(Sunny) California Swaps and Stores


"Scrounging is the highest form of recycling..." (The Anonymous Technoid)

"It is the customer who ultimately decides when equipment is 'obsolete,' not the manufacturer..." (Walter Shawlee, Sphere Research)


I feel blessed to have grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area (Berkeley, to be exact), about an hour's drive north of the 'Silicon Valley.' The only other place I've found to date that has a comparable variety of electronic surplus has been the path running from Orlando to Melbourne, Florida (unsurprising, perhaps, thanks to the presence of NASA and military bases).


What follows are listings of electronic-specific swap meets and stores in the SF Bay Area, and a few outside of it. I've decided to, effective with the ending of the Scrounge 2K4 trip, completely redesign the site to include clearer descriptions, a letter grading system, and photos of actual storefronts (where available). Since photos tend to eat up bandwidth, I'm going to institute a separate page for each location, and a 'Back/Forward' link scheme at the bottom of each page. That should help considerably with navigation.


In a hurry?

I realize that not everyone can afford to spend a week or more in the Bay Area just to scrounge. With that in mind, I will recommend what I feel are the top three places to hit in alphabetical order:

Ali's Surplus Stuff, Sacramento.

Excess Solutions, San Jose.

HSC Electronics, Santa Clara

If you need to do them in order of what you're looking for, here's some different breakdowns.

If you're after primarily test gear: Start with Ali's, then HSC and Excess in that order.

If it's primarily component parts you're after: Hit Excess Solutions first, then HSC. If all else fails, check Anchor.

If you're a computer parts scrounger: Ali's first, then Excess.


Swap Meets

California has numerous monthly electronic/computer-related swap meets. The ones that I know best are in the Bay Area and in the Los Angeles (Lawndale, near El Segundo) area. I believe there’s also one in San Diego, but I have no current information on it.

With any electronics swap meet, the best policy is to get there EARLY (at the crack of dawn if you can), as the best deals tend to go very quickly. Here’s what we have in the Bay Area.



I know nothing about it outside of a few photos of past events from their web site. I will say, given what I saw in those photos, that it most definitely looks worthwhile. If any of the board's readers happen to stop by, please let me know what you think.


GET THERE EARLY! The official operating hours are 05:00 to 12:00, so I would suggest sellers be onsite and in line shortly before then. Buyers, make your own plans, but I would suggest wearing something reflective or light-colored if you're going to be there pre-dawn.

Location:  Fry's Electronics Parking Lot, 1077 E. Arques Ave., Sunnyvale. Talk-in is on two local repeaters: W6ASH, on 145.270 RX, negative TX offset, PL of 1Z (100Hz); Or N6NFI, 145.230 RX, also negative TX offset, and the same PL code.

PARKING FEES: None for buyers, but please observe all marked parking restrictions.


Bay Area Surplus Stores (Active)


The Bay Area is home to a rich concentration of electronic and computer surplus stores. Not all are Great Deals All The Time, but there are some real gems among them. The list, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

Ali's Surplus Stuff, Sacramento

Anchor Electronics, San Jose

Excess Solutions, San Jose

HSC Electronics, Santa Clara

Weird Stuff Warehouse -- CLOSED PERMANENTLY,  8-Apr-2018. See memorial page.

Last Update: Sep-2017


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