Getting started

Hello all,

I have come here in hopes you guys can help me get started here. I need some guidance on exactly what I should be looking for in a starter kit/what goodies I should get along with my chip. I am looking to start off with an arduino mega 2560, and already know how to code as well as some general stuff about the chip. The extent of my knowledge is where stuff is plugged in, and how to make lights turn on and off, so the rest of this stuff like resistors and diodes I am uncertain of. I have a slight grasp conceptually on what they can do, but I am still lost.

I am pretty much on the poor end so I want to get one starter kit (I have literally 0 supplies atm) and maybe a few solo extras and be pretty set to do a lot of different and cool things with the chip. I love the idea of using sensors, buttons, and other such awesome devices. Looking on the ebay there are tons of starter kits, and to a newbie like me I have no clue if I am being scammed or not.

A listing like this is 50 bucks:

1x SunFounder Mega 2560
1x RGB
1x Project Box
40x Pin Header
1x Timer 555
2x Optocoupler 4N35
2x Shift Resister 74HC595N
1x H-Bridge L293D
1x Accelerometer ADXL335
1x Rotary Encoder
5x Push-Button small
8x Resistor – 220 Ohm
4x Resistor –1k Ohm
4x Resistor –10k Ohm
1x Resistor – 1M Ohm
1x Resistor – 5.1M Ohm
1x Switch
1x Trim Pot – 50k
1x LCD Character Display 16x2
1x Dot Matrix Display 8x8
2x 7-Segment Character Display
1x DC Motor
16x LED red
2x LED white
2x LED green
2x LED yellow
2x Transistor NPN
2x Transistor PNP
4x Capacitor Ceramic 100nF
4x Capacitor Ceramic 10nF
4x Diode Rectifier
1x Breadboard
1x USB Cable
65x Male to Male Jumper Wires
20X Female to Male Dupont wires
1x Piezo Buzzer
1x fan

It comes with a ton of stuff, but to somebody like me I don't know if that is a good value, or if I am going to end up missing some key part that I really won't be able to do anything without. Can somebody maybe throw together a list of things I should be looking for as the KEY parts I need, example being jumper cables. Maybe somebody would go so far as to recommend a specific kit :blush:? As I said earlier, I am looking for a general purpose kit where I can get it and do just a bunch of cool stuff with it without having to buy another set of parts.

Any help is appreciated, as I literally cannot afford to choose wrong!


I bought an Arduino Uno and a starter kit separately.
My starter kid did not come with the motor or the accelorametor or the LCD or LED.
Together I think I paid $25-30.
I would do the same again.

You will need solderless breadboards. I bought two of the MB102.

I've been playing with electronics for years and I have collected a good few bits and pieces - most of which are never, and probably will never be used.

If you are on a tight budget and don't have any specific project in mind I would buy
an Uno,
a solderless breadboard,
maybe 10 leds with a mixture of colours
say 10 or 20 resistors - maybe half 4,700 ohms and half 1,000 ohms (you can probably get 100 for the same price)
a 10k ohm linear potentiometer
about 1 metre of Cat6 cable with solid connectors - take it apart and use the wires for connections to the Arduino and the
a 10k potentiometer
a small servo (optional, if you have no interest in such things)
a cheap digital multimeter

a soldering iron with a small bit and some solder is also extremely useful.

That should give you enough to become very competent as an Arduino programmer. Leds can stand in for all sorts of external devices so you get a visible indication of whether something is on or off.

After that, if you have more to spend, I think you need to decide where your interest lie.


I like the resistor variety pack from Radio Shack. It's about the only thing worth buying at Radio Shack.

Can never have too many breadboards. I get 'em cheap from Asia. One big one and several small ones. Lets you leave projects A, B, and C set up while you play with Project D.

I also got a 200-count transistor variety pack and a capacitor variety pack from Asian exporters (for example, DealExtreme). More than I need, sure, but they're cheap. Oh, and the breadboard jumper wire pack. And a pack of male headers. And a bag of pushbuttons. And a bag of LEDs. And a bag of assorted diodes. A small pile of LM317 or similar voltage/current regulators ain't a bad idea either, though I usually end up getting those from DigiKey/Mouser/Newark.

I got several cheap multimeters from my local Harbor Freight. Sometimes I use two or three at a time. On one of them I cut off the probes and attached little spring-loaded grabber hooks.

I put all my components in a binder with baseball card holders and labels (lots and lots of labels). Pretty happy with my system.

Okay guys thanks for the advice. I have be scowering the internet and doing more research on what stuff to get within my budget, and so now I have a list of items I would like input on. Input being, "No don't get that it's useless" or "you should get this instead of that".

ATmega2560-16AU CH340G MEGA 2560 R3 Board
USB Cable
30 X 100? Resistors
30 X 1 k? Resistors
30 X 4.7 k? Resistors
30 X 10 k? Resistors
30 X 47 k? Resistors
30 X 100 k? Resistors
30 X 1 M? Resistors
2 X 3pin 15mm B10k Rotary Potentiometer
2 X 3pin 15mm B100k Rotary Potentiometer
3 X Red 5mm LED
3 X Yellow 5mm LED
3 X Green 5mm LED
3 X White 5mm LED
3 x 4pin 12x12mm Tactile Switch
9 x 12x12mm Round Tactile Button Cap (mixed color)
6 x 12x12mm Square Tactile Button Cap (mixed color)
40 xpin 2.54mm single pin male
4 x 3.3V/5V MB102 Breadboard Power Supply Module
4 x Solderless MB-102 MB102 Breadboard
Jumper cables:

  • 98 pcs 120mm length
  • 16 pcs 150mm length
  • 8 pcs 200mm length
  • 8 pcs 240mm length
    100pcs MOT/ON 2N2222 SN2222A Bipolar NPN Transistors
    Arduino 100Pcs 2N3906 TO-92 General Propose PNP Transistor
    10 x 50v 0.22uf
    10 x 50v 0.47uf
    10 x 50v 1uf
    10 x 50v 2.2uf
    10 x 50v 4.7uf
    10 x 50v 10uf
    10 x 50v 22uf
    10 x 16v 33uf
    10 x 16v 47uf
    10 x 16v 100uf
    10 x 16v 220uf
    10 x 16v 470uf
    50pcs 22pF 22 50V Monolithic Ceramic Chip Capacitor
    10PCS LM317T LM317 1.5A 1.2V-37V Adjustable Voltage Regulator IC TO-220
    Centech 7 Function Digital Multimeter Easy-to-read LCD
    25Pcs 1N4148
    25Pcs 1N4007
    10Pcs 1N5819
    10Pcs 1N5399
    10Pcs FR107
    10Pcs FR207
    5Pcs 1N5408
    5Pcs 1N5822
    MAX7219 Dot matrix module MCU control Display module
    2x 4-Digit 12-Pin Display Module
    3x LCD 1602 16x2 (or maybe 1 16x2 and 1 20x4)
    3x IIC/I2C/TWI/SPI Serial Interface Board Module
    Touch Key Switch Module
    MPU-6050 Module 3 Axis Gyroscope+Accelerometer Module
    Sensors kit includes:
    1 x Flame sensor module
    1 x Passive buzzer module
    1 x Active buzzer Module
    1 x Vibration switch module
    1 x Tilt Angle switch module
    1 x Obstacle avoidance sensor module
    1 x Humidity sensor module
    1 x Hall sensor module
    1 x Reed module
    1 x Temperature and humidity sensor module
    1 x Speed ??Sensor module
    1 x Thermal sensor module
    1 x Sound Sensor Module
    1 x Photodiode Sensor Module
    1 x Photoresistor Sensor Module
    1 x Dupont Line 40P-40P 20cm
    Arduino 9v Battery Holder with toggle

I know it may seem excessive, but I have been waiting a while to bulk up, and it all fits into my 80 dollarish budget.


I like the resistor variety pack from Radio Shack. It's about the only thing worth buying at Radio Shack.

They got a little jumper wire pack that comes with assorted lengths of wires in assorted colors by length all sorted out in a little plastic case. That's a good one too. I've been through 5 or 6 of them in the last couple of years.

You probably don't need such a variety of resistors, caps & diodes, but since they're jellybean components and hopefully covered by one shipping charge, nice to have.

Don't do anything with 9V smokealarm batteries - their capacity makes them useless for arduino projects. AAs are preferred so you need a different battery holder.

If cash is tight, get an Uno - cheaper to replace if you destroy it with an electrical mistake.