Where can an electronics hobbyist buy parts in Canada?

By Envergure ยท 13 replies
Oct 13, 2008
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  1. I've found an interest in designing electronics, but i'm having trouble finding a place to buy parts (resistors, transistors, etc.) in Canada.

    The best site I've found so far is SparkFun Electronics, but they're based in Colorado and i live near Toronto, so between international shipping and currency conversion it gets pretty expensive.

    Another almost-helpful company was Future Electronics (Toronto-based). They sell capacitors for ten to a cent, but you have to buy 50000 of them.

    So, anyone know a good place to get parts? I'm just starting with electronics here, so i hope someone can help.
  2. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,286

    Sorry, I don't know of any good sites to get parts, but I would like to ask you a question.

    How are you learning? (College, Internet, a specific site, friend, etc.)
  3. Envergure

    Envergure TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Internet, and there's a bit of electronics in my high school physics course. So far mostly sparkfun.com.

    I've found a couple of places to get stuff: Lee's Electronics (Vancouver) is good for passives, HVW Technologies is good for microcontrollers/dev stuff, and BG Micro (Texas somewhere) is good for just about anything (shipping is expensive but it's still cheaper than many places locally).
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,397   +36

    Does RadioShack ship to Canada?
  5. Envergure

    Envergure TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 126

    I think so, but i'm trying to avoid buying from the US because of shipping charges, currency conversion, duty, and i don't even know if electronics components can be shipped across the border bc of the chemicals some of them contain.

    In Canada we have "Radioshack Dealers" which sell Radioshack stuff but it's far more expensive than buying from BG or Lee's bc every part comes in its own private cardboard package which costs twice as much to manufacture as the part.

    My Dad did this as a kid and he says there's a place in Toronto we could try. He knows where it is but he can't remember the name.
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,397   +36

    Try these places if you haven't already.
  7. Envergure

    Envergure TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 126

  8. mgelectron

    mgelectron TS Rookie

    How many Electronics Hobbyists are there?

    That would be my first question, since Radio Shack, now known as The Source has nothing at all for Hobbyists anymore. Could be that there's a small market, not worth per-suing. I have considered opening an electronics store for hobbyists but have a family to support, so I'll just keep on doing my job as a factory worker. I have built and designed many projects over the past 40 years and could be of help to many. That's why I decided to come here once in a while.

    Just Google Electronic Suppliers for a list in the USA and Canada. I have used Jameco Electronics, BG Micro and JDR in the past. Both have excellent delivery times to Canada. At least out west. Do not know if they all exist yet except Jameco does for sure. They send me emails regularly.
  9. Envergure

    Envergure TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 126


    These are the sites I've been using:
    Mouser's Web catalog lists hundreds of thousands of SKUs that aren't stocked in Canada, only the US. Digikey has a bunch of "value-added" items, and I'm not sure what that means.

    The place in toronto turned out to be Active Electronics (www.active123.com). They have an enormous variety of tools, bot not a lot of economical components (9$ toggle switch, anoyone?). Their web catalog is very buggy and often displays incorrect prices.

    Radioshack doesn't exist in Canada anymore, they were bought out by The Source. There's a Radioshack in my hometown, it's kind of a seedy place with a very low ceiling and a smell of rotting fruit mixed with tobacco smoke :S Plus they ripped me off on a crappy multimeter and I can't return it. They may not even be a legit Radioshack franchise. I'd stay away from there.

    The Source carries switches, buttons, potentionmeters and LEDs, that's basically it. Some locations have individually-packaged resistors, transistors etc., but they're very expensive that way. The Source has lots of beginner-level tools, too.
  10. upright_animal

    upright_animal TS Rookie

  11. Envergure

    Envergure TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 126

    (OP here. Wow, it's been five years minus one day!)
    Thanks for the tips. I've bought all my components to date from the States without too much hassle. I've used Mouser, Newark Canada (whose packages ship from the US), Abra and Digi-Key, all more or less satisfactorily (satisfactorially?).
  12. Lobeline

    Lobeline TS Rookie

    Better late than never: Active Surplus on Queen Street in Toronto. Go. It's worth going in.
  13. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,984   +513

    I don't know about else where, but here in the Pacific North West Radio Shack has been closing doors. 3 in my area have gone bye bye.
  14. PaulineGreening

    PaulineGreening TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Cool list y'all have here, thanks! I'm glad this post was bumped up, my brother really needs this list since we are working on a project that'll need some parts we don't have here.

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