PSA: Radio Shack Closing and PRAM Batteries

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by bunnspecial, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. bunnspecial macrumors 604


    May 3, 2014
    As those of you in the US may be aware, the chain Radio Shack is downsizing and closing many locations. The closing locations-at least in this area-are currently in the process of liquidating their inventory.

    I've been recommending this battery for a while as a replacement PRAM battery. It is an exact, drop in replacement, and I've used quite a few of them. Although it's not cheap, it as the advantage that at least in most locations in the US, you can walk into the store and buy one

    Radio Shack also sells this battery, which is labeled as a 1/2 AA(and has the same wrapper as many of the Apple batteries I've seen) but is lower capacity than the above and twice is expensive.

    Both of these batteries are correct for any Macintosh which calls for a 1/2 AA PRAM battery. I've seen them used in desktops as old as my Macintosh SE and as new as my G5 tower/Xserve(although the late '05 G5s use a different battery). Basically, it's likely correct for most any pre-2005 Macintosh desktop.

    With store liquidations in progress, you can pick up these batteries at serious discounts.

    One store local to me is running batteries at 70% off currently, so I picked up 5 of the Safta brand batteries(all they had in stock) for $3 each this morning. That's about as inexpensive as I've seen them, even on line, and this is a good quality battery.

    If you have a Radio Shack closing locally, I'd recommend checking this out. Even the "proper" 1/2 AAs can be very inexpensive when discounted as deeply as stores currently are.
  2. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Oh WOW they are liquidating and have discounts?! :eek: I must look into that!!! How do I find which stores are closing??!! :eek:
  3. MatthewLTL macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2015
    Rochester, MN
  4. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    I found a map of RadioShack stores that are closing.

    How long do the discounts last? How much are the discounts? I want 90% off!! or even better... 100% :D What would be really nice though is to have 200% off, then they pay me! Or 1,000,000% off and i'll be rich!!! :D

    Edit: here is a much better map from google:
    It shows the waves of closing and when the waves are. :D

    OMG the closest store near me that is closing is already closed :( it closed with the second wave on Feb 28. Third wave is Mar 31 and theres another store near me I can go :D
  5. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 604


    May 3, 2014
    From my experience in the Louisville area, I'd suggest not waiting too long. The prices drop on a weekly basis, but things do tend to go quick. I was going to pick up a couple of spools of solder when I was in today as they would have been $3-4 each with the current discount, but someone had already all the solder out(they had lots last week). A lot of the other "consumables" that I buy there, like thermal paste, were gone also.

    If there's something you want, I'd let the discount get reasonable and then just go ahead and buy it.

    Also, again from my experience with the closing stores in the Louisville area, the store will also close early if they manage to liquidate everything before the official closing date(no point in keeping the lights on or paying employees if there's nothing there to sell).

    I think pretty much the only things that ever hit 90% are the components, b then they're not big sellers anyway. At 90% off, they beat Mouser and Digikey prices, although admittedly their selection is nowhere near as good as any of their sources. I did pick up a dozen diodes today to play with toning down the leaf blower in my Quicksilver(it is too loud at 12V and doesn't spin fast enough to move any air at 7V, so I need to get it to a number between those two).
  6. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    You use diodes to reduce voltages? I thought you use resistors for that... Or voltage regulators...
    But I don't know much
  7. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 604


    May 3, 2014
    Assuming the resistor is ohmic(which most commercial products sold as resistors are at least within their specified operating temperature), the voltage drop across them is dependent on the load as per Ohm's law(V=IR).

    Diodes, of course, are electronic 1-way valves. An ideal diode would have no resistance in the forward direction, and infinite resistance in the reverse direction. In the real world, that's not the case-in the reverse direction they pass a small amount of voltage, and in the forward direction they provide some voltage drop.

    The nice thing about them is that the forward voltage drop is fairly consistent regardless of load(provided that forward current doesn't exceed the rated current of the diode). The amount of the drop in the forward direction is dependent on the diode technology and a couple of other factors. It can be anywhere from a few millivolts to 1.5V or so. For the silicon rectifier diodes I buy from Radio Shack, the forward voltage drop is a pretty consistent 1.3V or so.

    So, putting one in series with the fan in the "forward" direction will drop the voltage by a consistent and predictable amount. Since I'll be using them with 12V from a molex plug, adding one diode in series will drop the voltage to 10.7V. A second diode will bring it down to 9.4V. A third will give 8.1V.

    Back when I was doing a lot more work with Lionel trains, I used to do this all the time to get a desired voltage. Since everything there ran on AC, I actually had to use a pair of diodes in parallel-one "facing" each direction-to avoid ending up with half-wave DC with(about) half the original RMS voltage. There was-at one time-a common trick of using a full wave bridge(an off the shelf component that consists of 4 diodes to rectify AC to full wave DC) and tying two of the leads together to give a handy package that would drop 2.7V or so and keep the AC full wave.

    This beats actually measuring the current that the fan draws and calculating the appropriate sized resistor.

    Plus, with a resistor, the "dropped" voltage is dissipated as heat. They can get quite warm if the current is high enough. Diodes don't have this problem.

    Voltage regulators are viable provided that you can get one in the desired voltage, but are a bit of a pain. If the current is very high(I honestly have no idea how much current this fan is drawing-I need to hook an ammeter up to it), voltage regulators that would lower the voltage would be expensive and would also need a heatsink to keep from frying themselves.
  8. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    I see. Very interesting. Thanks.
  9. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Today I went to the radioshack

    All the good stuff was taken.

    I got an 8 AA battery holder, a 2 D baddery holder, some alligator clips, Silicone based heat sink compound, and a USB LED color-changing acrylic christmas tree (it was originally $10 but discounted to 75 cents).

    Raidoshack's stuff is SO EXPENSIVE! Even with the 40%/50%/60% discounts they still are rather expensive! Like one tiny little LED for $2 and something cents!! When for the same price as that, I can get a hundred LEDs!
    There were no more packs of 20 assorted LEDs for ~$5. There was also no more 9v battery connectors.

    I found the fans and was :D but then I was :eek: when I saw the price. The fans were like $15 each!! :(

    When rummaging the drawers I found some components laying out without a package, so I pocketed them. I got two different momentary switches (buttons), a red LED with holder, and two crimp connectors.


    No wonder they are going out of buisness. They focus too much on cell phone crap and not enough on parts and components and hobby stuff. They have a terrible selection and ridiculously high prices. But they had a good niche, because they were a physical store. Many times people need some component(s) or part(s). If RadioShack was good, they could've gone there and pick up the exact things they need and instantly. With ebay, they have to wait a long time for shipping and they cannot see the item in person before buying, and returning is a PITA. RadioShack would've been perfect if only they had a magnificent selection with good displays of each component (for example, have each kind of LED lit up for display) and lower prices, they would've thrived well.
  10. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816


    Feb 17, 2013
    NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
    Shoot. My store was in the second wave. I'll stop by tomorrow and see if they are open, if so I may come out with some stuff!

    Anyone know if there are discounts on iPads? Shoot 50% off on a $300 tablet I would be all over that.
  11. poiihy, Mar 19, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015

    poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Last weekend and today we went to RadioShack.

    Last weekend we got some resistors, switches, neon indicator lamp with holder, pack of flashlights, pocketed some more loose items, and maybe some other stuff...

    Today we got some diodes, a bridge rectifier, more flashlights, earphones, Sealed Lead Acid battery (12v 5Ah), tablet case, touchscreen gloves, some more pocketed items, and maybe some other stuff...

    I was curious so I shored the Lead Acid battery for a moment. :eek: It was scary. It made some sparks and the end of the wire started to glow very quickly, and then the battery started to leach out smoke :eek: (This all happened in a quick moment) This was in the car so... smoke got everywhere. That freaked me out :eek: This lead acid battery is scary! Gosh, if anything touches the two terminals, god knows what could happen... it could get so hot and start a fire! I must use a fuse when using this battery! Scary thing.

    They still have quite a lot of stuff. Only 8 days left. They have plenty of thermal paste (I already got some though). Finally the fans are a reasonable price, and the AC ones are a good price, but I already got a whole lot of fans from ebay (it arrived today :D ) They have a lot of iPhone car chargers (Lightning port) still. I'll probably go on the last day next friday.

    One of the fans I got is a monster Delta fan. It's like a jet engine. You power it on and at first it runs very quietly but slowly speeds up and gets faster and faster and you don't know when it will ever stop! This thing is a monster! Like a jet engine It's 2.5 amps! :eek: Another fan is a 24v ebmpapst fan. That's also quite powerful. There's also 3 centrifugal blower fans with heat sinks on them. Great for LEDs. These are also monsters, not as much as the delta though. When I power one on, it speeds for a moment and then speeds up to full speed (like the iMac fans), and adjusts a bit in some way at full speed. Those fans are 2.65 amps! :eek: There were also some other fans. Very dirty though.

    Below is the image from the listing. Those 3 heat sinks you see are attached to the centrifugal fans underneath. I didn't see them in the image when I got it.

    It costed $0.99 and $12.00 shipping which is about $13 total! Awesome!

    These would be great for high-power LED chips.

    I wonder if I should make a thread about this or not... these aren't really PowerPCs :p

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  12. three macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2008
    Washington State
    Thanks for sharing this information. I guess it's finally time to start changing out some PRAM batteries! :D
  13. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    8, no, 7 days left! For the last wave. The first two waves are already over.
  14. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Today we went again.

    The prices were ridiculously cheap now!!! They're so cheap they're practically free! :eek: :D

    Most of the stuff is gone but what is there is very cheap! They have a box of all the small components from the drawers which is gone now. I dug through it. There were mostly fuses and garbage but I found quite a lot of lamp assemblies. I was lucky enough to find a pack of packs of 9v battery connectors :D

    Here's the stuff I got:

    A pack of packs of 5 of 9v battery connectors (7¢ per 5 pack, originally $2.99)
    Pack of 3 of 6v colored mini lights (6¢, originally $2.49)
    Pack of 2 red 12v red indicator lamps (7¢, originally $2.99)
    50v 25a bridge rectifier (11¢, originally $4.49)
    Pack of 2 snap-in green indicator lights (7¢, originally $2.99)
    Pack of 2 DPDT Slide switches, 6A@125VAC (10¢, originally $3.99)
    Pack of 4 Heavy-Duty alligator clips, 10A (7¢, originally $2.99)
    Red LED lamp assembly (7¢, originally $2.99)

    I didn't know these were that cheap until we checked out. I should've gotten more :eek:

    We also got a tablet sleeve, USB A-B cord, and two iPod Touch cases.

    One iPod case came with headphones, and it was only about 9 or 10 cents!!! 10 cents for a good iPod touch case WITH good quality headphones!!! :eek:

    The other case was some idiotic Incipio. Same brand of the tablet case we got earlier. That tablet case is so stupid... It uses an adhesive pad to hold the tablet in. So once you get the tablet in it is permanently stuck there. And, to remove the tablet, you'd have to rip it out, and when you do that, you ruin the case, because the adhesive is on the felt leather surface, not smooth plastic, and you'd also leave a messy residue of adhesive on the tablet which would be a pain to clean. Not only that, dirt would get stuck between the tablet and the case and you cannot clean it out without destroying the case. Well anyway, this iPod case, although rather good quality, for some stupid reason it doesn't have a hole for the camera. :mad: What kind of a company is Incipio? They make idiotic cases that are terribly designed but look nice and are good quality. Oh well, I'd have to punch a hole in the case for the camera and light.

    But this is good stuff! Super duper cheap now! Last time we were there they said "8 days left!!" in their window, and that was 7 days ago. Today they said "Last 4 days!!" so either they extended it or they were/are lying. Whatever.

    But awesome stuff here :D
  15. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    They're still closing stores!!

    There's another store closing!! :eek: They seem to have just started. I thought they finished closing all the stores but they are still closing more!! :eek: YAY more practically free stuff!! :D
  16. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    No worries. Look RS up in a month or so. They aren't dead.

    Sprint struck a deal with RS's holding company. Sprint will be taking over quite a few of the old RS stores and on the outside you will see "Sprint" but on the inside it will be 75% Radio Shack (revamped of course) and 25% Sprint.

    Sprint saw this as an opportunity to quickly gain several hundred pre-existing stores in the community. Since there's been a long standing relationship between Radio Shack and Sprint they took advantage of that.

    The stores that are closing are being deemed superfluous because their will be other RS/Sprint stores in the area.

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15 March 4, 2015