|Thought of the day: Reconsidering my hobbyist roots
||[Jan. 31st, 2009|12:53 pm]
When I was younger, I used to enjoy hobby electronics. I had my copies of Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest M Mims the 3rd, and I taught myself (and learned at school) a few things about .. telephone lines, miscellaneous chips, and small circuits in general. I've had some training and academic experience, but nothing real in several years.|
I recently had a fresh desire to try a small circuit -- an ethernet cable tester, specifically. As part of this, I have been looking into the possibility of purchasing a CMOS chips -- probably a 4017, maybe a 4011, probably not a 4026. I realized I have no idea who to buy this stuff from anymore! Back in the day, I could go to Radio Shack and be pretty sure they would have it. A common chip like a quad nand or a BCD decoder would probably be available in the store, even if I had to pay a bit for it.
I went back to Radio Shack yesterday and found that they seem to have removed themselves form the IC business. I found various components and connectors, switches and LEDs, but not a single chip. I returned home and looked online, and I can find references to chips -- old manuals and spec sheets and the like, but their main search doesn't return anything. It looks like they are making a bigger effort to be a consumer electronics store, and putting less into supporting hobbyists. If that's their plan, I wish them luck -- it means they have to compete against the Best Buy/Circuit City/Walmart crowd. It'll be unfortunate when we lose the ability to go out and pick up anything for the hobbyist.
My next step was to find somewhere online to purchase things, and (ideally) some company with whom I already have a relationship and with whom I've already shared my personal data. Unfortunately, (but not surprisingly,) neither Amazon.com nor Buy.com seem to have anything to offer in terms of hobby electronics.
Do you know anyone who works with hobby electronics? If so, where do they shop? Online is what I'm looking for, but if you know someone in Richmond/Chesterfield, that would be nice too.