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I just got an arduino for christmas and have very limited electronics experience. I do know how to solder and the ideas behind electronics but i never amassed any sort of parts collection. The arduino kit I got came with:

  • Arduino Uno Rev3 
  • Jumper Wires 
  • Breadboard (3 rows, two sets of 5 columns) 
  • Plastic mount for breadboard and Arduino
I was thinking of buying the following packs to start a collection of parts: 

What other parts do i want to have on hand and where do should i buy them?

Some things i think i need that i am not sure where to get or what types are good to buy in bulk, are these good buys?: 
  • Transistors 
  • Diodes 
  • 555 Timer 
  • Buttons/Switches 

So where do you guys go for bulk/starting parts and what types of each should i get?
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Don't go tooo overboard, a lot of microcontroller experimentation can be done with just a handful of different resistor values, and just a couple three capacitors. Every value in the catalog is not needed. Search this forum, there was some discussion along these lines not long ago.

Just my $0.02, but I'd go for:
330Ω, 1K, 2.2K, 4.7K, 10K.
100nF multi-layer ceramic caps (MLCC), 10uF electrolytic, 16V give or take.
LEDs, 5mm or 3mm, various colors to taste.
Tactile button switches.
Diodes, 1N914 -or- 1N4148, and a few 1N400x.
Transistors, 2N3904 (NPN) and 2N3906 (PNP) -or- 2N4401 (NPN) and 2N4403 (PNP)
555 timers are nostalgic and fun, but I seriously have little use for them these days. Still, a person may as well have a few to play around with, as they're very inexpensive.

Dip Micro has a lot of these basics and very reasonable prices.
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For cheap basic parts to stock up on it's hard to beat the prices of that place user CrossRoads recommended. I've used them once and was very satisfied with my initial purchases:

http://www.taydaelectronics.com/

Lefty
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It really depends on what you want to do, but I find the parts I use the most are:

- 100, 220, 470, 680, 1K, 2.2K, 10K, 22K, 47K, and 100K 1/4W resistors.  I would buy a kit that had everything from 10 to 10M at E6 or E12 intervals.  (1, 1.5, 2.2, 3.3, 4.7, 6.8, 10...)
- Electrolytic caps in 10, 100, 1000uF at 25v.  16v will work for digital logic stuff, but I find I use 25v and 50v flavors often enough to have both.  Entirely depends on what your projects look like.
- 100nF and 330nF ceramic caps.  (The Fairchild linear regulators request 330nF on the output in the app notes.  You'd probably be fine with 100nF there instead.)
- Transformers, fuses, power inlets, things like that *if* you intend to build your own PSUs, but maybe best to hold off on that until you get a handle on the basics.
- Diodes!  200mA small signal diodes, 1A rectifier diodes, and higher if you're likely to use anything with more current draw -- like solenoids, power amps, etc.  The voltage rating is usually sufficiently high to be irrelevant, but do mind them for AC rectifiers.
- Of course 3mm and 5mm LEDs.  I have an assortment of matching R, G, Y, B, and W, plus some RGB and bi-color (RG) LEDs.
- Transistors.  Most folks use NPN and PNP, but I'm a FET guy.  I think they're easier to deal with, since they're voltage controlled and not just current amplifiers.  So, by all means, get your bipolars, but I also recommend N- and P- channel FETs good for 1-5A or so.  Make sure they're labeled "logic-level" so you can turn them on completely with 5v signals.
- Trimmers and pots.  If you use a breadboard, the Bourns 3386 trimmers are great.  I use 1K, 10K, 20K, and 100K most of the time.
- Zener diodes are fun, but that's kind of round-2 stuff.  You'll get there.
- Push-button switches that are breadboard-friendly are a must.  You'll need more ceramic caps to de-bounce them, so get lots of those.  Really, lots.
- A whole slew of logic ICs can be handy.  Things like inverters (or NOT gates), AND gates, OR gates, XOR gates, and the inverting versions like NAND and NOR.
- Get some comparators too, or just a whole bunch of op-amps like TL071 (single), TL072 (dual), and TL074 (quad).  If you do audio, I like OPA2134s -- but not as comparators, get something cheap for that.
- Both positive and negative linear regulators -- 7805, 7905, 7809, 7909, 7812, 7912, and the adjustable ones like LM317 and LM337.  Might also be helpful to get some low drop-out 3.3v regulators too.
- Shift registers, both parallel-to-serial, and serial-to-parallel.  See the Arduino references for ShiftOut and ShiftIn for part numbers.
- Spare AVR chips, like the ATmega328P and ATmega8A.  If you want to do standalone Arduinos, get some 8 and 16MHz ceramic resonators with integrated caps (3-pin variety), or crystals with 27pF ceramic caps.
- Pin headers -- lots of them, in like 36-position breakaway strips.
- Breadboard wire kits.  I can't possibly get enough of these.  Also, those flexible pin-terminated wire jumpers that Adafruit sells are wonderful.  As are the wire jumpers with alligator clamps.
- Maybe some 5v and 12v relays that can handle 5A loads at 12-24v DC or 120v AC.  (240v AC if applicable.)
- LCD displays, sensors, and things like that.  Browse Adafruit and Sparkfun and go nuts on whatever is easy to use, has sample code, and looks interesting.

I have like ten parts bins full, plus stacks of Digikey boxes filled with anti-static bags, and things lying all over my work area.  I've spent literally thousands at Digikey and Mouser over the past few years (I prefer Digikey's parametric search index, BTW), but you don't have to get everything all at once.  Find some example projects and buy the parts you need for it, plus a few extra.  Over time you'll gain a healthy collection of parts.

The resistor kit is probably the most important initial investment, but after that, I just keep adding to my collection with every order for something specific.  I may have even built something once with only parts on-hand, but that's pretty rare.  ;-)

For tools:

- Good shear cutters are essential.
- Wire strippers and cutters.
- Weller temperature-controlled soldering stations are awesome, but a Radio Shack pencil iron will get you by.  Don't forget solder, a sponge, and some wick.
- I swear by my little Variac for testing PSUs and higher-power projects.
- Of course, a multimeter.
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What other parts do i want to have on hand and where do should i buy them?

That TOTALLY depends on what you do with your Arduino.

Do you use it to light up LEDs? Drive motors? Build robots? Log analog values to SD cards...?

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For digital, I use primarily 330ohm (220 - 470ohm works), 1k, and 10k. I have some 100k resistors but I don't use them as much.

I have maybe over a thousand 5551/5401, and a drawer full of irf540 (not the N-type). I have also a lot of 15028/15029 (quite similar to bd13x). For capacitors, I use 0.1uf ceramics, 4.7uf electrolytics, and some 15/18/22pf ceramics.

I have over a thousand SG615 oscillator and maybe a thousand crystals of various speed.

I think that should cover 99% of what you need. For the rest, I buy on an as needed basis.
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I'd certainly suggest getting the resistor kit you linked to. The capacitor kits are less useful, but inexpensive so why not. For transistors, I suggest BC327 and BC337, or something else that works well at up to 500mA (unlike the ancient 2N3904/2N3906). For diodes, 1N4148 and 1N400x (x = any 1 thru 7). Also some LEDs and push buttons. After that, some sort of display device, some sensors, and perhaps a rotary encoder.
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Besides the website Lefty linked to where do you guys suggest purchasing these parts?

Also i need to purchase a new soldering iron (someone at work stole mine). As well as other tools (wire strippers/cutters, shears, etc). What website is good for buying tools?
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Try the sites here:
http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/links.htm
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What other parts do i want to have on hand and where do should i buy them?

That TOTALLY depends on what you do with your Arduino.

Do you use it to light up LEDs? Drive motors? Build robots? Log analog values to SD cards...?



What are the necessary parts to buy in order to drive motors and build robots?
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Again, I'll suggest Digikey as a great place to start with buying parts.  The search and categorization features are really great.  Mouser is also helpful.  Even if you just use them to find parts with the specs you need, and then buy kits and bulk bags from eBay, etc., I think it's still worth it.  There are thousands of perfectly good electronics outlets online, so part of it is preference, part locale and inventory.

I almost bought my Weller soldering station from Amazon, but a local shop had it for not too much more, so I went that route.  IMO, a temperate-controlled iron is a hobbyist's best friend.
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Don't go tooo overboard, a lot of microcontroller experimentation can be done with just a handful of different resistor values, and just a couple three capacitors. Every value in the catalog is not needed. Search this forum, there was some discussion along these lines not long ago.

Just my $0.02, but I'd go for:
330Ω, 1K, 2.2K, 4.7K, 10K.
100nF multi-layer ceramic caps (MLCC), 10uF electrolytic, 16V give or take.
LEDs, 5mm or 3mm, various colors to taste.
Tactile button switches.
Diodes, 1N914 -or- 1N4148, and a few 1N400x.
Transistors, 2N3904 (NPN) and 2N3906 (PNP) -or- 2N4401 (NPN) and 2N4403 (PNP)
555 timers are nostalgic and fun, but I seriously have little use for them these days. Still, a person may as well have a few to play around with, as they're very inexpensive.

Dip Micro has a lot of these basics and very reasonable prices.

It really depends on what you want to do, but I find the parts I use the most are:

- 100, 220, 470, 680, 1K, 2.2K, 10K, 22K, 47K, and 100K 1/4W resistors.  I would buy a kit that had everything from 10 to 10M at E6 or E12 intervals.  (1, 1.5, 2.2, 3.3, 4.7, 6.8, 10...)
- Electrolytic caps in 10, 100, 1000uF at 25v.  16v will work for digital logic stuff, but I find I use 25v and 50v flavors often enough to have both.  Entirely depends on what your projects look like.
- 100nF and 330nF ceramic caps.  (The Fairchild linear regulators request 330nF on the output in the app notes.  You'd probably be fine with 100nF there instead.)
- Transformers, fuses, power inlets, things like that *if* you intend to build your own PSUs, but maybe best to hold off on that until you get a handle on the basics.
- Diodes!  200mA small signal diodes, 1A rectifier diodes, and higher if you're likely to use anything with more current draw -- like solenoids, power amps, etc.  The voltage rating is usually sufficiently high to be irrelevant, but do mind them for AC rectifiers.
- Of course 3mm and 5mm LEDs.  I have an assortment of matching R, G, Y, B, and W, plus some RGB and bi-color (RG) LEDs.
- Transistors.  Most folks use NPN and PNP, but I'm a FET guy.  I think they're easier to deal with, since they're voltage controlled and not just current amplifiers.  So, by all means, get your bipolars, but I also recommend N- and P- channel FETs good for 1-5A or so.  Make sure they're labeled "logic-level" so you can turn them on completely with 5v signals.
- Trimmers and pots.  If you use a breadboard, the Bourns 3386 trimmers are great.  I use 1K, 10K, 20K, and 100K most of the time.
- Zener diodes are fun, but that's kind of round-2 stuff.  You'll get there.
- Push-button switches that are breadboard-friendly are a must.  You'll need more ceramic caps to de-bounce them, so get lots of those.  Really, lots.
- A whole slew of logic ICs can be handy.  Things like inverters (or NOT gates), AND gates, OR gates, XOR gates, and the inverting versions like NAND and NOR.
- Get some comparators too, or just a whole bunch of op-amps like TL071 (single), TL072 (dual), and TL074 (quad).  If you do audio, I like OPA2134s -- but not as comparators, get something cheap for that.
- Both positive and negative linear regulators -- 7805, 7905, 7809, 7909, 7812, 7912, and the adjustable ones like LM317 and LM337.  Might also be helpful to get some low drop-out 3.3v regulators too.
- Shift registers, both parallel-to-serial, and serial-to-parallel.  See the Arduino references for ShiftOut and ShiftIn for part numbers.
- Spare AVR chips, like the ATmega328P and ATmega8A.  If you want to do standalone Arduinos, get some 8 and 16MHz ceramic resonators with integrated caps (3-pin variety), or crystals with 27pF ceramic caps.
- Pin headers -- lots of them, in like 36-position breakaway strips.
- Breadboard wire kits.  I can't possibly get enough of these.  Also, those flexible pin-terminated wire jumpers that Adafruit sells are wonderful.  As are the wire jumpers with alligator clamps.
- Maybe some 5v and 12v relays that can handle 5A loads at 12-24v DC or 120v AC.  (240v AC if applicable.)
- LCD displays, sensors, and things like that.  Browse Adafruit and Sparkfun and go nuts on whatever is easy to use, has sample code, and looks interesting.

I have like ten parts bins full, plus stacks of Digikey boxes filled with anti-static bags, and things lying all over my work area.  I've spent literally thousands at Digikey and Mouser over the past few years (I prefer Digikey's parametric search index, BTW), but you don't have to get everything all at once.  Find some example projects and buy the parts you need for it, plus a few extra.  Over time you'll gain a healthy collection of parts.

The resistor kit is probably the most important initial investment, but after that, I just keep adding to my collection with every order for something specific.  I may have even built something once with only parts on-hand, but that's pretty rare.  ;-)

For tools:

- Good shear cutters are essential.
- Wire strippers and cutters.
- Weller temperature-controlled soldering stations are awesome, but a Radio Shack pencil iron will get you by.  Don't forget solder, a sponge, and some wick.
- I swear by my little Variac for testing PSUs and higher-power projects.
- Of course, a multimeter.

may i ask why exactly you chose the values of resistors, caps, diodes, transistors, etc that you did? What is it about each of those values/types of components that make them better than the thousands of other choices?

Also where can i buy storage containers to organize all this stuff!?
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may i ask why exactly you chose the values of resistors, caps, diodes, transistors, etc that you did? What is it about each of those values/types of components that make them better than the thousands of other choices?

Also where can i buy storage containers to organize all this stuff!?

Those values are used frequently.  Which ones you'll need really depends on what you plan to do, but there's a few that get used more than the rest.  As for organizing, I like the plastic containers sold at craft stores for beads.  They've got lots of compartments and are made to keep even the really tiny parts from moving around.  Anything with lots of compartments is good.  And do yourself a favor and find a way to keep your resistors and ceramic caps organized.  I made little paper envelopes for each value.  Trying to hunt for one particular value in the misc parts bin is a headache.

EDIT:  A good way to start is to think of a few things you'd like to build and look up what parts will be needed.  You'll notice some are common to the types of things that you like to build.  If it's robots then you're going to be using lots of motors and servos and transistors to power them.  For data logging/analysis you'll need some sort of sensors and a way to store or transmit the data.  When you've figured out what parts are common to the things you want to build, buy a few of them.  There's no need to put together an electronics store in your home right away.  Your collection will build up bit by bit just by buying a few extras whenever you need to pick up something new.  If you have a soldering iron, you can scavenge quite a few misc parts from broken electronics too.
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That TOTALLY depends on what you do with your Arduino.

Do you use it to light up LEDs? Drive motors? Build robots? Log analog values to SD cards...?

What are the necessary parts to buy in order to drive motors and build robots?
[/quote]

MOSFETs, resistors, diodes, capacitors...you won't need many different types of each though.

Motor drivers tend to be high current and need lots of protection from voltage spikes. Prebuilt modules are good if you're starting out.

eg. https://solarbotics.com/catalog/motors-servos/motor-controllers/

There are stores specialized in building robots, that one's quite popular...

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may i ask why exactly you chose the values of resistors, caps, diodes, transistors, etc that you did? What is it about each of those values/types of components that make them better than the thousands of other choices?

Also where can i buy storage containers to organize all this stuff!?

Here's an example of how I store my parts...  I got a bunch of storage boxes at Home Depot, until they stopped carrying the one I use.  I haven't checked Amazon, but I'm sure I can find the same one there.  It's just your typical compartmentalized plastic tray where the row partitions can be removed for more room.  Four trays per box, and I have six of them now.  I use two trays for 1/4W resistors (each value gets its own little compartment in my boxes, but the envelope idea is also really good), one tray for 1/2W resistors, one tray for 1W, two trays for electrolytics (50v for small values, 25+50v for medium values for PCB space optimization, and 35+50v for the larger values for project cost and space savings).  You get the idea..

As to how I picked the values...

For resistors, there are many applications where the exact value doesn't matter much.  For example, pin protection is often 100-330R, and any value in there will work in most cases.  LED current limiting depends on the source voltage, but typically a minimum of 220R (for 5v), 470R and 680R are both common, and 1K is a safe value even for 12v supplies.  For audio circuits, I use a lot of 1K, 2.2K, 10K, 22K, and 100K, but things like filters (HP, LP, BP) use specific values where you either need a big inventory to pull from, or you'll need to buy values for your project.  For pull-ups and pull-downs, 10K is a common choice.  I use 47K when I want to optimize for lower idle power consumption.  100K is also good when a weak pull-up/down is acceptable.

For capacitors, anything related to PSUs there's a wide range of acceptable values.  Some of it is a compromise between capacity for filtering / ripple reduction / smoothing, and the size, cost, and in-rush current demands.  For instance, you wouldn't use 10,000uF on a USB circuit PSU filter because it would probably shut down (and maybe fry) your USB port trying to fill that large of a cap.  But, a 0.1uF cap may not have enough capacity to ride through hot-plug events.  So, 10 to 47uF is a good compromise.  On most wall-wart powered projects, I'll go for 100 to 470uF instead.  Ceramic decoupling is almost always 100nF (0.1uF).  It's just a good, common value.  For timing circuits (like 555s, or AC loss detectors), the value is determined by the time-constant.  I use a lot of 10, 22, and 47uF for that stuff.

So as you see, the application will determine some of it, and others you can just pick a nice, commonly-available value within a large range.
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