Build your list of electronics parts suppliers, from global to local, big or small. It’s always good to find the right parts and get them fast.
When I was (much) younger, you could always find a local electronics parts shop. The owner was often a ham. And you would find tons of bins in the back full of tubes, capacitors, coils and the like. Over the years, the landscape has changed.
Today, we have global access to massive stocks at large and small electronics parts suppliers. Most of us place orders through stores like Mouser or Digikey. Their online presence provides a wealth of information and easy ordering. Especially if we are looking for semiconductors and integrated circuits. Prices are pretty good, especially if you combine orders to reduce shipping costs.
On the other hand, eBay and Amazon provide a more limited selection from many electronics parts suppliers at even better prices. eBay offers me the most, as long as I can wait a few months for e-packets from Asia. I tend to stay away from US suppliers as their shipping costs for small items are ridiculous.
Fortunately, many of our projects require fairly common parts that are readily available, especially on eBay. Unfortunately, a lot of good deals provide parts without specifications, so you take a chance.
I find it a good idea to always buy more than I need for a particular project. That way, I have some personal stock lying around for the future.
Finding Your Electronics Parts Suppliers Locally
Occasionally, you are fortunate to have a good local stocking parts distributor. B&E Electronics has been around for almost fifty years. They have a great selection of hardware, semiconductors, wiring and connectors at a short 20 minute drive from my house. I am sure the oil patch is their main industrial customer.
Also, you can often find home businesses that provide all kinds of parts. Recently, I needed some FB-43-101 ferrite beads. Turns out I could get these quickly from Fletcher Electronics in North Bay, Ontario. Nelson tells me “I have always had an interest in electronics of all sorts, I started out buying “broken items”, fixing them and reselling them. Starting in 2021, I started buying and selling antique and vintage ham radio’s, parts and other vintage electronics and parts. I sell an assortment of items from vacuum tubes to radio, testing equipment and everything in between.” Thanks, Nelson, for supporting radio hobbyists.