While I was visiting Portland last month, I made a quick stop at SurplusGizmos in Hillsboro.
SurplusGizmos is what an electronics store should be, and it’s the kind of place that I love to visit. It’s also the kind of electronics store that is completely nonexistant in Austin (oh, my beloved HSC, how I miss you), but I digress…
You can usually tell a good surplus electronics store by the pile of junk outside the door (usually with a sign on it that says “Make Offer.” I’m not kidding:
Inside SurplusGizmos, you’ll find aisles full of electronic components like resistors, capacitors, connectors, random semiconductors, fans, motors, and miscellaneous surplus stuff. Paradise!
AVR microcontrollers! Forrest Mims books!
They have cabinets with drawers full of electrolytic capacitors! Yes! This is what a real electronics store is like!
This way, resistors by the foot!! This ain’t no Radio Shack!
Aluminum by the pound!
Interesting pieces of surplus equipment sold for pennies on the dollar!
They have a huge selection of “solder samples”, printed circuit boards that are used to…
Actually, I’m sure what they are for. I think they are used by the PCB manufacturer to test their process, but can someone comment about what solder samples are for, and why you always get one or two when you order a full panel of PCBs?
Anyway, there were LOTS of them. Hundreds. Looking at these panels reminded me of Dave Jones’ PCB Design for Manufacture video. Lots of examples of v-scoring, tab-routing, fiducials, etc.
I picked up a few to use as coasters/wall art/whatever.
Apparently SurplusGizmos has some deal with Oregon Scientific and gets customer returns of their weather monitoring equipment. It seemed like if you spent the time to collect all the right parts, you could build a complete indoor/outdoor wireless weather station for a fraction of the new cost.
I wish I could have spent more time there, but my time was limited and my luggage space was small. Next time!
If you’re ever in the Portland area and want to see what a “real” electronics store is like – check this place out.
I took lots more photos, many of which are available on Flickr.
Oh, and SurplusGizmos is listed on the surplus electronics wiki. If there’s a good electronics store in your area and it’s not on the wiki, add it! Help keep these small, independently-owned electronics shops alive!