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Author Topic: Best Starter Kit for the value?  (Read 1929 times)
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Since there are different prices, in what order would you rank the following kits by value (price-quality relation, or whatever you call it)? Also, what are the pros and cons of each of them? What would you recommend to an absolute beginner?

http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MSUMP
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10173
http://www.adafruit.com/products/170
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New River, Arizona
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This is a much tougher question than you think.  Actually, that's probably why you asked.  It depends on what you're most interested in.  If you want the arduino to flash some lights, any of them will do it.  If you want to arduino to measure stuff around the house, I'd go with either the Adafruit or Sparkfun ones.  If you want to build something that shows numbers the Makershed kit is the one (but pricey).

If you have a project in mind, then there are other alternatives that may suit you better.  That Makershed kit is pretty cool though, it even has a vibrating motor.
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Phoenix, Arizona USA
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I can guarantee that you can put together a better deal than that (provided you shop surplus and/or ebay). Take a look at all of those kits; note the common parts, plus the "extras" (like servos, LCDs, etc). Note the values and types, etc - as much as you can. Spend some -real- time on it. Then take your list, and shop around for the items on Ebay; see if you can find a chinese supplier that has all or most of the parts. In addition - check out these surplus suppliers for components:

http://www.allelectronics.com/
http://www.goldmine-elec.com/
http://www.alltronics.com/

I've ordered parts from all three - if you feel daring, and want a ton of miscellaneous parts - try goldmine's "surprise" boxes:

http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G2200
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G9321

I once did a couple of the "super size" ones and got a ton-o-junk; great way to stock up on parts if you don't mind spending some time sorting them...

Oh - regarding jumper wires: You can go with the pre-made jumpers, but for most stuff I just use solid core wire from 25-pair telco cables or the solid core wire from standard cat5e cable; trust me - either is much, much cheaper...
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Topsham, Vermont USA
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Hi,

DISCLAIMER: About to mention stuff from my own shop...  smiley

I have looked in detail at all the starter sets I could find, and bought several.  After all that my friend and I developed these:

http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_list&c=6

One problem is that the nice boxes are expensive to ship.  I'm thinking of making the same kits available in bulk pack, and get you own box at walmart or Home Depot or HarborFreight??

We also make up kits for schools and universities, including open-source copies of Arduinos, at a low cost.  I'm thinking of making those available as a real low-cost starter kit, no frills..  We do have a lot of How-To on our Info site: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com

And for a quick start for newbies: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/GettingStarted-Software

And there is a big question about newbies starting with breadboards or easy-to-connect options like: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/BrickStarterSet

I love these Electronic Bricks and the combination of the Sensor Shields (http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/SensorShield)
and cables that make it easy to make secure connections: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/Cables

These are particularly good for classes where you don't want to spend half the class time debugging breadboard connections.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts.  I agree that getting a good collection of interesting sensors is a great start. But some just don't know WHERE to start.

Any suggestions for products or online How-To you'd like to see would be appreciated...

Regards, Terry King
...On the Mediterranean in Italy
terry@yourduino.com

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Regards, Terry King terry@yourduino.com  - Check great prices, devices and Arduino-related boards at http://YourDuino.com
HOW-TO: http://ArduinoInfo.Info

Central MN, USA
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I have the adafruit kit. It's fun to play with. A buzzer is nice so is a relay but I can get them later if I were just starting off. Once you feel you have enough interest to do more project, you should go to stores that sell the same parts for less price smiley-wink
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