Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HFE: Sacramento Area Electronics Parts Source

There's a neat little place in Sacramento--next door to North Highlands--that sells lots of electronics supplies and surplus stuff, as well as some consignments. It's called HFE Electronics. It's at the prior location of HSC (Halted Specialties Corp., better known as HSC Electronic Supply.) HSC decided to consolidate, pulling out of the Sacramento location after over 25 years and focusing their attention on their Bay Area store and online sales.

HFE fills the gap that would have been left with the loss of HSC in this area. Not only that, but they've picked up for the Popkey Electronics store that recently closed here. They bought out Popkey's stock and are integrating it into their inventory now.

HFE is a fun place to poke around, ask questions of the staff (or, in my case, I more often get involved in helping the staff answer questions from other customers) and otherwise pick up all sorts of fun bits of electronics. They have everything from discrete components to ICs to equipment. There's new retail stuff as well as heaps of surplus and used stuff. There's lots of bits and bobs for those of us who like playing with microcontrollers, those of us who like building up analog circuits from scratch, amateur radio people, digital electronics types, tinkerers with pre-existing equipment, repairers of the $100 item with a broken ten cent part, and so on. Count me in all the above categories. I seldom get out the door without being about $100 lighter. :)

Among the things I noticed my last time in (no guarantees this will all be there when you walk in, especially if I beat you there) are:
  • An Odyssey 2 game console from the 70s (based on the 8048 CPU, with lots of room inside the case for mods!

  • Some Tek scopes and modules

  • An old Mac SE/30 unit (sans keyboard and mouse.)

  • Lots of interesting rocker switches

  • A bunch of LCD displays with 44780 controllers and similar

  • Oodles of LEDs and displays (I've picked up a bunch of dual digit 14 segment displays, among others.)

  • Prototyping boards, tools, wire jumpers for solderless breadboards, and other proto stuff.

  • Interconnects and sockets of all sorts of varieties.

This barely scratches the surface, and while some things are one-offs (like the Mac and Odyssey 2), much else is regular stock stuff. So if you're ticked about the fact that "Chicken Shack" doesn't have your favorite digital latch any more, take a stop by HFE Electronics.