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.
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Bob Scott
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Bob Scott » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:34 pm

Dean Huster wrote:Any of you ever see a BRN-BLK-VIO-GLD 1/4-watt resistor? Not your standard Mouser item!
Dean
Lessee....
100,000,000 Ohms @ 1/4W
V^2 = P * R
V = 5,000

Betcha can't shove 1/4W through it! I may be wrong. I bet it's called 1/4W because it is made that size. You'd have a similar problem with those 0 Ohm Black-black-black "resistors".

Sorry to hear that your leaving the practical side of the hobby. I don't need your stuff. I have my own. Maybe I'll be the last old codger holding his bags of parts. I'm about 1 year younger than you and, looking at this week's postings, I think most others in this message base are also of similar age. It looks like young electronics hobbyists are few and far between.
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CeaSaR
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by CeaSaR » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:06 pm

While you guys have at least 15 yrs. on me, I can't help but feel like an oldie
when it comes to electronics. I have been dabbling with them since the early
70's. Anyone remember the Radio Shack P-Box kits? I have yet to get to that
old Heathkit Mono Amp I got at a yard sale.

My aspiration is to get my kids interested in electronics. I have given them a
taste of what can be done in the hobby environ with some of the small projects
we have done together. My oldest is in the mindset of "That should be 'fixable'."
My youngest wants to modify everything he sets his hands on.

Dean, you have affected more people than you know. For all those you taught
and all those who read your column(s) have come away with a greater knowledge
of your (and our) passion for electronics. While I can understand your need to
move on from this part of your life, I can't help but think that you will find a part
of yourself lost once you do so.

Perhaps you could go on to do a little something for the musician's world, where
most of the products that are truly sought after are based on the things of
yesteryear. You might even be able to put together some small kits based on
your inventory. I know there is a market out there for them. Maybe some tube
based or germanium transistor designs. I would be honored to carry some of your
work when I relaunch my website.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best and hope you still hang out here
with all of us from time to time.

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

Dean Huster
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Dean Huster » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:23 pm

CeaSaR, thank you for your most kind comments. You are right -- without the hobby, even though it's been stagnant for the last five years, there would be a hole that would be left unfillable by stamp collecting, counted cross-stitch or fishing. Fishing? Why'd I say that? I HATE fishing. That's why they have Red Lobster.

Anyway, one of the reasons thinking of shutting down is simple logistics. I have to put all of this somewhere for a time while we're between houses -- and we may be between for a long time. Most of the parts other than e-caps will survive and most of those are probably suspect anyway. Equipment will deteriorate rapidly. I'd at least have to keep my better stuff where it can be plugged in and turned on once a month to keep things decent. There's little that is as pathetic as a $12,000 (original catalog price -- it was given to me) scope that dies for lack of use.

There're enough comments contrary to me getting rid of everything that I may as well hold off for a bit. I just spent the afternoon moving the Lyon steel drawers (132 drawers packed full of all sorts of capacitors, resistor, switches, connectors, etc.) from a smaller storage unit to a larger one where I can also put the woodworking tools and quite a bit of household goods.

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.

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MrAl
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by MrAl » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:06 pm

Hi again Dean,


Maybe you could tell us a little more about that scope? Sounds interesting. Storage scope maybe?

You and some of the others are making us face our hobbian mortality :smile:
Im probably going to keep on with my own stuff and helping others with their stuff until i drop.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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CeaSaR
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by CeaSaR » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:21 pm

Dean Huster wrote:I'd at least have to keep my better stuff where it can be plugged in and turned on once a month to keep things decent.
Maybe you could ask kheston if you could borrow his homebuilt genny to power up the
idle equipment every so often while in storage! :mrgreen:

Seriously though, I would hate to see you miss the opportunity to give another person
the chance to start on that love (or hate, as the case may be :P ) course that we have
all experienced. Have you thought about talking to the local library about doing a small
class or series of workshops where the kids get to put together a little project that they
can take home? Most libraries will take any teacher or enthusiastic hobbiest willing to do
"community work" in a heartbeat. You could charge a nominal fee, enough to cover the
cost of materials with a portion set aside for the library as a donation. That might help
thin the stock a little and perhaps discover the next Dean Huster or T.J. Byers there.
Who knows?

Take care,

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

Dean Huster
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Dean Huster » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:22 pm

I might give that a whirl, CeaSaR.

Al, the scope is a Tek 7904 with 7A26, 7CT1N and 7B92A, 500 MHz of "ancient" analog beauty. The whole package had a catalog price of somewhere around $15,000 minimum back in 1986 or so. A friend of mine in the calibration business gave it to me when the great tornado of 1998(?) leveled his house in Midwest City OK, leaving his equipment and him intact, but blowing the steam out of this love for the business. He was already retired from the USAF, so he decided to move to Edmond, sold the calibration generators and gave me the scope.

I also have a 465DM44 and a 213 laying around here somewhere as well as a few TM500 instruments. A Hewlett-Packard 606A provides my RF and a couple of Knight-Kits I've had since I was a kid fills in a few holes.

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.

Dean Huster
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Dean Huster » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:49 pm

After spying my boxes and boxes of old magazines, I may open them up, wrap each year in Saran wrap (or put them in gallon Ziplocs if they'll fit) and put them on special shelving I had for curriculum so that they're readily accessible. Then maybe I can continue the hobby while between houses by indexing the magazines onto a relational database so that everyone can access "oscillator, audio" and pop up with 8 construction articles and another 10 "circuits" found in various monthly columns. The idea is to index the magzine much, much more thoroughly than the publishers did with their annual indices.

Any suggestions for CHEAP or FREE database programs that doen't require a computer science degree to learn that would be suitable for such a project? I hate the idea of doing it in WordPerfect and use the "find" feature -- that would stink!

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.

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Bob Scott
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by Bob Scott » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:48 pm

I learned how to use MS Access that comes with some versions of MS Office. I took a course at the local community college back in '96. There is a learning curve. You have to become familiar with relational databases.

www.openoffice.org has free versions of MS Office applications. Instead of searches you build "queries". That may not be instantly intuitive.
-=VA7KOR=- My solar system includes Pluto.

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CeaSaR
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by CeaSaR » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:55 pm

I took a quick perusal at http://www.nonags.com/ and there might be a few
things you could use under Office Tools.

Kinda late with an early morning wake up. I'll look more later. Maybe someone else
knows of a solution (I'm sure there are plenty out there.)

CeaSaR

[edit] Ya beat me in there Bob. One of those listed is an Office add on for DB's.
Hey, what do I know?

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atferrari
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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by atferrari » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:05 pm

Hola Dean,

Long time I do not read anything from you. A pity you are facing such a decision which is rounding my head also.

Please note, that Elektor magazine people at Holland when they moved, few years ago, gave away the whole library in real paper. Except someone trying to retain one or two manuals to be kept at home, everything went to the bin.

Year ago, a technician, younger than me, got the whole 26 Kg of my first receiver I had as a ham, a Scott from the US Navy, whose BFO allowed me to copy SSB very well and a pile of magazines from an extincted editorial in Argentina. All but one, who is still at my bench, my valves went to him as well.

But my components? I do not know who will want them either.

BY the end of the year I will start publishing somewhere "up for the grab".

See you. And good luck.

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Re: Liquidating My Electronics Hobby

Post by rolerbe » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:26 am

When I was in college (about a thousand years ago), there was an electronics surplus house called Eli's just off campus. They would take all the castoffs such as you are describing. It was a treasure trove for new upstarts like me and we built all kinds of "cool stuff" for cheap using the wonderful things we found there.

Too bad there isn't anything like that around anymore. Closest thing that comes to mind might be American Science & Surplus (http://www.sciplus.com/). If you've got enough stuff, they might take it off your hands for salvage prices.

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