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Author Topic: Old databooks and parts are taking over my home & life!  (Read 3956 times)

Posts: 225


« on: September 22, 2010, 06:51:40 PM »

Hello all,

Recently, I took a week of vacation time, naively thinking that building some
new shelving storage space would enable me to organize my lifetime's collection of parts
and books. 

Ha!  (or "HI HI" in ham lingo!)  What a total joke!  I think I may need professional
help, but that would likely translate into me buying more eBay/Amazon books about
how not to buy more books!

I actually have saved 1/2 Watt resistors that I had scavenged from old TV sets ..
when I was in the first grade!  (That was a long time ago!)

I guess that one of my biggest fears is to start home brewing a nifty rig just to find
out that I am missing the one essential ingredients that I grudgingly, just threw out
last week.  (Horrors!)

Maybe this eHam forum can offer advice about one hording arena; Databooks.

I have many books about 8-bit processors & programming .. I HAVE to save those!
(I loved the Z80 and Intel 8051!)

But, do you suppose that all the National, Burr-Brown, Analog Devices, Motorola TTL databooks
can all be found on line now?  Is there any point in keeping these?  (I've got boxes of 'em!)

I do see that people sell these on eBay.

Now I'm glad that I kept my Heathkit and Newark catalogs from way back :-)

Rambling ends here .. thanks all!

--Tom Nickel AKA KC9KEP

Posts: 875

« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 11:04:25 PM »

Hi Tom,

You have both my sympathy and my admiration.
I wish I lived close by you so I could beg some stuff when I need that hard to get part!
Without trying to be negative I wonder if you could really change the habits of a lifetime, and if its even necessary.
I am the opposite of yourself, being an extreme minimalist so perhaps we can meet somewhere in the middle.
As regards manuals, in my opinion, dump them, sell them on ebay, have a garage sale, give them to the local radio club,
but just get rid of them.
I have never not been able to find information on a part by using Google on the internet.
Unless you have a business which relies on having these parts manuals, you can find what you need online.

With the parts, it all depends on what you do in professional life and ham radio.
The old 80/20 rule tends to apply here as well - you use 20% of the parts 80% of the time.
Being a minimalist my entire parts inventory is contained on one shelf only 3 foot wide.
Even this tends to obey the 80/20 rule in my case.
One thing I have found is the typical reaction to having too much stuff, is buying ever more complex storage solutions.
In the end, it is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic and not a real solution.
In my case, I value quality over quantity, and so I keep a small number of, for example, old books (I agree about the z80)
and will look over them when I am feeling nostalgic.
In this way, by keeping a smaller number of items you would be more likely to actually read them, or use the parts.
We are all prone to the hoarding impulse, as it is an evolutionary tactic to promote survival in lean times, but sometimes
the impulse is carried to extremes, and ends up being like hauling an anchor around behind us.

The problem resolves itself into one simple question:
Is all this stuff making you happy or miserable?

Once you can answer this question honestly the course of action is clear.

Good luck and 73s

Posts: 5688

« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 05:32:38 AM »

The first rule of the packrat states that whatever item you throw away this week will be the very item that you absolutely need to have in the very near future. 


Posts: 933

« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2010, 09:30:03 AM »

I have mixed feelings when it comes to this subject. Sure, I have some stuff such as a matched pair of power transistors that I purchased thirty years ago for a slow-scan TV receiver, they're still there in the semiconductor drawer. There are also some toggle switches that first saw action in a music synthesizer which I built in about 1976. It's rare for me to throw a hardware item away.

Books however are another matter and although I keep some textbooks out of nostalgia the old catalogs don't last very long, neither do the databooks. Here the Internet is our friend and it's surprising what we can find out there when you know where to look. A few nights ago I was looking at instructions for building a tube radio that were published in 1935, the whole thing was downloaded as a pdf file.

So, keep the parts but dump the paper. YMMV.


Posts: 933

« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2010, 09:43:59 AM »

A postscript

Your model for parts storage should be the same as the old hardware stores (not the sort that sell everything in a blister pack). Pack everything inside cardboard boxes, label it, and then stack your boxes according to content. This link should give you the idea:

Last year I went inside one of these wonderful places and managed to get a replacement element for a clothes iron manufactured in the mid 1960's. He had five left, each carefully wrapped in brown paper and it took him two minutes to find them.

« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 10:56:42 AM by Peter Gant » Logged

Posts: 7718

« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2010, 03:17:12 PM »

Throw it all away. Datasheets are available online. For building projects order nice new parts from Digikey and others.

Posts: 202

« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2010, 11:20:50 PM »

Time to get another book- on Feng Shui.  Then you can loan it to me when you're done.

Good luck, from one packrat to another (takes one to know one, I guess, but for me it's mostly bike parts)

Bill in Pasadena
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