Sunday, August 11, 2013

Shopping Electronic Parts

One crazy day at the electronic parts center

These are the results of a very interesting yet crazy day shopping at the electronic stores. Outside it seemed like another planet, closer to the sun in orbit, with a temperature rising past the 100 degree mark and a greenhouse effect wildly run amok with relative humidity approaching an unbreathable 100%. (NASA space suit desired here...)

Stepping outside, the brain-numbing, scorching, burning heat and white-out blinding sunlight was destructively intense. After donning sun shields and taking the widest spread of a fiberglass manual Chinese fan, one could see many people walking on the road with umbrellas to shield from the glaring, all-piercing, intensely hot solar rays.

Trying to ignore global warming, an air conditioned taxi was flagged down. Upon arriving at the stores, walk down the long flights of stairs into the basement - the first objective was to find a small wireless camera. Fail. The next item on the shopping list was a small RF TV. Fail. The next item was a small NTSC TV monitor. Fail. By this time and after shopping 6 and then 12 stores, things were becoming a bit discouraging.

Oh look, there's a small wireless camera under the display glass. No one will remove it and no one will help. Finally, going back to the store after a while, another clerk says, "we have no cameras..." Time to move on...

Making it more simple, moving onto the toggle switch section, hundreds of switches needed to be sorted, tested and tried just to find the correct one. These were very odd 6, 8 and 12 pole switches, or they spring returned to a common position, or they had very strange tiny short toggle stems only a quarter inch long. After a long time of searching and being bumped by hundreds of people, Bingo! A good SPDT tight toggle switch with a decent size stem was found. The next step was to sort through thousands in the bin, weeding out all the incorrect switches that didn't belong there, and test each correct switch. Finally, about 30 switches were found, tested, and placed into the shopping basket. These were $.63 each at a cost of $18.63. Score.

Next up was wire. Although three large size rolls of red, black, and yellow wire were purchased, it was a complete fail. All three were labeled AWG24. A store clerk confirmed the wire size and that it was single strand. After arriving home miles and miles away and opening the packages, the black was a much smaller size (too loose inside breadboards), the yellow was also too small and multi-strand, and the red was also not correctly packaged as it too was multi-strand and too small. Complete fail. These rolls were $2.94 each for a loss of $8.82.

Moving on,  for $2.94 was a plastic box with preformed, trimmed, assorted colors and sizes, solderless breadboard wires. These fit the breadboard perfect. Score. (It was vowed to obtain these from now on for breadboard work)

Looking for two mid-size solderless breadboards... score at $2.73 each.

Then it was on to a short time browsing. A small Hi Fi 20-watt amplifier was found that could run on a 9-volt battery, with all the connectors for input, output, power, a variable volume control, and a good frequency response of 22 to 22K Hertz for $6.87. Score. (though this is still untested)

By this time it was irrefutable, the effect of seeing so many varied electronic parts generated a feeling like a kid in a candy store. Candy was everywhere! If only we could live and eat here! Alas, the day was over, it was dark outside and the stores had closed. There was no place to shop. It was time to find the bus, prepare for some walking, and take a couple hours in the heat to go home.