What's in your parts kit?

Hello all!

I'm putting together a small "care package" for a friend of mine who's always wanted to get into electronics. He's dabbled here and there, and helped me in the past on my own projects, but never had the means to get all the tools, components, etc. needed to really get going, and he's a - frankly - brilliant person, if a little recluse.

A few friends and I decided to do something about this, and we all got together and picked up a Aoyue soldering station for him, and have donated various bits and pieces from our parts bins to get him going. Our goal here, is to present him with as large of a kit of parts as possible that allows for as many possibilities as possible for directions to go in. My friends and I tend to stick to photon generation devices (hah, sorry, inside joke) and audio stuff. Crossovers, Equalizers, Amplifiers, and LED displays. So our parts bins always look pretty much the same - lots of resistors in the 1 to 10K range, ULN2803's, TLC5940's or WS2803/11s, large size air-core foil inductors, and Poly caps in the 20uF - 400uF range (and higher 500V 10,000uF snubbers, etc.) more wirewound resistors than you can shake a stick at, LED matrixes, LM3871s, etc.

There are whole other avenues of this hobby however that we don't dabble in. If we did, I'd wager that our parts bins would look dramatically different -- more/different transistors, or non-light-emitting diodes, more 74 series chips - that kind of thing.

So what do you "always have on hand" in your parts bin that allows you to prototype a design? What kinds of things do you say, "Gee, I've only got 1 or 2 of these left, and should go find more"?

We've set aside a budget of about $200 for this. Most of the stuff we'll source on Alibaba or Ebay. Probably bying more than we need strictly for the kit, just so we have some as well. :) So here's what I've got so far:

  • Passive Components

  • Resistors - Axial Lead 1/2W - Various sies. A 144 Value "Kit" - roughly 20 pcs per value

  • Ceramic Capacitor "Kit" - small values

  • Electrolytic Capacitor "Kit" - various values, small and large. Something generic though

  • Actives & ICs

  • LEDs - LOTS of them. Red, Blue, Green 3mm are cheap right now. Probably a handful of RGBs, and a 8x8 or 5x7 LED Matrix

  • Transistors, 5 each of - 2N - 3904, 4401, 3704, 5088, 2222.. what other values are most commonly used?

  • 74xxxx Logic about 5ea - 595, 164, 373, 138, 299

  • 3x ULN2308

  • Voltage Regulators - 3each 5v, 3v, and Adjustable types

  • 2x TLC5940 LED/PWM Driver (I have some extra)

  • 2x WS2803 16Ch LED/PWM Driver (I have some extra, and they are kind of fun to play with)

  • Op Amps - 2x LM3875s (these things are awsome), 2x 741s

  • Timers - 3x 555's - always good to have a few of these. :)

  • Electromechanical

  • Tactile Switches - momentary SPST Normally-Open type

  • Pin Headers, and lots of them

  • 100x 1-pin female header housings & box pins

  • "Rainbow" Ribbon Cable, 40-way about 3 feet (leftover from a spool I had)

  • 25 ft spools of 22AWG Solid Core - Black, Red, White, Green, Blue and Yellow wire

What we're using as our "Base" for the kit (not included on our budget, as we're donating these):

  • 1x Raspberry Pi
  • 1x Arduino Decimilia w/ 328 instead of the 128.
  • 1x Arduino Mega

What am I missing? A motor or two? Batteries? What types of diodes are most commonly used - I rarely ever use these unless I'm rectifying AC current.. Should I throw in Xbee or some other RF comms? (Xbee is a little pricey, but I'll get it if it's worth it).

thanks!

[quote author=Jeff M link=topic=156289.msg1170998#msg1170998 date=1364173992] Hello all!

I'm putting together a small "care package" for a friend of mine who's always wanted to get into electronics. He's dabbled here and there, and helped me in the past on my own projects, but never had the means to get all the tools, components, etc. needed to really get going, and he's a - frankly - brilliant person, if a little recluse.

What am I missing? A motor or two? Batteries? What types of diodes are most commonly used - I rarely ever use these unless I'm rectifying AC current.. Should I throw in Xbee or some other RF comms? (Xbee is a little pricey, but I'll get it if it's worth it).

thanks! [/quote] If you are doing lots of leds, be sure to get more than enough resistors to run those leds. Probably double up on some of the common ones (10k, 220k, 330k, etc.).

In addition to momentary switches, switches that retain their state (on/off clicky switches or dip switches).

A few potentiometers.

I would suggest a sensor pack that has several of the common sensors (force, accelerometer , motion, hall, light). Include an IR sensor for IR remote controls, and a cheap IR remote control.

In terms of batteries, I tend to like cell phone charger batteries, as you don't need a special charger, they are a single unit, and they are readily recharged and used. For the R-pi, look for a battery that can deliver an amp or so.

I would say at least one hobby motor and one hobby servo.

Optocouplers for low power DC isolation and maybe relays for switching A/C power.

Appropriate USB cables, including the cable for programming the Decimilia.

The following things aren't things you usually don't buy multiples of, but if your friend doesn't have them, you might want to be sure they are part of the kit:

A couple of breadboards (one good sized, maybe 1-2 smaller breadboards). If you think your friend is going to build more permanent things, then perhaps either prototype shields and/or perfboards (I like the Adafruit perma-proto boards).

If your friend doesn't have a soldering iron, then an iron, helping hands to hold parts together when soldering, solder, solder wick, braid to clean the iron.

If your friend does not have a multimeter, then one of those. If not a multimeter, at least a circuit continuity tester.

Wire cutter/stripper.

Perhaps an i2c 16x2 or 20x4 LCD.

At least one A/C adapter (preferably 3) with variable voltage support and 2.1mm power cable. Some male/female 2.1mm power adapters.

A GPS module. MEMS sensors - accelerometer etc, can be used for all sorts of useful things.

MichaelMeissner: If you are doing lots of leds, be sure to get more than enough resistors to run those leds. Probably double up on some of the common ones (10k, 220k, 330k, etc.).

In addition to momentary switches, switches that retain their state (on/off clicky switches or dip switches).

A few potentiometers. (rest snipped for brevity)

Ah! Of course, I forgot about pots! :) Optocouplers - check. I've got a few of those I can throw in. The only time I ever used em was to isolate a relay that switched A/C current for a cheap wave-maker substitue on my reef tank. I'm sure there are other uses. :)

Sensors - Hall, IR, motion, photo. I forgot all about those, i'll add them to the list.

And yep to the switches too - I just didn't list 'em. Clicky ones, tactile ones, toggle ones, and a few DIPs, which I've found good for setting I2C addresses and the like. I've also got a few 1-Wire temp sensors I can toss in there too.

As for motors and servos.. those are things I've never played with. Any suggestions for easy to work with? Should I go stepper or non? I'm in the air about an LCD. I thought about it, and I've got an old, unassembled "Peter Anderson" HD44780 kit from a few years ago, along with an 20x4 LCD that I never used for that same project I used the optocoupler for.. I can throw that in there...

Tool wise he should be set.. Batteries.. I've got a ton of those from old, low end cell phones laying about I can include (I'll probably toss an old Nokia phone in the box too, for parts).

Great suggestions, thank you!

michinyon: A GPS module. MEMS sensors - accelerometer etc, can be used for all sorts of useful things.

Yeah. He'll dig the whole MEMS thing too (the whole concept of tiny machines is just awesome). I've got a MEMS microphone and a pre-amp already, accel and gyro will also go in. GPS too.. great. Thanks! :)

H-Bridge IC (L293D or SN754410NE) to drive the motor(s) or steppers.

Geared motor(s) + Wheels http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__26255__Geared_Motor_Offset_Shaft_2Pcs_Bag_.html

Cheap and fun stuff:-

LCD Display (16x2, 16x4 or 120x4) (16x2 can be bought for about $2.50-$3.00) 74HC595 8 Bit Shift Registers (pennies/cents) PCF8574 8 Bit I2C Expander (about $2 in singles, down to $0.65 each in larger quantities)) Matrix Keypad (membrane or phone style) ( nRF24L01+ 2.4Ghz Radio Modules (a couple would be about $5) Bluetooth Module (about $8) SD Card Module (about $2) A couple of 328P-PU (about $5 each) - so he can breadboard/pcb his own Arduino for learning Crystals

Apologies if I've repeated anything others have already suggested.

Some better shift registers - TPIC6B595

A couple ATtiny’s.
A real-time clock.
Arduino clones are fun, Boarduinos or whatever, plus it’s something to solder :smiley:
XBees are great, like you say maybe a bit pricey. XBee ZBs (fka S2) are $17 at Mouser or direct from Digi.
I’ve been playing with EEPROM chips like 24FC256 lately, they’re easy, fun and < $1.

I hope your friend thanks you. The "Base" kit to me depends on the user knowledge base, and what they are trying to do.

my basic projects kit is passive components, LEDs voltage regulators, logic gates, solder-less breadboard, and some transistors and a multimeter.

when I teach people electronics, i start out with test and measure, fundamental principles, and reading of data-sheets / schematics. With those 3 skills a beginner can conquer most problems they will encounter, or be able to express their problems to someone who can help them.

( also just recalled a friend of mine who likes to throw broken parts back into stock. The logic, is that building things that work, when everything works is easy. when things don't work, then you can learn something. )

if your friend lacks tools, a multimeter, strippers, dykes, and safety glasses, I all consider mandatory.

not much more to add than whats already been stated..

Arduino UNO (as a base/solid board foundation.. plus can be used tt flash and upload code to other custom/clone circuits)

Resistor Kit Capacitor Kit Breadboard Jumper wires Battery holder/Breadboard power supply Led kit Servos

MAX7219 / MAX7221 chips 74HC595 Shift Register Transistors/Fets

Keypad LCD screen SD/Micro SD bob or shield Potentiometers

Everything needed to make MINIMAL Arduino circuits/clones

328P 22pF caps 16Mhz crystal +5v regulator

and FTDI board to upload sketches to your custom boards: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CP2102-USB-2-0-to-UART-TTL-6PIN-Module-Serial-Converter-/130683943875?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e6d5ebbc3

For sensors.. I really enjoy this pack:

ARDUINO Compatible 37-in-1 Sensor Module Kit: http://dx.com/p/arduno-37-in-1-sensor-module-kit-black-142834

Lots of goodies in there easy to hook up to instantly play with.