What starter kit to buy? Based in NZ

Hi folks,

I have a couple of projects I want to do and my previous project kit is stuck in Australia. I want to buy a starter kit including breadboard etc and looking for recommendations.

I'm in Auckland, New Zealand and things are taking a while from abroad.

The end goal are some projects for my camper van. These include:

1 - Enviroment monitor

Inside temperature
Outside Temperature
Various wall temperatures
Solar panel temperature
Light intensity inside
Light Intensity outside

I'd like to record hourly values and display current value, trend up or down plus last 24hr min & max

2 - LED light controller

3 strip lights in the ceiling of the main area
kitchen lighting
night lighting

switching from 2 locations and dimming

3 - power usage monitor

Voltage, amps and watts
Different circuits/appliances inc:
Inverter (2000W)
water pump
diesel heater
12V sockets

4 - water tank level monitor
Fresh and wastewater
Display percentage full
Measure & record fresh water useage
Measure and record wastewater creation

I'm wondering if it will be worth bringing together the various controllers/monitors together into a Rasberry Pi-based Vanputer for data storage and collation. I haven't used a Rasberry Pi before.

My coding skills/experience are limited but I learn well through projects.

I'm just looking at the Jaycar website

Whats going to be the best place to start?

Here is where I previously got to with an environment sensor Enviroment Sensor - #18 by ianganderton

Hmmmm, maybe I need to create a series of shopping lists for each project

Firstly I think I need a development enviroment

Which Arduino model?


Selection of wires and sensors

Will it make sense to connect up a series of micro controllers to a Pi type computer? If so what connectivity would make sense? I'd like to be sensible around keeping residual power consumption low.

1- Environment sensor

Which controller?
Need to factor in inputs, data storage, display (unless its done via Pi screen), connectivity

Constant display - inc current, trend (arrow indicating up, stable, down) 24hr min & max for inside temp & humidity, outside temp & humidity

Which sensors do I need. I seem to remember a digital temp sensor that could be connected parallel so all using the same input

3 - Power usage monitor

Very similar issues to enviroment sensor I think

Is columb counting possible with arduino. Could I display current battery (12V 200Ah LifePo4) % full, watts being used and watts inputting from solar?

Which sensors will I need to achieve this?

4 - water tank monitor

As above

Plus sensors

I'm thinking it makes sense to have the monitors seperate but with the same display outputs to create a panel. Separating them allows me to work on each project one at a time and keep the coding simple.

Is it complicated to pull the data in from several devices though.

2- LED controller

Needs to be simple, robust and very low power use. No display or connectivity required. Simple button panel in 2 locations (door and bedside) for different light circuits plus dimmers (button activation)

Buttons, relays and dimmer circuits needed.

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