Order From Dan’s Small Parts And Kits Arrives

Of all the orders for electronic parts that I’ve placed in the last couple of weeks, the one that I have been eagerly awaiting the most was the one from Dan’s Small Parts And Kits. It was also the one that I haven’t really been counting the days on because even though I haven’t used Dan before, I figured the turnaround wouldn’t be that swift.  Firstly, you can’t place orders directly from his site – you have to write them down or print them out and mail the piece of paper to him (or print out a form from his site and use that). Secondly, his mailing address is a PO Box so unless he checks it every day, that’s a second factor to delay the whole process.

If your order is over $75 and you pay with a USPS money order, the shipping and insurance are free, so I took that option.

Here’s the timeline – mailed the order Friday June 17th certified mail (the order was for over $200, paid with a money order, and the first time I’d used him)

– it arrived at Dan’s PO Box Wed June 22nd and a notice left in his box

– he signed for it Saturday June 25th

– I received the package from him via USPS Priority Mail today, Wednesday June 29th

I do wish he’d accept orders directly from his site – or at least accept orders via e-mail with Payment via Paypal. That would have cut a week from my wait but it’s OK – I knew this going in. Once he received my order, he was fast turning it around.

Here’s what I got. A well-packed box full of fixed and trimmer caps, pots and trimpots, transistors (bipolar and Jfet), IC’s, voltage regulators, slide and toggle switches, PC board pieces,  magnet and hook-up wire, heatsinks, crystal sockets,  diodes (germanium and silicon, varactors,  ADE-1 DBM packages, inductors, in other words, a veritable cornucopia of goodies for any home-brewer.  My kitty was asleep just a foot or two from this treasure trove and luckily she didn’t wake up, or she would have had a field day with this lot:

I’m particularly fascinated by this 15-365pF Sprague Goodman trimmer, of which I ordered 5.  It’s substantially large:

I’m planning on using it as a bandsetting capacitor for a regenerative receiver, with the main tuning being done by a varicap and pot. That way, I can build a regen for the SW bands, and choose to operate it on any one of several small chunks of spectrum in the HF region. I think I also bought it because I’ve never had a trimmer cap so big – one of the fun things about putting in big orders for parts.

Combined with the toroid cores, other transistors and various other bits I have here (including hundreds of resistors in all the popular values), and a couple hundred circular Manhattan pads I made a few days ago, if I can’t build something from this little collection of beauties, I might as well take up collecting Victorian thimbles – and I’m not about to do that 🙂

The parts from Dan smell mildly of tobacco smoke. While some folk might not be too keen, this was very evocative of my early years getting interested in electronics as a kid.  The Principal and custodian of the elementary school I attended in England were both very interested in building electronic gadgets and were both role models to me.  I remember Mr Fitzgerald’s office (he was the custodian) being packed full of circuits that he’d built and other electronic paraphernalia. Mr Donegan, the principal, was friends with Mr Fitzgerald, based on this common interest, I assumed.  Mr Donegan lived in the same village as me, and I used to go to his house and knock on his door just hoping to see the latest gadget he’d built.  Poor guy, being hounded by his pupils at home. One gadget he’d built that I particularly liked, was a “Burp Box”. It was 3 audio oscillator circuits built with BC109 transistors. The oscillators were linked to each other somehow, so that when you adjusted the pots that controlled the frequency of each oscillator, it somehow modulated the other oscillators.  The result was all kinds of cool sound effects that were hard, if not impossible, to duplicate. I tried to build my own, but it didn’t work very well. One day,  Mr Donegan came to his door, handed me the Burp Box that he had built, with the words “Here you are – one Burp Box for one good boy” and very kindly told me it would be best if I didn’t bother him at home anymore. I don’t remember how he worded it, but I was so excited about being given his Burp Box that I didn’t mind one bit.  I cannot remember whether it was Mr Donegan or Mr Gerald Fitzpatrick that smoked. Maybe neither of them did, but for some reason, the combination of electronic parts and the smell of tobacco smoke is quite evocative of childhood to me.

A few of the parts from Dan’s do look rather old, but many of them don’t, and I suspect that the overwhelming majority of will be perfectly serviceable.

In short – a big vote for Dan’s Small Parts And Kits.

Now where’s my soldering iron……………


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