Breakout brands

Having had my fingers burned when buying a cheap Arduino copy in the past, any advice on brands of breakouts etc or (UK) suppliers that are worth using in prefernece to eg cheaper eBay compoents? Or is there not much in it?

This is the Arduino forum. I think we're supposed to be encouraging people to buy genuine. I typically do
both. I buy a genuine and then I buy a clone. I've never had any problems. You are making unsupported
claims of poor quality without supplying any examples and we typically see several posts a day where
Newbies are wiring things up wrong so personally I'm not inclined to believe there was anything wrong with
what you bought in the past unless you can back up your claims with real world examples. There's a post
right now where somebody posted a schematic of an arduino with the pwm pin wired to + 24V AND a relay
COIL AND the relay contact. There's another post of some guy saying "f understand the voltage range of
an arduino is 0 - 5V. I was just wondering if anybody has had problems when say using a higher voltage ?"
Yeah, sorry. Give us a real world example. We've all been using tons of stuff from ebay every day and don't
have any issues for the most part. You get what you pay for but most of it is ok, from my experience.
If you're going to buy from ebay you should donate a few bucks to arduino on the website.

My question was not about Arduinos themselves, but rather breakout boards to use with them, and was motivated by real world experience with both a genuine Uno and a clone. (I wouldn't buy a clone again.)
The details of that, however, are not of great relevance.

In general terms, does it make much difference spending 10 dollars/pounds/rand/euro on one brand of IMU or relay driver etc compared to 1 dollar/pound/rand/euro on an unbranded board that should (on paper) do the same?

You have to be careful buying Solid State Relays. There are some crap knock offs out there that are total
junk. In general , you can't generalize. You have to vet each item on a case by case basis.
Post links to what you are thinking of buying and wait for the feedback. As far as IMUs and relay drivers,
I would say the same thing. Vet them on a case by case basis or pay more for a known brand. I can't give you the answer you're looking for because there is no rule per se. If you don't have time for the vetting then
pay more for a known brand. As far as SSRs I would only buy from a large well known supplier like Newark
or any large known supplier. I wouldn't buy any SSRs from ebay. I can't help you the IMUs because I never used any.

Thanks.
I only mentioned IMUs and relay drivers as examples, and have no specific need for either at the moment. But a recommendation for Newark is worth having.

idrisdraig:
Having had my fingers burned when buying a cheap Arduino copy in the past, any advice on brands of breakouts etc or (UK) suppliers that are worth using in prefernece to eg cheaper eBay compoents? Or is there not much in it?

Regardless of "brand", if you are getting burned by a circuit board, this means something is overloaded (i.e. you screwed up somewhere).

Did he really mean "burned" literally ?
Ithought he meant figuratively.

If so that speaks to my previous comment of
"how many ways can a Newbie screw up a circuit ?"

Yeah - figuratively, not litterally!. (It's only a ******* PP3! ;D )

Yeah - figuratively, not litterally!. (It's only a ******* PP3!

What a relief. It's awkward to try to build circuits with burned fingers. it also makes it difficult to check ICs
for overheating if you can't put your finger on it...

raschemmel:
Did he really mean "burned" literally ?
Ithought he meant figuratively.

If so that speaks to my previous comment of
"how many ways can a Newbie screw up a circuit ?"

That's how I took it. If the OP said just "burned" I may have taken it as "screwed" or "bad deal" but FINGERS burned sounds like a heat problem, not a product quality problem. Could be wrong though... :slight_smile:

idrisdraig:
Yeah - figuratively, not litterally!. (It's only a ******* PP3! ;D )

Oh. My bad I guess.

I guess you got 'burned' by "burned"...

The only times I got burned was an overheating 7805, and a miswired MOSFET. Both cases were painful, one time I even had the imprint of a TO220 on my thumb for a few days. I've also been hurt by an overheating Nano regulator... but not nearly as bad.

The dozens of Pro Mini and Nano clones that I have employed in various projects have all performed perfectly. No issues. Little experience with the Uno form factor, it's just too inconvenient.

Having had my fingers burned when buying a cheap Arduino copy in the past, any advice on brands of breakouts etc or (UK) suppliers that are worth using in prefernece to eg cheaper eBay compoents? Or is there not much in it?

I don't buy from "cheap suppliers". Here in the U.S., I trust Digi-Key, Mouser, and Newark (these are authorized distributors/suppliers to the electronics industry). Jameco, SparkFun, and Adafruit are also reliable and are more focused on hobbyists.

I don't know who you have in the U.K. RS Components is probably good.

The documentation is usually a good clue. If they give you links to the manufacturer's datasheets, schematics, wiring diagrams, and/or other helpful and complete documentation that's a good sign. If there's just some skimpy "specifications" that's a bad sign.

FYI, the whole discussion about 'burned' was because the OP used that term to mean "screwed" and
someone thought he meant burned burned (physically).

that being said, I almost got burned by an angry 7805 trying to tell me it needed a heatsink.
I got the message, provided the best heatsink I could find and it was still working fine 4 years later.

Since you've requested UK recommendations:

Bitsbox have relatively low priced postage, good for when you just need a few odds and ends to finish something.

Pros: basic website, orders processed promptly, reasonable postage, no endless email spam
Cons: limited range of items, not so good if you are heavy into SMD, not much information provided about items

They don't do official Arduino boards, but do have some knock-offs. They have worked for me without issue.
The boards and breakouts probably come from the same factories as the Ebay ones, but at least you are supporting a local small business.

Another option is HobbyComponents

Bought a couple of breakouts from them, no issues either, and the comments about Bitsbox mostly apply to HobbyComponents too. They do hound you to review items though. You need to check-out their support forum before purchase as there is more detailed information about the items there than in the product listings.

I bought from Cool Components years ago, but they tend to be obscenely expensive and also a very limited range.

Farnell is good for the more demanding stuff.

RS is also good for the demanding stuff, though I often struggle with the minimum order quantity of items. Often I am only looking for one of an item for a one-off task. I'd usually be prepared to get 5 in that case, but not 20, 50, 100.
Annoying is also that you cannot filter out items that are not available, often the case with SMD capacitors of certain values, and cannot filter out bulk packaging like full reels of SMDs.

And finally Rapid Electronics (owned by German Conrad), medium range of products, but messed up my first order with them and kept sending every delivery in a huge box. Haven't been using them much recently, but they were OK too.

There may be others which I haven't used.

wvmarle:
The only times I got burned was an overheating 7805, and a miswired MOSFET. Both cases were painful, one time I even had the imprint of a TO220 on my thumb for a few days. I've also been hurt by an overheating Nano regulator... but not nearly as bad.

The dozens of Pro Mini and Nano clones that I have employed in various projects have all performed perfectly. No issues. Little experience with the Uno form factor, it's just too inconvenient.

Wow! I did the exact same thing years ago to my right hand middle finger.

I used a TIP120 to drive a relay coil and put the "flyback" diode in backwards.

I smelled hot plastic or phenolic (whatever a TIP120 is encapsulated in).

KNOWING that it couldn't possibly be that big transistor driving the little relay coil burning, I touched it.

I simultaneously heard the sizzle, smelled the burned skin and felt the sharp stab of pain. The burn was a scorched white patch of skin the same square size and shape of the TO-220 body.

As I yelped at the pain and said a few things that I can't repeat here, the case ruptured and the top of the black square body literally popped off with an audible snap and flew up about 3 feet high and 6 feet downrange.

Should have been more careful. :slight_smile:

raschemmel:
I guess you got 'burned' by "burned"...

:slight_smile: