The Dumpster Dive - 1/2 lb.

Want to rummage through the SparkFun dumpster? We have a lot of products that we either can't or won't sell for various reasons. This can include customer returns, damaged products (physical or cosmetic), overstock, production samples, or anything that's just not selling well enough on the site and we need to get rid of. Instead of this ending up in our dumpster (or environmentally friendly e-waste recycling programs), we boxed it up and are offering you a chance to rummage through our virtual dumpster.

Each SparkFun Dumpster Dive is half a pound (not including the box) of random parts. We tried our best to provide a wide assortment in each box, but due to the nature of the contents, each box is completely unique and random. You could get almost anything, as long as it fits in the box.

Opening each box is similar to 5 years worth of Christmas morning excitement, all condensed down into a single moment (individual results may vary).

Please be aware that we are limiting sales for the Dumpster Dive to the US only. To place your order when the Dumpster Dive goes live, hit the button that says "Backorder" and your box will be assembled as quickly as we are able. Adding a Dumpster Dive box to an order may cause a delay. Be sure to uncheck “ship complete order” in your cart to avoid further delays in shipping in-stock items.

Note: The Dumpster Dive is a gamble and the contents are not **guaranteed. We will **not provide tech support or returns on any of the goods since many are not products we ever supported, or might be returns with unknown defects. Every box will still have many usable parts. If you are looking for fully functioning, well documented goods, we would advise against getting a Dumpster Dive. Limit one per customer and we will not combine orders.

  • Half Pound of Awesome
  • Endless Wonder
  • Overflowing with Anticipation
  • Mystery and Intrigue
  • Much Product


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #760987 / about 6 years ago / 3

    I had both of them in my cart. Got to the checkout screen, hit the next button to get ready to pay and got an error saying the 1.5 lb was sold out and needed to be removed. Removed it and went to the next screen to finish checking out. Got an order number, but my confirmation email says backorder confirmation. It shows the charge on my paypal though. This is my first time trying for the dumpster dive. I hope that means I got one.

    • Member #364467 / about 6 years ago / 2

      I got all the way and submitted, thank you for your order. got an email saying back ordered. I would guess I will get along with others that the back order will drop. Unless it is their pause button?

  • hsoftdev17 / about 6 years ago / 3

    I got through the whole checkout process with only a small dumpster dive box. It said I was good, the PDF I downloaded said I was good, then the email came in... It told me the item in my order was backordered. But it's an non-backorderable item. Where does that leave me?

  • Member #620529 / about 6 years ago / 3

    Awesome. Added both Dumpster Dives to my shopping cart immediately when they became available, had both in my cart. The webserver for the checkout was so slow that by the time the pages loaded both were sold out. Been waiting over a year for this.

    • hsoftdev17 / about 6 years ago / 3

      Seems to me that a proper reservation based cart would do the job nicely. Items in carts are reserved for 10 minutes, if you order, it's yours, if you don't, it gets put back into store inventory. That way no matter how slow and silly the actual checkout process becomes, it doesn't matter because the people that got them into their carts are already set. (Only flaw being if it takes more than 10 minutes to check out, but you can adjust the reserve time accordingly.)

    • eaajeroh / about 6 years ago / 0

      Exact same experience here. Annoying....very annoying.

  • Sroy2 / about 6 years ago / 2

    This was my first dumpster dive, I scored a ½ LB. I am super stoked. Thanks Sparkfun!!!!!

  • incyi / about 5 years ago / 1

    Can't subscribe for automatic e-mail when it's avaiable ?

  • kabram / about 6 years ago / 1

    "The Dumpster Dive is a gamble"

    So are you then following all the laws of a legal gambling organization? lol

  • glenndrives-too / about 6 years ago / 1

    I can just see all the SparkFun people rolling on the ground laughing at the foolish people trying to buy up these boxes. Congrats to those that got them. Might try next time.

  • Grizzly / about 6 years ago / 1

    Same here, had it in cart, checked out, order did not get finalized because item out of stock. Crazy...

  • Gizmoguy / about 6 years ago / 1

    I got one of these half pound boxes but I gotta say I'm disappointed that Sparkfun didn't prep the website for this kind of hit. I saw 35 of the 1.5lb boxes in stock, threw one in my cart and hit check out. The delays were so terrible that the product went out of stock before I could even see the submit button. I'm experienced with Dumpster Dive and have gotten 2 in the past. I was already signed into Paypal and Sparkfun for a fast checkout and had nothing in the cart but the Dumpster Dive.

    This .5lb box is half the cost for 1/3 the goodies with the same shipping rate.

    I really like Sparkfun and have bought many things from them over the years and will continue to do so but there has to be a better way for them to prepare for the Dumpster Dive impact on their site.

  • 82478 / about 6 years ago / 1

    Same here, forever to get into cart, website basically froze, took five minutes to check out, by that time sold out, very disappointing.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5

Based on 38 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

1 of 1 found this helpful:


My package contain one smashed up DC Air Blower Model dc-p-r-3 a few 680 ohm resisters, some mosfets, and diodes. The blower was prolly 1/2 lb, Even the internal circuit board of the blower was smashed like my hopes and dreams.

1 of 1 found this helpful:


Didn't get anything that made me go WOW!

1 of 1 found this helpful:

It was Okay...

I know it was a dumpster dive, so I knew beggars can't be choosers. But still... It took longer than a month to arrive and the main item was a charger for a pair of LiPo batteries that I cannot even find for a reasonable price. Kinda of sad, probably won't do a dumpster dive again.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Not as good as last time.

Managed to get both the 1 1/2lb and 1/2lb dives this time around, so this will be a blanket review of both. I just thought I'd put on the 1/2lb dive since it was looking lonely with no reviews.

Obviously dives are a crap shoot, but this time around both boxes were less with the shoot and more with the other thing. The only complete boards were a set of what I think are Zigbee breakout boards (still sealed in packaging). There was also a (as far as I can tell, complete) Tamiya Twin-motor gearbox kit. I think 4 SIK mounting plates for various boards. Well over 6 9v battery sleds with barrrel jacks. An enormous amount of through-hole resistors, SMD parts (resistors, caps, crystals), the 1 1/2lb box is where you get all the SMD reel cutoffs. There was a faulty unpopulated PicoBoard PCB, a faulty unpopulated FreeSoC2 (which pairs nicely with my brand-new FreeSoC2).

There was way more random hardware this time around, stand-offs, screws, bolts, bags marked "Spare Parts".

But the new thing this time around was the Type M Barrel jacks. I guess maybe someone dropped an entire box of them in the warehouse and then ground them into the floor? There are probably 20-30 of them between the 2 boxes. All of the "intact" connectors have their stress-relief's broken off, and the rest don't have any. There is also a fair amount of broken black plastic at the bottom of the box, I have a sneaking suspicion that that is the rest of the barrel jack bits.

I will probably roll the dice next time though, last time I ended up with a couple functional boards. I guess they were scraping the bottom of the Dumpster this time around.

Dumpster Dive - Meh

First I love this company and I am NOT being petty. I just was REALLY looking forward to getting my box and when it arrived I was totally STOKED to do an unboxing video but I did not. Anytime you order something like this you are taking a known risk and you might get nothing that you really want or need. I admit I was really excited to see what cool thing I would end up with. To compound matters I had to wait as my boo went into backorder status for a while. In the end I got my box and opened it only to find stuff I would have found in my own dumpster most likely. Some connectors and some screws along with a few unidentifiable other things. I am sure I got my moneys worth and I will do it again next year. I am simply hopefully that the fates will shine on me next year and give me SOMETHING cool and interesting.

A great kickoff to start another project

This is exactly the sort of thing to spark the imagination - I went through each item thinking, "I know what I can do with this..."

It was ok parts where wecome !!!

Will try next time and know how the event works .

Thanks Dave

Don't know what I was expecting

Well, it's garbage, alright.

Easily made my money back

I've purchased twice now and both times I have gotten much more than my money's worth out of my purchase. Sure, some of the stuff is junk, and some doesn't work, but that's the "dumpster" part of "dumpster dive".

9/13/17 order:

  • Soldering iron stand -- Granted I was a little perturbed when I saw this, because it's pretty heavy (easily weighs more than the rest combined!) but my box also seemed to be more than 1/2lb total so I think they compensated (weighed in at roughly 12 ounces on an imprecise scale)
  • 4x AA Battery holder with switch -- had a plastic scrap rattling around inside, but it didn't seem to affect the usage
  • Molex 3-wire jumper assembly -- retired product
  • Barrel jack power switch -- power runs through it, but the switch doesn't work -- no matter what position the switch is in, my project stayed on.
  • Weather Shield -- old (retired) version; came with headers and sealed packaging
  • Teensy 2.0 -- still in ESD bag; really excited about this one
  • Proto-board koala -- this is missing a capacitor and one other piece looks like it's either been "fixed" or changed from the picture. Very useful if I can get it going but I'm guessing it'll be a loss.
  • Metro-gnome -- unpopulated circuit board only

11/14/18 order:

  • 2xAAA Battery Holder -- got 4 of these
  • BeagleBone Black -- haven't fired it up, but appears to be unused in good condition. If it works, this will pay for the box 3 times over!
  • Haptic Motor Driver -- new in bag
  • Load Cell Amplifier -- new in bag x2, retired version
  • IOIO-OTG -- retired version, looks used (1-pin header soldered on), but otherwise good condition (that being said, this version had lots of bad reviews so it's unlikely to work)
  • ESP32 Thing -- VERY excited about this one
  • OpenSegment -- board is populated with everything but the actual display
  • Random stuff: parts bag for the Generic Servo (still sealed; includes the armatures and screws), misc standoffs (in a bag labeled "spare part", but couldn't figure out what this would have gone to), misc machine screws (in a bag), large plate labled "SF-100-203-Rev B" (no idea what this goes to), 1k (?) potentiometer with on/off switch (couldn't find one of these in the catalogue), 4x Mini-DIN connectors (apparently used by Roomba and noone else), a few pieces of heat shrink, and some sort of rubbery, vaguely sticky strip of something.

Color me underwhelmed

You can't win em all. At least I can't. I was kinda looking forward to foraging through a box of random crap, trying to figure out what each thing may have been in a past life. Instead, for my $15 and 4 weeks of highly strung anticipation, all I got was a used $9 Zippy joystick. Wouldn't be so bad, but some genius soldered directly to the quick-disconnects so I'd need to spend time on cleanup before I could even use it.

slow clap

Pleasantly Suprised

It's almost as if SparkFun was looking at my search history! I got the Car Diagnostics Kit, which was a product I was looking to buy in the future for a personal/work related project.

You Roll the Dice and Take Your Chances

It's a dumpster dive, so one knows the risks. I got a plastic case for the Pi A form factor (so none of my Pis fit) and a 12V blower fan. I could probably find a use for the fan on some future project. Not a "wow, best find EVAR!" box, but, again, it's a dumpster dive. Maybe next time I'll luck out.


Thought it was going to be better.

Not as good as last time

The last dumpster dive I snagged was literally overflowing with prizes. This time it was mostly a single large plastic button. It didn't feel like as much of a prize pack as the last one. I don't know if it was luck of the draw, or if they spread more things out across the boxes, since everybody got one this year. It was not a total bust, as there was a pack of 10 old PIC micros that I can put to use (if my SMD skills are up to snuff).

Eh, it was interesting....

I knew this was going to be a dumpster dive, but I really only got boards that need tons of components to make work, or super niche boards that I don't expect to have an application for. However, it was still fun to play the game, and maybe I'll get something I love next year!

Nice collection of stuff

No real earth shattering finds in the box, other than a discontinued Com Motion motor driver shield. But for that alone it was a good investment. A nice collection of other components as well makes this a fine deal.

Pretty disappointing, won't order again

I saw videos from previous years in which purchasers opened a box that had several great components that could be the starting point for a great project. This year's boxes, from what I have seen, were a ripoff. I bought one and I also saw two friends open and examine their boxes. No one was happy. Each box included a large number of 200k resistors and random bolts. The other two had some damaged PCBs, but mine had a broken fan. Not one of us had a real viable project that could be launched from the included components. Instead of being a cleverly named grab bag this year's box really was suitable for a dumpster.

A cornucopia of electronic fun!

Lot of great stuff!

I don’t know if it’s normal to have so much fun digging through other people’s trash but I think I lucked out.

1st time dumpster dive disappointed....

This is my 3rd or 4th dumpster dive and every other time I have been thrilled with my dumpster dive with lots of useful or unusual components.

This time most of the weight was an air pump. No interesting pieces like buttons, or short cables, or sensors.

I thought they had promised they would all have a value of at least $35, but I don't see how that is possible with what I received.

Its a dumpster dive... what do you expect

My cousin got $70 worth of chips. 2 micro views and a lot of good components..

You might as well have taken a shit in my box and sent it.. would have been the same thing. pure shit. its like someone took a handful of crap from the dumpster and tossed it in a box. the Box was the only valuable thing.. so $22 for a little red box.. Yay! the previous dumpsterdive was amazing.. this one just pure shit.


Some parts, like resistors and LEDs, are very useful. I may eventually find a need for the mechanical limit switch and potentiometer. But bare unknown circuit boards, a piece of acrylic, and a cooling fan broken in two parts should have been left in the dumpster permanently.

Cool stuff

A little bit of this, a little bit of that , some I don't know what the heck it is will keep me busy and fill in some parts gaps I have wish I could order another

A lot of crap, totally not worth it

Some smd connectors, smd ICs that you will never use and too much crap. Can I get a refund?

Nice surprises I'll put to use

Perhaps of more value than the deeply discount stuff, the Dumpster Dive put some components and boards in my hands that I haven't used before. Thanks for the learning opportunity! Hoping to put this all to good use soon.

Plenty of value

I got some arduino board and whatnot. About 20% were discontinued or something, so they were in perfect condition. About 60% were cosmetically damaged, so i got a perfect product from a functionality standpoint, just didn't look great. Probably got $50+ of utility out of this

A good haul!

Got another RedBoard. Got anESP32 Thing and some kind of small display module about 1" square. Lotta electrolytic caps, some transistors, and various other things. Not sure what to do with the bag of WS2812 LEDs though. Think I might've gotten some last year too.


I got a few useful small items from the dumpster dive this year. Although, last year I certainly got lucky with way more than I paid for. All in all I am still very satisfied for the price and the excitement of not knowing what I will get is half the fun anyways.

Always fun!

It's a fun thing to get... like a surprise Christmas gift for yourself! You have to be pretty quick to order one... they sell out fast... (and of course, it got me to buy some other parts to go along with what I don't be fooled :-) )

I'd highly recommend it...

It's exactly what it says it is. That's awesome!

For a creative maker this is gold. You never know what your going to get, but that's good. Some things you will know, others you might not. If you can honestly say 'I don't know what that's for, but I know how I'm going to use it!', then this is for you.

It's just a gamble.... and I lost.

I wanted a bright LED, instead I got:

2 battery sleds

2 vga ends

1 o-ring

30 resistors

2 unpopulated bad 3 inch boards

1 flat plastic plate

1 mono 3.5 mini jack

1/2 of a blower fan

and about a dozen sorted screws, nuts and posts.

Not one IC, not one LED!

Could have got all this for less at JB Saunders down the street. - should have played the lotto.

Dumpster Dive was Awexome!

For $10, the amount of new and useful electronics that were included in this kit were amazing! Check it out: Loaded Box and All Spread Out

Lots of good stuff

Mine included some standoffs and screws, a whole bag of female-female jumper wires , some surface mount 100 ohm resistors, some 6 pin surface mount female connectors, And about 20 through hole 2 pin male connectors, an Arduino Proto shield, and what appears to be a complete big time watch kit! A good value!