I got an Arduino so what other hardware do I need?

So a friend of mine was selling an Ardunio MEGA for cheaps. I am normally a pure software guy and have never tried anything with hardware before, but when I heard about the Arduino, it seemed like a nice way for a software guy like me to get introduced to hardware. So I have the Arduino, USB cable, a computer with software setup, but nothing else and I want to know what I should get for hardware components?

As far as project ideas I want to use it for, ideally I want to use the Arduino to let my computer interface with everyday electronics that normally don't get directly attached to a laptop. For example, my roommate's first Arduino project was to simply connect the Arduino to a coffee maker so if his desktop sent a signal to the Ardunio via USB, the Ardunio would close the circuit on the coffee maker's electronics as if the brew button was pressed. He then put another program on top of the USB driver that acted as a server service/daemon so he could remotely activate his coffee maker. We jokingly agreed he should implement HTCPCP, but that is the kind of project I am looking to do with this.

Now realize that when I am asking what else should I get, I mean you should not make any assumptions that I have anything other than what I explicitly say I have and here is my short list of things.

  • A single used and cheap soldering iron
  • The solder that came with the iron
  • A solder sucker
  • A wire stripper
  • Scrap electrical wire
  • Arduino MEGA
  • USB Cable
  • Plenty of old, collected desktop computers, as well as my nice desktop and laptop.

I am looking at the Jameco Electronics website ready to buy some essentials. I've seem some starter kits but I've noticed that they usually come with an Anduino which I don't need. I'd rather not spend much more than $50 on the rest of the stuff since I am still introducing myself to hardware. Here is my current shopping list.

  • 100 Red LED's
  • Basic Multimeter
  • Breadboard
  • 9V Wall adapter power supply
  • LCD Module

That's all I can really think of. There is probably some really common electrical circuit components I'll end up needing but don't know anything about so I find out later the hard way. What should I get for starters?

I recommend buying these kits for just to keep extra parts stash on hand.

Check out the links. They are really useful to have on hand. Also, pick up some standard Vero Boards (Strip board) — just for prototyping, etc.


Get a helping hand too!

It's on your list, but the digital multimeter is the most important first purchase you should make. Also please take the time to really learn how to utilize it well, understand what it can and cannot do. It can save you from lots of problems and damage to components and boards.


hey I'm just starting out too!

I reckon that you need a some resistors too, someone with more experience will tell you what value but they are used when connecting up LEDs and other components.

Also don't you want some inputs? Buttons, knobs, sliders and the like?