An Unlikely Resource Discovered

Hi everyone, I’m Benedict, and thank you for taking the time to come back and read my blog.

Over the many years of me tinkering with electronics and computer components, I have been asked quite a few times, “How could you possibly afford so many PCs/parts?”

My reply: I didn’t buy them, I found, repaired and then used them. (Otherwise I kept them for future use.) So where did I find all these parts? The answer might surprise some of you. So here it goes: The Trash. Yes, the place where people throw their garbage.

I liked to search for said electronic devices in dustbins and waste refuse areas. It’s a term known as ‘Dumpster Diving’. Although, these days it’s very rare to come across such devices in these places anymore, unlike back when I was in primary school, I would find something at least a few times a year. The best part was that it was free, since you can take trash and no one will bother. If it wasn’t in working condition, I would try to fix it anyway I could.

It’s actually a good thing that fewer electronics are being thrown in the trash. Electronic circuits and components generally have many chemicals in them that would be harmful to the environment if they were thrown into landfills or incinerated. This also means that it would become more difficult to search for free electronic waste (E-waste) to repair.

So recently, I changed my tactic and started searching inside E-waste bins. So far, the things I have found have been quite promising. Among the things I found were:

– A laptop charger to replace my damaged one.
– Computer parts like CPU, RAM and hard drives.
– Several portable chargers and lithium ion cells.
– A few broadband routers.
– A couple of working laptops.
– Many smaller electrical components, etc.

They were all mostly in working condition, and have allowed me to carry out many more experiments and invent more things. If I discover that something I picked up doesn’t work or can’t be fixed, I return it to that bin. In fact, here’s a picture of one of the laptops I successfully managed to repair. I installed a Linux operating system (OS), which is Ubuntu 16.04 on it, to get more experience using and configuring that type of OS.

photo-1093

When I was younger, I used to obtain my electrical components like resistors, capacitors and diodes by de-soldering them off their original boards and wiring them together with crocodile clips. Not exactly the best way to connect a circuit. Thankfully, after joining SP, I was able to get the necessary and proper tools and parts to do the job, such as a breadboard for prototyping circuits.

I’m guessing you might be wondering, what’s the purpose of me telling you this? Well, sometimes, you need to look in more than one place, even in the most unlikely places to find the solutions or inspiration that you seek. Think out of the box, look at the situation from another person’s viewpoint, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help shows that you are humble and have the will and motivation to learn.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my life’s experiences and lessons. I hope they will be able to help or motivate you in some way.

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