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Malta
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Hi all..

I'm a newbie to Arduino. Was always interested in Robotics but was too afraid that it would be very complicated to start off untill I started reading the first Arduino Book.

In 3 days I'm almost all the way through it and looks like having endless potential to create new things.

The the book lists the required stuff and suggests to start off with Arduino Uno.

I have been looking around and found several kits.. Original Arduinos and also clones.

My question is...

Since clones are fairly cheaper ... through your experience, are they worth purchasing after all? Or they give problems, including compatibility issues?

(reference to company selling counterfeit boards removed by moderator)


Is this a reliable brand name? Any complaints about them?


Kindly let me know so that I can start off buying some components to start up the hobby...

Thanks a lot,
FS

« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 01:48:58 am by Coding Badly » Logged

North Queensland, Australia
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First I would recommend getting a real Arduino. The quality is probably higher, and there is no guarantee of equal parts used in the clone.
Also the more funds Arduino group get, the more they can continue the project.

Clones are only available because they are made cheaper than what Arduino can do, They have probably tried to cut costs as much as possible ( components that may not be fit for normal retail sale / recycled components ).

On the other hand: I have a Mega & UNO which I thought was real ( ebay guy said they where real ), but are not. I haven't noticed anything wrong with them yet. But was disappointed when I discovered they are clones. Explains why I only paid $43 for both.

That kit seems pretty good. ( $49 AUD ), although the sensor shields seem like an overkill, but useful if you don't have a solder-less breadboard.
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Don't over analyze what kit is best.  Just look for one that sounds cool to you and get it.  It is the start of your collection of electronics bits.  You can always add more later.
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SE USA
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get an arduino, get a good resistor assortment pack, 500 count or better, get a pile of 100nf caps (code 104 or 0.1uf) and some basic LED's, maybe some chips like a couple of 74HC595's, then go to the local thift store and get a 3$ VCR

the VCR will give you motors, piles of wire, buttons and random crap
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Malta
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Thanks to all for the suggestions...

I'll buy an Uno or possibly a Mega and find a value for money component pack to get me started.

The rest I'll collect slowly from parts as suggested, infact am already going through faulty hardware before throwing them away.

Its a good thing I work in an IT Department smiley

Thanks again,
FS
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then go to the local thift store and get a 3$ VCR

the VCR will give you motors, piles of wire, buttons and random crap

Wow I really should have done that, I took apart a lot of disposable cameras from a wallgreens for a lot of my components (he he, make sure you discharge the cap inside of them arn remove the batteries before trying to take them apart btw) but VCRs would be a goldmine. Perhaps DVD players as well (since VCRs are actually kinda hard to find nowadays).

Another good one is to go to gamestores and get old videogame controllers if you need buttons/thumbsticks. Cheap radios can do the trick too.

The real trouble with recycling parts out of old electronics though, is finding out what everything is.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 05:21:10 pm by Nikarus » Logged

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Wow I really should have done that, I took apart a lot of disposable cameras from a wallgreens for a lot of my components but VCRs would be a goldmine. Perhaps DVD players as well (since VCRs are actually kinda hard to find nowadays).

Another good one is to go to gamestores and get old videogame controllers if you need buttons/thumbsticks. Cheap radios can do the trick too.

The real trouble with recycling parts out of old electronics though, is finding out what everything is.

You probably have more than a few Goodwill stores in your area (as well as other thrift stores); while not all Goodwills are "equal", it is worth your time to go on a Saturday (or, if you want to avoid the "rush", go on a weeknight) to -each- of the stores nearby your house (I make a round every Saturday or so of 3-5 near my house here in Phoenix, AZ), and see what they have for your electronics and prototyping experiments.

Check out the toys, computers, and other assorted junk. I've found things like somewhat "incomplete" Erector and other toy building sets that have a great many number of parts for robotics and other such uses (great for prototyping and experimenting). Then there are the old toy RC cars, old Robosapiens, etc...

You wouldn't believe what you can find. Not every store is the same; some you might find are "better stocked" than the others. There also may be certain days or times when "good stuff" is there that isn't grabbed immediately. Depending on the area of town, you may notice different "stuff". For instance, Goodwills in the retirement areas here tend to have "older" electronics - some of it in quite good condition; in some cases "collector" condition.

If you do see stuff like that (ie - older electronics and toys; anything pre-1980 generally - though it can span some years - heck, have you seen prices for 386 motherboards?), you check out its quality, its vintage, don't immediately plug in an old device or whatnot - you may blow stuff; some of that stuff can be worth a -ton- of money if you know what you are looking for.

You might also check into if you have a nearby (within 50 miles?) electronics junk recycler; we have a couple of good ones here in the valley (Apache Reclamation and Electronics, Equipment Exchange - and online only: Electronic Goldmine); maybe something like those can be found in your area.

Also - keep an eye out on Freecycle (if it is available for your area) as well as Craigslist (same) - sometimes things fall thru the cracks there. Oh - yard sales too are good sources for things like this...

smiley-grin
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You probably have more than a few Goodwill stores in your area (as well as other thrift stores); while not all Goodwills are "equal", it is worth your time to go on a Saturday (or, if you want to avoid the "rush", go on a weeknight) to -each- of the stores nearby your house (I make a round every Saturday or so of 3-5 near my house here in Phoenix, AZ), and see what they have for your electronics and prototyping experiments.

Check out the toys, computers, and other assorted junk. I've found things like somewhat "incomplete" Erector and other toy building sets that have a great many number of parts for robotics and other such uses (great for prototyping and experimenting). Then there are the old toy RC cars, old Robosapiens, etc...

You wouldn't believe what you can find. Not every store is the same; some you might find are "better stocked" than the others. There also may be certain days or times when "good stuff" is there that isn't grabbed immediately. Depending on the area of town, you may notice different "stuff". For instance, Goodwills in the retirement areas here tend to have "older" electronics - some of it in quite good condition; in some cases "collector" condition.

If you do see stuff like that (ie - older electronics and toys; anything pre-1980 generally - though it can span some years - heck, have you seen prices for 386 motherboards?), you check out its quality, its vintage, don't immediately plug in an old device or whatnot - you may blow stuff; some of that stuff can be worth a -ton- of money if you know what you are looking for.

You might also check into if you have a nearby (within 50 miles?) electronics junk recycler; we have a couple of good ones here in the valley (Apache Reclamation and Electronics, Equipment Exchange - and online only: Electronic Goldmine); maybe something like those can be found in your area.

Also - keep an eye out on Freecycle (if it is available for your area) as well as Craigslist (same) - sometimes things fall thru the cracks there. Oh - yard sales too are good sources for things like this...

smiley-grin
Plenty of goodwill stores around, haven't gotten enough into a project yet that I didn't have the stuff on hand already. Though I have gotten some Wii motion plus addons from there (BS that they don't sell them at stores anymore. Trying to get gyros out of a motion plus remote sucks).
It'd be awesome if any of them around here would have Erector sets in them (I remember those from back in the day).

And even if theres no electronics recycler, a regular scrapyard (we have one) tends to gather electronics anyways (also lots of other stuff, I got a pair of 10ton hydraulic pistons a few months ago including the jack to control them with. Those were probably a few grand each new) For building projects like robots its pretty easy to find aluminum and steel frames (or extruded aluminum) at the scrapheap, and for heftier projects, theres a good share of electric motors that are "broken". Actually, its really not that hard to walk into a junkyard one morning and come out with several thousand dollars in prefectly good stuff, electrical or otherwise. Maybe I'll start logging all the stuff I can get my hands on.

Post it, see if anyone needs stuff.
Id say to an extent, the fun I've had with my projects since learning of this has been worth paying the forums back in some way.
Perhaps it might be good to add an exchange forum to the arduino site here. I know lots of airsoft forums have them... kind of a pay it forward system.
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Plenty of goodwill stores around, haven't gotten enough into a project yet that I didn't have the stuff on hand already. Though I have gotten some Wii motion plus addons from there (BS that they don't sell them at stores anymore. Trying to get gyros out of a motion plus remote sucks).
It'd be awesome if any of them around here would have Erector sets in them (I remember those from back in the day).

I grab stuff even if I don't have an immediate use, in the event I need it later (bad habit, I admit!) - I rarely find toy construction kits, but when I do and if they are Erector or something similar (Lego and Knex, for instance), I'll grab them. One time not too long ago I found a couple of bags of potentiometers, all "brand new" and fairly high-quality - paid a few dollars for all of them (some had switches, too). A couple of weeks ago, I managed to score 6 complete X-10 wireless camera systems, one with pan/tilt and remotes - for $40.00 (half-price day, too!). Another recent find was a Nerf Vulcan dart shooter - got that for a few dollars (worked fine once I got a belt and some darts for it).

And even if theres no electronics recycler, a regular scrapyard (we have one) tends to gather electronics anyways (also lots of other stuff, I got a pair of 10ton hydraulic pistons a few months ago including the jack to control them with. Those were probably a few grand each new) For building projects like robots its pretty easy to find aluminum and steel frames (or extruded aluminum) at the scrapheap, and for heftier projects, theres a good share of electric motors that are "broken". Actually, its really not that hard to walk into a junkyard one morning and come out with several thousand dollars in prefectly good stuff, electrical or otherwise. Maybe I'll start logging all the stuff I can get my hands on.

We have tons of scrap yards around here, too - but I've never tried to buy anything from them; I'm not sure if they sell to the public or not. Apache Reclamation has a separate yard for "large stuff" of similar nature; that yard shares space with another, and you could probably buy anything from them on a per-pound basis. Another thing we have tons of is "pick-yer-part" auto wrecking yards; you just have to be willing to pony up the "entrance fee" and pull the parts yourself (a wagon or cart with your tools needed, of course). I've done that a few times for auto parts I needed for repair work on my trucks, but not for any other project (I keep it in the back of my mind, though!)...

Post it, see if anyone needs stuff.
Id say to an extent, the fun I've had with my projects since learning of this has been worth paying the forums back in some way.
Perhaps it might be good to add an exchange forum to the arduino site here. I know lots of airsoft forums have them... kind of a pay it forward system.

That sounds like an interesting idea; I do know that someone a long while back created an electronics trading/for-sale board (kinda like CL, but for electronics components and such) and posted it on the forum (might've been the old site). I'm not sure if it is still around or not...
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