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Maybe something I have missed?: What to do with old computer hardware?

 
pollinator
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....because it's just too old to be interfaced with newer hardware.  Is there some entity that I may be unaware of that has pioneered re-using the old casings of computers/monitors, scanners, printers, etc. rather than the 'grinder'-based recycling option?  Any ideas would be welcomed.  Thanks!
 
gardener
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Mostly what I see advertised is the scrap recycling, which may or may not be reused, before it's sold as scrap and eventually shipped to Africa to massive, toxic landfills where kids are scrounging bits for resale- horrible looking images of all the health effects of that stuff...

I've interacted with some non profits that take used computer parts that either still work or can be affordably repaired, who rebuild the systems and install something like Linux on them so they run just fine, and repurpose the machines. And you could do the same if you have a use that would make the energy use worth it. I've seen people take an old laptop or PC and use it to manage air vents in a greenhouse with temperature sensors, or have a timer to feed the fish in an aquaponic system on a schedule, or open and close the hatch on a chicken coop in the morning/evening for examples.
 
John Weiland
pollinator
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Thanks, Mark T.  I will look into a few local options and also some of those you recommended.  Hopefully will find a good solution to these boat anchors laying about!  Gratis.....
 
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Some gamers like to play old games. They use old computers.
 
gardener
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My local recycling business will take anything that's not a monitor as "sheddible".
They pulverize the components for whatever metal that is inside.
The plastic is discarded.
If you break the item down yourself,  you get more per pound for circut boards  and motors than for the whole item.
 
                      
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...Simply give the entire, intact computer to someone who needs that system.  You want to destroy an entire comouter merely because it "does not interface with new hardware"?!  
 
pollinator
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Raven Blade wrote:...Simply give the entire, intact computer to someone who needs that system.  You want to destroy an entire comouter merely because it "does not interface with new hardware"?!  


Well, I respectfully suggest you give this a try. You may find it an engaging and instructive hobby. Hint: It's not nearly as simple as it seems. And the people you give it to sometimes turn out to be be quite demanding (after all of the selfless volunteer effort you have invested and delivery to their door) expecting lifetime tech support.

Back to the OP: If it can't be brought back to life, a lot can be harvested from the "dead carcass" of an old PC. Memory (RAM). Hard drive -- run DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke), or harvest for magnets and shiny platters that make awesome signal mirrors. Power supply: precisely 12VDC and 5VDC, though not very efficiently (and the capacitors are big enough to build your own Taser). Cooling fans (my favourite) requiring precise voltages as well (higher and they will cut out; but they will run lower, just fine). From an old desktop, endless supplies of heavy braided low-voltage wire. The lithium coin cell may still have lots of life in it. And lots of metal screws, which engage with wood and plastic quite well if you torque them by hand, gently. I harvested a giant CPU heat sink that will sit on a wood stove under a coffee pot, just to see what happens. The remainder, of course, goes to recycling.
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