Buying advice

Hi all. Hope it’s ok to post a question like this. The thing is that I want to give my girlfriend an Arduino board for Christmas. Last year I got her some electric parts and books on basic electronics but this year I want to add the board. I’m just not sure if I should by the starter kit or just a board.

The kit I got her last year has some basic stuff, leds, circuits, breadboard and other things I don’t know the names of. I selected it after extensive google and it got great reviews. I however can’t for the life if me find it again so I don’t have a detailed list of components. But I did take pictures.

So do you have any advice on what to buy? Would I just be spending money on something she already got if I would buy the starter kit? Would it be wiser to buy a single board and something else with it? (Ideas appreciated :wink: )

Just to add, she is a programmer. She has this kit in the pictures, a multimeter and a soldering station.

My advice. Get an Arduino starter kit ( say Uno based) with a display and lots of interesting sensors etc. to experiment with. Once she grows out of that, assuming the interest is still there, she can then order the additional stuff she requires for specific projects.

I too would go with a kit and the Uno is fine. There may be some overlap with what she already has but having clear instructions and knowing you have the 'right' components for the job makes a big difference particularly when things don't work as expected. Small DC motors, servos and photo resistors are fun components. If she is a programmer she should find the Arduino easy but interesting.

the key is to get what she has interest in.
if she wants to make temperature controlled stuff...
does she like to brew beer ?
any interest in a sun following device ?
plant watering ? garden , etc

to get her many of the things that would be part of something she would like to do ?

a sun following mirror in the yard can pour light into a window. very neat. saves energy.

a beer brewing system is lots of work, but you get a better flavor and taste the results.

a garden or weather station is pretty easy to make and you get to log the results. and you can post to your phone or a website.

find out how she wants to 'see' the world with these bits and it will make her happy.

more important, does she have a friend that likes electronics and programming ?

A kit with parts and instructions is my suggestion also - that is where I started. If she has a specific interest you could add a bit extra for a sensor or something. NOTE: many of the Arduino suppliers are shipping the kit and parts but no manual - they expect you to go online and wade through pages after page online - I think that sucks and I don't learn well that way - I need paper that I can make notes on the pages - if the kit you get does not come with printed and bound instructions - look on their site - many are putting the PDF of the manual online for "free" - download the PDF and have it printed and bound

Even if she is a talented programmer expect a few screams and mumbled somethings under her breath - process control is way different than a PC or main frame or server - takes some getting used to

good luck

Thanks for the advices! Very helpful:) I think I will purchase the starter kit :slight_smile:

Looking forward to the living room table being filled with all sorts of everything and hopefully a happy gf :wink:


There are lots of starter sets. Here is one I developed, and a couple thousand are used in school and universities. Take a look at the contents and the how-to for the various sensors and actuators etc.


DISCLAIMER: Mentioned stuff from my own shop...

Don't get an Uno. They're a pain to use with breadboards. They weren't designed for use with breadboards. They were designed for use with shields. Get a Nano. They're equivalent and compatible with Uno in 99.5% of situations. But a Nano will plug nicely into that breadboard.

Don't get an Uno. They're a pain to use with breadboards.

That kind of pain led me to two things that work very well:

Better pins and connectors and 3-pin cables that connect to almost anything:


And the derived version of the UNO that I use has 3 male pins for every I/O pin: (Voltage)(Ground)(Signal). You can plug a servo or many 3-pin sensors / actuators directly in. See it Here:

I have had several thousand of these made by a good supplier I personally know in Shenzhen, China. Very high reliability.

DISCLAIMER: Mentioned stuff from my own shop...

I recently bought someone an obstacle avoiding robot kit for a present. It has not arrived yet so I have no idea how it will be received.

My rationale for choosing it included

  • I know the person is capable of building it if s/he has enough interest.
  • At the same time, building it will be challenge.
  • And more likely to draw the person into Arduinos than a starter kit
  • Even if s/he is not interested in Arduinos s/he may find it an interesting toy
  • It has a good variety of parts that could be used for other things if the Arduino bug bites

Of course it might just go out the door as a Christmas present for someone else :slight_smile:


PS. I did not buy from the above link - it was just the first one I found with a similar kit.