DIY

RadioShack & The DIY Community: 2012 Update

RadioShack has always been a mainstay with the DIY community – those of you out there building things, tinkering, and hacking cool projects together. In 2011, we heard you guys and gals who call yourselves ‘makers’ saying that we didn’t carry the stuff you needed anymore. We put together a simple video, and posted it here, asking you to comment with three things that you’d love to see in RadioShack stores. Here’s an update from Lauren Kushnerick, our Product Marketing Manager in charge of DIY at RadioShack:

As Lauren said, we’ve made some big changes throughout 2012, including launching Arduino, fun contests such as the Great Create Arduino Challenge, and hanging out with you at Maker Faire. We know we can do more, so we’re asking again. We’ll compile the results in January and take them as action items for our internal teams as we work to continue to be THE go-t0 place for all of YOU, the engineers, makers, DIYers, and geeks.

What would YOU want to see next in your local RadioShack store?

Leave your comment below, and free to share this link with anyone else who may have a suggestion. Thank you, for continuing to shop with us and continuing to build cool stuff. Happy Making!

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31 Comments

  • sheldon

    reasonable prices, online shopping other retailers have much better prices than my local radio shack. I have been to the busiest RS in NYC and to the tiny one in my home town, it would be nice to see common smd parts available and even adapters that could be used in bread boards.

  • Bruce Wattendorf

    3D Printers!!! Filament!!!! and laser cutting service.. 3D printer parts like steppers, electronics, extruders, and hardware!!

    Ultimaker 3d printer..

    and Laser Cutting Service!!!!

    Please!!!!

  • teicher

    Lower prices on components and tools. Get more in line with the other online electronics suppliers, Radioshack prices are way out of line with others. If you charged less, I could buy more stuff from you and do more projects!

    More kits that have all of the parts needed to build something. Solar, Drones, a low cost 3D printer are all ideas for kits that I would be interested in.

    Improve the great create site or just link it with a place like instructables or even make projects. Part listings, more photos, and better searches would help.

  • Patricia Conary

    I would love to see some solar power kits from small to large. I would love to have a portable solar source when camping or when the power goes out.

  • Juan Carlos Castro y Castro

    Make a revival of the CoCo, souped up with a modern uP, like MicroBee did in Oz:

    http://www.microbeetechnology.com.au/premiumpluskit.htm

    But please make more than 100! ;)

  • Louis Ciotti

    - start carrying Amateur Radio Equipment/books again
    - Better selection of electronics components, or at least the ability to order them
    - the return of more electronic kits like the 150 in 1
    - Better training of employees on electronics
    - get rid of cell phones from the store. If you want to sell cell phone open seperate stores
    - Start carrying computers/components/accessories again

  • Rogelio Perea

    How about a single board 8 bit computer kit? To this day I still use and enjoy several Color Computers in my collection, that would include the venerables Model I, III and IV TRS-80s.

    Something on the lines of what Microbee Technology did in Australia -> http://www.microbeetechnology.com.au/premiumpluskit.htm

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback!

  • Gustavo

    A revival of CoCo. Maybe a Kit where you can build you own Color Computer revival. It may be difficult to find the original processor, but you may emulate it with an FPGA.

    This would be lovely!

  • Luis Antonoisi

    Bring the joy of the CoCo again. DIY, FPGA based, whatever. I would love to buy any brand new CoCo gear!

  • Brian Blake

    Bring back an entry level 8-bit computer like the TRS-80 Color Computer/Tandy Color Computer 3. The machine could easily be done cost effectively as a kit with a microcontroller of some type – like a Propeller or other. Something like this would be a fantastic educational kit, teaching not only basic digital electronics but also different types of programming as well.

  • Aaron

    Amateur radio and other hobby type electronic components (talk to your local ham clubs and they would be happy to make recommendations!)

    Retrocomputing! Bring back the TRS-80s in kit form

  • Bill Pierce

    Like the others above, I would love to see the kits and parts expand once again. I too am a member of the Coco (Color Computer) community and would readilly purchace a “kit” Coco. As a kit, it would have to at least “emulate” all the functions of the Tandy Color Computer 1, 2, & 3. What better learning experience than to build a computer? Not one month goes by that I don’t see a thread get started on this very subject on our Coco forum. I still own and program 3 Color Computers. I run a small digital recording studio that’s completely computer based. The power I run there is “cutting edge” but every spare moment is spent at the Coco hacking away on some current project.

  • Louis Ciotti

    Another thought… Go through the old catalogs here. I am sure you can dig up plenty of ideas to make radio shack a splace to go for the DIY person/electronics hobbiest.

    http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/

  • Al Sanders

    The main value of Radio Shack, for me, is its “localness.” In the past, when working on a DYI project and discovering I needed a part to complete it, I used to run to Radio Shack – problem solved. That’s no longer the case, however. With the current focus on selling cell phones, Radio Shack usually does not have the part I need and the people who work there often have no idea what I am talking about. If I am to complete the project, I have to set it aside for several days or weeks while I order the part I need from one of the big electronics mail-order houses. Shipping is usually 3 times the cost of the part I need and I end up adding in other stuff just to justify the shipping costs! On some occasions, I just abandon the project and move on to something else. I know Radio Shack sells a lot of parts on line that they don’t stock in their stores. However, the prices are almost always higher than the big electronics houses and there’s still that shipping cost to contend with. I would buy more at Radio Shack if they would, once again, offer the parts I need without the hassle of waiting on and paying for mail order.

  • Brian Blake

    And also a MUCH better selection of components. I’m tired of having to wait several days for mail order parts to arrive.

    Jameco and Mouser definitely offer better pricing, but, if I need something NOW, having it stocked locally would be great. Besides, if the parts were stocked locally, I might be more inclined to buy local anyhow for the convenience of being able to get the parts sooner.

  • Steve Batson

    How about a Computer Kit that can be configured to run as a replacement for the older 8 Bit computers Radio Shack Sold such as the TRS-80 Model I – IV and the Tandy Color Computer 1-3. These kits should have the ability to interface with new technology such as USB,HDMI, etc, but also the older stuff too. Would be great to see a kit designed to teach about these systems while building them up.

  • Mike Craig

    I’d love to see Radio Shack produce a kit to create a modern version of the TRS-80 Color Computer. One you could build yourself with modern outputs and a modern updated version of the Extended Color Basic programing language. The kit could also have hardware sprite/sound chip and Nintendo game pad compatible ports. Oh, also carry a large supply of chips/tubes/passive components at competitive pricing.

  • Giovanni Nunes

    Yes! A CoCo revival!

  • Allen Huffman

    As a former Radio Shack computer owner in the 80s (and employee for a few years in the late 80s), I am glad to see things like Arduino, Parallax, etc. on local store shelves. Interest in things like the Raspberry Pi tell me there is still a need for a good “hackable” computer system – but many are not in to hacking as much as these bare board circuits require. I think back on the 8-bit TRS-80 Color Computer, as others have mentioned, and wonder what a “in box, just plug up” micro would be like today, able to be easily programmed without needing a separate computer, and interfaced to I/O…

  • Andrea Marino

    A larger selection of components, reasonable prices and free shipping online. I don’t think that is too much to ask! :)
    Happy Holidays!

  • Deborah Curran

    I can’t think of a thing that you don’t already carry. I lost 1/3 of my home to Hurricane Sandy but more importantly I almost lost all of my office. I was able to save desktops but not monitors, keyboards, and all the various wires needed. But I was able to find everything I needed at Radio Shack :) – your guys were so helpful and informative. Even when I couldn’t get online via wifi – back I went and they told me exactly what to buy and how to hook it up. Even my tv flooded. Now I need a new ATT cell phone and guess where I plan on buying it – yep – Radio Shack since you have been there for me so much. Thank you

  • Louis Ciotti

    One more idea… Bring back the “Realistic” brand of consumer electronics, but have it be all 100% made in the US electronics focused on quality and long life.

  • Glen VanDenBiggelaar

    With the whole “retro” thing in full swing, and the fact that many of us grew up on the humble CoCo, I think it would be great if Radio Shack brought “back” the CoCo in a DYI kit form.
    On e-bay right now (http://www.ebay.ca/itm/TRS-80-COLOR-COMPUTER-UNASSEMBLED-FACTORY-KIT-ULTRA-RARE-RADIO-SHACK-NEW-/251211620665?roken=bUp7jY#ht_955wt_1414)
    there is a CoCo 2 that apparently came from the factory in a DYI kit form.
    I think a CoCo 3 might be a bit hard (but totally Awesome), to get the GIME and custom chips, but a CoCo 2 could use all socketed chips. Its very “doable” as I believe most. if not all chips are still available on the market, but you could always get Jerry (Heep) and the boys in the lab to tweek it

  • Lauren Blais

    wow, I’m not sure how long I have been oblivious to the new DIY inventory at Radio Shack, but let me say that you have One More Customer that will no doubt be spending a lot of time and money on the things that will keep my kids doing fun learning and perhaps up to speed with the rest of those tech communities across the globe…keep it up…KEEP IT UP!!!

  • Lloyd H

    Put back a larger selection of parts like resistors,caps,diodes,etc. RS was famous for as well as the neat kits that you used to sell…remember Knight Kits???

  • Stan

    I miss the 3909 led driver.

    I had awesome battery life

  • Chris M

    I’m 37 now but grew up with you guys and only you had what anyone wants to learn. You have come a long way. As long as you keep it nerdy and real. I’m buying one of those boards tomorrow.

  • Yngram

    I think the biggest thing if you really want to move forward in this arena (one that you once owned and honestly I thought you were out of entirely) is education. I here a lot of people bemoaning the fact you don’t have a Mouser or digikey selection and really never did. But honestly if they were well educated they would realize that the components you once carried were enough to do a lot. You don’t carry the bridge reflector I need to prototype this?? then I’ll get these 4 diodes. Don’t have the bread board to support this lead thickness then I’ll solder leads on.

    You want a small parts robot in each store… something that is cool to watch, but something that can carry a lot of small packages and dispense them easily taking up a lot less space then shelves or peg boards. and something that unlike drawers depth is not a real problem. look at all the glass front vending machines that kids get ice cream from because they get to see the vacuum hose pickup their ice cream for them.

    You need a partner??? Talk to your local schools and PTAs if the kids in middle school know how to make things that look cool and attach to their iphones, androids, etc then they will and some of them will continue on to do real electronic engineering. When the Air Force wanted to push aerospace education they went to the Civil Air Patrol and made it a mandate to teach to the Air Cadets. If you get the knowledge into the brains of the young we all win. (if you get them thinking of you when they are looking for knowledge you win)

  • Harry Cat

    I would like to see them carry electronic components like they used to do back in the 70′s 80′s and 90′s. I’m a little tired of ordering parts and having to wait 3 days to 3 weeks to get them.. I would like to have the parts in hand the same day I work on the item.. I remember about a month ago, I needed two 100uf 10v electrolytic capacitors to fix my Radio Shack Optimus CD player and to my surprise they didn’t have any and all I got was the runaround. So I had to go home and pull two 25 year old used ones out of a old nonfunctional amp to get my old CD Player working again.. Back in the 80′s and 90′s, I have built many electronic projects using 100% Radio Shack components but today I can’t build anything without having to order the parts to make it.

  • Nick Jensen

    Kevin O’leary of Shark Tank has just gone public with his prediction that Radio Shack is going to “Zero”. Which is his way of saying “going out of business”.

    And I think he is right. Radio Shack has lost it’s identity. As electronic hobbyist’s dwindled, it moved into phone accessories, toys and odds and ends. Now the major phone companies are selling the accessories right along with the phones. RS’s market continues to shrink.

    Changing the store look isn’t going to help. You desperately need to find a market where you can dominate and not just scavenge.

    And with the huge resurging interest in electronics via single board computers and the amazing array of add-on boards and sensors that accompany them, that might just be the market RS needs to dominate and promote.

    First find a way to partner with Digikey, Mouser or Jameco to provide a much larger array of products. Maybe let them drop ship for you? Drive the prices down by finding a way to discount the price as a larger volume is purchased. Encourage the larger buys like that the shipping cost does with online purchasing.

    Implement a really good “Ship to Store” system to give you an EDGE over the online merchants and drive traffic to your door. Eventually the online guys will have to collect sales tax too and if you can cut the shipping cost, that should drive business and better allow you to compete.

    Return to your roots. Give classes on using the single board computers (and of course 3D printing). Assemble kits, link into schools and electronic clubs to promote knowledge and pre-assembled packages of kit parts. Stock up on key books that promote your business. Learn from what Adafruit and Sparkfun have done to promote their businesses.

    Provide a 3D printing service bureau right within your store. Put the printer in the window to draw traffic.

    Stage contests, distribute plans, circuit schematics, and become the expert again.

    Good Luck! I want my Radio Shack to survive. But given the path they’re on now, I have to agree with O’leary.

    Nick Jensen

  • Brent Waguespack

    You have started stepping in the right direction. I have used Arduino to make a blimp for my grandson.
    We are now flying an ARDrone 2.0 together in the park. I have been a hands on guy for a long time
    and their is some kind of joy in building something with your hands that we have lost in our society.

    Thanks

    Brent Waguespack