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I am a newcomer to electronics design and I'd really like to start fiddling with making my own circuits. I have a raspberry pi which has both I2C and SPI interfaces, and I'm wondering if there's any classes of older equipment that might have these sorts of chips?

I don't have the equipment to desolder or handle surface-mount components properly, so anything I'm trying to take chips from would need to be through-hole.

I have many older computer systems laying around, I'm assuming that due to the prevalence of SMBus that there's likely some of those chips on a motherboard that could be salvaged.

Are there any better places to look for I2C or SPI chips?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You'll need something digital. You can't really be anything more specific I'm afraid (but not sure), as both protocols are very basic. Other question: why not sample new chips? \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 May 10 '13 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I'm just starting out so I'm not really sure about sampling. I'm not even sure if this question is on topic for this stack exchange. I'm just a hobbyist with no formal training beyond having an amateur radio license. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Grace May 10 '13 at 20:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd consider this on topic. You say you're just starting and therefore don't want to sample. It's entirely up to you, but is that a problem? I have quite a collection unused sampled chips. I may use them in the future, and it's free. But again, your choice. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 May 10 '13 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not that I'm against it, I just don't know how to go about getting samples. I'll have to do some research on getting them unless you know of a quick way to get a whole random assortment of goodies? \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Grace May 10 '13 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Check out microchip. They have memory chips, ideal for trying the protocol if you ask me. See the 23K256 for example. On the bottom of the product page there's a Pricing & Sampling section. If there are any problems please let me know, but now I'm going to bed \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 May 10 '13 at 21:31
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After several years scavenging parts, I can tell you that it is difficult to find I2C or SPI through-hole chips... But, many of the devices by themselves have these communication protocols somewhat hidden. One example is the Wii Nunchuk (I2C), SD cards (SPI), some multimeters (SCI)...

My recommendation: start with some of those and then buy a simple soldering iron to scavenge SMD parts, or sample/buy. You will realize that the price of the component ($0.6?) is NOTHING compared to the time you will spend trying to make it work :D

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