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Electronic components.Salvaging electronic parts is a must for any DIY'er. You save big on shipping charges, and recycling is good for the environment. Hack-a-day dissected an old computer mouse and found some useful components.

What useful parts are inside an outdated PC mouse? There are a bunch of sensors and buttons, including rotary encoders that can be used to measure movement in robotics projects. My favorite find is the microchip that glues the sensors to a computer. Learn about all these parts in detail, in the how-to.

Hack-a-day doesn't delve into the proper techniques for removing parts, but there are a ton of tutorials that can help you get started. It's possible to remove many parts with a simple soldering iron and an absorbent copper braid, called solder wick. Many use a solder sucker to vacuum solder away from parts, or a special desoldering iron. Surface mount chips can also be removed, but they may require the gentle embrace of 400 degree air from a hot air rework station, or the crude gust of a heat gun.


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