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Old 06-12-2019, 01:39 PM
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Would thrift stores want random old electronics/pc connectors, adapters, wires, etc?


So I'm cleaning out my closet which has basically every random computer or electronics part I've ever got my hand on. Things I knew I would probably would never need, like, for example, VGA to DVI adapters, PATA hard drive cables, PS/2 to USB adapters, motherboard to firewire ports/connectors, old power bricks to stuff I don't even have anymore,all sorts of random crap like that. I need to clean out my space, but I hate to throw functional parts away even though I'll never use them. And it's not worth packaging random old connectors and selling them on ebay for a buck or whatever, if that's even a thing. So what should I do with them? Would thrift stores put them in some kind of electronics section? Should I recycle them somehow?
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
So I'm cleaning out my closet which has basically every random computer or electronics part I've ever got my hand on. Things I knew I would probably would never need, like, for example, VGA to DVI adapters, PATA hard drive cables, PS/2 to USB adapters, motherboard to firewire ports/connectors, old power bricks to stuff I don't even have anymore,all sorts of random crap like that. I need to clean out my space, but I hate to throw functional parts away even though I'll never use them. And it's not worth packaging random old connectors and selling them on ebay for a buck or whatever, if that's even a thing. So what should I do with them? Would thrift stores put them in some kind of electronics section? Should I recycle them somehow?


I see shelves of this stuff at the Goodwill stores I frequent. So at least at one time they accepted it.
But I have noticed the lot never changes so nobody is buying it. Which may mean they wonít take anymore. You may not know until you get there. I know they donít take televisions anymore.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:46 PM
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I doubt that Goodwill will refuse them.
Whether they actually try to sell the stuff is a different issue.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:47 PM
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None of the thrift stores around here would want them.

You might want to check if there are any ham radio clubs in your area. A lot of hams like to tinker with electronics and might appreciate your box of goodies.

Alternately, put it all in one big box and advertise it on Freecycle. Some local electronics hobbyist might show up and take it all off of your hands.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:00 PM
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I see shelves full of random obsolete crap at that type of store. One that I used to visit had an area off to the side where people worked on old computers and such, repairing them for sale (I think it was "make work" program for the homeless.) So they might could use some of the stuff. But one suggestion: get some zip-lock bags and index cards and put each part in a bag with card saying what the part is for. A little work for you, but helpful for them.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:05 PM
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Also, if not thrift stores, what should I do with it? Will recycling centers take random old parts like that? I'd hate to just throw it in the trash.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:12 PM
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In some cities, Goodwill is contracted by the city to take household electronic waste. They resell or recycle it. Contact your city waste department to see if they have something similar.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:27 PM
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Also, if not thrift stores, what should I do with it? Will recycling centers take random old parts like that? I'd hate to just throw it in the trash.
My local recycling center has an e-waste program; if yours does too, they probably will take obsolete electronics.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:09 PM
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Most of the stuff described in the OP is essentially worthless for the most part. The individual pieces are worth so very, very little that it's not worth their time to singly price them, etc.

One thing that is different are the power bricks. People doing odd projects and repairs (like me) use those and can be worth a couple bucks or more to the store.

One thing one thrift store near me does is bag a bunch of crap and try to sell that for a couple dollars. But ... I doubt there are that many people who want to buy the bag just for a component or two.

So, for example, I've thrown out dozens of PATA cables in recent years. And still do doubt have too many around.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:54 PM
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I'm going through a similar thing right now, but rather than a closet at home, the cabinets and shelves in a computer room at work. This is at a university, and in a department that has allowed old computer cruft to accumulate since the 80s. From our campus property services and recycling center I've been told that the old cables and stuff are transferred to a commercial operation, who recycles them. I don't know if that transfer includes taking money or giving money. Either way, I'd much rather the hundreds of pounds of old cables end up in a landfill than having the insulation burned off by children in developing countries. I'm assuming the university has vetted the company that will eventually take the stuff, and they're not doing that.

So, in conclusion, most of the stuff is worthless, except that PS/2 to AT converter that one guy would rather get from you for $1 than from Amazon for $8. Check your local area for groups that handle that kind of stuff. There might be recycling or hard-to-recycle centers that can take it. The other option is to let it go to the landfill, though there may be restrictions on sending some electronic items there. Expect that it may cost you some money to get rid of this stuff.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:37 PM
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I go to lots of thrift stores and haven't seen stuff like that for sale. And I'm in Silicon Valley. But I'd bet the website of your local store will have a list of items that they accept. If not, call them.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:57 PM
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It's a worthless lot. I'm not plugging ANY of my 2019 electronics into an adaptor that might have been made in 2004 and that I bought at a Goodwill. A visit to the dollar store will net you 98 per cent of all the stuff you need to run your stuff and if you're a hobbyist, you have a far greater chance of finding a SCSI 12 bit to 18 bit upconnverting ribbon cable for Honeywell-brand 200 and 300-series fax/photocopier/scanner machines with the optional handset or whatever on eBay or through some enthusiast forum, probably.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:11 PM
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I doubt that Goodwill will refuse them.
Whether they actually try to sell the stuff is a different issue.
You're likely wrong about that. They won't even take lighting fixtures.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:16 PM
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You're likely wrong about that. They won't even take lighting fixtures.
It depends on the store.

My local e-waste place has employees who disassemble electronic and then send the components on for further processing. It provides employment to low-risk jail inmates and is being done with proper safety gear.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:20 PM
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You're likely wrong about that. They won't even take lighting fixtures.
I'm assuming Goodwill is a charity shop type deal? If it's anything like (most) UK charity shops they won't take anything electrical/electronic because they'd have to test it before putting it on the shelves (it's the power supply that needs testing, but that rules out most things).
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:40 PM
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I'm assuming Goodwill is a charity shop type deal? If it's anything like (most) UK charity shops they won't take anything electrical/electronic because they'd have to test it before putting it on the shelves (it's the power supply that needs testing, but that rules out most things).
Not out here - they take all kinds of electronics, and have outlets available for the customers to test it themselves. I buy a lot of power supplies (from old monitors or chargers) for my electronic projects at these shops.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:55 PM
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Also, if not thrift stores, what should I do with it? Will recycling centers take random old parts like that? I'd hate to just throw it in the trash.
In my town there's a chain called BatteriesPlus that will happily take whatever old electronics you have. I guess they have some eletrolysis/melting facility that breaks down the valuable metals.

As far as other cables/adapters, I would guess it's a case of rarity. For anything made after 2000 or so, it's probably worth nothing. So much equipment is floating around out there, and so little of value to connect it to. By contrast I have an RS232/DB9 serial cable that is probably worth $10. There aren't so many out there, and sometimes you need them to revive old hardware. Yet anyone who needs one could make one if they so desired.

So yeah... electronics for the meltdown value, everything else... also for meltdown value.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Baron Greenback View Post
I'm assuming Goodwill is a charity shop type deal? If it's anything like (most) UK charity shops they won't take anything electrical/electronic because they'd have to test it before putting it on the shelves (it's the power supply that needs testing, but that rules out most things).
Yeah, it's a charity shop much like the Salvation Army shops. They usually charge by the pound.

From reading other answers, it looks like different stores have different policies. The Goodwill down the street will take TVs, etc, but apparently a light fixture is too big a risk.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:16 PM
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From reading other answers, it looks like different stores have different policies. The Goodwill down the street will take TVs, etc, but apparently a light fixture is too big a risk.
I'm surprised at that. I thought Goodwill had a contract to do e-waste recycling for the state of Oregon. That's especially meant for CRTs, but I thought it applied to all sorts of electric/electronic stuff. At any rate, when I recently moved, I took a bunch of old cables, circuit boards, etc to the local Goodwill in Beaverton and they took it all. They even took an old toaster that was no longer in one piece anymore.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:24 PM
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That stuff is good as gold to the local scrap guys. They drive up and down our alleys in jalopy pickups looking for metals of any kind.
  #21  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:29 AM
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Not out here - they take all kinds of electronics, and have outlets available for the customers to test it themselves. I buy a lot of power supplies (from old monitors or chargers) for my electronic projects at these shops.
Thrift shops near me also. They have tons of audio equipment, old PCs, printers, etc. Not to mention less sophisticated things like toaster ovens and microwaves.
I think they have small cell phone power adapters, but nothing sophisticated.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:11 AM
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I have no idea where everything ends up, but Best Buy usually has electronics recycling bins by the front doors of their stores. I seem to remember one specifically for cables and connectors.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:44 AM
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One of the big computer service and repair chains in this area accepts obsolete gear from people. One weekend in February they hold a drive where you are encouraged to bring stuff in and they are prepared to accept the extra volume. However, they will accept reasonable amounts (no truckloads) at any time of the year.

If a computer has any capability at all in running reasonably recent software (no 186s) it will be refurbished and donated to a school. Totally obsolete computers and parts, and I imagine the cables, are scrapped for metal recovery. I even took the last of my CRT monitors to them.
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