I went to Dollar Tree today and picked up some of the street lights for their Cobblestone Corners holiday village series. It’s a cheap way to get some parts for projects, electronic or otherwise.
Where else will you get a battery pack for two AAs–complete with two-position sliding on/off switch–some bits of wire (22 gauge?), and up to three grain of wheat bulbs for a buck? Now I admit, I bought them because the lights are sized about right for my Lionel train layout and the style invokes the turn-of-the-previous-century look that I like. I’ll be snipping the wires at the battery pack and wiring the streetlights in series to a transformer. The multitude of battery packs will go into my parts bin, and I’m sure I’ll be fishing those back out and using them for odd projects for years to come.
All of the mentioned parts have applications for electronics projects as well, and any one of those parts is likely to cost more at Radio Shack than the whole village accessory. So what if you don’t use all of the parts? Keep the leftover parts in used peanut cans. You’ll use theem someday, and you’ll be glad you had them on hand and didn’t have to run someplace to get them.