Buying automation equipment off EBay?


Thread Starter

Alex Pavloff

The other day, I was talking to a friend who works in support for a motion
control company. He said one of the things that was really beginning to take up a lot of time is people buying equipment off of EBay and then calling in and needing manuals and support!

If you go to and start type in, for example, Allen Bradley, you
pull up a list of 361 pieces of equipment ranging from switches all the way up to a complete PLC/2 and above. Try any other company... you might be surprised at what you can find (and may be in utter shock that any of that
stuff is still running!)

Has anyone on this list bought anything off Ebay? What's the general consensus on the use of the second-hand equipment?

Alex Pavloff
Software Engineer
Eason Technology
Actually, I've both bought and sold equipment on Ebay. For some customers,
it's the only way to get their hands on older PLC equipment. I personally
have been buying and selling Modicon equipment. Some of my customers have
old 884 and 984 Modicon PLCs. Most of the 984 and all of the 884 have been

As far as whether or not it's a good idea, it depends on the seller. I
bought a Modicon P810 power supply for 35 bucks, sold as is, and it was dead
on arrival. But there are several contractors and wholesalers who are
selling used-take-out equipment as they install new systems.

Make sure the person you buy from has good feedback, hopefully from other
automation sales (you can see the transactions in their feedback file).
Some wholesalers are using it to eleminate excess inventory. I have sold
some new old stock obsolete and some sales demos on Ebay, with no complaints

I have some limited experience from approximately 30 ebay purchases. I
decided to stop this practice due to the enormous waste of time it created
to sort out problems with bad transactions . Approximately half of all
purchases arrived as described and as expected. Some never arrived and to my
surprise , ebay has no way to enforce or punish bad sellers (might be
because they're making their money off seller's commission ). Some devices
arrived in terrible shape or let's just say not the way they were described
. Those sellers wouldn't answer emails and it turned out there's no legal
way to deal with them. There's a puny $200 insurance ebay is offering
through Lloyd's with a $50 deductible (if memory serves) but it takes a
loooong time to get your money. All in all, not in the same league as a
mega$$$ automation project . Better buy guaranteed hardware and focus on
solving the normal set of unavoidable problems rather than creating new ones
to "save" a couple of bucks .

Best Regards,
Matt Tudor , MSEE
Elmar Technologies consulting spread spectrum radio telemetry
I agree completely. I have never sold used equipment to a customer, except
the guys who bought my old stuff on Ebay. The stuff I bought was for my lab
and training room, not for customers. Only time I might consider it is if a
customer has a need for a module I can't get new and he's willing to try a
used one.

the only place I found reliable was
They got a bunch of techs on hand that check the
stuff out--and offer a warranty--and at least
guarantee the stuff. it's not dirt cheap, but if
you need some old hardware i would go here.