Tag Archives: Electronics

Coil in a can

Coil in a can

Last weekend at the Electronics Flea Market I picked up some very strange items, including this one, pictured above.  It’s a tin can that looks very similar to an ordinary soup can, except that it has the following markings on it:



Thus far the only information I have learned from the markings are that NSC.OAKLAND stands for the former Oakland Naval Supply Center, closed a decade ago in 1998.  According to Wikipedia, NSC supplied components to the fleet in the Pacific during WWII.  Beyond this I have not been able to find any information.  Presumably this is a replacement part for some piece of obsolete military hardware.  A “coil” is another name for an inductor, a clue that this may be part of a radio system or other high frequency equipment.

After staring at this mysterious object for almost forever (a week) I decided to open it.  Realizing that the can could be full of cold war era hazardous chemicals, munitions, objects under high compression, or nasty sharp edges, I did this very carefully and documented the entire process of discovering the contents.

First, the obvious – opening the can.  Pretty straightforward.

Coil in a can

What’s inside?

Coil in a can

Weird.  Lots of oiled green paper.  Whatever is inside is packed very well, when the can is shaken nothing moves around.

This is the clump of stuff to come out.

Coil in a can

Packing material?  The precursor to styrofoam peanuts?

Below the packing material…

Coil in a can

What’s this?  Vintage dessicant!!!

The last object left in the can looks interesting.  It’s wrapped in oiled green paper and sealed with tape.

Coil in a can

Inside the paper we find this:

Coil in a can

Not a huge surprise – it’s a coil (inductor).  It has a knob or grabby thing on the top and a funny connector on the bottom.  It looks brand new.

Here are a few more pictures.

Coil in a canCoil in a can Coil in a can Coil in a can

The markings are “ARC” and “7270 239 KC”.  ARC might be American Radio Corporation?  239 might be 239 kHz (kilocycles)?  Hard to say, google didn’t turn up anythign interesting.

An impressive amount of stuff was packed into that can!

Coil in a can

This solves the mystery of what’s in the can, but what is it for?  Does anyone know?  I’d love to find out – leave a comment or contact me directly.

More photos are on flickr here.

Electronics Flea Market @ DeAnza College

Air variable caps.

Kylie and I decided to check out the Electronics Flea Market at DeAnza College this past weekend.  I took a bunch of pictures and put them up on flickr.

We met a trio of Evil Mad Scientists there and had a great time.  I stocked up on tweezers and tiny solder braid, along with some mystery items I’ll feature in an upcoming post.

The last Electronics Flea Market of the year is next month, on Saturday October 11th. Don’t miss it!

By the way, the big news this weekend was that HSC electronics is NOT moving as was rumored earlier in the year.  Speaking of HSC, this coming weekend is the annual HSC sidewalk sale.  (This year they’re calling it a warehouse clearance sale due to downsizing at their present location.)

Blogs, blogs, blogs

Some interesting electronics/microcontroller/hacker themed blogs I’m reading these days:

My favorites:

And some new (to me) blogs:

That’s it for now.  If I missed any good ones, I’d love to hear about them, leave a comment or contact me.  You can access all of the blogs I mentioned (and a couple more) from the blogroll to the right.

Is Electronics Surplus Still Alive in Silicon Valley?

Bins of ICs at Excess Solutions

Last Monday I went on a surplus run in the South Bay.

This was a common pastime for myself and a few especially geeky friends around 1994-2002. After that, eBay and mail order electronics pretty much took over, forcing the most interesting surplus electronics stores in Silicon Valley (ie. RA Enterprises) to close their doors.  With the news that HSC Electronics is moving to an undisclosed location and Triangle Machine is going out of business, I was starting to worry that the days of finding cheap, local electronics surplus were over.

However, thanks to this guide I discovered a few new surplus goldmines:

So maybe electronics surplus is still alive in Silicon Valley.  Both stores are a bit of a drive from the city, but both are still open to foot traffic and appear to have almost every component you could possibly need for an electronics project.  What I did find lacking at both locations was cheap surplus equipment.  One of the most rewarding things for me in the past has been taking apart mysterious equipment to collect interesting bits and pieces for my junk box.  Triangle Machine still has some, but may only be around through the end of August.  Regardless, I will definitely be making the trip back to the South Bay for some electronics scrounging soon, whether HSC sticks around or not.