help...damsel in distress

I hope someone can help me...sorry to gatecrash this forum, but i'm really struggling and didn't know where else to turn. My boyfriend (software engineer) has asked santa for an Arduino. I bought a mega starter kit...but what else do I need to buy so he can start tinkering away at christmas???

I know nothing. if someone could just give me a list of all the little extras tools etc. that would be fab. I could just ask him but its supposed to be a suprise.

Thanks for any help

First off: you are possibly the best girlfriend ;)

Tools that are handy for tinkering: - Soldering iron - Wire cutter - Pliers (round nose and flat nose)

Those will get you very far

Be sure that the kit included one or more breadboards, and some wire.

Happy holidays!

:slight_smile: well lookout for starter kits with soldering iron and some prototyping board

Multimeter if you haven't already got one, it makes diagnosis of many faults a lot easier......

It also depends on which starter kit you bought, there are many different kinds

Thanks a lot guys...this is a big help.

I bought the mega starter kit

ok so i'm off to buy a multimeter soldering iron protyping board pliers wire cutter and wire

Leave the soldering iron out for now, just get a multimeter. With this set, he has all necessary items to get him started. Once he knows what he wants to build, he will need more stuff, but what the stuff will be depends on his projects.

The additional breadboard (take one with 700-900 holes which is about twice as big as the included one), wirecutter and wire is welcome but not crucial.

For the soldering iron, some additional stuff like solder, desolder braid, and other stuff become necessary too and it's hard to figure out what is the right model. Once he knows what he wants, he'll know what fits his needs best.


Add a couple of bags of good coffee and some brownies so he can get a fast start with the board.

Get him gift certificates or something to these two places:


Ooops - my bad; based on where you got that kit, it’s unlikely you live anywhere near those place (shipping would be expensive!) - maybe somebody here knows of a closer place for surplus electronics? That, or look into gift certificates or something to major world suppliers of electronics (Dick Smith?)…

[edit]Thingy? Great - does everybody (except perhaps the OP) know who I mean - let’s see D*ck Smith Electronics? [/edit]

What's nice is that even with the lot you've already gotten, he can do quite a bit. I would recommend either a gift certificate to a local or online electronics hobby store, or depending upon the retailers in your area, you might have a GOOD electronics store with employees with at least a passing idea about what they sell.

If you do, then you may be able to ask them in simple terms-- boyfriend new to electronics, working with a microcontroller, and you'd like to get him an inexpensive basic component assortment. Typically that would be a resistor assortment in the most commonly used types, as well as capacitors, a few transistors.. LED's, etc.. basically expanding upon the kit you already purchased. What you are looking for may be sold as "experimenter's kit" or "hobbyist kit", or possibly "student kit". It should NOT be a ton of money, I've seen setups like this in the $20 range, that were pretty well set up for the price. The best deals on this sort of thing are online, but local shops sometimes still remember experimenters exist..

Beyond that, I think it's probably best to see where the little beastie takes him.. some get into servos and motors, some web-based stuff, some into just about anything. He'll be dumpster diving in a week anyway, and will have Arduino-ized both the toaster and the cat by month's end...

Man! Where wuz she when I wuz single??? :smiley:

It's a ruse I say. Everyone knows there are no women on the Internet and especially ones that would buy an Arduino for their boyfriend.


I don't know about other women but my wife demanded I remove Vista from her new laptop and put Linux on it. (yes..that is three "e"s) has a 20 percent off sale but you have to guy their gift certificates before Christmas. The store ships from Hong Kong so I don't know if they would get it here by Christmas.

The first thing he needs to learn is how to blink an LED (light emitting diode) to get an understanding on how the Arduino works.

You probably want to get him a starter kit with an LCD, a couple of breadboards, a servo, a piezo speaker to make noise and some LEDs.

There are places that you can buy packs of resistors and capacitors really cheap instead of paying .25 or .35 cents for an LED.

D*ck Smith Electronics?

Unfortunately DSE have followed the money and no longer sell electronic parts: they're now just another cellphone / TV discount retailer staffed by temps who don't know what a soldering iron is.

Nowadays the place that Aussie geeks go for useful stuff is Jaycar, who so far have managed to resist the urge to sell cellphones and TVs.