Breaking News
Engineering Pop Culture!

What Is Your Favorite Electronics Shop?

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
User Rank
Favorite Electronics Shop - of the past, unfortunately
sixscrews   3/15/2016 1:42:10 PM
My favorite electronics shop was Schrenk Sales, located in the basement of an abandoned supermarket on South Park Street in Madison, Wisconsin.  At the time part of the supermarket was being used as a satellite county welfare site, so getting to Schrenk's required going into the anteroom of the welfare office then finding the basement staircase - un-marked, as I recall.  You walked across a large basement storage area, mostly empty and poorly lit, aiming for an open door where electronic paradise awaited the early supplicant at the altar of things digital.

The operation was run by Jerry Schrenk and his 20+ year old (I think) son.  They bickered quite a bit, providing an entertaining background as I dug through boxes of TTL, CMOS and other ICs, sockets, passive components, 8" Shugart floppy drives (SSSD, SSDD, DSDD, for those who recall the acronyms) and most of the pieces I needed to build my early desktop systems and other gadgets from the mid 1970s to late 1980s.  Those were the days of the Z-80, the 6502, 6800, then on to the 8086/8088 and an odd duck called the Z-8000 (Zilog's attempt to get into the 16 bit CPU market - classic fail as it was not code compatible with Intel or earlier Zilog Z-80 parts - duh - anybody remember Itanium?  somebody at Intel didn't rember the Z-8000, that's for sure).

I still have an old S-100 bus Z-80H (6 MHz!) machine built mostly with parts purchased from Jerry, including a couple of DSDD 8" floppies.  I wrote my graduate thesis on that machine using Wordstar and CP/M. The CPU board is in a frame on my home office wall - but the last time I plugged it and started the system up it still worked.  I also built a clone Apple ][ on a flat board that came from Taiwan and parts bought at Schrenk Sales.  My sons used it to play video games while not doing their homework so it became 'object non grata' and suffered mysterious problems that only I could fix - when I felt like it.

Unfortunately, Jerry passed away around 1990 but, by then, I was buying computers that came in cardboard boxes and required little or no assembly - and building superconducting magnets - but that's another story.  



User Rank
Favorite Electronics Shop
KKing1   3/14/2016 4:21:29 PM
Because they have surplus, plus gadget, plus parts, got to be Marlin P Jones.


Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed