What Are the Best Tips for Buying Electronic Surplus?

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  • Written By: Geisha A. Legazpi
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Buying electronic surplus can be an advantage for the individual as well as for a company that has the know-how to make creative use of electronic surplus items. Finding the best value could be a matter of knowing which items actually meet certain requirements. Comparison priding can help reveal the best overall choice. For instance, a more expensive laboratory power supply with output current limit capability may prove to be a better choice over a cheaper but less sophisticated power supply. Future concerns may be addressed early by selecting an item with more features.

It may not be so wise, however, to buy inexpensive electronics for equipment with high duty-cycle power requirements. For instance, high-power equipment such as audio and radio power equipment tend to deteriorate faster due to thermal stress. Low duty-cycle power electronics, such as radio receivers, audio preamplifiers, and low-power appliances, may be a better choice. In general, low-power electronic items have a lot lower failure rate in the near and long term.


Buying used electronics in bulk has several advantages, as the per-unit price is usually significantly lower. In addition, surplus stores may sell a lot on an as-is basis where there could be a need to sort defective items among non-defective items. For instance, when buying general-purpose transistors on a bulk basis, the exact same lot may have been a collection of rejects from military-grade testing. These items may actually pass commercial-grade testing, while some may actually be totally defective. By experience, a buyer could be able to spot a good buy; some buyers would do a statistical sampling by purchasing a few units then doing 100% testing.

Electronic surplus stores actually get a good bargain from manufacturers because these manufacturers are relieved of the cost of storing electronic surplus items that would most likely depreciate much faster. Electronics shopping is aided with online websites that rapidly provide information on specifications and prices for single up to bulk orders. Nevertheless, electronic surplus items exist for a variety of reasons. For instance, when the production line was able to perform well above the best-case scenario, what was a slight 0.2% overshoot in yield, or the actual good units, could easily turn into 2,000 units for a targeted total yield of a million units.

For companies that buy surplus items, there are many ways to make a healthy profit. One way is to demonstrate how the surplus items can be integrated into new equipment or appliances. For instance, with a surplus in audio power amplifiers, a surplus store could build sound systems to demonstrate to customers. Electronic kits for educational purposes are also a popular market for surplus equipment.


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