xci_ed6 HalfDork
Dec. 18, 2009 9:24 p.m.

I need ~20 LED's, and there seem to be no electronics hobbyist stores left anymore. So I'm left choosing radio shack, and pay $2 each for individually packaged LEDs, or buying online and paying $0.03 for a minimum $20 order, plus $7 shipping. Really, it seems my best option is to go buy a couple LED trailer lights from autozone and dissect them.

Did all the electronics hobbyists turn into agoraphobics?


EastCoastMojo SuperDork
Dec. 18, 2009 9:27 p.m.

Dollar store, look for the light saber toy. The blade is a long hollow foam piece with 3 red LEDs inside, very easy to remove and long wires souldered so lots of material to work with.

xci_ed6 HalfDork
Dec. 18, 2009 10:02 p.m.

I wasn't expecting a solution, but I should have known that this forum would have it.


hotrodlarry Reader
Dec. 18, 2009 10:03 p.m.

Or you can swing by any of the big name parts stores. They always have an aisle with neon/LED accessories that are less than $20.

mndsm Reader
Dec. 18, 2009 10:20 p.m.

Target actually has a battery operated set of LED xmas lights, 18 count for 5$. They'll be on clearance after the holidays too.

David S. Wallens Editorial Director
Dec. 18, 2009 11:28 p.m.

The Shack: http://www.youjustmademylist.com/?p=2601

(And if you're delicate, don't click the link.)

zipty842 Reader
Dec. 18, 2009 11:34 p.m.

My friend and I, who are both ham radio operators, have been calling the place the phone booth for years now. its sad when i'm looking for a connector or component and get a blank stare.

Carson Dork
Dec. 18, 2009 11:40 p.m.

I went to RadioShack a couple years ago for a record player stylus. The guy didn't know what I was talking about, when I explained it, he looked at me like I was an idiot.

I went in last Christmas to get a CB radio for my younger brother. The guy looked like I was an idiot.

I've read they are moving away from r/c cars too.

RadioShack was the go to place for all of these things when I was growing up, and I'm only 23. Now they don't have anything.

What the berkeley, no wonder they are trying to rename themselves "The Shack."

Just another cell phone outlet now, don't we have enough of those?

Keith SuperDork
Dec. 19, 2009 12:13 a.m.

There's a difference between The Shack in the mall and the standalone retail Radio Shacks. The non-mall ones have a lot more components, that's where you want to go. It's still gonna be more expensive than buying bulk components online of course, but you're stuck in an awkward middle ground between needing just a couple and needing a whole boatload.

xci_ed6 HalfDork
Dec. 19, 2009 12:22 a.m.
mndsm wrote: Target actually has a battery operated set of LED xmas lights, 18 count for 5$. They'll be on clearance after the holidays too.

hehehe, I think that might be the solution I choose.

I remember back when I was in high school, all of 5 years ago, the creepy old man at the shack was able to find me the stuff I needed, mostly in stock, to build some of my first projects. A digital A:F gauge, and an extra injector controller. They had bulk packs, connectors, even a good assortment of transistors and ICs all on the shelf. That's why I'm pissed that now there are only 10 different LED options even on their website.

Trans_Maro HalfDork
Dec. 19, 2009 1:08 a.m.


GREAT service, fast shipping, HUGE catalog.


xci_ed6 HalfDork
Dec. 19, 2009 1:17 a.m.

yeah, I've used digikey, but I like to support local business, which is my excuse for 'I want it now.'

Digikey was the only place I found DPDT-center off-momentary rocker switches, which I used for power window & power lock switches

Keith SuperDork
Dec. 19, 2009 1:52 a.m.

Delcity.net is a good source for that sort of thing as well. Not for electronic components, but a great selection of generic automotive electrical bits like fuse boxes, a bunch of different switch designs including some nice weatherproof ones, lights, power distribution blocks, etc. If you're wiring up a car, great resource.

924guy Dork
Dec. 19, 2009 5:15 a.m.

They attempted to go mainstream years ago and failed miserably, while at the same time alienating their core customers. "the shack" thing is just their latest effort to create a marketable product. the company has seemed to be in a midlife crisis for the last 15 years, right now their in the "donk" stage apparently...

I buy stuff in bulk online or scavenge it from dead electronics ...

pete240z Dork
Dec. 19, 2009 6:22 a.m.

I used to go get my free battery at the Shack when I was a kid. "Battery of the month" Club. The one near my house closed up due to lack of business.

We had a "HeathKit" store next to the Shack back in the day. That was heaven to the electronics guys.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
Dec. 19, 2009 6:35 a.m.


DrBoost Dork
Dec. 19, 2009 6:56 a.m.

Yeah, "The Shack" is just a place to get cell phones, batteries and blank stares by young "associates" with lip rings. I went looking for something not very odd (can't remember what now) and the dude behind the counter was totally lost. A sad day for sure.

TJ Dork
Dec. 19, 2009 8:02 a.m.

In reply to 93celicaGT2:

I love the onion.

TJ Dork
Dec. 19, 2009 8:04 a.m.

Anyone buy the little LED strip from Harbor Freight?


24 LEDs.

suprf1y Reader
Dec. 19, 2009 8:39 a.m.

Radio shack up here is called The source. It's nothing more than a sattelite location for Circuit city stores.

Radio shack used to sell speaker components, and many of them were either rebranded big name drivers, or good quality Japanese made private label stuff. It sure made speaker bulding for the beginner enthusiast easy, and fun. They even had their own, well written 'how to' books on speaker building. I still have mine from almost 30 yrs ago.

JoeyM Reader
Dec. 19, 2009 8:40 a.m.

In reply to xci_ed6:

try http://skycraftsurplus.com/

BTW...this is what happened:


...and this didn't help

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/21/business/fi-radio211 http://www.hellocompany.org/entry/fake-resume-scandal-radioshack-ceo-resigns/

Dec. 19, 2009 8:43 a.m.

I was assistant manager at a Radio Shack about 12-years ago, that was about the time they really started the slide downhill. Back then they had already cleared out a majority of their components, started thinning out their audio & musical hardware that had any quality at all, and made the big push for "services" - Sprint long distance, cellular service, Direct TV, etc. and all the associates were force to attemp to leverage each and every customer into buying some.

I now have "real" electronics store 2-blocks from my office that I support as frequently as possible.

BTW, did anyone else notice there was a nation-wide, possibly even world-wide shortage of 80ma fuses this fall? No one in the US had any, and only a few websites that I didn't really trust(from China, Tiawan, etc.) listed any.

dimeadozen New Reader
Dec. 19, 2009 9:57 a.m.

Fortunately, they usually leave me alone when I'm looking in the electronics parts bins. The last time I was in there, both associates in the store were too busy trying to convince a poor old lady that replacement batteries were no longer available for her 6 year old phone, and that she should upgrade to a new top of the line model.

I tried to find a specific diode at the local store a few months ago. They didn't have it, but the associate looked it up in the computer, and found one at a store across town. He told me I would have to go there to get it. I thought this was the store that used to brag that they had a catalog of thousands of items any store would happily special order for you?

"The Shack" used to have an outlet store by the DFW airport in a dingy industrial park. The time I went there (10+ years ago) I remember they had LOTS of brand new cassette players. They were somewhat defective in that they would not run off batteries, only an adaptor, but were $35 for a pallet load of them. They also had lots of VERY old stock toys and RC cars- Armatron, anyone? They had several dozen of them NIB.

billy3esq Dork
Dec. 19, 2009 10:34 a.m.
dimeadozen wrote: Fortunately, they usually leave me alone when I'm looking in the electronics parts bins.

I used to play a little game where I'd try to get to the parts bins before they tried to sell me a phone or satellite TV service. Once you got to the bins, they'd stay away.

dimeadozen wrote: I thought this was the store that used to brag that they had a catalog of thousands of items any store would happily special order for you?

The current crop of salespeople don't know anything other than what's actually on the shelf in the store. Reminds me of this story from about 10 years ago.

I needed a button cell, and the dead one I had taken out of whatever it was had a non-standard code on it. I was just going to look until I found the right one, but the sales drone came over, so I decided to have a little fun.

Him: May I help you find something?

Me: Yes, I need another one of these [presenting battery].

Him: [Shuffling through rack] We don't seem to have any of these. The numbers don't even look like what we have.

Me: Go look around the cash register, and you'll find a book that, among other things, will list battery codes and their equivalents.

Him: I don't think we have anything like that.

Me: Just go look.

Him: [fumbling around and producing tattered book] Is this it?

Me: [Taking it from him] Yes. [flipping to right page and looking up equivalency while walking back to battery display]. I need a [whatever the standard number was]. [Grabbing same off display and returning to cash register in one fluid motion.]

Him: Wow, I never knew we had anything like that. Did you used to work here?

Me: No, I've just been buying things like this here for a long time.

Toyman01 Dork
Dec. 19, 2009 11:29 a.m.

We have a local place that does a pretty good job called Wholesale Industrial Electronics. I manage to give them a fair amount of business. As far as Radio Shack, the small mom and pop stores still do a fair job. Selection is limited though. Lucky for me the local Shack is managed by an electronics guy still. His is more than just the standard sales idiot. If he is off, I just walk out as dealing with the other people is a waste of time.

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