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Hello, I am new to Arduino and I have been searching around online for assorted things such as breadboards, sensors, and LEDS. The shipping from the official site is way to expensive. Do you have any recommendations for a site that sells many different components for reasonable prices (and shipping)? I live in the U.S.
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It really depends on the parts. If you are  looking for breadboard ready components or a great selection of shields then Sparkfun.com is a great source. However, they are not the cheapest. The biggest advantage with Sparkfun is that they provide a great range of ready to use components.

Once you move beyond that and are ready to start making custom PCB's and need individual components DigiKey is the best source. You can also try Janco and Mouser but I find that Digikey has the best selection. The pricing between those three is going to be very similar as is the shipping.

For shipping you get what you pay for. My last order from Sparkfun arrived in 2 working days and I only paid $4.26 for an $85 order. I was very pleased with that. If I had wanted next day it would have cost me $26. Simply not worth it. I just waited. It's worth noting that this is the fastest I have received an order from them. In the past I have waited as long as a week.

Digikey has same day shipping as long as you order by a certain time. I have never waited more than 4 days for a digikey order shipped regular mail and I think that included a weekend. 
 

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@tongmeiz
It very much depends where in the world you are. If you can fill in your location in your profile it would help answer such questions in a better way.
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Hello, I am new to Arduino and I have been searching around online for assorted things such as breadboards, sensors, and LEDS. The shipping from the official site is way to expensive. Do you have any recommendations for a site that sells many different components for reasonable prices (and shipping)? I live in the U.S.

Would you be willing to try surplus components? For breadboards, LEDs, transistors, switches, motors, etc - these surplus vendors have worked well for me:

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

If you feel adventurous, and don't mind spending a few days sorting the parts, one or two of these boxes from Electronic Goldmine:

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

...can be well worth the money.

For other things like "sensors" and servos, the cheapest would probably be Ebay; you might also look at:

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/
http://store.nkcelectronics.com/
http://stores.ebay.com/Tayda2009
http://shop.moderndevice.com/
http://servocity.com/

Not saying the above vendors are inexpensive or "cheapest" in all things, but you should be able to find something among them all. Keep looking, I probably have 100 or more other links I haven't shared for various suppliers of all kinds of things (not just electronics). Practice your google-fu, research the forums out there, troll ebay; you won't believe what is out there.

Also: Have you done any local searching? Have you looked in the yellow pages under "electronics parts" or "electronics surplus"? You might have a wonderful supplier in your own backyard. If you live in or near any reasonably large city, you likely do have something - it may look like a junk yard, but its there. Case in point: I live in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Electronic Goldmine is across town (unfortunately, they only offer a web front - no walk-ins). There is also a place I love to shop at called "Apache Reclamation and Electronics" (where old electronics and other junk goes to die); they also have a place in New Mexico (lots of surplus places in that state, what with all the government labs and such). There's also a place called Equipment Exchange. Then there's ASU Surplus (you can sometimes find interesting things there). There's a few other places down in Tuscon as well.

I also like to shop at thrift stores (Goodwill is a favorite haunt) for interesting items I can take apart and/or re-use. Sometimes you run across things you wouldn't normally expect: Last week, for instance, I found an R/C airplane, with servos, motors, ESC, etc (no transmitter, though) - got it for a few dollars. Toy R/C cars make great platforms for robotic vehicles and such; sometimes you can find old construction kits (like Lego, Erector, etc) that can be used for numerous purposes.

I often find old Polaroid cameras with ultrasonic distance sensors in them at Goodwill (look for Sun 660 and Spectra models); there's several resources describing how to remove and reuse the sensors from the cameras (an article from last year in Servo Magazine, IIRC, detailed how to hook them up to an Arduino). You shouldn't spend more than $5.00 on such a camera, and the sensor you get is virtually equivalent to the SensComp 6500 (http://www.senscomp.com/). On top of that you'll find a motor or two, some lenses, and maybe a few other parts.

As you can probably tell, I'm a "surplus and junk" connoisseur; I'll only buy new parts if I have no other way to get a particular device (or, if I were doing small-scale manufacturing or something where I needed a dependable supply).
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At least 80% of my stuff is from eBay.  It takes a few weeks to get things, but you can't beat the price.  Most things come in very good condition. I ordered some pots onetime that looked used, but besides that everything was(or at least looked) new.  I've bought things from Sparkfun, Jameco, and Seeed Studio, too.  Sparkfun has great customer service and fast shipping.  They also have some pretty cool/interesting parts, plus most of their designs are open source and they support the open source community.  They're not always the cheapest, and they don't have a huge selection, but they do give back to the community.  Jameco has a very large selection, fast shipping, and good prices.  After my first order, they sent me an email for free shipping on my next one.  I only bought from Seeed Studio because something that I would've bought at Sparkfun was out of stock.  It came slowly, but only because I bought it during Chinese New Year.  They also have PCB and laser cutting services, which is pretty cool.

SO:
Sparkfun:
  • Customer friendly
  • OK prices(mostly)
  • Fast shipping
  • OK selection
Jameco:
  • Good prices
  • Fast shipping
  • Very large selection
Seeed Studio:
  • PCB and laser cutting services
  • Good prices
  • Slow shipping(they're in China)
  • OK-ish selection
eBay:
  • Super low prices
  • Slooooooooow shipping
  • HUGE selection(you can find almost ANYTHING)
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Monterrey, N.L. México
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My personal choices.

For parts:
Jameco  www.jameco.com/
My favorite! I buy from this guys since 1977 or so (used to be James Electronics). Prime components, very low prices, excellent packing (IC's in their special container tubes in antistatic bags), affordable shipping cost & fast delivery. I highly recommend. You also get their great printed catalog free with your first order. Check it out!

For Boards, shields, DIY kits, etc:
Sparkfun, AdaFruit, Electronics123 & eBay.
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All the sites above are really nice. I found another one that looks like there going to be carrying a lot of components also www.nordevx.com it looks like something to keep an eye on.
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You also get their great printed catalog free with your first order. Check it out!

You can actually get one for free without ordering.  It says it'll take 3-4 weeks, but I got mine in about a week and a half.  I did this, and it's much easier to look through the printed catalog than looking through the PDF or browsing through random categories
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I use Jameco when I need parts today, and it's Monday through Friday before 5pm, and I can get away from work before 5pm. This is because I live nearby :-)

I use Digi-Key for components otherwise. They have fantastic packaging, ship the same day for most orders, and takes about 2 days (Saturday delivery included) for a pittance in shipping with the USPS. However, whenever paying shipping, I make sure to batch my orders, so I don't pay $5 for shipping a $0.80 part... Also, I always get at least 3 of any part (not true for boards; that would be too expensive :-)
www.digikey.com
All Digi-Key packaging is paper/cardboard based, so it recycles and even re-uses easily.
Also, digi-key has much better parametric search than Jameco on their web site. Parametric search rocks!

For more "built" items, I've ordered from adafruit, sparkfun, and iteadstudio, and all of them worked as advertised. iteadstudio PCB service + DHL shipping takes less than two weeks and is less than $50 for 10 custom PCBs of your design.
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Would you be willing to try surplus components? For breadboards, LEDs, transistors, switches, motors, etc - these surplus vendors have worked well for me:
...
As you can probably tell, I'm a "surplus and junk" connoisseur; I'll only buy new parts if I have no other way to get a particular device (or, if I were doing small-scale manufacturing or something where I needed a dependable supply).

I sometimes see these surplus components can be more expensive than new components. As well sometimes they are old, and you will ecounter difficulties to aquire the same parts again in a year.

A solution that works for me is to buy bulk quantities, not single components.

I am the opposite of a junk connoisseur, sometimes I use old parts from VCRs indeed but only if I don't have new parts available. There are good parts sometimes but you can't specify exactly what you need, or use let say 20 of them.

One really cheap surplus vendor I saw is Pollin Electronics, I never tried them myself but they have sortiments for good prices. I'd say this is hobby stuff and won't be used for professional circuits or circuits that are sold, but that's opinion.

Or I suggest that you team up with some people you know to share bulk purchases of components.

Even searching eBay, there are some moon price vendors, some regular vendors with good prices, if you search really hard, you typically can get it for 1/2 price. Well ordering from China can take 3 weeks to arrive.

I saw Mouser recently does not have any minimum order policy, and Farnell (UK) the same, no minimum order policy.
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I sometimes see these surplus components can be more expensive than new components. As well sometimes they are old, and you will ecounter difficulties to aquire the same parts again in a year.

Yes - they certainly can be, which is why whatever you do, you should shop around. I would also only consider surplus for hobby use, not production. I tried to make that clear in my previous post.

A solution that works for me is to buy bulk quantities, not single components.

This works well for surplus, too (provided the vendor has enough); when I buy components surplus, I always buy way, way more than I'll probably use in my lifetime (as a hobbyist).

I am the opposite of a junk connoisseur, sometimes I use old parts from VCRs indeed but only if I don't have new parts available. There are good parts sometimes but you can't specify exactly what you need, or use let say 20 of them.

Components from devices are only realistic for hobbyist purposes, and if you are "desperate"; I consider such sources mainly only for mechanical or similar "larger" components, if they can't be sourced from somewhere else.

One really cheap surplus vendor I saw is Pollin Electronics, I never tried them myself but they have sortiments for good prices. I'd say this is hobby stuff and won't be used for professional circuits or circuits that are sold, but that's opinion.

I'll have to look them up (unless you have a link handy?); where are they "local" to?

Or I suggest that you team up with some people you know to share bulk purchases of components.

Even searching eBay, there are some moon price vendors, some regular vendors with good prices, if you search really hard, you typically can get it for 1/2 price. Well ordering from China can take 3 weeks to arrive.

As always, you need to price before you buy; as you mentioned, I've seen prices for some things surplus that could be gotten much cheaper from China. Best thing on Ebay is to find a good Chinese vendor and stick with 'em (Tayda is one I have used in the past, who had good communication, etc - which is why I posted the link). As long as you are willing to wait (when I make these kinds of purchases, I try to purchase bulk or multiple components from the Ebay store, just because of the long "lead time" to receipt).
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As always, you need to price before you buy; as you mentioned, I've seen prices for some things surplus that could be gotten much cheaper from China. Best thing on Ebay is to find a good Chinese vendor and stick with 'em (Tayda is one I have used in the past, who had good communication, etc - which is why I posted the link). As long as you are willing to wait (when I make these kinds of purchases, I try to purchase bulk or multiple components from the Ebay store, just because of the long "lead time" to receipt).

I agree.  Sometimes browsing their ebay stores, you'll see something really cheap you wouldn't thought to buy.  Most of the components I buy are from Tayda, but I don't even realize it until I get an email.  Most of the other things I get on eBay(microscopes, DMM, other "built" things) are from TomTop.  They seem to have many different accounts, but I'm not sure.  You can usually tell from the picture when something is from a certain seller.  I think Tayda has purple borders and TomTop has orange, but I'm not sure.
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Yes - they certainly can be, which is why whatever you do, you should shop around. I would also only consider surplus for hobby use, not production. I tried to make that clear in my previous post.
I figured out after buying some "lucky bags" in a local shop.
It is not always the case but these parts really looked a bit manky and it's not much fun to show off such prototypes. Moreover, I even had the impression it would hinder developement to use these parts.

This works well for surplus, too (provided the vendor has enough); when I buy components surplus, I always buy way, way more than I'll probably use in my lifetime (as a hobbyist).

Actually sometimes I resell components, as kind of a hobby. I don't intend to make much profit only 30% to 50%. Strictly speaking yes sometimes I buy lots of old components but only regular parts, not these kind of "lucky bags" with unmarked parts/unusual parts, or stuff that isn't around anywhere else.

Components from devices are only realistic for hobbyist purposes, and if you are "desperate"; I consider such sources mainly only for mechanical or similar "larger" components, if they can't be sourced from somewhere else.
This again can be problematic, if the options/possibilities of your project become defined by an old applicance/gadget, that you recycle for parts.
It's maybe worth considering to browse your inventory, and throw out some ugly stuff, some odd single pieces, some half-broken parts etc., and buy some new sortiments. Old screws are totally bad I think. I have done this recently, have really thrown out some parts that weren't nice to look at or weren't useful for a particular purpose.

I am more concerned for variable resistors here, didn't have any assortments until recently.

One really cheap surplus vendor I saw is Pollin Electronics, I never tried them myself but they have sortiments for good prices. I'd say this is hobby stuff and won't be used for professional circuits or circuits that are sold, but that's opinion.

I'll have to look them up (unless you have a link handy?); where are they "local" to?

http://www.pollin.de

Found them via a web search. They have some component bags for good prices.
Don't know if they ship internationally, haven't yet developed a need for such sortiment bags.
They even sell raw PCBs to use the components on them (few internet vendors actually do this).

There isn't an option for other languages as well.

As I say, on eBay, you also can buy assortments, and these are new parts, usually. I mean, new parts from running production. These component bags sometimes are leftovers from a production run, however you can end up with too many parts that you never will have any use for.

I'd say, if you can't resell it having a 30% profit, don't buy it.
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Hey guys!!
I know a very good website with super cheap prices, especially for LED!!!
www.lampadadiretta.it

Let's try to visit this website and you will see!!!
There is also this dutch version: www.lampdirect.nl
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Hi, I'd like to suggest my shop...

I've been a parts scrounger for many years and I have been looking for the best deals on electronics parts, Arduino compatible boards and modules, etc. on the Shenzhen, China market.

Here's an assortment I put together of the most popular Analog IC,s OptoIsolators, Interface chips, Digital IC's etc.: 70 ICs and 20 diodes for $12.25   
http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=308

And there are other IC's, Optoelectronics, Resistors, Capacitors, Voltage regulators, Power FETS etc. here:
http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_list&c=15

I would appreciate suggestions of your "favorite" chips that may not be available there. 

Many of the chips in the selection were suggested by or verified by people on these forums.  Thanks!

DISCLAIMER: Mentioned stuff from my own shop...!
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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

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