A buying advice for a beginner


I'm a programmer but a total beginner as far as electronics goes, so I was thinking if you could help me out with some advice on what to buy.

I have in mind the following things: - Ardunio uno (Diecimila?) http://www.makershed.com/Ultimate_Microcontroller_Pack_p/New_Arduino_Uno_Revision_3_p/mksp11.htm - MotorShield http://www.makershed.com/product_p/mkad7.htm - Ultimate Microcontroller Pack http://www.makershed.com/Ultimate_Microcontroller_Pack_p/msump.htm

I'm a bit confused about the the different ardunio microcontroller versions. On the MotorShield page says that it is compatible with the Diecimila; is the Diecimila a past version of the microcontroller so would the MotorShield work with the Arduino Uno Revision 3?

I also have a question about controlling the motors: the microcontroller pack contains some motors but not the MotorShield, so are you supposed to make an H-Bridge yourself then (as I said, I'm a total beginner on the field of electronics)?

Do you think I'm off to a good start (everything I need) with the 3 items I listed above?

The Uno is the first 'Production' version of the Arduino, hence the name (Italian for One). Previous versions, including the Diecimila, are considered 'Beta' versions.

That looks like the Adafruit motor shield, which is compatible with the Uno.

The motor shield is a set of h-bridges, but the tiny little motors you get in those packs can often be driven directly from the PWM pins on the Arduino. You can't do anything useful with them, but they demonstrate the principles.

Other than the Makershed "Ultimate Microcontroller Pack", I think it is a fine way to start. Why do I not like the Makershed offering? Price.

Look at the list of what it has; they spell it all out for you. Then go over to these two places (and/or Ebay - if you don't mind waiting a while for Chinese shipping):

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

I can almost guarantee you can get -everything- on that list and more from the above two places (with the only possible exception being the force-sensitive resistors); even with shipping, you won't be looking at anywhere near $120.00 for the parts.

Also - if you want a great bit of "fun" and a lot of weird parts to boot - pick up one or two of these (be prepared for hours of sorting, though!):


One of those boxes is easily worth $8.00; I once picked up a couple, and found some nice slide-potentiometers in mine that easily would've ran me $2.00 a piece or more elsewhere (it's all random, though - no two boxes the same; you tend to get a ton of diodes and resistors, though - lots of small components).

Also - that motor shield is kinda overpriced; it uses the L293 (or equivalent), which you can pick up cheap elsewhere. If you'd rather have a shield, though, on Ebay you should be able to find such a thing for much less than $20.00. However, maybe for your first time out, the controller and the shield should be bought "new" - but that "parts fest" kit should definitely be sourced elsewhere.

Much thanks for the advice guys! XD