New to Arduino/electronics Seeking Advice

Hello everyone! There wasn't really a "general" channel to post this in, but I'm finally breaking down and seeking advice from the forum. Yesterday I purchased the "Getting Started with Arduino" kit and book (Make) from radio shack. I stayed up all night and most of the day reading through the entire book, playing around with the few components available, and generally researching anything I can about Arduino projects. I realized then that if I was going to do anything worthwile, I would need more. So, today I bought the larger "Ultimate Microcontroller Pack" and an ultrasonic sensor (it looked cool) from radio shack. Loads more interesting pieces to tinker with, but not enough. I've been researching projects for the past 2 days, looking for something viable for me to do with the materials I have at hand. The problem is that I don't think I will ever have enough electrical components.

Could anyone suggest a good component package for around $100 or under that would supply me with enough things to actually make stuff with? Radio Shack people are absolutely no help unless I want to buy a cell phone.

What cheap/throwaway electronics should I be looking for to strip sensors, components, or hackable devices? I have old cameras, camcorders, computers, cell phones, remotes, vcr's, dvd players, etc laying around all over. I also ordered a Mindflex game so that I can hack the headset (eeg project).

I purchased one book from radioshack and looked through the others. Neither one seems all that helpful. The Arduino books seem to tell you What to do without telling you Why it works. Electronics books discuss soo much theory my head splits open. Can anyone help me with a book recommendation?

Why does it seem that since i'm getting into Arduino I might as well get into 3d printing? Every project seems to be centered around the case, or enclosure rather than the actual board configuration/coding. I can not afford a MakerBot, but this Buccaneer system seems affordable @ $375 . I'm only slightly better at CAD programs than I am at Arduino (not much obviously), but I see soo many cool schematics for robot hands/arms and other cool toys.

On another note. Those ultrasonic sensors, specifically the PING distance sensor that I just bought; is there any way to crank up the juice on those things? I noticed (after I bought it of course), that the range is only up to 10ft. Any way to crank this puppy up to a couple mile range? Rookie mistake, but I thought I could be cool and build a radar system for my boat...lol too many variables

On the electronics side of things, this should take a little longer than a day to outgrow –

http://www.talkingelectronics.com

Any way to crank this puppy up to a couple mile range?

Imagine "cranking-up" a cheap pocket radio so that the audio can be heard a couple of miles away.
About the only way you're going to hear it at that range (actually, that would need to be twice the range) would be to put a stick of dynamite under it.

lol, yeah I thought so. Maybe I’ll have to just find a bigger one then.

Maybe I’ll have to just find a bigger one then.

Don’t think “bigger” think “different” or “more suitable”.

What I was trying to say was, you’re not going to get sonar in air working at more than a few metres at any cost you can afford.

Besides, do the very simple arithmetic: You know that “see the lightning and start counting” thing?
If you get to five, the lightning is about a mile away (five seconds at the speed of sound).
For a sonar range of “a couple of miles”, you need to detect a sound that has travelled four miles - two miles out and two miles back.
That’s around twenty seconds.
Can you imagine how loud that sound is going to have to be?
I think my earlier stick of dynamite example may be a little underpowered.

Acehigh0111:
The problem is that I don't think I will ever have enough electrical components.

Could anyone suggest a good component package for around $100 or under that would supply me with enough things to actually make stuff with?

I think you need to look at this a different way. I must admit I keep buying stuff like ultrasonic sensors "in case I find a use for them" but in fact you can make something very useful with only a couple of components. For example I made a gadget that flashes LEDs if the room is too hot or too cold.

It's still working too, that's the strange thing. :slight_smile:

First find an application. Fish-feeder, security lock, temperature monitor, whatever. Then buy what is required to make it work. It might only cost $10.