Bay Area Junk Shops

Updated: August 1, 1999


WARNING

This page's information was last updated in August of 1999. That's over 10 years ago. I've put it back up (from an archive.org copy) for my friends' reference.

Many of these places are out of business now..

Call or do a web search before heading over to look.

I may get around to updating a version of this page for the 2010 era, so feel free to contact rnovak at indyramp dawt com if you have suggestions or comments.
After a recent and rare post to Usenet regarding junk shops in the San Francisco Bay Area (mostly Silicon Valley/San Jose area), I decided to put my observations and information on the web for others to enjoy.

This project is based on published information and my own observations; your mileage may vary. I do not work for any of these companies, and actually stand to lose opportunities to get cool stuff if I impress people too much with them, so take this info as-is.

Note: There's space for third party comments--if you have civil comments, good or bad, about any of these places feel free to email me at rnovak @ indyramp . com and I'll be glad to consider them. If I add your comment, I'll link to your web page or email address upon request.

If I left your favorite shop out, let me know. There are also a few others at http://www.kce.com/junk.htm, although Kevin hasn't updated this page lately.

Return to my web page or continue below.


Contents

Haltek
Curtis Trading Co/Surplus Stuff
Alltronics
Weird Stuff Warehouse
Halted Specialties Co
Action Computer and Surplus
RA Enterprises

To be added/verified

Foothill College Swap Meet (web site requires java, faq here in case you don't have java
Livermore Amateur Radio/Electronics/Computer Swap Meet
Excess Solutions (San Jose)
addresses/maps for these places

Haltek

1062 Linda Vista Ave, Mountain View. one block south of Shoreline on Terra Bella, just off 101... hang a left.

Summary: Clean, well-lighted, really nifty! Best cable prices I've seen for what they carry, and there are a lot of little things (and some huge things like a PBX set and an older Intel computer of some sort) that really made me happy.
High point(s): Clean, comfortable, wide selection of bits and parts
Low point(s): I didn't realize they were there when I worked 3 blocks away :)
Third party comments: none yet

Curtis Trading Co/Surplus Stuff

776 S Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas. Half a mile south of Calaveras, or half a mile north of Montague.

Summary: Lots of furniture, a bus, a warehouse worth of "y2k" survival rations and such. They have some old PC bits, terminals, old laptops, motherboards and cards, and occasionally other potentially cool stuff.
High point(s): I think they're open on Sunday
Low point(s): Much less computer stuff, lots of political content
Third party comments: none yet
Update: (7/31/1999) Apparently changing management. The y2k rations aren't as easy to find (I didn't see them), the political banners are gone, and they're playing music instead of talk radio in the background. They've cut back on hours (closed Sunday now), but the computer section is beginning to grow again.

Alltronics

2300-D Zanker Rd, San Jose. Zanker Road, way south of 237, south of Montague and Trimble

Summary: electronics, monitors, computer parts, the coolest electronics catalog I've seen in years
High point(s): Recent vintage Pentium processors, sense of humor
Low point(s): They close at 3pm on Saturday
Third party comments: none yet
Update: (7/31/1999) Out of catalogs and yarmulkes, nice selection of ISA/VLB controller cards for two bux.

Weird Stuff Warehouse

384 W Caribeean Dr, Sunnyvale. Near Baylands Park and the water treatment plan... take either Mathilda or Lawrence/Caribbean exits off 237.

Summary: Some old, some new, lots of surplus junk. weekly sealed bid auction has gems sometimes, lots of mac stuff.
High point(s): Recent motherboards/CPUs (Pentium, Ppro, 486) and other bits are great for building slightly-less-than-cutting-edge machines
Low point(s): Auction has been going way downhill, sun stuff is priced about right for 2-3 years ago
Third party comments: none yet
Update: (7/31/1999) The as-is computers are now apparently getting stripped before they go on the shelves... a couple of people mentioned that the $10-35 486s had no CPUs or cards, and the one I picked up today was empty as well. Bring a flashlight, and buyer beware. Lots of Sun stuff in the auction (SS2s with memory and a couple of 4/330s this week).

Halted Specialties Co

3500 Ryder St, Sunnyvale. In the Central/Lawrence cloverleaf (southeast corner)

Summary: parts, cables, electronic components, monitors, usually some special on drives and/or motherboards. Usually have racks and cases in abundance, and lots of strange stuff I couldn't identify.
High point(s): broad selection of reasonably-priced cables, always a case for your next DIY PC.
Low point(s): things disappear quick (not their fault)
Third party comments: none yet
Update: (7/31/1999) Micronics motherboards and hard drives are marked down. Good deals if you don't need bleeding edge P3 boards (although they had a box of as-is problem P2 boards too).

Action Computer and Surplus

500 Lawrence Expy #F, Sunnyvale. In building with Subway and Disk Depot, near Computer Literacy and St. John's Grill.

Summary: cables, old software and dubious as-is hardware
High point(s): Good selection/pricing on cables (esp. scsi), lots of connectors too
Low point(s): Misleading labeling on their as-is stuff, unreasonable prices on some of the more expensive stuff
Third party comments: none yet

RA Enterprises

691 Walsh Avenue, Santa Clara. South end of Central Expwy just north of De La Cruz.

Last visit: May 1999. Web site update: March 1999 (main page updated recently for ebay link, other pages 3/99).

Summary: Mostly electrics/electronics, not much computer stuff left. Military/commercial surplus. Unlike the other places I haven't been here but once, and they had just dumped a lot of computer stuff apparently, so it wasn't as impressive as it might have been a week ago.
High point(s): Cool bus
Low point(s): Not much computer stuff
Third party comments: none yet

Other pages with applicable links

http://pangaea.dhs.org/misc/links.html (near the bottom)


Credits:
  • background image courtesy of DesktopPublishing.com--thanks!
  • some comments and inspiration from the folks on ba.internet/ba.market.computers
  • Thomas Edison, for that whole recorded sound thing