what basic stuff to buy for a electronic hobbyist

Hello friends, I'm putting a big order to RS as there is a 20% discount for the first order. what stuff is a must for a electronic hobbyist? I put this list by watching most popular circuits on Playground and other sites: - 100x resistors of various values (2R, 100R, 1kR, 2k2R, what else?) - 100x schottky rectifiers 1N5817 - 250x fast rectifier diodes 1N4937 can it work as replacement of 1N4004 and 1N4148? according to what I read, a fast diode is always better than I slow one, and it's marginally more expensive) - 50x 2N3904 transistor (is it better to replace them with 2N2222?) - 100x BC327-25 0.8A transistors (are these redundant?) - 100x ceramic X7R 100nF 25V caps - 100x electrolytic 100uF 25V caps - 50x electrolytic 470uF 25V caps (are they useful for the L298 driven 2A 12V DC motors?) - 1x solder wire 60/40 Sn/Pb 1 mm 2.5% flux 250 grams -5x 2N7000 Mosfet transistors (don't remember why I put them) - 10x TIP102 (seems useful to power beefy things) Any suggestions for cheap optoisolators? I would power them at 5V and they have to simulate key presses on remote control buttons, so the load would be small. Probably quad channel optos are better for fit in tight space.

Some other things I would recommend (I’m just getting started myself, so I’m just reading off a few things from my order):

  • stripboard if they sell it (the stuff that’s basically a breadboard you can solder to)
  • various sensors (temperature ones are super cheap, so are photocells)
  • potentiometers
  • LEDs, LCD screens
  • buttons in various shapes sizes and types
  • pin headers both male and female
  • wire
  • heat shrink tubing
  • 5v regulator (LM7805)
  • battery holders

Also look at some of the stuff you’ll need to build your own arduino on a stripboard if you want to make your projects permanent. Things like IC sockets and 16MHz crystals

Thank you Grant for your tips!

  • stripboard if they sell it (the stuff that's basically a breadboard you can solder to)

Yeah I'm going to buy some stripboard at the local store, as I couldn't understand on RS if they have stripboards with a grid of isolated contacts. It seeems they have grouped them in rows or three by three.

  • various sensors (temperature ones are super cheap, so are photocells)

I agree. Which ones did you order?

  • potentiometers

I ordered a few 100kOhm carbon potentiometers that can handle 50mW.

  • wire

Is it ok telephony wire? It's made of solid copper inside. I'm buying also Verowire for SMD applications

  • heat shrink tubing

I added a polyolefin one, 3mm internal diameter, 3:1 shrinking ratio. However it's quite expensive, 7.93 euros for 10 meters!

  • 5v regulator (LM7805)

yeah those are like onion and garlic :D

what about transistors and capacitors? Are they fine the ones I choose?

Yeah I'm going to buy some stripboard at the local store, as I couldn't understand on RS if they have stripboards with a grid of isolated contacts. It seeems they have grouped them in rows or three by three.

yea they have 3 types...

1) with no solder pads, for wirewrap 2) with each individual pad seperated 3) the grouped pads

Sounds like radio shack prototype boards. What you want is actual stripboard with copper strips you can cut with a track cutter :

It can be obtained very cheaply on ebay.

100x resistors of various values

I'd go for 100 each of 1K, 10K, and something to limit LED current (220 or 270), and an "assortment pack" or two to have a few each of most of the common values on hand.

100x electrolytic 100uF 25V caps

Probably more than you need. Is there a smaller package (25 or 50) at a good price?

The BC327s aren't redundant: you'll want to have both NPN and PNP on hand. 2N3904 and 2N2222 are interchangeable for most hobbyist purposes.

Add some 5K or 10K linear-taper pots for controlling the Arduino via analog inputs. Compare prices to surplus sources before buying large quantities.

Throw in a few op-amps (like the LM358 and/or LM324): if you decide you need many later, you'll probably want to go surplus shopping.


X Pluggy: yeah now I understand, with these tracks and track cutter it save you to solder wires between pins sometimes. Seems better than individual solder pads, right?

X Ran Talbott: yeah I should find those assortment packs.

The 100uF 25V caps are sold in 25 packages and cost 2 euros per package, that's why I added 100x, so I would have a good inventory

I switch to 2N2222 because it can handle more current than 2N3904 and it's just a little more expensive

Added 10 LM324 and 10 7805, they are everywhere :D

I've seen you can find many good deals on eBay sources, however the task of comparing takes up a lot of time, and if the orders are scattered the shipping costs doesn't make them cheap anymore:(

Solderless breadboard is a must. Timers, e.g., LMC555 and shift registers may be also useful.

eh strip board vs proto board is totally a personal preference, I prefer each hole has its own pad and just jumping with wire, even with strip board your going to have to do this if your going sideways heh (and I just hate the way the cutter makes the board look)

Just keep in mind with strip board you need that doughnut cutter tool, and jumper wire, and with other designs the tool is not necessary

Yeah I already bought one breadboard for experiments...

I always worked on proto board like you Osgeld, but for unknown reason it's easier to find Vero board on eBay. Maybe because of its British roots.

Do circuits made on Vero board occupy more space than prototype boards? I have this impression, but maybe with a bit of clever engineering the footprint is the same

the footprint is a tad bit bigger, cause if 2 items are not meant to be connected you have to kill a hole, versus you on proto board you can stuff every single hole

In reality no one is insane enough to do that, I cram alot on a board but ive never used every single point

cause if 2 items are not meant to be connected you have to kill a hole,

Well you can cut the track between two holes with a sharp knife. You have to do this on two row header plugs and other such components. I alsu do this when I am running short of space.

Thank you for the tip!

I’m doing another shopping list on a british eBay seller.
They sell 50x 0.1uF 25V 20% +/- disc ceramic capacitor for 1.12 euros

The ones I’ve found on RS are these, and 100 of them cost 7.8 euros.

They have X7R dielectric, 100V, 10% +/- and works till 125°C

Of course the latter seem to have better quality, I need these for decoupling on 5-12V supplies… Can the cheaper ones work or better forget them?

“The 100uF 25V caps are sold in 25 packages and cost 2 euros per package”

100 is probably way more than you’ll need anytime soon. 1 pack of 25 should suffice for a while. Consider getting a pack of 47uF: if you get serious about Arduinos, and make some “permanent” projects, you’ll almost certainly wind up buying some in kit or bare PCB form to save money. Modern Device’s RBBB is great for making an “Arduino module” for plugging into a stripboard or protoboard with other circuitry on it. Space can be really tight on Arduino PCBs, and you may need smaller caps.

Use the 4 Euros you’ve saved to buy a few other chips like 555s and shift registers, as pekkaa suggested.

You should definitely get advice from some of our European members on where to go surplus shopping (either online or locally): it makes a huge difference in what you can do within your budget. And the oddities that you encounter by chance will give you ideas for projects that you otherwise never would have come up with.


Ran, I share your point of view, I'll look on the italian section if there are any upcoming events or fairs.

However I'm building a network of sensors and motors with some Arduinos in my house, and probably I'll use 30-40 of those caps just for decoupling purposes. As I'm saving some money buying part of the list through eBay, I could afford even those 47uF caps. The biggest issue when you buy online are shipping costs, you can only recover them by placing big orders from time to time, otherwise it's cheaper to go to the local shop even if it charges you 0.30$ for a cap or resistor :)

yea shipping on electronics components drive me NUTS, seems like they could toss most of the stuff into an envelope and slap a stamp on it

.01 and .001 uf caps are quite common for decoupling and high frequency filtering

Smaller caps added... this thing is going to be an arsenal!

I started off with this set:


(bobsbitsbox Ebay) and also added a couple of other things from his shop. It’s a nice selection of components I think. Have to admit have bought lot’s more stuff since I started electronics a couple of months ago.

Great Wortelsoft! I was exactly looking at bobbitsbox store before you told me! The guy reply very quickly to the email and the fact you bought from him makes me more confident.

Are these mini soldering station just a toy? ZD-927 16 euros

I would use it for attaching SMD components to the stripboard with small wires.

Or is it preferable this one? ZD-937 45 euros http://www.china-zhongdi.com/tcss01.htm

I'd like to have something better than ultracheap solder, but not as expensive as Weller, Ersa ones...

That first one you pointed out would probably be ok, make sure you can get replacement tips for it (probably not at 16 euro)

I have an xytronic (cept with a better stand than whats shown)which was like 45us $ and its great, It performs just as well as our hakko's at work (but for half the price), but I dont know how easy they are to get outside of the states


Those digital controlled ones look pretty cool, just make sure it has a way to select presets, its quite tedious spanning temps 1 degree at a time