Robert Reed » Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:49 pm

Dean
You could post this in "UP FOR GRABS" and just list it in general categories such as type of active and passive components, test eqipment,doodads, whatnots or whatever. Then whomever of us is interested could PM you and hammer out the details.
Thats a pretty weighty decision you are making and one I have considered myself in the past, but when push came to shove, I just could not let go of things and conversely purchase even more to add to my stock.

User avatar
MrAl
Posts: 3862
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2002 1:01 am
Location: NewJersey
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by MrAl » Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:43 pm

Hi Dean and Robert,

Dean:
I hate to see electronics loose another hobbyist! Are you sure you dont want to give micro controllers
a ride before you go for good? They might renew your interest, unless of course you already went
that route. Cheap, and very versatile. You can do more with them than any analog device, with
less support parts and that means much less inventory.

Robert:
I am getting up there in years too, but I'll probably never be able to let go of all my stuff...it's been
with me as long as i can remember now. Funny though the new stuff seems more interesting now.
The old stuff is just historical to me, but that's still part of life.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

User avatar
Lenp
Posts: 1473
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:11 pm
Location: Maryland
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Lenp » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:45 am

I pray every night that I have enough time before I die to make the tags for the yard sale!
Forty years in this business sure can accumlate a lot of 'residuals'. I am also considering thinning out my herd. :sad:
But, on the other hand, does anyone have cheap shelving ? :idea:
Len
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

User avatar
Joseph
Posts: 681
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2001 1:01 am
Location: USA,World
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Joseph » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:31 am

I've had similar thoughts. I've considered options ranging from posting on the bulletin board of the local tech school to checking up on estate auctioneers. Someone else close to me suggested that I not worry too much now since I am still designing and tinkering.

User avatar
CeaSaR
Posts: 1779
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Phoenixville, PA USA
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by CeaSaR » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:32 am

What's interesting about your decision is that I was in a similar situation where
I wondered if after almost 15 years I should just get rid of my stuff. It was about
3 - 4 years ago that my kids started wanting things fixed and other little items
built that, while I could purchase them new, the guts were so cheap to build I couldn't
justify buying them. Right now I have a toy I am designing for my nephew, who
cannot keep his hands off of BUTTONS, that will use more of my stuff.

Do you have any grandchildren you could make something for? You'd be surprised at
how amazed the little ones are with even the simplest gadgets. At that point, you
might turn them on to electronics and actually have someone to pass your "collection"
to when you are truly ready to give it up. For me, that will be when I am blind and
so arthritic I cannot pick up my iron! :grin:

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 3048
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by haklesup » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:06 pm

Tubes in particular sell quite well on eBay and so does useable test equipment, the rest of the mixed parts unless you can find some high value or rare devices is fairly low in value and hard to sell. Small to medium sized random lots might work or as already suggested a well placed plea in the up for grabs section will at least give you the satisfaction of transferring it to a worthy soul rather than trashing it.

With passive components being priced so low. Its easier to just buy a known good part these days than to spend time searching a box of unlabeled parts of unknown tolerance and reliability. If the resistors and caps are sorted by value it might be useful to someone. Electrolytics may have drifted too much to be reliable

You might get a few bucks from a recycler for the loaded boards if the components look like they have a good gold content. I can't imagine harvesting parts with component prices so low anymore.

Connectors will still have value but not on eBay. better if they have mating connectors included.

A yard sale might find an interesting party if you're lucky, a craigslist posting will throw a wider net for a one price gets all deal.

Are these new old stock (NOS) components or recovered parts?

Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Dean Huster » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:23 pm

A yard sale would be totally out of the question. Something like that would only work in a large metro area and with the right extended advertizing. Here in this little podunk town, the only specialty yard sales would be if they were for drug stuff.

Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

L. Daniel Rosa
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Bellingham, WA
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by L. Daniel Rosa » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:30 pm

If you have duplicate tools, you could group them together to get another hobbyist started. Maybe an assortment of components and a breadboard too to be the equivalent of a 300in1 kit.

The tubes should definitely go to someone who knows what they are. You might try posting on Headwize or Diyaudio. I got rid of a pair of 12AX7s there a few years ago when I realized my fanaticism didn't go to thermionics.

Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Dean Huster » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:39 pm

Seems like I had at least 24 to 32 running feet of bookshelves, and that was just for data books. Double that again to hold all the other books such as ARRL Handbooks, textbooks on every imaginable electronics subject, more often than not several on each subject, project books, schematic books, TAB and Sams books .... i.e., I have several boxes that are packed with books that weigh over 150 pounds each. Those were packed and stored four years before my aneurysm surgery, so now they weigh about 300 pounds each. I don't know how they increase in weight like that, but there's no sense in destroying $60,000 or whatever it was in medical bills to lift a heavy box. I have to unpack and rebox most of them. And that doesn't even include the hundreds and hundreds of magazines of maybe 20 titles that are boxed. Yeow!

All the parts are in a very meticulous filing system of some sort or other. All new 1/4-watt resistors are in four 36-drawer plastic parts cabinets and stacked such that 24 rows yield each of the 24 standard values top to bottom and the six columns represent each decade so that the top drawers are labeled 10, 100, 1K, 10K, 100K, 1M. Values smaller than 1 ohm or larger than 9.1M ohm go to the bulk steel drawers where 241 drawers hold the same number of values, each drawer holding a standard value for all wattages available intermixed. I have all standard values from 0.01 ohm through 100M ohm. Any of you ever see a BRN-BLK-VIO-GLD 1/4-watt resistor? Not your standard Mouser item!

Caps are organized by value and ICs, diodes and transistors are put in plastic drawer cabinets in "haphazard" fashion, but indexed with an alphanumeric list in a binder that makes finding any part a snap. Connectors and switches are in the steel drawers (each drawer of my industrial-grade steel drawers is 4h" x 6w" x 16d" or something like that) and arranged as neatly as possible.

So, a buyer wouldn't just be getting a pile of random junk!

Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 3048
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by haklesup » Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:44 pm

I think the bottom line is how hard are you willing to work to place this stuff properly. Craigs list and eBay are the best ways to reach a large audience for selling but other places will do well for giveaway. Newsgroups are also a good way of reaching a large audience. Clearly your local market is sparce.

I think databooks even older ones will sell on eBay reasonably well. I wouldn't inventory every last component either but breaking them up into logical kits with the cross reference lists seems to make sense. Recently eBay did away with listing fees for auctions that don't sell so at least you wouldn't be wasting money trying. Just have to ask yourself how long you want to spend dividing up the kits, writing and posting the auctions and monitoring and mailing the results. Craigs list will reach a more local audiance capable of picking it up but do you want a stranger coming over. Craigs list buyers are also notoriously cheap so give aways usually work quickly.

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1534
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Janitor Tzap » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:16 pm

Have you considered going to a Hamfest with some of it?

I'm going to them all the time, to scope out deals on some used equipment.
Or drag out some items to sell there.

I find guys coming out with their Tubes, Transistors, Capactiors, Resistors, and other stuff, to sell or trade.
It can be quite strange array of items sold there sometimes.
One person had brought in Cockatiel's to sell along side, with the rebuilt Tektronix's equipment he had.
A machinist would come out, and be selling Carbon Steel bits for screw guns that he made.

No you never know what you might find at these Hamfest's, or what will sell.
I had boxes of these 1/4" round rubber feet that you stick on to the bottom of project cases.
I had brought them out to a Hamfest, and to my surprise people snapped them up like candy.


Signed: Janitor Tzap

User avatar
kheston
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2003 1:01 am
Location: CA
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by kheston » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:54 pm

Dean,

When I was a (much younger) kid, a guy by the name of John Durant lived across the street from me. Mr. Durant, as I knew him, was an old school electronics guy who worked for Kaiser Electronics and had a ton of their throw-aways laying around among his other (LLNL and other) salvage items. His Tek scope took up a fair amount of real estate on his large workbench and he had a HAM in a small room he'd build at the back of his garage along with a Trash80 and too many other cool gizmos to name in a single post.

My guess is John is no longer with us and that his kids knew nothing about what any of his stuff was. A few of the bigger items were likely sold for pennies on the dollar and the rest went straight into the trash. It pains me to speculate about what likely happened. Honestly, I would have paid more (at least in gratitude, but money, if I had it) than any stranger would have for what he had. The first computer I touched, the first soldering iron, the first O-scope on which I saw a waveform and many other gadget "firsts" were in his collection. A significant piece of my childhood left our neighborhood when he moved, but I didn't realize it until a couple of decades later. There weren't many people, even growing up in the Silicon Valley, that burned their spare time teaching neighbor kids Ohm's Law and Morse Code, he was a rare find.

What's my point here? Well, might I suggest finding one or more of the many people I'm sure you've mentored over the years and offering them first crack at your treasure-trove? You may find that you will paid handsomely for much of what you have, though perhaps not all with money. If it's possible to do, I think you'll find this to be a more satisfying parting of ways with your prized possessions than dealing with Craigslisters or eBayers.

HTH
Kurt - SF Bay

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1534
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Janitor Tzap » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:00 am

Nice story Kheston, :smile:

I had an older friend whom I met through a computer group.
SMUGH: (S)t. Paul, (M)inneapolis, (U)sers, (G)roup, of (H)eathKit.

His name was George Hardenbergh, and he was a serious electronic junky.
Thou, George was also into Pipe Organ's, and any other type of Organ.

Back in 1996 the warehouse that he had, was being purchased by the city.
Thus, he wanted help getting his stuff out of it, and into some mini storage units.

George just couldn't throw anything away, no matter how bad it looked.
What's worse, is he would take other peoples stuff as well.

Well, in clearing out that warehouse, we found so many treasures.
A HeathKit Analog Computer complete with manual, and wiring jumpers.
A original RCA CTC-100 Color TV.
A IBM 360 Main-Frame with Drum memory.
TV-Guides going from 1948 to 1988.
Racks of Tubes, Computer Grade Capacitor's, Resistors.
Boxes of manuals, Radio TV Mag's dating back to the 20's and 30's.
Just to name a few of the many items he had collected over the years.

I called the local museum, and asked if some one could come out and take look at this stuff.
Well, The guy was just drooling when he saw the computers.
But he was beside himself when he looked at the Main Frame.
He said He didn't have the room for it. :sad:
{We ended up scraping it for the metal in it.} :sad:

George was also a member of the Pavek Radio TV Museum.
So I got a hold of the they're president Steve Raymer.
He was like a kid in a candy store!
He grabbed pretty much every tv, and radio gear that was there.

Well...
George passed away in 2007, and left his collection to his kids.
I was asked to help come and sort through it.
Because his kids didn't have a clue as to what any of it was worth.
All told, George had 12 mini storage's, his house, and a barn filled with stuff!
Most of it has been sold vie auctions, and a estate sale.


Signed: Janitor Tzap

zotdoc
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Douglas, Georgia
Contact:

Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by zotdoc » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:43 pm

Maybe you could package it up as "starter electronic kits" to sell on ebay, throw in a few circuit ideas/schematics. People would probably buy it. I would sell the books seperately or in small groups.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 36 guests