Radio Shack Electronic Kits

I like many of you had my first experience with electronics through the electronic kits that Radio Shack has had over the years. The versions that spanned the 50, 100, 200 electronic experiments all come to mind.

My question many versions and types of these kits have they had over the years?

I would be interested in hearing which ones you recall.



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I think they had a 250, it had a neat plastic case with a hinged lid, and controls, displays, meter and speaker on the front of it. I still have a 150 that I have had for 25 years. The good ol' days of Radio Shack, when they were actually a good source for hobbyists. Now they are not much more than Best Buy wannabees.

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Michael Ware

I read someone that they are the biggest distributor of cell phones. That pretty much sums it up.

It's too bad there's no other place that can fill the void RS has left, if >I think they had a 250, it had a neat plastic case with a hinged lid, and

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The Mims books were 1 aisle over. ;-)

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Those were a big part of my childhood . My dad bought me the 150 one and a few single kits . I just saw these in Radio Shack last month and thought i saw a 250 in 1 kit with digital stuff on it updated plastic box etc. . Our radio shack has less that 1/4 of its store cell phones .

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Ken G.

I recall my first electronics kit consisted of a single hair pin (U shaped hair pin) i promptly applied it to the nearest power source i could find (which happened to be a 120v outlet) nothing happened at first so i proceeded with my experimentation of wiggling the hair pin so as to make contact, i remember the lights flickering and then i recall a loud scream imminated from my general locale and the rest blurs

my second electronic kit was radio shack am radio with ear plug phone it scratched out some noise and occasional radio signal

my third project was a shock box (pop-mech kit ?) where i dug up some old transformer from my dads shop that resembled the one in the design (same shape & number of wires) and i applied either 6v lantern battery or couple of D cells to the indicated wires then self-tested the output... i have no idea what i put together but my arm ached and felt like jello for a short while after the test.

4th came the 100 or 125 kit from RS where you had to build some of the elments/switches/ variable capacitor ? ( eg. bunch of thin brass(copper) sheets and some thin plastic wafered together with an adjustment knob? ) i remeber lights, buzzers (elec keyboard ), meter ?,

I enjoyed it then but electronics interest faded quickly once the TRS-80, TI-99-4a, timex sinclair, ataris and commodores etc became available for play plus the video games of 70-80

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Rob B

Oh those!! I'm just looking at the Transistor Projects Volume 1, I must have built all them projects from Volume 0 (Mine has the cover ripped off, it started with an AM radio project) to Volume 3. He was getting a tad 'complicated' with the 'Integrated Projects Vol 1', what with the new breadboard things and the 'new' integrated circuits.

I think it was time he moved on to ICs because 'twas getting a bit boring with Volume 3.

A quote from the Power Supply project from Vol 1: "If any of the components show signs of heating, melting, or other unusual indications, immediately turn the power switch off and unplug the power cord". Right. In that order.

Also it seemed the only way of "Going Further" was ...enclosures:

"...those who build this one will want to consider a more permanent assembly" (Power supply - p24)

"The high-brillance flasher is so potentially useful that it's well worth the small expense of assembling it into a {...} permanent unit." (Light flasher - p31)

"The metronome is a very practical device and is {...} an ideal candidate for permanent installation in a housing." (Metronome - p38)

"The first is to mount the device in a permanent housing {...} (Pulse generator - p56)

"The most obvious improvement on the basic siren prototype is to house the unit in a permanent enclosure." (Siren - p61)

"If the time-base generator is to be used for a practical application {...} install it into a permanent housing." (One second time base - p76)

As to my first Radio Shack kit, mine was the small green plastic

10-in-One from Radio Shack, it had an antenna on the left, a morse-code key on the right, a transistor, some resistors and capacitors. Then a few years later Dad gave me the big 150-in-One from Radio Shack. That was certainly the best!! I remember carrying it all over, and when he was out on calls fixing TVs I would use his workshop (and the great antenna feed) when building the radio/telemetry projects. Reception was very very good.
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Those really were great books, does anyone still offer them anymore?

If not I'll have to see if I can find my green book and scan it into a pdf, it'd be nice if I could find the rest in the series to do that with.

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James Sweet

I have the cover-less book with the transistor radio, light meter, dark activated lamp, light activated relay, unijunction timer and others, the Transistor Projects Vol 1 and Vol 3, Integrated Circuit Projects Vol 1 and Vol 6, and the "ETI Circuits Book 1" (blue cover). Some of them are missing pages, some of them have drawings and/or notes from Dad. I don't mind scanning some/all of them, let me know which one's first.

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