Other Projects > Electronics Salvage 101

Why salvage electronics?
Weller Soldering Station

One of the main reasons that I salvage parts is simple economics, to save money. Why pay $10 for a chip, especially when prototyping, just to smoke it? And it is kind of cool to make something from something that was broken or no longer needed. I have turned broken cdrom drives into robots...

After doing this for a bit, you will build up a collection of part that only cost you some time and minimal investment. Additionally, you will brush up on your soldering iron skills and get to see the insides of some really neat stuff!

For another bonus, it is the 'green' thing to do. So why not enjoy both!

Note and Disclaimer: Soldering irons get hot. If you solder enough, or not carefully enough, you will get burned. Oh, and wear eye protection!

Desolder Tools

You will need a few tools: desoldering braid, solder sucker, flux, soldering iron. You will also need a donor or victim. Today's victims are a circuit board taken from an old computer speaker, a circuit board from a DVD player, and some switch LED assemblies from discarded PCs. I didn't get starting pictures for everything (my appologies, but my camera's batteries died).

Circuit from computer speaker Chips

Part of the challenge is figuring out what to salvage. Some things are obvious (to me anyway...), like motors, LEDS, and switches. Ohters may require a bit of research. If I see a chip that I think may be useful, I use www.datasheetcatalog.com and look up the part's datasheet. That was how I was able to identify the two chips I did pull, the BA4560 (a dual high-slew rate OP Amp) and the TDA2007A (a 6W stereo amplifier). As a bonus, most datasheets also have some application schematics that can be used for starting points for your own circuits.

So, what was the grand total off of this salvage project? The two ICs (BA4560 and TDA2007A), 6 switches (5 momentary, 1 on/off), one potentiometer, one rheostat, 6 LEDs (5 green and one tri-color), an IR sensor and some wire. Not bad for an hours work.

In the future, I will try to get some in-progress photos actually showing the process, but it is kind of hard to do with only two hands...

LEDs from old computers and PCBs
Stero Plug male and female
Computer speaker plug and wire
collection of switches