I recently purchased an Arduino starter kit and have been playing around with it. Although, in the distant past, I had done a little bit with (non-digital) electronics, I'm, basically a total beginner. I have two basic questions:
1. The trimpots which come with the kit do not fit very well into the breadboard -- so much so that I cannot get anything involving the use of the pots to run reliably. I'm pretty confident that the problem is not in the way I hook things up, and I know that its not in the code (since the first thing I always try is to use the example code under the "starter kit" menu). I can always buy regular pots and hook them up with jumper wires and alligator clips (or crocodile clips if you're in the UK), but this can get a little expensive for just playing around, and also seems contrary to the whole point of using a breadboard to try different things out easily. Any suggestions for getting the supplied pots to make contact in the breadboard (or alternatively, for a source of inexpensive trimpots which will work better with the bredboard)?
2. Looking ahead a bit to more permanent projects, I envision putting most external components on a piece of perfboard. However, being an old-fashioned kind of guy, I would like to mount switches, LEDs, pots, etc. on the front panel of the enclosure rather than putting them on a board and just having them poke through the panel. This means that I would need (I) wires going from the front panel components to the perfboard, and (ii) wires going from the perfboard to the Arduino board.
For connections to the perfboard, I would probably use Molex KK-type connectors. However, this system generally is designed to have male pins on the board and a female connector on the wires. Thus, it will not work for making connections to the Arduino board, which has female sockets for all of its external connections. I could use individual header pins soldered to each wire, but this is pretty cumbersome and also pretty much guarantees that something will go into the wrong socket. What I'm looking for is a means of making connections to the Arduino board that is easy to use (i.e., plug in one connector which has a bunch of wires connected to it), secure (i.e., like the snap connection on the KK connectors) yet easy to disconnect when necessary. Any suggestions?