Saturday, June 9, 2012

June De Anza Flea Market Haul

 Like usual, today was the second-Saturday-of-the-month Electronics Flea Market at De Anza.  I made one grave error on the way, which was that I had the bright idea of cashing this weeks paycheck at the bank on my way to the flea market.  That got me in a little trouble, but even if I spent a little more than usual, I got one hell of a haul.
 An absolutely lovely Weston 500μA amp meter.  Typically, you would couple this to a system through a transformer, so that even though it can only measure 500μA, you divide a system's much larger current down to it.  This prevents you from having to run 100+A conductors to your front display panel. 
 I managed to haggle a guy down to $10 for three trays of RJ-45 female connectors.  I did this assuming these were the old-style straight pass-through jacks, meaning that to use them for Ethernet I'd have to buy discrete magnetics, which have become almost impossible to source since integrated magnetics (isolation transformers) have become so popular.  After ohming one out now that I'm home, it turns out they have 100bT magnetics in them... Sooo much for using these connectors and Cat5 cable for RS-485, but holy crap!  This is almost $500 worth of Ethernet jacks bought for $10.  I guess I have lots of Internet-connected projects in my future...
 $10 got me a bulk bag of 2N3904 low-power NPN transistors.  Far as I can figure, there is about 1,300 transistors in there, so I walked away with a unit price under a cent, which is respectable.  Set of NiMH batteries, since mine have given up most of their punch, and two PC fans for misc projects.
 I'm torn whether to keep them for myself or give them to DangerousPrototypes, but $2 for an entire spool of tiny warning labels.  "Apply warning labels to ALL the projects!"  A pair of old SmartHome phase-bridge transceivers out of a free pile.
 Out of the same free pile as the SmartHome plugs came what is possibly the best find of the day; A draft copy of K&R C 2nd ed, but the real gem here is the fact that the cover has written on it "Return to Bruce Perens."  In case you didn't know, Bruce Perens defined open source, so finding one of his old copies of K&R is simply incredible.  If Bruce happens to read this, apparently I have your book, so give me a call?
 Some pocket change got me another two good texts; one on adaptive systems,
 and another on material mechanics, written by Moore.  I've always found Moore's books enjoyable to read, so being able to find one is a rare treat.
 I blame peer-pressure for this purchase; $5 for a totally awesome 81mm ammo crate. 
 I have no idea what I'm going to do with this, or even where I'm going to store it, but the hardware was still in good shape, so the possibilities are broad.
On my way back to my pickup lugging this ridiculous crate, I even managed to FILL it with 1968-1975 Ham Radio and CQ magazines.

Overall, an absolutely stunning haul.  Even after going to these swap meets for a few years now, even I am floored by how good some of my finds were this weekend.  There are still a few of these flea markets left this summer; the next one will be on July 14th, so if you're in the south bay, mark your calendars.


  1. I am jealous of the MagJacks. Would you consider an offer on one of the trays?

    1. That I would. I find myself building 100+ of anything with Ethernet unlikely.