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I have a few old 24V solenoids which I've used for years for random (often Halloween-related) projects. I can't recall where I got them. I'd like to get some more, but new ones can be rather high priced.

I sometimes buy junk printers to salvage stepper motors, or dismantle speaker cabinets to acquire a driver.

What old equipment commonly includes solenoids that I can salvage (push or pull type, 12-24 V)? Pinball machines seem to be the most-cited, but I never see those at the thrift store.

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Cash Registers use solenoids to latch the drawer in place. Sprinklers use solenoids. As do cars for multiple parts, from door locks to fluid systems. You are most likely to find solenoids at a Junk yard than you are at a electronics recycling plant or a thrift store. Consumer electronics just don't need short range solenoids, at best they use motors.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also some printers (esp. big lasers), photocopiers, vending machines. Cars will have 12v solenoids, trucks (HGV) and agricultural vehicles will usually be 24v. Washing machines often have mains-voltage solenoid water valves. \$\endgroup\$ – John U Aug 13 '13 at 11:31
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If you can find an old dot matrix printer, they have a solenoid per pin. Before high-quality printers became available, 9-pin printers were very common. That's 9 solenoids from 1 cheap device.

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This question is too broad to stay open, so I'll be brief. Anything with a mechanical component that isn't just rotary motion is a candidate. Printers, copiers, etc. I got a nice solenoid once from a old car.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, many devices that I thought would employ solenoids, instead used screw drives, motor and belt combinations, or various other means. I have yet to find a printer that uses one; perhaps in larger equipment than typically found at a pawn shop or thrift store? \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Feb 10 '13 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JYelton: Right, not all linear motion will be from solenoids. If it's not rotary motion, or long travel, you have to look. I have seen a printer with a solenoid that actuated the mechanism to grab the next sheet of paper. Look for short travel movements. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Feb 10 '13 at 21:30

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